Andrew Rosindell Written Questions

859 Questions to Government Departments tabled by Andrew Rosindell


Date Title Questioner
28 Sep 2020, 3:11 p.m. Turkey: Natural Gas Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on Turkey’s militarily supported exploration for gas in waters recognised by UNCLOS as Greek territory; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

The UK is in regular contact with European partners with regard to the ongoing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. On 10 September, the Foreign Secretary discussed this with the Foreign Ministers of France and Germany. On 8 July, the Foreign Secretary raised this with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. I have raised this with my Turkish, Greek and Cypriot counterparts in recent weeks. Officials continue to raise the issue with the parties concerned.

25 Sep 2020, 2:01 p.m. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to support people on an annual pay period where the last payment notified to HMRC via PAYE was before 5 April 2019 and no further payments were notified until after 19 March 2020 which has meant that they are ineligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The CJRS has had to be set up to operate at significant scale and with limited manual intervention. The requirement for there to be a payment of earnings in the 2019/20 tax year applies for any employee being claimed for, irrespective of how frequently they are paid; whether weekly, monthly, or annually. The 19 March cut-off date allows as many people as possible to be included by going right up to the day before the announcement of the scheme, and protects taxpayers’ money against the risk of fraudulent claims that existed as soon as the scheme became public.

Those who are not eligible for the scheme can benefit from the wider package of measures in the Plan for Jobs, as well as temporary welfare measures announced in March.

24 Sep 2020, 8:55 p.m. Earwax: Medical Treatments Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons earwax removal is no longer routinely available on the NHS; and whether he has made an assessment of the economic effect of that matter on (a) elderly and (b) hard of hearing people who rely on regular earwax removal.

Answer (Edward Argar)

There are a range of services known as core services that all general practitioner (GP) practices are expected to provide and enhanced services that GP practices are commissioned to provide over and above this. The provision of ear syringing is an example of an enhanced service. If a local clinical commissioning group has decided not to commission an enhanced service, this may relate to population needs and value for money.

If the build-up of earwax is linked with hearing loss, then the GP practice could consider referring the patient into audiology services. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published guidelines in June 2018 on hearing loss at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng98

This contains a specific section on earwax removal which is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng98/chapter/Recommendations#removing-earwax

22 Sep 2020, 4:28 p.m. Special Envoy On Freedom of Religion Or Belief Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Prime Minister, when the Government plans to fill the position of the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Answer (Boris Johnson)

An appointment will be announced in due course.

21 Sep 2020, 5:35 p.m. Greece: Turkey Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what discussions he has had with his NATO counterparts on the territorial dispute between Turkey and Greece in the Aegean Sea; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (James Heappey)

My right hon. Friend the Defence Secretary has spoken to several of his NATO counterparts, including his Greek and Turkish colleagues. The UK continues to encourage constructive bilateral discussions, and to encourage de-escalation so as to avoid misunderstanding and miscalculation. It is essential that we work together with our international partners in the Eastern Mediterranean to achieve stability and mutual prosperity.

21 Sep 2020, 4:04 p.m. Turkey: Natural Gas Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make it his policy to support international sanctions against Turkey following its militarily supported exploration for gas in waters recognised by UNCLOS as Greek territory; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

We do not currently believe that sanctions are the most effective instrument to resolve tensions between Turkey and Greece. Any EU listings decisions are a matter for EU member states. The UK will pursue an independent sanctions policy at the end of the Transition Period. We will look to carry over existing EU sanctions into domestic law wherever it helps to further the UK's foreign policy objectives. The transfer of each EU sanctions regime into UK law will be considered on a case by case basis, and designations transferred into UK autonomous sanctions regimes at the end of the Transition Period will be subject to a final ministerial decision-making process.

We believe it is critical for stability in the Mediterranean and for the integrity of the rules-based international system that disputes such as this are resolved, not through force, militarisation or coercion, but through dialogue and in accordance with international law. We will continue to work with the wider region to that end.

17 Sep 2020, 1:32 p.m. Taiwan: Sustainable Development Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to strengthen its co-operation with Taiwan on achieving and implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

The UK Government welcomes the contribution Taiwan voluntarily makes to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, despite not being a member state of the UN, and we continue to work closely with Taiwan on this and other matters. We enjoy a constructive relationship covering a range of issues through organisations where statehood is not a prerequisite, such as the WTO and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. The UK believes that the people of Taiwan have a valuable contribution to make on issues of global concern and this includes on sustainable development.

17 Sep 2020, 12:18 p.m. Abortion: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that temporarily allowed home abortions during the covid-19 outbreak do not place women at increased risk of complications; and whether he will suspend them pending further investigations of these risks.

Answer (Helen Whately)

The Department is aware of a small number of incidents of concern which we are looking into alongside with the Care Quality Commission and other partners. We continue to closely monitor the impact of the temporary approval for women’s homes to be classed as a place where both sets of medication for early medical abortion can be taken up to 10 weeks gestation.

The Government has committed to undertake a public consultation on making permanent the COVID-19 measure allowing for home use of both pills for early medical abortion up to 10 weeks gestation for all eligible women. Further details on the consultation will be available in due course.

14 Sep 2020, 8:10 p.m. Biometric Residence Permits: Migrant Workers Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that NHS staff who received free one year visa extensions have their applications processed and their Biometric Residence Permits returned to them as soon as possible.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Home Office has created a dedicated taskforce specifically to deliver the extension of Health Care Worker’s Visas as per the scheme. This team has worked closely with the NHS and Private Healthcare Providers to ensure that the required information was supplied to trigger the process. Resources have been diverted into the processing of this information as well as an office presence maintained to ensure that systems and post have been accessible to enable the work.

We have established a new working process, which includes the re-injection of biometric data, without the need for any eligible worker to attend a Commercial Partner site, reducing delays and risk to customers.

14 Sep 2020, 5:31 p.m. Night-time Economy: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support (a) nightclubs and (b) other parts of the night-time economy which still remain closed during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Paul Scully)

We appreciate that the outbreak presents a significant challenge to the owners of nightclubs, which are still required to remain closed. The Government put in place an unprecedented programme of support to help businesses across the economy through the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, loan guarantees, grants, VAT deferral and the forfeiture moratorium. I am currently engaging with the nightclub sector to understand their immediate and longer-term needs.

10 Sep 2020, 1:51 p.m. Green Homes Grant Scheme Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to tackle the concerns raised by the Glass and Glazing Federation in that organisation's letter to the Government of 14 August 2002 on the Green Homes Scheme.

Answer (Kwasi Kwarteng)

The Green Homes Grant voucher scheme focuses on those measures which give greatest thermal benefits and carbon reductions, but which consumers are typically less likely to install on their own. Insulating walls, roofs and floors is a more cost-effective way to improve the energy efficiency of homes, which is why it is prioritised under the scheme.

We will continue to review the scheme design and take new information into account. Funding for future energy efficiency initiatives will be determined through the Spending Review in the autumn.

9 Sep 2020, 5:02 p.m. Green Homes Grant Scheme: Certification Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the average time is for a PAS 2030 certification to be processed once a business applies, in the most recent month for which figures are available.

Answer (Kwasi Kwarteng)

The amount of time that it takes to receive receives PAS 2030 certification differs depending on the certification body that the business has applied to and the completeness of it application.

Certification can take less than two weeks providing the business has the correct documentation.

9 Sep 2020, 5 p.m. Green Homes Grant Scheme: Certification Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that businesses offering home improvement under the Green Homes Grant scheme receive their PAS 2030 certification as quickly as possible.

Answer (Kwasi Kwarteng)

It is the responsibility of the TrustMark scheme providers to ensure that organisations are Publicly Available Specification (PAS) certified, although the Department is working closely with TrustMark to ensure that the right information is shared with the scheme providers and their members so they know what they need to do to become certified to the correct level of PAS.

The Green Homes Grant scheme is making a substantial commitment to supply chain development, to bolster the workforce and support the delivery of the scheme, including support and training directed towards gaining required certification.

8 Sep 2020, 6 p.m. Kickstart Scheme Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the requirement for candidates for the kickstart scheme to be in receipt of universal credit on the take-up of that scheme; and if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of removing that requirement.

Answer (Mims Davies)

Our initial focus is on young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment as they have most to gain from an opportunity like Kickstart. Work Coaches will work with young people to identify those most suitable for the Kickstart scheme and can match suitable young people to vacancies. We will consider expanding to other groups as we grow the volume of Kickstart roles available.

8 Sep 2020, 5:34 p.m. Public Transport: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to encourage transport operators to ensure that their services are well-ventilated to limit the spread of covid-19.

Answer (Chris Heaton-Harris)

The Department for Transport has published guidance on safer transport during the COVID-19 pandemic which includes recommendations on ventilation. However, this is non-mandatory guidance to ensure that transport operators can develop their own plans and processes to manage the Covid risk as best fits their own unique transport operations.

While the science to date is clear that fresh air outdoors provides the best ventilation, we are developing our scientific understanding of ventilation and other technical innovations for enclosed environments.

It is important to stress that the question of ventilation must be considered as part of a holistic approach to managing hazards and overall risk which also includes other interventions such as social distancing, improved hygiene and the use of face coverings.

8 Sep 2020, 4:49 p.m. Events Industry: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will issue guidance on the re-opening of larger event and dinner venues, in particular on the numbers allowed to gather for (a) events and (b) dinners in enclosed spaces.

Answer (Paul Scully)

The Government is continuing to engage with representatives from industry to explore how larger events may be resumed in a COVID-19 secure way, once it is safe to do so. We recognise the challenges events and dinner venues face and we will communicate any updates as soon as possible.

8 Sep 2020, 2:38 p.m. Children's Centres: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance he has issued to children's centres on allowing physical contact for parents of children in temporary foster care during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Vicky Ford)

It is for local councils to decide how to organise and commission children’s centre services in their area. We are clear, however, that contact between children in care and their birth relatives is important, and we expect this contact to continue during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Contact arrangements, including for children in temporary foster care, should be assessed on a case by case basis taking into account a range of factors. This includes the government’s guidance on social distancing, guidance on meeting people outside your household, and the needs of the child. It may not always be possible, or appropriate, for contact to happen at this time, and keeping in touch may need to take place virtually in certain circumstances. However, we expect the spirit of any court-ordered contact in relation to children in care to be maintained. Where face-to-face contact is not possible, we encourage social workers and other professionals to reassure children and parents that this position is temporary and will be reviewed as soon as it is possible to do so.

Further information about contact arrangements for children in care is published in the COVID-19 guidance for children’s social care services, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care.

8 Sep 2020, 2:34 p.m. Lotteries Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to allow an exemption to the rule that workplace lotteries must be located on a single set of premises for offices where employees are working from home.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Workplace lotteries are a class of private lottery that is exempt from Gambling Commission licensing or registration with a local authority. They are only permitted at single work locations. The Gambling Act 2005 prohibits advertising workplace lotteries outside of the premises, which includes by email or via a workplace intranet. This ensures that workplace lotteries remain an appropriate size and are distinct from small society lotteries.

Government last considered regulations for workplace and other exempt lotteries in 2016, and introduced reforms to reduce bureaucracy and enable promoters to donate proceeds to charity.

I have no plans to make any further changes at present.

8 Sep 2020, 2:32 p.m. Greyhound Racing: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether greyhound stadiums are permitted to (a) open food outlets in line with Government guidance issued on the reopening of restaurants and (b) allow owners access to their racecourses while continuing to operate greyhound racing behind closed doors during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Greyhound racing should follow sector specific guidance as well as relevant government guidance including mass gatherings, sports stadia and, where relevant, pubs and restaurants regarding the reopening of food outlets and owners access to racecourses.

On 4 May 2020 the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) produced a phased Operational Policy that would facilitate racing behind closed doors in a safe, effective and stage-by-stage manner. This includes strict, comprehensive controls relating to hygiene and social distancing protocols, whilst promoting the highest levels of greyhound welfare.

7 Sep 2020, 4:53 p.m. Electroconvulsive Therapy Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to review the use of electroconvulsive therapy.

Answer (Ms Nadine Dorries)

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidelines for the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) based on the most up to date available clinical evidence. NICE has also produced guidance, ‘Depression in adults: recognition and management’, which includes recommendations on when to use of ECT for complex and severe depression. The Department expects commissioners and providers of services to pay due regard to these guidelines. NICE keeps its guidance under regular review


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is tightly regulated under the Mental Health Act 1983 and practitioners should only administer the treatment when all other options have been exhausted. The Mental Health Act 1983: Code of Practice provides statutory guidance on the usage of ECT to ensure patients are treated with dignity and respect.

The Independent Review of the Mental Health Act made 154 recommendations, including proposing further safeguards on the use of ECT. We have committed to publishing a White Paper which will set out the Government’s response to Sir Simon Wessely’s Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983 and pave the way for reform of the Act.

7 Sep 2020, 4:08 p.m. Business and Leisure: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the economic effect of continued covid-19 lockdown restrictions being imposed on (a) business conferences and (b) other large scale events.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

We are holding three business event pilots in September as part of our preparations to help the sector safely reopen and begin its recovery. It remains our aim that the further reopening of events will be allowed from 1st October, if the host business has written a risk assessment and has put in place mitigations to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission, and provided that rates of infection remain at current levels. This is also subject to the successful completion of pilots.

I encourage affected events organisers to continue to make use of the Government’s comprehensive support package to protect businesses and workers.

7 Sep 2020, 1:11 p.m. Assaults On Police Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to protect police officers from assault or injury.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

Any attack on a police officer is completely unacceptable. Assaults specifically against emergency workers, including the police, are punishable by up to 12 months in prison and could be charged as common assault. The Government’s recent consultation seeking views on doubling the maximum sentence for assaults on emergency workers shows our commitment to ensuring these attacks are not tolerated. We continue to work with the Ministry of Justice to ensure that assaults on police officers are handled with appropriate severity by the whole criminal justice system.

We have also accelerated our work to introduce a Police Covenant, recognising the service and sacrifice of those who work, or have worked, in policing and to deliver the practical support they need. The key areas of focus will be physical protection, health and wellbeing and support for families. We expect to publish our response to the recent public consultation shortly.

The Government is clear that police officers should have the best possible protection when facing the physical violence that is sometimes directed against them. Decisions on the purchase and supply of protective equipment, including Body Armour, are primarily for Chief Officers.

We also welcome the publication of the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s Officer and Staff Safety Review. We will continue to work closely with policing partners to consider the recommendations in the report.

7 Sep 2020, 11:34 a.m. Bowling: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support ten-pin bowling alleys during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Bowling alleys have been permitted to reopen in line with Covid-19 Secure guidelines since 15th August, except in specific areas where local restrictions are in place.

Bowling alleys are able to benefit from the reduced rate of VAT which the Government has applied to attractions, accommodation and hospitality from 15 July 2020-12 January 2021. To support businesses - including bowling alleys - through Covid-19, the Government has also introduced a comprehensive support package, including business rates relief for eligible leisure businesses and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

We have supported bowling alleys by working closely with stakeholders to develop further Covid-19 Secure reopening guidance for venues. Specific guidance on bowling alleys has been published within UKHospitality’s ‘COVID-19 Secure Guidelines for Hospitality Businesses.’ We continue to meet regularly with the wider sector through the Cultural Renewal Taskforce’s Sport and Visitor Economy working groups.

3 Sep 2020, 12:38 p.m. Veterans: Proof of Identity Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to accelerate the roll-out of the second phase of the Veterans' recognition scheme.

Answer (James Heappey)

The Veterans’ ID card provides both a memento of service and allows statutory and charity service providers to more easily identify an individual as someone who has served. Phase one of the Veterans’ ID card is complete, with Service leavers now receiving a card as part of the discharge process. Phase two will enable existing veterans to more quickly, easily, and securely prove they served in the UK Armed Forces so they can access the services they need, through digital means. Future-proofing and safeguarding against fraudulent use means the process for phase two rollout will take longer than anticipated. This Government is committed to making the UK the best place to be a veteran in the world, and we need to ensure that this is not abused.

The Ministry of Defence, including Veterans UK, is working with the Office for Veterans’ Affairs within the Cabinet Office to develop ideas on how to build an online digital verification tool so that people can prove they served; this is a commitment in the Strategy for Our Veterans. We are beginning to move this work forward but are unable to announce a delivery date at this point.

Information on phase two of the Veterans’ ID card will be released closer to the launch date at the following website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-veterans-id-cards-rolled-out-to-service-leavers

1 Sep 2020, 12:16 p.m. Supermarkets: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to promote registration for supermarket priority slots for people who (a) are shielding and (b) have arthritis during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Victoria Prentis)

In March, the Government took swift action to ensure continued access to food for the most vulnerable. Information on how to register for food support, including priority delivery slots has been available on GOV.UK since then.

Working with other Government departments we have attempted to call all those who registered for food support. During these calls we explained the priority delivery slot scheme and encouraged them to sign up for an account with a participating supermarket. We also included information in food boxes which were delivered to those with no other means of accessing food.

Our latest figures show that less than 26,000 of those 500,000 people registered for support were not able to access priority deliveries. We recently contacted these people by email and letter, encouraging them to sign up for an account with a participating supermarket. Supermarkets will continue to match individuals and supply the most vulnerable with priority delivery slots.

1 Sep 2020, 12:13 p.m. Dogs: Meat Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals on making (a) possession and (b) consumption of dog meat an offence in the UK.

Answer (Victoria Prentis)

I refer the hon. Member for Romford to the reply given on 9 June to his earlier question asked on 1 June (UIN 51680).

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-06-01/51680/

1 Sep 2020, 10:38 a.m. Exercise Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to encourage local authorities to use Versus Arthritis' physical activity toolkit as part of their local recovery planning.

Answer (Helen Whately)

The Department is aware that Versus Arthritis has produced a range of guidance for commissioners, clinicians, patients and the public to improve musculoskeletal health.

Commissioners draw on a range of evidence and guidance when planning and delivering for local populations, such as that produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, and guidance produced by charities such as Versus Arthritis.

5 Aug 2020, 10:46 a.m. Public Places: Protective Clothing Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on household finances of the new requirement to wear personal protective equipment in public spaces.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

The Government’s guidance encourages people to make their own face covering at home, using readily available textiles that can be washed, and reused after every use. Guidance on how to make and wear face coverings is available on GOV.UK. In addition, the Government is running a major proactive communications campaign on face coverings to alert the public where they are now required to wear face coverings and educate the public on how to correctly wear one.

Face coverings are not classified as personal protective equipment which is used in a limited number of settings to protect wearers against hazards and risks, such as surgical masks or respirators used in medical and industrial settings. We urge the public not to purchase medical or surgical masks as these must be reserved for health and social care workers who face the greatest risk.

28 Jul 2020, 12:17 p.m. Probate: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to accelerate its processing of probate applications during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The probate service has continued to operate effectively despite the pressures faced during the Covid-19 pandemic. The digital online probate service is available for both citizens and legal professionals and this means that both the applicant, and where necessary, Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS), can administer grants remotely.

Additional resources have and continue to be put in place by HMCTS to prepare for any additional demand following the increase in the overall death rate. The most recently published waiting times for a grant of probate covers March 2020 however July 2019 data has been used for the comparison as March and April 2019 is subject to data quality issues following the move to a new computer system.

Average time to grant issue for grants of representation, by grant type, England and Wales 1,2

Probate

Application submission to grant issue

Document receipt to grant issue3

Mean weeks

Median weeks

Mean weeks

Median weeks

March 2020

6.9

4.6

6.6

4.3

July 2019

9.6

8.6

9.6

8.6

Source HMCTS Core Case Data

1) HMCTS Core Case Data (CCD) came into effect at the end of March 2019, following a transition between data systems recording information regarding The Probate Service

2) The average timeliness figures are produced by calculating the time from application/document receipt (which may be from an earlier period) to the grant issued made in that period

3) Document receipt occurs after payment has been made and all accompanying paperwork has been received by HMCTS

28 Jul 2020, 12:17 p.m. Probate Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how long on average it has taken his Department to grant probate after the receipt of an application in the most recent month for which such records are available; and if he will make a comparative assessment of that figure and the figure relating to that matter from the equivalent month in the previous year.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The probate service has continued to operate effectively despite the pressures faced during the Covid-19 pandemic. The digital online probate service is available for both citizens and legal professionals and this means that both the applicant, and where necessary, Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS), can administer grants remotely.

Additional resources have and continue to be put in place by HMCTS to prepare for any additional demand following the increase in the overall death rate. The most recently published waiting times for a grant of probate covers March 2020 however July 2019 data has been used for the comparison as March and April 2019 is subject to data quality issues following the move to a new computer system.

Average time to grant issue for grants of representation, by grant type, England and Wales 1,2

Probate

Application submission to grant issue

Document receipt to grant issue3

Mean weeks

Median weeks

Mean weeks

Median weeks

March 2020

6.9

4.6

6.6

4.3

July 2019

9.6

8.6

9.6

8.6

Source HMCTS Core Case Data

1) HMCTS Core Case Data (CCD) came into effect at the end of March 2019, following a transition between data systems recording information regarding The Probate Service

2) The average timeliness figures are produced by calculating the time from application/document receipt (which may be from an earlier period) to the grant issued made in that period

3) Document receipt occurs after payment has been made and all accompanying paperwork has been received by HMCTS

22 Jul 2020, 5:59 p.m. Leisure: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure that multi-use venues can reopen for events as soon as is safely possible as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Answer (Mr Simon Clarke)

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government published the COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities on 30 June to help managers and users of community centres, village halls, and other local multi-use community facilities re-open safely. Business events, conferences and events centres will be given the go ahead to reopen on 1 October, provided rates of infection remain at current levels.

22 Jul 2020, 5:47 p.m. Gambia: Politics and Government Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Gambian counterpart on ensuring that British-Gambian citizens voices are heard by the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission in that country.

Answer (James Duddridge)

The UK Government welcomes the establishment of the independent Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) to gather information about human rights violations which took place under the presidency of Yahya Jammeh. The UK has provided £75,000 through the International Centre for Transitional Justice for an outreach programme to raise awareness and promote engagement. Our High Commissioner in Banjul regularly meets with TRRC officials and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office hosted the TRRC Vice Chair and officials in London last year. The TRRC has invited contributions from all those who may have been victims, perpetrators or witnesses to human rights violations between July 1992 and January 2017. We would encourage British-Gambians to submit their personal accounts via the TRRC website: www.trrc.gm.

22 Jul 2020, 5:28 p.m. Gambia: Politics and Government Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Gambian counterpart on help the UK Government can provide to assist with the transitional justice process in the Gambia.

Answer (James Duddridge)

The UK Government welcomes the commitment of President Barrow and the Government of The Gambia to embrace change by drafting a new Gambian Constitution which has a human rights based approach to development, with freedom of expression, freedom of association and media freedom at its heart. We regularly discuss the transitional justice process with the Government of The Gambia and through a DFID programme, delivered by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, we are working to transform the National Assembly of The Gambia into a robust institution. This includes a particular focus on increasing government accountability and enhancing political inclusion among marginalised groups. Furthermore the UK Government provided funding to the Bingham Centre For The Rule of Law to conduct a comprehensive review of the draft constitution and provide recommendations in line with international best practice to the Constitutional Review Commission. We have also provided strategic-level support to the Gambian Ministry of Justice by funding a Special Adviser who co-chairs the transitional justice process, including the implementation of judicial and constitutional reforms necessary to underpin the broader democratic reform agenda. We will continue to support The Gambia to resolve the challenges still to be addressed so that the human rights of all its citizens are respected and protected.

22 Jul 2020, 4:59 p.m. Protective Clothing: Shops Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to mitigate the effect of the mandatory wearing of masks in shops on (a) customers and (b) shop workers who are (i) deaf and (ii) hard of hearing that rely on (A) lip reading and (B) facial expressions to communicate.

Answer (Paul Scully)

From 24 July all customers must wear face coverings in shops and supermarkets. This is in addition to the requirement to wear face coverings on public transport.

As is the case for public transport, there will be a range of exemptions set out in law. This will include children under 11 and those with certain disabilities.

22 Jul 2020, 4:57 p.m. Gambia: Human Rights Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what support her Department is providing to victims' organisations and other civil society groups working on transitional justice issues in the Gambia.

Answer (James Duddridge)

The UK regularly discusses the transitional justice process with the Government of The Gambia. A DFID programme, delivered by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, we are working to transform the National Assembly of The Gambia into a robust institution. This includes a particular focus on increasing government accountability and enhancing political inclusion among marginalised groups. The UK has also provided funding through the International Centre for Transitional Justice for an outreach programme to raise awareness and promote engagement and inclusion in The Gambia.

21 Jul 2020, 5:07 p.m. Protective Clothing: Retail Trade Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of issuing guidance to high street shops and supermarkets on the price of (a) 3-ply face masks and (b) other personal protective equipment.

Answer (Paul Scully)

The Government is clear that it is absolutely unacceptable to exploit the Covid-19 pandemic for financial gain. The vast majority of businesses have acted responsibly during the national effort to tackle Covid-19.

Reports of profiteering on key products such as masks, other PPE and hand sanitizer have fallen significantly as supply chains return to normal, with suppliers scaling up production and sourcing alternative supplies. BEIS Ministers have met with suppliers, retailers and consumer representatives, and continue to monitor these reports to assess any further steps necessary.

21 Jul 2020, 12:29 p.m. Green Homes Grant Scheme Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to enable landlords to claim vouchers under his newly announced Green Homes Grant scheme; and who will be eligible to apply for funding under that scheme.

Answer (Kwasi Kwarteng)

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes. Further detail on the scheme will be announced in due course before the full launch.

20 Jul 2020, 5:27 p.m. Sleeping Rough: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

What progress he has made on finding accommodation for rough sleepers during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Luke Hall)

On 26th March I wrote to local authority leaders, asking them to bring ‘Everybody In’.

We saw a phenomenal response; due to the hard work of councils, charities and volunteers, 15,000 rough sleepers and vulnerable people have been housed in hotels and other forms of emergency accommodation, since the start of the pandemic.

We are also providing £105 million for interim accommodation and £160 million for long term accommodation, which includes funding to make 3,300 new supported homes available in the next 12 months.

20 Jul 2020, 4:02 p.m. British Nationals Abroad: EU Countries Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that UK citizens visiting the EU will be able to (a) stay in the EU for 180 consecutive days a year and (b) receive equal treatment to EU nationals visiting the UK for the same period of time.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

The Government has discussed mobility arrangements across a number of areas as part of negotiations on our future relationship with the EU, and these discussions are ongoing.

The EU has already legislated such that UK nationals will not need a visa when travelling to the Schengen area for short stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. This will apply from the end of the transition period to all UK nationals travelling to and within the Schengen area for purposes such as tourism.

This is the standard length of stay that the EU provides to the nationals of eligible third countries that offer visa-free travel access for EU citizens, in line with existing EU legislation.

As things stand, stays beyond the EU's 90/180 day visa-free allocation from 1 January 2021 onwards will be for individual Member States to decide and implement through domestic entry rules and visa arrangements for non-EU citizens. UK nationals will need to discuss the specifics of their situation with the relevant Member State authorities and should be prepared to provide any extra documentation that may be required.

17 Jul 2020, 1:18 p.m. Green Homes Grant Scheme Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to make an announcement on the (a) eligibility for and (b) products that will be available under the Green Homes Grant.

Answer (Kwasi Kwarteng)

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes. Further detail on the range of measures will be announced in the coming days, before the scheme’s full launch.

17 Jul 2020, 1:08 p.m. Green Homes Grant Scheme Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether energy-efficient windows will be classified as a high priority product in the Green Homes Grant.

Answer (Kwasi Kwarteng)

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes. Further detail on the range of measures will be announced in the coming days, before the scheme’s full launch.

17 Jul 2020, 1:04 p.m. Green Homes Grant Scheme Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward the start date of the green homes grant, announced in his oral statement of 8 July 2020.

Answer (Kwasi Kwarteng)

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The start date of the scheme was chosen to support effective delivery and beneficial impact. Further detail on the range of measures will be announced in the coming days, before the scheme’s full launch.

17 Jul 2020, 1:03 p.m. Housing Improvement: Small Businesses Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his oral statement of 8 July 2020, Economic Update, what steps he is taking to support small home improvement businesses in the short-term in the event that people will potentially delay energy improvements until the green homes grant is made available in September 2020.

Answer (Kwasi Kwarteng)

We are working to finalise the details of the new scheme as quickly as possible, including which measures will be included. We will set out further details over the coming weeks to give consumers and installers greater certainty.

16 Jul 2020, 10:57 a.m. Dangerous Dogs Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people have been convicted of offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 in each Police Force area in each of the last five years.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Ministry of Justice has published information on convictions at offence level up to December 2019. The number of convictions for offences under the Dangerous Dog Act 1991 at all courts can be found in the ‘Principal offence proceedings and outcomes by Home Office offence code data tool’, available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888344/HO-code-tool-principal-offence-2019.xlsx

In the pivot table, filter the Offence code field to include the following Home Office offence codes:

11112, 11113, 11114, 11115, 11116, 11117, 11118, 11119, 11120 and 11125: Summary offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

00821: Owner or person in charge allowing dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place injuring any person

00822: Owner or person in charge allowing dog to enter a non-public place and injure any person

In the pivot table fields menu, drag ‘Police Force Area’ from the filters section to the rows section underneath ‘Values’. Convictions for each Police Force Area can be found in rows 77 to 120.

15 Jul 2020, 4:39 p.m. Tropical Diseases Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to help people with leprosy and other tropical diseases.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

The UK’s global health work supports countries to build and maintain strong health systems and promote universal health coverage, to enable partner countries to tackle all the causes of ill health, including tropical diseases.

UK aid is invested in several major neglected tropical disease (NTD) programmes, which are focused on building systems to treat and prevent Guinea worm, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, visceral leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, and trachoma. These diseases were identified based on a detailed analysis of the burden of the disease, the UK’s comparative advantage in the area, and the availability and cost effectiveness of treatment and prevention. Although leprosy is not a focus disease, activities relating to leprosy can be included if these can be delivered effectively in conjunction with activities relating to the focus diseases. We work closely with national governments to plan programme activities.

15 Jul 2020, 10:33 a.m. Local Government: Flags Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with local authority leaders to amend their guidance on flying the EU flag.

Answer (Mr John Whittingdale)

DCMS is responsible for informing UK Government Departments of the designated days for the flying of the Union Flag throughout the year and in conjunction with FCO, No.10 and the Royal Household, informing Departments of any instructions on the half-masting of flags, any other flag instructions and silences. Guidance is sent to all UK Government Buildings and is published on GOV.UK.

There is no specific Government policy regarding the flying of flags other than the Union Flag. Individuals, local authorities and other organisations may fly flags whenever they wish, subject to compliance with any local planning requirement.

14 Jul 2020, 5:26 p.m. Ilois: Right of Abode Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to her Department's announcement entitled, UK to extend residence rights for British Nationals (Overseas) citizens in Hong Kong, published on 1 July 2020, whether she has plans to extend those rights to (a) Chagosssians and (b) descendants of Chagosssians.

Answer (Kevin Foster)

Chagossians born on the British Indian Ocean Territory are British Overseas Territories Citizens, and also automatically became British citizens under the British Overseas Territories Act 2002. These individuals therefore already have the right of abode in the United Kingdom.

Under current British nationality law, citizenship is normally only passed on to one generation born abroad. British citizens can make use of existing immigration routes to bring their family members to the UK.

We have no plans to extend the arrangements for British Nationals (Overseas) set out on 1 July 2020 to Chagossians.

14 Jul 2020, 3:37 p.m. Railways: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that railcard holders who have been unable to use their card during the covid-19 outbreak receive appropriate compensation or an extension.

Answer (Chris Heaton-Harris)

Railcards are sold and managed by the Rail Delivery Group on behalf on the rail industry. Proposals for amendments to existing Railcard policies are for the Rail Delivery Group to bring forward. The Rail Delivery Group is working with train companies on a number of ways to assist Railcard holders, in light of the current COVID-19 related travel restrictions. Departmental officials have been engaging regularly with the Rail Delivery Group as they consider possible changes to Railcard conditions.

14 Jul 2020, 3:36 p.m. Ilois: Finance Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to establish processes to enable Chagossians to apply for funding from the Government's Chagossian Support Package.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

We have developed the following criteria to demonstrate eligibility to access the Support Package:

  • Being born in the Chagos Archipelago/British Indian Ocean Territory.
  • Claiming to be of Chagossian heritage, descended from a Chagossian born in the Chagos Archipelago/British Indian Ocean Territory, with a direct maternal or paternal line of descent.

These criteria are already being applied to ensure that heritage visit places are allocated in a fair and transparent manner.

13 Jul 2020, 3:45 p.m. Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007 Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to amend the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007, (Amendment 2b).

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

We have no plans to amend the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007 at this time

10 Jul 2020, 2:32 p.m. Beekeeping: Equipment Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make representations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on removing VAT from bee keeping equipment to help enable an increase in pollinators and benefit the environment.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

Protecting pollinators is a priority for this Government. They are an essential part of our environment and play a crucial role in food production.

Our National Pollinator Strategy sets out how Government, conservation groups, farmers, beekeepers and researchers can work together to improve the status of pollinating insect species in England.

There are no plans at present to seek discussions with the Chancellor on the removal of VAT from beekeeping equipment. Defra maintains awareness of key issues affecting the beekeeping sector through regular contact with national associations and other stakeholders and I am satisfied that our current approach to supporting beekeeping is effective.

Government support primarily involves operating a system of apiary inspections and the provision of funding for training. These measures are valuable in helping beekeepers to maintain and improve their husbandry skills and in keeping levels of honey bee pests and disease to a minimum.

National Bee Unit inspectors also deliver our contingency response and their success in dealing with incursions of the invasive Asian hornet has been of great benefit to our beekeepers.

9 Jul 2020, 4:53 p.m. Sports: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to allow snooker clubs and other indoor sport venues to reopen as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. Snooker clubs have been allowed to open since 4 July, as long as they can follow the COVID-secure guidelines.

The Government is committed to reopening other facilities as soon as it is safe to do so, including indoor gyms and sports venues. The Sport Working Group, led by myself, feeds into the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce and ensures strong sector and expert support for the co-development of guidelines and will help leisure facilities become COVID-secure and re-open as early as possible in July.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to COVID-19, we will be guided by public health considerations to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.

9 Jul 2020, 1:45 p.m. Trade Agreements: Japan Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that Gibraltar is automatically included in a nfuture trade agreement with Japan.

Answer (Mr Ranil Jayawardena)

The aim of HM Government is to agree an ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) with Japan that builds on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), and secures additional benefits for British businesses.

HM Government will make sure that our new agreements and our future trade policy promote the interests of the whole of the United Kingdom, our Crown Dependencies, and our Overseas Territories – including Gibraltar.

My Department is are committed to representing the interests of our Overseas Territories in our international trade agreements and we are working closely with Gibraltar as we progress negotiations.

9 Jul 2020, 10:22 a.m. Dance: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the dance sector on (a) the effect of the covid-19 outbreak and (b) when the sector may be able to reopen.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

The Secretary of State and DCMS are committed to supporting the cultural sector to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so, and ensure appropriate support and guidance is provided.

To that end, DCMS has established the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and the Entertainment and Events working group which will be focusing on ensuring that COVID-19 secure guidelines are developed in line with the phasing ambitions and public health directions, building on the existing guidance and providing intelligence and sector-specific expert input.

These groups specifically include representatives for the dance sector, such as One Dance UK. Full details of the Taskforce can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/culture-secretary-announces-cultural-renewal-taskforce, and the Entertainment and Events Working Group can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/cultural-renewal-taskforce-and-supporting-working-groups#entertainment-and-events-members.

8 Jul 2020, 4:36 p.m. Further Education: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional financial support his Department is providing to colleges during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

We have protected grant funding to the further education sector - the Education Skills and Funding Agency will continue to pay grant funded providers their scheduled monthly profiled payments for the remainder of the 2019/20 funding year and for 2020/21.

For colleges in significant financial difficulties the existing support arrangements remain in place, including short-term emergency funding.

The College Collaboration Fund (CCF) has been adapted to support colleges to respond to current challenges including developing new ways of working. We will let providers know the outcome of their application after 10 July.

We will be increasing investment in education and training of 16 to 19 year olds by £400 million for the 2020/21 academic year, including an increased base rate, and more funding for high cost and high value subjects. We are also investing £1.5 billion over five years in capital spending for further education colleges.

On 29 June, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister announced a transformative ten-year construction programme to deliver the world-class education and training needed to get Britain back on its feet. This includes £200 million for urgent repairs and upgrades to further education colleges this year.

8 Jul 2020, 1:07 p.m. Local Government: Flags Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he is taking steps to ensure that historic county flags are flown in Parliament square on Historic County Flags day 23 July 2020.

Answer (Mr Simon Clarke)

I am a huge supporter of our historic counties which are an integral part of local identity and belonging. Over the last year or more, we have been active in promoting the role of our historic counties in celebrating the history and traditions of our nation. We will use the opportunity presented by Historic County Flags Day on 23 July to raise their profile once more, but given the wider pressures resulting from the COVID-19 emergency, we envisage any celebrations this year at national and local level will be done virtually or via social media.

8 Jul 2020, 1:07 p.m. Local Government: Flags Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with local authorities on flying and promoting county flags on Historic County Flags day on 23 July 2020.

Answer (Mr Simon Clarke)

I am a huge supporter of our historic counties which are an integral part of local identity and belonging. Over the last year or more, we have been active in promoting the role of our historic counties in celebrating the history and traditions of our nation. We will use the opportunity presented by Historic County Flags Day on 23 July to raise their profile once more, but given the wider pressures resulting from the COVID-19 emergency, we envisage any celebrations this year at national and local level will be done virtually or via social media.

8 Jul 2020, 11:50 a.m. Coronavirus: Social Distancing Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to increase awareness of the details of the Government's guidelines on meeting friends and family and the need to maintain social distancing with people outside of support bubbles.

Answer (Chloe Smith)

The government recognises how difficult it has been for people to be cut off from their family and friends in recent months. This has been necessary to help us all control the virus and save lives. We have published detailed guidance on gov.uk which explains how you can now see people you do not live with, while protecting yourself and others from coronavirus.

We developed a national cross-government campaign to increase awareness of all coronavirus-related guidance and provide information and reassurance to the public. The campaign uses national advertising including TV, social media, radio, poster and signage advertising as well as other media channels in all four nations of the UK.

We have also partnered with over 600 national, regional and local newspaper titles to help amplify public information on critical coronavirus messaging and ensure it reaches all communities.

8 Jul 2020, 10:22 a.m. Hezbollah Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2020 to Question 62325 on Hezbollah, if her Department will (a) collect and (b) publish information on the number of (i) investigations and (ii) charges for (A) displaying the flag or other symbols of and (B) other promotion of (1) Hezbollah and (2) other proscribed organisations.

Answer (James Brokenshire)

The Government takes proscription offences seriously. Investigations into the activities of proscribed organisations or individuals who may be members or supporters of proscribed organisations are an operational matter for the police and intelligence agencies. It would not be appropriate to publish data on intelligence related matters.

The Government publishes quarterly national statistics on the use of police powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 and subsequent relevant legislation in Great Britain. This includes information on arrests, charges and convictions for proscription offences. The most recent publication up to year ending March 2020, was published on 11 June on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/operation-of-police-powers-under-the-terrorism-act-2000-financial-year-ending-march-2020.

The quarterly publications establish transparency by ensuring that data is publicly available on the use of police powers in a consistently categorised way. As with all crime statistics published by the Home Office, the data published in the Terrorism statistics are offence based, where police provide a count of the number of offences recorded. Data providers are not required to provide further detail on events leading to the arrest, as to do so would place a disproportionate burden on the organisations responsible. This includes the National Counter-Terrorism Police Operations Centre, the Crown Prosecution Service’s Counter-Terrorism Division, the Metropolitan Police Service and the National Counter-Terrorism Policing Headquarters. As with all Official Statistics, we continually review outputs taking account of user needs.

8 Jul 2020, 10:22 a.m. Hezbollah Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2020 to Question 62325 on Hezbollah, for what reasons her Department does not collect information on (a) investigations and (b) charges for displaying the flag or other symbols of (i) Hezbollah and (ii) other proscribed organisations.

Answer (James Brokenshire)

The Government takes proscription offences seriously. Investigations into the activities of proscribed organisations or individuals who may be members or supporters of proscribed organisations are an operational matter for the police and intelligence agencies. It would not be appropriate to publish data on intelligence related matters.

The Government publishes quarterly national statistics on the use of police powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 and subsequent relevant legislation in Great Britain. This includes information on arrests, charges and convictions for proscription offences. The most recent publication up to year ending March 2020, was published on 11 June on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/operation-of-police-powers-under-the-terrorism-act-2000-financial-year-ending-march-2020.

The quarterly publications establish transparency by ensuring that data is publicly available on the use of police powers in a consistently categorised way. As with all crime statistics published by the Home Office, the data published in the Terrorism statistics are offence based, where police provide a count of the number of offences recorded. Data providers are not required to provide further detail on events leading to the arrest, as to do so would place a disproportionate burden on the organisations responsible. This includes the National Counter-Terrorism Police Operations Centre, the Crown Prosecution Service’s Counter-Terrorism Division, the Metropolitan Police Service and the National Counter-Terrorism Policing Headquarters. As with all Official Statistics, we continually review outputs taking account of user needs.

7 Jul 2020, 5:57 p.m. Undocumented Migrants: English Channel Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to stop migrants crossing the English Channel illegally.

Answer (Chris Philp)

Facilitating these crossings is illegal and no one should be attempting them in the first place. France, from where almost all embark, is a manifestly safe country with a fully functioning asylum system. Any of these migrants needing protection should claim it in France. Those seeking to cross must traverse some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. It is a reckless and dangerous crossing, putting the lives of the people who attempt it – including children and babies – and those rescuing them, at serious risk.

The Government is working flat out to put a complete stop to these crossings, and all attempts to reach the UK clandestinely and action is being taken on a daily basis. This includes working closely with our French partners.

The National Crime Agency, Immigration Enforcement, Border Force and the UK Police are working closely with French authorities to crack down on the criminals who facilitate the crossings. There is a UK-France Coordination and Information Centre opened in Calais which opened in November 2018

This law enforcement response is delivering results. French law enforcement prevented over 1000 people from crossing by small boats in April and May 2020.

In 2019, Immigration Enforcement made 418 arrests, leading to 203 convictions for a total of 437 years.  Out of these, 259 arrests and 100 convictions were for people smuggling.  Immigration Enforcement carried out 841 disruptions against organised crime gangs and individuals engaged in organised immigration crime, 404 of which were related to people smuggling.  So far in 2020, 21 people smugglers have been convicted and put behind bars as a result of Immigration Enforcement investigations, with more investigations underway.

The UK Government has also returned over 155 small boats arrivals back to Europe since January 2019 using the legal channels available. We have a further 686 return cases which we are currently urgently progressing.

There is more we need to do beyond this. We are working on developing tactics to prevent crossings at sea, and on ways to rapidly return those who do get across.  This may require new legislation and new agreements with the French Government. These are currently under active discussion.

7 Jul 2020, 5:45 p.m. Dangerous Dogs: Police Custody Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that dogs taken into police custody under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 are processed and released in a timely manner.

Answer (Victoria Prentis)

Every effort is made to ensure that cases involving dogs held under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 are processed on time. The magistrates’ courts continue to increase their number of hearings and the range of types of cases heard has also increased with the reintroduction of first hearing guilty and anticipated not guilty plea cases commencing. Trials, in small numbers, also continue to be listed. Dogs seized by police in England under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 are held in confidence in kennels licensed under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. Such kennels must meet statutory minimum animal welfare conditions, including that dogs are kept safely and receive appropriate levels of exercise. The 2018 Regulations are enforced by local authorities.

7 Jul 2020, 5:45 p.m. Dangerous Dogs: Police Custody Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that dogs kept in police custody under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 are (a) stored in safe conditions and (b) taken for regular exercise.

Answer (Victoria Prentis)

Every effort is made to ensure that cases involving dogs held under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 are processed on time. The magistrates’ courts continue to increase their number of hearings and the range of types of cases heard has also increased with the reintroduction of first hearing guilty and anticipated not guilty plea cases commencing. Trials, in small numbers, also continue to be listed. Dogs seized by police in England under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 are held in confidence in kennels licensed under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. Such kennels must meet statutory minimum animal welfare conditions, including that dogs are kept safely and receive appropriate levels of exercise. The 2018 Regulations are enforced by local authorities.

7 Jul 2020, 2:45 p.m. Driving Instruction: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that driving instructors follow DVSA and Government guidelines in safely restarting driving lessons.

Answer (Rachel Maclean)

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been the safety of its staff and the wider public. That remains its priority as it restarts its services.

Driving instructors are responsible for ensuring their services remain safe. Guidance on how they can carry out risk assessments can be found on the Health and Safety Executive’s website. The DVSA will release an updated version of its standard operating procedure for driving examiners, which driving instructors might wish to refer to when developing their own health and safety procedures. The DVSA will be sending this directly to driving instructors and it will be hosted on the National Associations Strategic Partnership website.

The DVSA would encourage all driving instructors to keep up to date with the driving instructors’ National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) website for further advice and information: http://www.n-a-s-p.co.uk/

7 Jul 2020, 11:42 a.m. Billing: Pensioners Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with (a) utility companies and (b) banks on removing charges for pensioners who are not comfortable with online billing and do not choose paperless billing options.

Answer (Kwasi Kwarteng)

I regularly engage with utility providers to address a wide range of issues. Through these conversations I always stress the importance of utility companies and banks serving the needs of all their customers, in particular the elderly and vulnerable, and look forward to raising this specific issue as part of my next engagement.

6 Jul 2020, 1:33 p.m. Bowling: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with the ten-pin bowling sector on their safe re-opening as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active.

The Government is committed to reopening leisure facilities including Bowling Alleys as soon as it is safe to do so. The Sport Working Group, led by myself, feeds into the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce and ensures strong sector and expert support for the co-development of guidelines and will help leisure facilities become Covid-secure and re-open as early as possible in July.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to Covid-19, we will be guided by the science to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.

3 Jul 2020, 3:56 p.m. Dangerous Dogs: Police Custody Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate he has made of the average length of time that a dog is held in custody while being assessed under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 in (a) Havering and (b) England.

Answer (Victoria Prentis)

Details of how long dogs are kept in police custody while being assessed under the Dangerous Dogs Act are not held centrally and are a matter for each separate police force. Each police force has access to a Dog Legislation Officer who is specifically trained in the law on dangerous dogs and dog related matters including animal welfare. Any concerns about specific cases should be reported to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). Details of how to contact the IOPC can be found on its website: www.policeconduct.gov.uk.

3 Jul 2020, 3:56 p.m. Police: Training Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to (a) work with and (b) train police forces on ensuring dogs are not wrongfully taken into custody under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Answer (Victoria Prentis)

Details of how long dogs are kept in police custody while being assessed under the Dangerous Dogs Act are not held centrally and are a matter for each separate police force. Each police force has access to a Dog Legislation Officer who is specifically trained in the law on dangerous dogs and dog related matters including animal welfare. Any concerns about specific cases should be reported to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). Details of how to contact the IOPC can be found on its website: www.policeconduct.gov.uk.

2 Jul 2020, 4:57 p.m. Ice Skating: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to enable the safe re-opening of indoor ice skating rinks as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active.The Government has made it clear that it will adopt a phased approach based on scientific and medical advice, and that the primary goal is to protect public health. The Government is in discussions with representatives from the sport and physical activity sector about the steps required to restart grassroots sport and will update the public when it is deemed safe to reopening indoor sports venues and facilities as soon as it is safe to do so, including ice rinks.

2 Jul 2020, 2:07 p.m. Personal Care Services: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to enable tanning salons with sunbeds that do not require close contact between customers and staff to reopen.

Answer (Paul Scully)

From 4 July, many close contact services such as hairdressers, pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen provided they adhere to the safer working guidelines. However, others such as tanning salons, beauty parlours and make-up studios remain closed until further notice. The Government recognises that this is difficult for some businesses. Every step is weighed against the evidence, remembering that the more we open up the more vigilant we will need to be.

Our approach to the types of businesses who can reopen is guided by the scientific and medical advice. SAGE provides world-leading scientific advice to the Government. However, making any changes depends on us continuing to meet the five tests.

We will continue to work with those industries that are still closed to understand how best we can reopen them safely, at the right time, guided by the science.

2 Jul 2020, 1:53 p.m. Employment: Diabetes Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is planning to take to support people with diabetes when they return to work during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Paul Scully)

It is critical that employers offer safe workplaces. The Government has published guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These guides cover a range of working environments and are available at www.gov.uk/workingsafely.

Nothing in this guidance affects employers’ existing responsibilities under employment and equalities legislation. Employers therefore need to bear in mind the particular needs of different groups or individuals, and make sure that the steps they take to address the risk of COVID-19 do not unjustifiably impact on some groups compared with others.

The safer workplaces guidance provides information to employers on how best to meet these responsibilities in the context of COVID-19.

30 Jun 2020, 5:49 p.m. Public Transport: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that passengers are aware of the requirement to wear face coverings on public transport.

Answer (Chris Heaton-Harris)

Since Monday 15 June most passengers must wear a face covering when travelling on public transport in England, unless they are exempt for health, disability or other reasons.

We are making passengers aware of the new requirement, including the exemptions in place, through the Department for Transport’s Safer Transport communications campaign. We are working closely with transport operators to make sure they are communicating the requirements to their staff and passengers.

We have published updated guidance for passengers which clearly sets out the requirement to wear face coverings on public transport, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers#face-coverings

30 Jun 2020, 4:53 p.m. Cyprus: Foreign Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the exclusion of representatives of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots from talks between the UK Government and the Greek Cypriot Administration and the 1960 Cyprus Treaty of Guarantee.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

We regularly engage with the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey. We use the opportunity of these contacts to urge progress towards a settlement. Ultimately, it is for the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to agree on the details of any final Settlement deal. This will require the agreement of the two leaders, the support of Greece and Turkey and - importantly - successful referenda in each community. The UK has always made clear that we are open to whatever arrangements the two sides and other Guarantor Powers can agree to meet the security needs of the two Cypriot communities.

30 Jun 2020, 4:25 p.m. Public Transport: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to enforce the mandatory wearing of face coverings on public transport.

Answer (Chris Heaton-Harris)

Since Monday 15 June most passengers must wear a face covering when travelling on public transport in England, unless they are exempt for health, disability or other reasons. We expect to see a gradual ramp-up of enforcement, supported by a significant communications campaign over the coming months.

The regulations made under the Public Health Act 1984 includes powers for operators to deny access to a service, to direct a passenger to wear a face covering, or direct someone to leave a service, if they are not wearing a face covering. Transport operators have discretion over how they use these powers - they are not obliged to use them. If the passenger still doesn’t comply with operators’ encouragement and instructions without a legitimate exemption, there are new powers for the police and Transport for London authorised personnel to issue a fixed penalty notice of £100, or £50 if paid within 14 days.

We have published updated guidance for operators which clearly sets out advice on ensuring passenger compliance with the face covering regulations, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators#face-coverings

30 Jun 2020, 3:33 p.m. Biofuels Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with car manufacturers on the introduction of bio fuels as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.

Answer (Rachel Maclean)

The Department supports biofuels through the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), a scheme which has been successful for the past 12 years in supporting a market for biofuels. In 2018, renewable fuels supplied under the RTFO scheme, which were overwhelmingly biofuels, made up 3.1% of total road and non-road mobile machinery fuel supply.

The Department’s ministers and officials regularly consult on biofuels policy with a range of stakeholders, including vehicle manufacturers. For example, the Department has recently consulted on the introduction of E10 petrol, which would increase the amount of bioethanol in petrol vehicles. In addition, the Low Carbon Fuels Team in the Department holds quarterly meetings with industry experts to discuss our biofuels strategy. The last meeting, which I had the pleasure of speaking at, was on 25 June.

30 Jun 2020, 9:53 a.m. Tidal Power Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to encourage the development of tidal power projects.

Answer (Kwasi Kwarteng)

Renewable electricity generation has more than quadrupled since 2010. A record 52.6% of electricity came from low-carbon sources in 2018.

We have the world’s largest offshore wind capacity at 9.8GW with CfD auction prices for offshore wind falling by two-thirds between 2015 and 2019.

Tidal energy could still have a potentially important role in the long-term decarbonisation of the UK. It has to reduce its costs sufficiently, however, to compete with other renewable technologies.

30 Jun 2020, 9:49 a.m. Asylum: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that asylum seekers are tested for covid-19 before being placed in dispersal accommodation.

Answer (Chris Philp)

There is no routine testing for asylum seekers prior to them being dispersed, but in line with government guidelines anybody with symptoms in England can now be tested. Asylum seekers who test positive or have symptoms will be accommodated in hotel or self contained accommodation while they are isolating.

29 Jun 2020, 4:59 p.m. Dance: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to allow dance and cheerleading studios to reopen safely as the covid-19 lockdown is eased.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. The Government is committed to reopening indoor sports venues and facilities as soon as it is safe to do so including dance and cheerleading studios.

The Sport Working Group, led by myself, feeds into the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce and ensures strong sector and expert support for the co-development of guidelines and will help leisure facilities become Covid-secure and re-open as early as possible in July.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to Covid-19, we will be guided by the science to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.

29 Jun 2020, 4:59 p.m. Dance: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when his Department plans to publish guidance on the safe reopening of dance and cheerleading studios as the covid-19 lockdown is eased.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. The Government is committed to reopening indoor sports venues and facilities as soon as it is safe to do so including dance and cheerleading studios.

The Sport Working Group, led by myself, feeds into the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce and ensures strong sector and expert support for the co-development of guidelines and will help leisure facilities become Covid-secure and re-open as early as possible in July.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to Covid-19, we will be guided by the science to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.

29 Jun 2020, 9:45 a.m. Hezbollah Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people in the UK have been (a) investigated and (b) charged for displaying the flag or other symbols of Hezbollah since March 2019.

Answer (James Brokenshire)

The Home Office does not collect specific statistics on the number of people in the UK who have been (a) investigated or (b) charged with displaying the flag or other symbols of Hezbollah or other proscribed organisations.

It is an offence under Section 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000 to carry or display articles supporting a proscribed organisation. Data relating to this offence is included with Sections 11 and 12 of the Act in the publication ‘Operation of Police Powers under the Terrorism Act 2000’.

The most recent publication up to year ending March 2020, was published on 11 June on the GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/operation-of-police-powers-under-the-terrorism-act-2000-financial-year-ending-march-2020

26 Jun 2020, 1:10 p.m. Cyprus: Politics and Government Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to include Turkish Cypriot representatives in discussions on the future of (a) the UK's involvement in Cyprus and (b) Cyprus.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

We regularly engage with the Turkish Cypriots through our High Commission in Nicosia. We use the opportunity of these contacts to urge progress towards a settlement. Ultimately, it is for the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to agree on the details of any final Settlement deal. This will require the agreement of the two leaders, the support of Greece and Turkey and - importantly - successful referenda in each community. The UK has always made clear that we are open to whatever arrangements the two sides and other Guarantor Powers can agree to meet the security needs of the two Cypriot communities.

25 Jun 2020, 3:12 p.m. Gambling Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support Adult Gaming Centres.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

The Prime Minister announced on 23 June that, providing they adhere to Covid-19 Secure guidelines, Adult Gaming Centres and other arcades will be able to reopen from 4 July.

The Government has provided a package of measures to support businesses, including Adult Gaming Centres, as announced by the Chancellor on 17 and 26 March. This includes a business rates holiday for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, through which all UK employers are able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary, and the

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which provides loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank, backed by an 80% government guarantee.

Further support for SMEs was announced on 27 April through the Bounce Back Loan scheme.

25 Jun 2020, 2:58 p.m. Nigeria: Violence Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make it his policy to provide (a) financial, (b) technical and (c) capacity building support to the Government of Nigeria to help the implementation of the recommendations of the report entitled, Nigeria: Unfolding Genocide, published by the APPG for International Freedom of Religion or Belief on 15 June 2020.

Answer (James Duddridge)

We welcome the APPG's report and the detailed analysis it provides on the complex issues of intercommunal violence across multiple states of Nigeria and acts of terrorism committed by Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa in North East Nigeria. The UK Government strongly condemns all acts of violence in Nigeria. We are considering the report and its recommendations in detail and I will provide a full response in due course.

24 Jun 2020, 4:35 p.m. Nigeria: Human Rights and Violence Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Government of Nigeria on investigating cases of military complicity in (a) violence against Christians and (b) human rights abuses.

Answer (James Duddridge)

The UK Government is firmly committed to promoting and protecting human rights around the world. We have made clear to the Nigerian authorities, at the highest levels, the importance of protecting civilians, including all ethnic and religious groups, and human rights for all Nigerians. We are aware of allegations of military complicity in attacks on communities of all faiths. We call for allegations of human rights abuses and excessive use of force to be investigated and those responsible for any abuses to be held to account.

Following allegations of human rights abuses made regarding Nigerian military detention facilities in Amnesty International's recent report, We Dried Our Tears, the British High Commissioner raised these with the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and called for a full investigation into the allegations and prosecution of any individuals found to have committed abuses. We reiterate that the UK Government does not provide any support to the military detention facilities mentioned.

24 Jun 2020, 3:21 p.m. Nigeria: Agriculture Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will identify NGOs that are running effective reconciliation programmes between farmers and herders in Nigeria and allocate funding to them to support the capacity building of their programmes.

Answer (James Duddridge)

We are deeply concerned by the ‎inter-communal violence in Nigeria and the devastating impact that this has had on affected communities, including heavy loss of life. We continue to call for a solution that meets the needs of all the communities affected. DFID is designing a programme to address natural resource conflicts between farmers and herders, which may include support to non-governmental organisations. We value the important role NGOs play in supporting affected communities in Nigeria, and we will continue to work alongside them where possible.

Staff from the British High Commission in Abuja are actively engaged on the ground. The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, along with staff, visited Plateau State in December 2019 to further discuss the situation with the Governor, as well as Christian and Muslim faith leaders. They also met NGOs working on reconciliation to discuss the situation and the efforts they are taking to address it.

24 Jun 2020, 1:49 p.m. British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many times his Department has met with the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums since March.

Answer (Victoria Prentis)

Since 25 March, Defra officials have been meeting (via teleconference or by telephone) BIAZA representatives at least once a week.

19 Jun 2020, 2:53 p.m. Schools: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support smaller schools with the implementation of Government guidance on social distancing during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

Thanks to the huge efforts everyone has made to adhere to strict social distancing measures, the scientific advice indicates the transmission rate of coronavirus has decreased and, based on all the evidence, we have been able to begin our cautious and phased approach to the wider opening of schools.

We have provided guidance to schools on GOV.UK on implementing protective measures to lower the risk of transmission. These include ensuring that anyone with symptoms does not attend their education settings, promoting high standards of hand and respiratory hygiene, regular cleaning of touched surfaces, and minimising contact and mixing.

School leaders are best placed to understand their own local circumstances and take decisions about what will work for their school buildings, staff and communities.

Each setting’s circumstances will be slightly different. Any primary school that cannot accommodate the smaller groups that we are asking for at any point should discuss options with their local authority or trust. This might be because there are not enough classrooms or spaces available in the setting or because they do not have enough available teachers or staff to supervise the groups. If necessary, settings have the flexibility to focus first on continuing to provide places for priority groups and then, to support children’s early learning, settings should prioritise groups of children as follows:

  • early years settings - 3 and 4 year olds followed by younger age groups
  • infant schools - nursery (where applicable) and reception
  • primary schools - nursery (where applicable), reception and year 1

Our assessment, based on the latest scientific and medical advice, is that we need to continue to control the numbers attending school to reduce the risk of increasing transmission. Therefore, secondary schools are able to have a quarter of the year 10 and year 12 cohort (for schools with sixth forms) in school at any one time.

19 Jun 2020, 2:53 p.m. Schools: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that the number of pupils that are permitted to return to school in compliance with covid-19 social distancing guidance is appropriate for smaller schools.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

Thanks to the huge efforts everyone has made to adhere to strict social distancing measures, the scientific advice indicates the transmission rate of coronavirus has decreased and, based on all the evidence, we have been able to begin our cautious and phased approach to the wider opening of schools.

We have provided guidance to schools on GOV.UK on implementing protective measures to lower the risk of transmission. These include ensuring that anyone with symptoms does not attend their education settings, promoting high standards of hand and respiratory hygiene, regular cleaning of touched surfaces, and minimising contact and mixing.

School leaders are best placed to understand their own local circumstances and take decisions about what will work for their school buildings, staff and communities.

Each setting’s circumstances will be slightly different. Any primary school that cannot accommodate the smaller groups that we are asking for at any point should discuss options with their local authority or trust. This might be because there are not enough classrooms or spaces available in the setting or because they do not have enough available teachers or staff to supervise the groups. If necessary, settings have the flexibility to focus first on continuing to provide places for priority groups and then, to support children’s early learning, settings should prioritise groups of children as follows:

  • early years settings - 3 and 4 year olds followed by younger age groups
  • infant schools - nursery (where applicable) and reception
  • primary schools - nursery (where applicable), reception and year 1

Our assessment, based on the latest scientific and medical advice, is that we need to continue to control the numbers attending school to reduce the risk of increasing transmission. Therefore, secondary schools are able to have a quarter of the year 10 and year 12 cohort (for schools with sixth forms) in school at any one time.

18 Jun 2020, 2:51 p.m. Public Lavatories Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to encourage local authorities to reopen public toilets.

Answer (Mr Simon Clarke)

We strongly encourage public toilets to be open wherever possible. We’ve published guidance to help operators ensure facilities are safe where they are open including increasing cleaning of touch points

The Government has published guidance on safer public spaces. It includes advice, information and examples of the potential interventions that can be used in public places to facilitate social distancing in areas of higher footfall such as in parks (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safer-public-places-urban-centres-and-green-spaces-covid-19). Owners and operators are advised to implement cleaning protocols to limit coronavirus transmission in public places. It is advised that touch points (e.g. handrails and gates) should be particular areas of focus for increased cleaning.

We have now made £3.2 billion available to local authorities through an unringfenced grant so they can address pressures they are facing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The package recognises the additional costs and pressures on finances councils are facing as a result of the current crisis. It demonstrates the Government’s commitment to making sure councils, including upper and lower tier authorities, have the resources they need to support their communities through this challenging time. Local authorities are best placed to understand how to meet the major COVID-19 service pressures and spending needs in their local area.

12 Jun 2020, 4:29 p.m. Zoos: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what financial support his Department plans to provide to zoological institutions which have been affected by the covid-19 outbreak to ensure that they can continue their conservation and animal welfare work.

Answer (Victoria Prentis)

I refer the hon. Member to the replies given to my hon. Friend, the Member for North Devon, Selaine Saxby, on 27 April 2020, PQ UIN 37936, the hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife, Douglas Chapman, on 11 May 2020, PQ UIN 43675 and the hon. Member for York Central, Rachael Maskell on 19 May 2020, PQ UIN 45322.

The Zoos Support Fund is open for applications until 19 July 2020.

As announced by the Prime Minister on 10 June, outdoor areas of zoos and safari parks will be allowed to reopen from 15 June, subject to appropriate social distancing measures being in place. This includes keeping indoor exhibitions, such as reptile houses and those in aquariums, closed, and ensuring other amenities like cafes offer take-away services only.

The move follows close work by the Government with the zoo industry to ensure visitor numbers can be managed and safeguards are put in place.

The decision to relax restrictions on these select outdoor attractions is part of the Government’s careful approach to easing the lockdown in phases, guided by the advice of scientific and medical experts and the fact the risk of transmission is much lower outdoors.

Officials continue to meet weekly with BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and with the CEOs of the largest charitable zoos and aquariums in England providing a valuable forum to monitor concerns and seek insights from key sector representatives on current issues.

12 Jun 2020, 3:01 p.m. Parking: Private Sector Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he has taken to encourage private car park operators to (a) lower and (b) scrap their fares during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Mr Simon Clarke)

While the private parking industry is currently self-regulating, government has been collaborating closely with the industry during the response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. The private parking appeals services voluntarily suspended processing new appeals, meaning that parking operators are unable to pursue charges against a motorist while an appeal has been registered. Many operators have offered free car parking to NHS workers in private car parks, and government has been working with operators, active travel firms and businesses to explore how car parking can be used to promote cycling and walking as part of the recovery effort.

12 Jun 2020, 3 p.m. Parking: Private Sector Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many private parking operators have had their access to DVLA data blocked since the introduction of the Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019.

Answer (Mr Simon Clarke)

We are currently working to implement the Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019. The British Standards Institution (BSI) have convened a stakeholder group to write the Code, comprising representatives from the parking industry, consumer groups, standards bodies and the retail sector. A first draft of the Code has now been produced. It will be subject to a public consultation in the coming months place to give the parking industry, the public and other interested parties the opportunity to have a say.

11 Jun 2020, 9:13 a.m. Self-employment Income Support Scheme Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to support people who have been unable to access the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme as a result of incorrectly completed tax returns.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is designed to be delivered quickly and is based on information HMRC already hold. This also provides some protection against fraud and abuse.

The SEISS direction sets out the parameters of the scheme, including the eligibility and payment calculation rules. They include that the 2018-19 return must be filed by 23 April 2020, and no amendments made after 6pm on 26 March will be taken into account. The SEISS makes no provision to accept later returns or amendments, for example on reasonable excuse or error grounds. If a claimant considers that HMRC have made an incorrect eligibility decision, the claimant may ask for a review following the process set out on GOV.UK.

10 Jun 2020, 4:26 p.m. Transport: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that transport workers receive sufficient personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Chris Heaton-Harris)

Keeping transport workers and passengers safe is of paramount importance as we continue to scale up services across the transport network as part of the restart. The Department has held roundtables and meetings at all levels with operators across the transport sector in the response to COVID-19, including to support with the implementation of the Government’s PPE plan published in April.

Public Health England guidance has been clear that there is very little scientific evidence of widespread benefit from personal protective equipment outside of health and social care settings. Guidance on cleaning of non-healthcare settings and shipping and sea ports and how PPE may be used in these contexts has been published in February and March respectively. The Department has worked with and continues to work with operators to ensure they can meet the PPE needs as set out in this guidance.

Throughout the response, the Department has worked with the sector to support with effective implementation of key measures of social distancing and good hand and respiratory hygiene in transport settings.

10 Jun 2020, 10:55 a.m. Children: Charities Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of the Government's £750m funding for charities is allocated to early years charities; and how is it being made available to those charities.

Answer (Vicky Ford)

We are unable to say at this point what proportion of the government’s £750 million funding has been specifically allocated to early years charities. A range of government and other third sector support is available. The details are published on GOV.UK by the Office for Civil Society and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media. This includes the £200 million funding from the National Lottery COVID-19 Community Fund, which is available for small and medium sized charities in England to bid to continue their vital work supporting the country during the COVID-19 outbreak. More details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-vcse-organisations-to-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

As part of the funding package announced on 8 April, the Department for Education received a total of £26.4 million awarded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. This includes funding to enable our early years voluntary and community sector partners to broaden their reach and to provide additional support for disadvantaged and vulnerable children’s development. The early years charities will work collaboratively to improve signposting to advice, information and targeted support, including, for example, through £7 million ‘See, Hear, Respond service’ launched by the government on 5 June 2020. A coalition of charities led by Barnardo’s will work together to support those at most risk of harm, including in the early years. The funding allocations will be subject to Department for Education approval, assurance and due diligence processes.

In addition, voluntary providers deliver around 18% of childcare places. The government is planning to spend over £3.6 billion on early education entitlements in 2020-21. Further information is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/use-of-free-early-education-entitlements-funding-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

9 Jun 2020, 12:57 p.m. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Fraud Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department are taking stop potential fraudulent activity in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Government expects the vast majority of employers to do the right thing, but HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) reserve the right to follow up on claims and take whatever action is necessary if people abuse the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Fraudulent claims put at risk the provision of public services and the protection of livelihoods.

In line with the other payment-out regimes they administer, HMRC will undertake pre-payment authentication and risking, to identify and block fraudulent CJRS claims. HMRC will also carry out proportionate risk-based, post-payment compliance checks to test the veracity of claims made using the normal compliance tools available to them.

Fraudulent abuse of the scheme can be reported through HMRC’s online tax evasion reporting form, details of which can be found on GOV.UK.

All reports received by HMRC are subject to review and the appropriate and necessary actions are taken in response to the reports.

9 Jun 2020, 11:41 a.m. Dogs: Meat Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce a ban on the human consumption of dog meat in the UK.

Answer (Victoria Prentis)

The Government shares the public's high regard for animal welfare, including the welfare of dogs and cats, and we are committed to making the UK a world leader in protection of animals now we have left the EU.

The Government is appalled by the prospect of dogs and cats being consumed. However, it is already illegal to sell dog and cat meat for human consumption and the Government has seen no evidence that dog and cat meat is being sold or consumed in this country.

We are confident that our current position sends a clear message that the slaughter and consumption of dogs and cats will never be acceptable. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office raises concerns about the welfare of animals with other governments at every suitable opportunity, and we are pleased to hear that authorities in China are proposing to ban the consumption of dog and cat meat.

9 Jun 2020, 9:42 a.m. Bounce Back Loan Scheme Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 19 May 2020 Question 45020 on the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, whether businesses applying for a loan under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme are required to have had revenue in the 2019 fiscal year.

Answer (Paul Scully)

Under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) businesses can apply for a loan of up to 25% of their turnover in the calendar year 2019, from a minimum of £2000 up to a maximum of £50,000. In order to meet this criterion, businesses must have a turnover of at least £8000 from 2019.

If a business was established after 1 January 2019, the 25% limit should be applied to the estimated annual turnover from the date the business started.

The BBLS and CBILS are part of a broad package of support available for SMEs, including rates relief, grants and support for wage packages. Further detail on the support available can be found on the Government’s business support website.

9 Jun 2020, 9:40 a.m. Bounce Back Loan Scheme Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 19 May 2020 to Question 45020 on the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, whether he has had discussions with Bounce Back Loan Scheme lenders to encourage them to support viable businesses which did not have any turnover in the 2019 fiscal year.

Answer (Paul Scully)

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy regularly meets with lenders, and as part of this addresses feedback on how the Government’s Coronavirus support loan schemes have been working and closely monitors their implementation. This includes regular dialogue with each of the major BBLS lenders.

The BBLS is part of a broad package of support available for SMEs, including rates relief, grants and support for wage packages. Further detail on the support available can be found on the Government’s business support website.

9 Jun 2020, 9:37 a.m. Bounce Back Loan Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme: Fraud Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to tackle potential fraud in relation to (a) the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme and (b) Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

Answer (Paul Scully)

It is important that thorough due diligence is conducted by lenders as part of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS).

Individual lending decisions are fully delegated to the accredited lenders. As such, fraud checks are subject to each lender’s internal policy. The robustness of these policies is thoroughly tested before a lender can become accredited to the CBILS or the BBLS.

The banks and other financial institutions which have been accredited to lend under the CBILS or the BBLS are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and are required to comply with a number of regulations, including anti-money laundering and ‘know your customer’ rules, designed to combat fraud and other forms of financial crime. The majority of lenders also subscribe to the voluntary Standards of Lending Practice overseen by the independent Lending Standards Board.

8 Jun 2020, 4:59 p.m. Environment Protection Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to (a) support biodiversity and (b) help prevent the extinction of endangered species.

Answer (James Duddridge)

Tackling climate change and biodiversity loss remain high priorities for this Government. It is critical to poverty reduction, protecting the planet for future generations and achieving the sustainable development goals.

DFID has a number of programmes that support biodiversity and help prevent the extinction of endangered species, for example in our significant support for sustainable forestry and land use. The UK is also a strong supporter of the Global Environment Facility. At UNCAS last September, the PM announced a new £220 million International Biodiversity Fund, which includes the £100 million Biodiverse Landscapes Fund under design, as well as an uplift of £90 million to the Darwin Initiative and £30 million to the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund.

The UK’s objective for CBD COP 15 is to agree a framework that spurs action and the transformative changes needed for halting and reversing global biodiversity loss. We will support ambitious and practical targets, strengthened by coherent implementation mechanisms that are consummate with the scale of the challenge. The UK is also a Party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which implements strict controls to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable.

8 Jun 2020, 11:11 a.m. Zoos: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits allowing zoos to reopen with social distancing measures in place as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased..

Answer (Victoria Prentis)

We understand the challenges faced by zoos and aquariums during these unprecedented times. We also appreciate the significant opportunities zoos can provide for the public to access well managed and controlled outdoor spaces, and the potential to improve general wellbeing.

However, the Government has taken the decision that zoos and aquariums should not yet reopen, and the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020, which came into force on 1 June, provide greater clarity and certainty on this. While each individual attraction can be made safer, it’s vital that we do not move too quickly in reopening to ensure public health is protected.

We are continuing to work with the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) to understand how we can reopen zoos in a safe way as soon as possible with social distancing measures in place.

5 Jun 2020, 3 p.m. Dental Services: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what fiscal steps he is taking to support dentists that were required to close during the covid-19 pandemic.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The Government recognises the important role all medical businesses play to protect and improve the health of the population and is taking many steps to support them during the COVID-19 outbreak. Dentists will be fully remunerated for the NHS work they would have otherwise undertaken, subject to some basic requirements.

Medical practices may also benefit from the range of economic support measures the Government has announced, including:

  • A Discretionary Grant Fund for Local Authorities in England
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises
  • VAT deferral for up to 12 months
  • The Time To Pay scheme, through which businesses in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, can receive support with their tax affairs
  • Protection for commercial leaseholders against automatic forfeiture for non-payment until June 30, 2020

The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, and how to apply - https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

2 Jun 2020, 10:29 a.m. Veterans: Commonwealth Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to support Commonwealth-born veterans without the right to remain in the UK.

Answer (Johnny Mercer)

Veterans UK's Veterans Welfare Service and Defence Transition Services provide the same level of support to Foreign and Commonwealth veterans as they do to any other veteran. They provide relevant advice, information and support, assisting veterans to access the appropriate range of services to meet their individual needs and requirements. This support continues for as long as required as part of our commitment to providing 'through-life support' to veterans.

27 May 2020, 1:56 p.m. Hamas: Proscribed Organisations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of a potential increase in the activity of Hamas in the UK as a result of the economic downturn during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (James Brokenshire)

We do not comment on intelligence matters.

27 May 2020, 1:54 p.m. Hezbollah: Proscribed Organisations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of a potential increase in the activity of Hezbollah in the UK as a result of the economic downturn during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (James Brokenshire)

We do not comment on intelligence matters.

27 May 2020, 12:52 p.m. Travel: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to implement the 14 day quarantine for people arriving into the UK.

Answer (Kevin Foster)

On 22 May, the Home Secretary announced the details of new measures at the UK border to guard against a second wave of coronavirus infections, including the requirement for arrivals to the UK to self-isolate for 14 days. The arrangements are due to come into effect on 8 June.

As the UK moves to a situation where domestic transmission is much lower, imported cases may become a higher proportion of the overall number of infections. The requirement to self-isolate will reduce the risk of transmission from this group.

26 May 2020, 5:18 p.m. Schools: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that social distancing is maintained by (a) parents and (b) children during travel to and from schools.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

Parents and children should consider walking and cycling to school where possible, or driving if necessary. They should avoid the use of public transport where possible. The Department for Transport has published guidance on safer travel for the public. It is available here: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers. Parents and children may wish to refer to this when planning their journeys, and to help them minimise risk where the use of public transport is unavoidable.

Some children have their home to school transport arranged by their local authority or school. Local authorities and schools should put in place arrangements which fit local circumstances and minimise the risk of transmission, as far as is possible. This should include making sure transport providers follow hygiene rules. They may wish to refer to the Department for Transport’s guidance for transport operators here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators.

In addition, the phased wider opening of schools will limit the number of children travelling on home to school transport in the initial phase. Where transport capacity allows, local authorities could consider substituting smaller vehicles with larger ones, or running two vehicles rather than one, to reduce the number of passengers per vehicle and help passengers keep their distance.

We are in contact with local authorities to help resolve issues as they arise.

26 May 2020, 2:06 p.m. Undocumented Migrants: English Channel Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the monthly cost to the public purse of quarantining refugees who have crossed the English Channel.

Answer (Chris Philp)

All asylum seekers who arrive in the United Kingdom presenting with symptoms of coronovirus are placed in a hotel facility to enable them to self isolate for the 7 days (14 days for families) recommended by Public Health England. Any service users who present with symptoms once housed within the accommodation estate will be supported to self-isolate within that facility. Data on arrival date, route and method of transmission into the UK is not readily accessible, and would require a manual search.

22 May 2020, 4:34 p.m. Passports: Applications Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to resume the processing of routine applications to apply for, renew, replace or update a passport.

Answer (Kevin Foster)

Her Majesty’s Passport Office has continued to process standard passport applications throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, but with limited capacity due to implementing social distancing measures within its offices.

Due to this limited capacity, passport applications are taking longer than usual. However, to support those who need passport services the most at this time, an Urgent and Compassionate service is also being provided, and the details of how to apply are available on gov.uk.

21 May 2020, 8:46 p.m. Self-employment Income Support Scheme Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his statement of 12 May 2020 on Covid-19: Economic Package announcing his extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to the end of October, what plans he has to announce a similar extension for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The UK has one of the most generous self-employed COVID-19 support schemes in the world. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme opened on 13 May, ahead of schedule, and it provides support worth up to £7,500 each to millions of individuals. Recipients will have the grants in their bank accounts within six working days of making an application.

The Chancellor indicated that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme would be temporary when he announced it at the end of March, and that it could be extended if necessary. The Government is keeping this under review.

As the economy re-opens, the Government will consider how to adjust support in a way that ensures people can get back to work, protecting both the UK economy and livelihoods.

21 May 2020, 8:39 p.m. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that sole employees and directors of limited companies are not negatively affected by requirements that businesses will start to pay some of the salaries of staff furloughed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from August 2020.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Chancellor has confirmed that more details will be set out on the next stage of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by the end of the month.

21 May 2020, 9:40 a.m. Housing: Students Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure that university accommodation and student accommodation landlords whose properties are not being used during the covid-19 outbreak offer refunds to their tenants.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The negotiation of early releases from contracts is a matter between the parties concerned. During these unprecedented times, the Government encourages student accommodation providers, landlords, letting agencies and tenants to take a pragmatic, flexible approach and have a frank and open conversation at the earliest opportunity, to allow both parties to agree a sensible way forward. 

Students are able to end or surrender their fixed term tenancy early if they reach an agreement with their accommodation provider or landlord. Where students have a joint tenancy agreement, all tenants will need to agree to the surrender.

19 May 2020, 4:44 p.m. Self-employment Income Support Scheme: Carers Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the financial effect on self-employed carers of including carer's allowance as part of the average income for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been designed to use information HMRC already held, in order to make it deliverable as quickly as possible and to minimise the risk of fraud. Eligibility for the SEISS and the value of the grant for eligible individuals is based on income tax self-assessment returns from 2016-17 to 2018-19.

If an individual is in receipt of Carer’s Allowance and has other trading income, their trading profits must exceed the amount of other income, including taxable benefits such as Carer’s Allowance, otherwise they will not meet the eligibility criteria for the SEISS.

Individuals who are not eligible for a grant through the SEISS may benefit from other Government support such as the relaxation of the Universal Credit minimum income floor.

19 May 2020, 4:44 p.m. Self-employment Income Support Scheme: Carers Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to take steps to provide support to self-employed carers that are not eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been designed to use information HMRC already held, in order to make it deliverable as quickly as possible and to minimise the risk of fraud. Eligibility for the SEISS and the value of the grant for eligible individuals is based on income tax self-assessment returns from 2016-17 to 2018-19.

If an individual is in receipt of Carer’s Allowance and has other trading income, their trading profits must exceed the amount of other income, including taxable benefits such as Carer’s Allowance, otherwise they will not meet the eligibility criteria for the SEISS.

Individuals who are not eligible for a grant through the SEISS may benefit from other Government support such as the relaxation of the Universal Credit minimum income floor.

19 May 2020, 10:16 a.m. Bounce Back Loan Scheme Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing financial support to businesses that are unable to access the Bounce Back Loan Scheme because of a low turnover in the last financial year.

Answer (Paul Scully)

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) is available to most UK-based businesses, regardless of turnover, who meet the eligibility criteria and who were established on or before 1 March 2020.

However, a business in agriculture, aquaculture or fisheries may not qualify for the full amount if it is a ‘business in difficulty’ as of 31 December 2019. Similarly, if classed as a ‘business in difficulty’ the loan cannot be used for export-related activities.

The size of the loan that is available to a business is linked to its turnover. Small and medium-sized businesses can borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000.

19 May 2020, 9:58 a.m. Amazon: Deliveroo Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the effect that Amazon's potential investment in Deliveroo could have on traditional takeaway businesses.

Answer (Paul Scully)

Competition investigations into mergers are a matter for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is an independent non-Ministerial department. The CMA is currently conducting a review of this transaction. This is being carried out independently and Ministers do not have a role.

19 May 2020, 9:47 a.m. Sunday Trading Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the potential suspension of Sunday trading laws on shopworker's wellbeing.

Answer (Paul Scully)

The Employment Rights Act 1996 already recognises Sunday as a special day for many people and entitles employees in shops and betting shops to opt out of working on Sunday if they do not wish to work on a Sunday. Unless Sunday is the only day they have been employed to work, all shop and betting shop employees can opt out of Sunday working at any time by giving their employer three months’ notice, even if they agreed to it in their contract.

We are aware that some large establishments support a temporary relaxation of Sunday Trading laws during the Covid-19 crisis which we are keeping under review, including the impact on workers.

18 May 2020, 5:06 p.m. Churches: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is planning to take to allow it to reopen churches as soon as possible while limiting the risk of spreading covid-19.

Answer (Andrew Selous)

The Church of England is committed to the reopening of buildings in a phased way, in accordance with the rules, restrictions and timetable established by Government. On 5th May the House of Bishops issued guidance, which can be seen here: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/house-bishops-backs-phased-approach-revising-access-church-buildings

We are working with Government and with representatives of the heritage planning sector to assess the need for building adaptations related to public safety in our cathedral and church buildings, and in particular temporary additions or changes that might need to be made to enable social distancing and proper hygiene. We are committed to enabling our churches and cathedrals to make such changes as might be needed to allow them to reopen safely.

18 May 2020, 12:18 p.m. Gibraltar: Disease Control Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, what assessment he has made of the effect of 14-day quarantine restrictions on (a) air and (b) land travel (i) to and (ii) from Gibraltar on it access to workers and essential supplies.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

The UK plans a number of changes in arrangements at the UK border to protect the gains we have made in our fight against the virus. We will announce further details in due course. We are in regular contact with the Government of Gibraltar to discuss these measures. Border controls for arrivals into Gibraltar are a matter for the Government of Gibraltar.

15 May 2020, 12:42 p.m. Manufacturing Industries: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with large wholesale beverage manufacturers to encourage them to engage constructively with distributors, who are unable to sell stock due to the covid-19 lockdown.

Answer (Victoria Prentis)

The Government has been working closely with the full spectrum of food and drink manufacturers across the country to maintain secure food and drink supply chains during COVID-19 lockdown. Regular engagement is taking place through a variety of forums, such as the weekly manufacturer calls led by Defra Secretary of State, as well as individual calls and engagement at a policy level.

13 May 2020, 12:36 p.m. Coronavirus: Flags Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to implement an official NHS flag in recognition of health workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Edward Argar)

There are currently no plans to implement a National Health Service flag but we are always looking for new ways to recognise the NHS and social care workforces. We are showing our appreciation by allowing use of the NHS identity in approved fundraising initiatives throughout the course of the pandemic, which ordinarily would not be permitted.

12 May 2020, 5:55 p.m. Children: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to take steps to support young children with concerns about returning to primary schools or nurseries after the covid-19 lockdown.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has made it clear that schools will only reopen when the scientific advice indicates that it is the right time to do so, based on five key tests.

We are working in close consultation with the sector as we consider how to reopen schools when the time is right, and will ensure schools have the support and guidance they require.

The Department has published guidance for schools and parents signposting to resources and advice regarding the wellbeing of children and young people, which we are keeping under review and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-online-education-resources-for-home-education#mental-wellbeing

12 May 2020, 5:55 p.m. Children: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how his Department plans to work with schools to support young children in readjusting to attending school after the lockdown due to covid-19 is lifted.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has made it clear that schools will only reopen when the scientific advice indicates that it is the right time to do so, based on five key tests.

We are working in close consultation with the sector as we consider how to reopen schools when the time is right, and will ensure schools have the support and guidance they require.

The Department has published guidance for schools and parents signposting to resources and advice regarding the wellbeing of children and young people, which we are keeping under review and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-online-education-resources-for-home-education#mental-wellbeing

29 Apr 2020, 1:52 p.m. Visas: Married People Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of suspending the minimum combined income requirements for spousal visas during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Kevin Foster)

The Home Office has put in place a range of measures to support those affected by the covid-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the situation closely and take these exceptional circumstances into account. We may make further adjustments to requirements where necessary and appropriate to ensure no one is penalised for circumstances beyond their control.

The minimum income requirement can be met in a number of ways in addition to or instead of income from employment or self-employment. For example, income from the couple’s investments, property rental or pension may also be taken into account, together with their cash savings.

28 Apr 2020, 5:41 p.m. Conditions of Employment: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether there is a tip-off hotline for employees that have been asked to work by their employer when furloughed during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

Fraudulent claims risk the provision of public services and the protection of livelihoods, and employees can play a vital role by reporting fraudulent claims to HMRC: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/customs-excise-and-vat-fraud-reporting.
28 Apr 2020, 5:40 p.m. Conditions of Employment: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that companies do not put pressure on their employees to work when furloughed during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme forms part of a collective national effort to protect people’s jobs.

To be eligible for the grant, when on furlough an employee cannot undertake work for, or on behalf, of the employer or any linked or associated organisation. This includes providing services or generating revenue.

Fraudulent claims risk the provision of public services and the protection of livelihoods. Employees can play a vital role by reporting fraudulent claims to HMRC: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/customs-excise-and-vat-fraud-reporting.

28 Apr 2020, 5:38 p.m. Dismissal: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to amend Section 98 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 to require employers to justify their decision to dismiss an employee rather than place them on furlough during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The purpose of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is to help firms to keep their workers in employment. However, choosing to participate in the CJRS is ultimately at the discretion of employers, and they will not be required to justify their decision to dismiss an employee rather than to place them on furlough.

28 Apr 2020, 5:12 p.m. Non-domestic Rates Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of making (a) market traders and (b) other small businesses which pay business rates collectively eligible for Business Rates Grants.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund have been designed to support the smallest businesses, and smaller businesses in the some of the sectors which have been hit hardest by measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The two schemes have been tied to the business rates system and rating assessments, which together provide a framework for Local Authorities to make payments as quickly as possible. Businesses in the business rates system are also likely to face particularly high fixed costs, such as fixed rents.

In some shared spaces, individual users have their own rating assessments and may therefore be eligible for the grants schemes. In these cases, Local Authorities are urging landlords and management agents to support them in ensuring that the grants reach the correct ratepayers.

Businesses operating in shared spaces which do not have their own ratings assessment are not eligible for the grants schemes. Extending eligibility to these businesses would not be practicable as it would require Local Authorities to create an entirely new system and to put in place appropriate anti-fraud checks. This would significantly increase Local Authorities’ workloads at a time when they are already working under pressure to support struggling businesses as quickly as possible.

28 Apr 2020, 5:10 p.m. Non-domestic Rates: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support he is providing to (a) small businesses and (b) market traders who pay business rates collectively and are ineligible for business rate grants during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

Market traders and other small businesses which are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund may benefit from other measures in the Government’s unprecedented package of support for business, including:

  • An option to defer VAT payments by up to twelve months;
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, now extended to cover all businesses, including those which would be able to access commercial credit;
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to support businesses with their wage bills;
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, to provide support to the self-employed.
28 Apr 2020, 3:33 p.m. Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what discussions the UK Government has had with British judges sitting on Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal on the potential effect on the rule of law in Hong Kong in the event that the Government of Hong Kong enact national security legislation.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The UK Government has not held discussions with British judges sitting in Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal regarding the potential effect of the rule of law in Hong Kong in the event that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government enacts national security legislation. Any legislation introduced in Hong Kong should be consistent with both the letter and the spirit of the Joint Declaration and the Hong Kong Basic Law.

The UK Government upholds the fundamental tenet of judicial independence in all jurisdictions, for judges to be able to apply the law of that jurisdiction in accordance with the principles of the rule of law and without interference from the Executive.

28 Apr 2020, 1:40 p.m. Airlines: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that airlines are taking into account social distancing measures and safeguarding the health of cabin crew and staff during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Kelly Tolhurst)

The Government has provided clear instructions to the public and to businesses on the steps they need to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including guidance on social distancing.

Officials are continuing to engage with the aviation sector to ensure they are supported in implementing new operational practices.

28 Apr 2020, 12:28 p.m. Airlines: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that airlines do not pressurise their furloughed employees to work during the period in which they are furloughed.

Answer (Kelly Tolhurst)

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation sector as a result of COVID-19. The aviation sector is important to the UK economy and will be able to draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including a Bank of England scheme for firms to raise capital, Time to Pay flexibilities with tax bills, financial support for employees and VAT deferrals.

The measures have been designed to ensure that companies of any size receive the help they need to get through this difficult time – airports, airlines and the wider supply chain.

The Government’s guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, published at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme, is clear that employees placed on furlough cannot undertake paid work for their employer.

We recognise the need to ensure that the scheme is sufficiently flexible to take account of the specific requirements of the civil aviation sector, including for example the ability to maintain a skeleton staff to continue critical operations, and to permit mandatory training and certification requirements. We believe that the guidance does provide this flexibility, for instance by not requiring a company’s entire workforce to be furloughed, by permitting employees to be furloughed multiple times - subject to a minimum furlough period of three consecutive weeks - and by making specific provision for training to be undertaken during furlough.

27 Apr 2020, 7:23 p.m. Cats and Dogs: Meat Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the statement by officials in Shenzhen, China, on the reasons for a proposed ban on the human consumption of dog and cat meat in their city.

Answer (Victoria Prentis)

The Government shares the public’s high regard for animal welfare, including the welfare of dogs and cats, and we are committed to making the UK a world leader in protection of animals now we have left the EU.

The Government is appalled by the prospect of dogs and cats being consumed. However, it is already illegal to sell dog and cat meat for human consumption and the Government has seen no evidence that dog and cat meat is being sold or consumed in this country.

We are confident that the current position in this country sends a clear message that the slaughter and consumption of dogs and cats will never be acceptable. Indeed, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office raises concerns about the welfare of animals with other Governments and international authorities at every suitable opportunity and we are pleased to hear that authorities in China are proposing to ban the consumption of cat and dog meat.

27 Apr 2020, 7:23 p.m. Cats and Dogs: Meat Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to ban the human consumption of dogs and cats in the UK.

Answer (Victoria Prentis)

The Government shares the public’s high regard for animal welfare, including the welfare of dogs and cats, and we are committed to making the UK a world leader in protection of animals now we have left the EU.

The Government is appalled by the prospect of dogs and cats being consumed. However, it is already illegal to sell dog and cat meat for human consumption and the Government has seen no evidence that dog and cat meat is being sold or consumed in this country.

We are confident that the current position in this country sends a clear message that the slaughter and consumption of dogs and cats will never be acceptable. Indeed, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office raises concerns about the welfare of animals with other Governments and international authorities at every suitable opportunity and we are pleased to hear that authorities in China are proposing to ban the consumption of cat and dog meat.

27 Apr 2020, 11:41 a.m. Dismissal: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that companies do not dismiss workers who could be furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Answer (Paul Scully)

The Government introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms to continue to keep people on the payroll in these extraordinary times. It is designed to help employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus to retain their employees and protect the UK economy. All employers are eligible to claim under the scheme and the Government recognises different businesses will face different impacts from coronavirus.

The Department is working with business representative groups and industry contacts to encourage firms to use the Scheme, in particular to retain staff whom they would otherwise have to make redundant.

27 Apr 2020, 11:41 a.m. Dismissal: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made assessment of the potential merits of limiting the reasons for workplace dismissal during covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Paul Scully)

The Government believes that the existing employment rights offer sufficient protection from unfair dismissal, particularly those matters that are considered to be automatically unfair which may be more relevant during these exceptional times. There are a number of reasons why in certain situations a dismissal is likely to be automatically unfair, including reasons such as a request for flexible working; exercising the right to time off for dependants; reasons related to pregnancy and maternity; and, disability discrimination.

21 Apr 2020, 12:25 p.m. Libya: Armed Conflict Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the level of Turkish military involvement in the civil war in Libya; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (James Cleverly)

As Parliament rose earlier than planned and the first day for answer of this PQ was after the Easter recess, due to the pace of developments during the COVID-19 crisis, I submitted a response by email on 2 April, with the following response. The Table Office have agreed this approach.

We continue to be aware of reports of Turkish military involvement in Libya. This risks aggravating the conflict and worsening regional tensions. We have expressed our concerns to the Turkish Government, as we have with other external actors whose activity continues to fuel the conflict. The UK and Turkey participated in the 19th January Berlin conference on Libya. UN Security Council Resolution 2510 endorsed the Conference Conclusions and demanded full compliance with the UN arms embargo and an end to foreign military interference in Libya. During the Foreign Secretary's 3rd March visit to Ankara, he met President Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu and reiterated the UK's commitment to de-escalation and support to the UN-led peace process in Libya. The UK is clear that lasting peace and stability in Libya will come only through an inclusive political settlement.

30 Mar 2020, 6:21 p.m. Nurseries: Finance Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial support he is providing to nurseries.

Answer (Vicky Ford)

Childcare providers are making a vital contribution in our fight against COVID-19. Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 18 March, they will continue to do so by focusing on childcare for the children of critical workers, and vulnerable children. To assist this change, the Department for Education has confirmed that it will not claw back funding from local authorities for any periods of closures where settings are closed or children are not able to attend due to COVID-19. The government expects local authorities to follow the department’s position, and continue early years entitlements funding for childminders, pre-schools and nurseries. This should also apply to those infant and primary schools that deliver the early years entitlements. This will minimise short-term disruptions to early years providers’ finances and allow the system to recover more quickly.

The Chancellor has also announced a package of support for businesses that will include many early years and childcare providers. This includes business rates relief, a range of loans and grants and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This scheme allows all UK employers access to support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

We have also issued guidance for local authorities and providers about childcare for specific groups. However, we recognise that when all adults in a household are hospitalised, and there are no family and friends able to provide support, children may need to be cared for in emergency and temporary foster care until parents recover.

The department continues to work alongside Public Health England and early years and children’s social care sector representatives to ensure support is in place for children that need it, and that all measures taken are in the best interests of the health of our nation.

24 Mar 2020, 5:40 p.m. Schools: Uniforms Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage schools to introduce the use of school uniforms.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

It is for the governing body of a school (or the academy trust, in the case of academies) to decide whether there should be a school uniform, and if so, what it should be. It is also for the governing body or academy trust to decide how the school uniform should be sourced. To support them to do this the Department issues best practice guidance which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-uniform.

Our guidance is clear that the Department strongly encourages schools to have a school uniform and recognises the valuable role it can play in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone.

The Government is pleased to support the Private Members’ Bill, Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Bill, in order to make our guidance on the cost considerations for school uniform statutory at the earliest opportunity. This guidance will further support governing bodies in their decisions regarding school uniform policies.

24 Mar 2020, 5:04 p.m. Overseas Aid Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much Official Development Assistance his Department has allocated to (a) Commonwealth and (b) non-Commonwealth countries in each of the last five years.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

The table below sets out how much UK bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) was received by Commonwealth and Non-Commonwealth countries between 2014 and 2018.

UK Bilateral ODA to Commonwealth and Non-Commonwealth countries: 2014 to 2018

£ millions

ODA Recipient

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Commonwealth Countries

2,005

2,121

2,001

1,961

1,748

Non-Commonwealth Countries

2,024

2,501

2,839

2,922

2,765

Regional/Developing Countries, unspecified

2,793

3,040

3,695

3,920

4,750

Total UK Bilateral ODA

6,822

7,662

8,534

8,803

9,263

Note: These figures are based on the Commonwealth Countries that are currently members in March 2020

Source: Statistics on International Development: Final UK Aid Spend 2018

Bilateral ODA is spending where the UK has specified what the ODA is spent on and in which country or countries. In 2018, Bilateral ODA accounted for 64% of total UK ODA. The remaining proportion of ODA (36%) is delivered in the form of core contributions to ODA-eligible Multilaterals. These contributions are spent by Multilaterals on projects that benefit developing countries across the world, including in many Commonwealth countries. In 2018, the UK provided £5.3 billion in core contributions to Multilaterals.

24 Mar 2020, 4:44 p.m. European Institute of Human Sciences: Muslim Brotherhood Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information her Department holds on potential links between the European Institute for Human Sciences and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Answer (James Brokenshire)

The Government’s comprehensive review of the Muslim Brotherhood, completed in December 2015 and published on gov.uk, concluded the movement is a secretive organisation and that parts of it – globally – have a highly ambiguous relationship with violent extremism. The Government keeps under review the views promoted and activities undertaken by the Muslim Brotherhood’s associates in the UK in accordance with the five commitments included in the former Prime Minister’s statement to Parliament.

24 Mar 2020, 4:39 p.m. Flood Control Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of river dredging on levels of flooding.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Bosworth on 3 March 2020, PQ UIN 20056.

24 Mar 2020, 4:39 p.m. Flood Control Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using dredging to minimise the effects of flooding.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Bosworth on 3 March 2020, PQ UIN 20056.

24 Mar 2020, 4:04 p.m. Lung Cancer Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people were diagnosed with lung cancer in the last year for which figures are available.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

The number of lung cancers diagnosed in 2018 was 38,996. This is the latest complete year of registration. The 2018 cancer registration statistics are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/cancer-registration-statistics-england-2018

24 Mar 2020, 3:37 p.m. National Wildlife Crime Unit: Finance Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the financial sustainability of the National Wildlife Crime Unit

Answer (Victoria Prentis)

Under a four-year funding agreement with the National Wildlife Crime Unit, Defra and the Home Office have jointly contributed £301,000 a year between 2016 and 2020 to the Unit’s activities. Both departments have committed to maintain this funding for 2020/21. Defra will work with the unit to develop the case for continued funding as part of the next spending review.

In addition to the funding provided to the unit, we provide up to £6.3 million per year to support international action to counter poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.

24 Mar 2020, 3:37 p.m. National Wildlife Crime Unit: Finance Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his department is taking to ensure the continued financial sustainability of the National Wildlife Crime Unit.

Answer (Victoria Prentis)

Under a four-year funding agreement with the National Wildlife Crime Unit, Defra and the Home Office have jointly contributed £301,000 a year between 2016 and 2020 to the Unit’s activities. Both departments have committed to maintain this funding for 2020/21. Defra will work with the unit to develop the case for continued funding as part of the next spending review.

In addition to the funding provided to the unit, we provide up to £6.3 million per year to support international action to counter poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.

24 Mar 2020, 10:03 a.m. Commonwealth: Membership Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to promote the benefits of membership of the Commonwealth to potential new members.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

As Chair-in-Office, the UK is working with our partners to demonstrate the continuing relevance of the modern Commonwealth. This includes working with its three pillars - the Commonwealth Secretariat, the 53 other Member States, and its organisations and networks - to deliver on the ambitious commitments made during CHOGM 2018.

With the support of over £500m of UK programmes and projects, the Commonwealth has already made impressive progress on shared priorities, such as international trade, climate change and governance and rule of law. 31 Commonwealth countries are together now tackling marine plastic pollution, whilst over 3,000 women entrepreneurs across the Commonwealth have been supported to internationalise their businesses, and barriers to trade have been reduced.

23 Mar 2020, 5:02 p.m. Dengue Fever Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much Official Development Assistance his Department has allocated to programmes tackling Dengue Fever in 2018-19.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

There is no international sector code for spend on dengue fever, but data on UK aid expenditure is published each year and can be accessed from the link

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-on-international-development-final-uk-aid-spend-2018

DFID's health focus is to improve the provision of basic health services for the poorest by supporting health systems strengthening, health worker capacity and access to essential medicines and equipment. Increasing coverage, access and quality will strengthen health services to address all health problems including communicable diseases.

DFID also provides funding to TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases. TDR helps support and influence efforts to combat dengue and other Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

23 Mar 2020, 5:02 p.m. Dengue Fever Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what his Department's total spend on combatting Dengue Fever was in 2018-19.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

There is no international sector code for spend on dengue fever, but data on UK aid expenditure is published each year and can be accessed from the link

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-on-international-development-final-uk-aid-spend-2018

DFID's health focus is to improve the provision of basic health services for the poorest by supporting health systems strengthening, health worker capacity and access to essential medicines and equipment. Increasing coverage, access and quality will strengthen health services to address all health problems including communicable diseases.

DFID also provides funding to TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases. TDR helps support and influence efforts to combat dengue and other Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

23 Mar 2020, 4:48 p.m. Coronavirus: Travel Information Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the provision of accurate guidance on the risk of covid-19 in relation to overseas travel.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

Since 17 March, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all but essential travel globally. For British Nationals who remain overseas we advise them to be prepared to follow the advice of local authorities abroad and to be ready to comply with local isolation or quarantine requirements. We keep our travel advice under review.

23 Mar 2020, 3:21 p.m. Côte d'Ivoire: Foreign Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the government the Ivory Coast on the importance of strong bilateral relationship.

Answer (James Duddridge)

The British Government has a strong bilateral partnership with Cote d'Ivoire. Stability, climate change and inclusive economic growth are shared priorities. The Foreign Secretary met the President of Cote d'Ivoire and five government ministers at the Africa Investment Summit on 20 January. The Prime Minister also met the Ivoirian President on the same day. Our Ambassador to Cote d'Ivoire and her team regularly meet Ivoirian authorities, including ministers, in pursuit of our shared interests.

23 Mar 2020, 3:18 p.m. Côte d'Ivoire: Foreign Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Ivory Coast counterpart on bilateral relations.

Answer (James Duddridge)

The British Government has a strong bilateral partnership with Cote d'Ivoire. Stability, climate change and inclusive economic growth are shared priorities. The Foreign Secretary met the President of Cote d'Ivoire and five government ministers at the Africa Investment Summit on 20 January. The Prime Minister also met the Ivoirian President on the same day. Our Ambassador to Cote d'Ivoire and her team regularly meet Ivoirian authorities, including ministers, in pursuit of our shared interests.

23 Mar 2020, 1:10 p.m. USA: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussion he has had with his counterpart in the US Administration on steps taken by that country to tackle the spread of covid-19.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

The Prime Minister and the US President took part in a G7 leaders' call on 16 March. Members issued a joint statement of solidarity pledging to act together to resolve the health and economic risks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and to set the stage for a strong recovery of strong, sustainable economic growth and prosperity. In addition, we are in discussions with the US on how we can best coordinate our COVID-19 response in vulnerable countries and research into vaccine development. The British Government will continue to work closely with like-minded partners to ensure an effective, science-led response. Our priority is to support the WHO and other multilateral actors to contain COVID-19 and mitigate secondary health and socio-economic impacts. Our approach is guided by the Chief Medical Officer, working on the basis of the best possible scientific evidence.

23 Mar 2020, 11:59 a.m. Surgery: Romford Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS surgery appointments were cancelled in Romford constituency in the last year for which figures are available.

Answer (Edward Argar)

This information is not available in the format requested.

20 Mar 2020, 2:58 p.m. NATO: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to co-ordinate with NATO allies a response to tackling the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

We are working closely with the international community, particularly through the World Health Organisation, to ensure that we respond appropriately to COVID-19. The G7 leaders made an important statement on Monday on the need to coordinate on the global response to COVID-19, and an ongoing commitment to support this. The UK's global response strategy is to support the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other multilateral actors to contain Covid-19 and mitigate secondary health and socio-economic impacts. Our approach is guided by the Chief Medical Officer, working on the basis of the best possible scientific evidence.

20 Mar 2020, 2:57 p.m. Italy: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Italian counterpart on measures to limit the spread of covid-19.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

The Prime Minister spoke to Prime Minister Conte on 13 March. The two leaders discussed the importance of taking a transparent and science led approach in response to the virus. They also agreed on the need for international coordination, including through the G7. The UK's priority is to support the WHO and other multilateral actors to contain COVID-19 and mitigate secondary health and socio-economic impacts. Our approach is guided by the Chief Medical Officer, working on the basis of the best possible scientific evidence. Our Embassy in Rome is in regular contact with officials from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Health Ministry and other government departments regarding COVID-19. This includes discussions this week between the Italian Minister with responsibility for the UK, Minister Scalfarotto, and our Ambassador to Rome. The Foreign Office maintains a similar dialogue with the Italian Embassy in London.

20 Mar 2020, 10:56 a.m. Kashmir: Politics and Government Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the situation in Kashmir.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

We are monitoring the situation in Kashmir closely and are in regular contact with the Governments of India and Pakistan. We are concerned by levels of firing across the line of control and urge both sides to exercise restraint and improve communication. In India-administered Kashmir, we welcome reports that some of the restrictions have been relaxed. However, we remain concerned at the continued restrictions on some mobile internet services and at ongoing detentions, including those of political leaders. We call for these to be lifted as soon as possible. It is important that individual rights are fully respected and that there is constructive dialogue with the affected communities. We have raised our concerns with the Indian Government.

20 Mar 2020, 10:53 a.m. Turkey: Kurds Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Turkish counterpart on the recent arrest of Kurdish human rights lawyers.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

We are concerned by reports of the arrests of Kurdish human rights lawyers. Ministers and our Ambassador to Turkey regularly emphasise to the Turkish Government the need to respect human rights, and to support the rule of law. We will continue to engage the Turkish Government on these issues and be clear in our expectation that Turkey live up to its human rights obligations, which is essential to the long-term health of Turkish democracy.

We shall continue to monitor the situation closely and maintain our support for legitimate and democratic Kurdish groups in Turkey.

19 Mar 2020, 5:59 p.m. National Lottery Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding was not allocated (a) to and (b) from the National Lottery distribution funds in each of the last 20 years.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

National Lottery good cause funding is held in the National Lottery Distribution Fund (NLDF). This money is distributed by 12 distributing bodies at arm’s length from the Government. Each distributor receives a fixed percentage of the NLDF income as set out in legislation.

Distributors draw down from the NLDF on a weekly or monthly basis as their grant commitments fall due, and tend to hold a balance in the NLDF to cover future grant commitments. Information on historic NLDF balances can be found in the NLDF Annual Report and Accounts.

Information on National Lottery funding awards up to January 2018 can be found on the publicly available National Lottery grant database. We expect to update this database with grant information from January 2018 to March 2020 later this Spring.

19 Mar 2020, 5:43 p.m. Business: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to mitigate the effect of covid-19 on business supply chains.

Answer (Nadhim Zahawi)

The Government is well prepared for this type of outbreak. We will continue to take all necessary precautions, such as engaging with key industry partners and employer organisations to understand the potential effect of Covid-19 on workers and to discuss their preparedness planning.

On 17 March, the Government announced a major new package of loans and guarantees, which means any good business in financial difficulty that needs access to cash to pay their rent, the salaries of their employees, pay suppliers, or purchase stock, will be able to access a Government-backed loan on attractive terms, with no cap on lending capacity. The Government will make an initial £330 billion of guarantees available – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP.

On 17 March, the Government also announced £20 billion of business rates support and grant funding to help the most affected firms manage their cashflow through this period by:

  • giving all retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months;
  • increasing grants to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief from £3,000 to £10,000;
  • providing further £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000.
19 Mar 2020, 5 p.m. Animal Welfare Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on animal sentience.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

The Government has committed to bringing in new laws on animal sentience. Any necessary changes required to domestic legislation will be made in a rigorous and comprehensive way after the transition period and will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows. Defra is currently assessing how best to support Government departments in considering the welfare needs of sentient animals when they are developing and implementing Government policy.

Defra engages with a wide range of stakeholders on a number of animal welfare issues, including animal sentience.

19 Mar 2020, 5 p.m. Animal Welfare Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent representations he has received on a comprehensive and rigorous means of legislating for animal sentience.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

The Government has committed to bringing in new laws on animal sentience. Any necessary changes required to domestic legislation will be made in a rigorous and comprehensive way after the transition period and will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows. Defra is currently assessing how best to support Government departments in considering the welfare needs of sentient animals when they are developing and implementing Government policy.

Defra engages with a wide range of stakeholders on a number of animal welfare issues, including animal sentience.

19 Mar 2020, 4:41 p.m. Tax Avoidance Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he plans to take to provide financial assistance to people still affected by the 2019 Loan Charge.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Government estimates that 50,000 individuals were affected by the Loan Charge and that following the implementation of the Loan Charge Review’s recommendations, about 11,000 will be taken out of its scope altogether, and more than 30,000 will benefit from the changes.

In addition to this, HMRC offers Time to Pay arrangements which ensure that taxpayers only pay what they can, when they can, by providing manageable payment terms. In addition to existing arrangements, HMRC will not require payment of more than 50% of disposable income, aside from where taxpayers have very high disposable incomes; and where a taxpayer has no disposable assets and earns less than £50,000, they are automatically entitled to a minimum of a five-year payment plan, and where they earn less than £30,000, a minimum of seven years. HMRC have also announced previously that no taxpayer will be forced to sell their main home to fund a disguised remuneration or Loan Charge tax bill.

19 Mar 2020, 4:06 p.m. Malaysia: Corruption Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Malaysian counterpart on the continuation of anti-corruption measures in that country.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

The Foreign Secretary discussed anti-corruption reforms with the then Prime Minister Mahathir and Foreign Minister Saiffudin in Kuala Lumpur on 11 February.

We are working to support a variety of anti-corruption initiatives in Malaysia, including contributing to the development of a National Anti-Corruption Plan and supporting the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

The UK is committed to the continuation of anti-corruption measures in Malaysia, and we look forward to working with Prime Minister Muhyiddin and his new government in his stated aim to tackle corruption and promote institutional reform.

19 Mar 2020, 4:03 p.m. Commonwealth: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to co-ordinate with Commonwealth Governments a response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

We are working closely with the international community, including the Commonwealth, to ensure that we respond appropriately to COVID-19. The UK's global priority is to support the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other multilateral actors to contain COVID-19 and mitigate secondary health and socio-economic impacts. Our approach is guided by the Chief Medical Officer, working on the basis of the best possible scientific evidence.

19 Mar 2020, 3:55 p.m. Commonwealth: Foreign Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to develop and strengthen relations between the UK and its Commonwealth allies.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

The UK marked Commonwealth Day on 9 March and in his statement our Prime Minister outlined the enduring bond between the Commonwealth network of 54 countries, who are united in its promotion of peace, democracy and human rights. At Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 (CHOGM18) in London, the UK announced £500m of projects and programmes to support delivery of the Commonwealth leaders commitments under the headings of security, prosperity, democracy and sustainability. After hosting CHOGM18, the UK took up the role of Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, a position held by the Commonwealth country which has hosted the most recent CHOGM.

The UK has been an active Chair-in-Office, committed to strengthening and renewing the Commonwealth, through its three pillars - the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Member States and Commonwealth organisations and networks. We have driven delivery of Commonwealth leaders commitments, supported the Commonwealth to have a stronger voice as an advocate for multilateral cooperation in the rules-based international system and increased solidarity between members. The UK has also championed reform of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Initiatives have been undertaken in a diverse range of policy areas, from climate change and marine protection, to cyber security, mediation of conflict and promotion of intra-Commonwealth trade. 31 Commonwealth countries are together now tackling marine plastic pollution, whilst over 3,000 women entrepreneurs across the Commonwealth have been supported to internationalise their businesses, and barriers to trade have been reduced.

18 Mar 2020, 5:52 p.m. Obesity Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle obesity.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Slough (Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP) on 3 February 2020 to Question 9135.

18 Mar 2020, 5:50 p.m. Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to minimise the risk to clinical professionals of contracting covid-19.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

Public Health England have published guidance for clinical professions and includes specific guidance on infection prevention and control at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance#guidance-for-health-professionals

All guidance is published on gov.uk and standard operating procedures are published on NHS England and NHS Improvement’s website. There is also guidance for National Health Service staff in primary care, secondary care, community based health and social care and ambulance services at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/

18 Mar 2020, 5:29 p.m. Iran: Health Services Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the medical situation in Iran.

Answer (James Cleverly)

There have been a number of confirmed cases of coronavirus (Covid 19), including fatalities, in Iran. Due to the ongoing outbreak of the virus the Iranian authorities have introduced a number of measures in parts of the country, including temporary closures of schools, universities and public events, to limit the spread of the virus. Medical facilities are reasonable in the major cities but poor in remote areas.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to some parts of Iran and all but essential travel to the rest of Iran. For British-Iranian dual nationals the FCO continue to advise against all travel to Iran. Travel advice is kept under constant review; our travel advice for Iran was last updated on 14 March and is still current at 18 March. We advise any travellers to consult with the FCO travel advice on Iran, and to make their own decisions on whether to travel.

18 Mar 2020, 5:26 p.m. Sudan: Homicide Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Sudanese counterpart on the reported massacre of pro-democracy protesters on 3 June 2020.

Answer (James Duddridge)

The violent attacks against peaceful protestors on 3 June 2019 by members of the Sudanese security forces was publically condemned by the former Foreign Secretary. British Embassy officials in Khartoum also made representations directly and at senior levels with the Sudanese authorities. On 6 June 2019, the former Minister for Africa summoned the Sudanese Ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to register the depth of the United Kingdom's concern. The UK has since welcomed the August 2019 signing of the Constitutional Declaration, which sets Sudan on a path to a democratic future, and includes the intention to establish an independent inquiry into the 3 June violence. We support the establishment of this inquiry and continue to urge all parties to ensure the investigation is independent, transparent, and delivered swiftly. We continue to make clear to the Government of Sudan that there must be justice and accountability for atrocities committed by the former regime and for recent violence. On 9 March, I tweeted reaffirming the UK's full support for the civilian government in its pursuit of democracy, peace and justice.

18 Mar 2020, 5:17 p.m. Small Businesses: Administration Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to reduce the level of administrative demands placed by the Government on small businesses.

Answer (Paul Scully)

The Government announced the introduction of the Small and Micro Business Assessment (SaMBA) in June 2013. It requires that Impact Assessments provide clear evidence of the potential impact of regulations on small and micro businesses. The default assumption under SaMBA is that there will be a legislative exemption for small and micro businesses where a large part of the intended benefits of the measure can be achieved without including them. As a result of this policy, small firms can have confidence that future regulation will be more manageable for them and that they will not face disproportionate regulatory burdens.

The Department will shortly launch a call for evidence into the impact of regulation on business, which, taken alongside the Reducing Regulation Initiative announced as part of Budget 2020, will inform future policies to further reduce administrative demands on business, with particular attention on small businesses.

18 Mar 2020, 4:54 p.m. Overseas Trade: Caribbean Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to increase the level of trade with Caribbean countries.

Answer (Conor Burns)

The UK and thirteen CARIFORUM States have signed the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), a development-focused trade agreement that will come into effect at the end of the transition period agreed between the EU and UK.

Through future dialogue under the EPA we will seek to encourage the creation of stable business environments that promote trade and investment between the UK and Caribbean, whilst being mindful of the specific needs and challenges faced by the Caribbean region.

Our recent Latin America and Caribbean Roadshow took place across five UK regions including Cardiff, Manchester and London to promote trade opportunities to UK companies, including opportunities in the Caribbean. Over 200 companies attended.

18 Mar 2020, 4:54 p.m. Overseas Trade: Caribbean Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to encourage trade between the UK and Caribbean countries.

Answer (Conor Burns)

The UK and thirteen CARIFORUM States have signed the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), a development-focused trade agreement that will come into effect at the end of the transition period agreed between the EU and UK.

Through future dialogue under the EPA we will seek to encourage the creation of stable business environments that promote trade and investment between the UK and Caribbean, whilst being mindful of the specific needs and challenges faced by the Caribbean region.

Our recent Latin America and Caribbean Roadshow took place across five UK regions including Cardiff, Manchester and London to promote trade opportunities to UK companies, including opportunities in the Caribbean. Over 200 companies attended.

18 Mar 2020, 4:49 p.m. Latin America: Human Rights Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent progress his Department has made on engagement on human rights with countries in Latin America.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

The United Kingdom is committed to protecting and promoting human rights in Latin America, particularly in our two human rights priority countries in the region, Colombia and Venezuela. Our programming across the region has included projects to strengthen democracy, protect civil society space by fostering freedom of expression and building capacity for local human rights defenders, and promote gender equality by tackling violence against women. We also have groundbreaking projects tackling regional modern slavery issues across eight countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

We remain committed to delivering a broad human rights agenda across Latin America. We regularly raise human rights issues in Latin America, both bilaterally and in multilateral fora, including at the UN Human Rights Council, and will continue to do so.

18 Mar 2020, 4:47 p.m. Venezuela: Economic Situation Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the health of Venezuela's economy.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

The United Kingdom remains alarmed at the deteriorating economic situation in Venezuela. The actions of the Maduro regime including years of economic mismanagement, hyperinflation, and shortages of food and medicine, have led to social and economic collapse. This has led to millions of misplaced people, including many refugees, who fled to neighbouring countries, threatening regional stability and security.

The UK is committed to supporting international efforts to bring an end to the state of economic crisis.

18 Mar 2020, 4:45 p.m. Nicaragua: Indigenous Peoples Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions his Department has had with his Nicaraguan counterparts on the effect of alleged illegal land grabs by settlers on the human rights of indigenous tribespeople in that country.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

The UK remains concerned by reports of illegal land grabs by settlers and its effects on the human rights of indigenous tribespeople in Nicaragua. Our Ambassador to Nicaragua has met with representatives of the Miskito people to discuss the issue. We are working bilaterally, with international partners, and with local stakeholders, to encourage the Nicaraguan Government to fulfil its international obligations by respecting the human rights of all of its citizens, righting wrongs that have been done, and taking steps to end all repression in the country.

18 Mar 2020, 4:43 p.m. Obesity: Health Education Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to raise awareness of the health risks of obesity among schoolchildren.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

Childhood obesity is a significant health challenge for this generation, and tackling it is an important priority for the Government. Our cross-Government childhood obesity plan, launched in 2016, represents the start of a long journey and focuses on the actions that are likely to have the biggest impact.

Many policies of the Department for Education, which complement those of other Departments, are expected to make a direct contribution to reducing the incidence of childhood obesity. These include free school meals, the school food standards, the addition of food education in the national curriculum, and the primary physical education (PE) and sport premium. The healthy schools rating scheme celebrates the positive actions that schools are delivering in terms of healthy living, healthy eating and physical activity, and supports schools in identifying further actions that they can take in this area.

In addition, the new subject of health education which will be taught to all pupils in state-funded schools from September 2020, alongside relationships education (for primary aged pupils) and relationships and sex education (secondary aged pupils) covers the issue of healthy eating. Pupils will learn about the characteristics of a poor diet and risks associated with unhealthy eating (including, for example, obesity and tooth decay) and other behaviours (e.g. the impact of alcohol on diet or health).

The Department will publish an updated school and sport activity plan following the Comprehensive Spending Review and will consider what more can be done to promote physical activity. Ahead of that, the Budget has confirmed that £90 million will be provided over the next four years to support primary school PE teaching and help schools make best use of their sports facilities.

18 Mar 2020, 2:40 p.m. NHS: Accountability Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the accountability of the NHS to patients.

Answer (Ms Nadine Dorries)

The NHS Constitution sets out the rights that patients have, and the further standards that they should expect the National Health Service to meet, empowering them to exercise their rights and have constructive conversations with health professionals about their care. It also includes information on how to complain if things go wrong. The ‘How to complain’ webpage also details support available if a patient chooses to complain and the escalation process.

Healthwatch England is a statutory consultee on the annual mandate to the NHS and provides views that reflect the insights gathered by the Healthwatch network on what matters to patients. Healthwatch England’s views are also sought when performance against the mandate is assessed. The assessment is laid in Parliament and published on GOV.UK.

18 Mar 2020, 1:03 p.m. Trade Agreements: Cote d'Ivoire Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with her Ivory Coast counterpart on a bilateral trade deal.

Answer (Conor Burns)

We are continuing our programme to replicate the effects of existing EU trade agreements with trading partners to ensure continuity for UK businesses following the transition period. This includes the existing EU-Côte d’Ivoire Stepping Stone Economic Partnership Agreement and engagement is ongoing to replicate this agreement.

18 Mar 2020, 1:03 p.m. Trade Agreements: Cote d'Ivoire Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions her Department has had with the Ivory Coast on a bilateral trade deal.

Answer (Conor Burns)

We are continuing our programme to replicate the effects of existing EU trade agreements with trading partners to ensure continuity for UK businesses following the transition period. This includes the existing EU-Côte d’Ivoire Stepping Stone Economic Partnership Agreement and engagement is ongoing to replicate this agreement.

18 Mar 2020, 12:04 p.m. Health Professions Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to enable clinical professionals to have autonomy in determining which services they provide to patients.

Answer (Helen Whately)

Patient safety is paramount in relation to the services clinical professionals provide to patients. Decisions on how services are provided are taken by clinical commissioning groups who develop strategic clinical plans covering a wide range of health care services. In doing so they use their clinical expertise to assess and prioritise those treatments that provide the safest and most effective outcomes for the population.

Healthcare professionals will have different levels of autonomy depending upon their role and experience. All professionals are expected to exercise professional judgement and be accountable for their work in the context of their scope of practice. Regulated professionals must also abide by their regulatory body’s Code of Conduct. Decisions about treatment should always be based on patients’ clinical needs.

18 Mar 2020, 11:39 a.m. Stamp Duty Land Tax Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the stamp duty threshold to help increase levels of home ownership.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Chancellor confirmed in his Budget that housing and homeownership are a key priority for the Government.

The Chancellor announced a series of measures to boost homeownership including £9.5bn additional funding for the Affordable Homes Programme, increasing funding to £12.2bn to build affordable homes across the country. This will be the largest cash investment in affordable housing for a decade. It will build homes to help people into homeownership and help households most at risk of homelessness.

At Autumn Budget 2017 the Government introduced an SDLT relief for first time buyers. So far, the relief has helped over 464,000 people onto the housing ladder.

SDLT continues to be an important source of Government revenue, raising several billion pounds each year to help pay for the services that the Government provides. Any substantial reform would be likely to have a significant cost to the Exchequer.

18 Mar 2020, 11:36 a.m. Tax Avoidance: Romford Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of people in Romford constituency that will be affected by the 2019 Loan Charge after the Government has implemented recommendations of Sir Amyas Morse's review.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

Of the estimated 50,000 individuals affected by the Loan Charge, the Government currently estimates that about 11,000 will be taken out of the Loan Charge altogether as a result of the changes announced by the Government in December 2019. In addition, individuals who have settled or are settling their tax liability with HMRC will also be out of scope of the charge. There is not yet a firm estimate of the number who will choose to settle and so be out of scope of the Loan Charge. Information is also not currently available at constituency, borough or regional level.

18 Mar 2020, 11:34 a.m. Tax Avoidance Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has met people that continue to be affected by the 2019 Loan Charge following the publication of Sir Amyas Morse's review to discuss the Government's response to that loan charge.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Chancellor confirmed at the Budget that the Government will legislate to accept all but one of the Independent Loan Charge Review’s recommendations.

As the minister with strategic oversight of the tax system, the Financial Secretary has met and will continue to meet MPs about the impacts of policy on their constituents.

18 Mar 2020, 11:28 a.m. Tax Avoidance: Romford Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of people that will be made bankrupt in Romford constituency as a result of accelerated payment notices in respect of the 2019 Loan Charge.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Accelerated Payment (AP) regime changes the underlying economics of tax avoidance by requiring disputed tax to be paid upfront while an avoidance scheme is investigated. HMRC can only issue Accelerated Payment Notices (APNs) in tightly defined circumstances, set out in legislation.

The 2019 Loan Charge is a tax charge which applies to disguised remuneration (DR) loan balances which remained outstanding at 5 April 2019. APNs and the 2019 Loan Charge are two separate, distinct regimes. HMRC cannot issue APNs in relation to the Loan Charge.

There is no estimate of how many people will be made bankrupt as a result of APNs issued in connection with avoidance schemes that seek to disguise remuneration, in total or in specific constituencies. HMRC do not want to make anybody bankrupt, and insolvency is only ever considered as a last resort. HMRC will work with individuals to reach sustainable and manageable payment plans wherever possible.

Anyone who is worried about being able to pay what they owe is encouraged to get in touch with HMRC as soon as possible on 03000 599110.

17 Mar 2020, 5:56 p.m. Refugees: Overseas Aid Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much Official Development Assistance her Department has allocated to supporting refugees and displaced persons in each of the last five years.

Answer (James Cleverly)

The UK is strongly committed to supporting refugees and other displaced people and remains at the forefront of refugee responses around the world. To date, we have provided over £3.1 billion in response to the Syrian conflict, our largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis, and since August 2017 £256 million for the Rohingya crisis. That has included immediate, life-saving aid such as food, shelter and clean water, as well as longer-term support such as jobs, livelihoods and access to education and health care.

We are one of largest donors to the UN’s Refugee agency and have helped develop and champion the Global Compact on Refugees, which supports long-term and holistic approaches to assistance and protection.

The UK is one of the biggest humanitarian donors world-wide and between April 2015 and March 2019, we reached 32.4 million people with humanitarian assistance (food aid, cash and voucher transfers). Between 2014 and 2018, DFID provided over £6 billion of bilateral humanitarian funding to people in need, including refugees and displaced people.

17 Mar 2020, 5:43 p.m. Tuberculosis: Overseas Aid Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much Official Development Assistance her Department allocated to tackling tuberculosis in 2018-19.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

DFID invests in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria as the principal mechanism to combat TB. The UK is currently the second largest investor in the Global Fund, pledging £1.4 billion to the 6th Replenishment (2020 – 2022) and £1.2 billion for the 5th Replenishment (2017-2019).

As our investment in the Global Fund has increased our bilateral programmes have decreased. Bilateral spending on TB control in 2018, which we publish by calendar year, was £1,862,966.

We also fund research on TB, including to develop more effective diagnostics and treatment, programmes to support countries to strengthen their health systems. Additionally, we significantly invest into health multilaterals such as the World Health Organisation and Unitaid, which provide technical leadership on tackling TB and strengthening health systems, support the introduction of new drugs for drug-resistant TB and the development of paediatric TB medicines for children in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Data on UK aid expenditure is published each year and can be accessed from the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-on-international-development-final-uk-aid-spend-2018

17 Mar 2020, 5:38 p.m. Polio: Overseas Aid Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much Official Development Assistance her Department allocated to programmes tackling Polio in 2018-19.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

The UK is a long standing supporter of efforts to eradicate polio, providing consistent support to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) since 1995. We are the second largest state donor to this programme and have provided a total of £1.3 billion to date. In September 2019 Ministers also approved a new £400 million investment for the 2020 – 2023 period, bringing our total investment to £1.7 billion.

Transmission of wild poliovirus is now only present in two countries compared to 124 when GPEI was formed in 1988, and cases of paralysis have reduced in that time from 350,000 a year to 175 last year.

In the 2018-2019 period, the UK provided a total of £50 million to programmes to specifically tackle polio; £4 million to Gavi the Vaccine Alliance for the purchase of polio vaccines, and £46 million to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which contributed to the vaccination of over 400 million children.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership with six core partners, including the World Health Organisation and Rotary International. The UK works closely with these partners to eradicate polio from these last few parts of the world.

17 Mar 2020, 5:36 p.m. Government Departments: Flags Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what checks are made to identify and prevent the incorrect flying of flags on Government buildings.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

DCMS is responsible for informing UK Government Departments of the designated days for the flying of the Union Flag throughout the year and in conjunction with FCO, No.10 and the Royal Household, informing Departments of any instructions on the half-masting of flags, any other flag instructions and silences. Guidance is sent to all UK Government Buildings and is published on GOV.UK.

There is no specific Government policy regarding the flying of flags and we do not have responsibility for flag management on each Government building. Individual Government departments, via their Facilities Contractors, are responsible for ensuring that flags are flown correctly on their buildings.

17 Mar 2020, 5:34 p.m. Coronavirus: Disease Control Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities take the necessary steps to prepare for potential covid-19 outbreaks in their areas.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

I refer my Hon Friend to the answer given to Question UIN 27018 on 12 March 2020.

17 Mar 2020, 3:46 p.m. Arms Trade: Exports Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what his policy is on the export of (a) arms and (b) crowd control devices to overseas governments that his Department has classified as (i) non-democratic and (ii) oppressive.

Answer (James Cleverly)

Risks around human rights violations or abuses form a core part of the assessment of export licence applications, and are a key factor in the approval or denial of a licence. We do not export equipment where we assess there is a clear risk that it might be used for internal repression. A careful assessment of equipment, potential end use and end user is central to the assessment process. When making assessments, we draw on a range of sources including the media, international organisations, our diplomatic posts, from across Government and reports from our overseas networks.

17 Mar 2020, 3:01 p.m. Economic Situation: Coronavirus Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that the UK economy is prepared for the potential effect of covid-19.

Answer (John Glen)

At Budget 2020 the Chancellor set out a £12 billion package of timely, temporary and targeted measures to support public services, individuals and businesses experiencing economic disruption because of COVID-19. Further information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19

17 Mar 2020, 2:38 p.m. Heritage Lottery Fund: British Overseas Territories Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of expanding access to Heritage Lottery Funding to the Overseas Territories.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is able in principle to consider applications from outside the UK. However, the Fund’s Trustees must be satisfied that the project itself is of importance to the heritage of the United Kingdom and is accessible to the United Kingdom public, as the individuals who purchase National Lottery tickets. There are significant demands placed on funds by UK-based projects, meaning that the use of the National Lottery Heritage Fund funding for projects outside of the United Kingdom has been and continues to be a low priority, and in practice the National Lottery Heritage Fund has not funded projects outside the UK.

In its new Strategic Funding Framework, the National Lottery Heritage Fund has made a commitment to increasing its international work, with an ambition to see the UK’s heritage grow and learn by taking up opportunities to engage internationally. It will promote opportunities to build the capacity of organisations to make international connections and to benefit from doing so.

17 Mar 2020, 2:37 p.m. Cultural Heritage: British Overseas Territories Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department allocates any funding to maintain important sites of British heritage in the Overseas Territories.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

HMG values the heritage of the UK's Overseas Territories. We represent their interests in UNESCO in respect of four World Heritage Sites, including those in Bermuda, Gibraltar, Gough and Inaccessible Islands, and Henderson Island. We continue to support all four in the diverse range of challenges they face. This includes £2 million from the Government’s Conflict, Security and Security Fund to protect the rare bird species on Gough Island. We are exploring further support for the heritage of the Overseas Territories as part of the next phase of our international Cultural Protection Fund.

17 Mar 2020, 11:05 a.m. Israel: Overseas Trade Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps the Government has taken to support bilateral trade with Israel.

Answer (Conor Burns)

Her Majesty’s Government is deeply committed to promoting the UK’s trade and business ties with Israel, a vital element of the flourishing partnership between the two countries. In 2019, the total value of trade between the UK and Israel was £4.7 billion, an increase of 8.3% since 2018, and we want to promote even greater bilateral trade.

The UK and Israel signed the Trade Continuity and Partnership Agreement in February 2019, which keeps trade open following the UK’s exit from the EU. During a call between the Prime Minister and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on 6 February 2020, the two leaders agreed to continue to strengthen our bilateral relationship following the UK’s departure from the EU, including in areas such as trade.

To that end Department for International Trade officials are working with their Israeli counterparts to explore options to host a future UK-Israel Trade and Investment conference in London to identify new opportunities for trade and collaboration, especially around the financial services and technology sectors.

16 Mar 2020, 4:42 p.m. Greece: Turkey Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the recent EU discussions with the Government of Turkey over tensions at the Turkey-Greece border.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

We are concerned by the situation on the Greece-Turkey border. We remain committed to supporting Greece and Turkey's efforts to manage migration effectively and are working both bilaterally and with our international partners to this end. On 3 March, the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary discussed the issue with their Turkish counterparts and we have discussed it with the Greek Foreign Minister. We welcome ongoing discussions between the EU and Turkey and continue to support the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal, which is crucial in effectively managing migratory flows.

16 Mar 2020, 10:54 a.m. New Businesses: Romford Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many business start-ups there have been in Romford constituency since 2015.

Answer (Chloe Smith)

The information requested falls under the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

13 Mar 2020, 11:54 a.m. Blue Badge Scheme Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that Blue Badges are made available to people with limited mobility who do not use wheelchairs.

Answer (Chris Heaton-Harris)

Eligibility for the Blue Badge scheme is not condition-based so people with a disability or a condition which severely limits their physical mobility but who don’t use a wheelchair could be issued a badge if they meet the relevant eligibility criteria.

The Department has published clear and concise non-statutory guidance to local authorities in England on how to administer the scheme, and similar guidance is provided by the Devolved Administrations to their issuing authorities.

13 Mar 2020, 11:43 a.m. Trade Agreements: Mexico Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with her Mexican counterpart on bilateral trade deal.

Answer (Conor Burns)

On 9 March 2020 the Government welcomed the Mexican Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Julián Ventura, to London for the ninth UK-Mexico High Level Economic Talks. I also personally met with Under-Secretary Ventura during his visit. These talks reviewed the implementation of the UK-Mexico Partnership for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, which includes our shared ambitions on trade. During the Talks, the UK and Mexico agreed a joint statement reiterating our shared commitment to seek to prevent disruption to preferential trade from the end of the Transition Period on 31 December, and to developing an ambitious future bilateral trading relationship.

12 Mar 2020, 5:23 p.m. Trade Agreements: Rwanda Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with her Rwandan counterpart on a bilateral trade deal.

Answer (Conor Burns)

The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act enables the UK to put in place a UK trade preferences scheme for developing countries. This will grant duty-free quota-free access to UK markets for Least Developed Countries, including Rwanda.


The UK looks forward to discussing the possibility of a trade agreement in East Africa with Rwandan partners in the near future.

4 Mar 2020, 5:22 p.m. Greece: Turkey Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on diplomatic tensions between Greece and Turkey.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

On 3 March 2020, as part of wider discussions of regional and bilateral issues, the Foreign Secretary discussed with Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, the UK's concern about irregular migration on the Greece-Turkey border, currently a source of tension between the two countries. He also paid respect to the fact that Turkey has helped support millions of Syrian refugees. This conversation built upon wider dialogue we have with counterparts about diplomatic tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean region. We judge it is critical for stability in the Eastern Mediterranean that disputes between Greece and Turkey are resolved only through constructive dialogue and in accordance with international law.

4 Mar 2020, 4:24 p.m. Iraq: Christianity Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation for Christians in Iraq.

Answer (James Cleverly)

The human rights situation for Christians in Iraq continues to be a matter of concern. The UK regularly engages with the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government on the need to protect the rights of Christians and other religious minorities.

4 Mar 2020, 4:20 p.m. Lebanon: Economic Situation Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the economic situation in Lebanon.

Answer (James Cleverly)

We are concerned about the current situation in Lebanon. I spoke with Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Zeina Akar on 15 February to discuss the pressing economic situation. The UK and other members of the International Support Group for Lebanon have urged the new government to move forward with reforms that are needed in order to halt the deteriorating economic situation, restore fiscal balance and financial stability and address long standing structural deficiencies in the Lebanese economy. We stand ready to support Lebanon but look to this government to demonstrate its commitment to reform.

4 Mar 2020, 4:01 p.m. Ovarian Cancer: Romford Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Romford constituency in 2019.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

This information is not held centrally.

4 Mar 2020, 10:46 a.m. National Lottery: Licensing Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his priorities are for the Fourth National Lottery Licence Competition.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

The Government and the Gambling Commission share three statutory duties in respect to the National Lottery, which will inform the competition and licence design. These are to ensure that the interests of all players are protected, ensure the Lottery is run with all due propriety, and, subject to these, that returns to good causes are maximised.

The Gambling Commission is running the competition for the next licence, and is following best practice from across the public sector for competitions of this nature. The Gambling Commission is also providing updates on the fourth licence competition. The latest version on their 4NLC website is available at https://www.4nlc.com/PDF/4NLC-Programme-Update.pdf

I welcome the Gambling Commission’s fair and transparent approach to running a competition process that maximises the opportunities for innovation and creativity whilst protecting the special status of the National Lottery. In particular I am looking forward to a robust competition that draws in a wide range of bidders to ensure the continued success of our National Lottery for the next 25 years and beyond.

4 Mar 2020, 10:46 a.m. National Lottery: Licensing Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Fourth National Lottery Licence Competition is a fair and transparent process.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

The Government and the Gambling Commission share three statutory duties in respect to the National Lottery, which will inform the competition and licence design. These are to ensure that the interests of all players are protected, ensure the Lottery is run with all due propriety, and, subject to these, that returns to good causes are maximised.

The Gambling Commission is running the competition for the next licence, and is following best practice from across the public sector for competitions of this nature. The Gambling Commission is also providing updates on the fourth licence competition. The latest version on their 4NLC website is available at https://www.4nlc.com/PDF/4NLC-Programme-Update.pdf

I welcome the Gambling Commission’s fair and transparent approach to running a competition process that maximises the opportunities for innovation and creativity whilst protecting the special status of the National Lottery. In particular I am looking forward to a robust competition that draws in a wide range of bidders to ensure the continued success of our National Lottery for the next 25 years and beyond.

4 Mar 2020, 10:39 a.m. National Lottery: Licensing Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the effect of the delay of the Fourth National Lottery Licence Competition on the competition in that sector.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

The current National Lottery licence expires in 2023, and the Gambling Commission remains on track to appoint an operator to take on the new licence from this date. The competition is expected to commence in the first half of 2020, with the successful applicant being announced in 2021.

My predecessors met regularly with the Gambling Commission including discussions on the planning for the fourth licence competition. The Secretary of State and I look forward to continuing those discussions, and we will be meeting with the Gambling Commission shortly. DCMS officials are also working closely with the Gambling Commission on the design of the next licence.

4 Mar 2020, 10:39 a.m. National Lottery: Licensing Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had discussions with representatives from the Gambling Commission on (a) the process for the fourth National Lottery licence competition and (b) the delay to the commencement of that competition.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

The current National Lottery licence expires in 2023, and the Gambling Commission remains on track to appoint an operator to take on the new licence from this date. The competition is expected to commence in the first half of 2020, with the successful applicant being announced in 2021.

My predecessors met regularly with the Gambling Commission including discussions on the planning for the fourth licence competition. The Secretary of State and I look forward to continuing those discussions, and we will be meeting with the Gambling Commission shortly. DCMS officials are also working closely with the Gambling Commission on the design of the next licence.

4 Mar 2020, 10:35 a.m. National Lottery Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to amend the National Lottery Act 2006 to safeguard vulnerable players.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

The success of the National Lottery has always been to encourage lots of people to play the National Lottery games, while individually spending relatively small amounts. This strategy, in conjunction with the player protection policies of the operator, available here (https://www.national-lottery.co.uk/responsible-play/consumer-protection-strategy), and scrutiny from the Gambling Commission, means that we can be confident that National Lottery games have a very low risk of causing harm to players. This is borne out by evidence from the last combined Health Survey, published in September 2018, which showed that problem gambling rates for players of National Lottery draw-based games were 1.0%, while the figure for scratchcards was 1.8%.

Even though the rates are low for lottery games, a good example of the ongoing work on player protection came last year when Camelot withdrew its £10 scratchcard games in light of evidence suggesting an association between these products and problem gambling.

I do not have plans to introduce further legislative change at this stage.

3 Mar 2020, 6:10 p.m. Developing Countries: HIV Infection Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much funding his Department allocated to programmes to tackle HIV/AIDS in 2018-19.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

In 2018, DFID spent £174.6 million multilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) to tackle HIV/AIDS. Most DFID investments to the HIV response are now directed through multilateral organisations such as Unitaid, UNAIDS and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. In addition, in 2018, DFID spent £10 million bilateral ODA on programmes tackling sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.

The UK has made a £1.4 billion pledge to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria for the 6th replenishment covering 2020 to 2022. This supports the commitment to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.

This data does not capture spend on related programming on comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights, including research and health systems strengthening.

DFID spend data is available on the Statistics on International Development website. Comparable figures beyond December 2018 are not yet available. Estimates for 2019 spending will be available in autumn 2020.

3 Mar 2020, 5:08 p.m. Diplomatic Service: Overseas Trade Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to promote trade links through the diplomatic network.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) diplomatic network is at the forefront of championing free trade as part of the Global Britain agenda. Our Heads of Mission are leading their teams in growing trade relationships and opening markets to UK trade and investment across the world. FCO staff are using their knowledge and expertise of overseas markets to support the trade priorities of Departments across Whitehall, including Department for International Trade work to negotiate new agreements that can benefit the whole of the UK. The diplomatic network is also working with the other countries to drive economic reform which creates better business environments, including through the programmes of the Prosperity Fund. The FCO is enhancing the trade capability of its staff and many staff across Whitehall through specialist training delivered through the Diplomatic Academy's Trade Policy Faculty.

3 Mar 2020, 5:05 p.m. Philippines: Human Rights Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations officials in his Department have made to the Philippine Government on human rights in that country.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

The UK remains concerned about reports of human rights abuses in the Philippines. Senior UK officials raised our concerns with Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Enrique Manalo, during High Level Talks in London in November 2019. Embassy officials regularly discuss human rights, including media freedoms, with the Philippine Government in Manila.

3 Mar 2020, 4:39 p.m. Philippines: Diplomatic Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with the President of the Philippines in the last three months.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

The Foreign Secretary has not held discussions with President Rodrigo Duterte in the last three months. Senior UK officials met with Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, Enrique Manalo, during high level talks in London in November 2019.

The UK/Philippine bilateral relationship is strong and wide-ranging, including high level discussions on defence, economic development, climate change, human rights and consular issues.

3 Mar 2020, 3:55 p.m. Greyhounds: Animal Welfare Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to undertake a review the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations 2010.

Answer (Victoria Prentis)

Defra undertook a Post Implementation Review of the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations 2010 which was published on 15 September 2016. The review found that, judged against their original objectives, the regulations have been broadly effective. The review also identified areas where the industry themselves should be taking further action and Defra have been working closely with the main industry regulatory body, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, to ensure these actions are taken.

3 Mar 2020, 3:38 p.m. Egypt: Diplomatic Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent diplomatic steps he has taken to help support the Egyptian economy.

Answer (James Cleverly)

Egypt has immense potential, and the UK wants to see Egypt succeed as a secure, prosperous and democratic state. The UK is providing over £50 million between 2016 and 2020 through the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund, to support Egypt's continued stability and prosperity through a range of sectors. Through the UK's partnership with the World Bank we are supporting improved economic governance and transparency, improved government financial management, and modernisation of the energy and business sector. British businesses are already amongst the most important investors in Egypt, supporting jobs and growth in Egypt and the UK. We are committed to helping businesses go even further. President Sisi gave the keynote speech at the 20 January UK-Africa Investment Summit. The event helped create new, lasting partnerships that will deliver more investment, jobs and growth in both countries. One of the largest deals signed at the Summit was an MoU between Actis and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt. The agreement will pave the way for over £3 billion of new investment to Egypt in due course, leveraging Actis' technical expertise.

3 Mar 2020, 2:06 p.m. Olympic Games: Finance Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has plans to underwrite the funding for the 2020 Olympic team as a result of declining returns for good causes provided by the National Lottery.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Part of Team GB ’s undoubted success is the long-term planning that goes into UK Sport’s world-leading operation, and Lottery funding is crucial to UK Sport in making its funding allocations on a four year basis ahead of each Olympic Games. Should UK Sport’s expected National Lottery income fall below the level assumed at the time of the Spending Review in 2015, DCMS will underwrite additional funding for Team GB (and ParalympicsGB) to be properly supported and to allow our most talented athletes to achieve success in Tokyo.

After some decline in 2015/16, National Lottery income has now stabilised at approximately £1.6 billion per year. The latest data published in February 2020 by the Gambling Commission suggests this recovery is set to continue - in 2019, 30% of people aged over 16 reported having played a draw-based game in the last month, up from 28% from the previous year.

3 Mar 2020, 12:34 p.m. Greyhound Trust: Finance Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives from the UK Gambling Commission on the commission's 2019 funding commitment to the Greyhound Trust; and what estimate he has made of the value of the funding allocated to that trust by the commission.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

The Gambling Commission does not provide funding to the Greyhound Trust.

Most betting operators pay voluntary contributions of 0.6% of their turnover from greyhound racing to the British Greyhound Racing Fund, who use some of this to provide funding for the Greyhound Trust.

2 Mar 2020, 12:08 p.m. Trade Agreements: Brazil Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions her Department has had with representatives of the Brazilian Government on a bilateral trade deal with that country.

Answer (Conor Burns)

The UK Government places great value on Brazil as an important trading partner. At the end of Q3 2019, UK-Brazil trade was up 11.2%, or £656m, from the four quarters to the end of Q3 2018. We seek to deepen our trading relationship through dialogues such as the Joint Economic and Trade Committee and the Economic and Financial Dialogue. Brazil, along with Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina, is part of the Mercosur trading bloc. The EU and Mercosur reached political agreement on a Free Trade Agreement last June. I visited Brazil in August 2019, and we look forward to further discussions with Mercosur partners the best way forward for UK-Mercosur trade relations.

11 Feb 2020, 5:31 p.m. Embassies Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department has plans to share offices overseas with other Commonwealth countries.

Answer (Mrs Heather Wheeler)

We encourage maximum use of our office space overseas to ensure value for money and encourage co-location with friendly countries including Commonwealth countries. For example, Australia, Canada and New Zealand are currently located in some locations on our overseas platform and we are similarly on some of their platforms. Other co-locations are under discussion.

11 Feb 2020, 5:29 p.m. Syria: Military Intervention Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent diplomatic steps he has taken to de-escalate the security situation in north-west Syria.

Answer (Dr Andrew Murrison)

We are active diplomatically to call on all parties to the conflict in Idlib to adhere to agreed ceasefires and abide by their obligations under International Humanitarian Law. We have repeatedly raised the issue at the UN Security Council. The Prime Minister discussed the situation in Idlib with President Erdogan, President Macron and Chancellor Merkel at their meeting on 3 December 2019. Senior officials have since discussed the situation there with their counterparts in Turkey and the UN Special Envoy, as well as raising serious concerns about the Idlib offensive with Russian counterparts. On 28 January, the UK hosted a meeting of Special Envoys of the Small Group on Syria (Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States) to discuss the situation in Syria, including the need for de-escalation in Idlib. On 5 February, I visited Ankara and discussed the situation in Idlib with Turkish Government Ministers.

11 Feb 2020, 4:18 p.m. Iran: Nuclear Power Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential for opening negotiations with Iran on a revised nuclear deal.

Answer (Dr Andrew Murrison)

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) is the best means available to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. We remain committed to the deal and urge Iran to return to full compliance immediately. We, along with France and Germany, have made clear that we want to build on the JCPoA with a long-term successor that includes regional security issues and Iran's ballistic missile programme. The UK remains determined to work with Iran on a diplomatic way forward and believes discussion on these issues should take place while the current nuclear deal remains in place.

11 Feb 2020, 4:16 p.m. Israel: Palestinians Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has made representations to the Palestinian Authority on accepting the peace plan recently proposed by Israel.

Answer (Dr Andrew Murrison)

The Foreign Secretary called President Abbas on 27 January. He emphasised the UK hope that the plan would encourage a return to negotiations. We will continue to encourage all parties to resume dialogue.

11 Feb 2020, 4:12 p.m. Lebanon: Economic Situation Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the UK plans to provide additional assistance to Lebanon to tackle its financial crisis.

Answer (Dr Andrew Murrison)

I spoke with new Lebanese Foreign Minister Dr. Nassif Hitti on 28 January to discuss the pressing economic situation. The UK and other members of the International Support Group for Lebanon have urged the new government to move forward with reforms that are needed in order to halt the deteriorating economic situation, restore fiscal balance and financial stability and address long standing structural deficiencies in the Lebanese economy. We stand ready to support Lebanon but look to this government to demonstrate its commitment to reform.

11 Feb 2020, 4:10 p.m. South Sudan and Sudan: Christianity Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the level of security of Christians in (a) Sudan and (b) South Sudan.

Answer (Andrew Stephenson)

Sudan and South Sudan are priority countries in the UK Annual Human Rights Report. Improvements in human rights is an important part of our engagement in both countries. There are wide ranging security and human rights concerns in South Sudan, but these are not specific to Christianity which is the most widely practiced religion in the country. On Sudan the UK welcomes signs of progress on Freedom of Religion or Belief under the civilian-led government, including institutions observing Christian holidays and Christians being able to attend church services on Sundays. However, we remain concerned by ongoing issues and abuses. The Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, Lord Ahmad, registered the importance of increasing Freedom of Religion of Belief with the Sudanese Ambassador on 28 January. He raised concern at recent cases of churches being attacked.

11 Feb 2020, 4:01 p.m. Nigeria: Christianity Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what diplomatic support his Department provides to the Nigerian Government to help tackle the persecution of Christians in that country.

Answer (Andrew Stephenson)

The UK is firmly committed to promoting and protecting the right to freedom of religion or belief around the world. We are a strong voice internationally in defence of this fundamental right. We have made clear to the Nigerian authorities, at the highest levels, the importance of protecting civilians, including all ethnic and religious communities, and human rights for all Nigerians.

Increasing insecurity in Nigeria is affecting communities of all faiths. Intercommunal violence across multiple states has had a devastating impact on communities. In North East Nigeria, Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa seek to undermine the Nigerian constitutional right to freedom of religion by deliberately attacking both Christian and Muslim communities and religious leaders.

We regularly raise our concerns about increasing levels of violence with the Nigerian Government, including most recently by the Prime Minister during his meeting with President Buhari at the UK-Africa Investment Summit on 20 January. We also engage closely with the federal government, state government, international partners and the National Economic Council to help address the root causes of intercommunal violence and to maintain the right to freedom of religion. We continue to push for solutions that meet the needs of all communities affected.

11 Feb 2020, 3:55 p.m. Prisoners: Terrorism Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what processes are in place for the monitoring of people serving sentences for offences under the (a) Terrorism Act 2000 and (b) Terrorism Act 2006.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

In 2017 a new joint HMPPS and Home Office Extremism Unit was created to be the strategic centre for all counter terrorism work in prison and probation, and to drive closer working with policy and law enforcement partners. We take the threat posed by terrorist offenders very seriously and this is a key part of our work to improve safety in our prisons, and in the community for those under probation supervision.

We have a range of capabilities to manage the risk posed by terrorist offenders, and to support their disengagement and rehabilitation. Risk management is underpinned through a counter terrorism case management process, which includes a network of specialist counter terrorism officers based in prisons and probation services across England and Wales.

We adopt a multi-agency approach, which allows risk assessments and intelligence to be shared appropriately with the police and security service. In addition, we use interventions – psychological, ideological and theological – to help encourage and facilitate desistance and disengagement, support reintegration into society, and reduce the risk of further offending.

All terrorist offenders released on probation are closely managed by the National Probation Service and HMPPS.

Months before a terrorist offender is released, preparations for their management begin through the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) process. This is led by HMPPS and Police, with input from other partners as required. This process ensures that a set of robust and appropriate licence conditions are drawn up for each offender. These restrictive licence conditions can include: living in approved premises; restrictions on movement and stringent curfews. Failure to adhere to conditions results in enforcement action, and could result in recall to prison.

We will shortly introduce emergency legislation to end the automatic release of terrorist offenders. This will apply to all serving prisoners. Release before the end of their sentence will be dependent on a risk assessment by the Parole Board.

11 Feb 2020, 3:24 p.m. Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the criteria are for people subject to terrorism prevention and investigation measure to be charged for offences.

Answer (Brandon Lewis)

1) A TPIM notice imposes certain conditions on an individual. Breach of any of those conditions is a criminal offence. Individuals subject to a TPIM are treated in the same way as anyone else who is charged with an offence.

2) Home Office Ministers have regular meetings with Ministerial colleagues and others as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.

11 Feb 2020, 3:24 p.m. Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with the Director of Public Prosecutions on the prosecution of people subject to terrorism prevention and investigation measures.

Answer (Brandon Lewis)

1) A TPIM notice imposes certain conditions on an individual. Breach of any of those conditions is a criminal offence. Individuals subject to a TPIM are treated in the same way as anyone else who is charged with an offence.

2) Home Office Ministers have regular meetings with Ministerial colleagues and others as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.

11 Feb 2020, 3:21 p.m. Police: Counter-terrorism Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much funding her Department has allocated to police forces in England and Wales in relation to the Prevent strategy in each of the last five financial years.

Answer (Brandon Lewis)

It is important that we ensure counter-terrorism policing has the resources needed to deal with the threat we face. That is why we are increasing the budget for counter-terrorism policing in 2020-21 by £90m (year-on-year), taking CT police funding to over £900m for the first time.

The total CT policing funding figure is published annually as part of the Police Settlement. We do not disclose the breakdown of this figure down for security reasons.

11 Feb 2020, 2:28 p.m. Social Security Benefits: Terrorism Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of removing entitlement to benefits from people convicted of terrorism offences.

Answer (Will Quince)

The Government’s assessment is that someone who has been convicted of a crime and is serving a custodial sentence should not be receiving benefits. That is why the Department’s policy is to stop benefits where people have been convicted and go to prison. This includes convictions for acts of terrorism.

11 Feb 2020, 2:23 p.m. Social Security Benefits Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of expenditure on welfare benefits payments was classified as overpaid in each of the last 10 years.

Answer (Will Quince)

The Department for Work and Pensions administers over 25 benefits, ensuring that the very different conditions of entitlement are met in each individual instance. We publish annual figures on the amount we estimate has been overpaid under the title ‘Fraud and Error in the Benefit System’.

The percentage of benefit expenditure estimated to have been overpaid for each of the last 10 years can be found in the table below.

Year

Amount overpaid as a percentage of the Department’s expenditure

2009/10

2.2%

2010/11

2.1%

2011/12

2.1%

2012/13

2.1%

2013/14

2.1%

2014/15

1.8%

2015/16

1.9%

2016/17

2.0%

2017/18

2.2%

2018/19

2.2%

The Department for Work and Pensions has worked hard to deliver major welfare reform during much of this period, all whilst limiting fraud and error to 2.2% or less.

We continue to focus on preventing loss before it occurs, which is in everyone’s interest. Sophisticated data matching rules are increasingly allowing us to cross check what claimants tell us, with potential discrepancies being routed to our fraud investigators.

We are constantly exploring the use of new data sources, which will improve this process still further.

11 Feb 2020, 12:21 p.m. Trade Agreements: China Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the publication of negotiation objectives for trade deals with China.

Answer (Conor Burns)

We are not currently negotiating a free trade agreement with China. China is an important trading partner for the UK, and we are pursuing increased bilateral trade.

11 Feb 2020, 9 a.m. Tax Avoidance Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Independent Loan Charge Review, published in December 2019, how many people will be required to pay the 2019 Loan Charge in the event that the Government implements the recommendations of that review.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

Of the estimated 50,000 individuals affected by the loan charge, the Government currently estimates that around 11,000 will be taken out of the loan charge altogether. In addition, individuals who have settled or are settling their tax liability with HMRC will be out of scope of the charge. There is not yet a firm estimate of the number who will choose to settle and so be out of scope of the loan charge.

11 Feb 2020, 8:56 a.m. Payroll Deduction Scheme Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to stop the promotion of payroll loan schemes.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Government and HMRC are determined to continue to tackle promoters of tax avoidance schemes.

In December 2019 the Government announced in its response to the Independent Loan Charge Review further measures to tackle promoters of avoidance schemes, measures will reduce the scope for promoters to market tax avoidance schemes.

The Government will:

• Ensure HMRC can more effectively issue stop notices to promoters to make it harder to promote schemes that do not work;

• Prevent promoters from abusing corporate entity structures that sell schemes to avoid their obligations under the Promoters of Tax Avoidance Scheme (POTAS) rules;

• Ensure HMRC can obtain information about the enabling of abusive schemes as soon as they are identified, and enabler penalties are felt without delay when a scheme has been defeated at tribunal;

• Ensure that HMRC can act decisively where promoters fail to provide information on their avoidance schemes; and

• Make further technical amendments to the POTAS regime so that it continues to operate effectively and to ensure that the General Anti Abuse Rule (GAAR) can be used to counteract partnerships as intended.

Further detail on these measures will be set out at the Budget.

11 Feb 2020, 8:56 a.m. Payroll Deduction Scheme Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Independent Loan Charge Review, published in December 2019, what steps his Department is taking to tackle (a) people and (b) companies that promoted payroll loan schemes.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Government and HMRC are determined to continue to tackle promoters of tax avoidance schemes.

In December 2019 the Government announced in its response to the Independent Loan Charge Review further measures to tackle promoters of avoidance schemes, measures will reduce the scope for promoters to market tax avoidance schemes.

The Government will:

• Ensure HMRC can more effectively issue stop notices to promoters to make it harder to promote schemes that do not work;

• Prevent promoters from abusing corporate entity structures that sell schemes to avoid their obligations under the Promoters of Tax Avoidance Scheme (POTAS) rules;

• Ensure HMRC can obtain information about the enabling of abusive schemes as soon as they are identified, and enabler penalties are felt without delay when a scheme has been defeated at tribunal;

• Ensure that HMRC can act decisively where promoters fail to provide information on their avoidance schemes; and

• Make further technical amendments to the POTAS regime so that it continues to operate effectively and to ensure that the General Anti Abuse Rule (GAAR) can be used to counteract partnerships as intended.

Further detail on these measures will be set out at the Budget.

10 Feb 2020, 5:17 p.m. Social Security Benefits: EU Nationals Andrew Rosindell

Question

What recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on reducing benefit tourism.

Answer (Kevin Foster)

The Government is clear that benefits should only be provided for the lawful residents of the UK, including migrants who are settled here.

The Government has taken steps to prevent illegal access to benefits, with those migrants who abuse the UK’s hospitality facing having to repay any benefits obtained. The will also be liable to be refused immigration leave, or having it curtailed, prosecution and removal from the UK.

10 Feb 2020, 3:45 p.m. Nigeria: Overseas Aid Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions officials in his Department have had with representatives of the Nigerian Government on Official Development Assistance allocated to that country.

Answer (Andrew Stephenson)

The UK Government engages regularly on overseas development assistance with representatives of the Nigerian Government at all levels – including Federal, State and Local government administrations. We do this at all stages of our programming, from portfolio discussions, to more granular engagement on design, delivery and lesson learning following the closure of our projects.

While no money goes directly to the Government of Nigeria, aid is delivered in partnership with government bodies to ensure it is effective, impactful and in line with national priorities.

10 Feb 2020, 3:21 p.m. Dogs: Smuggling Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Prime Minister of 15 January 2020, Official Report, column, 1020, what the timeframe is for bringing forward legislative proposals to reduce the rate of smuggling of puppies and dogs; and what provisions she plans to include in those proposals.

Answer (George Eustice)

The Government takes the welfare of all animals seriously, and that is why we have committed to cracking down on puppy smuggling. It is an abhorrent trade which causes suffering to the smuggled dogs and puts the health of pets and people in the UK at risk.

6 Feb 2020, 5:17 p.m. Dogs: Animal Welfare Andrew Rosindell

Question

What steps her Department is taking to tackle the drugging of dogs for use by buskers.

Answer (George Eustice)

There are already laws and regulations in place to protect animals used by buskers. Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is a criminal offence to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal, and to administer an injurious or poisonous drug to an animal. Specific concerns about the welfare of dogs used by buskers can be reported to local authorities, the police or the RSPCA.

8 Oct 2019, 2:33 p.m. European Institute of Human Sciences: Proscribed Organisations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has assessed potential links between the European Institute for Human Sciences and proscribed organisations.

Answer (Brandon Lewis)

Whilst we keep the list of proscribed groups under review, we do not routinely comment on whether an organisation is or is not being investigated for its potential links with groups on this list.

7 Oct 2019, 6:21 p.m. Out-of-school Education: Radicalism Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to protect students at Islamic education centres in the UK from being exposed to potentially radicalising ideology; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Michelle Donelan)

All schools and colleges, including independent schools, are subject to the Prevent Duty, which requires them to protect people from the harm of radicalisation and from being drawn into terrorism.

They are also required to actively promote the values that underpin and unite our society – democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. The department has worked closely with Ofsted to strengthen Ofsted’s inspection frameworks, so that inspectors are required to assess how well schools and colleges are meeting these requirements.

We work closely with the sector to support it in implementing these requirements and to ensure our children and young people are resilient to extremist ideology and prepared for life in modern Britain. We fund, with the Home Office, networks of experts who provide frontline support to educational institutions, and we provide a range of free resources for practitioners on our Educate Against Hate and Education and Training Foundation websites for schools and colleges.

The department is also taking forward a package of activity aimed at enhancing the safeguarding of children in out-of-school settings, where we know some children have their mainstream education supplemented through the provision of after school clubs or activities, which can include religious settings offering tuition in their own faith.

This includes the provision of £3 million to boost local capacity to identify and intervene in out-of-school settings of concern, and inform best practice on how existing legal powers – held across local authorities and relevant agencies – can best be used to address safeguarding and welfare concerns in these settings. This work started last summer and is due to conclude in March 2020.

Alongside this, we have been developing a voluntary code of practice for out-of-school setting providers and guidance for parents. These will support providers to understand what is needed to run a safe setting. This will help parents and carers make informed choices when considering out-of-school settings for their children, as well as understand the steps they can take where they have concerns. The department consulted on these documents in late February 2019 and will respond to the consultation in due course. The consultation can be found here: https://consult.education.gov.uk/regulatory-framework-unit/out-of-school-settings-voluntary-safeguarding-code/.

9 Sep 2019, 4:50 p.m. Iran: Guided Weapons Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of (a) Iran's attempts to produce precision guided munitions and (b) the accuracy of reports of Iran's provision of such weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Answer (Dr Andrew Murrison)

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

9 Sep 2019, 2 p.m. Norfolk Island Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether Norfolk Island (a) was within the geographical boundaries of the Commonwealth of Australia or any State thereof when it was given to the Commonwealth of Australia in 1914 or (b) has since become within those boundaries.

Answer (Mrs Heather Wheeler)

​It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

5 Sep 2019, 2:17 p.m. Hong Kong: Politics and Government Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what diplomatic steps his Department is taking to ease tensions in Hong Kong.

Answer (Mrs Heather Wheeler)

We believe that meaningful political dialogue, taken forward by Hong Kong under its high degree of autonomy, is the best way to resolve the current impasse. It is important that the basic freedoms enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration are maintained.

The Sino-British Joint Declaration is a legally binding treaty, registered with the UN, that remains in force. The UK, as a co-signatory, has an obligation to monitor its implementation closely, and we are committed to doing so.

The Prime Minister discussed developments in Hong Kong with other leaders at the recent G7 Summit, and the Foreign Secretary has recently spoken with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

3 Sep 2019, 7:12 a.m. Universities: Finance Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he is taking steps to monitor Qatar's role in the funding of university programmes in the UK; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Joseph Johnson)

The Office for Students, as the regulator for higher education (HE) in England, is responsible for assessing and monitoring the financial sustainability of registered HE providers. UK universities are autonomous institutions and are therefore responsible for making business planning decisions and ensuring their institutions’ financial sustainability.

2 Sep 2019, 9:25 a.m. Sports: Havering Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding his Department has allocated to projects to support grassroots sports facilities in Havering in each of the last five years.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

Government, through Sport England has invested £2,247,887 in the local authority of Havering over the last 5 years.

Of this, over £2.1m was awarded to facility projects. Examples of these facility projects include the Romford Leisure Development and The Fish 4 Life Education and Coaching Centre.

5 Aug 2019, 11:17 a.m. Dental Services: Havering Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his department is taking to increase the availability of orthodontists in Havering.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

NHS England is responsible for commissioning National Health Service dental services in England including orthodontic services.

NHS England has confirmed that new personal dental services contracts across London will start in October 2019. This will help meet the orthodontic needs of local residents within each borough. NHS dental practices will continue to provide the same NHS services that all children are currently eligible to receive.

1 Aug 2019, 9:19 a.m. Horse Racing: Qatar Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he is taking steps to monitor Qatar's role in the (a) governance and (b) sponsorship of British horseracing; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

The state of Qatar plays no role in the governance of British horseracing. International sponsorship from Qatar and other plays a valuable role in the economic strength of horseracing in this country. We welcome Qatari sponsorship of the Goodwood Festival and other aspects of our sporting and cultural life.

1 Aug 2019, 9:16 a.m. Horse Racing: Qatar Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with the British Horseracing Authority on the sponsorship of horseracing in the UK by Qatar; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

Ministers have not discussed Qatari sponsorship with the British Horseracing Authority. We welcome the contribution British horseracing makes to the national economy and our quality of life. It is also a significant soft power asset to the UK, and enhances the strong bilateral relationships we have with the Gulf States and many other countries around the world.

31 Jul 2019, 12:50 p.m. British Virgin Islands: Diplomatic Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he has taken to improve diplomatic relations with the British Virgin Islands.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

As a British Overseas Territory, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) has no international legal personality separate from that of the United Kingdom, therefore no "diplomatic relations" exist in the traditional sense of the term. The United Kingdom and the BVI, along with the other Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies form an undivided realm. The roles of the United Kingdom, the Governor and the elected government are set out in the Constitution of the BVI. As with all Overseas Territories, the United Kingdom Government works in partnership with the government of the BVI across a wide range of issues.

30 Jul 2019, 2:48 p.m. Plastics: Seas and Oceans Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the percentage of marine plastic pollution originating from the UK.

Answer (Dr Thérèse Coffey)

It is difficult to meaningfully estimate the proportion of plastic waste in the world’s ocean that originates from the UK.

30 Jul 2019, 2:38 p.m. Iran: Tankers Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Iranian counterpart on the illegal seizure of the Stena lmpero.

Answer (Dr Andrew Murrison)

The Stena Impero was seized illegally, and the Iranians should release it and its crew immediately. On 20 July, the former Foreign Secretary spoke to the Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif and summoned the Iranian Chargé d’Affaires to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to make this demand. We have been clear that we do not seek confrontation with Iran, and that we will continue working hard to resolve the situation through diplomatic means.

30 Jul 2019, 2:32 p.m. Rodents: Gough Island Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to tackle the mice infestation on Gough island.

Answer (Dr Thérèse Coffey)

Through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund the Government has committed £2.1m towards the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which led the Gough Island Restoration Programme to eradicate non-native mice to save the critically endangered Tristan albatross and Gough bunting, and to help to maintain Gough Island’s status as a World Heritage Site.

The final stage of the eradication project is planned to take place in 2020.

30 Jul 2019, 2:09 p.m. Plastics: Waste Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the percentage of the UK's plastic waste made up of straws.

Answer (Dr Thérèse Coffey)

We do not hold this data and we do not have a basis to make a robust estimate.

29 Jul 2019, 9:10 a.m. Mali: Peacekeeping Operations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which units of the British Army will be deployed to Mali on peacekeeping operations in the first troop rotation.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

The Ministry of Defence is currently evaluating what unit and assets are best suited to the task required by the United Nation. This will be finalised in due course, prior to deployment in 2020. Further information can be found in the written statement made by the then Secretary of State for Defence (Penny Mordaunt) on 22 July 2019, (HCWS1779).

29 Jul 2019, 9:08 a.m. Military Aircraft Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of developing hypersonic propulsion systems for military aircraft.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

The next generation acquisition programme will deliver the capability required when Typhoon leaves RAF service. As part of the concept phase, a variety of concepts to deliver the required capability are being considered. These will include hypersonic weapon concepts as part of the next generation combat air system.

29 Jul 2019, 9:05 a.m. Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the benefits of training F35 pilots in (a) the UK and (b) the US.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

The UK took the opportunity to embed personnel with the US Marine Corps and jointly develop the operational capability of the F35-B Lightning aircraft. By taking this collaborative approach, the UK has been able to train its personnel in advance of establishing our own Lightning footprint in the UK.

In July this year, personnel returned from the US to establish the Operational Conversion Unit at RAF Marham to enable the UK to conduct its own training.

The UK continues to work closely with its allies to develop the F-35 programme to ensure freedom of action having initially exploited this collaborative route to training.

26 Jul 2019, 7:57 a.m. Pakistan: Military Alliances Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps she has taken to strengthen defence and security co-operation with Pakistan.

Answer (Stuart Andrew)

The UK has strong ties with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which we value and reinforce through regular defence engagement, exercises and training courses.

The Ministry of Defence Permanent Secretary visited Islamabad in March 2019 for the annual Defence Cooperation Forum with Pakistan and regular dialogue continues at senior military level. The Pakistan National Defence University visited the UK earlier this year. Bangladesh also held a National Defence College visit.

Defence relations with Sri Lanka were significantly strengthened in 2019 by the appointment of a resident Defence Adviser.

HMS Dragon visited Karachi in February 2019 as part of Exercise AMAN, in which Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were also involved. HMS Montrose visited Colombo in April 2019 as part of her deployment in the Indian Ocean and conducted a short exercise with the Sri Lankan Navy.

In addition to bespoke training programmes, Bangladeshi and Pakistani cadets are attending the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2018-19, and there are members of the Royal College of Defence Studies from all three countries.

26 Jul 2019, 7:57 a.m. Sri Lanka: Military Alliances Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent steps she has taken to strengthen defence and security cooperation with Sri Lanka.

Answer (Stuart Andrew)

The UK has strong ties with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which we value and reinforce through regular defence engagement, exercises and training courses.

The Ministry of Defence Permanent Secretary visited Islamabad in March 2019 for the annual Defence Cooperation Forum with Pakistan and regular dialogue continues at senior military level. The Pakistan National Defence University visited the UK earlier this year. Bangladesh also held a National Defence College visit.

Defence relations with Sri Lanka were significantly strengthened in 2019 by the appointment of a resident Defence Adviser.

HMS Dragon visited Karachi in February 2019 as part of Exercise AMAN, in which Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were also involved. HMS Montrose visited Colombo in April 2019 as part of her deployment in the Indian Ocean and conducted a short exercise with the Sri Lankan Navy.

In addition to bespoke training programmes, Bangladeshi and Pakistani cadets are attending the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2018-19, and there are members of the Royal College of Defence Studies from all three countries.

26 Jul 2019, 7:57 a.m. Bangladesh: Military Alliances Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent steps she has taken to strengthen defence and security cooperation with Bangladesh.

Answer (Stuart Andrew)

The UK has strong ties with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which we value and reinforce through regular defence engagement, exercises and training courses.

The Ministry of Defence Permanent Secretary visited Islamabad in March 2019 for the annual Defence Cooperation Forum with Pakistan and regular dialogue continues at senior military level. The Pakistan National Defence University visited the UK earlier this year. Bangladesh also held a National Defence College visit.

Defence relations with Sri Lanka were significantly strengthened in 2019 by the appointment of a resident Defence Adviser.

HMS Dragon visited Karachi in February 2019 as part of Exercise AMAN, in which Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were also involved. HMS Montrose visited Colombo in April 2019 as part of her deployment in the Indian Ocean and conducted a short exercise with the Sri Lankan Navy.

In addition to bespoke training programmes, Bangladeshi and Pakistani cadets are attending the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2018-19, and there are members of the Royal College of Defence Studies from all three countries.

25 Jul 2019, 4:22 p.m. Cot Deaths Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of cases of sudden infant death syndrome.

Answer (Jackie Doyle-Price)

Public Health England (PHE) works to reduce the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome.

PHE does this through the provision of professional leadership and guidance to the health visiting profession such as PHE’s Early Years High Impact Area five - Managing minor illnesses and reducing accidents, to improve outcomes for all children and prevent avoidable deaths. This can be viewed at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/756697/early_years_high_impact_area_5.pdf

The Start4Life programme provides information on safe sleeping and sepsis through its Information Service for Parents email programme and the Start4Life website. Information leaflets, posters and social media toolkits are available to general practitioners, hospitals, children’s centres and local authorities. Start for life and the campaign resources can be viewed at the following links:

https://www.nhs.uk/start4life

https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/2-start4life/resources

PHE also works with the Lullaby Trust such as Safer Sleep Week, co-produced fact sheets for parents and professionals on safer sleep spaces to promote safer choices. This can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Facts-and-Figures-for-2015-released-2017.pdf

25 Jul 2019, 8:27 a.m. Warships: Deployment Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when (a) HMS Dauntless and (b) HMS Daring will next be put to sea.

Answer (Stuart Andrew)

Both HMS DAUNTLESS and HMS DARING are in planned deep maintenance periods. I am withholding information on their future programmes as this would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.

24 Jul 2019, 4:35 p.m. Evictions Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what his Department's definition is of eviction at short notice.

Answer (Mrs Heather Wheeler)

Statutory notice periods are set out in the Housing Act 1988.

If a landlord evicts a tenant under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, they must provide a notice period of two months – and they do not have to provide a reason for the eviction. This has resulted in some tenants feeling insecure in their properties, knowing that they could be asked to leave when the fixed-term has ended without being given an explanation.

The Government does not feel it is fair that people can be asked to leave a property without being given a valid reason and so it has committed to removing section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

24 Jul 2019, 4:23 p.m. Housing Act 1996 Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effect of the removal of Section 21 of the Housing Act 1996 on a landlord's ability to evict tenants responsible for (a) persistent non-payment of rent and (b) anti-social behaviour.

Answer (Mrs Heather Wheeler)

The Housing Act 1988 already contains grounds for eviction that allow the landlord to seek possession of the property in the event of non-payment of rent and anti-social behaviour.

The Government consultation on tenancy reform was published 21 July 2019. In light of the Government’s intention to remove section 21, this consultation asks for views on strengthening the existing ground covering rent arrears and seeks more evidence on how landlords use the existing grounds for anti-social behaviour.

24 Jul 2019, 4:03 p.m. Local Government: Asylum Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department is taking to help councils (a) accommodate and (b) process asylum seekers.

Answer (Caroline Nokes)

The Home Office ensures that asylum seekers, who would otherwise be destitute, are provided with accommodation and a weekly cash allowance.

This includes free, furnished accommodation, and we also cover utility costs and provide individuals with a cash allowance to cover other essential living needs. The level of the allowance is reviewed each year.

24 Jul 2019, 3:38 p.m. Crimes of Violence: Prosecutions Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions he has had with the Director of Public Prosecutions on ensuring more effective prosecutions of cases involving violent criminals.

Answer (Victoria Atkins)

The Home Secretary has not met the Director of Public Prosecutions recently to discuss prosecutions of cases involving violent criminals.

However, an effective law enforcement and criminal justice response is a very important part of the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, and the Home Secretary and Ministers have regular discussions with senior police officers.

24 Jul 2019, 3:15 p.m. Aviation: Noise Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce aircraft noise over South East England.

Answer (Michael Ellis)

I refer my Honourable friend to the answer given to him on 16 July.

24 Jul 2019, 11:39 a.m. Schools: Cricket Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase participation in cricket in state schools.

Answer (Nadhim Zahawi)

The physical education (PE) national curriculum is designed to ensure that all pupils develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities, are physically active for sustained periods of time and lead healthy and active lives.

State schools are free to organise and deliver a diverse and challenging PE curriculum that suits the needs of all their pupils. Cricket is specifically listed as an example of a sport that can provide important elements of the PE national curriculum programme of study in key stages 2 to 4.

The recently announced School Sport and Activity Action Plan includes additional support for schools to open their facilities over the holidays and after hours to encourage every child to find a sport they love. The government will update the action plan in the light of the outcome of the forthcoming Spending Review and will work with sports governing bodies, including the England and Wales Cricket Board, in developing the proposals.

Through the Essential Life Skills fund, the department has recently provided £75,000 to the national cricket charity, Chance to Shine, to deliver extra-curricular sport to young people in Stoke-on-Trent, one of the department’s 12 Opportunity Areas. In addition, Sport England supports children and young people in England by ensuring that there is a good sports and activity offer before and after the school day. This includes investing £28 million into Satellite Clubs between 2017 and 2021, some of which are cricket clubs.

24 Jul 2019, 9:54 a.m. Ascension Island: Airports Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress has been made in the resurfacing of the runway on Ascension Island.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

The US Air Force Civil Engineering Centre are expecting tender returns in August 2019 from which the contract will be awarded in the final quarter of 2019.

24 Jul 2019, 9:53 a.m. Falkland Islands: Armed Forces Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he plans to increase the armed forces presence in the Falkland Islands.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

There is currently no plan to increase the Armed Forces presence in the Falkland Islands.

24 Jul 2019, 9:53 a.m. Gibraltar: Armed Forces Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he plans to increase the armed forces presence in Gibraltar.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

There is currently no plan to increase the Armed Forces presence in Gibraltar.

23 Jul 2019, 4:22 p.m. Norfolk Island: Foreign Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent engagements he has had with representatives of Norfolk Island.

Answer (Dr Andrew Murrison)

Foreign & Commonwealth Ministers have not had any recent engagement with representatives of Norfolk Island.​

23 Jul 2019, 3:54 p.m. Terrorism: British Nationals Abroad Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many UK nationals are suspected of leaving the UK in order to support the activities of Boko Haram and their splinter group Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in West Africa in the last five years.

Answer (Mr Ben Wallace)

For reasons of national security we cannot be specific about the number of UK nationals suspected of leaving the UK in order to support the activities of Boko Haram or Islamic State West Africa Province.

Anyone who returns to the UK from engaging in terrorist activities overseas should expect to be investigated to determine if they have committed criminal offences or pose a threat to our national security. Where evidence of crimes exist, those responsible should expect to be prosecuted for them. Decisions on prosecution are taken independently of Government by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

23 Jul 2019, 2:08 p.m. Montserrat: Legislatures Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether the Government plans to provide financial support to Montserrat for the building of a new Parliament building.

Answer (Dr Andrew Murrison)

Through its programme of Financial Aid to the Government of Montserrat, DFID supports the operational costs of Montserrat’s Legislature and Parliament. Ministers approved a Capital Investment programme in Autumn 2018. The Government of Montserrat has not identified a Parliamentary building as a priority for funding under either Financial Aid or the Capital Investment programme.

22 Jul 2019, 4:17 p.m. Sleeping Rough: Havering Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many rough sleepers there are in Havering; and how many have been deported by his Department's Rough Sleeper Support Service in each of the last three years.

Answer (Caroline Nokes)

According to the 2018/2019 report produced by the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN), which is publicly available online and can be accessed by anyone, 32 people were seen sleeping rough in Havering across the course of that year. CHAIN is a multi-agency database recording information about rough sleepers and the wider street population in London.

The Rough Sleeping Support Service, which was first announced in August 2018 as part of the Government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy, was introduced to help non-UK nationals sleeping rough resolve their immigration cases and access the support that they need. It does not undertake any enforcement action. It has an administrative role, conducting status checks, identifying priority cases and ensuring that we can help those who require evidence of their immigration status or assistance in leaving the UK.

The Home Office may take action on a case-by-case basis where individuals have exhausted all other avenues and are unwilling to leave the UK voluntarily. This is in line with existing immigration law.

Removals of non-UK rough sleepers cannot be disaggregated in the published statistics on the removal of those without lawful status. It is also not possible to directly attribute removals to interaction with the RSSS because a range of factors will have affected how decisions were reached in these cases. A person’s removal from the UK is determined by their immigration
status and circumstances, including unwillingness to depart voluntarily, not by contact with the RSSS.

19 Jul 2019, 1:36 p.m. Romania: Prisoners Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of alleged abuses in the Romanian legal justice system relating to UK citizens imprisoned in that country; and what steps he is taking to help prevent such alleged abuses occurring for UK citizens deported to that country.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

We are not aware of any allegations of serious abuses in the Romanian legal justice system relating to UK citizens imprisoned in Romania. When prisoners have approached us with concerns, we have contacted the local authorities to raise them - but they have usually been related to personal inconveniences and not abuse.

19 Jul 2019, 1:34 p.m. Romania: Deportation Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that UK residents deported to Romania are not subject to overcrowded prison conditions in that country.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

We regularly discuss improvements planned for Romanian prisons with the Romanian Ministry of Justice. Through our embassy in Bucharest, we have official guarantees from the Ministry that persons sent back by the UK serve time in prisons which meet EU standards.

17 Jul 2019, 3:54 p.m. Commonwealth: English Language Andrew Rosindell

Question

What steps he is taking to improve English literacy throughout the Commonwealth.

Answer (Harriett Baldwin)

DFID is tackling the learning crisis by supporting children to learn the basics of literacy, including in Commonwealth countries.

We are investing in English language learning, for example through our new skills hub, which includes Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria.

We also work directly to boost the quality of teaching in English, for example through the Girls’ Education Challenge.

17 Jul 2019, 2:36 p.m. Pakistan: Diplomatic Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to improve diplomatic relations with Pakistan.

Answer (Dr Andrew Murrison)

​The UK and Pakistan enjoy a strong relationship based on our shared history, wide people to people links and growing economic ties. Pakistan's Foreign Minister has made two recent visits to the UK in June and July this year. The Development Secretary and the Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations visited in February this year. The Home Secretary visited Pakistan in September 2018. We look forward to building on this partnership and continuing our cooperation, including on security and bilateral trade.

17 Jul 2019, 2:25 p.m. Malaysia: Diplomatic Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to improve diplomatic relations with Malaysia.

Answer (Dr Andrew Murrison)

The British government has long-standing diplomatic relations with Malaysia.

We have had a high number of inward and outward ministerial visits over the past year, including a visit by the Foreign Secretary in January. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah and the Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah have visited the UK during that period.

The UK works closely with Malaysia in a number of areas including trade and defence. We have strengthened our defence relationship with the launch of the Ministerial level Defence Strategic Dialogue in 2018. We have a growing collaboration on climate change and our education partnership continues to grow with five British university campuses in Malaysia and 19,000 Malaysian students in the UK. The UK is also supporting the Malaysian government's institutional reform agenda.

17 Jul 2019, 9:49 a.m. Pay Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that employees are not inadvertently penalised because of incorrect earning reports by employers.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

HMRC continually monitor the data provided by employers through Real Time Information (RTI) to understand issues, drive improvements and help employers ensure their returns are correct. While incorrect data is sometimes submitted, HMRC systems have been designed to use different mixes of that data to match records correctly where possible. HMRC and DWP work together to ensure that any issues with data are resolved quickly.

16 Jul 2019, 3:15 p.m. Military Exercises Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the timetable is for the conclusion of Operation Sea Breeze.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

Exercise SEA BREEZE concluded on 12 July 2019.

16 Jul 2019, 3:13 p.m. Marines: Guided Weapons Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when the Royal Marines will be ready to use the Lightweight Multirole Missile against drones.

Answer (Stuart Andrew)

On current plans the Royal Marines will declare initial NATO compliant operating capability for the Lightweight Multirole Missile in early 2021.

16 Jul 2019, 3:06 p.m. Estonia: Military Exercises Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force demonstrations her Department plans to conduct in Estonia in the next two years.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

The UK led Joint Expeditionary Force provides, through collaboration with the partnering nations, an increased profile and presence in the Baltic Sea and High North region across multiple domains. Both operationally and through collective training, the UK's engagement in the coming years will be characterised by smaller scale, but more frequent activities in co-operation with all regional partners, of which Estonia is an important member. The opportunities and frequency of participation by Estonia is being reviewed through regular consultations at both the political and military level.

16 Jul 2019, 3:05 p.m. Army Reserve: Training Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps she is taking to increase the integration of Army Reserve units in training exercises.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

The Army continues to integrate the Army Reserve into the Army and Defence training exercise programme in both participating and supporting roles. The Army Reserve is involved in all of the Army's collective training exercises. All reserve overseas training exercises have an element of Regular Army participation.

16 Jul 2019, 3:04 p.m. Army Reserve: Training Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what funding her Department plans to provide for Reserve Army training in each of the next five financial years.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

The Army has budgeted over £100 million for Army Reserve training for the current financial year. This covers Army Reserve Units only and does not include training for Reservists in staff roles in Brigade or Army HQ which would be picked up by the parent unit. The Reserve training budget provides for activity such as classroom-based lessons, physical training, trade training and field exercises. Future budget allocations will be made through our normal financial planning process.

16 Jul 2019, 2:53 p.m. Railways: Freight Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase rail freight capacity.

Answer (Andrew Jones)

In Control Period 5 (2014-2019), Government made available £235m through the Strategic Freight Network fund, investing in projects to support rail freight growth. This includes a £60m contribution to a project to increase the number of trains able to serve the Port of Felixstowe, the largest container port in the UK.

There is funding available in Control Period 6 (2019-2024) for continued improvements to the rail network. Government is working with Network Rail and the freight industry to develop options for investment over the next five years.

16 Jul 2019, 2:52 p.m. Aviation: Noise Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce aviation noise in the South East.

Answer (Michael Ellis)

The Government recognises that aviation noise is a key concern for communities that aircraft fly over, including the South East.

As part of its forthcoming Aviation Strategy, the Government has put forward a number of proposals designed to incentivise the aviation industry to successfully modernise airspace. Airspace modernisation should allow aircraft to climb more quickly than they can at present, and descend continuously, both of which will have a noticeable noise reduction benefit.

Through the Aviation Strategy, we have also considered how sustainable growth should be defined in terms of noise. Proposals brought forward in the green paper include developing a new national indicator to track the long-term performance of the sector in reducing noise, routinely setting noise caps as part of planning approvals, and requiring all major airports to set out a plan which commits to future noise reduction, and to review this periodically.

The Government has also taken forward proposals for additional methods of representing communities’ exposure to noise and requirements for options analysis and consultation that will ensure communities are more engaged in future decisions around airspace that affect them.

16 Jul 2019, 1:40 p.m. Ghana: Diplomatic Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to improve diplomatic relations with Ghana.

Answer (Harriett Baldwin)

​The UK has a strong relationship with Ghana that is built on our Commonwealth ties, shared values, our people-to-people links and a common interest in promoting stability, democracy and prosperity in West Africa. The Foreign Secretary visited Ghana on 30 April – 1 May where he was accompanied by a British business delegation. During the visit he held talks with the Vice President of Ghana and several Cabinet Ministers to further bilateral and trade priorities, including securing new commercial deals with British companies. The Foreign Secretary and the Ghanaian Foreign Minister enhanced the UK-Ghana relationship through the signing of a Joint Declaration, which is set to strengthen existing ties, focus action on agreed priorities and open up new areas for mutual co-operation.

In the last year, I have co-chaired, with Ghana's Vice President, two meetings of the UK-Ghana Business Council, a high-level bilateral forum to promote cooperation on economic development, job creation, trade and investment. The last meeting was held in London in February where, as well as the Vice President, I was delighted to welcome the Minister for Trade, the Minister for Planning, and Deputy Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs. During his visit, the Vice President also met with the Foreign Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

16 Jul 2019, 8:39 a.m. Paramedical Staff: Crimes of Violence Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of work days lost by ambulance staff as from sick leave as a result of an assault while on duty in each of the last three years.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

The data is not available at the level of detail requested.

NHS Digital publishes sickness absence rates, including those of ambulance staff, but that data does not include the number of work days lost or the reason for the absence.

15 Jul 2019, 11:18 a.m. Bus Services Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is taking to incentivise more people to use bus services.

Answer (Ms Nusrat Ghani)

Local bus journeys remain central to transport choices, accounting for around 55% of all public transport journeys. The Bus Services Act 2017 provides the tools local authorities need such as Enhanced Partnerships and Franchising to improve local bus services and increase passenger numbers.

We are pioneering technology, like our forthcoming Bus Open Data Digital Service, to overhaul bus services across England and give passengers the information they need to travel with confidence.

15 Jul 2019, 10:58 a.m. Merchant Navy Day: Flags Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if the Government will recognise Merchant Navy Day as an official UK flag-flying day.

Answer (Ms Nusrat Ghani)

As it has done since 2000, the Department for Transport will fly the Red Ensign flag on Merchant Navy Day. Number 10 Downing Street also flies the Red Ensign flag yearly on 3rd September. I will be writing to other Departments to encourage them to follow our and Number 10’s lead in flying the Red Ensign flag on Merchant Navy Day in the centenary year of our Merchant Navy.

12 Jul 2019, 10:57 a.m. EU Budget: Contributions Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the total sum that the UK has paid to the EU budget since 24 June 2016.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

The EU annually publishes a financial report, which details the levels of revenue and expenditure, received and executed by the EU, relative to Member States. Between 2016 and 2017, the UK has contributed €30 billion to the annual EU budget, and received €13 billion in receipts to both the public and private sector.

Additionally, HM Treasury produces an annual European Finances Statement which details the UK’s contribution to the EU over the past year. The latest version of that statement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/european-union-finances-2018

The OBR also produces an independent forecast for annual contributions to the EU.

12 Jul 2019, 9:46 a.m. British Nationality Act 1981 Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Answer of 10 May 2019 to Question 15353 on British Nationality, what assessment he has made of the merits of amending the British Nationality Act 1981.

Answer (Caroline Nokes)

We recognise the difficulties which current British nationality law presents for some British Overseas Territory citizen parents who wish to pass on their citizenship to their children We have engaged with the British Overseas Territories to seek their views on this. We are considering what legislative options might be available to make any changes should this be desired.

11 Jul 2019, 3:30 p.m. Fire and Rescue Services: Training Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what funding he plans to allocate for fire service training in each of the next five financial years.

Answer (Mr Nick Hurd)

Fire and rescue authorities will receive around £2.3 billion in 2019/20. It is the responsibility of fire and rescue services to ensure that their staff receive appropriate training to deliver their core functions across prevention, protection and response effectively.

Fire and Rescue Services funding requirements from 2020/21 will be considered as part of the Spending Review.

10 Jul 2019, 4:10 p.m. Pets: Animal Welfare Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure the maintenance or improvement of animal welfare standards for pets after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (David Rutley)

We have strong animal welfare standards for pets in this country, and have taken recent steps to enhance those protections including banning the third party sale of puppies and kittens, updating the companion animal welfare codes and introducing legislation to increase the maximum penalty for animal cruelty to 5 years imprisonment. These standards will be maintained when we leave the EU and we will look to strengthen standards further where supported by scientific and veterinary evidence.

10 Jul 2019, 3:48 p.m. Fisheries: Vocational Guidance Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage more school leavers to pursue a career in the fishing industry.

Answer (Anne Milton)

To help young people understand what they can pursue and achieve in the future, it is important that they have information on a range of jobs and careers, as well as having the opportunity to encounter a wide variety of employers in different sectors to inspire them. We are improving careers advice in schools so that young people understand the full range of careers available and how they can progress into them through both technical and academic routes.

The Careers & Enterprise Company is making sure that every young person has access to encounters with employers from a range of sectors, which may include the fishing and video games industries. Information on a variety of careers, including these industries, can also be found on the National Careers Service website, which is available at: https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk//.

Regarding the video games industry specifically, we have introduced Computing as a statutory national curriculum subject at all four key stages and we have introduced a new Computer Science GCSE and A level. These subjects will better equip pupils with the skills and knowledge they need to pursue high-tech jobs in the future, including the development of video games, for example through the level 4 software developer apprenticeship or the level 3 digital support technician apprenticeship.

10 Jul 2019, 3:48 p.m. Video Games: Vocational Guidance Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage more school leavers to pursue a career in the video games industry.

Answer (Anne Milton)

To help young people understand what they can pursue and achieve in the future, it is important that they have information on a range of jobs and careers, as well as having the opportunity to encounter a wide variety of employers in different sectors to inspire them. We are improving careers advice in schools so that young people understand the full range of careers available and how they can progress into them through both technical and academic routes.

The Careers & Enterprise Company is making sure that every young person has access to encounters with employers from a range of sectors, which may include the fishing and video games industries. Information on a variety of careers, including these industries, can also be found on the National Careers Service website, which is available at: https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk//.

Regarding the video games industry specifically, we have introduced Computing as a statutory national curriculum subject at all four key stages and we have introduced a new Computer Science GCSE and A level. These subjects will better equip pupils with the skills and knowledge they need to pursue high-tech jobs in the future, including the development of video games, for example through the level 4 software developer apprenticeship or the level 3 digital support technician apprenticeship.

9 Jul 2019, 4 p.m. Trinidad and Tobago: Diplomatic Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to improve diplomatic relations with Trinidad and Tobago.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

​Bilateral relations between the UK and Trinidad and Tobago are warm and positive. Our close cooperation on shared priorities such as crime and security is underpinned by a 2017 bilateral Security Memorandum of Understanding. Working together through the Commonwealth, we promote democratic values and equality, and jointly tackle global challenges such as climate change. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s International Programme Fund, cross-HMG Conflict, Security and Stability Fund and Counter Terrorism Programme Fund all support our work in Trinidad and Tobago.

9 Jul 2019, 3:58 p.m. Falkland Islands: Sovereignty Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions with his Argentinian counterpart on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

None. The position remains unchanged.

9 Jul 2019, 3:53 p.m. Seychelles: Economic Growth Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what country-specific direct support his Department is providing to the Seychelles to support economic development in that country.

Answer (Harriett Baldwin)

The Department for International Development does not provide country-specific direct support to Seychelles to support its economic development as it is a high income country. The UK does fund international organisations working in Seychelles that support maritime security, tackle illicit finance flows, and help Seychelles assess its vulnerability to climate change.

9 Jul 2019, 3:53 p.m. Zambia: Overseas Aid Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what country-specific direct support his Department is providing to Zambia to (a) support economic development and (b) strengthen democratic institutions in that country.

Answer (Harriett Baldwin)

The DFID Zambia economic development portfolio comprises programmes primarily focused on job creation and private sector investment, infrastructure and energy development. It supports the poorest with tools they can use for their own development. These initiatives include:

  1. Supporting job creation and regulatory reform in high-potential sectors that provide opportunities for women and youth employment, including agriculture, services to the mining industry, tourism and household services (clean cooking, off-grid energy, on-site sanitation).
  2. Fostering innovation and job creation through technical assistance to competitively selected businesses with the potential to create large scale jobs and grow to provincial, national and eventually regional businesses.
  3. Increasing access to finance for growing businesses and facilitate new investment sources, including global impact investors (e.g. the ImpactCapitalAfrica initiative), local private wealth individuals (e.g. first-of-a-kind crowd-funding from Zambian residents) and state assets (e.g. engagement with Zambia’s development bank and pension funds).
  4. Responding to high levels of urbanisation and Zambia’s geographical challenges by helping municipalities improve urban planning and supporting key Ministries and the private sector to develop more effective infrastructure solutions.
  5. Piloting technology applications that deliver on development challenges and create and support sustainable businesses such as in rural mobility and off-grid cold chains.
  6. Support climate smart agriculture approaches and financial inclusion for the rural and peri-urban poor.

DFID also provides direct support to create an enabling environment for citizens’ representation. Our support has contributed to 1.7 million new voters registering for the 2016 elections, and it enables Zambians to raise and debate issues that matter to them with their leaders, locally and nationally.

9 Jul 2019, 3:51 p.m. Kenya: Overseas Aid Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what country-specific direct support his Department is providing to Kenya to (a) support economic development and (b) strengthen democratic institutions in that country.

Answer (Harriett Baldwin)

The DFID Kenya economic development portfolio comprises a range of programmes primarily focused on Trade, Agriculture, Urban Economic Development, Energy and Jobs. Specifically, these initiatives aim to support Kenya in:

  1. Reducing the time taken and costs involved in trading within Kenya and across the region by improving the efficiency of transport infrastructure and strengthening the regulatory and policy environment for trade.
  2. Developing fairer, better functioning, market systems in agriculture, livestock and water sectors.
  3. Responding to high levels of urbanisation by helping municipalities in Kenya to plan better and attract investment into climate-resilient infrastructure and value chain projects.
  4. Designing and testing the commercial viability of different Green Mini-Grid models developed and operated by the private sector in Kenya.
  5. Fostering innovation and job creation through providing seed-financing and technical assistance to competitively selected businesses with the potential to create large scale jobs including for the youth, those working in the informal sector and hard-to-reach places and those living with disabilities.

In addition, the DFID Kenya Governance portfolio is working to help strengthen democratic institutions in Kenya through supporting:

  1. The Independent Elections and Boundary Commission to prepare and manage fair, credible and peaceful elections.
  2. A range of other independent institutions such as the Independent Police Oversight Authority, the Office of the Auditor General, and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
  3. A range of civil society organisations working to better hold government to account in the areas of service delivery, police reform and public participation, as well as working with parliamentary committees, for example, the public accounts committees.

In line with the UK’s new approach to Africa, our work is helping to build a stronger, more modern partnership with Kenya.

9 Jul 2019, 3:14 p.m. Defence: Finance Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether she has plans to increase defence spending in the next three years.

Answer (Penny Mordaunt)

Future spending plans will be agreed at the next Spending Review.

The first duty of any Government is the safety and security of the British people at home and abroad. That is why we have committed to spending at least 2% of our GDP on Defence every year of this Parliament.

9 Jul 2019, 3:13 p.m. Apache AH-64 Helicopters: Procurement Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when her Department plans to complete its order for all 50 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.

Answer (Stuart Andrew)

The order for all 50 Apache AH-64E attack helicopters was placed with the US Government in June 2016 and deliveries are planned to be complete by early 2024. The US Government manages the timing of subcontracts to support the required aircraft delivery schedule.

9 Jul 2019, 2:08 p.m. Malawi: Diplomatic Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to improve diplomatic relations with Malawi.

Answer (Harriett Baldwin)

Bilateral relations between the UK and Malawi remain strong. Following the Presidential election on 21 May, our High Commission in Lilongwe is engaging with the newly appointed Government to agree areas for future co-operation. The UK supports prosperity and development for the people of Malawi with around £140 million invested per year through the Department for International Development (DFID)'s work, which is targeted on the most vulnerable in society. The UK-funded Commonwealth Trade Facilitation Programme is helping Malawi adopt faster and more efficient customs procedures. In turn, these will reduce the cost of doing business and create a more enabling environment for intra-Commonwealth Trade. In conjunction with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Ministry of Defence (MOD), we are also providing expertise and training to Malawian rangers to tackle the Illegal Wildlife Trade. The recently announced Royal Visit to Malawi by HRH The Duke of Sussex in the Autumn will strengthen further our deep and long-standing relationship with Malawi.

9 Jul 2019, 11:15 a.m. Reoffenders: Prosecutions Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions he has had with the Director of Public Prosecutions on ensuring more effective prosecutions of cases involving repeat offenders.

Answer (Mr Nick Hurd)

The Home Secretary and the Director of Public Prosecutions meet regularly through the Criminal Justice Board (CJB), which brings together leaders from across the criminal justice system to address cross-system issues, including reoffending.

8 Jul 2019, 4:33 p.m. NATO: Military Exercises Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the timetable is for the conclusion of Exercise Dynamic Mongoose 19.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

The UK assets participating in Exercise Dynamic Mongoose 19 are due to conclude their deployment on 12 July 2019.

8 Jul 2019, 3:25 p.m. Radicalism: Social Media Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department is (a) taking and (b) plans to take to help tackle the number of extreme lslamists operating on (a) Twitter and (b) other social media platforms.

Answer (Victoria Atkins)

This Government has been clear there should be no safe space online for terrorists and their supporters to radicalise, recruit, incite, or inspire. The UK has been at the forefront of the online battle against extremist and terrorist material.

The dedicated police Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) refers content that they assess as contravening UK terrorism legislation to industry and have secured the removal of over 310,000 pieces of terrorist material since its inception in February 2010.

The UK Government was instrumental in setting up the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), an industry-led forum, following the 2017 terrorist attacks. We continue to press for the GIFCT to lead a more robust and coordinated cross-industry response to reduce the availability of terrorist content on the internet.

We continue to work with technology companies, including Twitter, to encourage them to take further steps in tackling terrorist material on the Internet. While companies have taken positive steps, the Government has been clear that more needs to be done to tackle online harms, including extremist content. That is why the Government published the Online Harms White Paper, which sets out our plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online and hold companies to account for tackling a wide range of online harms.

8 Jul 2019, 2:03 p.m. Veterans: Hong Kong Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 7 November 2018 to Question 186245 on Right of Abode: Veterans, what progress his Department has made on making a decision on whether to grant right of abode to former British-Hong Kong servicemen.

Answer (Caroline Nokes)

Under the British Nationality Selection Scheme introduced in 1990, a limited number of Hong Kong Military Service Corps personnel who were settled in Hong Kong could apply to register as a British citizen. The Scheme ran until 1 July 1997.

The Home Secretary has met with Andrew Rosindell MP and a delegation of former Hong Kong Military Service Corps (HKMSC) personnel and listened to their representations. This is a complex matter to which we are giving careful consideration.

5 Jul 2019, 10:42 a.m. Plagiarism: Universities Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle plagiarism among students at university.

Answer (Chris Skidmore)

The government has been clear that the Office for Students (OfS) should take firm and robust action to ensure that threats to academic integrity are tackled. We are determined to beat the cheats who threaten the integrity of our higher education (HE) system.

The OfS requires HE providers to design courses that enable the reliable assessment of a student’s genuine achievements. Students are nearly always obligated by their provider to sign a ‘student contract’ at the commencement of their studies. The contract sets out acceptable student behaviours. Many contracts contain a reference to plagiarism and academic fraud. Many also set out possible sanctions that students may face if they are found to have broken the contract.

As independent and autonomous bodies, HE providers have discretion when imposing sanctions, provided that those sanctions are authorised by the contract. The most recent guidance from the Quality Assurance Agency highlights the importance of severe sanctions of suspension or expulsion if ‘extremely serious academic misconduct’ has been discovered.

HE providers' approaches to tackling cheating include deduction of marks, no credit for the work in question, permanent exclusion for a second offence or immediate expulsion depending on seriousness.

In March, the government challenged PayPal to stop processing payments for ‘essay mills’. PayPal is now working with businesses associated with essay-writing services to ensure its platform is not used to facilitate deceptive and fraudulent practices in education.

Furthermore, our recently published Education Technology Strategy challenged technology companies to identify how anti-cheating software can tackle the growth of essay mills and stay one step ahead of the cheats. This publication can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/realising-the-potential-of-technology-in-education.

5 Jul 2019, 9:22 a.m. Shipping: Vocational Guidance Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage more school leavers to pursue a career in the maritime industry.

Answer (Anne Milton)

It is important for young people to have information on a range of jobs and careers, as well as encounters with a variety of employers in different sectors to inspire them about what they can achieve. The Careers & Enterprise Company is making sure that every young person has access to encounters with employers from a variety of sectors, which may include the maritime industry. In addition, information on a variety of careers, including the maritime industry, can be found on the National Careers Service website.

5 Jul 2019, 9:20 a.m. Technology: Vocational Guidance Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage more school leavers to pursue a career in the technology sector.

Answer (Anne Milton)

We have introduced computing as a statutory national curriculum subject at all 4 key stages and have introduced a new Computer Science GCSE and A level. The content was developed with industry experts to better equip pupils with the knowledge and skills they need to become active creators of digital technology.

As part of the Industrial Strategy, the government has committed substantial spending on mathematics, digital and technical education to increase the take-up and better teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in schools. For example, in November 2018 we launched the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE), backed by £84 million of new funding. The NCCE is run by a coalition of STEM Learning, the British Computing Society and Raspberry Pi and supported by industry.

The NCCE is delivering a comprehensive programme of continuing professional development to improve the teaching of computing and increase participation in computer science at GCSE and A level, particularly amongst girls. We expect that this, in turn, will help equip these young people with the knowledge they need to pursue a career in the technology sector.

We are also improving careers advice in schools so that young people are aware of the high quality options available for both technical and academic routes into digital careers and they have access to information about the variety of careers that digital technology pathways have to offer. STEM activities, including employer talks and work visits, are built into school career programmes and the Careers & Enterprise Company funds some opportunities for young people to meet a wide range of STEM employers, which include those from the technology sector.

4 Jul 2019, 3:54 p.m. Prison Officers: Riot Control Weapons Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of protection available to prison officers who are not trained in the use of PAVA spray.

Answer (Robert Buckland)

The Government is clear that prison officers should have the best possible protection when facing physical violence that is sometimes directed against them. We plan to roll out PAVA, a synthetic pepper spray, to all adult male closed establishments which have fully implemented the key worker scheme – which is vital in building relationships between offenders and staff. PAVA will be rolled out alongside training in a newly developed personal protection system. Additionally we will be making rigid bar handcuffs available to prison officers for use during prisoner control and restraint in the male estate, and body worn video cameras are already available to staff across the estate.

The Assault on Emergency Workers Act 2018 has doubled the maximum sentence from 6 to 12 months in prison for assaulting prison staff. This new law means that judges must consider tougher sentences for a range of other offences - including GBH and sexual assault - if the victim is a prison officer.

4 Jul 2019, 2:32 p.m. Greyhounds: Animal Welfare Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Second report of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee of Session 2015–16, Greyhound welfare published on 10 February 2016 and its recommendation that regulations should be extended beyond racetracks to cover standards at trainers’ kennels, if he will amend the Welfare of Racing Greyhound Regulations 2010.

Answer (David Rutley)

I refer my hon. Friend to my answer of 25 June to the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, Paul Farrelly, to PQ 265461. The Government is currently considering whether changes are required to the Welfare of Racing Greyhound Regulations 2010 to protect the welfare of racing greyhounds used by professional trainers not running greyhounds on tracks regulated by the industry regulator, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain.

4 Jul 2019, 2:19 p.m. Overseas Trade: Montenegro Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps he has taken to enhance UK trade with Montenegro after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Graham Stuart)

The whole Europe region remains a strategic priority for UK trade. Total trade in goods and services between the UK and Montenegro was £67m in 2018.

In August 2018, the Secretary of State launched the Export Strategy, the government’s plan to increase UK total exports as a proportion of GDP to 35% and make Britain a 21st century exporting superpower. The Export Strategy will encourage and inspire more businesses to export; inform businesses by providing practical assistance on exporting; connect UK businesses to overseas buyers and opportunities; and help provide finance through UKEF to enhance the HMG offer to UK exporters. Through this strategy we will also continue to promote the UK as a bilateral trading partner, reassuring Montenegro businesses that the UK remains open for business and remains an advocate for free trade and open markets.

4 Jul 2019, 1:30 p.m. Hong Kong: Human Rights Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Government plans to discuss human rights issues in Hong Kong at the next G20 meeting.

Answer (Dr Andrew Murrison)

“The Prime Minister raised Hong Kong at the G20 with EU leaders. She reiterated the importance of upholding the rights and freedoms and high degree of autonomy guaranteed by the Sino-British Joint Declaration.”

4 Jul 2019, 11:15 a.m. Terrorism: Prosecutions Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Attorney General, what recent discussions he has had with the Director of Public Prosecutions on ensuring more effective prosecutions of cases involving individuals supporting terrorism abroad.

Answer (Mr Geoffrey Cox)

The CPS has a strong record of bringing successful prosecutions in terrorism cases, and works closely with Counter Terrorism policing and partners to help build strong cases.

Where individuals provide support to terrorism abroad, for example by funding terrorism, they should expect to be investigated by the police and prosecuted by the CPS if the evidential and public interest tests in the Code for Crown Prosecutors are met.

Where crimes are committed abroad, Section 17 of the Terrorism Act 2006 provides the courts with extra-territorial jurisdiction in relation to a number of terrorism offences so that if an individual were to commit one of these offences in a foreign country, they would be liable under UK law in the same way as if they had committed the offence in the UK. As the nature of terrorism has evolved, section 17 has been amended to include further offences. The CPS strongly supported these legislative provisions to strengthen our ability to prosecute offenders.

4 Jul 2019, 10:33 a.m. Greyhound Racing: Animal Welfare Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has plans to establish a statutory greyhound race betting levy to improve the welfare of racing greyhounds.

Answer (Mims Davies)

On 10th January 2019, the Government announced a new funding commitment from bookmakers worth an estimated £3 million this year to ensure the welfare of greyhounds is protected and improved. This commitment is set to increase the total amount of the voluntary levy bookmakers pay to the British Greyhound Racing Fund (BGRF) to an estimated £10m this year. We expect thousands of racing greyhounds are to be better cared for as a result of this new deal.

Government has no current plans to introduce a statutory levy. We will continue to work with the betting and greyhound industries to make sure that greyhound welfare is safeguarded and remains at the heart of the sport.

3 Jul 2019, 4:13 p.m. Public Houses: Closures Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help reduce trends in the number of pubs closing each year.

Answer (Kelly Tolhurst)

Several measures have been introduced across Government to support pubs, including a freeze on beer duty announced at Budget 2018. This means that the price of a typical pint of beer in 2019 is 2p lower than it would have been had duty increased with inflation and 14p lower than it otherwise would have been since ending the beer duty escalator in 2013.

Many small pubs are benefitting from the business rates retail discount announced at Budget 2018, which cuts bills for eligible businesses by one third from April 2019 for two years. It is available to eligible businesses with a rateable value below £51,000.

Additionally, some 2,000 pubs have been listed as Assets of Community Value (ACVs), meaning that if they are put up for sale, the community can have up to six months to bid to buy them. Planning regulations which came into effect in May 2017 removed permitted development rights from all pubs, meaning that planning permission must now be obtained prior to change of use or demolition.

Furthermore, the Government’s recent announcement of a tourism sector deal, as part of the Industrial Strategy, will be a boost for pubs and the hospitality industry.

3 Jul 2019, 2:36 p.m. Nuclear Submarines: Decommissioning Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps her Department is taking to minimise the time taken to dispose of retired nuclear submarines.

Answer (Stuart Andrew)

An established programme of work is in place to dispose of our decommissioned nuclear submarines as soon as practicable. Good progress has been made and the initial phase of dismantling of the first submarine, SWIFTSURE, has been completed. Work continues on the removal of low level radioactive waste from the second boat, RESOLUTION. We expect to have a fully developed process for steady state disposal ready by 2026. In parallel, we continue to examine techniques and processes that can maximise the efficiency of this work.

3 Jul 2019, 2:28 p.m. Warships: Territorial Waters Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps her Department is taking to deter foreign military vessels from entering UK territorial waters.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

The protection of UK Territorial waters is a shared responsibility between the Ministry of Defence; Border Force; Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs; and, in relation to fisheries, the Marine Management Organisation in England, Marine Scotland and Northern Ireland's Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

As part of the Ministry of Defence's contribution to the Government's efforts, there is always one Royal Navy ship that is designated as the Fleet Ready Escort (FRE), together with a number of Royal Navy units available in UK waters. The FRE is at short notice to react to any maritime threat to the UK.

The FRE will spend the majority of the year in and around UK waters conducting training and exercises with various UK and military agencies and organisations. This is combined with RAF surveillance aircraft and a multi layered range of complementary assets, including those from Allies.

3 Jul 2019, 11:46 a.m. National Holocaust Memorial Centre and Learning Service: Pupils Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that pupils are aware of the non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The Department is fully committed to Holocaust education. Every young person should learn about the Holocaust and the lessons it teaches us today. The curriculum gives teachers and schools the freedom to decide how to teach the subject and what resources to use to support an understanding of the Holocaust.

The Department further supports pupils’ and teachers’ understanding of the Holocaust by providing funding, such as £2,126,437 in 2019-20 for the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project. The Department also provides funding to the UCL Institute of Education’s Centre for Holocaust Education, in 2019-20 £500,000 will be match funded by the Pears foundation. Additionally, in October 2018, the Chancellor announced £1.7 million for a new programme to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen by British troops.

A wide array of resources are available. Both Lessons from Auschwitz and the knowledge and training provided by the Centre for Holocaust Education include information and resources to support an understanding of the Holocaust and the Nazi’s persecution of other non-Jewish groups, from the genocide of the Roma to the murder of people who were, for example, gay, disabled, Communist, trade-unionist, Polish or Soviet prisoners of war.

2 Jul 2019, 12:40 p.m. Maritime Patrol Aircraft Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when the Poseidon MRA Mk1 (P-8A) will be operational.

Answer (Stuart Andrew)

The first UK Poseidon MRA Mk1 (P-8A) is scheduled to arrive in the UK in early 2020 and we expect to have reached initial operating capability during 2020.

2 Jul 2019, 10:28 a.m. Trade Agreements: Grenada Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps he has taken to negotiate a free trade deal with Grenada after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

The UK signed the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Grenada on 22 March 2019. This will provide continuity for businesses, exporters and consumers as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

2 Jul 2019, 10:22 a.m. Trade Agreements: Georgia Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress he has made on ensuring transitional arrangements for the UK to replace the EU's trade agreement with Georgia; and whether he has plans to enhance that agreement after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

We continue to engage with Georgia on replicating the effects of the existing EU trade agreement. Both the UK and Georgia remain committed to concluding a new partnership, trade & cooperation agreement as soon as possible. We are working together to ensure we are prepared for all possible scenarios. The Government will inform Parliament as soon as our discussions have concluded.

Continuity is our primary objective and securing this will be a strong foundation to build on for our trading relationship.

1 Jul 2019, 8:51 a.m. Politics and Government: Northern Ireland Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps she has taken to ensure that Northern Ireland has good governance in the absence of a devolved Administration.

Answer (Karen Bradley)

Since the previous round of talks finished in 2018, this Government has focused on taking steps to ensure good governance can continue in Northern Ireland. This has included the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018 that provides the Northern Ireland Civil Service the certainty and clarity they need to continue to deliver public services in the absence of Ministers. The Government remains of the view, however, that the best guarantee of good governance is the restoration of the Belfast Agreement institutions and is focused on seeking agreement between the parties as part of the current talks process.

28 Jun 2019, 1:39 p.m. Council Housing: Waiting Lists Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what algorithm is used by local authorities to process council house waiting lists.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

Local authorities have freedom to set their own criteria determining who qualifies for social housing in their district, through changes introduced in the Localism Act 2011, and how this is delivered. However, they must ensure that reasonable preference (overall priority) for social housing is given to certain categories of people in housing need, including homeless households, people living in overcrowded housing, and those who have medical and welfare needs.

In the social housing green paper we set out our intention to undertake an evidence collection exercise to help us understand how the allocations system is working and whether it is striking the right balance between fairness, support and aspiration.

28 Jun 2019, 11:58 a.m. Heroin Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people have been charged with the distribution of heroin in each of the last five years.

Answer (Mr Nick Hurd)

The Home Office collects and holds data on crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales, and outcomes recorded for these crimes. The table below shows the number of charge/summons outcomes recorded for offences of the supply or intent to supply of heroin.

Table 1: Number of charged/summonsed outcomes recorded for offences involving supply or intent to supply with heroin; England & Wales

Calendar Year

Supply

Possession with intent to supply

Total

2014

884

1,263

2,147

2015

1,071

1,676

2,747

2016

873

1,646

2,519

2017

1,070

1,671

2,741

2018

714

1,307

2,021

Total

4,612

7,563

12,175

Source: Home Office Data Hub

28 Jun 2019, 11:15 a.m. Teachers: Graduates Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to make the teaching profession a more popular choice for graduates.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The government’s top priority is to ensure that teaching continues to be an attractive and fulfilling profession. 34,595 teacher trainees were recruited this year, an increase of 8% on 2017/18.

We have put in place a range of measures, including generous bursaries, worth up to £26,000, to encourage trainees to key subjects such as languages and physics. We also offer prestigious scholarship schemes, worth up to £28,000, in six subjects including physics, maths and languages: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/funding-initial-teacher-training-itt-academic-year-2018-to-19.

In January we launched the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy. Designed collaboratively with the sector, the centrepiece of the strategy is the Early Career Framework, which will underpin a fully-funded, two-year support package for new teachers, providing them with the early career support enjoyed by other top professions.

In the strategy we committed to making it easier for great people to become teachers, including a new one-stop application service for initial teacher training. We will also launch a new Discover Teaching initiative, giving as many people as possible the opportunity to experience the opportunities that a career in teaching provides. The strategy can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-recruitment-and-retention-strategy.

28 Jun 2019, 11:01 a.m. Hong Kong: Politics and Government Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the Government obligations to monitor the implementation of the principles established in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong.

Answer (Dr Andrew Murrison)

The Sino-British Joint Declaration is a legally binding treaty, registered with the UN that remains in force. We believe that the UK has an obligation and a right to monitor its implementation closely, and we are strongly committed to doing so.

28 Jun 2019, 10:28 a.m. Agriculture: Wales Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what steps he will take to support the farming sector in Wales after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Alun Cairns)

The UK Government is committed to ensure that farmers in Wales and across the UK are supported as we leave the UK. That is why we have pledged to continue to commit the same cash total in funds for farm support for the duration of this Parliament, providing much needed certainty to the agricultural sector across the UK including Wales.

28 Jun 2019, 10:28 a.m. Foreign Languages: Education Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage more people from disadvantaged backgrounds to learn foreign languages.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

Since September 2014, the reformed national curriculum makes it compulsory for pupils in maintained schools to be taught a modern or classical language in Key Stage 2. The Department introduced the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) performance measure in 2010 where entry into both modern and ancient language GCSEs count towards the languages element of the EBacc.

The modern foreign languages pedagogy pilot commenced in December 2018, managed by a Centre for Excellence and run through nine school-led hubs, is aiming to improve uptake and attainment in languages at Key Stages 3 and 4, and to share best practice especially in disadvantaged areas. We have also launched a pilot project in languages undergraduate mentoring for secondary school pupils to drive up participation in the subject, specifically targeting areas of high disadvantage to extend access to languages for all pupils.

27 Jun 2019, 4:15 p.m. EU Countries: Political Parties Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether there are political parties within the EU with which it is the UK Government's policy not to engage with.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

We decide whether to engage with individual political parties in Europe on a case-by-case basis. We regularly review our approach.

27 Jun 2019, 3:57 p.m. Fires: Housing Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many fires have occurred in new build houses in each of the last five years for which data is available.

Answer (Mr Nick Hurd)

The Home Office does not hold this information.

27 Jun 2019, 3:56 p.m. Crimes of Violence: Acids Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans he has to increase the rate of stop and search policing in response to the increase in acid attacks.

Answer (Mr Nick Hurd)

Stop and search is a vital policing tool when used correctly and officers have the Government's full support to use these powers in a way that is fair, lawful and effective.

The Offensive Weapons Act 2019 created a new offence of possessing a corrosive substance in a public place. The Act also created a complementary stop and search power to ensure officers are able to enforce this new offence and tackle these devastating crimes effectively.

The Act received Royal Assent on 16 May and we are working to the bring this new power into force by the Autumn.

We are also supporting police with additional funding. On 13 March the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £100 million fund to tackle serious violence. £63.4 million of this funding has already been allocated to 18 police forces worst affected by serious violence to support surge operational activity, such as increased patrols.

27 Jun 2019, 3:53 p.m. Police: Biometrics Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the facial recognition technology being trialled by the police.

Answer (Mr Nick Hurd)

The Government supports the police in trialling this technology, which has the potential to improve public safety. Cardiff University published their independent review of South Wales Police’s trials in November 2018, and the University of Essex is due to publish its review of the Metropolitan Police Service trials shortly. Possible matches produced by these systems are always checked by a human operator before deciding what, if any, action to take.

27 Jun 2019, 2:13 p.m. Dangerous Dogs Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, what discussions he has had with animal welfare organisations on changing the law to allow rehoming organisations to rehome well-behaved and suitably assessed section 1 dogs.

Answer (David Rutley)

Whilst there are no plans to change the law on dangerous dogs, Defra has discussed the interpretation of the existing law on dangerous dogs with stakeholders. Recent case law (Webb v Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Constabulary (Secretary of State for Food Environment and Rural Affairs intervening) [2017] EWHC 3311 (Admin)) confirmed that the Court may award possession of a prohibited dog to the owner of the dog or to a person who has been “for the time being in charge” of the dog.

27 Jun 2019, 1:29 p.m. Anduril: Marines Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the (a) period and (b) cost is of the contract between the Royal Marines Commando force and Andurial Industries.

Answer (Stuart Andrew)

There is no direct contract in place between the Royal Marines and Anduril Industries. Equipment was procured from the company by QinetiQ on behalf of the Royal Navy. For reasons of commercial sensitivity, I am withholding information regarding the value.

27 Jun 2019, 1:29 p.m. Armoured Fighting Vehicles: Procurement Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the (a) period and (b) cost is of the contract between his Department and NP Aerospace in relation to Protected Mobility Engineering and Technical Support.

Answer (Stuart Andrew)

The £63 million Protected Mobility Engineering and Technical Services contract was awarded to NP Aerospace Limited in January 2019. It is expected to run until 2024, with options to extend until 2030.

27 Jun 2019, 12:40 p.m. Trade Agreements: Syria Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress he has made in carrying over the existing EU trade agreement with Syria.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

Since 2012, the UK Government has suspended any engagement with the Syrian regime and closed the British Embassy in Damascus. Additionally, the EU-Syria Cooperation Agreement is currently suspended, including the chapters on trade in crude oil, petroleum products, gold, precious metals and diamonds. The Department for International Trade has no plans to transition this agreement over at this time.

27 Jun 2019, 12:31 p.m. Trade Agreements: United Arab Emirates Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress he has made on a free trade deal with the United Arab Emirates.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

Formal negotiations on free trade deals cannot begin until after the UK leaves the EU.

The UK’s engagement on the future trading relationship with the United Arab Emirates is being conducted through the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The greatest progress in UK-GCC trade liberalisation is likely to come from adopting an “agile” approach to trade policy, in the short-term. This will include exploring non-tariff measures, such as regulatory barriers to market access, that could help facilitate free-flowing trade. We have started to discuss this approach with the GCC.

27 Jun 2019, 11:50 a.m. Fairgrounds Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support the fairs and showmen industry.

Answer (Margot James)

The government strongly believes in the benefits that the arts and creative industries bring to the UK, including the commercial entertainment industry of which fairs and show people are a key part. The cultural and creative industries are some of the fastest growing sectors of the UK economy and government is committed to assisting them to continue to grow.

Arts Council England also funds a number of local festivals and circus arts, which covers some performing arts organisations as well as individuals who practice circus-related skills. For example, in 2018/19 ACE provided almost £4 million of funding to projects and organisations whose primary sub-discipline was circus related activity.

26 Jun 2019, 4:23 p.m. Government Departments: Havering Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of the Government estate is in the Borough of Havering.

Answer (Oliver Dowden)

The total floor area for the London Borough of Havering as at March 2018 was 9,023 sq.m, c.0.1% of the total size of the central estate.

26 Jun 2019, 2:58 p.m. Police: Stun Guns Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the protection available to police officers who are not trained in the use of stun guns.

Answer (Mr Nick Hurd)

The Government is clear that police officers should have the best possible protection when facing the physical violence that is sometimes directed against them. Decisions about the selection and purchase of police equipment are primarily for chief officers of police. The Government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory provides scientific and technical advice to support the police, including the development and management of protective equipment standards, such as body armour and personal defence sprays.

26 Jun 2019, 1:43 p.m. HMS Forth Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when HMS Forth will be deployed; and whether it will be permanently deployed to the UK's South Atlantic Territories.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

The Royal Navy maintains a permanent presence in the South Atlantic. For reasons of safeguarding national security, we do not discuss the detail of such operations or of future programmes, as this would or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.

26 Jun 2019, 12:37 p.m. London City Airport: Noise Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 6 June 2019 to Question 261130, what the outcome was of the discussions on noise pollution at the meeting on 11 June 2019.

Answer (Michael Ellis)

The aviation noise-related discussions during the meeting between the Aviation Minister and the Chief Executive of London City Airport on 11 June focused on the level of noise complaints and the airport’s sound insulation scheme.

Through the Aviation 2050 green paper, the Government has been consulting on proposals as to how sustainable growth should be defined in terms of aviation noise, including a requirement for all major airports to set out a plan which commits to future noise reduction. The consultation period on the green paper closed on 20 June. We will use the responses and feedback gathered during consultation to finalise the Government’s future vision for aviation, with the final white paper due to be published at the end of this year.

26 Jun 2019, 9:05 a.m. Politics and Government: Hong Kong Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of reduced legal certainty in Hong Kong on UK trade and investment with China.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

The protests in Hong Kong have shown the strength of feeling among its people. It is vital that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy is respected, including the rule of law. As a strong supporter of the “One country, two systems” principle, we have a high level of ambition for our trade and investment relationship with China and Hong Kong. We are determined to work with both China and Hong Kong to further improve our trade relationship to increase trade and investment flows.

25 Jun 2019, 2:34 p.m. Estonia: Air Force Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many times RAF aircraft have been scrambled as part of Operation Azotize.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

For the 2019 Operation AZOTIZE deployment to undertake Baltic Air Policing in Estonia, the RAF Typhoon detachment have launched Quick Reaction Alert on nine separate days.

18 Jun 2019, 9:17 a.m. Olympic Games: Paris and Tokyo Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether procurement processes for the provision of equipment for Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 will be open to UK businesses.

Answer (Graham Stuart)

My Department has developed strong relationships with the Organising Committees for Tokyo 2020 (TOCOG) and Paris 2024, and has consistently promoted UK strengths in the Sports Economy sector, via inward and outward missions, one-to-one meetings, events and marketing collateral.

The responsibility for how specific contracts are tendered and awarded for Olympic and Paralympic Games lies solely with each local Organising Committee. HMG has encouraged both Organising Committees to utilise international best practice. Tokyo 2020 has a procurement portal listing upcoming contracts, which is fully accessible to UK companies.

All tenders for the Paris 2024 Games will be published on the “Bulletin Officiel”, the official platform for public procurement in France. This platform is open to companies globally, and UK companies can freely bid for tenders. DIT are working closely with our colleagues in France to ensure relevant opportunities for these games are directed towards potential UK suppliers.

18 Jun 2019, 9:17 a.m. Olympic Games Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what powers he has to request from the Olympic Organising Committee information on the way in which specific equipment supply contracts (a) have been and (b) will be awarded.

Answer (Graham Stuart)

My Department has developed strong relationships with the Organising Committees for Tokyo 2020 (TOCOG) and Paris 2024, and has consistently promoted UK strengths in the Sports Economy sector, via inward and outward missions, one-to-one meetings, events and marketing collateral.

The responsibility for how specific contracts are tendered and awarded for Olympic and Paralympic Games lies solely with each local Organising Committee. HMG has encouraged both Organising Committees to utilise international best practice. Tokyo 2020 has a procurement portal listing upcoming contracts, which is fully accessible to UK companies.

All tenders for the Paris 2024 Games will be published on the “Bulletin Officiel”, the official platform for public procurement in France. This platform is open to companies globally, and UK companies can freely bid for tenders. DIT are working closely with our colleagues in France to ensure relevant opportunities for these games are directed towards potential UK suppliers.

17 Jun 2019, 7:31 a.m. Overseas Trade: Indonesia Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether he plans to make increased trade with Indonesia conditional on the removal of virginity tests for women applying to the Indonesian military.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

The UK has a strong history of protecting human rights and promoting our values globally. We were the first country to produce a National Action Plan to implement UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We will continue to encourage all states to uphold international human rights obligations.

As we develop our independent trade policy, we recognise the need to maximise benefits of trade whilst staying true to our values.

17 Jun 2019, 7:29 a.m. Trade Agreements: Israel Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress he has made in negotiating a free trade deal with Israel.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

On 18th February 2019, the Secretary of State for International Trade signed the UK-Israel Trade and Partnership Agreement, which ensures continuity in our trade and investment relationship after the proposed Implementation Period, or if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Securing continuity is the strongest foundation on which to build further on our successful trading relationship.

The UK is committed to strengthening our excellent bilateral relationship through the dedicated trade promotion team at our Embassy in Tel-Aviv. We continue to engage with the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry and liaise with the government to maximise future trade opportunities.

17 Jun 2019, 7:28 a.m. Overseas Trade: Togo Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress has he made on strengthening the trade relationship with Togo after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

Draft Answer

As the Prime Minister set out during her visit to Africa last Summer, which I accompanied her on, the Government is committed to advancing our trade relationship with Africa. DIT has set up the Africa Trade Services Unit to act as the single point of contact for UK companies exporting to Africa. The Unit responds to all Africa trade enquiries, including those related to Togo to improve companies’ trading capabilities and promote trade.

The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act 2018 enables the UK to put in place a trade preferences scheme for developing countries that maintains duty-free, quota-free access to Least Developed Countries, including Togo.

17 Jun 2019, 7:27 a.m. Trade Agreements: Honduras Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps he has taken to negotiate a free trade deal with Honduras.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

As we leave the EU, the Government is seeking to replicate the effects of the EU’s existing trade agreement with Central America, which includes Honduras. We are working together with Central American partners to ensure that we are prepared for all possible scenarios.

Discussions are on-going and the Government will inform Parliament as soon as our discussions have concluded, ahead of ratification.

17 Jun 2019, 7:16 a.m. Trade Agreements: Malawi Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps he has taken to negotiate a free trade deal with Malawi after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act 2018 enables the UK to put in place a trade preferences scheme for developing countries that maintains duty-free, quota-free access to Least Developed Countries, including Malawi.

The UK has signed an Economic Partnership Agreement with Eastern and Southern Africa States (ESA). As Malawi has not acceded to the ESA-EU EPA it is not party to the transitioned UK EPA although it is eligible to do so in the future.

14 Jun 2019, 1:38 p.m. Oman: Detainees Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage the Government of Oman to ensure the fair treatment of the Shuhuh 6.

Answer (Dr Andrew Murrison)

​We monitor human rights in the Middle East and North Africa closely. We are aware that a number of individuals have been arrested under Oman's national security laws and our Ambassador in Muscat raised the arrests with the Omani authorities, most recently on 27 May with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Omani authorities have since given us the strongest assurances that the individuals arrested in Musandam were treated with respect and given full access to their families as well as to legal assistance and recourse, in accordance with Oman's Basic Statute of the State and International laws and Conventions.

14 Jun 2019, 1:37 p.m. Muslim Brotherhood Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the decision by the US Administration to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Mr Ben Wallace)

The Government concluded a comprehensive review of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2015.

The review concluded the movement is a secretive organisation and that parts of it – globally – have a highly ambiguous relationship with violent extremism. The Government remains committed to keeping under review the views promoted and activities undertaken by the Muslim Brotherhood’s associates in the UK, in accordance with the five commitments included in the former Prime Minister’s statement to Parliament.

We will continue to consider any new evidence on the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities against the UK’s legal thresholds.

14 Jun 2019, 1:15 p.m. London City Airport: Noise Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of London City Airport on noise complaints.

Answer (Michael Ellis)

The Aviation Minister met with the Chief Executive of London City Airport on 11 June, during which aircraft noise was discussed. My officials hold regular meetings with airport representatives, and noise complaints were most recently discussed on 30 April.

14 Jun 2019, 1:04 p.m. Unmanned Air Vehicles Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential economic benefits of commercial drone use.

Answer (Michael Ellis)

The potential economic value of drones is huge and, in May 2018, PwC announced that the social and economic benefits of their use could add £42 billion to GDP by 2030. Drones are already being used to great effect

by our emergency and search and rescue services, the public sector and charities to drive more efficient ways of working, monitor environmental change, and assist infrastructure inspections and construction.

14 Jun 2019, 12:51 p.m. Jamaica: Diplomatic Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to support diplomatic relations between the UK and Jamaica.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

Bilateral relations between the UK and Jamaica are warm and positive. We engage regularly with the Jamaican Government through our High Commission in Kingston, and with the Jamaican High Commission in London. We work together on shared priorities including trade and investment and combatting serious and organised crime. Through the Commonwealth, we work closely with Jamaica on promoting democratic values and development, and helping to tackle global challenges such as climate change. The UK-Caribbean Infrastructure Fund supports development in Jamaica.

14 Jun 2019, 11:57 a.m. Local Government: Cultural Heritage Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer or 20 May 2019 to Question 254756 on Historic County Flags Day, whether borough council leaders are also encouraged to engage in local activities to celebrate their historic counties.

Answer (Jake Berry)

I would like all councils to celebrate their historic counties, and local events to mark Historic County Flags Day on 23 July would be an excellent way to do that. We will shortly be publishing guidance, a copy of which I sent earlier this year to the leaders of county councils and unitary counties, to help local authorities celebrate their counties’ proud histories and identities, including by celebrating Historic County Flags Day and the flying of Historic County Flags. I am also considering other ways in which we can raise the profile of Historic County Flags Day.

14 Jun 2019, 10:37 a.m. Biodiversity: Gardens Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase biodiversity in UK gardens.

Answer (Dr Thérèse Coffey)

Under the National Pollinator Strategy the Government works with research, voluntary and private sector partners to develop advice so everyone can provide and manage nesting and feeding habitat for bees and other insects in their gardens, window boxes, allotments or community gardens. We promote this advice through the Bees’ Needs website and through the Defra-coordinated, annual Bees’ Needs Week campaign to celebrate and encourage nationwide action. Advice includes Five Simple Actions, detailing steps that gardeners can take to help pollinators and garden biodiversity.

The Government is also addressing the needs of biodiversity in urban areas through its plans to introduce a mandatory biodiversity net gain requirement for development in England. This will help to ensure that new developments include wildlife-friendly green spaces.

We will continue to work in partnership with scientists and practitioners to review and improve the evidence base, to inform our policy and we will be sharing examples of nature-friendly gardening during the 2019 Year of Green Action. This will include a garden, developed in partnership with the Sensory Trust, at this year’s Royal Horticultural Society Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, which will showcase the many ways in which gardens can contribute to increased biodiversity.

14 Jun 2019, 9:47 a.m. Bees Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the recent trends in the UK bee population.

Answer (Dr Thérèse Coffey)

Each year the Government publishes an indicator of trends in populations of wild bees and other pollinators in the UK. The indicator measures changes in the distribution of almost 400 species of bees and other insects since 1980 and shows that, for all pollinating insects, the indicator has declined by 22% since 1980 although it has stabilised in recent years. For bees, the indicator has declined by 17% since 1980 although it shows evidence of a recovery since 2013.

Trends are also available for managed honey bees. The number of beekeepers registered on BeeBase, the National Bee Unit’s biosecurity system which underpins the Government inspectorate’s actions for bee health, has increased significantly over the last 10 years from 12,000 to over 40,000 today.

Protecting pollinators is a priority for this Government. Since 2014 we have been working with a range of partners to implement a National Pollinator Strategy to address declines in wild pollinators and concerns about bee health, including establishing a pollinator monitoring and research partnership to gather further data and strengthen the evidence base.

14 Jun 2019, 9:31 a.m. Biodiversity: South East Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase biodiversity in (a) London and (b) the South East.

Answer (Dr Thérèse Coffey)

The Government has implemented a range of measures to both protect and increase biodiversity across the country. In London 6,000 hectares have been designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), with some 141,000 hectares designated as SSSI across the south east. These protected sites host habitats and species of international importance for wildlife conservation. Examples include Walthamstow Reservoirs SSSI which is Europe’s largest urban wetland, and the New Forest, the largest area of semi-natural habitat in England covering 29,000 hectares of heathland, grassland and ancient woodland.

We provide substantial public funding for increasing biodiversity, spending £2.9 billion on agri-environment schemes in England through our seven year Rural Development Programme. Schemes are tailored to the specific biodiversity interests in London and the south east through our local targeting statements. In London priorities include wood pasture and parkland as well as wetland habitats such as reedbeds. In the south east there are a number of statements reflecting the diverse landscapes of the region including the heathlands of the Thames Basin, chalk grasslands of the North Downs and South Downs and wetlands of the Kent coast.

The Government also supports a range of partnership activities. For example in London, at Walthamstow, Natural England has worked closely with a range of partners over ten years on a partnership project to expand wetlands and open them to the public. In the south east, Natural England is working with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, the RSPB and over 100 farmers and landowners to reintroduce the short-haired bumblebee to Dungeness. The success of the project in creating extensive, wildflower-rich habitat has led to the recording of rare bee species in areas where they have not been seen for 40 years.

13 Jun 2019, 3:29 p.m. Indonesia: Overseas Aid Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether he plans to make aid to Indonesia conditional on the removal of virginity tests for women applying to the Indonesian military.

Answer (Harriett Baldwin)

The Department for International Development does not have a traditional bilateral aid programme with poverty reduction as the main objective in Indonesia. Instead, the UK Climate Change Unit (UKCCU)’s work in Indonesia is focused on making a difference to a critical global public good – the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

So-called ‘virginity testing’ is cruel and degrading to women forced to undergo it. There is no justification for it. UK government officials have raised this issue with their counterparts in the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

13 Jun 2019, 3:29 p.m. Indonesia: Armed Forces Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he plans to make representations to his Indonesian counterpart on ending virginity tests for women applying to the Indonesian military.

Answer (Mark Field)

We are aware that the Indonesia military continues to conduct virginity tests on women recruits and have raised our concerns at senior levels with the Indonesian Government. This test is against our values and we will work closely with international partners to bring this practice to an end.

13 Jun 2019, 3:28 p.m. Benin: Animal Products Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether he plans to support the International Fund for Animal Welfare's initiative to provide detection dogs in Benin which can sniff out shipments of animal parts, in order to disrupt trafficking networks.

Answer (Harriett Baldwin)

The Government is committed to tackling the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) and helping to conserve nature and wildlife. Strengthening law enforcement is a key strand of our work. It is one of the topics on which organisations, such as the International Fund for Animal Welfare, can bid for funding from the Government’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund. Currently through the IWT Fund and with some additional funding from Defra, the UK is funding Interpol and the International Consortium on Combatting Wildlife Crime, which is an international initiative to help countries strengthen their criminal justice systems and enhance enforcement. The UK has committed up to £4 million to this initiative.

13 Jun 2019, 2:28 p.m. Mozambique: Diplomatic Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he has taken to improve diplomatic relations with Mozambique.

Answer (Harriett Baldwin)

Bilateral relations between the UK and Mozambique are positive. I visited Mozambique from 1-3 February. The visit reinforced the UK and Mozambique's shared commitment to prosperity, Commonwealth and security. During the visit I announced the creation of three honorary prosperity consuls to help promote stronger business links. On security, the UK and Mozambique signed a Defence Cooperation memorandum of understanding (MOU) on 13 May, allowing us to work more closely on security matters. The UK was also a major contributor to international efforts in response to the two recent cyclones.

13 Jun 2019, 2:13 p.m. Honduras: Diplomatic Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to enhance diplomatic relations between the UK and Honduras.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

Bilateral relations between the UK and Honduras are positive. We engage regularly with the Honduran Government through our non-resident Embassy in Guatemala City, and with the Honduran Embassy in London. We are members of the G16 donors’ group in Honduras. In Financial Year 2019/20 the Embassy will support projects in Honduras under the themes of promoting freedom of press, business and human rights. The UK has also recently agreed funding via the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to help combat the Illegal Wildlife Trade in the country.

13 Jun 2019, 1:48 p.m. Personation: Credit Rating Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to help ensure the credit ratings of victims of identity fraud are protected.

Answer (John Glen)

In 2014, the Government transferred regulatory responsibility for consumer credit from the Office of Fair Trading to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), including regulatory responsibility for Credit Reference agencies (CRAs). CRAs are a key part of the credit market and enable lenders to assess whether an individual has the ability to repay any credit that is offered.

CRAs can advise consumers to add a Notice of correction (of up to 200 words) to their credit report explaining any special circumstances. The content of the Notice should be taken into account alongside the information on the consumer’s report.

Furthermore, the Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System (CIFAS) is an independent fraud prevention service which has developed a system used by the credit industry and other organisations to prevent fraud. If a lender believes it may have detected a fraud or attempted fraud, a CIFAS marker may be put on an individual’s credit reference file. No one should be refused credit just because of a CIFAS marker, and these markers are not included in a credit score. It is intended to warn lenders and to protect innocent consumers.

13 Jun 2019, 12:41 p.m. Railways: Freight Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the rail freight capacity for the economy.

Answer (Andrew Jones)

Rail freight offers benefits for the environment, helps reduce road congestion and is extremely important to UK businesses. Industry estimates that rail freight delivers economic benefits, including, cost savings to industry, environmental benefits and road congestion relief of around £1.7 billion per year.

The Government published a Rail Freight Strategy to provide a stable policy framework to enable rail freight to grow and achieve its potential. The Government is committed to working with the rail freight industry to support its continued success. The Strategy can be found at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/552492/rail-freight-strategy.pdf

To support future growth of the rail freight industry the Secretary of State also confirmed that Government intends to continue investment in improving the rail freight network in Control Period 6 (2019-2024) as part of the regulatory funding settlement.

The Department is working with Network Rail and the freight industry to identify options for future funding, including capacity improvements.

13 Jun 2019, 8:50 a.m. Passenger Ships: Pollution Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with cruise lines on pollution.

Answer (Ms Nusrat Ghani)

I have regular meetings with key stakeholders in the maritime sector to discuss their concerns on a range of important topics, including pollution.

Officials have regular contact with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). They have also engaged with individual cruise lines on the development of the Clean Maritime Plan, how the sector will comply with the global sulphur cap and on the decarbonisation of shipping via the UK Chamber of Shipping’s Carbon Working Group.

12 Jun 2019, 4:36 p.m. Driverless Vehicles Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment the Government has made of the potential economic benefits to the UK of the (a) manufacture and (b) use of autonomous vehicles.

Answer (Michael Ellis)

The Government has conducted analysis to estimate the benefits of the production and sales of automated vehicles. Production of automated vehicles and associated technologies in the UK is estimated to represent a gross direct contribution of £6.9bn to UK Gross Value Added by 2035, supporting over 27,000 jobs, including thousands of new highly skilled jobs in the automotive sector. The Government will continue to assess the potential benefits of automated vehicles as the technology develops.

12 Jun 2019, 4:31 p.m. Motor Vehicles: Fuel Cells Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential environmental merits of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Answer (Michael Ellis)

The Department for Transport published the outputs of the Transport Energy Model in July 2018 alongside the Road to Zero strategy. The model estimates the relative environmental performance of a range of fuel and powertrain options for cars, vans, buses and heavy goods vehicles over the period to 2050, including hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

12 Jun 2019, 3:58 p.m. Taxis: Wheelchairs Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to increase the accessibility of private hire vehicles for wheelchair users.

Answer (Ms Nusrat Ghani)

The Government is committed to developing an inclusive transport system which disabled people can use easily, comfortably and without additional cost, and it is essential that taxi and private hire vehicle services play their part in making this happen.

In 2017, the Government commenced legislation to prevent wheelchair users from being refused carriage or charged extra. We expect all local licensing authorities to use the powers available to them to ensure that the service for which they are responsible is accessible to all who need it.

We plan to undertake research to understand the reasons why wheelchair users and assistance dog owners continue to be discriminated against by a minority of taxi and PHV drivers, and the tools available to eliminate such unacceptable behaviour.

12 Jun 2019, 12:42 p.m. Free Trade: Mali Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps he has taken to promote free trade with Mali after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

As the Prime Minister set out during her visit to Africa last Summer, the Government is committed to advancing our trade relationship with Africa. DIT has set up the Africa Trade Services Unit to act as the single point of contact for UK companies exporting to Africa. The Unit responds to all Africa trade enquiries, including those related to Mali to improve companies’ trading capabilities and promote trade.

The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act 2018 enables the UK to put in place a trade preferences scheme for developing countries that maintains duty-free, quota-free access to Least Developed Countries, including Mali.

12 Jun 2019, 10:50 a.m. Bees: Conservation Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to protect (a) solitary bees, (b) honey bees and (c) bumblebees.

Answer (Dr Thérèse Coffey)

Protecting pollinators is a priority for this Government. They are an essential part of our environment and play a crucial role in food production. The National Pollinator Strategy is a 10 year plan setting out how Government, conservation groups, farmers, beekeepers and researchers can work together to improve the status of the 1,500 or so pollinating insect species in England.

Alongside these partners, the Government is taking action to create and manage wildlife-rich habitat, raise awareness, improve bee health and strengthen the evidence base. Each of these actions will benefit solitary bees, honey bees and bumblebees.

More specifically, for solitary bees, we have set out advice on how to manage and provide appropriate habitat to everyone with a garden, window box or access to shared land on the ‘Bees’ Needs’ website at www.bees-needs.org.uk.

For honey bees, Defra maintains an extensive programme of advisory visits and events for beekeepers on pest and disease management and good husbandry. Around 6,000 inspections are carried out each year in England and Wales, through which advice on good husbandry is provided to thousands of beekeepers to help them manage important pests like varroa. We are also tackling threats from invasive non-native species such as the Asian hornet.

For bumblebees, Natural England works in partnership to support the recovery of threatened species. For example, on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s project to reintroduce the short-haired bumblebee in Dungeness, alongside the RSPB and over 100 farmers and land owners, which has been so successful in creating extensive, quality habitat that other rare species have started to spread to areas where they have not been recorded for up to 40 years.

Furthermore, both bumblebees and honey bees imported from another country must be accompanied by a health certificate which provides guarantees about the health status of the country and the consignment of bees.

12 Jun 2019, 9:44 a.m. Free Trade: Jamaica Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps he is taking to support free trade between the UK and Jamaica.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

The UK signed the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Jamaica on 22 March 2019. This will provide continuity for businesses, exporters and consumers as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

The UK is currently designing a package of funding to help businesses in Jamaica to take full advantage of the market access granted by the EPA.

11 Jun 2019, 3:26 p.m. Navy: Baltic Sea Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether she plans for a continued UK presence in the Baltic following the conclusion of the current six-month patrol by HMS Westminster.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

The UK has a longstanding and enduring commitment to the Baltic Sea Region with a significant presence most notably within Estonia. The UK plays a leading role in NATO's Deterrence and Defence strategy by providing the Framework Headquarters and Battlegroup of around 850 personnel in Estonia. This capable force is augmented by an annual rotation of Apache Attack helicopters and Wildcat Lynx multirole helicopters. The UK contributes to the NATO air policing mission and our long-term commitment will see forces deployed in Estonia in 2019 and 2022, Lithuania in 2020 and Romania in 2021. The UK led Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime) deployment to the Baltic Sea Region over 20 May - 12 July demonstrates the UK's focus upon the Baltic Sea, North Atlantic and High North regions as we integrate partnering nations' capabilities

11 Jun 2019, 3:22 p.m. Greece: Military Alliances Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps her Department is taking to increase defence and security cooperation with Greece.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

The UK has a close defence and security relationship with Greece, based on a programme of bilateral co-operation and interoperability through NATO, that includes the use of Souda Bay base on Crete. Opportunities for further bilateral co-operation are reviewed through regular consultations at both the political and military level, including the development of a joint vision statement.

11 Jun 2019, 3:06 p.m. Sweden: Military Alliances Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps she is taking to strengthen defence and security cooperation between the UK and Sweden.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

The UK's defence and security relationship with Sweden is driven by the 2014 Statement of Intent. This is underpinned by a Programme of Bilateral Defence Co-operation which provides a framework to enhance our bilateral co-operation in a number of key areas, including enhancing levels of interoperability, capability collaboration, concepts and doctrine, operations, training and exercises. Sweden joined the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force in 2017 and is a member of the Northern Group. Opportunities for further bilateral co-operation are reviewed through regular consultations at both the political and military level.

11 Jun 2019, 3:06 p.m. Denmark: Military Alliances Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps she is taking to increase defence and security cooperation with Denmark.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

The UK has a very close defence and security relationship with Denmark, underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2012. We continue to enhance our levels of bilateral co-operation and interoperability though NATO, joint operational deployments (Denmark contributed a Company to the UK-led battalion based in Estonia in 2018, part of NATO's enhanced Forward Presence), the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force and the Northern Group. Opportunities for further bilateral co-operation are reviewed through regular consultations at both the political and military level.

10 Jun 2019, 3:37 p.m. Proscribed Organisations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the criteria for proscribing groups are; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Mr Ben Wallace)

Under the Terrorism Act 2000, the Home Secretary may proscribe an organisation if he believes it is concerned in terrorism, and it is proportionate to do so. For the purposes of the Terrorism Act 2000, being concerned in terrorism means that the organisation:

• commits or participates in acts of terrorism;
• prepares for terrorism;
• promotes or encourages terrorism (including the unlawful glorification of terrorism); or
• is otherwise concerned in terrorism.

7 Jun 2019, 1:19 p.m. Antisocial Behaviour Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what mechanisms are in place to enable (a) communities and (b) victims to have a greater input into policies and approaches on tackling antisocial behaviour.

Answer (Victoria Atkins)

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 introduced two measures that give communities and victims an input into policies and approaches on tackling anti-social behaviour. They are the Community Trigger and the Community Remedy.

The Community Trigger, also known as the anti-social behaviour case review, gives victims of persistent anti-social behaviour the ability to demand a formal case review (where a locally defined threshold is met), in order to determine whether there is further action which can be taken. Any individual, community or business can make an application for a case review, and the relevant bodies must carry out a case review if the threshold is met.

The Community Remedy gives victims of low-level crime and anti-social behaviour a say in the punishment of perpetrators who receive an out of court punishment.

6 Jun 2019, 3:32 p.m. Muslim Brotherhood Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will proscribe the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Mr Ben Wallace)

Whilst we keep the list of proscribed groups under review, we do not routinely comment on whether an organisation is or is not under consideration for proscription.

6 Jun 2019, 3:31 p.m. Muslim Brotherhood Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the operations of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK of the decision by the US Government to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Mr Ben Wallace)

The Government concluded a comprehensive review of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2015. The review concluded the movement is a secretive organisation and that parts of it – globally – have a highly ambiguous relationship with violent extremism.

The Government remains committed to keeping under review the views promoted and activities undertaken by the Muslim Brotherhood’s associates in the UK, in accordance with the five commitments included in the former Prime Minister’s statement to Parliament.

We will continue to consider any new evidence on the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities against the UK’s legal thresholds.

4 Jun 2019, 4 p.m. Motor Vehicles: Fuel Cells Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential economic merits of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Answer (Andrew Stephenson)

The Government has plans to have high quality infrastructure to support economic growth and prosperity across all regions of the UK. The UK is well placed to be a global leader in hydrogen and fuel cell powered transportation due to our high-quality engineering and manufacturing capability in relevant supply chains. We will support the development of the infrastructure for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, recognising that the market is at an early stage of development. We are doing this through initiatives such as the £23m Hydrogen for Transport programme, which will increase the uptake of fuel cell electric vehicles and expand hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.

The Government set out its view on the relative environmental performance of different fuels in the Road to Zero Strategy. This was based on an independently verified assessment of the fuels and technologies available to consumers, with consideration given to both greenhouse gas and air-pollutant emissions over the period to 2050. This analysis suggests that hydrogen fuel cell technology could have a role in supporting the transition to zero emission transport alongside battery electric technology. In the long term, hydrogen may be more suited for use in HGVs and by fleets where range and fast refuelling are key concerns.

30 May 2019, 4:06 p.m. Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust: Migrant Workers Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many EU nationals have (a) joined and (b) left their jobs at Barking Havering Redbridge NHS Foundation Trust in the last five years.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

NHS Digital publishes Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS) workforce statistics. These include staff working in hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups, but not staff working in in general practitioner surgeries, local authorities or other providers.

The following table shows the number of EU27 joiners to, and leavers from, Barking Havering Redbridge NHS Foundation Trust as at September each year since 2014 and to January 2019 (the latest data), headcount.

Time period

Joiners

Leavers

September 2014 to September 2015

132

90

September 2015 to September 2016

228

119

September 2016 to September 2017

146

153

September 2017 to September 2018

110

132

September 2018 to January 2019

36

43

Source:

NHS HCHS monthly workforce statistics, NHS Digital.

30 May 2019, 4:05 p.m. University Officer Training Corps Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps she is taking to promote the university officer training corps at UK universities.

Answer (Mr Tobias Ellwood)

Royal Navy

The Royal Navy continues to engage with universities in a myriad of ways as part of wider recruiting efforts but also to increase awareness amongst the graduate population as to the presence and purpose of the Navy. A University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) opened in Devon in 2017, making 15 URNUs in total, and the Navy continues to review opportunities to expand this footprint further. The Captain of Navy Recruiting (CNR) delivers three-day awareness packages at a variety of universities which last year resulted in 600 expressions of interest. CNR also runs the Undergraduate Leadership Programme, which this year will offer six-week long placements to 15 successful candidates from 900 initial applications. Lastly, changes to the way the Services recruit their engineers will mean that, under the new STEM Graduate Inflow Scheme, those individuals who have been selected to be Engineer Officers in the Royal Navy, and are sponsored through university as a result, will be able to attend any university, thus broadening even further the exposure of the wider university population to the Royal Navy.

Army

The Army has a total of 15 University Officers' Training Corps (UOTC) and two Officer Training Regiments (OTRs), which welcome enquiries from any individual enrolled in a higher education course at any university or college across the UK. Each training corps regularly engages with the higher education sector through Military Education Committees, the formal mechanism for engagement with affiliated universities. Additionally, the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst engages nationally on their behalf with the Council of Military Education Committees.

UOTCs are actively promoted by the Army online, through the use of the official Army website and via approved social media accounts run by each individual unit. More direct engagement activities are conducted by the UOTCs themselves, along with the Army's specialist engagement teams, within various higher education establishments, such as appearances at freshers' fairs, open evenings and through the delivery of leadership events. UOTCs are also promoted during school and cadet unit visits, to ensure that young people are aware of the opportunities available to them, should they go onto higher education.

Royal Air Force

The Royal Air Force (RAF) currently has 15 University Air Squadrons (UAS) comprising a membership of around 900 undergraduates, from 118 affiliated universities, throughout the UK. The UAS regularly liaise with Military Education Committees; they will also attend university freshers' fairs and use the internet to encourage university student participation. The RAF welcomes enquiries from students and actively encourages students, throughout their university journey, to join the organisation.

30 May 2019, 3:53 p.m. Prisons: Radicalism Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to tackle the spread of far-right extremism in prisons.

Answer (Robert Buckland)

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) works closely with a range of partners to tackle extremism of all ideologies in prisons, including ideologies held by far-right offenders. An HMPPS and Home Office Joint Extremism Unit (JEXU) was established in April 2017 to be the strategic centre for all counter terrorism work in prison and probation and have oversight of delivery across the end-to-end offender management process.

The number of far-right offenders in prison and being managed by probation has grown in recent years. Our dedicated, specialist teams manage the risks presented by all terrorists and extremists, including Right Wing Terrorists and far-right offenders, in prison and the community. We are working across Government to review and develop our capability to manage this cohort and safeguard the wider offender population.

Prisoners identified as being of extremist concern, or who have shown signs of being vulnerable to extremism, are managed actively as part of a comprehensive case management process. Over 22,000 prison staff have received specialist extremism awareness training, to enable them to identify, report and challenge extremist views.

HMPPS uses a wide range of interventions as part of its management of extremist offenders in prison. These range from assessment tools, such as the Extremism Risk Guidance 22+ and Extremism Risk Screening, to rehabilitative measures such as the Healthy Identity Intervention, Developing Dialogues, and the Desistance and Disengagement Programme. Interventions play an important role in helping to encourage and facilitate desistance and disengagement from extremism, support reintegration into society, and reduce the risk of further offending. All of these interventions are available to far-right offenders, if required.

30 May 2019, 3:35 p.m. Azerbaijan: Foreign Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to improve the diplomatic relationship between the UK and Azerbaijan.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

​The United Kingdom and the Republic of Azerbaijan have enjoyed a strong diplomatic relationship for over a quarter of century. Through regular political and economic dialogue we work together to increase cooperation in all areas of mutual interest. Our annual strategic dialogue, which I last co-chaired in October 2018, provides opportunity for discussion of bilateral relations, multilateral issues and human rights.

Our regular UK-Azerbaijan Joint Intergovernmental Commission, which is co-chaired by the Minister of State for International Trade, was last held on 22 May. This is a forum for in-depth discussion of the UK and Azerbaijan's energy and trade relationship, and sets the agenda for future cooperation in new economic sectors.

We also strengthen bilateral relations through regular high-level visits, most significantly when the Prime Minister welcomed President Aliyev to the UK in April 2018. We have forged close partnerships in the educational, cultural and creative sectors. Every year we welcome new Chevening scholars from Azerbaijan to the UK, and thousands of Azerbaijani students have studied at UK universities.

30 May 2019, 3:12 p.m. Religious Freedom Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with Islamic community leaders on freedom of religion and belief; and what steps he is taking to protect individuals accused of apostasy.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

MHCLG regularly discusses matters concerning Freedom of Religion and Belief with all our faith community partners


The right to change religion, as set out in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, is absolute and is not subject to any limitations.

The UK has some of the strongest hate crime legislation in the world, which includes protecting people who have been targeted as a result of leaving a faith.

30 May 2019, 2:49 p.m. Free Trade: Ethiopia Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps he has taken to promote bilateral free trade with Ethiopian after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Graham Stuart)

As the Prime Minister set out during her visit to Africa last Summerthe Government is committed to advancing our trade relationship with Africa. My Hon. Friend for Stafford, appointed as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ethiopia in 2016, has taken steps to develop a strong bilateral trading relationship. DIT has set up the Africa Trade Services Unit to act as the single point of contact for UK companies exporting to Africa. The Unit responds to all Africa trade enquiries, including those related to Ethiopia to improve companies’ trading capabilities and promote trade.

The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act 2018 enables the UK to put in place a trade preferences scheme for developing countries that maintains duty-free, quota-free access to Least Developed Countries, including Ethiopia.

30 May 2019, 2:45 p.m. Free Trade: Dominican Republic Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps he has taken to promote bilateral free trade with Dominic Republic after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Graham Stuart)

On 4 April, the UK signed an Economic Partnership Agreement with CARIFORUM States, including the Dominican Republic. This will provide continuity for businesses, exporters and consumers as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

The UK is currently designing a package of funding to help businesses in the Caribbean to take full advantage of the market access granted by the EPA.

30 May 2019, 2:42 p.m. Free Trade: Guyana Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps he has taken to promote bilateral free trade with Guyana after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Graham Stuart)

On 22 March, the UK signed an Economic Partnership Agreement with CARIFORUM States, including Guyana. This will provide continuity for businesses, exporters and consumers as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

The UK is currently designing a package of funding to help businesses in the Caribbean to take full advantage of the market access granted by the EPA.

30 May 2019, 12:20 p.m. Borders: Northern Ireland Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what recent assessment he has made of the viability of technological solutions for arrangements to replace the backstop when the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Kwasi Kwarteng)

The Government is committed to having a future relationship in place with the EU by the end of December 2020. However, even if the full future relationship is not in place by the end of the implementation period, the Government’s objective is to ensure that the backstop is replaced by alternative arrangements. Both the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration emphasised the shared determination of the UK and the EU to replace the backstop with an agreement on alternative arrangements.

In anticipation, the Government intends to establish three domestic advisory groups: an expert group on trade and customs, a business and trade union group, and a parliamentary group. These groups will engage widely, including with the institutions established under the Belfast Agreement, to ensure the UK’s input is informed by a broad and inclusive range of voices domestically. Amongst other facilitations, the groups will consider work drawing on cutting-edge technological solutions designed to streamline and modernise border controls and support engagement with customs and regulatory processes.

30 May 2019, 10:29 a.m. General Practitioners: Finance Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Prime Minister of 27 March 2019, Official Report column 321, when funding for the General Practice work stream of the NHS Getting it Right First Time programme will be in place; and when an announcement will be made on the (a) commencement date and (b) timeframe for that work stream.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

The Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme aims to drive improvements in medical and surgical specialties through clinical leadership and the use of data to identify and reduce unwarranted variation in practice. By tackling variations in the way services are delivered across the National Health Service, and by sharing best practice between trusts, GIRFT identifies changes that will help improve care and patient outcomes, as well as delivering efficiencies such as the reduction of unnecessary procedures and cost savings.

The GIRFT programme has recently concluded a pilot looking at applying the GIRFT methodology in primary care. The Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement are reviewing the findings of the pilot and will agree the appropriate next steps in the context of the new GP contract and Primary Care Networks currently being established which have an associated improvement support programme.

29 May 2019, 1:48 p.m. Universal Credit Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of a five-week wait for a first payment of universal credit on trends in the level of food bank usage.

Answer (Will Quince)

No Universal Credit (UC) claimant has to wait five weeks for their first payment and there are many reasons why people use foodbanks.

If required, advances of up to 100 per cent of their expected UC award are available to claimants from day one of their claim. Advances are paid back over a maximum of 12 months and in the Autumn Budget 2018, we announced that from October 2021, the payback period for these advances will be extended further, allowing claimants up to 16 months.

This is just one of a number of measures the Department has put in place to support claimants such as paying those claimants moving from Housing Benefit onto UC a two week ‘transitional housing payment’. We are also introducing a two-week run on for eligible claimants of Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance from July 2020.

29 May 2019, 12:05 p.m. Motorcycles: Crime Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he is taking to tackle moped crime in Havering.

Answer (Mr Nick Hurd)

Crimes involving mopeds are clearly a concern. That is why we worked with the police, industry and other partners last autumn to develop a comprehensive action plan to tackle them.

Figures from the Metropolitan Police show that this, together with an adapted operational and tactical response by the police, has resulted in a 32% reduction in the theft of mopeds, motorbikes and scooters in the year to March 2019 and a 52% reduction in these items being used in crime for the same period.

28 May 2019, 2:29 p.m. Togo: Foreign Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what diplomatic steps he has taken to develop the UK Government's relationship with Togo.

Answer (Harriett Baldwin)

The British Government does not have diplomatic representation in Togo. Our non-Resident Ambassador – the British High Commissioner to Accra – provides our diplomatic representation and recently received accreditation from the Government of Togo. In March, our Honorary Consul also received accreditation. This progress demonstrates the strengthening of our bilateral relationship with Togo and enables us to progress our relationship further.

Our non-Resident Ambassador has discussed how the UK-Togo relationship can expand with President Gnassingbé, specifically concerning economic development and improved trade links.

28 May 2019, 1:09 p.m. New Zealand: Military Alliances Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps she is taking to build defence and security co-operation with New Zealand.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

New Zealand is a close defence partner. We work together on operations and defence capabilities, including the P8 Poseidon, while maintaining regular exchanges of personnel. HMS Montrose visited Auckland in January 2019. This relationship is further underpinned by regular meetings between senior officers and officials. We are also partners under the Five Power Defence Arrangements and as part of the Five Eyes Community.

28 May 2019, 11:15 a.m. Electric Vehicles: Fuel Cells Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles on UK roads.

Answer (Andrew Jones)

Hydrogen fuel cells in vehicles is an exciting technology with the potential to revolutionise transport. Though the number of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles on UK roads is still in the early hundreds, we have seen some exciting developments with the technology.

The Mayor of London recently announced the first fleet of hydrogen double decker buses in the world and a number of companies are also developing hydrogen fuelled trains which may one day run up and down our network. We are committed to working with industry to identify how we can use hydrogen-powered vehicles to decarbonise our future transport system.

24 May 2019, 4:01 p.m. Pupils: Per Capita Costs Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the funding per pupil allocated to each (a) primary and (b) secondary school in Havering in the last five years.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The revenue funding allocated for schools for each financial year from 2015-19 for Havering local authority are shown in the attached table. For financial year 2019-2020, only the dedicated schools grant (DSG) has been allocated at this time, though this makes up the bulk of schools funding. The DSG for Havering this year is £218.2 million. Other grants will be allocated at later points in the year.

24 May 2019, 1:01 p.m. Prisons: Radicalism Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to tackle the spread of Islamist extremism in prisons.

Answer (Robert Buckland)

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) works closely with a range of partners to tackle extremism of all ideologies in prisons. A HMPPS and Home Office Joint Extremism Unit (JEXU) was established in April 2017 to be the strategic centre for all counter terrorism work in prison and probation and have oversight of delivery across the end-to-end offender management process.

Prisoners identified as being of extremist concern, or who have shown signs of being vulnerable to extremism, are managed actively as part of a comprehensive case management process . Over 22,000 prison staff have received specialist extremism awareness training, to enable them to identify, report and challenge extremist views. In addition, HMPPS employs multi-faith chaplaincy teams in all prisons, whose role it is to provide support, guidance and to challenge inappropriate behaviour. To further help offenders rehabilitate and disengage from extremism and terrorism, JEXU has rolled out a theological intervention programme. A small group of chaplains are receiving specialised training and ongoing support to lead this important capability.

Finally, two Separation Centres are in operation for those individuals whose extremist risk cannot be managed effectively in the mainstream prison population, as a safeguarding measure to protect prisoners from terrorist and extremist influences, and to reduce the ongoing risk they present to national security despite their imprisonment.

24 May 2019, 11:57 a.m. Mexico: Foreign Relations Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has met with or plans to meet his Mexican counterpart.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

The Foreign Secretary spoke to this counterpart, Mexican Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard on 4 February. A range of issues of mutual interest were discussed. The Foreign Secretary also extended an invitation to Foreign Minister Ebrard to the International Conference on Media Freedom 10-11 July. Separately I met with Julian Ventura, the former Mexican Ambassador to the UK, in December 2018, immediately before he left the UK to take up his new role as one of the new Deputy Foreign Ministers.

24 May 2019, 11:37 a.m. Radicalism: Propaganda Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to amend the Treason Act 1945 to provide a tenable basis for the prosecution of British citizens who participate in and spread propaganda of Islamist extremism.

Answer (Mr Ben Wallace)

The Commission for Countering Extremism was set up last year to support the Government to understand the scale of extremism and the wider harms associated with it, beyond radicalisation into terrorism. The Commission’s work includes looking into whether there is a need for a statutory definition of extremism and new powers to tackle it.

24 May 2019, 11:35 a.m. Religious Hatred: Christianity Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent estimate he has made of trends in the level of hate crimes against Christians.

Answer (Victoria Atkins)

The Home Office has collected on a mandatory basis the number of religious hate crimes where the targeted religion was Christian since 2017/18.

Data for 2017/18 can be found in ‘Hate Crime, England and Wales, 2017/18’
which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hate-crime-england-and-wales-2017-to-2018

24 May 2019, 11:29 a.m. Counter-terrorism: Universities Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that university authorities co-operate with the Prevent programme.

Answer (Mr Ben Wallace)

The Office for Students has delegated responsibility, from the Secretary of State for Education, for monitoring compliance of the Prevent Duty in the higher education (HE) sector. The latest Office for Students monitoring report shows high levels of compliance, with over 97% of universities and other HE providers having due regard for the duty.

Under this delegation, the Secretary of State asked the Office for Students to move towards a more risk based monitoring approach, ensuring resources are targeted where most needed. The Office for Students updated their monitoring framework to reflect this, which took effect in September 2018.

The Government provides direct support to the sector on implementation of Prevent through a network of ‘further education / higher education’ (FE/HE) regional co-ordinators who work directly with higher and further education institutions, and provide them with the advice, support and training they need to build their and their students’ resilience to extremism and radicalisation. There is also published Government guidance for the sector on Prevent implementation. The Home Office has regular discussions with the Department for Education on the implementation of Prevent in the higher education sector

24 May 2019, 11:26 a.m. Intelligence Services: International Cooperation Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he is taking steps to strengthen the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance after the UK leaves the EU; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Mr Ben Wallace)

The Five Eyes alliance is of critical importance to the UK in tackling the most pressing security threats we face. We continue to work together with our Five Eyes partners on our shared global security interests and to harness the power of this international alliance, including through intelligence-sharing.

The UK will continue to invest in the relationship and take a leading role, including by hosting the Five Countries Ministerial conference this summer. There is no suggestion in the Withdrawal Agreement or the Political Declaration on our future relationship that our exit from the EU will have ramifications on the UK’s security arrangements with the Five Eyes.

23 May 2019, 4:41 p.m. State Retirement Pensions: British Nationals Abroad Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimates he has made of the potential cost to the public purse of uprating state pensions for pensioners who live overseas.

Answer (Guy Opperman)

All political parties since WW2 have Successive post-war Governments have followed the same policy. Up-rating UK State Pensions for recipients who are overseas residents is longstanding; state Pensions are payable worldwide and are up-rated where there is a legal requirement to do so.

The policy on the up-rating of UK State Pensions paid to recipients living outside the UK has been in place for over 70 years. The UK State Pension is payable worldwide without regard to nationality. Entitlement to the UK State Pension is based on the national insurance contributions on a person’s national insurance record. The annual index-linked increases to UK State Pensions are paid to recipients overseas only where there is a legal requirement to do so, for example in EEA countries or in countries where there is a reciprocal agreement in place that provides for the up-rating of the UK State Pension. The Government has no plans to change the policy upheld by all previous Governments, Labour, Coalition and Conservative for the past 70 years. of all Governments, Labour, Coalition or Conservative since WW2.

The estimated costs of up-rating state pensions overseas where they are currently not up-rated are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/estimated-costs-of-uprating-state-pension-in-frozen-rate-countries

23 May 2019, 4:01 p.m. Social Media: Young People Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the (a) addiction to and (b) anxiety caused by social media among young people.

Answer (Margot James)

The DCMS and Home Office joint Online Harms White Paper outlines our plans to establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator. This regulator will set clear safety standards, backed up by mandatory reporting requirements and effective enforcement powers. The government shares concerns around designed addiction and is determined to ensure that we have sufficient evidence on this risk, and the right expectations of companies to design their products in safe ways. We expect the regulator will continue to support research in this area to inform future action and, if necessary, set clear expectations for companies to prevent harm to their users.

In February 2019, the UK Chief Medical Officers published their review on the impact of social media use on children and young people’s mental health, followed by advice on how to have a healthy balance with screen time. They concluded that the published scientific research is currently insufficient to support evidence-based guidelines on screen time, but there is enough basis to warrant a precautionary approach and action by schools, government and technology companies.

23 May 2019, 2:47 p.m. Republic of Ireland: Military Alliances Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to increase defence and security co-operation with the Republic of Ireland.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

Levels of co-operation with the Republic of Ireland have developed significantly since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Defence and Security Co-operation in 2015. This is underpinned by an action plan which provides a framework to enhance our bilateral defence and security relationship in a number of key areas, including increased training opportunities, cyber defence, maritime and air security, and information-sharing. Opportunities for further bilateral co-operation are reviewed through regular consultations at both the policy and military level.

23 May 2019, 2:45 p.m. Shipbuilding Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of the recommendations made in the report entitled, National Ship Building Strategy, published by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Shipbuilding and Ship Repair in May 2019.

Answer (Stuart Andrew)

I thank the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Shipbuilding and Ship Repair for their work in completing this report.

The Ministry of Defence is not required to make a formal assessment of the recommendations in the report, but as per my oral contribution on 20 May 2019 (Official Report column 494) I would be happy to meet the APPG to discuss their report.

23 May 2019, 12:27 p.m. Falkland Islands: Sovereignty Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking in response to media reports on 6 May 2019 that Argentine nationalists have travelled to the Falklands dressed in combat gear and intimidated residents.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

The Governor of the Falkland Islands and Commander British Forces provide advice and assistance to the Falkland Islands Government (FIG) when requested by the FIG.

The Islands have a growing tourist industry and most visits to the Falkland Islands are trouble free. It is a shame that a minority of visitors have recently taken advantage of the Argentine cemetery, which should be a place of respect and dignity, to make these political statements. It is upsetting for the Islanders and I am sure it is not welcomed by the families of the men in those graves either.

23 May 2019, 11:40 a.m. Antisemitism Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the reasons why there has been an increase in hate crimes towards the Jewish community.

Answer (Mrs Heather Wheeler)

The Government is determined to confront hate crime wherever it occurs. Police recorded religiously motivated hate crime has increased in recent years despite a backdrop of a longer-term downward trend in the experience of hate crime overall, according to the Crime Survey of England and Wales. We know that there have been trigger events for increases in hate crime, such as the EU Referendum and the terror attacks in 2017, though data shows that these have been temporary. A significant driver for this overall increase is general improvements in police recording, and through our work with the National Police Chiefs’ Council and third party services such as the Community Security Trust, police are better at identifying whether a crime is a hate crime and victims may be more willing to come forward.

The Government has a comprehensive plan to tackle hate crime in all its forms, as set out in the refreshed Hate Crime Action Plan published in October 2018, which sets out a programme of work across Government and by the police.

22 May 2019, 4:08 p.m. Cats and Dogs: Imports Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure compliance with the Balai Directive to protect the UK from disease in relation to EU and Third country imports of stray cats and dogs.

Answer (David Rutley)

Defra takes the threat to public and animal health posed by animals entering the United Kingdom (UK) very seriously. This includes the rescue and rehoming of stray cats and dogs from EU and Third countries under the Balai Directive, which is classed as a commercial import not as a pet import. Importation of stray dogs and cats, whose history is unknown can pose a biosecurity risk to the UK and therefore enforcement measures are in place to ensure compliance.

All consignments of stray dogs or cats from Third countries must enter through a Border Inspection Post (BIP), and receive documentary, physical and identity checks upon arrival for compliance with import requirements.

All EU consignments of dogs or cats receive documentary checks on entry and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) conduct further checks post-import. A risk-based approach is used to determine which consignments receive a further post-importation identity and documentary check at their destination in the UK.

Where animals fail to meet the necessary health requirements for entry to the UK, they must either be quarantined until compliant, returned to their country of origin, or euthanised – all at the expense of the owner or importer. This helps to preserve the UK’s high standards of biosecurity, and acts as a deterrent to those who might otherwise be motivated to abuse Balai import requirements. The UK CVO is in correspondence with her EU counterparts in Member States where issues of non-compliance have been detected.

22 May 2019, 3:08 p.m. Clyde Naval Base: Unmanned Air Vehicles Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of safeguards for submarines relating to drone activity when entering or leaving Faslane.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

We employ a range of security measures to counter threats to our national security. I am withholding further details as publication would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.

22 May 2019, 1:05 p.m. Forced Marriage: Young People Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he is taking to protect young adults from arranged and forced marriages.

Answer (Victoria Atkins)

The UK is a world-leader in the fight to stamp out the brutal practice of forced marriage, with our joint Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) leading efforts to combat it both at home and abroad. We made forced marriage a criminal offence in 2014 to better protect victims, sending a clear message that this abhorrent practice is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the UK. In 2017 we also introduced lifelong anonymity for victims of forced marriage to encourage more victims of this hidden crime to come forward.

An “arranged marriage” is one where parents or other relatives choose a potential suitor, but both parties involved have the final say and can withdraw at any point. As such, it is not illegal. If a person changes their mind during that process and then is not allowed to stop the marriage – this becomes a forced marriage and is unacceptable.

The FMU operates a public helpline to provide advice and support to victims, those at risk, and professionals. The support offered ranges from providing information and guidance to organising rescue and repatriation to the UK for victims overseas. In November 2018 we also launched the Forced Marriage Awareness Campaign, which highlights that forced marriage is a crime and directs victims to contact the helpline for support

Border Force officers at UK ports and airports are trained to look for those at risk of Honour Based Abuse (HBA), including forced marriage. Border Force conducts regular joint operations (‘Operation Limelight’) with the police at airports across the country to raise awareness with potential victims of HBA

22 May 2019, 12:45 p.m. State Retirement Pensions: British Nationals Abroad Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse per annum of all (a) UK pensioners residing abroad who do not receive a yearly increase in state pension and (b) UK pensioners residing in the European Economic Area or Switzerland returning to reside in the UK.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

This information is not held. HM Treasury has not estimated the cost to the public purse of these pensioner groups.

21 May 2019, 2:59 p.m. Baltic States: Navy Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many times UK ships have visited the Baltic states as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group One since 2015.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

Since 2015 UK Naval ships have visited the Baltic states as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 for six visits and as part of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 for 15 visits.

21 May 2019, 2:55 p.m. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to reduce greenhouses gases to zero by 2050.

Answer (Chris Skidmore)

The Government is convinced of the need for urgent action on climate change, which is why we asked the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) for advice last October on the implications of the Paris Agreement for the UK’s long-term emissions reduction targets, including on setting a net zero target.

The CCC published their advice to Government on 2 May 2019. It sets out a path for the UK to become the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to global warming entirely. We are studying the CCC’s comprehensive, ground-breaking report, and are committed to responding in due course.

21 May 2019, 9:55 a.m. Trade Agreements: Djibouti Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress has been made towards achieving a free trade deal with Djibouti after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act 2018 enables the UK to put in place a trade preferences scheme for developing countries that maintains the same level of access as the EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences. The UK trade preference scheme will grant duty-free, quota-free access to Least Developed Countries, including Djibouti, upholding a target in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The UK has signed an Economic Partnership Agreement with Eastern and Southern Africa States (ESA). As Djibouti has not signed the ESA-EU EPA it is not party to the transitioned UK EPA although it is eligible to accede in the future.

21 May 2019, 9:52 a.m. Trade Agreements: Serbia Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether he has made progress on rolling over the existing EU trade agreement with Serbia.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

We continue to engage with Serbia on replicating the effects of the existing EU trade agreement. Both the UK and Serbia remain committed to concluding a new partnership, trade & cooperation agreement as soon as possible. We are working together to ensure we are prepared for all possible scenarios.

The Government will inform the Parliament as soon as our discussions have concluded.

21 May 2019, 9:47 a.m. Trade Agreements: Burkina Faso Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress has been made towards negotiating a trade deal with Burkina Faso after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act 2018 enables the UK to put in place a trade preferences scheme for developing countries that maintains the same level of access as the EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences. The UK trade preference scheme will grant duty-free, quota-free access to Least Developed Countries, including Burkina Faso, upholding a target in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Currently the trade agreement between the EU and 16 West African States, including Burkina Faso, has not been signed by all of the West African states and is therefore not in force. Should this change, the UK would look to transition the agreement.

20 May 2019, 2:34 p.m. Local Government: Flags Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with local authorities on flying and promoting county flags on Historic County Flags Day on 23 July.

Answer (Jake Berry)

I regularly have discussions with local authorities covering a wide range of issues which can include the celebration of historic counties. To help county council leaders develop local activities to celebrate their historic counties, I issued on 10 April guidance which included a section referring to the County Flags Day on 23 July and provided advice about the flying of Historic County Flags.

17 May 2019, 1:51 p.m. Terrorism: Northern Ireland Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps she is taking in cooperation with her Irish counterpart to tackle threats from the new IRA.

Answer (Karen Bradley)

I meet the Tánaiste regularly to discuss a wide range of issues, including the security situation.

At the recent British Irish Intergovernmental Conference on 8 May, both the UK and Ireland reaffirmed our commitment to further strengthening our security relationship.

There is no greater responsibility than the safety and security of the people of Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom as a whole.

17 May 2019, 12:34 p.m. Asthma: Prescriptions Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of asthma prescription charges on lifelong asthma sufferers.

Answer (Seema Kennedy)

The Department has made no such assessment.

17 May 2019, 12:25 p.m. South Korea: Military Alliances Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps she is taking to enhance defence and security co-operation with South Korea.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

We committed in the Strategic Defence and Security Review (2015) to deepen our relationship with South Korea as a priority partner in Asia. Two Royal Navy Ships visited South Korea in 2018, and we have carried out regular exercise and training activity. This included combined amphibious training in Exercise SSANGYONG 18, supported by HMS SUTHERLAND.

16 May 2019, 2:20 p.m. Agriculture: Subsidies Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how long farmers will continue to receive subsidy from the public purse in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Answer (Mr Robert Goodwill)

We have pledged to continue to commit the same cash total in funds for farm support until the end of this Parliament, expected in 2022. This includes all funding provided for farm support under both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 of the current Common Agricultural Policy. This commitment applies to the whole of the UK, in both a negotiated and a no-deal scenario.

Our Agriculture Bill includes a seven year transition period from 2021 to 2027, during which Direct Payments will be phased out gradually. This will give time for farmers to adapt and prepare for the new environmental land management system, which will allow farmers to decide how best they can deliver environmental benefits from their business and their land.

16 May 2019, 2:06 p.m. Police: Pensions Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment has been made of the potential effect of planned increases to the employer contributions of the police pension scheme on police officer recruitment.

Answer (Mr Nick Hurd)

The additional cost to policing in 2019-20 of employer contributions to police pensions is estimated to be £330 million.

The 2019-20 police funding settlement provides additional funding of over £970 million, including general Government grant funding, pensions grant, council tax precept and investment in national priorities. This substantial increase in funding will enable forces to meet their genuine financial pressures as well as to invest in key capabilities. Police and Crime Commissioners have already set out plans to hire an additional 2,900 officers and nearly 600 police staff and PCSOs.

16 May 2019, 1:55 p.m. China: Taiwan Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what diplomatic steps he is taking to improve relations between China and Taiwan.

Answer (Mark Field)

We have a constructive and positive dialogue with China on major global issues, which enables us to have an open and frank discussion on difficult issues. We are clear in our discussions with China that our longstanding policy on Taiwan has not changed: we consider the Taiwan issue one that should be settled by the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait through constructive dialogue. We have made clear our concern at any activity by China and Taiwan that risks destabilising the status quo.

16 May 2019, 1:04 p.m. Pupils: Discipline Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to reduce disruptive behaviour in the classroom.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

All schools are required by the law to develop and publish a behaviour policy. The Department for Education produces guidance for head teachers and school staff on developing school behaviour policy and explains the powers members of staff have to maintain discipline in the classroom. The full guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/488034/Behaviour_and_Discipline_in_Schools_-_A_guide_for_headteachers_and_School_Staff.pdf.

In 2016, the Government commissioned behaviour expert Tom Bennett to conduct an independent review on behaviour management in schools. His report ‘Creating a culture’, published in 2017, focused on leadership, culture and systems used to tackle disruptive pupil behaviour, and provides practical advice for head teachers about creating a school culture that prevents low level disruption, maintains good discipline and promotes pupils’ education, focus and wellbeing. The full report can be viewed at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/602487/Tom_Bennett_Independent_Review_of_Behaviour_in_Schools.pdf.

Building on this review the Department announced a £10 million investment to support schools and teachers to share best practice and knowledge on behaviour management and classroom management. As part of this Tom Bennett, has been appointed our lead Behaviour Adviser, supporting the Department to set up and run these new behaviour support networks.

Most recently, as part of our response to the Timpson review of school exclusion, published on 7 May 2019, the Department committed to revising guidance which offers clearer, more consistent guidance on managing behaviour, the use of in-school units and the sorts of circumstances where it may appropriate to use exclusion. A copy of the review and the Government response can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/school-exclusions-review-call-for-evidence.

16 May 2019, 12:26 p.m. English Baccalaureate Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the English Baccalaureate on UK performance within international league tables.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) measures pupils’ performance against a range of core academic subjects, and keeps young people’s options open for further study and future careers. The international comparisons studies that the Department participates in assess pupils’ performance in reading, mathematics and science.

The proportion of pupils in state-funded schools taking the EBacc combination of subjects has increased from 22% in 2010 to 38% in 2018. In particular, the proportion of pupils taking history or geography has increased from 48% to 78%.

A Sutton Trust report, available at https://www.suttontrust.com/research-paper/changing-the-subject/, shows that pupils in 300 schools which had increased EBacc take up were more likely to achieve good GCSEs in maths and English, and that pupils eligible for the pupil premium also benefited. A study by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, available at https://cls.ucl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/CLS-WP-201711-Incentivising-specific-combinations-of-subjects-does-it-make-any-difference-to-university-access.pdf, found that studying the EBacc combination of GCSE subjects increases the likelihood that a pupil will stay on in full-time education.

The latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results for 2015 showed that our 15 year olds continue to perform significantly above the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average in science, at the OECD average for mathematics, and, for the first time, above the OECD average in reading. Results for PISA 2018 will be available in December 2019.

16 May 2019, 12:19 p.m. Overseas Trade Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps his Department is taking to increase trade opportunities with Anglosphere countries.

Answer (Graham Stuart)

The Department for International Trade is committed to building and enhancing our relationships across the world as part of our global Britain agenda. We have consulted on potential FTAs with the USA, Australia, New Zealand and accession to the CPTPP.

Fulfilling a 2017 manifesto commitment my Department appointed Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioners (HMTCs) based in 9 overseas regions which between them cover all anglosphere countries. Each HMTC is responsible for delivering a Regional Trade Plan which includes specific reference to growing UK exports to those regions and to opening markets globally.

16 May 2019, 9:54 a.m. Social Media: Freedom of Expression Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure free speech on social media platforms.

Answer (Margot James)

The Government is committed to upholding free speech, and legislation is already in place to protect these fundamental rights. However, this freedom cannot be an excuse to cause harm or spread hatred.

The Online Harms White Paper sets out the Government's proposals for making the UK the safest place to be online. The proposed independent regulator will have an obligation to protect users' rights online, particularly rights to privacy and freedom of expression. It will ensure that the new regulatory requirements do not lead to a disproportionately risk averse response from companies that unduly limits freedom of expression, including by limiting participation in public debate.

15 May 2019, 5:12 p.m. Prison Sentences: Females Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many women the Metropolitan police force area received an immediate custodial sentence of (a) less than and (b) more than six months for each category of offence from the (i) crown courts and (ii) magistrates courts in 2018-19.

Answer (Edward Argar)

The number of female offenders sentenced to custody by court level and police force area, including the metropolitan police force area, in 2017, can be found in the Court outcomes by Police Force Area data tool, which can be found at the below link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statistics-quarterly-december-2017

Select the drop down boxes referring to custodial sentence length in order to establish sentence lengths. Select female from the sex drop box and, once having done this, young adults and adults to establish women. Offence classification can be found in both the Offence Type and Offence group boxes, depending on which categorisation is required here.

Court proceedings data for 2018 are planned for publication on 16 May 2019, with data for 2019 planned for publication in May 2020.

Our vision, as set out in our Female Offender Strategy, is to see fewer women coming into the criminal justice system and a greater proportion managed successfully in the community. To achieve this, we have invested £5m to support community provision for female offenders and women at risk of offending.

There is persuasive evidence showing community sentences, in certain circumstances, are more effective than short custodial sentences in reducing reoffending. The MoJ study ‘The impact of short custodial sentences, community orders and suspended sentence orders on re-offending’ published in 2015 found that over a 1-year follow up period, a higher proportion of people re-offended having been sentenced to custody of under 12 months without supervision on release than other similar people given community orders.

Unless we tackle the underlying causes of offending, we cannot protect the public from being victims of crime. Effective community orders can address offenders’ behaviour, answer their mental health and alcohol or drug misuse needs, and provide reparation for the benefit of the wider community.

15 May 2019, 3:32 p.m. Azerbaijan: Overseas Aid Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much Official Development Assistance his Department was allocated to Azerbaijan in 2019.

Answer (Harriett Baldwin)

The Department for International Development does not operate a country programme in Azerbaijan and therefore has not allocated any resources to that country. The most recent figures for all UK ODA spend are available in Statistics for International Development (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-on-international-development-final-uk-aid-spend-2017).

15 May 2019, 2:34 p.m. EU Defence Policy Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what (a) existing and (b) proposed commitments the Government has made to the European defence union; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

NATO remains the cornerstone of our defence. The UK has welcomed closer cooperation on security and defence at EU level, to the extent that it is coherent with NATO. The Political Declaration agreed in November 2018 provides the basis for a flexible and scalable future security partnership. The UK, along with other EU Member States, has been clear that we retain full sovereign control over defence policy and decision making.

15 May 2019, 2:02 p.m. Fracking: Water Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of effect of hydraulic fracturing operations on the economy.

Answer (Andrew Stephenson)

The UK has potentially significant shale gas reserves, but exploration is necessary to understand whether it will be possible to technically and commercially extract these reserves. The Government is supportive of shale gas exploration to understand the size of the UK opportunity.

15 May 2019, 12:55 p.m. Business: Wales Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent steps he has taken to engage with businesses throughout Wales on preparedness for the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Answer (Alun Cairns)

I engage frequently with stakeholders from across Wales, including business on a range of issues including EU exit and preparedness.

Most recently on 14 March and 11 April I held teleconference calls with my Expert Panel and Economic Advisory Board to discuss EU Exit. Representatives from the business community were on those calls including the CBI Wales, the South and Mid-Wales Chamber of Commerce and the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce.

14 May 2019, 3:27 p.m. Australia: Joint Exercises Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what joint military exercises the UK plans to undertake with Australia.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

The UK and Australia continue to exercise alongside each other regularly. Plans include:

Exercise Pacific Kukri involving elements of British Forces Brunei in Australia enabled by the Australian Army.

Exercise Talisman Sabre, primarily a US/Australian Exercise, but also involving Royal Marine and RAF personnel.

Exercise Diamond Strike, a US/Australian air warfare exercise, also involving a small number of RAF personnel.

Exercise Bersama Lima, the key annual exercise for the Five Powers Defence Arrangements, including force elements from the RAF participating alongside the RAAF in 2019

14 May 2019, 3:25 p.m. Netherlands: Military Alliances Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps she is taking to increase defence and security cooperation with the Netherlands.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

The Netherlands is one of the UK's closest defence and security partners and NATO Ally, a relationship which we are enhancing further under the 2017 Joint Vision Statement and annual Action Plan that underpins it, and through the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force and the Northern Group.

14 May 2019, 3:24 p.m. Canada: Joint Exercises Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what joint military exercises the UK plans to undertake with Canada.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

As founding members of NATO, the UK and Canada regularly exercise together in NATO exercises, such as the US-led Baltops this summer and the UK-led Joint Warrior. Outside of NATO the UK and Canada plan to exercise together in a range of different exercises, including Cutlass Fury in September 2019, Nanook-Tuugaalik in 2020 and Maple Flag in 2021 should it be reinstated by the Canadians.

14 May 2019, 2:34 p.m. State Retirement Pensions: British Nationals Abroad Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government has made an (a) reciprocal or (b) unilateral agreement to maintain the annual increases to the pensions of UK citizens residing in the Republic of Ireland if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Answer (Guy Opperman)

The UK and Ireland signed on the 1 February 2019 a reciprocal agreement which will protect the social security rights of UK and Irish nationals living and/or working in each other’s state when the UK leaves the EU. It allows for the payment of each country’s uprated state pensions to recipients living in the other.

14 May 2019, 1:52 p.m. State Retirement Pensions: Reciprocal Arrangements Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what effect the UK leaving the EU without a deal would have on reciprocal pension agreements with EU member states.

Answer (Guy Opperman)

The Government has consistently put citizens’ rights first in our negotiations with the EU. The best way to guarantee those rights, which include social security, both for UK nationals in the EU and EU citizens in the UK, is the deal that the Government has secured. The Government supported the amendment put forward by Alberto Costa MP which requires the Government to seek a joint UK/EU commitment to preserve the citizens’ rights section of the Withdrawal Agreement whatever the outcome of negotiations. The letter to the European Commission setting out the Government’s position and the Commission’s reply is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/costa-amendment-letter-to-the-eu-institutions

The current EU arrangements providing for reciprocity in social security would no longer apply if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

14 May 2019, 1:52 p.m. State Retirement Pensions: Reciprocal Arrangements Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions the Government have held with (a) the EU and (b) individual EU member states on reciprocal pension agreements after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Guy Opperman)

The Government has consistently put citizens’ rights first in our negotiations with the EU. The best way to guarantee those rights, which include social security, both for UK nationals in the EU and EU citizens in the UK, is the deal that the Government has secured. The Government supported the amendment put forward by Alberto Costa MP which requires the Government to seek a joint UK/EU commitment to preserve the citizens’ rights section of the Withdrawal Agreement whatever the outcome of negotiations. The letter to the European Commission setting out the Government’s position and the Commission’s reply is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/costa-amendment-letter-to-the-eu-institutions

The current EU arrangements providing for reciprocity in social security would no longer apply if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

14 May 2019, 12:58 p.m. Free Trade: Azerbaijan Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps he is taking to promote free trade with Azerbaijan after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

The Department for International Trade is working to strengthen the UK’s trade and investment relationships with countries such as Azerbaijan and Armenia as we negotiate our exit from the EU. The UK is seeking continuity of existing trade arrangements with Azerbaijan and Armenia by replicating the effects of the EU-Azerbaijan Partnership & Cooperation Agreements and EU-Armenia Comprehensive & Enhanced Partnership Agreement when we leave the EU.

On 3 April 2018, Judith Slater was appointed as Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Eastern Europe and Central Asia to improve trade and collaboration with countries in this region, including Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Prime Minister has also appointed Trade Envoys to promote bilateral trade and investment in this region, including my Honourable friend the Member for Wrekin for Armenia and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne for Azerbaijan.

14 May 2019, 12:58 p.m. Free Trade: Armenia Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps he is taking to promote free trade with Armenia after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

The Department for International Trade is working to strengthen the UK’s trade and investment relationships with countries such as Azerbaijan and Armenia as we negotiate our exit from the EU. The UK is seeking continuity of existing trade arrangements with Azerbaijan and Armenia by replicating the effects of the EU-Azerbaijan Partnership & Cooperation Agreements and EU-Armenia Comprehensive & Enhanced Partnership Agreement when we leave the EU.

On 3 April 2018, Judith Slater was appointed as Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Eastern Europe and Central Asia to improve trade and collaboration with countries in this region, including Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Prime Minister has also appointed Trade Envoys to promote bilateral trade and investment in this region, including my Honourable friend the Member for Wrekin for Armenia and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne for Azerbaijan.

13 May 2019, 4:58 p.m. Free Trade: Thailand Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps he has taken to enable free trade with Thailand after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

The UK Government is working with the Government of Thailand to address existing trade barriers between the two countries, and to consider options for strengthening our bilateral trading relationship in the future.

The Secretary of State for International Trade visited Thailand from 4-6 April 2018. Dr Fox discussed the UK’s future trading relationship with Thailand, emphasising the importance of an open economy and transparent and predictable regulatory environment.

Total trade in goods and services between the UK and Thailand was £6.3bn to the end of 2018, an increase of 6.1% from 2017.

13 May 2019, 4:18 p.m. Animal Welfare: Romford Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many animal cruelty (a) offences and (b) convictions there were in Romford constituency in each year since 2012.

Answer