Bambos Charalambous Portrait

Bambos Charalambous

Independent - Enfield, Southgate

First elected: 8th June 2017


Shadow Minister (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs)
4th Dec 2021 - 9th Jun 2023
Procedure Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 16th Jan 2023
Shadow Minister (Home Office)
10th Apr 2020 - 4th Dec 2021
Nationality and Borders Bill
16th Sep 2021 - 4th Nov 2021
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
12th May 2021 - 24th Jun 2021
Opposition Whip (Commons)
6th Dec 2018 - 10th Apr 2020
Finance Committee (Commons)
18th Feb 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
Procedure Committee
23rd Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Justice Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 24th May 2023
Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 148 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 298 Noes - 216
Speeches
Tuesday 9th May 2023
Yemen: Humanitarian Situation and Children’s Rights
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Pritchard. I thank the hon. Member for Glasgow North West …
Written Answers
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Pedestrian Crossings
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to enforce pedestrian priority at pedestrian crossing …
Early Day Motions
Monday 4th December 2017
COMMUNITY HEALTH PARTNERSHIPS AND NHS PROPERTY SERVICES
That this House notes that Community Health Partnerships recently ended its facilities management contract with NHS Property Services and is …
Bills
Thursday 15th July 2021
Children (Access to Treatment) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision about children's access to medical services; and for connected purposes.
MP Financial Interests
Monday 4th September 2023
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: World Hellenic Inter-Parliamentary Association
Address of donor: 22-24 Amalias Avenue, 105 57 Athens, Greece
Estimate of the …
EDM signed
Tuesday 18th July 2023
Specialist Huntington’s Disease Services
That this House notes that Huntington’s Disease is a rare, hereditary and incurable neurological condition that slowly robs patients of …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 30th March 2022
Breast Screening Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision for the purposes of increasing uptake of NHS Breast Screening Programme appointments, including in groups …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Bambos Charalambous has voted in 675 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Bambos Charalambous Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Tom Pursglove (Conservative)
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
(44 debate interactions)
Alex Cunningham (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Justice)
(35 debate interactions)
Victoria Atkins (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
(24 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(339 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(32 debate contributions)
Ministry of Justice
(20 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Bambos Charalambous's debates

Enfield, Southgate Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petition Debates Contributed

The Government should create an emergency fund to deal with the massive waiting lists for autism & ADHD assessments for children AND adults. This would provide resources for local health services deal with current waiting lists and new patients.

The Government should commission a review of how Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) assessments are managed by the NHS, including through Shared Care Agreements, and increase funding to reduce waiting times.

Undocumented Migrants are suffering in silence, with no access to adequate Financial support, or any help. The Government should grant an urgent Amnesty of 5years to those with no criminal record so that they could live their lives as normal human beings and pay tax to help the UK economy.

The government is helping private firms to protect jobs by paying up to 80% of staff wages through this crisis. If it can do this why can it not help key workers who will be putting themselves/their families at risk and working extra hard under extremely challenging and unprecedented circumstances.

During the pandemic government workers have delivered vital public services and kept our country safe and secure. After ten years in which the real value of civil service pay has fallen, many face hardship. The Government must start to restore the real value of their pay with a 10% increase in 2020.

To not decide to scrap free travel for those who are under 18. As a teenager who has relied so much on free travel, it has allowed for me to go to school without the worry of an extra expense and explore around the beautiful city of London also. Destroying free travel would hurt so many of us.


Latest EDMs signed by Bambos Charalambous

17th May 2022
Bambos Charalambous signed this EDM on Tuesday 18th July 2023

Specialist Huntington’s Disease Services

Tabled by: Hilary Benn (Labour - Leeds Central)
That this House notes that Huntington’s Disease is a rare, hereditary and incurable neurological condition that slowly robs patients of their ability to walk, talk, eat, drink, make decisions and care for themselves; notes that a University of Aberdeen study, published in the Journal of Neurology, highlights that the number …
112 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Oct 2023)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 41
Labour: 36
Liberal Democrat: 14
Independent: 6
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Plaid Cymru: 3
Conservative: 3
Alba Party: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
16th November 2021
Bambos Charalambous signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 16th November 2021

Town and Country Planning

Tabled by: Keir Starmer (Labour - Holborn and St Pancras)
That the Town and Country Planning (Napier Barracks) Special Development Order 2021 (SI, 2021, No. 962), dated 26 August 2021, a copy of which was laid before this House on 27 August 2021, be revoked.
18 signatures
(Most recent: 24 Jan 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 9
Liberal Democrat: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 1
Green Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
View All Bambos Charalambous's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Bambos Charalambous, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Bambos Charalambous has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Bambos Charalambous has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

3 Bills introduced by Bambos Charalambous


A Bill to make provision about children's access to medical services; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Thursday 15th July 2021

A Bill to make provision about children’s access to medical treatment; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 18th March 2020
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to require the provision of comprehensive palliative care to those with terminal illnesses, including adults over the age of 60; to require certain public bodies to co-operate with hospices in the provision of palliative care; to make provision for support for those caring for individuals with a terminal illness; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 23rd May 2018
(Read Debate)

332 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
2 Other Department Questions
22nd Jan 2024
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of requiring employers to publish salary information when advertising job opportunities.

There is growing evidence to show that when salary information is not transparent, it has an impact on how people, particularly women and those from ethnic minorities, negotiate pay. This can ultimately result in lower starting salaries and smaller pay rises. In light of this, we have considered the merits of making this a requirement.

However, we appreciate that some employers may find it challenging to be fully transparent about pay, and for many organisations, moving immediately to a system of full pay transparency would require a period of adjustment. We therefore do not believe that introducing a legal requirement to disclose this information is the right course of action.

However, in order to encourage and assist employers in voluntarily adopting this, we are considering what further support employers may need. In addition, our pay transparency pilot will provide insights on the impact it can have.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
26th Oct 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent assessment the Government has made of trends in the levels of violence against women and girls.

Police data does not provide a fully reliable picture of trends of Violence Against Women and Girls. These crimes are often hidden and can go unreported to the police.

Pleasingly, levels of reporting have gone up. This may be in part be due to improvements in recording practices, but also because victims and survivors are more comfortable in coming forward.

We want to see these increases, so the victims and survivors can be supported so more perpetrators are rightly brought to justice.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the CPS has adequate resources to prosecute hate crime against the Jewish community (a) on social media and (b) in communities across the UK.

I know the CPS recognises the serious impact hate crimes have on peoples’ lives and will always seek to prosecute where there is sufficient evidence to do so, regardless of the offence or how it is committed. Their efforts have led to a continued rise in successful sentence uplifts for recorded hate crime, which this year reached its highest rate yet at 79.1% of cases.

Each CPS Area also has a Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor as a strategic hate crime lead and nationally there is a hate crime lead at Chief Crown Prosecutor level. A network of dedicated Hate Crime Coordinators operate across all 14 CPS Areas, providing experience and expertise on matters relating to hate crime and supporting front line prosecutors to secure sentence uplifts.

The CPS directly engages with communities affected by hate crime to ensure a greater awareness of the law and how it is applied. Within the Jewish community, the CPS sits on the cross-government antisemitism working group with the Community Security Trust, Board of Deputies, and Jewish Leadership Council. The CPS External Consultation Group on hate crime provides a further community perspective on prosecutorial activity.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
15th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the tracking of people with neurodiverse conditions on his Department's diversity monitoring forms.

Diversity monitoring forms, which include the Enterprise Resource Planning system used in the Cabinet Office, use question sets in line with the Office for National Statistics harmonised standards. This is considered best practice across government.

As set out in the Autumn statement, the audit of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) spending is coming to its conclusion and, subject to further work, the Government is streamlining EDI training and HR processes with a view to getting value for the taxpayer. As the Minister for the Cabinet Office, I will be outlining the final proposals in due course.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what covid-19 related public awareness campaigns the Government has funded and promoted over the last 12 months.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to PQ 33512 on 23 March 2020, and to PQ 40655 on 27 April 2020.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
12th Nov 2020
What steps the Government is taking to help ensure that blind and partially sighted people can vote (a) independently and (b) in private.

The Government is committed to ensuring that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote and has been working with The Royal National Institute of Blind People to improve the voting process for blind and partially sighted people.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to raise public awareness of the Please Give Me Space visual indicator.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to PQs 45274 and 907859.

To help the public comply with the latest guidance, Please Give Me Space cards and badges were created in collaboration with the RNIB, and are available on gov.uk for download and print for those who are exempt from wearing face coverings. The badge and other assets were shared via Government social media channels, with disability charities, and with relevant enforcers of face covering guidelines to raise awareness, such as the police and public transport firms. COVID-19 guidance is published on gov.uk and amplified via our public information campaign.

3rd Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will hold discussions with representatives of delivery companies on delivery delays and potential impacts on businesses.

The Postal Services Act 2011 designates Ofcom as the independent regulator for the postal sector with the powers to impose and enforce regulatory requirements on postal operators to fulfil its functions in relation to postal services.

In its review of postal regulation in 2022, Ofcom committed to ongoing monitoring of operators’ complaints handling performance and keep under review the need for additional regulation to protect customers.

Ofcom publishes an annual monitoring update which includes views from a representative sample of SME users of postal services.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what further consultation he plans to conduct with medical research charities on alternative funding arrangements to the EU's Horizon Europe programme.

The Government’s preference is for the UK to associate to Horizon Europe. However, given the EU’s persistence in delaying our association, it is only right and responsible that we are prepared for all outcomes, including one where we are not able to associate.

On 20 July we published proposals on how the UK would transition to a new R&D programme, should the EU’s delays to our association to Horizon Europe continue. These include details of our proposed transitional measures and an overview of our longer-term alternative plans.

We will continue to engage with researchers from a diverse range of sectors to make sure that the UK is a desirable place for R&D in all future scenarios. Over the next few months, we plan to step up our engagement with businesses, universities and research institutions, to support them if association is not possible.

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what consultation his Department has conducted with medical research charities on alternative funding arrangements to the EU's Horizon Europe programme.

The Government’s preference is for the UK to associate to Horizon Europe. However, given the EU’s persistence in delaying our association, it is only right and responsible that we are prepared for all outcomes, including one where we are not able to associate.

On 20 July we published proposals on how the UK would transition to a new R&D programme, should the EU’s delays to our association to Horizon Europe continue. These include details of our proposed transitional measures and an overview of our longer-term alternative plans.

We will continue to engage with researchers from a diverse range of sectors to make sure that the UK is a desirable place for R&D in all future scenarios. Over the next few months, we plan to step up our engagement with businesses, universities and research institutions, to support them if association is not possible.

14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether residents of buildings with communal heating systems will be eligible for the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme grant.

There will be different considerations for consumers depending on their circumstances and the way in which they pay their energy bills. All domestic electricity customers who have a direct relationship with a licensed electricity supplier will be automatically eligible for this Scheme.

The Government continues to work with consumer groups and suppliers on the delivery of the Scheme and is exploring options for other ways in which customers who do not have a domestic electricity contract might receive similar support. The full suite of help from the government is covered here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-support-for-the-cost-of-living-factsheet/government-support-for-the-cost-of-living-factsheet.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of putting in place additional protective measures to those committing to free online trial periods of services before contracted payment commences.

We consulted last year on proposals to improve consumer safeguards when purchasing online subscriptions as part of our wider package of reforms to competition and consumer law. Alongside the consultation we published an impact assessment of these proposals: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/reforming-competition-and-consumer-policy. We are considering responses to the consultation and will publish our response shortly.

14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Government's support for the wedding industry sector adversely affected by the cancellation of wedding receptions and religious ceremonies as a result of covid-19 restrictions on the number of people attending those receptions and ceremonies.

I meet regularly with the industry-led Weddings Taskforce, established to represent a wide range of interests in the weddings sector in England, to understand the impact of the pandemic on jobs and businesses.

Over the course of the pandemic the Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support to business, including those in the wedding industry, which we keep under regular review.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of banning energy meter readings to help prevent the spread of covid-19.

Government guidance on the current national restrictions enables tradespeople, such as meter readers and smart meter installers, to work in peoples’ homes if it is a necessary part of their job.

When visiting peoples’ homes, tradespeople should follow the Safer Working guidance and take appropriate Covid-19 secure precautions.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of pausing the installation of smart meters to help prevent the spread of covid-19.

Government guidance on the current national restrictions enables tradespeople, such as meter readers and smart meter installers, to work in peoples’ homes if it is a necessary part of their job.

When visiting peoples’ homes, tradespeople should follow the Safer Working guidance and take appropriate Covid-19 secure precautions.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Government has made of the effect on independent retailers of the repayment of bounce back loans before the end of the covid-19 lockdown.

The Government launched the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) to ensure that the smallest businesses could access loans of up to £50,000 to help businesses through this difficult period. Under BBLS no repayments are due from the borrower for the first 12 months of the loan, giving businesses the breathing space they need during this difficult time. In addition, the Government covers the first 12 months of interest payments charged to the business by the lender.

We have always been clear that businesses are responsible for repaying any finance they take out. However, we recognise that some borrowers will benefit from flexibility for their repayments. That is why we announced the Pay As You Grow measures.

Pay As You Grow will provide Bounce Back Loan borrowers more time and flexibility over their repayments by giving them the option to:

  • Extend the length of the loan from six years to ten.
  • Make interest-only payments for six months, with the option to use this up to three times throughout the loan.
  • Once six payments have been made, have the option of a six-month repayment holiday.

Businesses will be able to use these options either individually or in combination with each other. In addition, they have the option to fully repay their loan early and will face no early repayment charges for doing so.

Together, the 12-month payment holiday and interest-free period for borrowers, along with the Pay As You Grow measures, provide a generous support package giving businesses the time to get back on their feet.

The Government continues to enhance its engagement with a broad range of trade and representative bodies, in particular SME networks, to continue to understand the impact of Covid-19 on businesses and the concerns they have.

29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has carried out an equality impact assessment of the elite sport funding of deaf people.

UK Sport uses funding provided by the Government to support athletes with potential to achieve success in Olympic and Paralympic sports. As the Deaflympics falls outside of Olympic and Paralympic sport, UK Sport are therefore unable to fund athletes targeting this event.

This is in line with the Government’s approach to other Paralympic sports where competition is not offered in an athlete's particular classification or discipline.

Sport England has committed £1.2 million between 2022 and 2027 to UK Deaf Sport to boost deaf sport at the grassroots level and build wider participation. They have also agreed to explore a series of small-scale talent pilots for d/Deaf athletes. These pilots will see Sport England, National Governing Bodies, and UK Deaf Sport working together to explore these issues and suggest potential solutions.

d/Deaf athletes do receive Government funding. Sport England has committed £1.2 million between 2022 and 2027 to UK Deaf Sport to boost deaf sport at the grassroots level and build wider participation. Beyond this, they have also agreed to explore a series of small-scale talent pilots for d/Deaf athletes. These pilots will see Sport England, National Governing Bodies, and UK Deaf Sport working together to explore support around elite competitions and suggest potential solutions.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of the allocation of UK Sport funding to (a) deaf athletes and (b) the Deaflympics.

UK Sport uses funding provided by the Government to support athletes with potential to achieve success in Olympic and Paralympic sports. As the Deaflympics falls outside of Olympic and Paralympic sport, UK Sport are therefore unable to fund athletes targeting this event.

This is in line with the Government’s approach to other Paralympic sports where competition is not offered in an athlete's particular classification or discipline.

Sport England has committed £1.2 million between 2022 and 2027 to UK Deaf Sport to boost deaf sport at the grassroots level and build wider participation. They have also agreed to explore a series of small-scale talent pilots for d/Deaf athletes. These pilots will see Sport England, National Governing Bodies, and UK Deaf Sport working together to explore these issues and suggest potential solutions.

d/Deaf athletes do receive Government funding. Sport England has committed £1.2 million between 2022 and 2027 to UK Deaf Sport to boost deaf sport at the grassroots level and build wider participation. Beyond this, they have also agreed to explore a series of small-scale talent pilots for d/Deaf athletes. These pilots will see Sport England, National Governing Bodies, and UK Deaf Sport working together to explore support around elite competitions and suggest potential solutions.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress the Government is making on the establishment of the £500 million Youth Investment Fund announced by the Chancellor in September 2019.

The Youth Investment Fund (YIF) remains a manifesto commitment for levelling up across England over the course of the parliament. In the recently announced Spending Review, £30m of this was committed as capital investment for 2021-22. This will provide investment for new and refurbished safe spaces for young people, so they can access support from youth workers, and positive activities out of school, including sport and culture. Further details of the timetable for allocation of YIF funding in 2021-22, and how the funding will be distributed will be announced in due course.

The department is currently undertaking a review of all DCMS spending on services for young people, including future plans for the Youth Investment Fund, which we anticipate will conclude in May this year.

Government recognises the significant impact of Covid-19 on young people, particularly the most vulnerable, and on the youth services that support them. The £16.5m Youth Covid-19 Support Fund was announced to protect the immediate future of grassroots and national youth organisations across the country. The fund opened for applications on 15 January 2021 and closed 19 February 2021.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans her Department has to ensure (a) lines of accountability and (b) attributable liability for mistakes of artificial intelligence services.

Our future work related to attributable liability for mistakes of artificial intelligence services will be informed by independent expert advice. As part of its current work programme, the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation is conducting a review into the potential for bias in the use of algorithms and will publish its report in March 2020.

Other measures include promoting a more ethical use of data within government. For example, one of the seven principles of the UK’s Data Ethics Framework is transparency about the tools, data and algorithms used to conduct work to enable greater scrutiny. The Framework encourages sharing models for algorithmic accountability and making data science tools available for scrutiny wherever possible.

Moreover, the Data Protection Act introduced the necessary safeguards such as the right to be informed of automated processing as soon as possible and the right to challenge an automated decision made by a data controller or processor.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support he is providing to ensure UK-based academics can access adequate computer technology to carry out effective research on artificial intelligence.

Historically, UKRI councils have advocated for responsible research and innovation approaches. EPSRC has advocated and established a flexible and proportionate approach for its community (and staff) to consider what Responsible Innovation means for their activities. The development of the AREA framework was introduced in 2013. This encourages everyone involved in the research to describe and analyse possible impacts that may arise from their research activities, reflect on what that may mean going forward, openly engage with others, and to use these processes to influence the direction and trajectory of the research.

Within the UK, there are a number of activities and initiatives around responsible research and innovation in AI and providing leadership in this space. Examples include the Ada Lovelace Institute, The Alan Turing Institute, The Observatory for Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT (ORBIT).

UKRI is making investments in research to understand and implement the properties of Trustworthy AI across all applications of AI but this is a relatively new research area in which still further research is needed. Responsible, trustworthy AI is also a consistent theme in the investigations and strategic approaches of key UK and international stakeholders. For example, the G20 AI Principles and OECD Recommendations on AI focus on Responsible AI as a key theme for international AI development going forward. Through the Royal Society’s report ‘Machine Learning: The Power and Promise of Computers that Learn by Example’ the breadth of the responsibility challenge was illustrated, with clear current public concerns and barriers to adoption discussed as well as opportunities if fully Responsible AI is adopted.

5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will meet with the hon. Member for Enfield, Southgate and Barnardo’s to discuss how local authorities can work with partners to prevent the over-criminalisation of Black children in the care system.

We recognise that children in care are more likely than their peers in the general population to have contact with the criminal justice system. That is why we published a joint national protocol with the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in 2018 on reducing the unnecessary criminalisation of looked after children and care leavers: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-protocol-on-reducing-criminalisation-of-looked-after-children. The protocol was produced with the input of local authority representatives, and other partners. Since the publication of the protocol, the proportion of children in care aged 10-17 who are charged with an offence or receive a caution has reduced from 3% in 2019 to 2% in 2023. Latest data for year ending March 2023 also show that 3% of care leavers age 19-21 were in custody. This figure has remained the same for the last 5 years.

We are also taking action on risk factors that can lead to criminal behaviour including through our work to improve school attendance.

Through the care leaver Ministerial Board, we are working closely with MoJ to improve support and outcomes of care-experienced people in the criminal justice system.

The MoJ is currently updating its strategy for people with care experience in the criminal justice system, to ensure that their time in the criminal justice system is used to support them to lead crime-free lives. The strategy will include a focus on race and its role in shaping the experiences and outcomes of those with care experience, and will link to wider departmental efforts to address racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system. The MoJ are aiming to publish this strategy in 2024.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will meet with the hon. Member for Enfield, Southgate and Barnardo’s to discuss developing a Black Foster Care Network to improve the experiences of Black children in care.

I refer the hon. Member for Enfield Southgate to the answer of 15 January 2024 to Question 8232: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2024-01-05/8232.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will publish the new national template for Education, Health and Care plans that is being tested by SEND Change Programme Partnerships.

Mediation proposals are being tested through the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Change Programme. These tests aim to develop a best practice model for delivering high-quality mediation provisions.

The proposals being tested include asking local authorities to: signpost new family friendly guidance on mediation in their local offer; take part in pre-mediation meetings; respond to requests for mediation with available dates within 5 working days; and, where possible, to use mediators listed on the Civil Mediation Council/College of Mediators SEND register.

The department will carefully consider the feedback and findings from the Change Programme. The department expects this to include data on mediation timeliness as well as feedback on outcomes and families' experiences of the process. Testing will also help to better understand the required capacity to deliver timely, high-quality mediation and to identify any delivery challenges.

The department is also testing an advisory tailored list in participating local authorities through the Change Programme to gain feedback on the best way to support families as they choose a placement. To illustrate choice, participating families will receive detailed and relevant information about placements that could be suitable to meet the needs of their child, but there will be no change to the existing statutory framework and their existing rights will be unaffected. The department will use the Change Programme as an opportunity to learn how tailored lists can best support family experiences as well as their potential to support local authorities to manage their placements and provision.

Finally, the Education Health and Care (EHC) plan template that local authorities on the Change Programme are now preparing to pilot was extensively coproduced with a wide range of SEND experts, including families themselves. Following this period of testing, the department will finalise and publish the EHC plan template.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to strengthen mediation through the SEND Change Programme; and what outcome measures will be used to determine the success of those changes.

Mediation proposals are being tested through the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Change Programme. These tests aim to develop a best practice model for delivering high-quality mediation provisions.

The proposals being tested include asking local authorities to: signpost new family friendly guidance on mediation in their local offer; take part in pre-mediation meetings; respond to requests for mediation with available dates within 5 working days; and, where possible, to use mediators listed on the Civil Mediation Council/College of Mediators SEND register.

The department will carefully consider the feedback and findings from the Change Programme. The department expects this to include data on mediation timeliness as well as feedback on outcomes and families' experiences of the process. Testing will also help to better understand the required capacity to deliver timely, high-quality mediation and to identify any delivery challenges.

The department is also testing an advisory tailored list in participating local authorities through the Change Programme to gain feedback on the best way to support families as they choose a placement. To illustrate choice, participating families will receive detailed and relevant information about placements that could be suitable to meet the needs of their child, but there will be no change to the existing statutory framework and their existing rights will be unaffected. The department will use the Change Programme as an opportunity to learn how tailored lists can best support family experiences as well as their potential to support local authorities to manage their placements and provision.

Finally, the Education Health and Care (EHC) plan template that local authorities on the Change Programme are now preparing to pilot was extensively coproduced with a wide range of SEND experts, including families themselves. Following this period of testing, the department will finalise and publish the EHC plan template.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what reforms on (a) mediation and (b) choice of education placement for children and young people who have an Education, Health and Care plan are being tested as part of the SEND Change Programme.

Mediation proposals are being tested through the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Change Programme. These tests aim to develop a best practice model for delivering high-quality mediation provisions.

The proposals being tested include asking local authorities to: signpost new family friendly guidance on mediation in their local offer; take part in pre-mediation meetings; respond to requests for mediation with available dates within 5 working days; and, where possible, to use mediators listed on the Civil Mediation Council/College of Mediators SEND register.

The department will carefully consider the feedback and findings from the Change Programme. The department expects this to include data on mediation timeliness as well as feedback on outcomes and families' experiences of the process. Testing will also help to better understand the required capacity to deliver timely, high-quality mediation and to identify any delivery challenges.

The department is also testing an advisory tailored list in participating local authorities through the Change Programme to gain feedback on the best way to support families as they choose a placement. To illustrate choice, participating families will receive detailed and relevant information about placements that could be suitable to meet the needs of their child, but there will be no change to the existing statutory framework and their existing rights will be unaffected. The department will use the Change Programme as an opportunity to learn how tailored lists can best support family experiences as well as their potential to support local authorities to manage their placements and provision.

Finally, the Education Health and Care (EHC) plan template that local authorities on the Change Programme are now preparing to pilot was extensively coproduced with a wide range of SEND experts, including families themselves. Following this period of testing, the department will finalise and publish the EHC plan template.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that children in care who go missing are (a) found and (b) kept safe.

The department takes the matter of any child going missing very seriously, and statutory guidance is in place which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-who-run-away-or-go-missing-from-home-or-care.

This guidance outlines the responsibilities of local authorities working with partners, to prevent children going missing and to gather and share information and intelligence to reduce this risk. The guidance applies to all children going missing, whether this is from the family home or from care.

The guidance requires that every children's home has clear procedures to prevent children from going missing. The guidance also ensures there are detailed interviews when a child has returned from being missing.

The department is firmly committed to ensuring that when care is the best choice for a child, the care system provides stable, loving homes close to children’s communities. The government is investing £259 million in capital funding to provide high quality homes for some of our most vulnerable young people, to ensure that they can be closer to families, schools, and health services.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the need to equip young people with language skills in preparation for international trade and commerce.

In 2010, 40% of pupils in English state-funded schools at the end of Key Stage 4 entered a GCSE in a modern foreign language, and this has increased to 46% in 2020. Over the same period, the proportion of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 entering GCSE German reduced from 10% to 7%. German, however, remains the third most popular language in secondary schools, with nearly 41,000 pupils entering a GCSE in this subject in 2020.

Studying a foreign language can be very rewarding, provide an insight into other cultures and open the door to travel and enhance future employment opportunities. We know that languages are increasingly important to equip young people in business and trade to make sure we can compete in the global market. A government-commissioned study by Foreman-Peck and Wang published in 2014 states that poor language skills in businesses was holding back UK trade performance. The report can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-costs-to-the-uk-of-language-deficiencies-as-a-barrier-to-uk-engagement-in-exporting.

To improve take-up in German and other languages at GCSE, we have funded the £4.8 million MFL Pedagogy Pilot which commenced in in December 2018. The pilot is managed by the National Centre for Excellence in Language Pedagogy (NCELP) and run through 9 school-led hubs. The pilot is developing fully resourced schemes of work for schools in key stage 3 in French, German and Spanish, as well as disseminating best practice and training to support language teachers. The aim is to increase both pupil take-up and teaching quality in French, German and Spanish.

We have recently extended the programme to December 2022 and, during its last year, the NCELP will extend its reach to deliver training to at least 1,350 modern foreign language teachers and will develop fully resourced schemes of work for Key Stage 4. Information on the NCELP can be found at: https://ncelp.org.

We also commissioned a review of modern foreign language GCSEs in French, German and Spanish to make them more accessible and motivating for students. Our ambition is to produce a subject content that aligns more closely with the Teaching Schools Council’s 2016 MFL pedagogy review and, in doing so, ensure that subject content reflects research in language curriculum and teaching and makes language GCSEs more accessible and motivating for students. Consultation on this opened on 10 March and closes on 19 May. Details can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/gcse-modern-foreign-languages-mfl-subject-content-review.

16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the extent of the decline in the teaching of German in secondary schools.

In 2010, 40% of pupils in English state-funded schools at the end of Key Stage 4 entered a GCSE in a modern foreign language, and this has increased to 46% in 2020. Over the same period, the proportion of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 entering GCSE German reduced from 10% to 7%. German, however, remains the third most popular language in secondary schools, with nearly 41,000 pupils entering a GCSE in this subject in 2020.

Studying a foreign language can be very rewarding, provide an insight into other cultures and open the door to travel and enhance future employment opportunities. We know that languages are increasingly important to equip young people in business and trade to make sure we can compete in the global market. A government-commissioned study by Foreman-Peck and Wang published in 2014 states that poor language skills in businesses was holding back UK trade performance. The report can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-costs-to-the-uk-of-language-deficiencies-as-a-barrier-to-uk-engagement-in-exporting.

To improve take-up in German and other languages at GCSE, we have funded the £4.8 million MFL Pedagogy Pilot which commenced in in December 2018. The pilot is managed by the National Centre for Excellence in Language Pedagogy (NCELP) and run through 9 school-led hubs. The pilot is developing fully resourced schemes of work for schools in key stage 3 in French, German and Spanish, as well as disseminating best practice and training to support language teachers. The aim is to increase both pupil take-up and teaching quality in French, German and Spanish.

We have recently extended the programme to December 2022 and, during its last year, the NCELP will extend its reach to deliver training to at least 1,350 modern foreign language teachers and will develop fully resourced schemes of work for Key Stage 4. Information on the NCELP can be found at: https://ncelp.org.

We also commissioned a review of modern foreign language GCSEs in French, German and Spanish to make them more accessible and motivating for students. Our ambition is to produce a subject content that aligns more closely with the Teaching Schools Council’s 2016 MFL pedagogy review and, in doing so, ensure that subject content reflects research in language curriculum and teaching and makes language GCSEs more accessible and motivating for students. Consultation on this opened on 10 March and closes on 19 May. Details can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/gcse-modern-foreign-languages-mfl-subject-content-review.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect on children's (a) learning and (b) development of the closure of wraparound childcare providers.

Ensuring that working parents and carers have access to the childcare they need remains a priority for the government. That is why we have ensured that all before-school and after-school clubs, holiday clubs, and other out-of-school settings have been able to continue to stay open for children eligible to attend school on-site (i.e. for critical worker children, and vulnerable children and young people) for the duration of the national lockdown, in line with the protective measures guidance for the sector, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

We have also made clear that schools should be continuing to offer before-school and after-school provision for those pupils eligible to attend for on-site provision, where it is feasible for them to do so. We have provided guidance for schools to support them to resume this provision. A copy of the guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

The department does not hold a central register of all wraparound provision and is therefore not able to give an assessment on the effects of children’s learning and development due to the closure of providers. We recognise the value this sector offers to our children and young people, in terms of the enriching activities they provide and, in particular, the valuable support they provide to our critical worker parents, and vulnerable children. That is why we have encouraged all local authorities to consider what local grants could be used to bolster this part of the childcare sector in their areas, to safeguard sufficient childcare provision for children of critical workers and vulnerable children. This includes funding streams such as the Holiday Activities and Food Programme. The expanded programme, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities, will be expanded to reach all local authority areas over the Easter, summer, and Christmas holidays in 2021.

The department also recognises that the wraparound childcare sector, like many sectors, is facing unprecedented financial pressures as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is for this reason that the government has made a range of financial packages of support available for businesses to access throughout the current crisis. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support. This includes tax relief, business loans or cash grants through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, as well as a £594 million discretionary fund for councils and the devolved administrations to support local businesses that may not be eligible for other support during the current national lockdown, announced on 4 January 2021.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the UK's financial recovery from the covid-19 outbreak of offering tailored grant funding to wraparound childcare providers.

Ensuring that working parents and carers have access to the childcare they need remains a priority for the government. That is why we have ensured that all before-school and after-school clubs, holiday clubs, and other out-of-school settings have been able to continue to stay open for children eligible to attend school on-site (i.e. for critical worker children, and vulnerable children and young people) for the duration of the national lockdown, in line with the protective measures guidance for the sector, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

We have also made clear that schools should be continuing to offer before-school and after-school provision for those pupils eligible to attend for on-site provision, where it is feasible for them to do so. We have provided guidance for schools to support them to resume this provision. A copy of the guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

The department does not hold a central register of all wraparound provision and is therefore not able to give an assessment on the effects of children’s learning and development due to the closure of providers. We recognise the value this sector offers to our children and young people, in terms of the enriching activities they provide and, in particular, the valuable support they provide to our critical worker parents, and vulnerable children. That is why we have encouraged all local authorities to consider what local grants could be used to bolster this part of the childcare sector in their areas, to safeguard sufficient childcare provision for children of critical workers and vulnerable children. This includes funding streams such as the Holiday Activities and Food Programme. The expanded programme, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities, will be expanded to reach all local authority areas over the Easter, summer, and Christmas holidays in 2021.

The department also recognises that the wraparound childcare sector, like many sectors, is facing unprecedented financial pressures as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is for this reason that the government has made a range of financial packages of support available for businesses to access throughout the current crisis. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support. This includes tax relief, business loans or cash grants through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, as well as a £594 million discretionary fund for councils and the devolved administrations to support local businesses that may not be eligible for other support during the current national lockdown, announced on 4 January 2021.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the closure of wraparound childcare providers on childhood obesity.

The government recognises the vital role wraparound childcare plays in providing enriching activities which provide such an enormous benefit to the health and wellbeing of children. That is why we have ensured that all before and after-school clubs, holiday clubs, and other out-of-school settings have been able to continue to stay open for children eligible to attend school on-site (i.e. for critical worker children, and vulnerable children and young people), for the duration of the national lockdown, in line with the protective measures guidance for the sector which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

We have also made clear that schools should be continuing to offer before and after-school provision for those pupils eligible to attend for on-site provision, where it is feasible for them to do so. We have provided guidance for schools to support them to resume this provision. A copy of the guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

The department does not hold a central register of all wraparound provision and is therefore not able to give an assessment on the potential effects to childhood obesity due to the closure of wraparound childcare providers. We do, however, recognise the value this sector offers to our children and young people, as well as the valuable support they provide to our critical worker parents, and vulnerable children. That is why we have encouraged all local authorities to consider what local grants could be used to bolster this part of the childcare sector in their areas, to safeguard sufficient childcare provision for children of critical workers and vulnerable children. This includes funding streams such as the Holiday Activities and Food Programme. The expanded programme, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities, will be expanded to reach all local authority areas over the Easter, summer, and Christmas holidays in 2021.

Although there has been no official assessment made around the effects wraparound closures has on levels of children’s physical activity, the government is acutely aware of the benefits to children’s physical and mental wellbeing of attending these settings. The Department of Health and Social Care published ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ in July 2020, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tackling-obesity-government-strategy/tackling-obesity-empowering-adults-and-children-to-live-healthier-lives?dm_i=21A8,6YUMT,1HTV5R,S1TJS,1.

The strategy demonstrates an overarching campaign to reduce obesity, takes forward actions from previous chapters of the childhood obesity plan, including our ambition to halve the number of children living with obesity by 2030, and sets out measures to get the nation fit and healthy, protect against COVID-19 and protect the NHS.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if the Government will reconsider its decision not to conduct an assessment of the academic publishing industry's pricing and licensing practices for ebooks in order to improve access to ebooks for schools and universities during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government brought forward the zero rate of VAT on e-publications from December. The extension of the zero rate of VAT has been introduced to provide consistency in approach between certain physical and digital publications. This will make e-publications more affordable for schools and universities. The government keeps all taxes under review, including VAT. No assessment of the effect of the academic publishing industry’s pricing and licensing practices for ebooks is currently planned.

On 1 October, the department announced a further remote education support package, to help schools and further education (FE) providers meet the remote education expectations set out in guidance and direction.

Many elements of the support package are already in place and more will be available over the coming months to schools and FE providers. These can be accessed through the remote education service on GOV.UK at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The support package includes access to the right technology to deliver remote education, peer to peer training on how to use this effectively, and practical tools, good practice guidance and school-led webinars. This adds to existing support including the resources available from Oak National Academy, which provides video lessons across a broad range of subjects for every year group from reception to year 11: https://www.thenational.academy/. Oak National Academy will remain a free optional resource for the academic year 2020/21.

As part of over £195 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care, the department is making over 340,000 laptops and tablets available this term to support disadvantaged children whose face-to-face education may be disrupted.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to disburse the additional funding and grants for costs associated with the covid-19 outbreak claimed for by (a) Eversely Primary School and (b) other schools.

The Department is providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred between March and July due to the COVID-19 outbreak that cannot be met from their existing resources.

Schools have been eligible to claim for: increased premises related costs associated with keeping schools open over the Easter and summer half term holidays; support for free school meals for eligible children who are not in school, where schools are not using the national voucher scheme; and additional cleaning costs required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, over and above the cost of existing cleaning arrangements.

The first claims window for the COVID-19 schools fund closed on 21 July. There will be a further opportunity in the autumn for schools to claim for exceptional costs that fell between March and July. This second claims window will be available for schools who were unable to claim in the summer and will be for the same eligible cost categories.

Schools have claimed £104 million against the standard expenditure categories in the fund, as set out above. The Department will be making further payments in the autumn term to schools who either claimed outside of the standard categories or whose claims exceeded the cost limit, following an assessment of their claims. Along with other schools who made a claim outside of the standard expenditure categories, Eversley Primary School, Enfield, will receive a payment in the autumn term which will reflect the outcome of that assessment.

5th May 2020
What recent progress his Department has made on identifying and delivering essential IT equipment to children who need additional support with online learning at home.

We want to do everything we can to support schools and families to continue children’s education while they are at home. We have committed over £100 million to boost remote education, including providing laptops, tablets and internet access for those who need it most.

On Friday 24 April, the Department wrote to local authorities, trusts and other relevant organisations overseeing schools and children’s social care outlining the process for requesting devices.

5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps her Department has taken to help ensure small businesses reduce their use of single-use plastics.

Building on the success of our existing restrictions on certain single use plastic items and the single use carrier bag charge, the government will restrict the supply of single use plastic plates, bowls, trays, cutlery, balloon sticks and expanded and extruded polystyrene food and drinks containers from October this year.

We will also, subject to public consultation this autumn, change the law to ban the sale of wet wipes containing plastic.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of food labelling (a) of trans fats in food and (b) generally.

The UK maintains high standards on the information that is provided on food labels, whether that be mandatory or voluntary, so that consumers can have confidence in the food that they buy.

All food sold on the UK market must comply with food labelling rules. The fundamental principle of food labelling rules is that information provided to the consumer must not mislead and must enable the safe use of food.

Food law provides a robust framework that protects public health and requires food businesses that produce, process, and distribute food to apply food safety controls that ensure food they place on the market is safe.

An assessment of the prevalence or labelling of trans fats in food in the UK has not been recently undertaken.

The most recent data from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey, collected between 2016 and 2019, show that average trans fat intakes in the UK are 0.5-0.6% of total energy intake for adults, and 0.5% for children. This is well within the UK recommended maximum of no more than 2% of total energy.

Trans fat intakes in the UK have declined substantially since the 1980s and 1990s due to the voluntary removal of artificial trans fats from processed foods by the food industry; with some additional work to reduce levels of trans fats in food being undertaken between 2011 and 2013.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of water abstraction plans by Thames Water at Teddington.

Teddington Direct River Abstraction is a water recycling scheme considered in Thames Water’s draft Water Resources Management Plan 2024 (dWRMP24) and Water Resources South East’s (WRSE) Regional Plan as a supply option for 2030/31.

The Environment Agency has scrutinised WRSE’s plan and has responded to Thames Water’s dWRMP24. Any scheme developed will have to meet environmental requirements, and where possible enhancements. The scheme will need environmental permits that the Environment Agency regulate, and planning consents where the Environment Agency is a statutory consultee.

The scheme is being developed through the ‘Regulators Alliance for Progressing Infrastructure Delivery’ (RAPID) gated process and has undergone environmental assessment largely meeting the Regulators’ expectations for Gate 2. Risks have been identified in the Gate 2 submission. There is a risk to scheme feasibility if environmental impacts cannot be mitigated. The Environment Agency has asked Thames Water to undertake further investigations and studies to address these risks by 31 August 2023.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will take steps to help ensure that charity collection bags posted through letterboxes are biodegradable.

In April 2021 we published our response to the call for evidence on the need for standards for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics. The Government has no plans to make charity collection bags biodegradable. Government measures focus on extracting maximum value from plastic materials by making sure we keep it in circulation for longer, moving away from a take, make, throw model and shifting towards a circular economy.

The Government wants to see the recycling of plastic film (including bread bags and plastic carrier bags) increased and plastic films will be included in the plastic recyclable waste stream required to be collected by local authorities from every household in England by March 2027.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to improve the efficiency of supply chains for UK food, drink and hospitality businesses in the context of HGV driver shortages.

The United Kingdom has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Defra has well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to monitor risks that may arise, and be ready to respond to them, including Government intervention when appropriate.

In the past months, the Environment Secretary and I have agreed a series of solutions to increase the efficiency of our supply chain system and support businesses across the food and drink, and hospitality sectors. These include working with the Transport Secretary. We have adopted a series of measures to train, recruit and retain lorry drivers as well as improve the working conditions in the industry. Our joint-Government actions will continue to build more capacity across the food supply chain.

Some of these Government-led key measures include the Driver Vehicle Standard Agency’s action to increase HGV tests to 3,000 per week, the introduction of 16-week skills bootcamps to train new and returning drivers and the Department for Transport’s action to streamline HGV testing with a minimised regulatory framework adding around 50,000 more tests to be conducted. Defra has also announced that up to 4700 visas will be available for HGV drivers delivering food ahead of Christmas 2021.

In addition to this, the Transport Secretary relaxed driver hours regulation, allowing more deliveries to be made during unprecedented times of national driver shortage to manage food supply chain bottlenecks. This relaxation will last up to 9 January 2022 in England, Scotland and Wales covering the Christmas peak demand period for food across the supply chain.

Overall, these measures will improve the efficiency of the supply chain and the movement of food products across the interlinked food, drink, and hospitality businesses.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether she is taking steps to use the expertise and infrastructure established under (a) the IAVI organisation and (b) other Product Development Partnerships to expedite the development and roll-out of a covid-19 vaccine to (i) vulnerable groups in low- and middle-income countries and (ii) other people.

DFID is working to maximise the development of and roll out of an effective COVID-19 vaccine that is affordable and accessible to low- and middle- income countries. The Prime Minister recently announced an additional £210 million of new UK aid funding to the International Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to help develop a vaccine for COVID-19. The UK is now the biggest contributor to CEPI, committing £250 million this year to support the global effort to fight epidemic diseases, including coronavirus. DFID is currently exploring with existing partners, including IAVI and other Product Development Partnerships, on how they too might contribute to our efforts to combat COVID-19.

16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to enforce pedestrian priority at pedestrian crossing points without traffic control measures as set out in the update to the Highway Code in January 2022.

The Highway Code changes to improve road safety for people walking, cycling, and riding horses aim to initiate a positive shift in road user behaviour, by making road users aware of their responsibility to use roads safely and reduce the danger they may pose to others.

Enforcement of the law is a matter for the police, who will decide on the evidence of each individual case, whether an offence has been committed and the appropriate action to take.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of removing DVLA services from the Post Office in March 2024 on (a) elderly people and (b) people without internet access.

Post Office Ltd currently provides a limited range of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) services and an extension to the current contract has been agreed, ensuring that DVLA services will be available at post offices until the end of March 2024.

The DVLA wants its customers to be able to access its services as quickly and as easily as possible and the role of front office counter services will form part of the considerations of future service offerings, utilising government agreements if necessary.

The vast majority of those licensing vehicles already do so online or via the DVLA’s automated telephone service, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The DVLA will continue to ensure that all customers are able to license their vehicles.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the enforcement of regulations prohibiting the use of e-scooters on public (a) roads, (b) pavements and (c) cycle lanes.

The enforcement of road traffic law is an operational matter for the police. The Department has issued guidance to all local authorities and operators taking part in the trials, and local authorities in trial areas continue to engage with local police forces. The Government will continue to support the police by ensuring they have the tools needed to enforce road traffic legislation including those relating to e-scooters.

6th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had recent discussions with representatives from car insurance providers on the potential impact of trends in the price of insurance premiums on policyholders; and whether he is taking steps to increase the transparency of the insurance policy renewal process.

The setting of premiums is a commercial decision for individual insurers based on their underwriting experience and the Government does not intervene or seek to control the market.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
6th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the trends in the price of car insurance premiums in the past 12 months.

The setting of motor insurance premiums is a commercial decision for individual insurers based on their underwriting experience. The government does not intervene or seek to control the market.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
20th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate his Department made of the number and proportion of vehicles that were untaxed in the last two years.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) operates a comprehensive package of measures to tackle unlicensed vehicles. These range from reminder letters, penalties and court prosecutions through to the use of automatic number plate recognition cameras, wheelclamping and the removal of unlicensed vehicles. The DVLA is currently running a publicity campaign to highlight the consequences of not licensing vehicles. The DVLA also runs adverts on social media, mobile gaming, search engines, poster sites, and radio.

The DVLA collects more than £7 billion in vehicle excise duty each year on behalf of HM Treasury. Every two years, a roadside survey is carried out to estimate the number of unlicensed vehicles on the roads. The last survey, carried out in June 2021, showed that 98.1 per cent of vehicles were correctly licensed.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
20th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help reduce the number of untaxed vehicles.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) operates a comprehensive package of measures to tackle unlicensed vehicles. These range from reminder letters, penalties and court prosecutions through to the use of automatic number plate recognition cameras, wheelclamping and the removal of unlicensed vehicles. The DVLA is currently running a publicity campaign to highlight the consequences of not licensing vehicles. The DVLA also runs adverts on social media, mobile gaming, search engines, poster sites, and radio.

The DVLA collects more than £7 billion in vehicle excise duty each year on behalf of HM Treasury. Every two years, a roadside survey is carried out to estimate the number of unlicensed vehicles on the roads. The last survey, carried out in June 2021, showed that 98.1 per cent of vehicles were correctly licensed.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made trends in the level Blue Badge theft from vehicles; and what steps he is taking to tackle that theft.

The Department of Transport works closely with local authorities to improve the consistency of local enforcement to tackle fraud and misuse of the Blue Badge Scheme, including the use of powers to tackle abuse provided in the Disabled Persons Parking Badges Act 2013, such as the power to retain and cancel badges found to be stolen.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what process his Department uses to monitor the effect of changes to streets to support social distancing on disabled pedestrians who are dependent on (a) tactile paving, (b) controlled crossings and (c) detectable kerbs.

It is for local traffic authorities to decide what measures to install to enable social distancing, and active travel, and to monitor and evaluate these. In implementing measures, local traffic authorities must be mindful of the requirements of equalities legislation, ensuring, for example, that in redesigning and reallocating road space they take careful account of the impacts this may have on disabled people.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential reduction in demand on London buses that may result from removing free travel from under 18s in London.

The £1.6 billion Extraordinary Funding and Financing Agreement to enable Transport for London (TfL) to continue operating services contained a series of conditions to facilitate safe travel on public transport in London, including the temporary suspension of free bus travel for under 18s.

The temporary suspension of free travel is necessary to ensure that there is capacity available on public transport for key workers and those who need to use it to support the critical restart of the economy, given reduced capacity as a result of social distancing measures. Before the Covid-19 crisis, around a third of journeys between 8-9am were made by young people travelling to school.

The Department is also working closely with TfL and the Department for Education to look at a range of additional measures to help manage demand for bus travel to and from school. These include considering staggered start times, using coaches and promoting active travel.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his oral contribution of 2 July 2020, Official Report, column 513, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of a public consultation on proposed changes to free travel to educational establishments for 16 to 18 year olds in London.

The £1.6 billion Extraordinary Funding and Financing Agreement to enable Transport for London (TfL) to continue operating services contained a series of conditions to facilitate safe travel on public transport in London, including the temporary suspension of free travel for under 18s.

The Department is working closely with TfL, the Department for Education and London Councils on how the temporary suspension can be operationalised, including the nature of any consultation with key stakeholders.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the criteria is for eligibility for free school travel for children in London.

The £1.6 billion Extraordinary Funding and Financing Agreement to enable Transport for London (TfL) to continue operating services contained a series of conditions to facilitate safe travel on public transport in London, including the temporary suspension of free travel for under 18s.

The Department is working closely with TfL and the Department for Education on how the temporary suspension can be operationalised. Any child eligible for free home to school travel under the Education Act 1996 will still receive this. The Department is also completing an Equality Impact Assessment, which will consider whether there are further categories of children that should receive free transport.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proposals he has made to TfL on fares for under 18s to travel in London.

The £1.6 billion Extraordinary Funding and Financing Agreement to enable Transport for London (TfL) to continue operating services contained a series of conditions to facilitate safe travel on public transport in London, including the temporary suspension of free travel for under 18s.

The Department is working closely with TfL on how the temporary suspension can be operationalised, whilst ensuring that any child eligible for free home to school travel under the Education Act 1996 will still receive this. The Department is also completing an Equality Impact Assessment, which will consider whether there are further categories of children that should receive free transport.

12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what guidance his Department has issued to (a) transport operators and (b) agents of transport operators on the legal powers available to them to enforce the mandatory wearing of face coverings on public transport.

The face covering regulations give operators new powers to deny access to their services if a passenger is not wearing a face covering, or to direct them to wear one or leave a service if they are not wearing a face covering. Operators have discretion over how they use these powers - they are not obliged to use them.

Government has published updated Safer Transport guidance for operators, 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

The guidance includes information for operators on how they can use their new powers to encourage passengers to comply with the face covering regulations. This includes a suggested six-step process for escalation, where operators lead on the following five steps: 1. Engage, 2. Explain and 3. Encourage passengers to comply with the regulation through communications or direct engagement; 4. Enable use. A face covering is covering of any type that covers the nose and mouth. As these can be made at home, the government does not expect access to them to be a significant issue. There is no requirement or expectation that operators would make face coverings available, though operators could consider doing so, for example for free and/or in vending machines; 5. Entry. Operators and their staff have new powers to prevent access to a public transport vehicle, or to direct a passenger to wear a face covering or leave a public transport vehicle, if they are not wearing a face covering. Operators have discretion over how they use these powers. The final step, led by the police, is point 6 - enforcement, where the above steps fail, the police and TfL have the power to fine a passenger if they continue to refuse to comply.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
15th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the number of people with neurodiverse conditions who used the access to work scheme in the last 12 months.

Regarding the information requested, the department has not made an estimate of the number of people with neurodiverse conditions who used the Access to Work scheme in the last 12 months, as this data is not routinely collected.

Access to Work Official Statistics are published annually and include the number of people who received a payment for Access to Work by various customer characteristics, including primary medical condition. However, the publication does not include ‘neurodiverse condition’ as a primary medical condition.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
15th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of prioritising support for people with ADHD through the access to work scheme in the context of shortages in ADHD medication.

No assessment has been made - Access to Work is not intended to act as clinical support or replacement for medication.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
15th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to promote the access to work scheme to people with neurodiverse conditions.

We collaborate closely with external stakeholders, including charities and employer associations, to raise awareness of the support provided through Access to Work across all types of disability and health conditions. We ensure that Access to Work staff, Jobcentre work coaches, health professionals and advisory groups have the information and tools they need to advocate for the scheme.  Recognising the need for clear accessible information, the Access to Work pages on gov.uk have been improved to provide clearer signposting for disabled people and employers.

We also promote Access to Work as part of the Disability Confident scheme.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department plans to (a) introduce retraining programmes and (b) take further steps to help support unemployed people over the age of 50 move back into the workforce.

The Government offers a wide range of training programmes such as Sector-based Work Academies, Skills Bootcamps and Apprenticeships aimed at helping people of all ages find work or a new career. Unemployed benefit claimants are supported by Work Coaches and other Jobcentre Plus staff, who are equipped with knowledge about local labour markets and training opportunities, including what may be available for older people looking to move back into employment.

The Government is also providing over £20 million over the Spending Review Period for an enhanced offer for people aged 50+ to remain in and return to work.

Mid-life MOTs will be delivered to people in work in the private sector; to eligible customers in the Jobcentres; and the digital Mid-life MOT will also be expanded and improved. Sessions in the Jobcentres have already started to be delivered.

This funding will also ensure that older jobseekers on Universal Credit receive more intensive, tailored support during the first nine months of their claim. This will give work coaches more time to spend with older job seekers who have recently become unemployed, and who the work coach feels need extra support to tackle barriers or difficulties in finding work.

There are also multiple over 50 jobs fairs, Mid-life MOT fairs and 50 plus events in individual regions and JCPs to facilitate this.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her Department advises to existing claimants of Personal Independence Payments in the event that their condition has worsened but an assessment review for a higher rate has not been carried out as a result of an award being close to ending.

We advise claimants to report any relevant change of circumstances which may affect their award. When a claimant reports a change in their needs, they will be sent a form which asks for details of how their condition or conditions has changed and how it affects them. Claimants are also asked to provide any additional evidence they may have.

The case will then be reviewed and if it is decided that an increase in PIP is applicable, the increased award will be made from the date the change in condition occurred, regardless of when the previous award was due to end.

Change of Circumstances cases are monitored to prevent payment ending before a review has taken place.

23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what types of information and guidance are being given to support new claimants of Personal Independence Payment who may experience a delay in payment; what format that information and guidance is in; and how often it is communicated to affected people.

During the initial PIP registration call, the claims process is fully explained. Claimants are informed what will happen next and given a realistic indication of timescales.

Service Delivery colleagues have been provided with information and guidance to support claimants who call the Department who might be experiencing a delay receiving their PIP award. Information includes verbally advising the claimant of the average time it is taking to make a decision. Those who express concerns about wait times, or need further support, are signposted to other benefits or local organisations who may be able to assist.

PIP have introduced automated SMS messages, which are issued at various points in the claim journey based on triggers and events. We are introducing further SMS on 26/05/22 which will provide a more regular update throughout the process, until the decision is made. The SMS will be issued to anyone who hasn’t opted out of the SMS communication and has a recorded valid mobile number.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to end the need for food banks in the UK.

Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations and the Department for Work and Pensions does not have any role in their operation. There is no consistent and accurate measure of food bank usage at a constituency or national level.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, and continues to do so through many measures, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending over £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22.

This year, we are also investing up to £220m in the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has been expanded to every Local Authority across England. Participating children will benefit from a range of support, including a healthy and nutritious meal as well as fun and engaging activities covering the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021. We also increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25 in April, which helps eligible low income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help people move into and progress in work as quickly as possible based on clear evidence around the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty. Through Plan for Jobs, the Government is investing over £33bn in measures to create, support and protect jobs. This included over £2bn investment in the Kickstart programme and an additional 13,500 Work Coaches in our Jobcentres, as well as other measures focused on boosting work search, skills and apprenticeships.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support the Government is providing to clinically extremely vulnerable people who have (a) been unable to work from home and consequently have been unable to work as a result of the nature of their employment and (b) amassed debts in covering basic living costs.

The Government has put in place an unprecedented package of support to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting livelihoods with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and a range of temporary welfare measures. The Government has also worked with mortgage lenders, credit providers and the Financial Conduct Authority to help people manage their finances with payment holidays, and has taken unprecedented action to support renters, ensuring that no-one has been forced from their home during lockdown.

Although Shielding advice was paused on 1 April 2021, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is still available until 30 September, and clinically extremely vulnerable people may be eligible throughout this period, providing their employer agrees. Clinically extremely vulnerable people may also be eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if they are sick or incapable of work due to coronavirus or other health reasons, subject to meeting the eligibility conditions. Those who are not receiving any support through the furlough scheme or Employment and Support Allowance may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) where they meet the qualifying conditions.

The Government recognises that the full impact of COVID-19 on people’s personal finances is still unfolding, and that some are struggling at this challenging time. To help people in problem debt get their finances back on track, the Government has agreed to maintain record levels of funding for free-to-consumer debt advice in England for the Money and Pension Service in 2021/22.

In addition to this, the Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space) has now been launched in England and Wales. A standard breathing space offers people in problem debt a pause of up to 60 days on most enforcement action, interest, fees and charges, and will encourage them to seek professional debt advice. A mental health crisis breathing space, with some stronger protections, is available to people receiving mental health crisis treatment. It lasts as long as the person's mental health crisis treatment, plus a further 30 days.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has plans to reduce the waiting period for universal credit claimants to receive support for mortgage interest payments.

The Department currently has no plans to amend the qualifying period for Support for Mortgage Interest for Universal Credit claimants.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of extending the six month term for jobseekers’ allowance whilst furlough is in place.

The 182-day limit is provided for in primary legislation and has remained unaltered since 1995.

The time limit strikes a balance in providing support whilst keeping the cost of this and other contributory benefits affordable based on the overall income to the National Insurance Fund each year. The government has no plans to extend the period of entitlement in response to the pandemic.

People who are entitled to new style Jobseeker’s Allowance, or whose entitlement ends before they find employment, may have access to income-related support through Universal Credit. Entitlement will depend on individual circumstances.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people in receipt of contribution- based jobseekers’ allowance who are unable to migrate to universal credit as result of living in temporary accommodation.

Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance is not a benefit that Universal Credit has replaced. Those entitled to it can continue to receive this without migrating to Universal Credit.

Claimants in receipt of contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance can claim for a total of 182 days. Some Claimants can also be entitled to Universal Credit, whilst claiming the 182 days of contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, depending on their personal circumstances.

If they are living in temporary accommodation, they can continue to receive housing support through Housing Benefit rather than Universal Credit.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department plans to take to identify universal credit and employment support allowance claimants who cannot be assessed by telephone or video as a result of their health condition; and what steps she is taking to determine the priority for face-to-face assessments when such assessments can safely resume in the event that her Department is unable to provide data on the number of (a) universal credit and (b) employment support allowance claimants who were not (i) offered and (ii) deemed suitable for a virtual or telephone work capability assessment during 2020.

We have continued to assess people on paper evidence, using this route whenever possible throughout the pandemic. In June 2020 we introduced telephone assessments in a phased approach with limited outcomes in the first instance. This allowed us to build our capability and improve processes. From the beginning of February 2021, all outcomes have been available in telephone assessments which enables us to ensure that claimants receive their correct benefit entitlement as quickly as possible and reduce the time claimants who may be entitled to a higher award have to wait for their assessment. We are also undertaking some video assessments where appropriate.

Through our enhanced capability and improved processes for telephone assessments, we are now able to carry out a second telephone assessment for those claimants who have previously had a telephone assessment with no outcome.

Where a claimant is unable to undertake a telephone or video assessment because of their health condition, they remain on their current award until we are able to gather the evidence needed for a recommendation to be made or, in contributory ESA, until their benefit is due to end.

Claimants who we are unable to assess by telephone or video because of their health condition will be prioritised when we are able to safely resume face-to-face assessments.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many remote work capability assessment decisions took place for first-time universal credit claimants in each month of 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many remote work capability assessment decisions have been made for people who had been on universal credit prior to the covid-19 outbreak and who had attended a work capability assessment previously since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people in receipt of income-based jobseekers allowance who are unable to migrate to Universal Credit as they are living in temporary accommodation.

Claimants on income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance can make a claim for Universal Credit if they believe that they will be better off. Claimants should check carefully their eligibility and entitlements under Universal Credit before applying as legacy benefits will end when claimants submit their claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future.

Claimants that are living in temporary accommodation can continue to receive housing support through Housing Benefit alongside Universal Credit.

2nd Mar 2021
If she will make it her policy to allow virtual or telephone Work Capability Assessments for (a) universal credit and (b) employment support allowance claimants including those who (i) need an interpreter (including BSL), (ii) have hearing difficulties, (iii) have speech difficulties, (iv) have learning disabilities and (v) suicidal ideation or behaviour and a history of self harm to make the process equivalent to that for personal independence payments.

The assessment criteria for Personal Independence Payment are very different to those for the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), which assesses whether claimants to Employment and Support Allowance, and Universal Credit have limited capability for work.

We are aware that there are some claimants who are unable to undertake a WCA telephone assessment because of their health condition and we are currently developing ways in which we can support these individuals. We are continuing to assess as many people as we are able to on paper evidence, using this route as often as possible. We are also undertaking some video assessments, where appropriate.

Individuals invited for a telephone assessment are encouraged to inform their assessment provider of any additional requirements they may have, and the provider will endeavour to meet any reasonable requests. This is explained to the individual in the initial invitation letter for all telephone assessments. For example, companions are able to join a telephone assessment, as they could for a face to face assessment.

Claimants who we are unable to assess by telephone or video because of their health condition will be prioritised when we are able to safely resume face-to-face assessments.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of (a) universal credit and (b) employment support allowance claimants who were not (i) offered and (ii) deemed suitable for a a virtual or telephone Work Capability Assessment during 2020.

The data you have requested is not available.

Face to face assessments for health and disability benefits are currently suspended in line with public health advice. We continue to complete paper-based assessments and make recommendations based on the written evidence available, as often as we are able to.

Where a case cannot be progressed by a paper-based assessment, a telephone assessment will be conducted, where appropriate to do so. Telephone assessments were introduced during the pandemic, as part of the Covid-19 response and we are working hard to increase the number of people able to participate in these assessments. We also undertake some video assessments, where appropriate.

The suspension of face to face assessments is regularly reviewed in line with the latest public health guidance and will recommence as soon as it is safe to do so. Claimants who cannot be assessed by telephone or video because of their health condition will be prioritised when we are able to safely resume face to face assessments.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to people on universal credit and employment and support allowance who have been told that they have to wait for face-to-face work capability assessments to resume before they can be assessed, what additional support is available to help claimants identified as not suitable for a telephone consultation, according to the specifications outlined in the CHDA COVID-19 Filework process document of 15 May 2020, to manage their health condition or disability while they are without additional support from their benefits income.

The health and safety of our claimants and staff is our key priority. We suspended all face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits in March 2020. This temporary suspension, brought in to protect people from unnecessary risk of coronavirus at the outset of the pandemic, remains in place, and is being kept under review in line with the latest public health guidance.

Throughout the pandemic we have continued to assess people on paper evidence, using this route whenever possible. We are aware there are some claimants who are unable to undertake a telephone assessment because of their health condition and we are currently developing ways in which we can support these individuals. We also continue to undertake some video assessments where appropriate.

Individuals invited for a telephone assessment are encouraged to inform their assessment provider of any additional requirements they may have, and the provider will endeavour to meet any reasonable requests. This is explained to the individual in the initial invitation letter for all telephone assessments. For example, companions are able to join a telephone assessment, as they could for a face to face assessment.

Where a claimant is unable to undertake a telephone assessment because of their health condition, they remain on their current award until we are able to gather the evidence needed for a recommendation to be made or, in contributory ESA, until their benefit is due to end.

As ever, claimants should get in touch if their health condition has worsened or they are experiencing financial hardship.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to tackle parents whose child maintenance liability is inconsistent with their lifestyle and financial resources.

The income information for a child maintenance calculation is obtained directly from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). This figure includes earnings from self-employment. Either parent may request a variation to a maintenance calculation to allow the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to consider some circumstances which are not covered by the basic calculation. This includes unearned income such as rental income from property or land, or dividends and interest from savings and investments. If a variation succeeds, the maintenance liability may be adjusted.

Cases involving complex income or suspected fraudulent behaviour are referred to the CMS’s Financial Investigation Unit (FIU), a specialist team who can request information from financial institutions to check the maintenance calculation is accurate. If an investigation finds evidence of criminality the FIU may seek to prosecute or forward to HMRC for fraud action.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to reduce children’s exposure to measles.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is working closely with NHS England, the Department and wider health system partners at the national, regional and local levels to ensure the health system is prepared and can respond to outbreaks. Briefing notes and letters have been sent to the National Health Service and health professional organisations to remind them of existing guidance and ask them to seek assurance of their preparedness to manage measles cases and prevent outbreaks in their settings. National Measles guidance has been updated, and a range of resources have been published including posters and training resources, which are all available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-measles-guidelines

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/measles-information-and-poster-for-health-professionals

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/measles-guidance-data-and-analysis

In January 2024, a national multi-agency exercise is planned to assess the system-wide preparedness to respond to a large measles outbreak at a regional and national level.

UKHSA, NHS England, the Department and wider health system partners are also working to raise public awareness of the risks and increase measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination coverage, including through national and regional call-recall exercises, communication campaigns and targeted outreach for underserved communities. NHS England has agreed with general practices to focus their annual campaign on local call recall for MMR to ensure that consistent efforts are made to contact those eligible who have not taken up a vaccine offer between November 2023 and March 2024. A national call recall for individuals aged six years old up to and including 25 years old who are not up to date with their MMR vaccine is planned for 2024.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of children’s access to vaccination services.

The Government is committed to improving vaccination uptake rates to fully protect the public from vaccine preventable diseases. The Department works with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and NHS England to improve children’s access to vaccination services through diverse delivery methods, making getting vaccinated easier for all, including those in traditionally under-served groups. NHS England has rolled out additional programmes such as NHS England London’s new drive to increase measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine uptake last summer to improve immunisation coverage for children and catch-up missed vaccinations due to the pandemic.

The Department is working with NHS England and UKHSA to encourage high uptake of all childhood vaccinations, including the polio vaccine, with NHS England London launching the next phase of their polio campaign, delivering a school-based catch-up for children aged between one and 11 years old. This will also provide opportunities to catch up children for other important childhood vaccines, including MMR.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Written Ministerial Statement of 17 April 2023 on Achieving Smokefree 2030: cutting smoking and stopping kids vaping, HCWS710, whether his Department has made an assessment of modelling on the potential effectiveness of each of the proposed steps in helping reduce smoking rates to 5% or less by 2030.

Annex 1 of ‘Stopping the start: our new plan to create a smokefree generation’ sets out the modelling used to forecast changes in smoking prevalence over time based on legislating for a smokefree generation. This modelling is preliminary and will continue to be further refined ahead of publication of a full impact assessment.

Annex 1 is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/stopping-the-start-our-new-plan-to-create-a-smokefree-generation/annex-1-modelling-assumptions

15th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many crisis houses are commissioned by the NHS but not managed by its staff.

There are currently around 600 different types of crisis alternatives services operating across the country, including around 70 crisis houses, providing an alternative to accident and emergency or psychiatric admission. This number will continue to grow with further investment over the remaining NHS Long Term Plan period to March 2024. NHS England has advised that the number of crisis houses which are National Health Service commissioned but not managed by NHS staff is not held centrally.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many crisis houses are managed by the NHS as of June 2023.

There are currently around 600 different types of crisis alternatives services operating across the country, including around 70 crisis houses, providing an alternative to accident and emergency or psychiatric admission. This number will continue to grow with further investment over the remaining NHS Long Term Plan period to March 2024. NHS England has advised that the number of crisis houses which are National Health Service commissioned but not managed by NHS staff is not held centrally.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
9th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the prevalence of trans fats in food in the UK.

No estimate has been made. The most recent data from the United Kingdom National Diet and Nutrition Survey, collected between 2016 and 2019, show that average trans fat intakes in the UK are 0.5-0.6% of total energy intake for adults, and 0.5% for children. This is well within the UK recommended maximum of no more than 2% of total energy.

Trans fat intakes in the UK have declined substantially since the 1980s and 1990s due to the voluntary removal of artificial trans fats from processed foods by the food industry, with some additional work to reduce levels of trans fats in food being undertaken between 2011 and 2013.

28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that adequate mental health care is available for children with autism and those awaiting autism diagnoses.

The transformation of Children and Young People’s Mental Health services is a priority for the National Health Service. We are increasing access to support for those that need it, including autistic children and children with a learning disability with mental health needs. The NHS Long Term Plan, includes a commitment that an additional 345,000 children and young people aged 0 to 25 years old will have access to NHS-funded mental health support, including in new Mental Health Support Teams in schools and colleges, by 2024.

For people and families who are waiting to have an autism assessment, we know that this is a challenge. NHS England is currently developing a national framework to support partners in local areas to commission and deliver autism assessment services for children, young people and adults. The aim of this work is to improve access to and the quality of these assessment processes and to reduce the time that people wait for an assessment. The framework will be published in due course.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the availability of NHS dentists in Enfield Southgate constituency.

NHS England is responsible for commissioning primary care dentistry to meet the needs of the local population. Many of the dentistry commissioning functions undertaken by NHS England will transfer to integrated care boards (ICBs) from April 2023. ICBs will be responsible for meeting the needs of their local population of all ages, working with patient groups. NHS England has made available to commissioners an Assurance Framework to provide assurances on commissioning.

In circumstances where a patient is unable to access an urgent dental appointment directly through a National Health Service dental practice, they are advised to contact NHS 111 for assistance.

In September 2022, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’ which sets out how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to NHS dental care whilst making the NHS dental contract more attractive to dental practices. These changes have been implemented, including through regulations that came into effect on 25 November 2022.

NHS England is holding further discussions with the British Dental Association and other stakeholders for additional reforms of the NHS Dental System planned to take place in 2023.

9th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the criteria are for selecting members of the NHS pay awards body; and what steps his Department is taking to help ensure the independence of that body.

Members of the NHS Pay Review Body are appointed following an open recruitment process which is run in accordance with the Governance Code on Public appointments and is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Job description and person specifications setting out the essential criteria for the role vary slightly depending on the member vacancy advertised. The Office of Manpower Economics provides an independent secretariat to the pay review bodies separately from the Department.

19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to provide further vaccinations against covid-19 for people aged under 50; and whether he plans to allow people in less vulnerable groups to pay for further covid-19 vaccinations.

The Government continues to be guided by the JCVI on COVID-19 vaccine deployment in line with its Living with Covid strategy. There are therefore no plans to make COVID-19 vaccination available through the NHS to groups not covered by JCVI advice.

The Government currently has no plans to allow private purchase of COVID-19 vaccines, but private access is under regular review. There are no plans to make COVID-19 vaccines available for public purchase and will require Government to work with manufacturers and private healthcare providers to develop a suitable and affordable route for the public.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will provide any unused covid-19 vaccinations intended for the 50-65 age group to people aged 40-49.

The Government continues to be guided by the JCVI on COVID-19 vaccine deployment in line with its Living with Covid strategy. There are therefore no plans to make COVID-19 vaccination available through the NHS to groups not covered by JCVI advice.

The Government currently has no plans to allow private purchase of COVID-19 vaccines, but private access is under regular review. There are no plans to make COVID-19 vaccines available for public purchase and will require Government to work with manufacturers and private healthcare providers to develop a suitable and affordable route for the public.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
15th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of (a) supply chains, (b) manufacturing costs and (c) procurement processes on the waiting time for patients to receive mobility equipment.

The Department regularly monitors the continuity of supply to patients. While a number of global factors have impacted the supply of mobility aids, these pressures are alleviating.

A large proportion of mobility aids are recovered and reconditioned by providers in the United Kingdom. In addition, alternatives are often available where individual suppliers may experience disruption to supply. Any price increase by suppliers will have been considered according to standard public procurement processes.

15th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the capacity of (a) UK Conformity Assessment Bodies and (b) EU Notified Bodies to conduct timely accreditation and certification of medical devices.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is supporting an increase in approved body capacity to ensure the United Kingdom can transition all medical devices to the UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) marking system. The MHRA also works with international regulators and organisations to enhance the reputation of the UKCA mark and prevent disruption to the UK’s supply of medical device products. The MHRA is working with the already designated approved bodies, those organisations applying for this status and industry to assess whether this will deliver the required capacity.

We are engaging with industry partners to understand capacity issues within the European Union notified body system, which may impact the supply of devices to the UK market and assess what further action may be required to maintain supply of medical devices.

15th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the 10-year cancer plan will include specific plans to support patients with blood cancer.

Following the call for evidence for a 10 year cancer plan earlier this year, we received over 5,000 submissions. We are currently reviewing these responses.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of delays in diagnosis on the treatment of blood cancers.

No formal assessment has been made. The ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’ sets out how the National Health Service will recover and expand elective services over the next three years, including in cancer services. NHS England is providing additional support for trusts to deliver the commitments for cancer services in the plan.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that blood cancer patients can access mental health support in (a) Enfield, Southgate constituency and (b) England.

The NHS Long Term Plan states that, where appropriate, every person diagnosed with cancer will have access to personalised care, including a needs assessment, an individual care plan and information and support for their health and wellbeing.

The National Health Service is supporting adults experiencing cancer with access to The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) mental health services, which provides evidence based psychological therapies for people with anxiety disorders and depression.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that health and care providers prioritise training on how to support people who are dying; and what steps he is taking to ensure that education and training providers deliver this training to a high standard.

Individual providers are responsible for ensuring that staff are appropriately trained and competent for their role. NHS England has published statutory guidance to support commissioners with implementation of the Health and Care Act 2022, which references education and training to support high quality palliative and end of life care. Health Education England provides training through the ‘End of life care for all’ e-learning programme and is developing a end of life care core skills education and training framework with Skills for Health and Skills for Care.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to (a) ensure integrated care boards apply statutory guidance on the provision of palliative care and (b) have sufficient support in the community to respond to changes in the number of deaths at home.

During the pandemic, approximately £356 million was distributed to palliative and end of life care providers, including hospices.

Palliative and end of life care services are commissioned locally and NHS England publishes statutory guidance to support commissioners with implementation of the Health and Care Act 2022. The guidance includes references to community approaches and service provision in community settings.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department provides to palliative care services and end of life care services in the community in response to changes in the number of deaths at home since the beginning of the pandemic; and if he will make a statement.

During the pandemic, approximately £356 million was distributed to palliative and end of life care providers, including hospices.

Palliative and end of life care services are commissioned locally and NHS England publishes statutory guidance to support commissioners with implementation of the Health and Care Act 2022. The guidance includes references to community approaches and service provision in community settings.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when proton beam therapy will be available in the UK to medulloblastoma patients over 25.

NHS England Clinical Commissioning Policy Statement covers proton beam therapy for adult medulloblastoma for craniospinal irradiation. Implementation of the therapy service at the University College London Hospital proton centre is at a stage where there is capacity within the national service for this complex treatment. The use of protons will be determined in line with the assessment of clinical risk and benefit.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of mandatory salt targets on the public's health in the context of evidence of the effectiveness of mandatory salt targets in South Africa.

Discussions with food industry representatives continue as part of the ongoing salt and wider reformulation programme. Reducing population salt intakes would reduce the risk of high blood pressure and hence cardiovascular disease. New salt reduction targets for the food industry were published in September 2020. The first report on the food industry’s progress towards achieving these targets is expected later in 2022.

1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reducing the population's intake of salt from 8.4 grams per day to a recommended maximum of 6 grams per day.

Discussions with food industry representatives continue as part of the ongoing salt and wider reformulation programme. Reducing population salt intakes would reduce the risk of high blood pressure and hence cardiovascular disease. New salt reduction targets for the food industry were published in September 2020. The first report on the food industry’s progress towards achieving these targets is expected later in 2022.

1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has had recent discussions with representatives from the food industry on reducing the amount of salt in food products.

Discussions with food industry representatives continue as part of the ongoing salt and wider reformulation programme. Reducing population salt intakes would reduce the risk of high blood pressure and hence cardiovascular disease. New salt reduction targets for the food industry were published in September 2020. The first report on the food industry’s progress towards achieving these targets is expected later in 2022.

7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken to reduce delays to NHS urgent appointments.

On 8 February 2022, the Department published the ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’, which sets out how the National Health Service will recover and expand elective services over the next three years.

To reduce delays and waiting times, we have committed more than £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25, supported by a £5.9 billion capital investment for new beds, equipment and technology. This is in addition to the £2 billion Elective Recovery Fund and £700 million Targeted Investment Fund already made available to systems this year to increase elective activity.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional support the Government plans to provide to assist NHS trusts in England to reduce waiting times for urgent appointments.

On 8 February 2022, the Department published the ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’, which sets out how the National Health Service will recover and expand elective services over the next three years.

To reduce delays and waiting times, we have committed more than £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25, supported by a £5.9 billion capital investment for new beds, equipment and technology. This is in addition to the £2 billion Elective Recovery Fund and £700 million Targeted Investment Fund already made available to systems this year to increase elective activity.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional support is being provided for people in Enfield Southgate constituency who are on a waiting list for treatment at North Central London CCG; and what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using innovative medical technology to support the CCG in clearing its backlog of patients.

We have made £2 billion available through the Elective Recovery Fund which assists local systems, including those in North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group, to tackle waiting lists. In addition, we have committed £8 billion between 2022 and 2025 to transform elective services and increase activity in England. A further £5.9 billion of capital funding was announced in the 2021 Spending Review to support elective recovery, diagnostics and technology.

Trusts in North Central London CCG are using all available resources to treat patients on waiting lists as quickly as possible, while prioritising those with the most urgent health needs. This includes providing surgery seven days a week; operating additional outpatient clinics; investing in new equipment for high-volume procedures; developing clinical networks and temporary specialist surgical hubs; and the use of independent sector beds and theatres.

In addition, Chase Farm Hospital are using artificial intelligence to improve efficiency. In North Central London CCG, a community audiology-led clinic is being supported by tele-video-otology, to reduce unnecessary hospital visits and allow surgeons to focus on complex cases in their clinics. The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust is sharing its expertise in robotic process automation to improve on productivity and allowing staff to be returned to patient-centred activities.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional support his Department is providing to patients on waiting lists in North Central London CCG; and what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using innovative medical technology to support the CCG is clearing its backlog of patients.

We have made £2 billion available through the Elective Recovery Fund which assists local systems, including those in North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group, to tackle waiting lists. In addition, we have committed £8 billion between 2022 and 2025 to transform elective services and increase activity in England. A further £5.9 billion of capital funding was announced in the 2021 Spending Review to support elective recovery, diagnostics and technology.

Trusts in North Central London CCG are using all available resources to treat patients on waiting lists as quickly as possible, while prioritising those with the most urgent health needs. This includes providing surgery seven days a week; operating additional outpatient clinics; investing in new equipment for high-volume procedures; developing clinical networks and temporary specialist surgical hubs; and the use of independent sector beds and theatres.

In addition, Chase Farm Hospital are using artificial intelligence to improve efficiency. In North Central London CCG, a community audiology-led clinic is being supported by tele-video-otology, to reduce unnecessary hospital visits and allow surgeons to focus on complex cases in their clinics. The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust is sharing its expertise in robotic process automation to improve on productivity and allowing staff to be returned to patient-centred activities.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that people in the UK who received the Novavax vaccine are able to travel internationally.

All Novavax trial participants can now access a domestic NHS COVID Pass and a majority the Pass for international travel. Discussions are ongoing with other countries and bodies such as the G7, G20, the European Union Commission and the World Health Organization to shape a common approach for trial participants around the world.

In consultation with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and in partnership with chief investigators of the trials, we are trial participants doses of approved vaccines, in addition to trial vaccines to ensure access to overseas travel.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to people who received the Novavax vaccine with international travel.

All Novavax trial participants can now access a domestic NHS COVID Pass and a majority the Pass for international travel. Discussions are ongoing with other countries and bodies such as the G7, G20, the European Union Commission and the World Health Organization to shape a common approach for trial participants around the world.

In consultation with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and in partnership with chief investigators of the trials, we are trial participants doses of approved vaccines, in addition to trial vaccines to ensure access to overseas travel.

24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish a timetable for adult social care reforms.

The Government is committed to sustainable improvement of the adult social care system and will bring forward proposals in 2021.

This is a complex area and a range of options are being considered. We are working closely with local and national partners to ensure our approach to reform is informed by diverse perspectives, including of those with lived experience of the care sector.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing people to travel overseas to care for relatives during the covid-19 pandemic.

Currently everyone leaving the country who is not exempt from the stay in the United Kingdom requirement needs to have a reasonable excuse for travel. However, the regulations include an express reasonable excuse for travelling abroad where it is reasonably necessary to provide care and assistance to a vulnerable person. This includes if the person is 70 years old or over, pregnant or has an underlying health condition.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people (a) did not attend their outpatient ophthalmology appointment, (b) cancelled that appointment and (c) had that appointment cancelled by a healthcare professional in each month from (a) January 2019 to (b) December 2020.

This information is not held in the format requested. While data on the number of ophthalmology appointments by attendance type is collected, this is not a count of individuals as a patient may have had more than one appointment.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people (a) did not attend their outpatient appointment for wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD), (b) cancelled that appointment and (c) had that appointment cancelled by a healthcare professional in each month from (a) January 2019 and (b) December 2020.

This information is not held in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Pfizer BioNTech covid-19 vaccine when there is a 12-week gap between the first and second dose for those aged over 80; and what evidence that assessment is based on.

Public Health England is monitoring the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines and has published early evidence on the efficacy of both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccines. The evidence suggests that a single dose of either vaccine is around 60 to 70% effective at preventing symptomatic disease in older adults and around 80% effective at preventing hospitalisations. There is also evidence that a single dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is around 85% effective at preventing deaths. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.03.01.21252652v1

Effectiveness of two doses with a 12-week gap will be monitored as more individuals start to receive their second dose.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the cost of covid-19 testing for people who are required to travel regularly to visit relatives in Europe.

People should be staying at home unless they have a valid reason to travel. For those facing significant financial hardship as a result of the testing charge, there will be an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking. This is available for individuals who receive income-related benefits and they will be required to pay back the charge in 12 monthly instalments. All of these measures will be kept under constant review, including the impact on individuals with family ties in other countries.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to raise public awareness of exemptions from the requirement to wear coverings in public places during the covid-19 outbreak; and where and when those campaigns have taken place.

Our face covering guidance and associated communications campaign alerts the public to why and where face coverings are required, how to make them, how to wear them and what exemptions there are. This has spanned a number of different mediums, including television, in person prompts such as in transport hubs and shop windows and on social media.

These campaigns have been running since summer 2020. Social media content and press coverage, especially regarding people with disabilities or health conditions, has been promoted throughout, as well as in line with events such as the International Day of People with Disabilities on 3 December.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people aged 18 and under were admitted to A&E for (a) deliberate self-harm and (b) psychiatric conditions in the last 12 months for which figures are available.

The information is not held in the format requested.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what priority for covid-19 vaccination has been given people living in sheltered housing.

People aged 65 to 69 years old and those who are clinically vulnerable against COVID-19 are now being invited to book their vaccination. Many younger adults in residential care settings will be eligible for vaccination because they fall into one of the clinical risk groups. Given the likely high risk of exposure in these settings, where a high proportion of the population would be considered eligible, vaccination of the whole resident population is recommended. Younger residents in care homes for the elderly will be at high risk of exposure and although they may be at lower risk of mortality than older residents should not be excluded from vaccination programmes.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to update the minimum income guarantee allowance for people receiving care in non-care home settings.

The minimum income guarantee allowance is reviewed on an annual basis. The next review of the allowance is due in January 2022.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Government will bring forward proposals for the (a) reform and (b) funding of adult social care.

Reform of adult social care is a complex area and a range of options are being considered.

The Government is committed to sustainable improvement of the adult social care system and will bring forward proposals this year.

As announced in the 2020 Spending Review, the Government is providing local authorities with access to over £1 billion of additional funding for social care in 2021/22. This includes £300 million of new grant funding for social care, on top of the £1 billion social care grant introduced in 2020/21.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of prioritising the covid-19 vaccine for full time unpaid carers of elderly relatives or those who are shielding.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI have advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.

Those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, should also be offered vaccination in priority group six. This includes unpaid carers.

16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people who were notified to self-isolate by the NHS covid-19 contact tracing app before recent changes making them eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme will be able to make restropective applications for the £500 discretionary payment.

From 28 September 2020, anyone who received notification of a positive test result, including app users, could apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment if they met the necessary eligibility criteria. In addition, from 10 December 2020 app users that receive a notification to self-isolate because they have been in close contact with a positive case of COVID-19 can also apply. However, app users who were notified to self-isolate by the National Health Service COVID-19 app and had completed their isolation period prior to the change in December are not be able to retrospectively claim the Test and Trace Support Payment.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's press release of 9 November entitled, More rapid COVID-19 tests to be rolled out across England, when Enfield Council will receive the 10,000 covid-19 testing kits.

Lateral flow tests will be sent out by NHS Test and Trace to local public health leaders to enable local teams to direct and deliver testing based on their local knowledge. NHS Test and Trace is supporting local authorities to deliver this testing by providing access to online training, clinical, operational and service design guidance and communication and engagement support. On 16 December it was confirmed that Enfield will be participating in community testing.

We recognise the need for enhanced support for areas with particularly high prevalence of the virus. The Government is supporting local authorities in England in tier 3 and 4 areas, those in tier 2 who are at significant risk of entering tier 3, to deliver a six-week community testing programme.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's press release of 9 November entitled, More rapid COVID-19 tests to be rolled out across England, whether Enfield Council will receive additional resources to support the administration of the 10,000 covid-19 testing kits it is due to receive.

Lateral flow tests will be sent out by NHS Test and Trace to local public health leaders to enable local teams to direct and deliver testing based on their local knowledge. NHS Test and Trace is supporting local authorities to deliver this testing by providing access to online training, clinical, operational and service design guidance and communication and engagement support. On 16 December it was confirmed that Enfield will be participating in community testing.

We recognise the need for enhanced support for areas with particularly high prevalence of the virus. The Government is supporting local authorities in England in tier 3 and 4 areas, those in tier 2 who are at significant risk of entering tier 3, to deliver a six-week community testing programme.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether public health funding grants to local authorities will be increased to meet the specific demands and needs of each local area.

Local authority spending through the public health grant will be maintained, meaning local authorities can continue to invest in prevention and essential frontline health services. Local authority public health grant allocations for 2021-22 will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to announce further details of public health funding announced in the Spending Review 2020.

Local authority spending through the public health grant will be maintained, meaning local authorities can continue to invest in prevention and essential frontline health services. Local authority public health grant allocations for 2021-22 will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the formation of the National Institute for Health Protection on the allocation of public health grants to local authorities.

We do not expect the formation of National Institute for Public Health to have an impact on 2021-22 local authority public health grant allocations. Local authority public health grant allocations for 2021-22 will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the new National Institute for Health Protection will take on Public Health England’s responsibilities in relation to the Wellbeing for Education Return programme.

Alongside the transition process to support full and formal establishment of the National Institute for Health Protection in 2021, we are considering the best future arrangements for Public Health England’s wider public health and health improvement functions. We will bring forward proposals in due course but are not envisaging any changes to where those responsibilities will sit before spring 2021.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters webpage and signposting to support will be transferred over to the new National Institute for Health Protection website.

Alongside the transition process to support full and formal establishment of the National Institute for Health Protection in 2021, we are considering the best future arrangements for Public Health England’s wider public health and health improvement functions. We will bring forward proposals in due course but are not envisaging any changes to where those responsibilities will sit before spring 2021.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when people who have been notified to self-isolate by the NHS covid-19 contact tracing app will be able to qualify for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

Work is underway to establish what information can be published about app usage and its role in the COVID-19 response, including information related to self-isolation taking in to account that users of the app are anonymous.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many applications there have been for the covid-19 Test and Trace Support Payment; and how many of those applications have been successful.

We are working closely with all 314 local authorities in England to collate information on the number of applications and successful applications for the Test and Trace Support Payment. We will publish this information in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been notified by the NHS covid-19 contact tracing app to self-isolate to date.

Work is underway to establish what information can be published about app usage and its role in the COVID-19 response, including information related to self-isolation taking in to account that users of the app are anonymous.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish the clinical guidance which formed the basis of the Government guidance dated 5 November 2020 on visiting care homes.

On 5 November we published guidance to enable COVID-19 secure visits to take place in care home while national restrictions are in place. Guidance documents are informed by expert advice before publication to ensure that they are based on latest evidence.

We work with Public Health England, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies’ (SAGE) Social Care Sub-Group and other relevant bodies to closely monitor national and international evidence, to ensure best practice is reviewed and can be applied. SAGE publishes its papers routinely at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies.

We also work closely with a range of stakeholders who represent the sector to ensure that the recent guidance update encourages and enables care providers to facilitate visiting while keeping residents, staff and visitors as safe as possible.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many care homes will be involved in the pilot trialling the use of covid-19 tests to allow care home visits to take place.

The trial began on 16 November across 20 care homes in three local authorities: Cornwall, Devon and Hampshire. The care homes taking part in the trial were chosen from areas of low COVID-19 prevalence.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has provided to local authorities on how to communicate different local lockdown rule changes in formats accessible for disabled people.

We expect all local authorities to comply with the Accessible Information Standard. The Standard sets out a specific, consistent approach to identifying, recording, flagging, sharing and meeting the information and communication support needs of patients, service users, carers and parents with a disability, impairment or sensory loss.

The Government has provided information on tiers and the new local restrictions in an accessible format available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know-alternative-formats#history

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the covid-19 testing system is accessible to people who do not have access to (a) the internet, (b) a mobile phone and (c) an email address.

An email address and phone number are currently required to book a test. Individuals who do not have an email address can ask someone they trust, for example a family member, to receive their results.

Individuals who are not comfortable using the digital booking systems, can use 119 in England and Wales and 0300 303 2713 in Scotland and Northern Ireland to book a test.

As a priority, we are working on a non-digital solution. We expect to update further on this in the coming weeks.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the report by the Teenage Cancer Trust entitled Cancer x Coronavirus: The Impact on young people.

The NHS Long Term Plan includes a number of commitments for improving the outcomes and experience of children, teenagers and young adults with cancer.

The revised service specifications outline how NHS England plans to deliver these commitments which includes implementing networked care, simplifying pathways and transitions between services, ensuring that every patient has access to specialist care and by increasing participation in clinical research.

It is expected that each network will agree the configuration of services within the first 12 months of publication.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the NICE technology appraisals for upcoming non-malignant haemoglobinopathy therapies will be rescheduled.

Two topics for non-malignant haemoglobinopathy therapies were affected by the COVID-19 pause. However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is working to reschedule multiple appraisals back into its work programme to recover as quickly as feasibly possible.

Information regarding the current timeline for each appraisal topic is published on the individual topic webpage on the NICE website.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish cancer waiting time statistics for (a) urgent two week wait referrals and (b) the 62 day wait for first treatment for the last (i) six months, (ii) 12 months and (iii) 24 months, by age.

Information is not held in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how NICE is reprioritising technology appraisals that were delayed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) will continue to prioritise topics according to those that will best support the system in its return to normal working. There are many different clinical and operational factors that need to be taken into account when rescheduling individual topics such as:

- Committee slot capacity;

- Team availability;

- Original running order;

- Stage of development when paused and time required to move to the next stage (lead-in time);

- External clinical and operational prioritisation; and

- Ongoing methods and process review work

NICE is conscious that the COVID-19 situation is changing all the time and it will continue to review its plans and update stakeholders accordingly. Information regarding the current timeline for each appraisal topic is published on the individual topic webpage on the NICE website and this will be updated accordingly.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when NICE plans to publish a timetable for technology appraisals delayed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and whether NICE plans to prioritise the appraisals of advanced therapy medicinal products.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) paused the publication of topics that were not COVID-19 related or therapeutically critical to avoid distracting the National Health Service at a time of unprecedented pressure.

NICE has been working to reschedule multiple appraisals back into its work programme, to recover as quickly as feasibly possible. Information regarding the current timeline for each appraisal topic is published on the individual topic webpage on the NICE website.

NICE is committed to publishing final guidance for new products, including advanced therapy medicinal products within 90 days of the product first being licensed within the United Kingdom.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of clinical trials involving 13 to 24 year olds with cancer that have been disrupted or abandoned as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department’s National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network reports that its portfolio of studies is not consistently coded with specific age ranges, and thus the information requested is not directly available.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) improve the quality and (b) increase the capacity of ophthalmology services for patients with Age-Related Macular Degeneration.

NHS England published its ‘Clinical guide for the management of ophthalmology patients during the Coronavirus pandemic’ in March 2020. This guidance sought to ensure that inpatients, outpatients and day case patients were supported during COVID-19 and identified that infection control was vital to how ophthalmology services operate. This guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Specialty-guide-ophthalmology-coronavirus-service-reorg-v1_23-March.pdf

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has also issued guidance on ‘Reopening and redeveloping ophthalmology services during Covid recovery’ which outlined that adapting surgical and face-to-face outpatient visits to support shielding patients should be considered. This guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.rcophth.ac.uk/2020/05/covid-19-update-and-resources-for-ophthalmologists/

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken to ensure the provision of sight-saving ophthalmology services to people with (a) eye conditions and (b) eye conditions who are extremely vulnerable and shielding.

NHS England published its ‘Clinical guide for the management of ophthalmology patients during the Coronavirus pandemic’ in March 2020. This guidance sought to ensure that inpatients, outpatients and day case patients were supported during COVID-19 and identified that infection control was vital to how ophthalmology services operate. This guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Specialty-guide-ophthalmology-coronavirus-service-reorg-v1_23-March.pdf

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has also issued guidance on ‘Reopening and redeveloping ophthalmology services during Covid recovery’ which outlined that adapting surgical and face-to-face outpatient visits to support shielding patients should be considered. This guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.rcophth.ac.uk/2020/05/covid-19-update-and-resources-for-ophthalmologists/

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will make an estimate of the number of people that will experience preventable sight loss as a result of (a) cancelled and (b) delayed services in 2020; and how many ophthalmology patients who are shielding are unable to accesses time sensitive ophthalmology services.

Data is reported centrally on the number of cancelled or delayed outpatient ophthalmology appointments only. Guidance has been issued to local National Health Service providers and commissioners trusts on the restart of non-COVID-19 services, starting with the most clinically urgent cases and ensuring this is done safely with appropriate infection control. Local providers and their clinical teams, rather than the Department, are best placed to consider the appropriate management of patient cases locally as services are restarted.

The Government is providing an additional £3 billion to the NHS, which includes funding for continued access to the independent sector to carry out routine treatments and procedures as well as provide additional capacity for COVID-19 patients, should it be needed.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to begin collecting data on the effect of cancelled ophthalmology services on patients.

Data is reported centrally on the number of cancelled or delayed outpatient ophthalmology appointments only. Guidance has been issued to local National Health Service providers and commissioners trusts on the restart of non-COVID-19 services, starting with the most clinically urgent cases and ensuring this is done safely with appropriate infection control. Local providers and their clinical teams, rather than the Department, are best placed to consider the appropriate management of patient cases locally as services are restarted.

The Government is providing an additional £3 billion to the NHS, which includes funding for continued access to the independent sector to carry out routine treatments and procedures as well as provide additional capacity for COVID-19 patients, should it be needed.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to reduce the number of patients who miss their follow up ophthalmology appointments.

The Government is actively planning and preparing for the potential impact of COVID-19 infections during winter 2020-21. National COVID-19 planning is in part informed on a reasonable worst case scenario, reflecting current scientific advice.

As the evidence base and scientific understanding evolves, the Government seeks to update planning assumptions, informed by advice and modelling from Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its subgroups. In recognition of the importance of transparency in these unprecedented times, SAGE has been publishing minutes and papers on the Government website.

To prepare the National Health Service for winter, the Government is providing an additional £3 billion of funding to the NHS. This includes funding to allow the NHS to maintain the Nightingale surge capacity and continue to use the extra hospital capacity available within the independent sector.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of people that have not attended their outpatient ophthalmology appointment since the start of 2020.

A count of outpatient appointments by ‘attend or did not attend’ type for ophthalmology in England from 1 January 2020 is provided in the following table. Data provided are not a count of individual patients as a patient may have had more than one appointment within the time period. Data for 2020 are provisional and subject to change until the finalised data are published:

Attend or did not attend’ type codes and description

January

February

March

April

May

Appointment cancelled by, or on behalf of, the patient

83,550

78,728

115,562

52,958

25,707

Did not attend – no advance warning given

63,954

54,918

61,186

20,496

17,021

Appointment cancelled or postponed by the Health Care Provider

74,745

71,466

140,989

203,933

112,541

Seen, having attended on time or, if late, before the relevant care professional was ready to see the patient

759,599

688,583

533,189

256,201

269,040

Arrived late, after the relevant care professional was ready to see the patient, but was seen

9,549

8,543

6,121

2,092

2,421

Did not attend – patient arrived late and could not be seen

522

158

205

148

127

Not known

5,031

5,199

7,969

8,729

6,354

Source: Hospital Episode Statistics, NHS Digital

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect on people with incurable secondary breast cancer of the changes to cancer treatment during the covid-19 outbreak.

During the COVID-19 crisis, urgent and essential cancer treatments have continued. Some cancer diagnostics and treatments have been rescheduled to protect vulnerable patients from having to attend hospitals. These were all clinical decisions made with the patient and the recovery and restoration of cancer services to pre-pandemic levels is well underway with detailed guidance issued by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government has taken to consider using option-based guarantees to increase the production of (a) diagnostic tests, (b) pharmaceutical treatments and (c) vaccines in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is engaging with industry and are considering all commercial options. As part of the negotiations the Government will continue to ensure that the best value for money is achieved for the taxpayer, whilst delivering the goods and services needed in the fight against COVID-19 at speed.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of building an open software platform to match people and organisations most in need of vital medical supplies with those who can provide them.

The National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR) is an established process for collating urgent demand requirements and coordinating the optimal response. It was stood up to respond to supply disruption of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies as a result of COVID-19.

The NSDR operates a 24 hours a day, seven days a week call centre facility to collate information on supply disruptions from those in urgent need of PPE and medical supplies which they are unable to source through their usual routes. The NSDR’s processes and systems are routinely reviewed in the wake of incidents and stakeholder feedback as part of continual improvement.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government has taken to introduce the sterilisation of respirators with hydrogen peroxide vapour to enable the safe re-use of single-use personal protection equipment.

Technical experts have been brought together by the United Kingdom Government from the Health and Safety Executive, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the National Health Service, and devolved administrations to review the available evidence and undertake testing on the scientific feasibility of safely reusing certain types of personal protective equipment (PPE), to reduce plastic waste and improve sustainability of PPE. The expert committee is focused on the scientific validity and safety of different approaches to the decontamination and reuse of PPE, including the use of vaporised hydrogen peroxide for decontamination of FFP3 respirator masks.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of Population-wide Testing, contact Tracing and Isolation to bring the covid-19 pandemic under control and safely lift the lockdown.

The Government launched its new NHS Test and Trace service on 28 May 2020. This includes enhanced contact tracing which brings together testing, contact tracing and outbreak management into an end-to-end service.

The more rapidly we can identify people who may have been at risk of infection and, if necessary, tell them to self-isolate, the more effectively we can reduce the R rate, spread of the virus and maintain transmission at low levels in order to safely lift the lockdown.

6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the terms of reference of the Patient Access to Medicines Partnership are; and if he will publish the (a) minutes of and (b) papers considered by that Partnership.

The Patient Access to Medicines Partnership (PAMP) is a forum for strategic, high level, cross-Departmental discussions on all aspects of pharmaceutical and medicines access policy. It is constituted of a small group of senior leaders from both industry and Government. We intend to publish a summary of the PAMP discussions in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which (a) Government Departments and (b) other bodies and organisations are members of the Patient Access to Medicines Partnership.

The Patient Access to Medicines Partnership is a forum for strategic, high-level, discussions on United Kingdom pharmaceutical and medicines access policy. It is constituted of a small group of senior leaders from both industry and government. Its membership is:

- Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health & Social Care (co-chair);

- Senior Pharmaceutical Industry Executive (co-chair) – currently Chief Business Officer, Pfizer;

- Department of Health and Social Care;

- Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy;

- NHS England;

- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence;

- Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency;

- Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries;

- Bio-Industry Association; and

- Charity Medicines Access Coalition.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what process was used for recruiting organisations and members to the Patient Access to Medicines Partnership; and how regularly that Partnership meets.

The Patient Access to Medicines Partnership (PAMP) is a forum for strategic, high-level, discussions on United Kingdom pharmaceutical and medicines access policy. It is made up of a small group of senior leaders from industry, government, NHS England and NHS Improvement, UK regulators, and a patient representative from the Charity Medicines Access Coalition. The membership of PAMP was proposed by the industry representative groups and agreed by the joint chairs of the board.

PAMP meets bi-annually and is co-chaired by the Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Innovation (Lord Bethell) along with the Senior Pharmaceutical Industry Executive. The inaugural meeting was held in June 2019 and the most recent meeting took place in February 2020.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in the event of a pandemic what arrangements he is making for providing a medical cause of death so that the death can be registered.

The Government has published an action plan, which includes the principle to ensure dignified treatment of all affected, including those who die.

In the event of the outbreak worsening, or a severe prolonged pandemic, the response will escalate, and the focus will move from Contain to Delay, through to Mitigate. During this phase the pressures on services and wider society may start to become significant.

The action plan recognises that there could well be an increase in deaths arising from the outbreak, particularly amongst vulnerable and elderly groups. The United Kingdom Government and devolved administrations will provide advice for local authorities on dealing with this challenge in due course.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timetable is for the publication of the Health Education England Cancer Work Force Plan phase 2.

Health Education England (HEE) published phase one of the Cancer Workforce Plan in December 2017, which commits to the expansion of capacity and skills across priority professions within the cancer workforce to 2021.

HEE began work on phase two in early 2018. The work on phase two of the plan was submitted by HEE to NHS England to inform the development of the cancer ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan in July 2018. NHS England established a Cancer Workforce Task and Finish Group in 2019 (including representatives of HEE, the National Health Service, Cancer Research UK (CRUK), Macmillan and Cancer 52). The final NHS People Plan, due to be published in early 2020, will also build upon the progress made through the Cancer Workforce Plan, including taking targeted action to ensure the supply of NHS staff who play a vital role in increasing early diagnosis of cancer.

Ministers and officials regularly meet, both formally and informally, with a wide range of health professionals, patients and charities linked to supporting cancer including CRUK and Macmillan Cancer Support. In October last year Departmental Ministers hosted a cancer workforce roundtable with 25 charities (including patient organisations) and representatives of NHS England and HEE.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions (a) he and (b) his officials have had with (a) health professionals, (b) charities and (c) patient organisations on the Health Education England Cancer Workforce Plan phase 2.

Health Education England (HEE) published phase one of the Cancer Workforce Plan in December 2017, which commits to the expansion of capacity and skills across priority professions within the cancer workforce to 2021.

HEE began work on phase two in early 2018. The work on phase two of the plan was submitted by HEE to NHS England to inform the development of the cancer ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan in July 2018. NHS England established a Cancer Workforce Task and Finish Group in 2019 (including representatives of HEE, the National Health Service, Cancer Research UK (CRUK), Macmillan and Cancer 52). The final NHS People Plan, due to be published in early 2020, will also build upon the progress made through the Cancer Workforce Plan, including taking targeted action to ensure the supply of NHS staff who play a vital role in increasing early diagnosis of cancer.

Ministers and officials regularly meet, both formally and informally, with a wide range of health professionals, patients and charities linked to supporting cancer including CRUK and Macmillan Cancer Support. In October last year Departmental Ministers hosted a cancer workforce roundtable with 25 charities (including patient organisations) and representatives of NHS England and HEE.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how work previously undertaken by Health Education England on the Cancer Workforce Plan phase 2 will be taken account of in the final People Plan.

Health Education England (HEE) published phase one of the Cancer Workforce Plan in December 2017, which commits to the expansion of capacity and skills across priority professions within the cancer workforce to 2021.

HEE began work on phase two in early 2018. The work on phase two of the plan was submitted by HEE to NHS England to inform the development of the cancer ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan in July 2018. NHS England established a Cancer Workforce Task and Finish Group in 2019 (including representatives of HEE, the National Health Service, Cancer Research UK (CRUK), Macmillan and Cancer 52). The final NHS People Plan, due to be published in early 2020, will also build upon the progress made through the Cancer Workforce Plan, including taking targeted action to ensure the supply of NHS staff who play a vital role in increasing early diagnosis of cancer.

Ministers and officials regularly meet, both formally and informally, with a wide range of health professionals, patients and charities linked to supporting cancer including CRUK and Macmillan Cancer Support. In October last year Departmental Ministers hosted a cancer workforce roundtable with 25 charities (including patient organisations) and representatives of NHS England and HEE.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department’s position is on whether patients who initially privately fund a cancer drug can receive it on the NHS if it is subsequently (a) approved for use by NICE, (b) added to NHS England’s National Cancer Drugs Fund List and (c) if they meet the criteria for the drugs' use.

NHS England and NHS Improvement has advised that, following a drug becoming routinely available from the National Health Service, it would expect all eligible patients to be able to access that drug from the NHS.

This principle would also apply for treatments under the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF). A patient previously treated privately would be able to transfer to NHS care and continue treatment available via the CDF, as long as they meet all of the treatment criteria.

For those patients who have previously received all of their care in the private sector and then transfer to NHS care, NHS England and NHS Improvement has advised that it cannot reimburse for treatments given in the private sector or funded privately prior to the treatment becoming routinely available from the NHS.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that GPs are trained to respond to young people attending an appointment about their mental health.

The curriculum for general practitioner (GP) specialty training is set by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the General Medical Council (GMC) approves the curriculum and assessment systems for the programme. The curriculum integrates the GMC’s generic professional capabilities framework covering the professional behaviours, knowledge and skills that doctors in GP specialty training must demonstrate.

‘The RCGP Curriculum: Being a General Practitioner’ has recently been reviewed and a wide range of conditions are covered in the clinical topic guides.

The National Health Service has identified child health as a key area for education and training in general practice and young people’s mental health is emphasised in the clinical topic guide on children and young people.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding (a) Clinical Commissioning Groups and (b) local authorities have allocated to low-level mental health support in each year since 2014.

The information is not available in the format requested as this level of granularity is not separately identifiable.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what mental health training is available for people who work with young people outside of educational settings; what plans he has to introduce training for people who work in those settings.

All registered healthcare professionals are required to complete training to meet the educational outcomes as set by the regulator of their profession, these include mental health training where necessary. This would cover doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.

We would expect people working in the criminal justice system and local authority children’s services to meet the relevant training requirements for those settings.

For people working in other organisations there are a range of training opportunities available, such as mental health first aid, and it would be for each individual organisation to ensure their staff have the appropriate training in mental health issues.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to allocate adequate funding to support the effective delivery of the recommendations of the final NHS People Plan.

Health Education England’s budget for 2020/21 includes a £60 million allocation to take forward actions from the interim NHS People Plan. Further investment decisions will be dependent on the up-coming Spending Review and based on the final NHS People Plan.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of recent violence in Kenya.

The UK regrets the loss of life and destruction of property during recent demonstrations in Kenya. The UK is following events closely and continues to urge all parties to engage in dialogue and resolve their differences peacefully.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to the Iranian government on respect for the (a) burial rites for deceased Baha’is and (b) rights of their families to bury them and mark their graves in accordance with their beliefs.

The Baha'i community in Iran is systematically discriminated against, harassed and targeted by Iranian authorities. The UK Government agrees with the UN Special Rapporteur for Iran Human Rights' latest assessment that destruction of Baha'i cemeteries and prevention of proper burial for Baha'i is representative of Iran's deeply unjust judicial system. We raise human rights issues with Iran at all appropriate opportunities, including freedom of religion or belief (FORB).

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Written Statement entitled FCDO Programme Allocations of 30 March 2023, HCWS705, how much funding will be provided to each country.

The FCDO is committed to transparency with the public and predictability with our partners. My (Minister Mitchell) Written Ministerial Statement of 30 March sets out how we have allocated Official Development Assistance (ODA) in 2022-23 and for 2023-24. We plan to publish full breakdowns of the 2023-24 allocations, including by country in the FCDO Annual Report and Accounts 2022 to 2023 on 13 July.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how the annual data on the number of allegations of torture by foreign authorities made by British citizens to his Department will be reported to Parliament.

The FCDO remains committed to transparency in line with the Ministerial Code and publishes monthly and annual consolidated consular management data on GOV.UK. Published data includes the number of cases where assistance has been provided to British nationals around the world, including the number of cases where British nationals report allegations of torture and mistreatment overseas. We will also reconsider including information on the number of open allegations of torture and mistreatment made to consular officials by British nationals overseas in future Human Rights and Democracy Reports.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to his Department's Human Rights and Democracy report 2021, for what reason his Department has not continued with the practice of annual reporting of the number of allegations of torture by foreign authorities made by British citizens to his Department.

The FCDO remains committed to transparency in line with the Ministerial Code and publishes monthly and annual consolidated consular management data on GOV.UK. Published data includes the number of cases where assistance has been provided to British nationals around the world, including the number of cases where British nationals report allegations of torture and mistreatment overseas. We will also reconsider including information on the number of open allegations of torture and mistreatment made to consular officials by British nationals overseas in future Human Rights and Democracy Reports.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many cases were reviewed as part of his Department's annual review of open torture cases in 2022.

In 2022, as part of the FCDO's internal annual review of torture and mistreatment cases reported to consular staff by British nationals overseas, the FCDO reviewed all 131 torture and mistreatment cases that were open on 31 December 2021. 32 of these were from the Middle East region.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether (a) he and (b) his Department had discussions with his counterparts in Saudi Arabia prior to the submission of the letter of correction to the Official Report on 2 December 2022.

I corrected my answer to clarify that I misspoke, and that the reports of torture in the case of al-Kheir were allegations, as set out in my initial response to the Urgent Question. The FCDO and British Embassy Riyadh have frequent discussions with counterparts in Saudi Arabia. The Urgent Question was raised with our Embassy in Riyadh, but there was no discussion of correcting the Official Report. HMG has raised al-Kheir's case with the Saudi authorities on several occasions, and has reiterated the UK's principled opposition to the use of the death penalty.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Parliamentary Under Secretary's letter of correction to the Official Report on 2 December 2022 following an Urgent Question on 28 November 2022, for what reason the correction was made.

I corrected my answer to clarify that I misspoke, and that the reports of torture in the case of al-Kheir were allegations, as set out in my initial response to the Urgent Question. The FCDO and British Embassy Riyadh have frequent discussions with counterparts in Saudi Arabia. The Urgent Question was raised with our Embassy in Riyadh, but there was no discussion of correcting the Official Report. HMG has raised al-Kheir's case with the Saudi authorities on several occasions, and has reiterated the UK's principled opposition to the use of the death penalty.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment the Government has made of the economic situation in Lebanon.

Lebanon is experiencing a severe economic crisis. The Lebanese government must deliver economic reforms as the only way to rebuild the confidence of the international community and set the country on a more sustainable path to long-term economic stability. The economic crisis has been exacerbated by COVID-19, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the aftermath of the Beirut port explosion of August 2020.

This crisis has had a severe impact, in particular on healthcare provision and poverty rates in the country, for both Lebanese citizens and the vulnerable refugee populations. The UK and members of the UN-led International Support Group for Lebanon are clear that Lebanon's leaders need to implement credible economic reforms as the only sustainable way to address this crisis and alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese people.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the effectiveness of her Department's nutrition-specific programmes, including (a) treatment for child wasting, (b) micro-nutrient supplementation, (c) malnutrition screening services and (d) support for breastfeeding.

FCDO undertakes reviews of all its programmes on an annual basis, including whether intended outcomes and impacts are being achieved. We also invest in evaluating our programmes to enable us to learn what works and to adapt our approaches accordingly.

In 2020 the Independent Commission for Aid Impact conducted a review of DFID's work on nutrition. This scored a green/amber rating and provided important insights into how we can further strengthen the work we do.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has made an assessment of the impact of covid-19 on the number of children expected to experience stunted growth as a result of malnutrition.

We have worked to strengthen monitoring of the impacts of COVID-19 on nutrition. This includes compiling evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on nutrition outcomes and interventions, including on disruptions of key services and food consumption patterns. Research shows that by the end of 2022, COVID-19 and related economic impacts could result in an estimated additional 9.3 million wasted and 2.6 million stunted children. Prevention and treatment of malnutrition is part of FCDO's response to address the indirect impacts of COVID-19 in countries such as Somalia, Yemen, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the funding estimates are for her Department's nutrition-specific programmes for the year 2021-22.

FCDO is focusing its Official Development Assistance (ODA) investment and expertise on issues where the UK can make the most difference and achieve maximum strategic coherence, impact, and value for money.

Information about our nutrition spend in financial year 2021-22 will be publicly available through Development Tracker in due course.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans the Government has to support the Nutrition for Growth summit 2021.

FCDO is working closely with the Government of Japan to make sure the 2021 Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit supports meaningful action by governments, donors, businesses, the UN and civil society.

The Government is actively considering its approach to the N4G summit, including any new nutrition commitment, and will set its approach following the conclusion of the Spending Review.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government's ending preventable deaths plan will include indicators on nutrition-specific interventions such as support for breastfeeding, vitamin supplementation and treatment for child wasting.

We plan to launch the Ending Preventable Deaths Action Plan later this year. Ending the preventable deaths of mothers, newborn and children requires work across sectors to address the complex pathways leading to mortality. The plan includes an approach to integrate nutrition-specific services into a health system strengthening approach and influence others to do the same. Indicators for monitoring progress against the plan are still to be decided.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the Government's ability to return UK citizens who are abroad in the event of closure of UK borders.

The UK border is open and at no point has the border been closed to UK citizens. Commercial travel options are available for UK citizens wishing to return to the UK. British nationals requiring assistance overseas should contact their nearest embassy, consulate or high commission. Our consular staff endeavour to give appropriate and tailored support to British nationals overseas and their families in the UK, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. This support includes providing assistance to return to the UK where it is appropriate. Assistance that the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office can provide to British nationals abroad is set out in the publication "Support for British nationals abroad: A Guide" (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-british-nationals-abroad-a-guide).

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when he plans to publish the Ending Preventable Deaths Action Plan.

The UK is committed to working with others to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns, and children by 2030. We hope to publish our approach to ending preventable deaths in due course.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he plans to hold with his US counterpart on allegations of forced hysterectomies on women in ICE detention facilities in the state of Georgia.

Reports of non-voluntary hysterectomies being performed on immigrant women in ICE detention facilities are deeply worrying. We understand that members of Congress have already raised this issue with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). We will continue to monitor the situation including any formal response from DHS.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if the Government will take steps to work with its (a) Turkish and (b) European counterparts on reducing the risks of (i) infection and (ii) transmission of covid-19 in the area of Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria also known as Rojava.

The UK recognises the significant threat posed by COVID-19 in North East Syria and across the country. We are speaking regularly to other donors, including Turkey, other European countries and with the UN, to effectively reduce the risks of infection and transmission throughout Syria.

Aside from our diplomatic efforts, the UK is one of the leading donors supporting international efforts to deliver vital healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene activities; all of which reach communities in North East Syria, and help mitigate the threat posed by COVID-19.

The Department for International Development's current support inside Syria includes training for health workers; educational material to raise awareness on health and sanitation; provision of infection, prevention, and control supplies; and cash assistance for refugees and internally displaced persons. The UK is monitoring the situation closely and working with humanitarian partners inside Syria to respond to the outbreak and to sustain life-saving services.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of HMRC in enforcing the agency regulations when collecting PAYE tax from agencies.

Agencies must deduct Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) at source from payments of earnings to agency workers. HMRC’s processes for collecting any Income Tax and NICs due from agencies under Pay As You Earn (PAYE) are the same as those for other employers.

Where HMRC finds that a UK agency has failed to account for Income Tax and NICs in circumstances where the agency rules apply to them, it will usually seek to recover unpaid amounts due from them. Whether the agency rules apply in a particular case is dependent on the facts of that case.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of business rates on small businesses.

Business rates are an important source of funding for key local services such as adult social care and children’s services.

Small businesses may be eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR). Properties with a rateable value of £12,000 or less will pay no business rates under SBRR. For properties with a rateable value above £12,000 and less than £15,000, the SBRR will taper from 100% relief to 0%. Under SBRR, over 700,000 businesses pay no business rates.

Small businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector may also be eligible for the three month extension to the business rates holiday provided at Budget 2020.

The fundamental review of business rates is considering all parts of the business rates system, including support for small businesses.

19th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many businesses HMRC has taken action against for not passing on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme support to employees.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is a grant paid to employers so they can pay employees while they are furloughed.

HMRC have over 6,000 employers under investigation, for a range of reasons, including not paying employees, making inflated claims, or making claims even though employees are still working. Within a single case there is often a number of reasons why HMRC are taking action.

However, apart from the enforcement of National Minimum Wage, HMRC do not have a role in regulating the relationship between employers and employees. If the CJRS grant has not been passed on to employees, HMRC have no legal authority to enforce payment but take action to recover the grant for which the employer is not eligible.

Employees can contact ACAS if they have concerns that they have not been able to resolve with their employer. Since February, HMRC have been publishing details of employers who have claimed a CJRS grant and have been informing employees of that claim via their personal tax account.

Employees who have concerns that they have been furloughed but have not been paid (or have been asked to work) can contact HMRC. Details can be found on GOV.UK.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the removal of business rates relief on independent retailers.

The unprecedented full business rates holiday for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties for the financial year is worth about £10 billion to business in 2020-21. The Government will continue to look at how to adjust its support in a way that ensures people can get back to work, protecting both the UK economy and the livelihoods of people across the country. The Government is considering options for reliefs for 2021-22 and will outline the next round of COVID-19 support measures at Budget.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the stamp duty deadline in response to delays in completions resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

The temporary SDLT relief was designed to stimulate immediate momentum in a property market where property transactions fell by as much as 50 per cent during the COVID-19 lockdown in March. This will also support the jobs of people whose employment relies on custom from the property industry, such as retailers and tradespeople.

The Government will continue to monitor the market. However, as the relief was designed to provide an immediate stimulus to the property market, the Government does not plan to extend this relief.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what safeguards are in place to ensure that payments made to employers under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for (a) salary and (b) pension contributions are administered to employees.

The employer must pay the employee all of the grant they receive for an employee’s gross pay in the form of money from the claim made under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The employer cannot enter into any transaction with the employee which reduces the amount an employee receives. This includes any administration charge, fees or other costs in connection with the employment.

Where the employee has authorised the employer to make deductions from the salary, these deductions can continue while furloughed. The employee will still pay Income Tax, National Insurance contributions, Student Loan repayments and any other deductions (such as pension contributions) from their wages.

If an employee is concerned that an employer is abusing the scheme, they should report them to HMRC via their online fraud reporting tool on the GOV.UK site.

HMRC will check claims made through the scheme. Payments may be withheld or need to be repaid in full to HMRC if the claim is based on dishonest or inaccurate information or found to be fraudulent. HMRC will not hesitate to act on reports of abuse.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what enforcement powers HMRC have used to ensure that employees receive payment from their employers under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The employer must pay the employee all of the grant they receive for an employee’s gross pay in the form of money from the claim made under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The employer cannot enter into any transaction with the employee which reduces the amount an employee receives. This includes any administration charge, fees or other costs in connection with the employment.

Where the employee has authorised the employer to make deductions from the salary, these deductions can continue while furloughed. The employee will still pay Income Tax, National Insurance contributions, Student Loan repayments and any other deductions (such as pension contributions) from their wages.

If an employee is concerned that an employer is abusing the scheme, they should report them to HMRC via their online fraud reporting tool on the GOV.UK site.

HMRC will check claims made through the scheme. Payments may be withheld or need to be repaid in full to HMRC if the claim is based on dishonest or inaccurate information or found to be fraudulent. HMRC will not hesitate to act on reports of abuse.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of the furlough scheme on workers living with disabilities.

When designing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and subsequent reforms the Government undertook an analysis of how the policies were likely to affect individuals sharing protected characteristics, including workers living with disabilities, in line with its Public Sector Equality Duties. This is in line with the internal procedural requirements and support in place for ensuring that equalities considerations inform decisions taken by ministers.

The Government’s support package during the current pandemic sits alongside a substantial provision of welfare support for disabled individuals. Personal Independence Payment (PIP) remains the primary means of support to help with some of the extra cost of long-term ill-health or disability. Those with a health condition which prevents them from working or preparing for work may be entitled to an extra amount of Universal Credit.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when new rules will be introduced to allow traders to apply for a Duty Deferment Account without a Customs Comprehensive Guarantee.

To be approved for a Duty Deferment Account (DDA) under the current Union Customs Code (UCC) rules customers need to be authorised by HMRC to provide a Customs Comprehensive Guarantee (CCG). This approach will continue until the end of the Transition Period, after which the requirement for a CCG to underpin a DDA in Great Britain will be removed for most compliant and solvent businesses.

The legislation to enable this change was laid in Parliament on 10 September. HMRC are developing a new application process for businesses wishing to use duty deferment in Great Britain at the end of the Transition Period. This is expected to be available by early November 2020.

The existing UCC rules for guarantees will continue to apply to businesses using duty deferment in Northern Ireland.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the merits of extending the Debt Service Suspension Initiative to include middle-income countries.

Under the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, the G20 committed to suspend the debt repayments of the world’s poorest 77 countries. The G20 focused on these countries as they are particularly vulnerable to the economic pressures of the pandemic; and because G20 creditors have a larger share of these countries’ outstanding debt, as middle-income countries borrow much more from commercial markets. Given the more complex composition of many middle-income countries’ debt, and their access to capital markets, the G20 did not agree a blanket approach to respond to middle-income country debt vulnerabilities would be appropriate.

In 2019 the IMF assessed that 45% of the total outstanding stock of international sovereign bonds by nominal principal amount are governed under English law.

The G20 have called for private creditor participation in the DSSI on a voluntary basis. It is important that developing countries do not see their access to international capital markets become too costly or restricted as mobilising private finance will be essential for crisis recovery and long-term sustainable development. HM Government will continue to monitor implementation of the DSSI by private lenders under this voluntary framework closely, as it is important that all creditors work together to help enable countries especially vulnerable to the pandemic to protect their citizens and economies.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the amount of international debt held by private creditors under English law; and what assessment he has made of the ability of UK creditors to sue developing countries for defaulting on debt repayments in English courts.

Under the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, the G20 committed to suspend the debt repayments of the world’s poorest 77 countries. The G20 focused on these countries as they are particularly vulnerable to the economic pressures of the pandemic; and because G20 creditors have a larger share of these countries’ outstanding debt, as middle-income countries borrow much more from commercial markets. Given the more complex composition of many middle-income countries’ debt, and their access to capital markets, the G20 did not agree a blanket approach to respond to middle-income country debt vulnerabilities would be appropriate.

In 2019 the IMF assessed that 45% of the total outstanding stock of international sovereign bonds by nominal principal amount are governed under English law.

The G20 have called for private creditor participation in the DSSI on a voluntary basis. It is important that developing countries do not see their access to international capital markets become too costly or restricted as mobilising private finance will be essential for crisis recovery and long-term sustainable development. HM Government will continue to monitor implementation of the DSSI by private lenders under this voluntary framework closely, as it is important that all creditors work together to help enable countries especially vulnerable to the pandemic to protect their citizens and economies.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of the progress of the Windrush compensation scheme.

The victims of the Windrush scandal suffered terrible injustices, and this Government remains steadfast in our commitment to do everything in our power to right the wrongs. We are determined to ensure everyone who was affected receives every penny of the compensation to which they are entitled at the earliest point possible. The Windrush Compensation Scheme is making significant progress towards achieving this aim. As at the end of May 2023 the scheme had paid or offered more than £75 million in compensation and over 66% of claims received by the end of May 2023 had been given a final decision.

Since its launch, the Home Office has continued to listen and respond to feedback from affected communities and stakeholders about how the Scheme operates and its accessibility. The changes made to the Scheme in December 2020 and August 2022, mean people receive significantly more money more quickly. Last year redesigned claim forms were published along with refreshed casework guidance, with the aim of reducing the time taken to process claims and improving individuals’ experiences of applying to the Scheme. Changes were also made to the Homelessness category and a new ‘Living Costs’ category was created, to compensate close family members for certain contributions to a primary claimant’s living costs. These significant and positive policy changes were made following consultation with claimants and stakeholders.

9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what provision is being made for the education of and the disruption caused to children from asylum seeking families who are moved to hotel accommodation.

Irrespective of where “school aged” asylum seeking children are housed, the responsibility for the provision of education remains with the Local Authority in conjunction with the parent(s). When dispersal accommodation is identified a dispersal notification is issued which generally provides 5 days’ notice to the family. For those children of service users who are due to be dispersed there is a responsibility on the parent to ensure that their childrens’ school is advised they are due to move. Where necessary, accommodation providers will signpost and assist asylum seekers with this.

In terms of the new receiving school, it remains the responsibility of the asylum seeker to ensure that the new school is advised of their child’s previous place of education so effective ‘link up’ can be made by both schools, as is the case for the general population. Accommodation providers reiterate the importance of this when signposting asylum seekers to schools within the local area. Receiving councils will work quickly to ensure that available school places are offered to the children of asylum seekers.

19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the level of threat posed by Iran to British nationals.

On 16th November, the Director General of MI5 outlined that since January, there have been at least ten threats to kidnap or even kill UK-based individuals, and there have been threats from Iran arise since that speech.

Iran has established a pattern of this type of behaviour which is deplorable, yet sadly typical of the regime and its lack of respect for basic rights.

The Home Office works closely across Government to ensure all tools are utilised to protect individuals in the UK against any threats from the Iranian state.

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many applications for naturalisation as a British citizen her Department received by the applicant's country of origin in each year between 2017 and 2021; and how many and what proportion of these applicants were (a) granted naturalisation within (i) six months, (ii) 12 months and (iii) two years, (b) refused naturalisation and (c) are awaiting a decision on their application.

The Home Office publishes UK data on applications, grants, and refusals of British Nationality in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’.

Data on applications and grants of British Citizenship, by year and nationality, are published in tables Cit_D01 and Cit_D02 of the Citizenship detailed data tables dataset. The latest data relates to the year ending September 2022.

The Home Office also publishes data on naturalisation applications made and completed each quarter as part of the Transparency data series. This includes performance against the six-month service standard for completing applications. The most recent data set was published on 24 November 2022 and can be found here: Transparency data: Visas and Citizenship Q3 2022

5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to progress applications to the EU Settlement Scheme from applicants who are awaiting a response and who have been unable to take up offers of employment and education as a result of delays in the application process.

We are committed to ensuring our operational teams have the resources they need to run an efficient and effective system, and we actively monitor workflows to ensure sufficient resources are in place to meet demand.

Our aim is to process all applications to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) as quickly as possible. Each individual case is considered on its own facts, which means some cases will inevitably take longer than others to conclude. Cases may take longer dependent on the circumstances of the case, for example, if the applicant is facing an impending prosecution or has a criminal record.

The following link lists the expected processing times for EU Settlement Scheme applications, based upon current performance:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-application-processing-times/eu-settlement-scheme-pilot-current-expected-processing-times-for-applications

The rights of those EU citizens and their family members who were lawfully resident at the end of the transition period and who, from 1 July 2021, have a pending application under the EUSS or an appeal against the refusal of an application submitted by then, will be protected until their application is finally determined.

Anyone awaiting the outcome of their in-time application to the EUSS can evidence their rights to work or study with their Certificate of Application which is issued as soon as possible after a valid application is received.

23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what representations she has received from businesses and trade organisations on the effect on HGV driver shortages of adding HGV drivers to the Shortage Occupation List.

Heavy Goods Vehicle drivers do not qualify for Skilled Worker visas therefore cannot be added to the Shortage Occupation List.

However, in response to the current exceptional circumstances, we have made provision for poultry workers, pork butchers and HGV drivers in food distribution to enter the UK on a short-term basis to support the food and haulage sectors.

The Government continues to support the sector in solving this issue, but this must be based on sustainable solutions delivered by employers through more investment in skills and training, along with better pay and working conditions, (including facilities), rather than seeing immigration as providing an alternative to this.

Measures to address shortages being led by DfT including ramping up testing capacity is a more effective solution to issues facing the sector, rather than immigration - especially given the current global shortage of drivers.

While the Home Office regularly engages with other Government Departments and stakeholders on departmental business, the Department for Transport is leading the Government’s work on what can be done to support the sector.

23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of adding HGV drivers to the Home Office Shortage Occupation List on a temporary basis.

Heavy Goods Vehicle drivers do not qualify for Skilled Worker visas therefore cannot be added to the Shortage Occupation List.

However, in response to the current exceptional circumstances, we have made provision for poultry workers, pork butchers and HGV drivers in food distribution to enter the UK on a short-term basis to support the food and haulage sectors.

The Government continues to support the sector in solving this issue, but this must be based on sustainable solutions delivered by employers through more investment in skills and training, along with better pay and working conditions, (including facilities), rather than seeing immigration as providing an alternative to this.

Measures to address shortages being led by DfT including ramping up testing capacity is a more effective solution to issues facing the sector, rather than immigration - especially given the current global shortage of drivers.

While the Home Office regularly engages with other Government Departments and stakeholders on departmental business, the Department for Transport is leading the Government’s work on what can be done to support the sector.

1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) hotels and hostels are placed in each local authority and (b) asylum seekers are currently living in hotels and hostels in each local authority.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority area. These statistics can be found at Asylum and resettlement datasets - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).


Data is published on a quarterly basis, with the latest information published 22 August 2021. The next quarterly figures are due to be released in November 2021

The Home Office does not publish a breakdown of these statistics which disaggregates the number of asylum seekers accommodated in specific accommodation. These figures are not available in a reportable format and to provide the information could only be done at disproportionate cost.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum seekers living in hotels or hostels had been in contingency accommodation for (a) 35 days or less, (b) more than 35 days, (c) more than three months, (d) more than six months, (e) more than 12 months, (f) more than 18 months or (g) more than two years, as at 1 October 2021.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority area. These statistics can be found at Asylum and resettlement datasets - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).


Data is published on a quarterly basis, with the latest information published 22 August 2021. The next quarterly figures are due to be released later this month.


The Home Office does not publish a breakdown of these statistics which disaggregates the number of asylum seekers accommodated in specific accommodation, as these figures are not available in a reportable format and to provide the information could only be done at disproportionate cost.

29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum seekers living in hotels or hostels were (a) single men, (b) single women, (c) accompanied children with parent or guardian and (d) unaccompanied minors on 1 October 2021.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority area. These statistics can be found at Asylum and resettlement datasets - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).


Data is published on a quarterly basis, with the latest information published 22 August 2021. The next quarterly figures are due to be released later this month.


The Home Office does not publish a breakdown of these statistics which disaggregates the number of asylum seekers accommodated in specific accommodation, as these figures are not available in a reportable format and to provide the information could only be done at disproportionate cost.

29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum seekers were living in (a) hotels, (b) hostels, (c) military barracks and (d) other types of temporary or contingency accommodation as at 1 October 2021.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority area. These statistics can be found at Asylum and resettlement datasets - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).


Data is published on a quarterly basis, with the latest information published 22 August 2021. The next quarterly figures are due to be released later this month.


The Home Office does not publish a breakdown of these statistics which disaggregates the number of asylum seekers accommodated in specific accommodation, as these figures are not available in a reportable format and to provide the information could only be done at disproportionate cost.

29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum seekers were living in contingency accommodation across the UK as at 1 October 2021.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority area. These statistics can be found at Asylum and resettlement datasets - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).


Data is published on a quarterly basis, with the latest information published 22 August 2021. The next quarterly figures are due to be released later this month.


The Home Office does not publish a breakdown of these statistics which disaggregates the number of asylum seekers accommodated in specific accommodation, as these figures are not available in a reportable format and to provide the information could only be done at disproportionate cost.

29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum-seeking unaccompanied or accompanied children were living in hotels or hostels had been in contingency accommodation for (a) 35 days or less, (b) more than 35 days, (c) more than three months, (d) more than six months, (e) more than one year or (f) more than two years, as at 1 October 2021.

The transfer of minors from hotel accommodation or contingency accommodation into Local Authority care is fluid and evolving and data is not held in a reportable way, to provide them could only be done at a disproportionate cost. We publish statistics on how many unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors are transferred into Local Authority care at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-june-2021

20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the reason was for (a) her visit to the construction site of the Multi Purpose Reception and Identification Centre (MPRIC) on the island of Samos, Greece in August 2021 and (b) the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State's visit to the MPRIC construction site in May 2021; and whether her Department plans to construct a similar facility in the UK.

We regularly engage with Greek ministers and senior officials on the challenges presented by the migration situation in Greece. This includes fact finding visits, to better understand and assess the approach being taken by the Greek Government in its response to the challenge from illegal migration.

14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has undertaken of the equalities impact of the (a) New Plan for Immigration and the (b) Nationality and Borders Bill, in accordance with her duties under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010; and if she will publish those assessments.

An Equality Impact Assessment has been completed for the policies being delivered through the Nationality and Borders Bill, which is the cornerstone of the New Plan for Immigration. The Equality Impact Assessment will be published in due course.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the prevalence of VFS Global, the operator of her Department's online visa application system, charging for emails received from service users.

VFS Global (VFS) and TLS contact run the network of overseas Visa Application Centres (VACs) on behalf of UKVI.

VFS provide services at the VACs to enable individuals to upload supporting evidence and biometric information, such as a photo, for visa applications and also coordinate the return of travel documents to customers.

VFS do not charge for emails received from customers.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that naturalised EU citizens are not incorrectly advised to apply inappropriately to the EU Settlement Scheme.

The Government is using every possible channel to encourage everyone who is eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) to apply.

The Home Office is working with HMRC and DWP to send letters to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in receipt of benefits, but it appears have yet to apply to the EUSS. The letters encouraged recipients to apply to the EUSS to protect their existing rights in the UK before the deadline of 30 June 2021.

In trying to reach as many people as possible, there were a small number of instances where these letters were sent to recipients who were naturalised, or dual British and EU citizens, or had other forms of immigration status. This may have included people who naturalised many years ago.

The letters made clear anyone who is a British citizen did not need to take any action. Further reassurance, providing the same messaging, was posted on the Home Office’s, DWP’s and HMRC’s Twitter channels.

17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum claims were received in (a) 2014, (b) 2018, (c) 2020 and (d) 2021 to date.

The Home Office publishes data on asylum applications in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on the number of asylum applications lodged in the UK are published in table Asy_D01 of the asylum and resettlement detailed datasets, and includes a breakdown for year of application. Information on how to use the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relate to March 2021.

Additionally, the Home Office publishes further data on asylum and resettlement in the asylum and resettlement summary tables. The ‘contents’ sheet contains an overview of all available data on asylum and resettlement.


Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum claims were decided in (a) 2014, (b) 2018, (c) 2020 and (d) 2021.

The Home Office publishes data on asylum applications in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on the number of initial decisions on asylum applications are published in table Asy_D02 of the asylum and resettlement detailed datasets, and includes a breakdown for year of initial decision. Information on how to use the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relate to March 2021.

Additionally, the Home Office publishes further data on asylum and resettlement in the asylum and resettlement summary tables. The ‘contents’ sheet contains an overview of all available data on asylum and resettlement.


Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum claims were decided within the 26-week period in (a) 2014, (b) 2018, (c) 2020 and (d) 2021 to date.

The Home Office are unable to state how many asylum applications were decided within the 26-week period in 2014, 2018, 2020 and 2021 to date but can state the number of applications decided within the 24-week period (6months) from Q2 2014 to Q2 2020.

This information can be found at Asy_01 of the published Migration Transparency data:

Immigration & Protection data: February 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The number of staff who were allocated to processing asylum claims in 2021 is not recorded and held in a reportable format. To obtain this information would require detailed reporting against multiple cost centres and could only be obtained at disproportionate costs.

However, the Home Office can provide the number of asylum case working staff from 2014 to 2020. This data can be found in ASY_04 of the published Transparency data:

Immigration & Protection data: February 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many staff were allocated to processing asylum claims in (a) 2014, (b) 2018, (c) 2020 and (d) 2021.

The Home Office are unable to state how many asylum applications were decided within the 26-week period in 2014, 2018, 2020 and 2021 to date but can state the number of applications decided within the 24-week period (6months) from Q2 2014 to Q2 2020.

This information can be found at Asy_01 of the published Migration Transparency data:

Immigration & Protection data: February 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The number of staff who were allocated to processing asylum claims in 2021 is not recorded and held in a reportable format. To obtain this information would require detailed reporting against multiple cost centres and could only be obtained at disproportionate costs.

However, the Home Office can provide the number of asylum case working staff from 2014 to 2020. This data can be found in ASY_04 of the published Transparency data:

Immigration & Protection data: February 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to make funding available to support (a) late applicants and (b) people with pre-settled status apply for settled status.

The success of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) – with more than 5.6 million applications received and more than 5 million grants of status, to 31 May 2021 – has been underpinned by joint working with and support for local authorities.

This includes £22 million in Home Office grant funding, through to 30 September 2021, for 72 organisations across the UK (including several local authorities and local government associations) to help vulnerable people – so far more than 310,000 – to apply to the EUSS. We have also provided additional funding, following a new burdens assessment, for local authority work in helping looked after children and care leavers to obtain EUSS status.

Alongside this, we have provided guidance, a toolkit of communications resources and ongoing webinars and other support for local authority staff concerning the EUSS.

We will continue to work closely with local authorities as we approach the 30 June 2021 deadline for applications to the EUSS by those resident in the UK by the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. We will take a pragmatic and flexible approach to dealing with late applications in line with the non-exhaustive guidance on this published on 1 April 2021.

The entitlement to central and local government benefits and services of those granted EUSS status, whether on the basis of an in-time or late application, is consistent with our obligations under the Citizens’ Rights Agreements.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent guidance has been given to local authorities as the EU Settlement Scheme deadline approaches.

The success of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) – with more than 5.6 million applications received and more than 5 million grants of status, to 31 May 2021 – has been underpinned by joint working with and support for local authorities.

This includes £22 million in Home Office grant funding, through to 30 September 2021, for 72 organisations across the UK (including several local authorities and local government associations) to help vulnerable people – so far more than 310,000 – to apply to the EUSS. We have also provided additional funding, following a new burdens assessment, for local authority work in helping looked after children and care leavers to obtain EUSS status.

Alongside this, we have provided guidance, a toolkit of communications resources and ongoing webinars and other support for local authority staff concerning the EUSS.

We will continue to work closely with local authorities as we approach the 30 June 2021 deadline for applications to the EUSS by those resident in the UK by the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. We will take a pragmatic and flexible approach to dealing with late applications in line with the non-exhaustive guidance on this published on 1 April 2021.

The entitlement to central and local government benefits and services of those granted EUSS status, whether on the basis of an in-time or late application, is consistent with our obligations under the Citizens’ Rights Agreements.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the costs to local authorities of supporting residents with pre-settled status to secure settled status over the next five years.

The success of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) – with more than 5.6 million applications received and more than 5 million grants of status, to 31 May 2021 – has been underpinned by joint working with and support for local authorities.

This includes £22 million in Home Office grant funding, through to 30 September 2021, for 72 organisations across the UK (including several local authorities and local government associations) to help vulnerable people – so far more than 310,000 – to apply to the EUSS. We have also provided additional funding, following a new burdens assessment, for local authority work in helping looked after children and care leavers to obtain EUSS status.

Alongside this, we have provided guidance, a toolkit of communications resources and ongoing webinars and other support for local authority staff concerning the EUSS.

We will continue to work closely with local authorities as we approach the 30 June 2021 deadline for applications to the EUSS by those resident in the UK by the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. We will take a pragmatic and flexible approach to dealing with late applications in line with the non-exhaustive guidance on this published on 1 April 2021.

The entitlement to central and local government benefits and services of those granted EUSS status, whether on the basis of an in-time or late application, is consistent with our obligations under the Citizens’ Rights Agreements.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the long-term costs to local authorities of supporting residents who miss the deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme.

The success of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) – with more than 5.6 million applications received and more than 5 million grants of status, to 31 May 2021 – has been underpinned by joint working with and support for local authorities.

This includes £22 million in Home Office grant funding, through to 30 September 2021, for 72 organisations across the UK (including several local authorities and local government associations) to help vulnerable people – so far more than 310,000 – to apply to the EUSS. We have also provided additional funding, following a new burdens assessment, for local authority work in helping looked after children and care leavers to obtain EUSS status.

Alongside this, we have provided guidance, a toolkit of communications resources and ongoing webinars and other support for local authority staff concerning the EUSS.

We will continue to work closely with local authorities as we approach the 30 June 2021 deadline for applications to the EUSS by those resident in the UK by the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. We will take a pragmatic and flexible approach to dealing with late applications in line with the non-exhaustive guidance on this published on 1 April 2021.

The entitlement to central and local government benefits and services of those granted EUSS status, whether on the basis of an in-time or late application, is consistent with our obligations under the Citizens’ Rights Agreements.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the steps necessary to prevent future covid-19 outbreaks at Napier Barracks.

The accommodation has been adapted to ensure social distancing can be maintained and occupancy in dormitories is limited to ensure a minimum distance between beds of at least two metres.

This is complemented by a range of additional safety measures including increased cleaning, availability of personal cleaning products and hand sanitisers, lateral flow tests for all residents three times a week and a track and trace system. Our service providers have robust plans in place to minimise the risk of an outbreak of COVID-19 and an action plan should a COVID-19 outbreak occur.

We have established links to the appropriate leads from the local authority, PHE and statutory bodies and are committed to working with them to support the people we accommodate and the wider community. Regular Multi-Agency Forums are held to ensure concerns are understood, so issues are managed and resolved accordingly.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum seekers living in high-risk environments have been offered a covid-19 vaccine.

The accommodation we provide is safe, habitable and fit for purpose.

Asylum seekers have the same access to the Covid-19 vaccination as the general population.

The Home Office will follow the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice on prioritisation.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education to ensure that her Department's policies on visa renewals for international students are aligned with the International Education Strategy.

Ahead of the update to the International Education Strategy published in February 2021, I reaffirmed our commitment to the ambition outlined within it.

The Home Office has already made several changes which ensure alignment with the International Education Strategy.

With the launch of the Student route on 5 October 2020, we have simplified and streamlined the previous Tier 4 route to make it easier for students to apply for further courses of study within the UK.

We have extended the ability for students to apply for a further course of study within the UK to students studying at all types of institution, and to switch into the Student route from a greater number of other immigration routes.

All students can apply for a further course within the UK, provided they are able to demonstrate they are progressing academically to a higher level of study.

Students who have been in the UK for 12 months or more with valid permission on the date of application, are not required to demonstrate evidence of finances with their application.

The Government has also removed the time limit on study above degree level, to enable talented students to undertake further qualifications.

The launch of the Graduate route on 1 July will further enhance our offer to international students. Students who successfully complete an eligible qualification at degree level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance will be able to work or look for work at any skill level for two years (three for PhD students) after their studies. The Graduate route will enhance the UK as a destination for study and will attract and retain talented individuals to develop their careers within the UK.

The Government will continue to work constructively between departments to support the delivery of the International Education Strategy.

A welcome sign of the results of this are the number of international students applying for permission on the Student and Child Student routes has recovered strongly despite the Covid-19 pandemic, in the year ending March 2021, there were 250,683 sponsored students granted permission.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to offer a route to settlement for Hong Kong people, who, primarily through having been born after the 1997 handover, are not British National (Overseas) (BNO) status holders and are ineligible for the BNO visa.

The Hong Kong BN(O) route is for those with BN(O) status and their eligible family members including adult children who were born after 1 July 1997 and who live with their parents. We do not currently have any plans to change these requirements.

Those not eligible for the BN(O) route can consider other UK immigration routes. For instance, individuals from Hong Kong can apply under the terms of the UK’s new Points Based System, which will enable them to come to the UK in a wider range of professions than in the past.

There is also the existing youth mobility scheme which is open to those aged between 18 and 30 and offers a two-year grant of leave in the UK. There are 1,000 places currently available each year for people from Hong Kong.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she has taken to provide local authorities with reliable demographic data to support their efforts in relation to the EU Settlement Scheme.

The Home Office publishes data on the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) in the

EU Settlement Scheme statistics’.

Data on the number of applications and concluded applications by UK local authority are published in Tables EUSS_LA_01, EUSS_LA_02 and EUSS_LA_03 of the quarterly EUSS statistics local authority tables (EU Settlement Scheme quarterly statistics, March 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

This data is broken down by the applicants nationality, age and type of decision for each UK local authority.

Additionally, the Home Office has conducted surveys of Local Authorities in England, Wales and Scotland and of Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland to provide a more accurate estimate of the number of looked after children and care leavers eligible to apply to the EUSS.

The results from the latest survey with figures up to 23 April 2021 can be found at:

EU Settlement Scheme – Home Office looked-after children and care leavers survey 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of refugees who will be helped annually by the new UK Resettlement Scheme.

Through the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS) we continue to welcome vulnerable refugees in need of protection to the UK. The number of refugees we resettle every year depends on a variety of factors including local authorities’ capacity and wider public sector capacity for supporting refugees and the extent to which Community Sponsorship continues to thrive. This year, the recovery from the pandemic will clearly be a significant factor affecting capacity. We are working closely with our partners to assess the capacity for resettlement in the months ahead and will continue to welcome those in need in the years to come.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to reinstate (a) Action Access and (b) other alternative schemes to immigration detention.

As part of the Department’s immigration detention reform programme, we are committed to a series of two pilots exploring alternatives to detention.

The first of these pilots, Action Access, provided women who would otherwise be detained with a programme of support in the community. This pilot concluded on 31 March 2021 after operating for two years, as planned. The second pilot, the Refugee and Migrant Advisory Service, is currently supporting both men and women in the community and will remain in operation for two years until June 2022.

We are working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on these pilots and they have appointed the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) to independently evaluate this work. These evaluations will be published, with the evaluation report of the Action Access pilot scheduled for Summer 2021. We will use the evaluations of these pilots to inform our future approach to case-management focused alternatives to detention.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what safeguards are in place to protect unaccompanied children who are wrongly diverted to adult asylum support services.

The welfare of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children is an absolute priority. We are fully adhering to our statutory duties and we have improved both our facilities and the way we deal with arrivals in response to the unprecedented rise in small boat crossings.

Young people are prioritised to ensure the necessary welfare and security checks are completed in the shortest amount of time. After this they are collected by a local authority and cared for by social services.

We have contracted a team of social workers as a temporary measure to support the Kent Intake Unit, with the aim of strengthening the unit’s age assessment and child safeguarding processes.

KIU includes a non-detained facility (called the ‘Atrium’) where asylum claimants are able to wait once their asylum claim has been registered and it has a specific area for minors and other vulnerable customers which is operated by the Refugee Council (NGO) under contract from the Home Office.

If there is doubt about the age of an individual, they will be referred to a Local Authority for a Merton compliant age assessment to ensure they are diverted to the correct support services.

If any concerns about a service user’s age become apparent once they are in asylum support accommodation, the relevant local authority will be informed so they can take appropriate safeguarding action.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many pending readmission or transfer agreements to return asylum seekers the UK has with other countries.

The UK already has arrangements with many countries across the world to facilitate the returns of asylum seekers.

The Joint Political Declaration between the EU and UK agreed in December 2020 noted the UK’s intention to engage in bilateral discussions with the most concerned Member States to discuss suitable practical arrangements, including on asylum and illegal migration. These discussions are continuing, and we have recently agreed a migration partnership with India.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, which local authorities have received planning applications for emergency services communications masts as part of the Emergency Services Network roll out.

The Emergency Services Network (ESN) is being built by EE, by upgrading their existing network. This includes building over 650 additional 4G radio masts across this country, as part of their contractual obligations to ensure coverage on 218,000km of major and minor roads.

In addition to the masts built by EE, the Home Office is building a further 292 masts in the most remote and rural areas of Britain. This set of masts is referred to as ‘Extended Area Services’ (EAS) within ESN.

The Home Office does not hold details of planning permission for ESN masts that form part of EE’s contracted ESN coverage. This response is limited to providing information with regards to the EAS sites that are being built by the Home Office.

Planning applications have been submitted by the following local authorities:

Angus Council; Argyll and Bute Council; Brecon Beacons National Park; Cairngorms National Park; Carlisle City Council; Carmarthenshire County Council; Ceredigion County Council; Conwy County Borough Council; Dartmoor National Park; Denbighshire County Council; Dumfries and Galloway; Dumfries and Galloway Council; East Lothian Council; Exmoor National Park, Highland Council; Lake District National Park; Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park; Monmouthshire County Council; North Ayrshire Council; North York Moors National Park; Northumberland County Council; Northumberland National Park; Orkney Islands Council; Peak District National Park; Perth and Kinross; Powys County Council; Scottish Borders; Scottish Borders Council; Shropshire Council; Snowdonia National Park; South Ayrshire Council; South Lakeland District Council; Teignbridge District Council; Wrexham; Yorkshire Dales National Park.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, which local authorities have approved planning applications for emergency services communications masts as part of the Emergency Services Network roll out.

The Emergency Services Network (ESN) is being built by EE, by upgrading their existing network. This includes building over 650 additional 4G radio masts across this country, as part of their contractual obligations to ensure coverage on 218,000km of major and minor roads.

In addition to the masts built by EE, the Home Office is building a further 292 masts in the most remote and rural areas of Britain. This set of masts is referred to as ‘Extended Area Services’ (EAS) within ESN.

The Home Office does not hold details of planning permission for ESN masts that form part of EE’s contracted ESN coverage. This response is limited to providing information with regards to the EAS sites that are being built by the Home Office.

Planning applications have been approved by the following local authorities:

Angus Council; Argyll and Bute Council; Brecon Beacons National Park; Cairngorms National Park; Carlisle City Council; Carmarthenshire County Council; Ceredigion County Council; Conwy County Borough Council; Dartmoor National Park; Denbighshire County Council; Dumfries and Galloway; Dumfries and Galloway Council; East Lothian Council; Exmoor National Park, Highland Council; Lake District National Park; Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park; Monmouthshire County Council; North Ayrshire Council; North York Moors National Park; Northumberland County Council; Northumberland National Park; Orkney Islands Council; Peak District National Park; Perth and Kinross; Powys County Council; Scottish Borders; Scottish Borders Council; Shropshire Council; Snowdonia National Park; South Ayrshire Council; South Lakeland District Council; Teignbridge District Council; Wrexham; Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Please note that whilst the above local authorities have already approved some planning applications, there may also be planning applications pending approval with the same local authorities where the Home Office is building multiple ESN EAS sites within the same local authority boundary.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will renew her Department's funding of the Jewish Community Protective Security Grant for the Community Security Trust.

The protection of all our faith communities is a priority for Government, delivered in collaboration with the on-going work of the police. Future funding through the Jewish Community Protective Security Grant and the Places of Worship Security funding scheme are currently under consideration.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of advertising licensing applications under Regulation 25 The Licensing Act 2003 (Premises licences and club premises certificates) Regulations 2005 during covid-19 lockdown.

The Licensing Act 2003 (Premises licences and club premises certificates) Regulations 2005 require the applicant to advertise in a notice issued on the premises and by publishing a notice in the local newspaper

The regulations provide for flexibility in cases where it is not possible to advertise in a local newsletter by permitting the application to be advertised a local newsletter, circular or similar document instead. Applicants are not bound only to advertise applications through the specified routes and can proactively choose to use alternative digital channels, alongside the places set out in the Regulations.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to reduce identity theft.

The Government is aware of the harms caused by identity theft and that criminals will use this to commit and enable a range of offences.

Existing legislation is in place to protect people’s personal data and prosecute those that commit crimes enabled by identity theft. These include the Fraud Act 2006, the Computer Misuse Act 1990, the Identity Documents Act 2010 and the Data Protection Act 2018.

Building on this legislation, we believe that the most effective way of preventing identity theft is to improve the safety and security of the identity systems we use, particularly online. The Government, through proposals led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport recently published draft “rules of the road” for governing the future use of digital identities. The new trust framework, including details of how to contribute to this work can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-uk-digital-identity-and-attributes-trust-framework.

4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people are (a) accredited and practising and (b) practising and not accredited in forensic science as at 4 February 2021.

Information on accredited organisations can be found on the website of the UK Accreditation Service: https://www.ukas.com/find-an-organisation/?q=forensic

There is no register of forensic science organisations in the UK, which means that it is difficult to estimate how many unaccredited and practicing forensic science providers exist. However, police forces should not use providers who do not have the appropriate UKAS accreditation.

By supporting legislation to give the Forensic Science Regulator statutory powers, we will make it possible for the Regulator to investigate and take action against forensic science providers who do not meet the necessary quality standards.

In addition, we have supported the creation of the Forensics Capability Network (FCN) as part of an £28.6m investment in forensic capability. The FCN is leading improvement in quality standards and accreditation attainment through a number of workstreams.

4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what metrics have been developed to illustrate the effectiveness of forensic science on the number of successful (a) convictions and (b) prosecutions.

The Home Office is leading on a project that aims to measure the impact of forensic science on the CJS. We are currently working with several police forces and academic institutions in England and Wales to test the approach through a series of small-scale studies.

4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Digital Evidence Transfer Service (DETS).

A programme to support the development of a Digital Evidence Transfer Service (DETS) was funded through the Police Transformation Fund. The ambition of DETS was to develop a single product which could be used by all forces to share digital evidence with Criminal Justice System. However, a decision was made in September 2019 to discontinue the project. This was following a review of the project and the national landscape for digital evidence sharing capabilities across all forces, which found that the majority of forces had subsequently acquired and implemented their own digital evidence sharing capabilities. Lessons learnt from this project are being taken forward to ensure joined-up approaches on wider programmes within the wider Criminal Justice System.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress has been made on assessing the effectiveness of section 176 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing 2014 Act.

Review of the effectiveness of Section 176 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing 2014 Act would form part of wider post-legislative review of the Act. No date has been set for this.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with Police and Crime Commissioners since her letter to PCCs and Chief Constables setting out that the theft of goods valued up to £200 from a shop should be prosecuted as a criminal offence.

I wrote to all chief constables and Police and Crime Commissioners in September 2020, stating that section 176 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 does not constrain the ability of the police to arrest or prosecute someone for shop theft in the way they feel is most appropriate, and urging them to consider the impact on local shops when dealing with this crime type. It is for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to decide on individual cases.

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many successful Windrush Compensation claims have been (a) paid and (b) completed.

Information on the Windrush Compensation Scheme claims that have been paid is available to view on GOV.UK at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/windrush-compensation-scheme-data-november-2020

Information on the number of Windrush Compensation Scheme claims that have been completed is not available in the public domain.

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the (a) Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on ensuring the Government is taking a comprehensive approach to tackling online scams.

The Government recognises the serious risks presented by online scams and fraud and are committed to tackling fraudulent activity online.

Fraudsters will use any hook, including Covid-19, to commit these terrible crimes and we must therefore remain vigilant to any risks and vulnerabilities. We are working collaboratively across government to reaffirm messages to the public setting out how they can protect themselves from fraud and stay safe online.

This is why we launched a gov.uk page targeted at coronavirus-related fraud and cybercrime. The page includes easy-to-follow steps for people to better protect themselves as well as signposting all relevant advice and tips and can currently be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-fraud-and-cyber-crime.

As well as this, we continue to work alongside law enforcement to ensure the public has the protection and advice needed to shield themselves from online crimes.

We continue to encourage anyone who has been a targeted by a scam to report it. Action Fraud is the central police reporting point for all victims of fraud and can be contacted by phone on 0300 123 2040 or through their website: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.

We have also worked with the National Cyber Security Centre to recently establish a Suspicious Email Reporting Service. This service allows the public to report potential scams safely and effectively and to date, has led to the removal of 22,192 scams. Members of the public can forward suspicious emails to this address: report@phishing.gov.uk

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to tackle scams that are enabled by content on (a) search engines, (b) social media sites and (c) other online platforms.

The Government recognises the serious risks presented by online scams and fraud and are committed to tackling fraudulent activity online.

Fraudsters will use any hook, including Covid-19, to commit these terrible crimes and we must therefore remain vigilant to any risks and vulnerabilities. We are working collaboratively across government to reaffirm messages to the public setting out how they can protect themselves from fraud and stay safe online.

This is why we launched a gov.uk page targeted at coronavirus-related fraud and cybercrime. The page includes easy-to-follow steps for people to better protect themselves as well as signposting all relevant advice and tips and can currently be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-fraud-and-cyber-crime.

As well as this, we continue to work alongside law enforcement to ensure the public has the protection and advice needed to shield themselves from online crimes.

We continue to encourage anyone who has been a targeted by a scam to report it. Action Fraud is the central police reporting point for all victims of fraud and can be contacted by phone on 0300 123 2040 or through their website: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.

We have also worked with the National Cyber Security Centre to recently establish a Suspicious Email Reporting Service. This service allows the public to report potential scams safely and effectively and to date, has led to the removal of 22,192 scams. Members of the public can forward suspicious emails to this address: report@phishing.gov.uk

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking to tackle online scams during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the serious risks presented by online scams and fraud and are committed to tackling fraudulent activity online.

Fraudsters will use any hook, including Covid-19, to commit these terrible crimes and we must therefore remain vigilant to any risks and vulnerabilities. We are working collaboratively across government to reaffirm messages to the public setting out how they can protect themselves from fraud and stay safe online.

This is why we launched a gov.uk page targeted at coronavirus-related fraud and cybercrime. The page includes easy-to-follow steps for people to better protect themselves as well as signposting all relevant advice and tips and can currently be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-fraud-and-cyber-crime.

As well as this, we continue to work alongside law enforcement to ensure the public has the protection and advice needed to shield themselves from online crimes.

We continue to encourage anyone who has been a targeted by a scam to report it. Action Fraud is the central police reporting point for all victims of fraud and can be contacted by phone on 0300 123 2040 or through their website: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.

We have also worked with the National Cyber Security Centre to recently establish a Suspicious Email Reporting Service. This service allows the public to report potential scams safely and effectively and to date, has led to the removal of 22,192 scams. Members of the public can forward suspicious emails to this address: report@phishing.gov.uk

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Windrush Compensation Scheme claims her Department has (a) accepted and (b) rejected, to date.

Information on the Windrush Compensation Scheme claims that have been (a) accepted and (b) rejected, to date is available to view on GOV.UK at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/windrush-compensation-scheme-data-november-2020

Our priority remains to process claims as quickly as possible. However, the Home Office does not have a set time within which claims are to be resolved. This is because the Windrush Compensation Scheme has thirteen claim categories, each individual’s compensation claim is deeply personal and requires detailed consideration to understand their circumstances and experiences. This enables the Home Office to make an individualised assessment of the value of compensation to be awarded. Some individuals’ experiences are more complex than others and it is right we take the time to ensure these are considered carefully. This holistic approach necessarily takes time, but is ultimately beneficial to individuals.

In some cases, we will make interim payments on parts of the claim that are straightforward to determine, such as immigration fees, thereby speeding up the provision of compensation.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the average time taken is to process an application to the Windrush Compensation Scheme.

Information on the Windrush Compensation Scheme claims that have been (a) accepted and (b) rejected, to date is available to view on GOV.UK at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/windrush-compensation-scheme-data-november-2020

Our priority remains to process claims as quickly as possible. However, the Home Office does not have a set time within which claims are to be resolved. This is because the Windrush Compensation Scheme has thirteen claim categories, each individual’s compensation claim is deeply personal and requires detailed consideration to understand their circumstances and experiences. This enables the Home Office to make an individualised assessment of the value of compensation to be awarded. Some individuals’ experiences are more complex than others and it is right we take the time to ensure these are considered carefully. This holistic approach necessarily takes time, but is ultimately beneficial to individuals.

In some cases, we will make interim payments on parts of the claim that are straightforward to determine, such as immigration fees, thereby speeding up the provision of compensation.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has set a time limit by which Windrush Compensation Scheme claims must be settled from the time the claim is first submitted.

Information on the Windrush Compensation Scheme claims that have been (a) accepted and (b) rejected, to date is available to view on GOV.UK at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/windrush-compensation-scheme-data-november-2020

Our priority remains to process claims as quickly as possible. However, the Home Office does not have a set time within which claims are to be resolved. This is because the Windrush Compensation Scheme has thirteen claim categories, each individual’s compensation claim is deeply personal and requires detailed consideration to understand their circumstances and experiences. This enables the Home Office to make an individualised assessment of the value of compensation to be awarded. Some individuals’ experiences are more complex than others and it is right we take the time to ensure these are considered carefully. This holistic approach necessarily takes time, but is ultimately beneficial to individuals.

In some cases, we will make interim payments on parts of the claim that are straightforward to determine, such as immigration fees, thereby speeding up the provision of compensation.

27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of offering Indefinite Leave to Remain to healthcare workers and their families who have been employed under a temporary work visa during the covid-19 outbreak.

Workers from overseas in the NHS and wider health and care sector have made a huge contribution in tackling COVID-19 and the Government has taken un-precedented measures to ensure the sector is supported fully, including free 12-month visa extensions for those working in eligible occupations in health and social care.

Individuals working in healthcare, on a route which leads to settlement, will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) for themselves and their family, providing they meet the requirements, including a period of lawful residence in the UK without excess absences, sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK. In sponsored work routes, settlement relies on applicants having worked in their sponsored job for five years.

In addition, we are granting immediate indefinite leave to remain (ILR), free of any charges, to family dependants of migrant NHS, health and care workers who unfortunately lose their lives as a result of contracting COVID-19.

12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the reasons for the increase in racially-aggravated offences reported to Leicestershire Police during the period covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 we know that some police forces have reported some increases in reported hate crimes, including where people of Asian origin have been targeted. These offences are completely unacceptable.

The Home Office are working closely with the National Police Chief’s Council to ensure that all police forces are providing reassurance to affected communities and encouraging hate crime reporting during the pandemic. The Government are also working with civil society partners to understand what issues there are for communities.

Government continues to work with communities around the country and the police to ensure people of all backgrounds have access to the latest information and are supported through this period.

12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to tackle hate crime during the autumn 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 we know that some police forces have reported some increases in reported hate crimes, including where people of Asian origin have been targeted. These offences are completely unacceptable.

The Home Office are working closely with the National Police Chief’s Council to ensure that all police forces are providing reassurance to affected communities and encouraging hate crime reporting during the pandemic. The Government are also working with civil society partners to understand what issues there are for communities.

Government continues to work with communities around the country and the police to ensure people of all backgrounds have access to the latest information and are supported through this period.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has made an assessment of the effect of minimum unit pricing for alcohol on the alcoholic drinks industry in Scotland on levels of crime in that country.

The Government continues to monitor the impact of minimum unit alcohol pricing in Scotland as it emerges. Minimum unit pricing has been in place in Scotland for less than three years.

Public Health Scotland is in the process of commissioning a study to assess the impact of minimum unit pricing on areas of crime, public safety and public nuisance.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effect on levels of incidence of crime of the density of shops selling alcohol.

Research commissioned by Public Health England assessing the relationship between the density of alcohol-selling outlets, consumption and alcohol-related harm has shown mixed results. While there is some evidence of a positive relationship between the density of alcohol-selling outlets and levels of crime this is only one of many possible factors.

Consideration of the possible impact on local levels of crime of a high density of shops selling alcohol is a matter for licensing authorities. These decisions are often based on a wide range of factors including local intelligence provided by the police on alcohol-related crime.

A licensing authority may complete a cumulative impact assessment to help it to limit licences granted in areas where there is evidence to show that the number or density of licensed premises in the area may be contributing to problems that are undermining licensing objectives.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to (a) reduce and (b) prevent alcohol-related crime as the night-time economy reopens after the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The number of violent incidents when the offender was perceived to be under the influence of alcohol has fallen by 44% over the last decade, from 999,000 incidents in 2007/08 to 561,000 incidents in 2017/18. The police and other local agencies have been doing an excellent job of reducing and preventing alcohol related crime and we are confident that this will continue as the night-time economy reopens. The Government therefore does not believe that any special measures are required to reduce and prevent alcohol-related crime with the re-opening of the night time economy.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the timeframe is for the establishment of a panel of experts to support the work of the Independent review of scientific methodology in forensics.

The Forensic Capability Network (FCN) is operated by policing on behalf of all 43 police forces in England and Wales. It is developing a network of forensic science professionals which will include the Office of the Chief Scientist. Through this the FCN will establish a panel of experts in due course to support the ongoing independent review of scientific methodology in forensics.

The FCN Prospectus identifies responsibility for the FCN to develop Capability Roads Maps, of which DNA and digital innovation have been identified as priorities and as such are in development. The Prospectus can be read here: http://prospectus.fcn.police.uk/summary.pdf

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Forensics Capability Network has established its five-year roadmap to prioritise DNA and digital innovation.

The Forensic Capability Network (FCN) is operated by policing on behalf of all 43 police forces in England and Wales. It is developing a network of forensic science professionals which will include the Office of the Chief Scientist. Through this the FCN will establish a panel of experts in due course to support the ongoing independent review of scientific methodology in forensics.

The FCN Prospectus identifies responsibility for the FCN to develop Capability Roads Maps, of which DNA and digital innovation have been identified as priorities and as such are in development. The Prospectus can be read here: http://prospectus.fcn.police.uk/summary.pdf

8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how may police forces have voluntarily participated in the Forensic Capability Network.

The Forensic Capability Network (FCN) is operated by policing on behalf of all 43 police forces in England and Wales. It aims to increase efficiency, quality and to manage demand. It has enabled all police forces to work with it, including through national incidents such as the response to Covid-19, where a national contingency plan has been enacted and national co-ordination of the supplier market is required.

The FCN has established a specialist scientific team, to identify and exploit future scientific opportunities. More information can be found here: https://www.fcn.police.uk/pillars/fcn-science

The ‘Office of the Chief Scientist’ is being established by the FCN. Its role is set out in the FCN Prospectus which can be read here: https://www.fcn.police.uk/sites/default/files/2019-09/FCN%20Prospectus_0.pdf

8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the terms of reference are for the Forensics Policy Steering Group.

The Forensics Policy Steering Group was dissolved in 2019 and replaced by the Criminal Justice Board Forensics Sub-Group. The Sub-Group operates on behalf of the Criminal Justice Board to provide high-level leadership and oversight of forensic science in the Criminal Justice System (CJS).

The Sub-Group is jointly chaired by the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice, bringing together stakeholders from across policing and the CJS to ensure that forensic science capability and delivery is effective for all relevant parties.

8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress has been made by the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice on establishing an effective co-ordination and oversight mechanism to serve the research and development spectrum in the UK.

My officials have been working closely with colleagues across Government and the forensic science sector to improve co-ordination and oversight of Research and Development across the Criminal Justice system. A Science for the Justice System Advisory Group has been established, working with a UKRI project to devise options for future mechanisms to effectively and efficiently coordinate forensic science in the UK.

Initial consultation with key stakeholders has identified common areas of research need and the group will continue to work with UKRI and the research community to identify how research can better meet different forms of user need.

8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether his Department has established a specialist scientific team within the Forensics Capability Network.

The Forensic Capability Network (FCN) is operated by policing on behalf of all 43 police forces in England and Wales. It aims to increase efficiency, quality and to manage demand. It has enabled all police forces to work with it, including through national incidents such as the response to Covid-19, where a national contingency plan has been enacted and national co-ordination of the supplier market is required.

The FCN has established a specialist scientific team, to identify and exploit future scientific opportunities. More information can be found here: https://www.fcn.police.uk/pillars/fcn-science

The ‘Office of the Chief Scientist’ is being established by the FCN. Its role is set out in the FCN Prospectus which can be read here: https://www.fcn.police.uk/sites/default/files/2019-09/FCN%20Prospectus_0.pdf

8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether a Chief Scientist role has been established within the Forensics Capability Network.

The Forensic Capability Network (FCN) is operated by policing on behalf of all 43 police forces in England and Wales. It aims to increase efficiency, quality and to manage demand. It has enabled all police forces to work with it, including through national incidents such as the response to Covid-19, where a national contingency plan has been enacted and national co-ordination of the supplier market is required.

The FCN has established a specialist scientific team, to identify and exploit future scientific opportunities. More information can be found here: https://www.fcn.police.uk/pillars/fcn-science

The ‘Office of the Chief Scientist’ is being established by the FCN. Its role is set out in the FCN Prospectus which can be read here: https://www.fcn.police.uk/sites/default/files/2019-09/FCN%20Prospectus_0.pdf

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress the Forensic Capability Network has made in developing a workforce strategy to preserve and develop skills across policing and the private sector.

The Forensic Capability Network (FCN) has commenced work to develop and design a Forensic Workforce Strategy. Engagement is under way across academia, policing, forensic providers and the Chartered Society of Forensic Science.

Education and training will form an integral part of the Forensic Workforce Strategy, which will also focus on recruitment, development, retention and planning for a national police forensic workforce.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to page 5 of the 2019 Implementation plan for the joint review of forensics provision, whether the education programme for the wider CJS stakeholders as defined with the forensic science capability roadmap has been established.

The Forensic Capability Network (FCN) has commenced work to develop and design a Forensic Workforce Strategy. Engagement is under way across academia, policing, forensic providers and the Chartered Society of Forensic Science.

Education and training will form an integral part of the Forensic Workforce Strategy, which will also focus on recruitment, development, retention and planning for a national police forensic workforce.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government has taken to support the Forensic Science Regulator’s accreditation timetable.

The Government fully supports the Regulator’s timetables for accreditation. We continue to encourage forensic science providers to adhere to these timetables and will bring forward legislation to give the Regulator statutory enforcement powers at the earliest opportunity.

We have supported the creation of the Forensics Capability Network (FCN) as part of an £28.6m investment in forensic capability. The FCN is leading improvement in quality standards and accreditation attainment through a number of workstreams. These include Digital Forensics and Crime Scene Investigation activities and provide practical support to enable the requirements of the Forensic Science Regulator Codes to be met.

The FCN coordinates and aligns work across policing to improve quality standards, share skills and best practice as well as developing a forensic market strategic plan which will ensure police forces achieve and maintain high quality, sustainable forensic services across all forensic disciplines. All of the digital work packages identified in the plan will have the requirements of the Forensic Science Regulator Codes embedded into its activities and deliverables.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how the Forensic Capability Network has supported accelerated compliance with accreditation requirements for (a) digital forensics and (b) crime scene investigation activities.

The Government fully supports the Regulator’s timetables for accreditation. We continue to encourage forensic science providers to adhere to these timetables and will bring forward legislation to give the Regulator statutory enforcement powers at the earliest opportunity.

We have supported the creation of the Forensics Capability Network (FCN) as part of an £28.6m investment in forensic capability. The FCN is leading improvement in quality standards and accreditation attainment through a number of workstreams. These include Digital Forensics and Crime Scene Investigation activities and provide practical support to enable the requirements of the Forensic Science Regulator Codes to be met.

The FCN coordinates and aligns work across policing to improve quality standards, share skills and best practice as well as developing a forensic market strategic plan which will ensure police forces achieve and maintain high quality, sustainable forensic services across all forensic disciplines. All of the digital work packages identified in the plan will have the requirements of the Forensic Science Regulator Codes embedded into its activities and deliverables.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress the Forensic Capability Network has made in developing a long-term commercial strategy so that all digital forensic services can be provided by accredited sources.

The Government fully supports the Regulator’s timetables for accreditation. We continue to encourage forensic science providers to adhere to these timetables and will bring forward legislation to give the Regulator statutory enforcement powers at the earliest opportunity.

We have supported the creation of the Forensics Capability Network (FCN) as part of an £28.6m investment in forensic capability. The FCN is leading improvement in quality standards and accreditation attainment through a number of workstreams. These include Digital Forensics and Crime Scene Investigation activities and provide practical support to enable the requirements of the Forensic Science Regulator Codes to be met.

The FCN coordinates and aligns work across policing to improve quality standards, share skills and best practice as well as developing a forensic market strategic plan which will ensure police forces achieve and maintain high quality, sustainable forensic services across all forensic disciplines. All of the digital work packages identified in the plan will have the requirements of the Forensic Science Regulator Codes embedded into its activities and deliverables.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, which areas in England and Wales are disproportionately affected by acquisitive crimes and are therefore eligible to bid for the Safer Streets Fund.

The £25m Safer Streets Fund will support areas in England and Wales that are disproportionately affected by acquisitive crimes, like burglary and theft, to invest in well evidenced crime prevention measures such as improved street lighting and home security. Police and Crime Commissioners were eligible to apply to the fund, using their local crime data to identify areas with disproportionately high acquisitive crime. Eligibility criteria for funding are set out in the Safer Streets Prospectus available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/860797/safer-streets-fund-prospectus.pdf.

The bidding window for PCCs to apply to the Fund closed on the 03 April and we expect to announce successful areas in July.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what bids have been received by her Department for the Safer Street Fund.

The £25m Safer Streets Fund will support areas in England and Wales that are disproportionately affected by acquisitive crimes, like burglary and theft, to invest in well evidenced crime prevention measures such as improved street lighting and home security. Police and Crime Commissioners were eligible to apply to the fund, using their local crime data to identify areas with disproportionately high acquisitive crime. Eligibility criteria for funding are set out in the Safer Streets Prospectus available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/860797/safer-streets-fund-prospectus.pdf.

The bidding window for PCCs to apply to the Fund closed on the 03 April and we expect to announce successful areas in July.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much and what proportion of the Safer Streets Fund has been awarded, and where has that fund been rolled out.

The £25m Safer Streets Fund will support areas in England and Wales that are disproportionately affected by acquisitive crimes, like burglary and theft, to invest in well evidenced crime prevention measures such as improved street lighting and home security. Police and Crime Commissioners were eligible to apply to the fund, using their local crime data to identify areas with disproportionately high acquisitive crime. Eligibility criteria for funding are set out in the Safer Streets Prospectus available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/860797/safer-streets-fund-prospectus.pdf.

The bidding window for PCCs to apply to the Fund closed on the 03 April and we expect to announce successful areas in July.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress has been made on the Online Hate Speech Dashboard created in partnership with the National Police Chief's Council and Cardiff University.

The National Police Chief’s Council’s (NPCC) partnership with Cardiff University is still in development and is intended to design a tool for understanding trends in hateful sentiment online. The tool is currently in a pilot stage.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) schools and (b) young people have received Stand Up! workshops since her Department's document titled, Action Against Hate: The UK Government’s plan for tackling hate crime – ‘two years on’, was published in October 2018.

In the period between October 2018 and July 2020 ‘Stand Up! Education Against Discrimination’ has told us it has run workshops in 86 schools covering 17,227 young people in 45 Local Authorities. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) provided £160,000 in funding to Stand Up! up until March 2019. Further details can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/748138/Hate_crime_refresh_2018_Actions_updates_FINAL_WEB.PDF

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Ministerial roundtables on homophobia have been held since the Home Office’s Hate Crime Action Plan refresh document was published in 2018.

Hate crime of any kind is completely unacceptable. The 2018 refresh of the Hate Crime Action Plan addressed homophobic abuse and can be accessed here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hate-crime-action-plan-2016. The Home Office engaged with Galop’s anti-LGBT hate crime roundtable in 2018 in line with the actions in this plan. The Home Office facilitates meetings with civil society partners who are experts in all strands of hate crime on a quarterly basis.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she will take to prevent an increase in hate crime when the covid-19 lockdown is eased.

The Home Office are working closely with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), civil society partners and social media platforms to encourage victim reporting of online hate crime during the pandemic. We are also working with the NPCC to ensure that all police forces are providing reassurance to affected communities.

Government continues to work with communities around the country and the police to ensure people of all backgrounds have access to the latest information and are supported through this period

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Government's Hate Crime Action Plan, what data has been collated through her Department's collaboration with Cardiff University and the National Police Chief’s Council on incidences of online hate crimes committed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Home Office does not hold Covid 19-related hate crime data from this collaboration. The NPCC partnership is still in development and intended to design a tool for understanding trends in hateful sentiment online. It does not monitor instances of online hate crimes for criminal investigations.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to her Department's News story of 19 March 2019 entitled Places of worship to get security funding boost, how much of her Department's £5 million fund to provide security training for places of worship has been awarded; and how much of that funding has been awarded to each organisation.

The Home Office is working with policing and faith representatives to understand the training needs of places of worship and how these are best met. This is to ensure the training made available is suitable and effective for faith institutions.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to publish the Hate Crime Action Plan for 2020-24.

The Government is considering a range of options to tackle hate crime beyond the current Action Plan, including engagement with a range of Departments and civil society partners to explore possible approaches.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps is taking to support different ethnic and religious communities in the UK who are being targeted with online abuse and hate speech due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Home Office are working closely with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), civil society partners and social media platforms to encourage victim reporting of online hate crime during the pandemic. We are also working with the NPCC to ensure that all police forces are providing reassurance to affected communities.

Government continues to work with communities around the country and the police to ensure people of all backgrounds have access to the latest information and are supported through this period.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the £1.5 million to protect vulnerable places of worship through the Places of Worship Protective Security Programme has been distributed to those places of worship.

The Places of Worship Protective Security Funding Scheme has awarded funding to 49 places of worship in the 2019/2020 round. Funding for this scheme has been doubled to £3.2 million for 2020/2021.

9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 27 February 2020 to Question 19895, how many Tier 5 (Creative and Sporting) Certificates of Sponsorship were issued for musical performances in 2019.

The Home Office does not hold this information centrally and to obtain it would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold.

9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 27 February 2020 to Question 19895, how many musicians entered the UK under the permitted paid engagement entry route in 2019.

Border Force does not hold the data requested in an accessible format.

When the UK’s new immigration system goes live in 2021, there will continue to be special arrangements for creative workers, which will encompass both EEA and non-EEA citizens.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 27 February 2020 to Question 19895, how many musicians entered the UK to perform at permit free festivals in 2019.

Border Force does not hold the data requested in an accessible format.

When the UK’s new immigration system goes live in 2021, there will continue to be special arrangements for creative workers, which will encompass both EEA and non-EEA citizens.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether musicians and artistic performers from the EU will be required to obtain a temporary worker Tier 5 creative and sporting visa after the transition period.

Currently, visiting artists, entertainers and musicians can perform at events, take part in competitions and auditions, make personal appearances and take part in promotional activities for up to 6 months without the need for formal sponsorship or a work visa. They can also receive payment for appearance at permit free festivals for up to 6 months, or for up to one month for a specific engagement, under the Visitor route.

Artists wishing to come to the UK for longer-term work will need to do so under the points-based system. There will continue to be special arrangements for creative workers, which in future will encompass both EEA and non-EEA citizens.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to assess the effect of the minimum income requirement regime on the integration of non-EEA spouses of British citizens.

In February 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the lawfulness of the minimum income requirement, which prevents burdens on the taxpayer and promotes integration, ruling it strikes a fair balance between the interests of those wishing to sponsor a partner to settle in the UK and of the community in general. The Court found the minimum income requirement is not a breach of the right to respect for private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and is not discriminatory.

Whilst we continue to keep the Family Immigration Rules under review, and make adjustments should these prove necessary, our overall assessment is the Rules, including the minimum income requirement, are having the appropriate impact and are helping to ensure public confidence in the immigration system.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish the findings of her Department's most recent review of the minimum income requirement.

In February 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the lawfulness of the minimum income requirement, which prevents burdens on the taxpayer and promotes integration, ruling it strikes a fair balance between the interests of those wishing to sponsor a partner to settle in the UK and of the community in general. The Court found the minimum income requirement is not a breach of the right to respect for private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and is not discriminatory.

Whilst we continue to keep the Family Immigration Rules under review, and make adjustments should these prove necessary, our overall assessment is the Rules, including the minimum income requirement, are having the appropriate impact and are helping to ensure public confidence in the immigration system.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether (a) EU citizens resident in the UK and (b) UK residents in the EU will be required to pay an immigration health surcharge after the UK leaves the EU.

EEA and Swiss citizens who are resident in the UK before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 will be eligible to apply to secure their status under the EU Settlement Scheme and will have until 30 June 2021 to make their application. Applications under the EU Settlement Scheme are not subject to the Immigration Health Surcharge. This was agreed as part of negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU, which also protects the rights of UK nationals in the EU.

After the introduction of the new points-based immigration system, migrants to the UK subject to immigration control will be treated the same and should pay the IHS if staying for longer than six months. There are several published exemptions to this rule.

25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the non-military development agreement between the Republic of Cyprus and the Government that applies to the sovereign base areas, what his timescale is for issuing a management plan and correct zoning plan for the Akrotiri Peninsula that addresses development pressures.

No decisions on the future timing of new management plans have been taken yet.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to Cyprus Environment Department Strategic Environmental Assessment opinion regarding the Non Military Development Policy statement that applies to the sovereign base areas, for what reason provision for isolated housing and large tourism developments is included in the policy statement in the context of the high biodiversity value and sensitivity of those areas.

The Sovereign Base Areas Administration takes its environmental responsibilities extremely seriously, however, no final decisions on the new Non-Military Development Policy Statement have been taken yet.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to Cyprus Environment Department Strategic Environmental Assessment opinion regarding the Non Military Development Policy statement that applies to the sovereign base areas, whether the Chief Officer’s final decision on the agreement will reflect that of the Republic of Cyprus's Environment Department Strategic Environmental Assessment decision.

The Sovereign Base Areas Administration takes its environmental responsibilities extremely seriously, however, no final decisions on the new Non-Military Development Policy Statement have been taken yet.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the non-military development agreement between the Republic of Cyprus and the Government that applies to the sovereign base areas, what environmental assessment was undertaken when that agreement was signed in 2014.

An environmental assessment was not conducted, when the high-level Non-Military Development (NMD) agreement was signed in 2014. Following the development of the Planning Policy Statement and the Proposed Zoning, a Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment and an Environmental Appropriate Assessment has since been conducted. The Environment Department of the Republic of Cyprus is currently considering both of these assessments. The Sovereign Base Areas Administration is now awaiting a written opinion on these environmental matters, before moving to the next stage of the NMD programme.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the non-military development agreement between the Republic of Cyprus and the Government that applies to the sovereign base areas, what discussions his Department has had with local stakeholders in the Akrotiri Peninsula in respect of the (a) development and (b) delivery of that agreement.

Prior to and during the Public Consultation on the Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment undertaken to assess the impacts of the proposed Non-Military Development (NMD) zoning, Sovereign Base Area Administration (SBAA) officials had regular engagement with Non-Governmental Organisations, the community and the elected community leader of Akrotiri on SBAA proposals and community requests in respect of the environmental impact, zoning and related matters affecting the Akrotiri community. The Administration has also co-operated extensively with departments of the Republic of Cyprus in the production of the revised NMD planning and zoning policy.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill on future prosecutions for war crimes committed by British soldiers.

As we do not know what future operations our Armed Forces may undertake, it is not possible to assess the impact of the Bill in relation to future prosecutions.

The measures in Part 1 of the Overseas Operations Bill will apply to alleged offences committed on overseas operations more than five years ago. The Bill will not prevent allegations of offences (including war crimes) by service personnel which occur on overseas operations from being investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department has taken to tackle hate crime towards the Jewish community in the UK since the lifting of covid-19 restrictions.

Antisemitism has absolutely no place in our society, which is why we are taking a strong lead in tackling it in all its forms. We are clear that victims should be supported and the individuals who carry out these heinous attacks must be brought to justice. We are providing £14 million this year for the Protective Security Grant to protect Jewish schools and community buildings and we have encouraged the adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism across universities and local authorities.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps the Government plans to take to ensure that people from Hong Kong arriving with BNO visas will be effectively integrated into UK society.

On 31 January, the UK launched a new immigration route for British National (Overseas) [BN(O)] status holders and their dependents.

On 8 April, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced a new UK-wide Welcome Programme to support Hong Kong BN(O) status holders with a package worth £43.1 million.

Alongside this announcement, a comprehensive Welcome Guide was published on Gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/welcome-a-guide-for-hong-kong-british-national-overseas-visa-holders-in-the-uk) for Hong Kong BN(O)s settling in the UK, in both English and Cantonese.

To co-ordinate support and offer practical advice to BN(O)s, MHCLG is working to establish a network of Welcome Hubs across the UK.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to publish further guidance to the voluntary Code of Practice for the commercial property sector to support negotiations between landlords and tenants.

The Government announced that it would provide the commercial property sector with further guidance to facilitate negotiations between tenants and landlords on the issue of accumulated rent debts building upon the principles of the Code of Practice published in June last year. This is in addition to a forthcoming call for evidence to monitor progress on rent negotiations and set out further intervention Government could take if these do not progress. Both the further guidance and the call for evidence will be published shortly.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to make the Code of Practice for the commercial property sector compulsory.

On 19 June 2020, the Government published the Code of Practice, which was developed in close collaboration between the Government and leaders from commercial landlord and tenant groups.

The Code is relevant for all commercial leases held by businesses in any sector which has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  It is designed to provide clarity for businesses when discussing rental payments and to encourage best practice so that every part of the chain is supported during the pandemic.

It encourages fair and transparent discussions between landlords and tenants over rental payments and provides guidance on payment of rent arrears. Tenants are encouraged to pay their rent in full if they are in a position to do so, otherwise they should pay what they can. Landlords should provide support to businesses if they too are able to do so.

The code is voluntary in nature and is relevant for all commercial leases held by businesses in any sector which has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

We are monitoring the impact of the voluntary Code of Practice carefully and will publish further guidance to support negotiations between landlords and tenants in due course.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the expiry of the moratorium on the landlord’s right of forfeiture for non-payment of rent expires on 31 March 2021, what plans the Government has to provide longer term support to small businesses which remain closed due to covid-19 restrictions and have been unable to (a) generate income and (b) pay commercial rents during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that this is a very challenging time for everyone, and COVID-19 is having a significant impact on our businesses. That is why we have introduced temporary measures to further safeguard businesses, the high street and millions of jobs.

During the pandemic, the Government has implemented a range of measures to support commercial property tenants and landlords, including the moratorium on forfeiture. The objective of these measures was to preserve tenants’ businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic and to give time and space to landlords and tenants to agree reasonable adjustments to rent and lease terms, including terms for the payment of accumulated rent arrears.

We have put in place one of the world’s most comprehensive economic responses – backed by over £280 billion – to protect jobs, businesses and public services throughout and beyond this pandemic. The measures introduced – including four Government-backed loan schemes, local authority grant funding, tax deferrals and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – have been designed to be accessible to businesses in most sectors and across the UK.

We have also extended the application deadline for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) ensuring there is further support in place for firms who need it during this ongoing period of difficulty.

We have already announced a successor loan scheme, which will launch immediately after the closure of the current schemes so there will be no gap in support for businesses.

4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he has made a local authority level assessment of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on retail shops on the high street.

This Government is fully committed to supporting the businesses and communities that make our high streets and town centres successful as the nation responds to the impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak. Now more than ever, it is vital that we continue to help our local economies by supporting town centres and high streets to adapt and evolve.

Our High Street Task Force collates and publishes data on the health of our high streets and town centres, making this information available to local leaders, communities and businesses.

Government recognises the impact that Covid-19 has had on business turnover since March. That is why we have provided a comprehensive package of support of £200 billion, including small business grants, business rate reliefs, coronavirus loan schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as well as deferral of income tax payments.

Further, Government has announced the £50 million Reopening High Streets Safely Fund to support local authorities with rolling out extra measures to support their business communities as they reopen, supporting our businesses and helping to reinvigorate our communities.

In addition to this support, Government has provided protection to businesses through a moratorium on landlords’ ability to evict tenants due to the non-payment of rent and restrictions on the servicing of statutory demands and winding-up petitions.

18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the extent to which firms are not enforcing clauses on exit fees in lease agreements for retirement properties; and what assessment he has made of the effect of such non-enforcement on the owners of those properties.

This information is not held by my Department.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many companies have voluntarily opted out of charging event fees on retirement properties.

This information is not held by my Department.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress his Department has made on commissioning research on establishing an online database to provide information for prospective buyers on event fees associated with leasehold retirement properties.

In 2017, the Law Commission published a report of their review of event fees on behalf of this Department. The Law Commission made a number of recommendations in its report, which can be downloaded at http://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/event-fees-in-retirement-properties.

The Government responded to the Law Commission, thanking them for the report and agreeing to implement the majority of the recommendations. The Government is further considering two recommendations, on succession rights and a database of leasehold retirement properties with event fees, and will make an announcement in due course.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress his Department has made on a consultation on the implications for consumers and buyers of spouses’ and live-in carers’ succession rights to stay in a leasehold retirement property, without payment of an event fee.

In 2017, the Law Commission published a report of their review of event fees on behalf of this Department. The Law Commission made a number of recommendations in its report, which can be downloaded at http://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/event-fees-in-retirement-properties.

The Government responded to the Law Commission, thanking them for the report and agreeing to implement the majority of the recommendations. The Government is further considering two recommendations, on succession rights and a database of leasehold retirement properties with event fees, and will make an announcement in due course.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the timetable is for updating the Hate crime action plan 2016 to 2020; and what the process is for engaging stakeholders in its development.

The Government remains committed to stamping out hatred in all its forms. Many of the initiatives outlined in the action plan will continue, and we also remain committed to delivering on our existing priorities. We are considering a range of options for our work from July 2020 and will work in close consultation with stakeholders.

20th Jul 2020
What recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of Government funding for local authorities in England.

We have now made £4.3 billion available to local authorities to address expenditure pressures caused by COVID-19, including £3.7 billion of unringfenced grants and the £600 million Infection Control Fund.

We are using monthly data collections and conversations with councils and the LGA to refine our assessment of costs and develop a good understanding of the pressures local authorities are currently facing.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure that changes proposed in the Business and Planning Bill for more on-street (a) serving and (b) dining do not affect the ability of visually impaired people to navigate their communities safely.

All pavement licences will either have an express or - in default - deemed “no-obstruction condition”. This is a condition that anything done by the licence-holder must not, amongst other things, prevent non-vehicular traffic passing along the relevant highway. This would include disabled people. The Secretary of State has published a national condition in the draft pavement licences guidance, under his powers included in the legislation, requiring that clear routes of access are maintained, taking into account the needs of disabled people and recommended minimum footway widths and distances required for access by mobility impaired and visually impaired people as set out in Section 3.1 of the Government’s Inclusive Mobility guidance.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many roundtables have been held with representatives of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Liaison Group since the publication of her Department's updated Hate crime action plan in October 2018.

There have been five Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Liaison Group roundtables hosted by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government since the Government’s Hate Crime Action Plan refresh document was published in October 2018.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many Ministerial roundtables on antisemitism have been held since the Home Office’s Hate Crime Action Plan refresh document was published in 2018.

Following the publication of the Hate Crime Action Plan Refresh in October 2018, the Government has hosted two ministerial roundtables on antisemitism with stakeholders from Jewish communities, alongside regular meetings of the Cross-Government Working Group to Tackle Antisemitism.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many roundtables her Department has held with the Sikh community since the Home Office’s Hate Crime Action Plan refresh document was published in 2018.

There is regular engagement at Ministerial and official level with representatives of Sikh communities. In addition to this the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has hosted two hate crime roundtables with the Sikh community since the Government’s Hate Crime Action Plan refresh document was published in October 2018.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential threat of hate crimes towards the Chinese diaspora in the UK after the lockdown due to the covid-19 outbreak has been lifted.

The Government takes hate crime and discrimination of any kind very seriously. We are alert to the risks that an easing of the lockdown restrictions presents and will not tolerate hate crime under any circumstances. We will not however speculate on potential future trends. We are a tolerant and welcoming multicultural society and we have one of the strongest legal frameworks in the world to report, record and prosecute hate crime. I would encourage anyone who experiences hate crime to report it to the police.

Government’s Hate Crime Action Plan published in October 2018 sets out a comprehensive programme of work across Government and the police. We fund hate crime reporting platforms, including True Vision, and we continue to engage with communities of all backgrounds and local leaders including councils and the police to make sure we are aware of any concerns communities may have and can provide targeted support.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential risk of hate crime towards the Muslim community in the UK once the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Government takes hate crime and discrimination of any kind very seriously. We are alert to the risks that an easing of the lockdown restrictions presents and will not tolerate hate crime under any circumstances. We will not however speculate on potential future trends. We are a tolerant and welcoming multicultural society and we have one of the strongest legal frameworks in the world to report, record and prosecute hate crime. I would encourage anyone who experiences hate crime to report it to the police.

Government’s Hate Crime Action Plan published in October 2018 sets out a comprehensive programme of work across Government and the police. We fund hate crime reporting platforms, including True Vision, and we continue to engage with communities of all backgrounds and local leaders including councils and the police to make sure we are aware of any concerns communities may have and can provide targeted support.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential risk of hate crime towards the Jewish community in the UK once the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Government takes hate crime and discrimination of any kind very seriously. We are alert to the risks that an easing of the lockdown restrictions presents and will not tolerate hate crime under any circumstances. We will not however speculate on potential future trends. We are a tolerant and welcoming multicultural society and we have one of the strongest legal frameworks in the world to report, record and prosecute hate crime. I would encourage anyone who experiences hate crime to report it to the police.

Government’s Hate Crime Action Plan published in October 2018 sets out a comprehensive programme of work across Government and the police. We fund hate crime reporting platforms, including True Vision, and we continue to engage with communities of all backgrounds and local leaders including councils and the police to make sure we are aware of any concerns communities may have and can provide targeted support.

13th Jan 2020
When his Department plans to publish the Fair Funding review.

Our review of local authorities’ relative needs and resources will develop a new, more robust and transparent funding formula which is fit for the future. We plan to share emerging results with the sector soon and consult in the Spring, with the aim of implementing the review in 2021-22.

5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will update the HM Prison and Probation Service Strategy for Care-Experienced People to include a specific focus on race.

We are updating our strategy for people with care experience in the criminal justice system, to ensure we are using care-experienced people’s time in the criminal justice system to support them to lead crime-free lives.

This will include a focus on race and its role in shaping the experiences and outcomes of those with care experience in the criminal justice system, and will link to wider departmental efforts to address racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system.

We are aiming to publish this strategy later this year.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
27th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to help reduce waiting times for grant of probate.

The probate service received record levels of applications during 2022 and this has continued to grow with higher levels of receipts during January to June 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

HMCTS has significantly increased staffing levels in Probate over the past year to help process applications faster. The training and upskilling of those new and existing staff have led to applications taking longer in the short term.

HMCTS have streamlined internal processes to cut down on administrative delay and reduce processing times. We are continuing to invest in improving digital systems and online filing capabilities so users can track progress more easily.

Average waiting times for probate grants are routinely published on gov.uk via Family Court Statistics Quarterly and currently cover the period up to June 2023.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the level of need for (a) all civil legal aid services and (b) education-related legal aid services as of 14 March 2022.

The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) keeps market capacity under constant review, ensuring access across England and Wales and taking immediate action where required.

Wherever you are in England and Wales, legal advice is available through the Civil Legal Advice (CLA) telephone service, which provides specialist telephone advice in education as well as on other civil and family matters within the scope of legal aid.

There is currently at least one provider in every procurement area for the education category, contracted to deliver services via face-to-face advice or remote advice according to client preference.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the impact of civil legal aid capacity on (a) individuals who are entitled to legal aid but cannot access a legal aid provider and (b) the voluntary sector in England; and if he will make a statement.

The Legal Aid Agency keeps market capacity under constant review, ensuring access across England and Wales and takes immediate action where required. Wherever you are in England and Wales, legal advice is available through the Civil Legal Advice (CLA) telephone service.

We recognise the vital role not-for-profit organisations play in ensuring people can access advice and information and through 2020 and 2021 we provided a total of £7.4m to the not-for-profit sector.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to help ensure the prompt rectification of errors that are identified in reports submitted in family court proceedings.

The manner in which errors or alleged errors contained within a report submitted in family court proceedings are rectified is a matter for the court to decide, however in all cases the court will seek for such errors to be dealt with promptly and without undue delay.

Under the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR) Part 1 “the overriding objective” requires the court to deal with cases expeditiously and fairly and for the parties to assist the court in this objective. This general obligation could require the court, or the parties, to act to ensure any issues with a report are rectified.

Depending on the nature of the error contained within a report, if the court considers that the error needs to be rectified in the written report, the court could use its general case management powers (FPR rule 4.1) to direct that an amended or addendum report be submitted to the court.

Where it is alleged by one or more of the parties that a report contains errors, the accuracy and veracity of the information included within the report can be tested during the court hearing, in order for the court to make a determination on this issue.

Proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth. (FPR, rule 17.6)

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to tackle the backlog of cases in the family courts.

The protection of children, particularly those who are most vulnerable, is a priority for this government and this has never been more important than during this period. The family courts were quick to respond to the pandemic and I am extremely grateful for the dedication of family justice professionals at this unprecedented time.

In March, we launched the £1 million Family Mediation Voucher Scheme, to encourage and support separating parents to explore mediation before coming to court. We want to ensure that every parent coming to court is able to resolve their case in the most effective way, including through mediation where safe and appropriate. Last month, we invested a further £800,000 into the scheme, which is expected to help around 2000 more families.

We continue to focus on bringing down the outstanding caseload by investing in more judicial sitting days and increasing the overall level of disposals. Cases with the most significant safeguarding issues remain our priority, and where suitable, cases are being heard remotely to continue maximising our use of our estate.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many temporary accommodation cells were installed in the women's prison estate since April 2020 as part of the Government's plans to limit the spread of covid-19 in prisons.

A total of 112 temporary accommodation cells have been installed in the women’s estate at HMP & YOI Drake Hall, HMP & YOI East Sutton Park, HMP Foston Hall and HMP & YOI Askham Grange to limit the spread of covid-19 in the women’s prison estate.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether temporary cells were installed in women's prisons since April 2020 as part of the government's plans to limit the spread of covid-19 in prisons.

We expanded the prison estate by introducing temporary accommodation cells to increase space and help reduce the spread of coronavirus. A total of 112 temporary accommodation cells have been installed in the women’s estate at HMP & YOI Drake Hall, HMP & YOI East Sutton Park, HMP Foston Hall and HMP & YOI Askham Grange. This accommodation is part of the quick and decisive action we have taken to limit the spread of the virus across all prison establishments including restricting regimes, minimising inter-prison transfers and compartmentalising our prisons into different units to isolate the sick, shield the vulnerable and quarantine new arrivals.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the announcement on the 23 January 2021 that up to 500 new prison places will be built in existing women’s prisons, if his Department will publish the modelling used in the programme’s Strategic Case that the recruitment of an extra 20,000 police officers is expected to cause a temporary increase in the female prison population.

Our prison population projections published in November last year, show that the female prison population is projected to rise by around two-fifths by 2026 (1,300 women) with most of that rise coming in the next two years. Our projections took in to consideration the impact of the planned recruitment of a further 23,400 police officers – which is likely to increase charge volumes and future prison populations.

Our projections further assumed the future gender composition of the prison population will be broadly consistent with the pre-COVID 19 composition, although there is a fair degree of uncertainty here however particularly due to the additional police recruitment. As such we modelled a total of four scenarios which included a 20% higher/lower throughput from the Police and a fast court recovery scenario. Table 2.1 and 4.1 taken from our prison population projections, illustrate this below:

Table 2.1 below shows the two extra scenarios of a lower and a higher impact police scenario for both men and women.

Central Scenario

Lower Police Scenario

Higher Police Scenario

Fast Court Recovery Scenario

September 2020

79,235

79,235

79,235

79,235

September 2021

83,200

83,000

83,500

85,900

September 2022

88,100

87,200

89,100

88,600

September 2023

93,000

91,300

94,700

91,900

September 2024

96,000

93,800

98,300

94,900

September 2025

97,700

95,000

100,300

97,000

September 2026

98,700

95,900

101,600

98,400

All figures are rounded to the nearest hundred. Components may not sum due to rounding.

Table 4.1 below shows the projections separately for children, females over 18 years and males over 18 specifically for the central scenario.

Total

Children

Female 18+

Male 18+

September 2020

79,235

395

3,217

75,623

September 2021

83,200

600

3,800

78,900

September 2022

88,100

600

4,100

83,500

September 2023

93,000

700

4,300

88,100

September 2024

96,000

700

4,400

90,900

September 2025

97,700

700

4,500

92,500

September 2026

98,700

700

4,500

93,500

All figures are rounded to the nearest hundred. Components may not sum due to rounding.

Both tables are available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/prison-population-projections-2020-to-2026

The business case has not yet reached a position where it could be published. We intend to continue dialogue with stakeholders as to how best to meet the needs of those women sentenced to a custodial sentence

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to his Department's press release, Extra funding for organisations that steer women away from crime, published on 23 January 2021, if will publish the Programme business case for the 500 new prison places to be built in existing women's prisons.

Our prison population projections published in November last year, show that the female prison population is projected to rise by around two-fifths by 2026 (1,300 women) with most of that rise coming in the next two years. Our projections took in to consideration the impact of the planned recruitment of a further 23,400 police officers – which is likely to increase charge volumes and future prison populations.

Our projections further assumed the future gender composition of the prison population will be broadly consistent with the pre-COVID 19 composition, although there is a fair degree of uncertainty here however particularly due to the additional police recruitment. As such we modelled a total of four scenarios which included a 20% higher/lower throughput from the Police and a fast court recovery scenario. Table 2.1 and 4.1 taken from our prison population projections, illustrate this below:

Table 2.1 below shows the two extra scenarios of a lower and a higher impact police scenario for both men and women.

Central Scenario

Lower Police Scenario

Higher Police Scenario

Fast Court Recovery Scenario

September 2020

79,235

79,235

79,235

79,235

September 2021

83,200

83,000

83,500

85,900

September 2022

88,100

87,200

89,100

88,600

September 2023

93,000

91,300

94,700

91,900

September 2024

96,000

93,800

98,300

94,900

September 2025

97,700

95,000

100,300

97,000

September 2026

98,700

95,900

101,600

98,400

All figures are rounded to the nearest hundred. Components may not sum due to rounding.

Table 4.1 below shows the projections separately for children, females over 18 years and males over 18 specifically for the central scenario.

Total

Children

Female 18+

Male 18+

September 2020

79,235

395

3,217

75,623

September 2021

83,200

600

3,800

78,900

September 2022

88,100

600

4,100

83,500

September 2023

93,000

700

4,300

88,100

September 2024

96,000

700

4,400

90,900

September 2025

97,700

700

4,500

92,500

September 2026

98,700

700

4,500

93,500

All figures are rounded to the nearest hundred. Components may not sum due to rounding.

Both tables are available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/prison-population-projections-2020-to-2026

The business case has not yet reached a position where it could be published. We intend to continue dialogue with stakeholders as to how best to meet the needs of those women sentenced to a custodial sentence

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when the Government plans to respond to the consultation on the mandatory retirement age for judicial office holders which closed on 16 October 2020.

The Government’s consultation on proposals to increase the mandatory retirement age for judicial office holders received over 1000 responses from the magistracy, the judiciary and their associated bodies, as well as stakeholders from the legal profession.

We are currently finalising the consultation response and will publish this shortly, with a view to legislate for any changes we decide to make at the earliest opportunity.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans he has to (a) extend existing notices of intention to marry and (b) waive the fee for a further notice of intention to marry for couples whose wedding ceremonies have been cancelled due to covid-19 restrictions.

The Government acknowledges the significant upheaval that Covid-19 is causing for couples who were looking to marry at this time.

The requirement to solemnize a marriage within twelve months of giving notice to marry is set out in primary legislation, which does not provide for extending this period. It would require primary legislation to change this. The Law Commission is currently undertaking a broader review of the law on marriage ceremonies. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is also considering whether a revised scheme should allow rules to adapt to the situation of a national emergency. While that work cannot provide solutions for the current pandemic it could lead to a reformed and more resilient scheme for weddings in future.

The notice fee is usually £35 per person and is paid to local authorities for the service they provide in the taking of the notice and entering it into the notice book. Local authorities are able to waive, reduce or refund fees on compassionate grounds or in cases of hardship. It is for each local authority to determine depending on the individual circumstances.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the financial effect on couples wishing to have a humanist wedding of the requirement to also have a civil ceremony in order for their marriage to be lawfully recognised.

Government consulted in 2014 on marriages by non-religious belief organisations. Its summary assessment of costs and benefits was published in the response, which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/marriages-by-non-religious-belief-organisations.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many requests for legal assistance by asylum applicants during the first instance procedure were granted in 2019.

Information on the total number requests for this type of legal assistance is not held. Such assistance when provided by legal aid is funded under the ‘Legal Help’ scheme, where the decision on whether or not to grant funding is taken by the legal aid provider, and hence refusals are not reported to the Legal Aid Agency.

The data on the number of grants of this type of legal aid in 2019 is not available, as this is not broken down to the level of detail required until a claim for payment is submitted.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many requests for legal assistance were made by asylum applicants during the first instance procedure in 2019.

Information on the total number requests for this type of legal assistance is not held. Such assistance when provided by legal aid is funded under the ‘Legal Help’ scheme, where the decision on whether or not to grant funding is taken by the legal aid provider, and hence refusals are not reported to the Legal Aid Agency.

The data on the number of grants of this type of legal aid in 2019 is not available, as this is not broken down to the level of detail required until a claim for payment is submitted.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many requests were made for legal assistance by asylum applicants during the first instance procedure by (a) regular, (b) accelerated, (c) border and (d) Dublin procedures in 2019.

Information on the total number requests for this type of legal assistance is not held. Such assistance when provided by legal aid is funded under the ‘Legal Help’ scheme, where the decision on whether or not to grant funding is taken by the legal aid provider, and hence refusals are not reported to the Legal Aid Agency.

The data on the number of grants of this type of legal aid in 2019 is not available, as this is not broken down to the level of detail required until a claim for payment is submitted.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average duration of appeal proceedings was against first instance decisions on asylum applications for (a) Syrian, (b) Afghan and (c) Iraqi in the last 12 months for which data is available.

The average clearance time, from receipt to disposal, of an asylum appeal in the First-tier Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber, over the last 12 months for which data are available

(1 October 2018 to 30 September 2019), was:

All nationalities

29 weeks

Syrian nationals

34 weeks

Afghan nationals

31 weeks

Iraqi nationals

20 weeks

These figures are from internal management information extracted from the tribunal’s case management system. They do not form part of the published statistics.

Tribunal statistics are published on a quarterly basis and are available at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics

HM Courts & Tribunals Service has worked extensively to reduce the outstanding caseload and improve timeliness in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber. This has seen the live caseload in the First-tier Tribunal reduce by more than two-thirds, from 64,800 to 20,300 between July 2016 and September 2019. The average duration across all case types has also improved from 52 weeks in the period July to September 2017 to 34 weeks in the period July to September 2019.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average duration of appeal proceedings on first instance decisions on asylum applications was in the last twelve months for which data is available.

The average clearance time, from receipt to disposal, of an asylum appeal in the First-tier Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber, over the last 12 months for which data are available

(1 October 2018 to 30 September 2019), was:

All nationalities

29 weeks

Syrian nationals

34 weeks

Afghan nationals

31 weeks

Iraqi nationals

20 weeks

These figures are from internal management information extracted from the tribunal’s case management system. They do not form part of the published statistics.

Tribunal statistics are published on a quarterly basis and are available at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics

HM Courts & Tribunals Service has worked extensively to reduce the outstanding caseload and improve timeliness in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber. This has seen the live caseload in the First-tier Tribunal reduce by more than two-thirds, from 64,800 to 20,300 between July 2016 and September 2019. The average duration across all case types has also improved from 52 weeks in the period July to September 2017 to 34 weeks in the period July to September 2019.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)