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Written Question
Gambling: Automated Credit Transfer
15 Jun 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential effect of new bank transfer based payment methods offered by gambling providers on the efficacy of gambling transaction blocks as a tool to support people struggling with gambling harms.

Answered by John Glen

The Government has made no such assessment in relation to the effect of new bank transfer based payment methods. However, licensed gambling operators are only permitted to use payment methods where they are able to ensure they are compliant with all Gambling Commission licence conditions and requirements, including anti-money laundering and safer gambling measures.

The Government also recognises that the financial services industry plays an important role in helping their customers monitor and manage their gambling spending, including by offering gambling transaction blocks. In recent years there has been considerable voluntary progress in this area by the industry, with almost all the largest UK banks, as well as the larger digital banks, now offering gambling transaction blocks for debit and credit card transactions.

The Government welcomes this progress and continues to work together with industry to identify what more can be done in this area. As such, I will soon be hosting a roundtable with the financial sector to discuss what action has taken place to date on this issue and look at opportunities for additional progress which further support UK consumers. This will include looking at wider payment methods.


Written Question
Bank Services: Gambling
20 May 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of proposals to mandate the provision of spending blocks for gambling activity for current accounts.

Answered by John Glen

The Government recognises the potential merits in mandating the provision of spending blocks which allow gamblers to self-exclude themselves from making payments to gambling operators.

However, in recent years there has been considerable voluntary progress in this area by the industry. Almost all of the largest UK banks, as well as the larger digital banks, now have voluntary gambling block features on their debit cards. This gives consumers a considerable market choice in this area to choose a current account that has the right features for them.

The Government acknowledges that despite the enormous amount that has been achieved by the industry on a voluntary basis, it can go even further. That is why the Government will shortly write to industry to organise a new Ministerial roundtable with the sector to discuss what action has taken place to date and look for opportunities to further support UK consumers.


Written Question
Alcoholic Drinks: Excise Duties
18 May 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the aim of the alcohol duty review remains to simplify the existing system.

Answered by Kemi Badenoch

The Government recognises the need to reform the current duty system to support the alcoholic drinks and pubs sector in the longer term and that there is a case for simplifying the current complicated system, making the basis of alcohol taxation more economically rational, and reducing the administrative burden on producers.


Written Question
Public Houses: Taxation
18 May 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason pubs are considered to hold a special status over off-trade settings including (a) convenience stores and (b) specialist alcohol retailers.

Answered by Kemi Badenoch

The Treasury is considering the merits of differentiating products based on the place of retail as part of its alcohol duty review. We are currently analysing responses provided by stakeholders to our recent call for evidence and will provide further updates in due course.


Written Question
Beer: Excise Duties
18 May 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of how much and what proportion of savings from a differential duty rate on kegged beer would be passed on to (a) on-trade premises and (b) stakeholders earlier in the supply chain.

Answered by Kemi Badenoch

The Treasury is considering the merits of differentiating products based on the place of retail as part of its alcohol duty review. We are currently analysing responses provided by stakeholders to our recent call for evidence and will provide further updates in due course.


Written Question
Alcoholic Drinks: Excise Duties
18 May 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect on the levels of illicit alcohol trade of implementing a differential alcohol duty rate for (a) on-trade and (b) off-trade sales.

Answered by Kemi Badenoch

The Treasury is considering the merits of differentiating products based on the place of retail as part of its alcohol duty review. We are currently analysing responses provided by stakeholders to our recent call for evidence and will provide further updates in due course.


Written Question
Financial Services: Gambling
30 Mar 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions (a) he and (b) officials of his Department have had with (i) the banking sector and (ii) financial regulators on bank-based gambling blocks.

Answered by John Glen

Government ministers and officials regularly engage with the financial services regulators and financial services industry on a number of issues.

The Government recognises the value in voluntary gambling blocks to allow gamblers to self-exclude themselves from making payments to gambling operators. In February 2019, the then DCMS Secretary of State held a roundtable with UK banks, during which the Government set out the merits of gambling blocks.

Since then, there has been considerable progress in this area. Since April 2020, licensed gambling operators in the UK have been prohibited from accepting credit card payments and such payments have been blocked by the largest UK banks. For debit cards, almost all of the largest UK banks, as well as the larger digital banks, now have voluntary gambling block features on their debit cards. This means that consumers have considerable market choice in this area and can choose a current account that has the right features for them.


Written Question
Weddings: Coronavirus
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if his Department will extend the (a) reduced VAT rate of 5 per cent and (b) business rates relief to the wedding industry.

Answered by Jesse Norman

The temporary reduced rate of VAT was introduced on 15 July 2020 to support the cash flow and viability of about 150,000 businesses and protect over 2.4 million jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors.

This relief comes at a significant cost to the Exchequer, and there are no plans to extend the scope of the reduced rate. This policy will cost over £7 billion, and while some businesses in some sectors are disappointed, a boundary for eligibility had to be drawn.

Due to the direct adverse effects of COVID-19, the Government has extended the unprecedented business rates holiday for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties for three months, and will provide up to 66% relief for the rest of 2021-22 financial year. The Government has also frozen the business rates multiplier for all businesses for 2021-22.

The Government has made available a wider package of support worth billions which includes extensions to the furlough scheme; extensions to the COVID-19 loan schemes; grant support; a business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure business properties; mortgage holidays; enhanced Time to Pay for taxes; and VAT deferrals.


Written Question
Weddings: Insurance
15 Feb 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the availability of insurance cover for the weddings industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by John Glen

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector regarding its response to this unprecedented situation, and is encouraging insurers to do all they can to support customers during this difficult period.

Insurers take commercial decisions regarding the products they offer and risks they cover based on their view of the likelihood of a risk occurring, and have cited the likelihood of COVID-19 risk crystallising as a challenge to insure. Different insurers may take a different view, therefore customers in the wedding sector are encouraged to shop around to seek the most suitable cover at the best price.

The Government is committed to ensuring consumers have access to a range of financial products that suit their needs and is keeping this situation under review.


Written Question
Self-employment Income Support Scheme
9 Feb 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) practitioners in personal care services and (b) other self-employed workers in different occupations that are unable to access the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Answered by Jesse Norman

The Government recognises the impact that the pandemic is having on businesses and individuals across the country. That is why it has provided £280 billion of support to safeguard jobs and to protect the economy. As part of those efforts the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been successful in providing £13.7 billion of support to the self-employed. People who are ineligible for the SEISS, including practitioners in personal care services and affected business owners in the sector, may be eligible for the wide range of other support schemes available including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Government-backed loans (such as Bounce Back Loans), VAT deferrals, business grants, the £20 per week uplift in Universal Credit, and Local Authority Hardship Funds to help with council tax payments.

In addition, the Devolved Administrations have been provided with £16.8 billion of funding to allow them to design their own support schemes.

The Government estimates that 1,668,000 individuals may be ineligible for the SEISS across all sectors, including personal care. These figures include individuals who have been assessed to be ineligible for the SEISS for any reason. For example, they may earn the majority of their income from PAYE employment (and so may be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme), or they may have average trading profits of over £50,000. Further information can be found in Table 3 in the following document: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/955944/SEISS_-_Official_statistics_tables_January_2021.ods.


Written Question
Self-employment Income Support Scheme
9 Feb 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to provide financial support to (a) practitioners operating in personal care services and (b) other self-employed people that are unable to access the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Answered by Jesse Norman

The Government recognises the impact that the pandemic is having on businesses and individuals across the country. That is why it has provided £280 billion of support to safeguard jobs and to protect the economy. As part of those efforts the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been successful in providing £13.7 billion of support to the self-employed. People who are ineligible for the SEISS, including practitioners in personal care services and affected business owners in the sector, may be eligible for the wide range of other support schemes available including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Government-backed loans (such as Bounce Back Loans), VAT deferrals, business grants, the £20 per week uplift in Universal Credit, and Local Authority Hardship Funds to help with council tax payments.

In addition, the Devolved Administrations have been provided with £16.8 billion of funding to allow them to design their own support schemes.

The Government estimates that 1,668,000 individuals may be ineligible for the SEISS across all sectors, including personal care. These figures include individuals who have been assessed to be ineligible for the SEISS for any reason. For example, they may earn the majority of their income from PAYE employment (and so may be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme), or they may have average trading profits of over £50,000. Further information can be found in Table 3 in the following document: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/955944/SEISS_-_Official_statistics_tables_January_2021.ods.


Written Question
Self-employment Income Support Scheme
9 Feb 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department plans to maintain the fourth Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant at the same level as the third grant, 80 per cent of average profits, to provide support for (a) self-employed practitioners in personal care services. and (b) other self-employed workers who face reduced demand as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Jesse Norman

I refer the Honourable Member to the answer given on 3 February 2021 to UIN 145754.
Written Question
Food: Wholesale Trade
25 Jan 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will provide funding to food and drink wholesalers to account for excess stock accumulated by those businesses (a) in response to the end of the transition period and (b) as a result of hospitality and school closures during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

Answered by Kemi Badenoch

Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, the Government has protected people’s jobs and livelihoods while also supporting businesses and public services across the UK. Food and drink wholesalers have been eligible for a number of economic support schemes, including:

• The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended until the end of April 2021 for all parts of the UK;
• The opportunity to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020; and
• The Bounce Back Loan Scheme for small businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000, with no interest payments or fees for the first 12 months.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement ensures UK businesses can continue to buy and sell goods from EU customers without tariffs or quotas.


Written Question
Food: Wholesale Trade
21 Jan 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will grant business rates relief to food service wholesalers that are closed due to the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

Answered by Jesse Norman

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors through business rates relief given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors. Business rates are devolved in Wales, and so are a matter for the Welsh Government.

The Government has sympathy with all businesses affected by COVID-19, and has provided various schemes that can support specific firms such as wholesalers, including Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, Bounce Back Loans, grants and VAT deferrals.


Written Question
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Supply Teachers
13 Jan 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with Secretary of State for Education on ensuring that agencies employing education supply staff use the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme for those staff that are unable to work.

Answered by Jesse Norman

An employer can claim for any employees who were employed and on their PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020. The employer must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

This includes education supply staff who are unable to work and clinically extremely vulnerable people, where they meet these eligibility criteria.

The furloughing of staff through the CJRS is a voluntary arrangement entered at the employers’ discretion and agreed by employees. The decision whether an individual firm should put its staff on furlough, or take them off it is one for the employer, in consultation with the employee.