Tip: To match a phrase, use quotation marks around the search term. eg. "Parliamentary Estate"

Written Question
Food and Drinks: Vacancies
28 Sep 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure the effective operation of food and drink supply chains in the context of labour shortages.

Answered by Victoria Prentis

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. Our high degree of food security is built on access to a range of sources, including robust supply chains domestically, and from other countries. Government has well established ways of working with the industry monitor and address risks that may arise. Measures currently in place to ease supply chain pressures include a relaxation to driver's hours rules and food retail delivery hours restrictions. Up to 5,500 poultry workers and 5,000 HGV drivers transporting food and fuel will be able to enter the UK for work in the lead up to Christmas 2021. Defra continues to work closely across Government and with key stakeholders to assess how we can best facilitate food supply sectors to operate normally through this period.

The Government is also working closely with the industry on specific measures to support the logistics sector as it experiences shortages of qualified HGV drivers, including a package of measures to support recruitment and retention of new drivers.

We are encouraging all industry sectors to make employment more attractive to UK domestic workers through offering training, careers options, wage increases and investment in automation technology. In 2021 and beyond, food and farming businesses also continue to be able to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status. Over 5.3 million EU citizens and their families have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme and EU nationals who have settled status can continue to travel to the UK to do work in the food and drink sector in 2021.


Written Question
Food: Vacancies
27 Sep 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will meet with representatives of the food and drink sector to discuss how labour shortages in that sector can be tackled through her Department's policies.

Answered by Kevin Foster

Home Office Ministers and officials meet with a broad range of stakeholders including various sectors and other Government departments. The Government position remains we will not be introducing a short-term visa route such as the ‘Covid recovery visa’ as has been suggested. Most of the solutions are likely to be driven by industry, with a big push towards improving pay, conditions and diversity needed.

The Points Based System does provide for occupations within the agri-food sector, including butchers, a range of poultry roles, and fishmongers, subject to the requirements of the system – including English language and salary – being met.

Beyond the Points Based System, there is the existing UK labour market, which includes those who come to the UK through our Youth Mobility Schemes (which we are looking to expand), our new British National (Overseas) visa for those from Hong Kong, dependants of those arriving under the expanded skilled worker route, as well as over 6 million applications under the EU Settlement Scheme and those who arrive through family routes, who all have access to the UK labour market.

As a transitional measure, to help farm businesses adjust to changes to the UK labour market, the Seasonal Workers Pilot was extended into this year with 30,000 visas available. Decisions on the future of the pilot will be taken in due course, following evaluation of the scheme.


Written Question
Migrant Workers: Food
27 Sep 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the potential merits of introducing a visa scheme for food and drink workers to support covid-19 economic recovery.

Answered by Kevin Foster

Home Office Ministers and officials meet with a broad range of stakeholders including various sectors and other Government departments. The Government position remains we will not be introducing a short-term visa route such as the ‘Covid recovery visa’ as has been suggested. Most of the solutions are likely to be driven by industry, with a big push towards improving pay, conditions and diversity needed.

The Points Based System does provide for occupations within the agri-food sector, including butchers, a range of poultry roles, and fishmongers, subject to the requirements of the system – including English language and salary – being met.

Beyond the Points Based System, there is the existing UK labour market, which includes those who come to the UK through our Youth Mobility Schemes (which we are looking to expand), our new British National (Overseas) visa for those from Hong Kong, dependants of those arriving under the expanded skilled worker route, as well as over 6 million applications under the EU Settlement Scheme and those who arrive through family routes, who all have access to the UK labour market.

As a transitional measure, to help farm businesses adjust to changes to the UK labour market, the Seasonal Workers Pilot was extended into this year with 30,000 visas available. Decisions on the future of the pilot will be taken in due course, following evaluation of the scheme.


Written Question
Migrant Workers: Food
27 Sep 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to increase access to labour to support the UK food and drink distribution sector.

Answered by Kevin Foster

Home Office Ministers and officials meet with a broad range of stakeholders including various sectors and other Government departments. The Government position remains we will not be introducing a short-term visa route such as the ‘Covid recovery visa’ as has been suggested. Most of the solutions are likely to be driven by industry, with a big push towards improving pay, conditions and diversity needed.

The Points Based System does provide for occupations within the agri-food sector, including butchers, a range of poultry roles, and fishmongers, subject to the requirements of the system – including English language and salary – being met.

Beyond the Points Based System, there is the existing UK labour market, which includes those who come to the UK through our Youth Mobility Schemes (which we are looking to expand), our new British National (Overseas) visa for those from Hong Kong, dependants of those arriving under the expanded skilled worker route, as well as over 6 million applications under the EU Settlement Scheme and those who arrive through family routes, who all have access to the UK labour market.

As a transitional measure, to help farm businesses adjust to changes to the UK labour market, the Seasonal Workers Pilot was extended into this year with 30,000 visas available. Decisions on the future of the pilot will be taken in due course, following evaluation of the scheme.


Written Question
Domestic Abuse: Bank Services
10 Sep 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to help support victims of domestic abuse who are unable to pay their utility bills due to the perpetrator emptying a joint bank account.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

All forms of domestic abuse are unacceptable, and no one should have to suffer financially at the hands of their perpetrator.

The landmark Domestic Abuse Act became law in April 2021, and created for the first-time a general purpose legal definition of domestic abuse which incorporates a range of abuses beyond physical violence, including economic abuse. This recognition will improve understanding among frontline professionals, law enforcement officers and prosecutors so that victims can be better supported.

The Home Office supports and funds organisations that raise awareness of economic abuse and support victims. This includes providing £567k of funding between 2018-2022 to the charity Surviving Economic Abuse, which provides emotional and practical support targeted at victims of economic abuse.

In recognition of the role that financial services have to play in responding to domestic abuse, in 2018 UK Finance and the Building Societies Association introduced a Financial Abuse Code of Practice. The voluntary Code of Practice sets out how participating banks and building societies should support customers who are victims of domestic and financial or economic abuse. We are building on this by working to encourage banks and the wider financial services sector to improve the support provided to victims of domestic abuse accessing their services; help victims move forward to escape debt, joint accounts, and mortgages.

We will continue to work alongside financial institutions and frontline agencies to raise awareness and improve support for victims of economic abuse.


Written Question
Domestic Abuse: Bank Services
10 Sep 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what provisions are in place to help victims of domestic abuse transfer funds from a joint bank account held with a perpetrator to their own personal bank account.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

All forms of domestic abuse are unacceptable, and no one should have to suffer financially at the hands of their perpetrator.

The landmark Domestic Abuse Act became law in April 2021, and created for the first-time a general purpose legal definition of domestic abuse which incorporates a range of abuses beyond physical violence, including economic abuse. This recognition will improve understanding among frontline professionals, law enforcement officers and prosecutors so that victims can be better supported.

The Home Office supports and funds organisations that raise awareness of economic abuse and support victims. This includes providing £567k of funding between 2018-2022 to the charity Surviving Economic Abuse, which provides emotional and practical support targeted at victims of economic abuse.

In recognition of the role that financial services have to play in responding to domestic abuse, in 2018 UK Finance and the Building Societies Association introduced a Financial Abuse Code of Practice. The voluntary Code of Practice sets out how participating banks and building societies should support customers who are victims of domestic and financial or economic abuse. We are building on this by working to encourage banks and the wider financial services sector to improve the support provided to victims of domestic abuse accessing their services; help victims move forward to escape debt, joint accounts, and mortgages.

We will continue to work alongside financial institutions and frontline agencies to raise awareness and improve support for victims of economic abuse.


Written Question
Domestic Abuse: Bank Services
10 Sep 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to help support victims of domestic abuse who are unable to pay their mortgage due to the perpetrator emptying a joint bank account.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

All forms of domestic abuse are unacceptable, and no one should have to suffer financially at the hands of their perpetrator.

The landmark Domestic Abuse Act became law in April 2021, and created for the first-time a general purpose legal definition of domestic abuse which incorporates a range of abuses beyond physical violence, including economic abuse. This recognition will improve understanding among frontline professionals, law enforcement officers and prosecutors so that victims can be better supported.

The Home Office supports and funds organisations that raise awareness of economic abuse and support victims. This includes providing £567k of funding between 2018-2022 to the charity Surviving Economic Abuse, which provides emotional and practical support targeted at victims of economic abuse.

In recognition of the role that financial services have to play in responding to domestic abuse, in 2018 UK Finance and the Building Societies Association introduced a Financial Abuse Code of Practice. The voluntary Code of Practice sets out how participating banks and building societies should support customers who are victims of domestic and financial or economic abuse. We are building on this by working to encourage banks and the wider financial services sector to improve the support provided to victims of domestic abuse accessing their services; help victims move forward to escape debt, joint accounts, and mortgages.

We will continue to work alongside financial institutions and frontline agencies to raise awareness and improve support for victims of economic abuse.


Written Question
Domestic Abuse: Bank Services
10 Sep 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department has taken to safeguard domestic abuse victims against financial abuse in the event that they have a joint bank account with a perpetrator.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

All forms of domestic abuse are unacceptable, and no one should have to suffer financially at the hands of their perpetrator.

The landmark Domestic Abuse Act became law in April 2021, and created for the first-time a general purpose legal definition of domestic abuse which incorporates a range of abuses beyond physical violence, including economic abuse. This recognition will improve understanding among frontline professionals, law enforcement officers and prosecutors so that victims can be better supported.

The Home Office supports and funds organisations that raise awareness of economic abuse and support victims. This includes providing £567k of funding between 2018-2022 to the charity Surviving Economic Abuse, which provides emotional and practical support targeted at victims of economic abuse.

In recognition of the role that financial services have to play in responding to domestic abuse, in 2018 UK Finance and the Building Societies Association introduced a Financial Abuse Code of Practice. The voluntary Code of Practice sets out how participating banks and building societies should support customers who are victims of domestic and financial or economic abuse. We are building on this by working to encourage banks and the wider financial services sector to improve the support provided to victims of domestic abuse accessing their services; help victims move forward to escape debt, joint accounts, and mortgages.

We will continue to work alongside financial institutions and frontline agencies to raise awareness and improve support for victims of economic abuse.


Written Question
Gambling: Reviews
28 Jul 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make a statement on the progress of the gambling review.

Answered by John Whittingdale

The Review of the Gambling Act 2005 was launched on 8 December with a wide-ranging Call for Evidence, which closed on 31 March. We received c.16,000 submissions to the Call for Evidence from a range of stakeholders and members of the public. We are considering all submissions carefully and aim to publish a white paper outlining any conclusions and proposals for reform by the end of the year.


Written Question
Gambling: Social Media
26 Jul 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made for the implications of his policies of reports of gambling operators taking bets over social media and messaging platforms to avoid gambling regulations and social responsibility schemes.

Answered by John Whittingdale

Gambling operators are only allowed to provide facilities in the way their Gambling Commission licence and licence conditions allow. If an operator is able under the terms of its licence to accept bets via a messaging platform or social media, it must abide by all the regulatory controls of its licence. Requirements include the need for checks so it is clear who is placing the bet, systems to identify those at risk of harm, and compliance with GDPR regulations on data collection and retention.


Written Question
Sports: Gambling
21 Jul 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made on the potential effect of Esports Betting on gambling-related harm.

Answered by John Whittingdale

We continue to work with the video games industry, other government departments, and relevant regulatory bodies to ensure games are enjoyed safely. We launched a call for evidence in September to understand players’ experiences with loot boxes and to examine evidence of potential harms. This received over 30,000 responses and we have been working to evaluate fully the evidence gathered. The response will be published in the coming months and will set out preferred actions and potential solutions to any issues identified from the evidence.

The government regularly engages with the Gambling Commission and other bodies to discuss emerging trends, including esports betting. Esports betting is regulated with the same protections as any other sports, and operators must abide by the same regulation and license conditions.

Data from the Gambling Commission’s quarterly surveys shows that in the year to December 2020 9% of adults reported they had ever bet on esports with money or items. Further details can be found at: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/statistics-and-research/publication/taking-a-more-in-depth-look-at-online-gambling#ref-4 The government does not collect statistics on the player base of people opening loot boxes, playing social casino games or accessing twitch gaming streams.


Written Question
Sports: Gambling
21 Jul 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with (a) the Gambling Commission, and (b) gaming operators on the development of Esports Betting.

Answered by John Whittingdale

We continue to work with the video games industry, other government departments, and relevant regulatory bodies to ensure games are enjoyed safely. We launched a call for evidence in September to understand players’ experiences with loot boxes and to examine evidence of potential harms. This received over 30,000 responses and we have been working to evaluate fully the evidence gathered. The response will be published in the coming months and will set out preferred actions and potential solutions to any issues identified from the evidence.

The government regularly engages with the Gambling Commission and other bodies to discuss emerging trends, including esports betting. Esports betting is regulated with the same protections as any other sports, and operators must abide by the same regulation and license conditions.

Data from the Gambling Commission’s quarterly surveys shows that in the year to December 2020 9% of adults reported they had ever bet on esports with money or items. Further details can be found at: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/statistics-and-research/publication/taking-a-more-in-depth-look-at-online-gambling#ref-4 The government does not collect statistics on the player base of people opening loot boxes, playing social casino games or accessing twitch gaming streams.


Written Question
Gambling: Ombudsman
20 Jul 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of a Gambling Ombudsman with statutory footing on incidence of gambling-related death.

Answered by John Whittingdale

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a wide-ranging Call for Evidence. The Review will look at the effectiveness of the regulatory framework and whether further protections are needed. As part of its broad scope, it will also look at evidence on the case for changes to consumer redress arrangements, including assessing options such as an ombudsman. We intend to outline our conclusions and next steps in a white paper by the end of the year.

Details of ministerial meetings are publicly available and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/search/transparency-and-freedom-of-information-releases?content_store_document_type=transparency&organisations%5B%5D=department-for-digital-culture-media-sport


Written Question
Gambling: Ombudsman
20 Jul 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will establish a Gambling Ombudsman.

Answered by John Whittingdale

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a wide-ranging Call for Evidence. The Review will look at the effectiveness of the regulatory framework and whether further protections are needed. As part of its broad scope, it will also look at evidence on the case for changes to consumer redress arrangements, including assessing options such as an ombudsman. We intend to outline our conclusions and next steps in a white paper by the end of the year.

Details of ministerial meetings are publicly available and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/search/transparency-and-freedom-of-information-releases?content_store_document_type=transparency&organisations%5B%5D=department-for-digital-culture-media-sport


Written Question
Gambling: Ombudsman
20 Jul 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris (LAB - Swansea East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had and with whom on the potential merits of establishing a Gambling Ombudsman.

Answered by John Whittingdale

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a wide-ranging Call for Evidence. The Review will look at the effectiveness of the regulatory framework and whether further protections are needed. As part of its broad scope, it will also look at evidence on the case for changes to consumer redress arrangements, including assessing options such as an ombudsman. We intend to outline our conclusions and next steps in a white paper by the end of the year.

Details of ministerial meetings are publicly available and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/search/transparency-and-freedom-of-information-releases?content_store_document_type=transparency&organisations%5B%5D=department-for-digital-culture-media-sport