Catherine West Portrait

Catherine West

Labour - Hornsey and Wood Green

Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

(since September 2020)
Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
10th Apr 2020 - 2nd Sep 2020
Foreign Affairs Committee
19th Mar 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
Committees on Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee)
10th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committees on Arms Export Controls
10th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
International Trade Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 25th Mar 2019
Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
18th Sep 2015 - 29th Jun 2017


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Investing in Children and Young People
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 193 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 224 Noes - 0
Speeches
Monday 21st June 2021
Government Contracts: Covid-19

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Ms Fovargue, in this important debate, brought to us by my …

Written Answers
Tuesday 22nd June 2021
Discretionary Housing Payments: Homelessness
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential effect …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 7th January 2020
Anti-Semitic incidents
This House condemns the widely reported instance of a 13 year old boy receiving vile anti-Semitic abuse on a London …
Bills
Wednesday 20th February 2019
Asylum Seekers (Permission to Work) (No. 2) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 12th October 2020
8. Miscellaneous
From July 2019 to July 2020, and from 9 October 2020, Vice-President (unremunerated) of the Local Government Association, which works …
EDM signed
Monday 18th January 2021
Godfrey Colin Cameron
That this House is deeply saddened by news of the death of Godfrey Colin Cameron, a hardworking member of Parliamentary …
Supported Legislation
Tibet (Reciprocal Access) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Catherine West has voted in 255 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Catherine West 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
Dominic Raab (Conservative)
Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State
(11 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(10 debate interactions)
Wendy Morton (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
(10 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(23 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(17 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Catherine West's debates

Hornsey and Wood Green 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).

Petitions with highest Hornsey and Wood Green signature proportion
Petitions with most Hornsey and Wood Green signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Government should support vulnerable children & #endchildfoodpoverty by implementing 3 recommendations from the National Food Strategy to expand access to Free School Meals, provide meals & activities during holidays to stop holiday hunger & increase the value of and expand the Healthy Start scheme

The Government's manifesto stated “we will make intentional trespass a criminal offence”: an extreme, illiberal & unnecessary attack on ancient freedoms that would threaten walkers, campers, and the wider public. It would further tilt the law in favour of the landowning 1% who own half the country.

Matthew was taken to, ‘a place of safety’, and died 7 days later.
24 others died by the same means, dating back to the year 2000. An indicator that little was done to address the growing problems.
Something went terribly wrong with the NHS Mental Health Services provided to my son.

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.

In the event of a spike we would like you not to close gyms as a measure to stop any spread of Covid. Also for gyms to not be put in the same group as pubs in terms of risk or importance. Gyms are following strict guidelines and most members are following rules in a sober manner.

Isolation essential to the Government’s strategy for fighting coronavirus, and UK citizens must remain healthy and exercise whilst keeping adequate distance between people. The Government should allow golf courses to open so families or individuals can play golf in order to exercise safely.

As the Coronavirus escalates, there are concerns that a trade deal between the UK Government and the US deal might not exempt our NHS, leaving it vulnerable to privatisation and in direct contradiction to promises this would not happen.

A significant number of students will sit their final 2021 examinations. The outcome of which undoubtedly will be their passport, for many of their future life chances and successes. In order for this to be done fairly, it is imperative that the amount of content they are tested on is reduced.

We want the Education Secretary and the Government to step in and review the exam board’s decision on how GCSE and A-Level grades will be calculated and awarded due to the current coronavirus crisis. We want a better solution than just using our previous data to be the basis of our grade.


Latest EDMs signed by Catherine West

14th January 2021
Catherine West signed this EDM on Monday 18th January 2021

Godfrey Colin Cameron

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House is deeply saddened by news of the death of Godfrey Colin Cameron, a hardworking member of Parliamentary security staff and member of the PCS trade union who passed away aged just 55 after contracting covid-19; extends our sincere condolences to his devoted wife Hyacinth, children Leon and …
139 signatures
(Most recent: 8 Feb 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 117
Scottish National Party: 15
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Alba Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
4th June 2020
Catherine West signed this EDM on Tuesday 16th June 2020

Legal Aid and Advice

Tabled by: David Lammy (Labour - Tottenham)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 (S.I., 2020, No. 515), dated 15 May 2020, a copy of which was laid before this House on 18 May 2020, be annulled.
138 signatures
(Most recent: 11 Feb 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 115
Liberal Democrat: 9
Scottish National Party: 5
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Alliance: 1
View All Catherine West's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Catherine West, 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.


Catherine West has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Catherine West has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Catherine West


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 make provision for certain asylum seekers to be granted permission to work; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 20th February 2019

587 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
5 Other Department Questions
9th Mar 2021
To ask the President of COP26, how many and what proportion of the UK’s team of delegates are women; and for each (a) team and (b) role within the UK delegation, what the gender breakdown is.

We are currently developing plans related to the makeup of the COP26 UK delegation. It is too early to confirm names at this stage.

The UK has committed to championing diversity and inclusion throughout our COP26 Presidency and all civil servants in the Cabinet Office COP26 unit have been appointed in line with civil service guidance and rules. In the COP Unit, 45% of the senior management team in the COP26 unit are women. In 2020, the Prime Minister appointed Anne-Marie Treveylan as the COP26 Adaptation and Resilience Champion.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what discussions he has had with the new US Administration as part of preparations for the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

I welcomed the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, to London on Monday 8 March 2021, his first international visit since his appointment. We discussed the new US Administration’s climate ambition and our joint efforts to ensure that COP26 is a success. Our discussion built on previous conversations I have had with Secretary Kerry and with Gina McCarthy, US National Climate Advisor.

I refer the hon. Member to the joint statement on climate change from myself and Special Envoy Kerry published on GOV.UK on Tuesday 9 March 2021. The UK and US will be working closely together to ensure that President Biden’s Leaders’ Summit on Climate on 22 April and the UK-hosted G7 build momentum on the way to COP26 in Glasgow.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of trends in the number of veterans who have died from suicide in the last five years; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Members to the answer given to PQ 88289 on 21 September 2020.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the (a) European Audiovisual Media Services Directive and (b) Directives relating to Copyright will be transferred to UK law after the transition period.

The government outlined its approach to Audiovisual Media Services Directive in its public consultation launched in May 2019, and confirmed plans for implementation in its response in February 2020.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans the Government has to bring forward proposals to increase the transparency of financial donations to Members of the House of Lords.

The Register of Lords' interests can be accessed on the parliamentary website at the following address:

https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/standards-and-financial-interests/house-of-lords-commissioner-for-standards-/register-of-lords-interests/

How donations to Members of the House of Lords are regulated and what interest needs to be disclosed in the Register of Interests is a matter for the House of Lords.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has plans to discuss (a) EU touring for musicians and other creatives professionals and (b) the proposal for a bespoke UK-EU visa waiver for the creative industry at the next meeting of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement Partnership Council.

At the first UK-EU Partnership Council on 9 June, the UK raised the issues faced by touring performers and noted work under way with Member States to try to resolve the barriers presented by visa and work permit requirements.The UK and EU have not yet agreed a date or agenda for the next Partnership Council. We continue to discuss these issues with all EU Member States to find solutions that work for our great creative industries.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he made of the potential merits of including a question on disability in the 2021 Census.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have, therefore, asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to support (a) veterans and (b) recently discharged personnel during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government continues to provide a full range of support services for veterans and recently discharged personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic, with appropriate adjustments to keep people safe. Veterans continue to access a range of NHS services, including Op COURAGE, a new single point of access for all veterans’ mental health and wellbeing services in NHS England. Veterans can also access support through Veterans UK and MOD services including its welfare services, employment support for service leavers through the Career Transition Partnership, the Defence Transition Service, and a helpline telephone call back service.

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs has also funded a new study with King’s College London, exploring the impact of COVID-19 on veterans, and given £6m in grants to over service 100 charities across the UK whose operation had been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, directly supporting over 90,000 members of the Armed Forces community. In this year’s Budget, an extra £10m has been allocated to help deliver charitable projects across the UK that support veterans with their mental health and wellbeing needs in the wake of the pandemic.

9th Feb 2021
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the scientific advice for the decision to close outdoor sports facilities during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021 and keep children's playgrounds open.

Throughout the pandemic, we have consistently adapted our response as we have learnt more about the virus and how best to tackle it. Decisions on when to lift restrictions, and in which order, seek to strike a balance between the epidemiological evidence and advice, the impact lockdown is having on people’s health (including mental health and disproportionate impacts on certain groups), wellbeing, and the economy. Scientific evidence supporting the government response to coronavirus is regularly published here - https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/scientific-evidence-supporting-the-government-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

On 22 February the Government published its 'COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021'

roadmap to recovery. The roadmap outlines four steps for cautiously easing restrictions across England. The first measures of Step 1 took place on the 8th March. Schools breaking up for the Easter holidays will provide an opportunity for further, limited relaxation particularly in outdoor settings where there is less risk. Therefore from 29 March, outdoor sports and leisure facilities will reopen and organised sport (for adults and children) will resume.

The design of the roadmap has been informed by the latest scientific evidence and seeks a balance between our key social and economic priorities, whilst preserving the health and safety of our country.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people have died of covid-19 as a proportion of the overall death toll to the start of January 2021 have been people with a known pre-existing condition and would meet the definition of disability in the Equality Act 2010.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his Department's average reply time has been for ministerial letters in each of the last five months.

Correspondence is a vitally important interface with members of the public, Members of Parliament and Peers, and should be given the highest priority.

The Government attaches great importance to the effective and timely handling of correspondence. Departments have seen a significant increase in correspondence during the pandemic but are required to provide a substantial response to all correspondence from MPs and Peers in 20 days. Departments are not required to keep a record of the average response time. The Cabinet Office responded to 58% of MP and Peer correspondence within 20 days between April - June 2020, and to the remaining correspondence as quickly as possible. Officials are working to improve response time.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many times the guidance entitled, Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas, and on the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees, was followed in 2018.

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner had statutory oversight of the Consolidated Guidance and reported on it annually to the Prime Minister. I refer the Honourable Member to section 10.19 of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s 2018 annual report where the (then) Commissioner explained why it was not appropriate to publish these details.

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner's 2018 Annual Report can be found at:

https://www.ipco.org.uk/docs/IPCO%20Annual%20Report%202018%20final.pdf

The Government does not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment for any purpose.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how times decision-making under the Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas, and on the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees, was escalated to a Minister in 2018.

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner had statutory oversight of the Consolidated Guidance and reported on it annually to the Prime Minister. I refer the Honourable Member to section 10.19 of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s 2018 annual report where the (then) Commissioner explained why it was not appropriate to publish these details.

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner's 2018 Annual Report can be found at:

https://www.ipco.org.uk/docs/IPCO%20Annual%20Report%202018%20final.pdf

The Government does not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment for any purpose.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many times the intelligence agencies informed the Investigatory Powers Commissioner of (a) instances of non-compliance with the Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas, and on the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees and (b) instances in which they did not identify that the Consolidated Guidance review process should have been followed, for the year 2018.

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner had statutory oversight of the Consolidated Guidance and reported on it annually to the Prime Minister. I refer the Honourable Member to section 10.19 of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s 2018 annual report where the (then) Commissioner explained why it was not appropriate to publish these details.

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner's 2018 Annual Report can be found at:

https://www.ipco.org.uk/docs/IPCO%20Annual%20Report%202018%20final.pdf

The Government does not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment for any purpose.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people that died in (a) care homes and (b) the community that had their deaths classified as non-covid-19 related had post-mortems to confirm that classification since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of deaths due to covid-19 have been among homeless people; and how that death rate compares with death rates for the same period of time in previous years.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on the recommendations of the 2018 Review of Parliamentary Constituency Boundaries; and if he will make a statement.

The final reports of the four Boundary Commissions in the 2018 Boundary Review were submitted to the Government and laid before Parliament in September 2018.

The Government will continue to monitor closely the current legal proceedings in relation to the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland’s final report.

As we set out in our manifesto, the Government will ensure we have updated and equal parliamentary boundaries, making sure every vote counts the same.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential effect of increased smartphone use in hospitality settings on people without digital access.

Hospitality venues have a legal requirement to support NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all their customers, visitors and staff for 21 days. Customers can check in using the NHS COVID-19 app, but venues must also make sure that there is a method of checking in that does not rely on the customer using a smartphone or other technology, in order not to digitally exclude people without digital access.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to tackle abusive purchasing practices by UK garment retailers.

The Government expects businesses to be open and transparent in responding to consumers’ interest in where and how the products they source have been manufactured, including the use of raw materials. Since the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act, we have seen more businesses open up about their supply chains, identify high-risk areas and introduce tailored steps to support vulnerable workers.

UK listed companies are required to report on social and environmental impacts material to their business, including information about supply chains, where this is necessary for an understanding of the business as part of annual reports.

The Government response to the Transparency in Supply Chains consultation, published on 22 September 2020, committed to taking forwards an ambitious package of changes to strengthen and future-proof the Modern Slavery Act’s transparency legislation, including:

  • Extending the reporting requirement to public bodies with a budget of £36 million or more.
  • Mandating the specific reporting topics statements must cover.
  • Requiring organisations to publish their statement on the new Government digital reporting service.
  • Setting a single reporting deadline by which all modern slavery statements must be published.
  • Considering enforcement options in line with the ongoing development of the Single Enforcement Body for Employment rights.

Under section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the UK became the first country in the world to require businesses to report on how they prevent modern slavery in their operations. Following consultation, the Home Office has announced a series of measures to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act. Organisations will be required to include information about their organisation’s structure and supply chains in their modern slavery statement or to explicitly state that their statement omits this information. These new measures will be introduced once parliamentary time allows.

The Government has been engaging with the British Retail Consortium on their proposals for a licensing scheme, and with Traidcraft on the Garment Trade Adjudicator to understand the impact that further regulation would have.

BEIS and the Home Office are also working in partnership with the industry through the Apparel and General Merchandise Public and Private Protocol, a partnership between enforcement bodies and industry partners, including, the British Retail Consortium, UK Fashion and the Textile Association. This is aimed at tackling all forms of labour exploitation in the garment industry.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect of the Government's climate policies on BAME communities.

The impacts of climate change are not equally distributed across people or communities, and it is well-established that existing social inequalities result in a disproportionate negative impact of climate change among disadvantaged groups. BEIS has committed to improving how it takes account of equality, diversity and inclusion in its policy-making, to develop our interventions in a more inclusive way. We comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty by considering the equality impacts of our climate policies on different protected characteristics – including BAME communities. BEIS will be setting out more detail on the work it is undertaking across its responsibilities, including climate change, to build understanding and take actions to reduce inequalities in areas relating to its responsibilities.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what research his Department has carried out into employer compliance with the work from home requirement during the covid-19 outbreak.

In the most recent data from the ONS Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, covering the period 3-14 February, 48% of working adults stated that they had worked from home because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the last seven days. This figure is up from 46% the week previously.

As detailed in my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement on 22 February and the publication of the COVID-19 response roadmap, the Stay at Home requirement remains in place until 29 March. Until that point it is important that people stay at home wherever possible to minimise the risk of transmission.

People will no longer be legally required to Stay at Home from 29 March although the guidance will set out at that stage that people should continue to work from home where they can. Government will continue to reinforce these messages when engaging with businesses and representative organisations across a range of different sectors.

The Government has developed Safer Working Guidance with employers and trade unions, and employers are encouraged to discuss their COVID-19 risk assessment and mitigation measures with trade unions.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Green Homes Grant applications have been received in each English region.

The Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme opened for application on 30 September 2020. As of 31 January, 69,053 grant applications have been received. Applications1, given by region in England, are as follows:

  • North East: 2,593
  • North West: 12,098
  • Yorkshire and the Humber: 9,712
  • East Midlands: 6,698
  • West Midlands: 8,556
  • East of England: 7,401
  • Greater London: 6,491
  • South East: 8,369
  • South West: 6,696

1 There is a discrepancy between the quoted total number of grant applications (69,053) and total English regional grant applications (68,614). This is due to 439 applications not listing an English region.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, of he will publish all correspondence between his Department and their European counterparts on work visas for creative workers between 1 June 2020 and 24 December 2020.

This Government recognises the importance of the UK’s thriving cultural industries, and that is why it pushed for ambitious arrangements to make it easier for performers and artists to perform across Europe as part of the negotiations on our future relationship with the EU.

This Government proposed to the EU that musicians, and their technical staff, be added to the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors in the entry and temporary stay chapter of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. This would have allowed musicians and their staff to travel and perform in the EU more easily, without needing work-permits.

The UK’s legal texts reflected this position, as the EU has now acknowledged. These texts are confidential negotiating documents and it is not appropriate for them to be published.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish all correspondence between his Department and the (a) Cabinet Office, (b) Home Office and (c) Department for Culture Media and Sport on work visas for creative workers in the last six months.

This Government recognises the importance of the UK’s thriving cultural industries, and that is why it pushed for ambitious arrangements to make it easier for performers and artists to perform across Europe as part of the negotiations on our future relationship with the EU.

This Government proposed to the EU that musicians, and their technical staff, be added to the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors in the entry and temporary stay chapter of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. This would have allowed musicians and their staff to travel and perform in the EU more easily, without needing work-permits.

As with legal text shared in confidence with trading partners, publishing correspondence between departments related to the development of legal text for trade agreements would not be appropriate as this correspondence would have been provided in confidence.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits aligning the deadlines for all Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme phases with the Voucher Scheme deadline of March 2022.

The Local Authority Delivery and Vouchers schemes have been designed to work alongside each other whilst reflecting the differences in delivery methods. Both schemes’ primary objective is to provide a short-term economic stimulus.

BEIS has allocated Local Authority Delivery funding to 55 projects totalling £74.3m of expenditure for delivery by March 2021, which can play an important role in sustaining and creating jobs in all regions of England.

BEIS anticipates funding in excess of £124m of LAD scheme projects imminently with a delivery date of September 2021, and a further £300m is allocated to the regional Local Energy Hubs for delivery by December 2021.

These staggered dates intend to balance the aim of the scheme to support economic recovery whilst being pragmatic over delivery timescales.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of including energy from waste incineration emissions in the UK's net-zero plans.

The UK’s climate change framework enables the Government to determine how best to balance emissions reductions across the economy. Emissions are managed within the Government’s overall strategy for meeting carbon budgets and the 2050 net zero target, as part of an economy-wide transition.

The UK follows the agreed international approach for estimating and reporting greenhouse gas emissions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, which is for countries to report the emissions produced within their territories.

The Climate Change Act defines UK emissions as being those of greenhouse gases from sources within the UK, i.e. consistent with international reporting practice. Therefore all emissions from UK sources, including those produced in energy production through waste incineration, are accounted for.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps his Department has taken to increase the level of human relevant life sciences in the UK.

Since 2017, the Government has invested approximately £1 billion through two Life Sciences Sector Deals, helping to generate significant levels of industry investment in the UK.

At Budget this year, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the Life Sciences Investment Programme (LSIP), a new dedicated investment programme of up to £600 million of joint Government and industry investment. The LSIP aims to unlock the potential of the UK’s best health and life science innovations, allowing companies to grow in the UK.

This reflects the Government’s manifesto commitment to make the UK the leading global hub for life sciences.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the election of Joe Biden as US President Elect on the COP26 summit.

The UK welcomes President-elect Biden’s commitment to re-join the Paris Agreement and to put the US on a path to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

As the incoming Presidency of the G7 and COP26, we look forward to working with the new US administration to address the urgent challenge of climate change and to encourage countries across the world to increase their climate ambition.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on the UK's ability to manufacture key materials and goods.

Manufacturing key materials and goods is critical for our economy. The Department has been engaging with industry and suppliers throughout the pandemic to understand the impacts on production and what support is needed in order for businesses to remain operational.

We have put in place an unprecedented package of Government support to help manufacturers with business continuity and to enable any businesses that may have had to pause production to get back up and running as soon as they are able. The sector has so far benefitted from £2 billion in Government-backed finance through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme; £2.3 billion through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme; and £4.78 billion to manufacturers through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of opening up the sale of locally produced renewable electricity.

The current licensing framework, which Ofgem operate and enforce, already allows electricity generators to apply for a licence to sell energy to consumers. A supplier licence allows the licensee to supply electricity to domestic and non-domestic premises, or non-domestic premises only. It also bestows upon them certain obligations towards consumers through standard licence conditions (SLC) and also charges to be passed onto consumers, such as network costs and the cost of Government policies. In addition, the licensee is required to maintain, become party to, or comply with the industry codes that underpin the wholesale and retail markets.

Nonetheless, Ofgem recognises that a one size fits all licensing framework may be too prescriptive for some business models and introduced a Licence Lite which allows aspiring suppliers or distributed energy generators to apply for a supply licence and receive a direction which relieves them from the obligation in SLC 11.2 – compliance with industry codes. In addition, Ofgem have introduced a regulatory sandbox in which innovators can try new products and business models.

Government and Ofgem are reviewing the licensing framework in light of changing business models and our commitment to reach Net Zero. We want to ensure that the regulatory regime continues to protect consumers and is flexible in response to a changing energy system.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the future of sustainability of car manufacturing in the UK in the event that no trade deal is agreed with the EU before the end of the transition period.

We are confident we can reach a deal and will continue to work hard to reach an agreement with the EU, for as long as there is a constructive process ongoing. The Political Declaration sets out our ambition for a zero tariff and zero quota Free Trade Agreement.

Extensive engagement has taken place and continues between the Government and the automotive sector on future trade negotiations. We shall continue to work with companies over the next few months to ensure that they are well prepared for the end of the transition period.

In addition, the Government has a long-standing programme of support to maintain the competitiveness of the UK automotive sector.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure private companies provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for their workforce; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of penalising firms who reject requests from workers for PPE.

We have provided guidance on how to work safely in a number of different working environments, such as offices, factories, and working outdoors – so that employers can use the guidance which is most relevant to them. Ensuring the safety of all workers is at the forefront of this guidance. Our approach is clinically led, based on the expert advice of the UK’s Chief Medical Officer for England, the NHS and Public Health England. We are led by the evolving science in this work and as the scientific and medical advice changes, the guidance will be updated to reflect this.

Where workers already wear PPE for protection against non-COVID risks, such as dust, they should continue to wear this PPE.

The best way to manage the risk of COVID-19 is to implement robust social distancing measures and other physical controls. Outside of a clinical setting there is very little evidence to support the use of PPE and we would anticipate that an employer’s risk assessment and risk management decisions would reflect that the role of PPE in providing additional protection is extremely limited.

We recommend that PPE is not used in working environments where it would not normally be required. Good hygiene and minimising social contact remain the most effective way of managing the risks of COVID-19. However, if an employers’ risk assessment does show that PPE is required, employers must provide this PPE free of charge to employees.

Employers should consult with unions and employees when carrying out their risk assessment to make sure their concerns can be taken into account. If employees continue to have concerns, they can raise them with union safety representatives, or ultimately with the organisation responsibility for enforcement in their workplace, either the Health and Safety Executive or their local authority.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to take steps to prevent travel agents from withholding a proportion of refunds for holidays that have been cancelled as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Package travel agencies are required to comply with The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018, which protect consumers who have bought package holidays. Consumers are entitled to a refund?if forced to cancel a package holiday due to unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances, which should be issued?within 14 days, depending on the nature of the contract in place. BEIS officials have held regular discussions with travel and tourism sector representatives, travel businesses and consumer advocacy bodies to assess the impact of cancellations made in light of the covid-19 outbreak. Further information on the rights and responsibilities of consumers and businesses was published on 30 April by the Competition and Markets Authority who have also set up a covid-19 taskforce for consumers seeking refunds.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to require that utility companies pause non-urgent gas inspections during the covid-19 outbreak.

Under Gas Supplier Licence Condition 29 (SLC29) Gas Suppliers are required on request to carry out free annual gas safety checks to certain vulnerable domestic customers living in non-rented premises.

In the current circumstances, Ofgem does not consider it is necessary for it to relax Condition 29 because gas suppliers undertake their free annual gas safety checks only on request by and with the permission of the customer.

This position is held under the current circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic provided that relevant parties follow the Government guidance, public health advice and safety legislation more generally. Ofgem’s Chief Executive Jonathan Brearley wrote to the energy supply companies on 8 April 2020 setting out the expectations of them during the COVID-19 outbreak and reminding them of their primary need to follow this guidance, public health advice and safety legislation.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps are being taken to support self-employed professionals to compensate for lost business during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government is closely monitoring developments in relation to potential economic impacts on the UK economy, including on individuals, individual businesses, supply chains and for consumers.

We want to make sure our welfare system works quickly and effectively to provide security for people.

Self-employed individuals who are not eligible to receive sick pay may be able to claim Universal Credit and/or new style Employment and Support Allowance. For the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for those who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating according to government advice. The Government have announced additional financial support which includes £330bn in loans and £20bn in other aid, business rates holiday and grants for retailers and pubs.

A dedicated helpline has been set up to help self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. HMRC’s new dedicated COVID-19 helpline can be contacted from 11 March 2020 for advice and support. To ensure ongoing support, HMRC have made a further 2,000 experienced call handlers available to support firms and individuals when needed.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to take steps to ensure that households with pre-paid electricity meters continue to have electricity in the event that occupants are required to self-isolate as a result of covid-19.

At the end of 2019 36% of all prepayment meters were smart meters in pre-payment mode, which enable energy consumers to top up without needing to leave their homes.

There are existing general protections for traditional prepayment meter customers who are unable to access top-up outlets, including emergency credit if credit has been exhausted on the meter. Suppliers also operate a friendly hour’s policy, when supply would not be interrupted, normally during evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays.

For traditional prepayment meters, suppliers can also send pre-loaded keycards to customers to provide additional credit, where consumers need to self-isolate for a longer period of time. The consumer would need to inform their supplier that they need assistance.

The Department is actively engaging with Ofgem and industry to ensure all customers receive the support they need.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the (a) time taken to process applications at the Land Registry and (b) adequacy of that waiting period.

HM Land Registry (HMLR) receives 120,000 applications per day, of which 95% are processed within the service standard of 5 days for register updates (to an existing title) and 25 days for more complex applications that require the creation of a new title (for example on the first registration of a property or a new lease). There is a backlog of some complex casework involving the creation of a new title, which account for 5% of applications.

HMLR recognise that this situation needs addressing and are implementing plans to reduce the waiting times for those cases. These applications relate to an already completed property transaction but HMLR will expedite cases where necessary to avoid adverse impacts on customers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what additional steps her Department has taken to increase the supply of renewable energy production.

This Government is committed to meeting net zero by 2050, and in 2019, the Government became the first major economy in the world to have legislated for a net zero target to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from across the UK economy by 2050. We agree with the Committee on Climate Change’s view on the importance of a diverse mix of power generation sources to achieve that with renewables providing the majority of our electricity by 2050 alongside firm low carbon power from sources such as nuclear, and gas or biomass generation with carbon capture and storage.

The Government has introduced many initiatives to increase the supply of renewable energy production in the UK and with this support, carbon emissions have reduced by 42%, while the economy has grown by 73% since 1990. We have also seen rapid deployment of solar PV over the last 8 years, with over 99% of the UK’s solar PV capacity deployed since May 2010 and half of the world’s offshore wind deploying in the UK. We have committed up to £557m of annual support for future Contracts for Difference, providing developers with the confidence they need to invest in bringing forward new projects and we are supporting our world-leading offshore wind industry through the 2019 sector deal.

In order to support smaller scale renewable electricity generation, the Government introduced the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) on 1 January, which gives small scale low-carbon electricity generators, such as homes with solar panels, the right to be paid for the renewable electricity they export to the grid. Unlike the previous Feed-in Tariff scheme, the SEG is a market-driven mechanism. It paves the way to projects being deployed without subsidies.

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) supports the transition to low-carbon heating in the UK, helping generate renewable heat for schools, hospitals and more than 12,000 social housing properties. The scheme is designed to bridge the gap between the cost of fossil fuel heat sources and renewable heat alternatives through financial support for owners of participating installations. The RHI helps to sustain and build the supply-chains needed to deliver our aspirations for renewable heat in 2020 and beyond

We are working to develop a new policy framework for the long-term decarbonisation of heat. We have committed to publishing a policy roadmap in summer 2020. This will set out the programme of work required to enable key strategic decisions in the first half of 2020 on how we achieve mass transition to low carbon heating.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether her Department plans to commission an independent review into the cost of energy.

The government plans to publish an Energy White Paper in 2020, which will address the transformation of the energy system in line with our net zero commitment and will set out the importance of affordable energy in support of a high productivity economy.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment her Department has made of the effect on people on low incomes of increasing the minimum top up amount on a prepayment meter; and whether she has had discussions with (a) British Gas and (b) other energy providers on such a change.

British Gas are introducing a minimum top up of £5 for most of their prepayment customers starting on 1 January. This is a commercial decision of British Gas. Although a £5 minimum top up is not uncommon practice amongst suppliers, there are many that offer a minimum top up of £1.

BEIS officials are liaising with Ofgem to confirm whether they were given prior notification of British Gas’ decision, and also that British Gas has met its obligation to treat customers fairly and ensure that each customer was provided with information about the assistance and advice that is available to them.

Customers are protected through the price caps on standard variable and prepayment meter tariffs. A key challenge now is for suppliers to put the consumer first and improve their customer service.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government has commissioned Deloitte to produce guidance for the creative sector on visas and work permits for EU member states.

This government recognises the importance of the UK’s creative and cultural industries, not only to the economy and international reputation of the United Kingdom, but also to the wellbeing and enrichment of its people.

The British people voted to take back control of our borders and end free movement with the EU in the 2016 referendum. That was a key part of the manifesto on which the Government won the 2019 election and is reflected in the agreement. It was inevitable therefore that there would be changes in the arrangements under which creative workers work in the EU.

UK performers, artists, and musicians are of course still able to tour and perform in the EU, and vice versa. As the Secretary of State has said, we have moved at pace and with urgency and have provided much greater clarity about the current position. We are committed to supporting the sectors as they get to grips with the changes to systems and processes. This includes the development of sector specific ‘landing pages’ for GOV.UK, aimed at the creative sectors, which will allow cultural and creative professionals to easily locate and access guidance that is relevant to them. We are also engaging directly with Member States to ensure their guidance on their visa and work permit requirements is clear and accessible.

Separately, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy commissioned Deloitte to provide enhanced guidance on EU Member State immigration systems for GOV.UK to help businesses navigate the new business travel rules, following the end of the Transition Period. The guidance is deliberately sector-neutral, but it does capture any mention of sector-specific rules that feature on Member State websites. So far, 15 country guides have been published, representing more than three quarters of UK services exports to the EU, Norway and Switzerland by value. The remainder will follow in the coming weeks.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government has commissioned Deloitte to produce guidance for the creative sector on visas and work permits for EU member states.

This government recognises the importance of the UK’s creative and cultural industries, not only to the economy and international reputation of the United Kingdom, but also to the wellbeing and enrichment of its people.

The British people voted to take back control of our borders and end free movement with the EU in the 2016 referendum. That was a key part of the manifesto on which the Government won the 2019 election and is reflected in the agreement. It was inevitable therefore that there would be changes in the arrangements under which creative workers work in the EU.

UK performers, artists, and musicians are of course still able to tour and perform in the EU, and vice versa. As the Secretary of State has said, we have moved at pace and with urgency and have provided much greater clarity about the current position. We are committed to supporting the sectors as they get to grips with the changes to systems and processes. This includes the development of sector specific ‘landing pages’ for GOV.UK, aimed at the creative sectors, which will allow cultural and creative professionals to easily locate and access guidance that is relevant to them. We are also engaging directly with Member States to ensure their guidance on their visa and work permit requirements is clear and accessible.

Separately, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy commissioned Deloitte to provide enhanced guidance on EU Member State immigration systems for GOV.UK to help businesses navigate the new business travel rules, following the end of the Transition Period. The guidance is deliberately sector-neutral, but it does capture any mention of sector-specific rules that feature on Member State websites. So far, 15 country guides have been published, representing more than three quarters of UK services exports to the EU, Norway and Switzerland by value. The remainder will follow in the coming weeks.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department undertook an assessment of the public health benefits of non-professional singing prior to publishing the covid-19 guidance that allows six people to sing together indoors.

I know that the restrictions on singing are frustrating to large numbers of amateur choirs and performance groups across the country and that many people have made sacrifices in order to drive down infections and protect the NHS over the last year. I am aware that singing can have great benefits for both physical and mental health. I can assure you that everyone across the government wants to ease these restrictions as soon as possible.

We will continue to keep guidance and restrictions under review, in line with the changing situation. Further detail on step 4 will be set out as soon as possible.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to increase participation in swimming and aquatics for black swimmers.

The Government is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in sport and physical activity, including swimming. Our strategy ‘Sporting Future’ sets out a clear ambition to increase levels of physical activity amongst under-represented groups, working closely with the sector to achieve this. We support the efforts of groups helping to promote diversity and inclusion in sport, including the Black Swimming Association who are working to increase swimming participation levels for black swimmers.

Sport England, DCMS's arm’s length body for grassroots sport in England, recently launched their new ten year strategy, Uniting the Movement. This reinforced their commitment to diversifying participation and tackling inequalities in sport and physical activity. Sport England have invested £12.6 million in Swim England to promote participation in swimming, including support for people from ethnically diverse backgrounds. Recently Swim England and the Black Swimming Association have announced a partnership to further increase numbers of participation in aquatic activity, which we welcome.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what correspondence the Government has had with the customs authorities of each EU Member State to ensure that border officials understand and uphold the exemption for musicians and accompanied instruments.

The EU’s customs legislation, the Union Customs Code, provides that relief from import duty can be given for portable musical instruments temporarily imported by travellers in order to be used as professional equipment, without the need to submit a formal customs declaration. The UK has an equivalent provision for similar movements into the UK. The management of EU import and export procedures are the responsibility of the customs authorities of the Member States. It is therefore important that individuals or businesses confirm the processes at their port of arrival and any conditions or procedures that may apply.

Officials in the Border and Protocol Delivery Group (BPDG) engage on a regular basis with the EU custom authorities. DCMS will continue to work with BPDG and the sector to engage with relevant customs authorities to address any issues facing musicians.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how each regulatory mechanism governing consumer-compensation schemes with respect to broadband service providers is monitored to ensure it is (a) accessible to and (b) practically functional for individual consumers.

To help protect telecoms consumers, the Government strengthened Ofcom’s powers through the Digital Economy Act 2017. As a result, in April 2019, Ofcom introduced a voluntary automatic compensation scheme for customers of broadband and landline services for when things go wrong, such as missed engineer appointments, delayed start of a service or delayed repairs. BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, Zen Internet, Utility Warehouse and Hyperoptic have all signed up to the scheme. The scheme is designed to help ensure customers receive appropriate redress when things go wrong and, over time, incentivise companies to improve their service.

Since its launch, Ofcom has been monitoring the scheme through regular engagement with the signatory companies, Openreach and with telecoms alternative dispute resolution providers. Under the voluntary agreement, signatories are also required to provide information to Ofcom, such as volumes of issues and the amounts of compensation paid. Following a review of the scheme in August 2020, Ofcom concluded that the scheme was launched successfully, that it covered around 80% of the broadband market, and that it had increased compensation payments to consumers where repairs or installations had been delayed.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that customers who have been identified as being of vulnerable or priority status under coronavirus guidance, and therefore in need of broadband services as critical infrastructure, are able to ensure prompt repair and resumption of their broadband services where those are suspended.

The Government recognises the importance of digital connectivity, particularly during this difficult period. For repairs, broadband providers are able to send new equipment to their consumers via postal delivery or using click and collect services, and telecoms engineers are able to visit residential properties to instal or fix broadband connections under the current Covid-19 guidelines.

More broadly, Ofcom has rules in place, known as general conditions, which all providers must follow, that mandate communication providers to have procedures and policies in place to identify and support vulnerable consumers. Under these industry rules, providers must provide a priority fault repair service for disabled consumers of landline, broadband and mobile services.

Ofcom has also recently published a vulnerability guide for providers, setting out their expectations and good practice on how vulnerable telecoms consumers should be supported. This includes steps providers can take to identify vulnerable consumers, and an expectation that all providers implement specialist teams in order to provide extra support for vulnerable consumers.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department is providing support to national museums on the furloughing of their staff under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

In accordance with the guidance issued by HM Revenue & Customs, the national museums - as publicly funded bodies - are expected to consult their sponsor department before applying to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. In recognition of their reliance on self-generated income which would normally supplement their Grant in Aid from government, DCMS has agreed that the national museums and galleries may furlough staff where it is necessary and proportionate to do so, and in such a way that ensures value for public money.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure Internet Service Providers promptly complete repair work to ensure a reliable internet connection.

To protect telecoms consumers the government has strengthened Ofcom’s powers through the Digital Economy Act 2017. As a result, in April 2019, Ofcom introduced a voluntary automatic compensation scheme for customers of broadband and landline services for when things go wrong, such as missed engineer appointments, delayed start of a service or delayed repairs. BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, Zen Internet, Utility Warehouse and Hyperoptic have all signed up to the scheme.

The scheme is designed to help ensure customers receive appropriate redress when things go wrong and, over time, incentivise companies to improve their service. Following a review of the scheme in August 2020 Ofcom concluded that the scheme was launched successfully, that it now covers around 80% of the broadband market and that it has increased compensation payments to consumers where repairs or installations had been delayed.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what additional funding his Department plans to make available to sports clubs to carry out additional cleaning of sports facilities required to restart outdoor club sports during the covid=-19 outbreak.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. It is important that sports clubs remain accessible for people from all backgrounds as we make efforts to return to normality after the Covid lockdown period.

Sport England have announced a £210 million package of support to help community clubs through this crisis.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what guidance he has published for amateur sports clubs to return safely during the covid-19 outbreak.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. It is important that sports clubs remain accessible for people from all backgrounds as we make efforts to return to normality after the Covid lockdown period.

Government guidance on team sports is available: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation/return-to-recreational-team-sport-framework#team-sport-guidance

Guidance on indoor sports is available: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/providers-of-grassroots-sport-and-gym-leisure-facilities

General guidance is available on line at :www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus

This guidance includes advice on existing rules on social distancing and hygiene, and updates on those rules when they change with the evolving situation.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the findings of the sport and leisure sector task force were in relation to soft play and indoor play centres; and when those centres will be allowed to re-open as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

On 13 August, the Government announced that indoor play and indoor soft play venues can open from 15 August. We have also been working with BALPPA, the trade body that represents the industry to develop guidance that lays out detailed measures that should be taken by indoor play and indoor soft play operators to make venues COVID-secure. These include closing ball pits and sensory areas, reducing capacity of venues and soft play frames, regular deep cleaning, pre-bookable timed sessions, increased sanitation, and a rigorous process to support track and trace. Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active and the Government is committed to reopening facilities as soon as it is safe to do so. Since 4 July other indoor facilities, including some indoor games, recreation and entertainment venues have reopened.


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

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with representatives from the swimming sector (a) ahead of and (b) following the decision not to allow swimming pools to reopen in the next phase of the easing of the covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The consideration of different venues and the activities involved are underpinned by understanding the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with particular activities.

We recognise the importance of re-opening our indoor and outdoor pools and we agree that swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy. There are concerns about transmission around points of contact within such facilities, like changing rooms due to the high volume of contacts. As such, we need to provide reassurance that these facilities will be safe, and are working hard to achieve this in the coming weeks.

We are holding regular discussions with representatives from the leisure sector and national sports organisations including swimming to develop guidance that will support them to open their facilities in a timely and safe manner once lockdown measures are eased.


The Government is actively working towards a safe way to re-open these facilities, with supporting guidance.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the continued closure of swimming pools during the covid-19 outbreak on people's physical and mental wellbeing.

We recognise the importance of re-opening our indoor and outdoor pools and agree that swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy both mentally and physically. We are holding regular discussions with representatives from the leisure sector and national sports organisations including swimming to develop guidance that will support them to open their facilities in a timely and safe manner once lockdown measures are eased.

The consideration of different venues and the activities involved are underpinned by understanding the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with particular activities. There are concerns about transmission around points of contact within such facilities, like changing rooms due to the high volume of contacts. As such, we need to provide reassurance that these facilities will be safe, and are working hard to achieve this in the coming weeks.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the continued closure of swimming pools on swimming pool operators.

We recognise the importance of re-opening our indoor and outdoor pools and agree that swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy both mentally and physically. We are holding regular discussions with representatives from the leisure sector and national sports organisations including swimming to develop guidance that will support them to open their facilities in a timely and safe manner once lockdown measures are eased.

The consideration of different venues and the activities involved are underpinned by understanding the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with particular activities. There are concerns about transmission around points of contact within such facilities, like changing rooms due to the high volume of contacts. As such, we need to provide reassurance that these facilities will be safe, and are working hard to achieve this in the coming weeks.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the scientific advice the Government received to support the decision not to reopen swimming pools.

The consideration of different venues and the activities involved are underpinned by understanding the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with particular activities.

We recognise the importance of re-opening our indoor and outdoor pools and we agree that swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy. There are concerns about transmission around points of contact within such facilities, like changing rooms due to the high volume of contacts. As such, we need to provide reassurance that these facilities will be safe, and are working hard to achieve this in the coming weeks.

The Government is actively working towards a safe way to re-open these facilities, with supporting guidance.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the level of support required by BAME charities working to support people in Hornsey and Wood Green constituency who are being disproportionately affected by covid-19.

BAME charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises play a vital role in supporting communities throughout the country. Their work has become even more critical in the response to this unprecedented crisis.

Government recognises that organisations require extra support in order to continue their vital work while experiencing significant pressures due to Covid-19, through either, or both, a loss of income and increasing demand for services increases.

This is why the government has made an unprecedented £750 million package of support available, specifically for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. The Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF) forms a central part of this package, and is being administered through the National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF). £200 million has now been made available for TNLCF to distribute and they are engaging extensively with BAME organisations to improve the reach of the Fund.

A diverse advisory panel has been set up to assist in the distribution process for the Fund. DCMS will continue to work closely to assess how we can support BAME charities and social enterprises in doing their important work. The Minister for Civil Society holds a fortnightly roundtable to hear directly from BAME civil society organisations to highlight concerns and responses to Covid-19. DCMS will continue to work closely to assess how we can support BAME charities and social enterprises in doing their important work.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when his Department plans to allow the reopening of outside gyms and sport pitches following their closure in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active and the Government is committed to reopening facilities, including outside gyms and sport pitches as soon as it is safe to do so.

We are holding regular discussions with representatives from across the sport sector to develop guidance that will support them to open their facilities in a timely and safe manner once lockdown measures are eased.

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

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the creative industries following the covid-19 lockdown.

We appreciate that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to many of DCMS’ sectors including the creative industries, which is why the Government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency.

DCMS is engaging with a range of departments to support the economic response, and ensuring that the needs of its sectors, and those who work in them, are fully understood. DCMS will continue to work with these valuable sectors to understand the difficulties they face and help them access support through these challenging times and through recovery.

To ensure we are assisting all our sectors as effectively as possible, regular ministerially-chaired roundtables are held with business representative organisations as well as trade associations from across the Creative Industries. In addition, officials are in regular contact with stakeholders from these sectors, and we continue to speak with HM Treasury colleagues to ensure that the full spectrum of government support reaches the UK's world-leading media and Creative Industries.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support his Department provides to Leisure Trusts that are not eligible for the covid-19 business support schemes introduced by the Government.

The Government is aware of the financial challenges that the leisure sector is facing and is in discussions with sector representatives and local authorities to explore what additional support is needed.

As set out on 1 May, the Government is making a further £617m available through a Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund to support small businesses previously outside the scope of existing business grant funding schemes. Grants up to a maximum of £25,000 will be available and the allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities.

Through Sport England, DCMS has made available a £210m package of support to the sport and physical activity sector to support it through the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes a £35m Community Emergency Fund to support organisations suffering immediate financial hardship.
Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department plans to take to enable the timely reopening of swimming pools after the covid-19 lockdown is lifted.

On 11 May, the government published updated guidance on lockdown measures, including updates on how people can be active in outdoor spaces and on outdoor sports courts as long as they participate by themselves, or with members from their same household, or two metres apart from one member of another household.

The government has made it clear that it will adopt a phased approach based on scientific and medical advice, and that the primary goal is to protect public health. The government is in discussions with representatives from the sport and physical activity sector about the steps required to restart grassroots sport and will update the public when it is deemed safe to open up indoor facilities such as swimming pools, leisure centres and gyms.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of swimming pool closures on people that cannot exercise on land as a result of health conditions.

It is vital that people continue to be active throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to support their physical and mental wellbeing. It is also important that those people who have to overcome specific barriers to getting active are supported as far as possible to continue to engage in activity.

The Government has not undertaken a specific assessment of the effect of swimming pool closure on this group of people. However, Sport England is gathering data on the impact of lockdown restrictions on different demographic groups via a weekly survey. It has also launched its ‘Join the Movement’ campaign which provides resources and tips via its #stayinworkout hub on how people can access activities that best meet their needs whilst maintaining social distancing.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing financial support for football league teams in the event that they play matches without fans as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Football clubs are the heart of local communities, they have unique social value and many with a great history.

We will continue to liaise closely with the sector as the situation develops.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what information his Department held on the Rugby Football Union’s plans to reduce funding for championship clubs; and what steps he is taking to help ensure the viability of club rugby.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport does not hold any information on the Rugby Football Union’s (RFU) plans to reduce funding for championship clubs. The stewardship of rugby union in England is the responsibility of the RFU, as the National Governing Body for the sport. The Government expects good governance from all our sports bodies, as set out in the sports governance code.

Through Sport England, government has invested £11.53m into grassroots rugby union in the three years to 2018/19. This includes investment in both the RFU as the national governing body for the sport, together with investment in specific community rugby union projects. Over this time period, Sport England has invested a further £12.61m in multi-sport projects where rugby union is one of the sports benefitting.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to tackle ticket-touting in sport.

We are committed to cracking down on unacceptable behaviour in the ticketing market and improving fans’ chances of buying tickets at a reasonable price. We have strengthened the existing ticketing information requirement in the Consumer Rights Act 2015, and have introduced a new criminal offence of using automated software to buy more tickets online than that allowed.

We support the work of enforcement agencies in this area, such as the Competition and Markets Authority, National Trading Standards, and the advertising industry's own regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority.

Recent announcements of enforcement action by these agencies demonstrate that we are prepared to go after those who flout the law or abuse the ticketing market.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of his Department's spending was allocated to grassroots sport in each year from 2010.

Between April 2010 and March 2019, The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has provided over £870m in Exchequer funding to Sport England, the arms-length body of government responsible for investing in and supporting grassroots sport in England. The table below provides a year-by-year breakdown.

Sport England Grant-In-Aid/Funding

Year

Outturn £'000

2010/11

£121,389

2011/12

£97,571

2012/13

£99,814

2013/14

£88,634

2014/15

£83,044

2015/16

£93,885

2016/17

£105,649

2017/18

£81,343

2018/19

£98,765

Details of DCMS's Exchequer funding to other policy areas can be found in the department's annual reports which are available online.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of his Department's work is dedicated to sport.

At 31 December 2019 DCMS employed 1,264 Civil Servants, 50 of whom worked directly on projects relating to sport. A significant number of staff cannot be directly linked to digital, culture, media or sport as they are either part of the corporate centre (e.g Finance and HR), part of cross-cutting teams working across multiple policy areas (e.g the department’s Central Analytical Team) or part of teams which aren’t directly linked to any of these areas (e.g. the Office for Civil Society and the Gambling team).

This information relates to Civil Servants on DCMS’ payroll. This includes permanent staff, those on fixed-term contracts, those on paid loan/secondment in/out of DCMS and those on paid maternity leave. DCMS also sponsors a number of Arms Length Bodies (ALBs) which work on projects related to sport, including Sport England, the Birmingham Organising Committee for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Sports Grounds Safety Authority, UK Anti-Doping, and UK Sport. Their total staff numbers are as follows:

Sport England

289

Birmingham Organising Committee for the 2022 Commonwealth Games

117

Sports Grounds Safety Authority

20

UK Anti-Doping

76

UK Sport

151

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to introduce safe-standing at football stadia in the event that the Sports Ground Safety Authority review makes that recommendation.

As set out in our manifesto, the government is already committed to work with fans and clubs towards introducing safe standing. To deliver this we will be relying upon the expertise of the Sports Grounds Safety Authority to ensure existing levels of safety are maintained, and I welcome the latest findings from research they have commissioned in this area.

Over a million people watch live football at a ground every week, and this an issue many feel passionately about, but it is imperative that watching football continues to be safe. The SGSA will continue to gather evidence over the remainder of this season and work with the relevant authorities, clubs and fans to deliver our commitments.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics on levels of grassroots sport participation.

Government commissioned an independent consortium to carry out a meta-evaluation of the benefits of London 2012. These reports are published on GOV.UK (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/london-2012-meta-evaluation) and cover a broad range of research areas such as grassroots sport participation economic benefits, sustainability standards and the impact on volunteering.

Government, in conjunction with the Mayor of London, published four annual reports on legacy between 2013 and 2016. These described legacy benefits in the areas of sport and physical activity, economic impact, communities, East London regeneration and the impact from the Paralympics. Again, these reports are available on GOV.UK via https://www.gov.uk/society-and-culture/2012-olympic-and-paralympic-legacy.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to increase levels of cycling.

Government is committed to making sure that everyone regardless of ability or background feels able to take part in sport and physical activity. Government’s Sporting Future strategy committed to increasing levels of physical activity regardless of the type of sport or activity.

Over 2017-21, through Sport England, government is investing over £17m in British Cycling to support the growth of grassroots cycling and cycling talent.

Since 2017, Sport England has separately invested more than £4.5m directly in grassroots cycling projects to support the growth of cycling at local level.

Government is also investing up to £15m in off-road cycling facilities to help drive a legacy from the 2019 UCI Road World Cycling Championships held in Yorkshire.

Almost £2 billion is projected to be invested in cycling and walking infrastructure over the 5 years from 2016/17 to 2020/21, and spending in England has doubled from £3.50 per head to around £7 per head over the current Spending Review period.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has undertaken an impact assessment on the effect on older people of the decision by the BBC to end the red button service; and what representations he has made to the BBC on this decision.

The BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the government; therefore, the government has no role in deciding whether BBC services, such as the BBC Red Button teletext service, should be continued.

It is the BBC’s responsibility to assess the potential effect of the closure of the BBC Red Button service on older people. The Government welcomes the BBC's decision to pause the closure of the Red Button service, ahead of its review of the impact of the closure on the most vulnerable including the elderly, and deaf and blind licence fee payers.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to help older people manage the increasing reliance on technology in society.

Government is committed to helping elderly people acquire basic digital skills.

Through the £400,000 Digital Inclusion Innovation Fund, the Government is supporting projects aimed at addressing the digital exclusion of older and disabled people. One pilot, led by Uttlesford Council for Voluntary Service, is developing “smart homes” for elderly people to improve their digital skills, supported by their peers and younger ‘digital buddies’.

Government funds the Future Digital Inclusion programme delivered through Online Centres based in libraries and other community spaces. This supports some of the hardest to reach groups in society, including older people. Over the last five years, the programme has supported over 1.3 million adult learners to engage with digital technology and develop their basic digital skills in community settings.

Libraries are a vital source of advice and support on digital skills. Government invested £2.6m to enable 99% of libraries in England to offer free wifi to users; and older people can also gain access and support in using computers and other technology.

Government ensures its services are accessible by design and for the services it provides, has committed to ensuring that assistance is always available for those who are not online. Government departments are mandated to provide assisted digital (offline) support for their services where it is required.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has had discussions with Premier League football teams on paying the living wage to their employees.

The National Living Wage is the statutory minimum wage for those aged 25 and over, and the Government is committed to ensuring that everyone entitled to the National Living Wage receives it.

It is up to individual businesses to decide whether they would like to pay employees under the age of 25, the National Living Wage.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support his Department has provided to LGBT+ football fans in relation to tackling homophobia in that sport.

Homophobia or any form of discrimination has no place in football or society, and we want sport to be at the forefront of promoting equality.

On 15 January, I met with the Football Association and discussed their progress on combatting discrimination in football, including their work improving reporting mechanisms at grassroots levels. Whilst progress has been made, there is still more to do and we will be calling in all the footballing authorities for a further update about their work on this important issue.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport supports the work of Sport England (our national sport council) with the national governing bodies of individual sports and sport organisations on anti-homophobia initiatives aimed at encouraging inclusion, for example Stonewall's Rainbow Laces Campaign. Government is determined to show support for LGBT+ equality and inclusivity in sport, on and off the pitch.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Department has made an assessment of the adequacy of the powers of the Gambling Regulator.

The Gambling Commission has broad and flexible powers to set licence conditions and take action where there is evidence of harm, including the power to suspend or revoke a licence, impose financial penalties or prosecute criminal offences.

The Government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. We will announce further details in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to increase participation by people with disabilities in sport.

Government recognises the great importance of sport and physical activity for disabled people who take part, at both the grassroots and elite levels. Government’s strategy for sport and physical activity, ‘Sporting Future: A New Strategy for An Active Nation’, aims to create a more physically active nation, where people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy the benefits that sport and physical activity can provide. The strategy focuses on people in groups that are currently less likely to take part in sport and physical activity, which includes disabled people.

Sport England, our national sport council, invests in programmes that help disabled people get active and make sport more inclusive of their needs. They also ensure that programmes for disabled people are included across each of their investment programmes. Since 2016 they have invested almost £40m to support disabled people to get more active.


On 27 January I made a statement announcing our decision to add all future Paralympic Games to Ofcom’s list of “protected” sport events, meaning the Games will remain free to watch, rather than be subject to a subscription service or be paid for. This will enable the Games to reach the widest possible audience, and aims to increase visibility of para-sports globally. The full statement is available to read here: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2020-01-27/HCWS66/.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to help increase the participation of children in sport.

The School Sport and Activity Action Plan sets out our commitment to ensuring that all children and young people have access to at least 60 minutes of high quality PE and physical activity every day. We are working closely with the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care and will publish more detail on our ambitious plans later this year.

I regularly meet with Sport England who are investing over £190m into physical activity for children and young people over 2017-2021. This includes programmes such as the £40m Families Fund, which encourages low-income families with children to do sport and physical activity together. Sport England is also investing up to £125m to improve sports facilities across England.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the effect of in-game betting on the development of gambling problems among children and young people.

The Government is aware of concerns that entertainment products, such as some video games, could encourage gambling-like behaviour. We have committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age, and to consider concerns about loot boxes. We will announce further details in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle homophobia in sport.

The government recognises that there is no place for homophobia or any other kind of discrimination in sport. The government’s sport strategy ‘Sporting Future’ set out our intention to encourage as many people and groups to enjoy sport as participants, spectators and in the workforce, including the LGBT community.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport supports the work of Sport England (our national sport council) with the national governing bodies of individual sports and LGBT-focused sport organisations on anti-homophobia initiatives aimed at encouraging inclusion, for example Stonewall's Rainbow Laces Campaign.

Sport England have also commissioned Pride Sports to produce an in-depth report looking at barriers to LGBT participation including volunteering, provision, and attitudes and behaviours. This will also include a comprehensive look at LGBT participation, and a report on LGBT sport infrastructure across the country. Following this Sport England will consider what further steps could be taken to support LGBT participation.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle racism in sport.

The government is clear that racism has no place in sport or society at large. The sport and physical activity strategy ‘Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation’ has diversity and inclusion at its heart. Government remains supportive of a number of anti-racism initiatives that work with sports bodies from grassroots to the elite, including Show Racism the Red Card and Kick it Out.

Over the past year the government has led debates in the House of Commons on tackling racism in sport (on 22nd May 2019 and 12th July 2019), and hosted an Anti-Racism Summit in February 2019. This led to the three main English football organisations making clear commitments to tackle racism in football stadia from July 2019. The Sports Minister met with the FA last week and discussed their progress in delivering against these commitments, and will be calling in all the footballing authorities for a further update about their work on this important issue. Further to these commitments, ministers and officials continue to speak to the FA and relevant football bodies to explore what more can be done.

Grassroots sport clubs receive support in tackling racism from our national sport council, Sport England, who provide free support and learning in running a club through its "Club Matters" programme.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if her Department will undertake a trial of safe standing areas in football stadia in England for the next football season.

We are working with the football authorities and supporters’ groups to deliver the government’s commitment to move towards introducing areas of standing in football stadia currently subject to the all-seater policy. I will be setting out the government’s next steps once I have considered the findings of the independent research commissioned by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority into the management of standing at football, the associated safety risks, and how these can be mitigated.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to enable a fan-led review into football club ownership and management.

Football clubs are the heart of local communities, they have unique social value and many with a great history. It is vital they are protected and fans should have their voices heard.

We have committed to a fan led review of football governance, which will include consideration of the Owners’ and Directors’ test. I recently met with the EFL to discuss the progress of their own review into club governance and we will take this into account as we decide the scope and structure of a government review.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the transmission of covid-19 in (a) schools and (b) other education settings through increased ventilation.

The Department is working closely with Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector, to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, and to continue to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE supported system of controls.

The Department continues to review the ventilation requirements in the system of controls including considering whether monitoring Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels would be appropriate. We are working with the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and NHS Test and Trace on a pilot project to measure CO2 levels in typical classrooms to enable us to provide more nuanced guidance to the sector. We will continue to consider updating our guidance as results from this pilot project emerge.

Current evidence recommends that the way to control COVID-19 is the same, even with the current new variants. The PHE supported system of controls which have been in use throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, which includes ventilation, continue to be the right measures to take.

PHE keeps all these controls under review, based on the latest evidence. Schools and colleges therefore need to continue to implement these controls. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/education-and-childcare. Additional guidance from the Health and Safety Executive on air conditioning and ventilation during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation/index.htm.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the levels of sexual harassment and assault at universities; and what steps he is taking to tackle that matter.

Any form of harassment, violence or sexual assault is abhorrent and unacceptable anywhere in society, including in our universities which should be safe and inclusive environments. The government urges university leaders to ensure a zero-tolerance approach to all harassment and sexual misconduct and improve the systems for reporting incidents.

Higher education (HE) providers have clear responsibilities, including under the Equality Act 2010, and should have robust policies and procedures in place to comply with the law, and to investigate and swiftly address reports of sexual misconduct. Any student who feels that their complaint has not been dealt with appropriately or satisfactorily can escalate their complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education. Students also can and should inform the police if they believe the law has been broken. The government expects providers to support students in making a decision about the way forward, including whether to make a report to the police.

It is important that providers break down barriers to reporting and that students feel safe and able to report incidents of sexual harassment and sexual violence. The government urges HE providers to collect comprehensive accurate data on harassment incidents, and continue to break down barriers to reporting, in spite of the potential for this to lead to initial spikes in reported instances.

The Office for Students (OfS) statement of expectations on harassment and sexual misconduct was published on 19 April 2021 and is a useful tool for providers, who should ensure their policies and processes reflect the expectations set out within the statement. As part of its next steps on harassment and hate crime, the OfS has indicated that it will consider options for connecting the statement of expectations to its conditions of registration.

The government has been working with and through the OfS and Universities UK (UUK) in recent years to improve the way the HE sector tackles sexual harassment and misconduct in HE. The department holds regular meetings with UUK and the OfS specifically on matters of sexual harassment and misconduct in HE, including in relation to progress on the implementation of the recommendations of the UUK 2016 Changing the Culture Framework. This framework was published by the UUK Harassment and Hate Crime Taskforce, which was set up in September 2015 at the government’s request.

Since 2016, a total investment of £4.7 million, match funded by HE providers, has been invested by the OfS and its predecessor, funding 119 safeguarding projects. £2.45 million of this was given to 63 projects specifically focused on tackling sexual and gender-based violence in higher education.

Despite these efforts, evidence (including testimonials on the Everyone’s Invited website) demonstrates that a significant change is still needed. The government is deeply concerned to see the disturbing testimonies which reference experiences within HE settings. The government will continue to work closely with the sector and its regulator, the OfS, to ensure students feel safe within HE providers, and that providers have robust policies and procedures in place to address incidents.

The government remains committed to working with the sector to prevent and tackle sexual harassment and assault.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department (a) has taken and (b) is planning to take to ensure that school children have adequate access to physical education as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased and children have returned to in-person teaching.

Physical Education (PE) plays a key role in pupils’ physical and mental wellbeing. It is a foundation subject in the National Curriculum at all four key stages and we expect schools to teach it to all pupils as part of a broad and balanced curriculum.

During COVID-19 restrictions schools have the flexibility to decide how PE will be provided to pupils whilst following their measures of control. The Department’s guidance sets out how schools can continue to provide PE, including making it clear that indoor lessons are allowed. It also signposts advice from the Association for Physical Education and the Youth Sport Trust is supporting schools to adapt the teaching of PE. Remote physical education lessons are also available from Oak National Academy.

We are also working closely with Swim England and Royal Life Saving Society UK to support schools to continue to provide swimming and water safety lessons for their pupils, which is a compulsory part of the primary PE national curriculum.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department will publish specific covid-19 guidance on residential school trips.

Schools are advised against all educational visits at this time. The Department is working on advice for schools, nurseries and colleges on the planning and booking of residential trips when it is safe to do so and in line with the Government’s roadmap to recovery, as set out in: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021. The advice will be published shortly.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 20 January 2021 to Question 137261, whether the Government plans to publish further guidance on this matter; and whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential effect of interest-payable loans as a barrier to Muslim students.

The government remains committed to ensuring that all individuals with the potential to benefit can access higher education and will provide an update on Alternative Student Finance in due course.

The government undertook equalities assessments on access to student finance for individuals of Muslim faith in November 2015 when introducing regulations to move from a system of maintenance grants to loans. Further analysis was published in May 2016 during the passage of the Higher Education and Research Bill. The assessments can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/482110/bis-15-639-student-finance-equality-analysis.pdf and https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/524226/bis-16-281-he-research-bill-equality-analysis.pdf.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent guidance his Department has published on the status of young carers during the covid-19 outbreak; what steps his Department is taking to help support the identification of pupils who are young carers; and what steps he is taking to ensure that support is accessible to young carers.

The Department for Education will do whatever it can to make sure no child – whatever their background or location – falls behind as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We know that young carers may be particularly vulnerable during this time, and ensuring that vulnerable children and young people remain protected is our top priority

Educational settings remain open and safe for vulnerable children and young people. The definition of vulnerable children and young people includes those who have been assessed as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who are therefore in need of continued education provision – including young carers amongst others. Local authority duties to assess the needs of young carers, under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, remain unchanged.

The government has provided over £11 million to the See, Hear, Respond programme, to support vulnerable children and young people whose usual support networks have been impacted by the outbreak, including young carers as a target group. The programme provides a range of support, including online counselling and helping children and young people stay connected with school.

The government announced £1 billion of catch-up funding to support children and young people. This includes a £650 million catch-up premium for the 2020/2021 academic year to ensure that schools have the support they need to help all pupils make up for lost teaching time and a £350 million National Tutoring Programme to support those children and young people who need it the most.

Additionally, the ongoing £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return training programme, offered to every school and college in England, is helping support pupil wellbeing, resilience and recovery in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. The training supports staff working in schools and colleges to respond to the additional pressures some children and young people may be feeling as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is in addition to requirements set out in statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ for school designated safeguarding leads to undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills to carry out their role, including a good understanding and alertness to the needs of young carers. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

The government has continued to support unpaid carers by providing funding to Carers UK to: extend their support phoneline; provide funding to the Carers Trust to make onward grants to provide support to unpaid carers experiencing loneliness during the COVID-19 outbreak; work with the Social Care Institute for Excellence to publish guidance on reopening day services which we know provide important respite to carers; ensure unpaid carers can continue to claim Carer’s Allowance if they need to self-isolate and recognised time providing emotional support as part of the 35 hours a week Carer’s Allowance care threshold.

The government has published guidance for both schools and local authorities on how best to support families and protect vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak, alongside guidance for young people with caring responsibilities. The guidance includes information on how and where they can get help and support, including encouraging them to speak to someone they trust at their school or college, like a teacher or school nurse, about their caring responsibilities and how this might affect them.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what training is provided to teachers and school staff to identify and support pupils who are young carers; and whether such training is mandatory.

The Department for Education will do whatever it can to make sure no child – whatever their background or location – falls behind as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We know that young carers may be particularly vulnerable during this time, and ensuring that vulnerable children and young people remain protected is our top priority

Educational settings remain open and safe for vulnerable children and young people. The definition of vulnerable children and young people includes those who have been assessed as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who are therefore in need of continued education provision – including young carers amongst others. Local authority duties to assess the needs of young carers, under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, remain unchanged.

The government has provided over £11 million to the See, Hear, Respond programme, to support vulnerable children and young people whose usual support networks have been impacted by the outbreak, including young carers as a target group. The programme provides a range of support, including online counselling and helping children and young people stay connected with school.

The government announced £1 billion of catch-up funding to support children and young people. This includes a £650 million catch-up premium for the 2020/2021 academic year to ensure that schools have the support they need to help all pupils make up for lost teaching time and a £350 million National Tutoring Programme to support those children and young people who need it the most.

Additionally, the ongoing £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return training programme, offered to every school and college in England, is helping support pupil wellbeing, resilience and recovery in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. The training supports staff working in schools and colleges to respond to the additional pressures some children and young people may be feeling as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is in addition to requirements set out in statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ for school designated safeguarding leads to undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills to carry out their role, including a good understanding and alertness to the needs of young carers. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

The government has continued to support unpaid carers by providing funding to Carers UK to: extend their support phoneline; provide funding to the Carers Trust to make onward grants to provide support to unpaid carers experiencing loneliness during the COVID-19 outbreak; work with the Social Care Institute for Excellence to publish guidance on reopening day services which we know provide important respite to carers; ensure unpaid carers can continue to claim Carer’s Allowance if they need to self-isolate and recognised time providing emotional support as part of the 35 hours a week Carer’s Allowance care threshold.

The government has published guidance for both schools and local authorities on how best to support families and protect vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak, alongside guidance for young people with caring responsibilities. The guidance includes information on how and where they can get help and support, including encouraging them to speak to someone they trust at their school or college, like a teacher or school nurse, about their caring responsibilities and how this might affect them.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether data is collected on local authority allocation of (a) training dedicated to safeguarding children with acute mental health conditions and (b) other training for foster parents.

The Department for Education does not collect data on local authority allocation of training.

The government provides a range of guidance on safeguarding children and for foster parents and agencies, including:

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department is providing to young carers while schools are closed during the covid-19 lockdown.

The Department for Education will do whatever it can to make sure no child – whatever their background or location – falls behind as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We know that young carers may be particularly vulnerable during this time, and ensuring that vulnerable children and young people remain protected is our top priority

Educational settings remain open and safe for vulnerable children and young people. The definition of vulnerable children and young people includes those who have been assessed as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who are therefore in need of continued education provision – including young carers amongst others. Local authority duties to assess the needs of young carers, under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, remain unchanged.

The government has provided over £11 million to the See, Hear, Respond programme, to support vulnerable children and young people whose usual support networks have been impacted by the outbreak, including young carers as a target group. The programme provides a range of support, including online counselling and helping children and young people stay connected with school.

The government announced £1 billion of catch-up funding to support children and young people. This includes a £650 million catch-up premium for the 2020/2021 academic year to ensure that schools have the support they need to help all pupils make up for lost teaching time and a £350 million National Tutoring Programme to support those children and young people who need it the most.

Additionally, the ongoing £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return training programme, offered to every school and college in England, is helping support pupil wellbeing, resilience and recovery in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. The training supports staff working in schools and colleges to respond to the additional pressures some children and young people may be feeling as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is in addition to requirements set out in statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ for school designated safeguarding leads to undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills to carry out their role, including a good understanding and alertness to the needs of young carers. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

The government has continued to support unpaid carers by providing funding to Carers UK to: extend their support phoneline; provide funding to the Carers Trust to make onward grants to provide support to unpaid carers experiencing loneliness during the COVID-19 outbreak; work with the Social Care Institute for Excellence to publish guidance on reopening day services which we know provide important respite to carers; ensure unpaid carers can continue to claim Carer’s Allowance if they need to self-isolate and recognised time providing emotional support as part of the 35 hours a week Carer’s Allowance care threshold.

The government has published guidance for both schools and local authorities on how best to support families and protect vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak, alongside guidance for young people with caring responsibilities. The guidance includes information on how and where they can get help and support, including encouraging them to speak to someone they trust at their school or college, like a teacher or school nurse, about their caring responsibilities and how this might affect them.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of to what extent the interest payable on student loans is a potential barrier to Muslim students.

The government assessed the merits of a sharia-compliant alternative finance product, including the views of students and other stakeholders, as part of the response to the consultation published in September 2014. The consultation response is at the link below:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/349899/bis-14-984-government-response-to-a-consultation-on-a-sharia-compliant-alternative-finance-product.pdf.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase funding in retrofit skills as part of the Government’s National Skills Fund.

The new Green Jobs Taskforce, which was launched on 12 November 2020, has been set up to help the UK build back greener and deliver the skilled workforce needed to reach net zero emissions by 2050. This is a joint initiative between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Education. Working with employers and relevant stakeholders, the Taskforce will develop an action plan to support 2 million good-quality, green jobs and the skills needed by 2030, supporting the UK to transition to a net zero economy and deliver a green recovery.

The Taskforce, which also includes members from the construction and retrofit sectors such as the Construction Industry Training Board and Retrofit Works, will represent views of businesses, employees and the skills sector. Involvement in this work will not be limited only to Taskforce members, and there will be opportunities for a wider set of stakeholders, including the private sector, to contribute.

Investment from the National Skills Fund will support the government’s commitment to green jobs. Starting this year, the government is investing £2.5 billion (£3 billion, when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations) in the National Skills Fund. This is a significant investment and has the potential to deliver new opportunities to generations of adults who may have been previously left behind.

From the National Skills Fund, we are investing £95 million over the current spending review period to support any adult aged 24 and over who want to achieve their first full level 3 qualification – equivalent to 2 A levels, or a technical certificate or diploma – to access nearly 400 fully funded courses. The offer includes a range of qualifications that are valuable across the economy in multiple sectors (for example, digital skills, accountancy and engineering skills).

There are specific qualifications included on the course list which will contribute to developing retrofitting skills (for example, a diploma in Installing Electrotechnical Systems and Equipment or a diploma in Engineering Construction Lifting, Positioning and Installing Structures, Plant and Equipment).

Through the National Skills Fund we have also introduced the Skills Bootcamps, which are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving adults aged 19 and over the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer.

From April 2021 we are investing a further £43 million through the National Skills Fund to support this expansion of Skills Bootcamps in England. This will enable us to assist employers across England to fill their in-demand vacancies and we anticipate training upwards of 25,000 individuals. The Bootcamps were initially focused on digital skills but are now being expanded to also cover technical skills training, including engineering and construction.

The training undertaken by adults completing relevant Skills Bootcamps courses can help adults gain the skills required to work towards further training and employment in retrofitting. Furthermore, education providers and employers can put forward bids as part of our technical skills bootcamps to establish a bootcamp with the aim of training people in retrofit skills.

These level 3 and Skills Bootcamps offers will be followed by other investments from the National Skills Fund over the course of this Parliament. The government plans to consult on the National Skills Fund in spring 2021 to ensure that we develop a fund that helps adults learn valuable skills and prepares them for the economy of the future.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to ensure transparency and accountability in the use that schools make of their allocation of the £650 million catch-up premium.

The Government has announced a catch-up package worth £1 billion, including a Catch up Premium worth a total of £650 million, to support schools to make up for lost teaching time. Head teachers have discretion over how to use this funding to best support the needs of their pupils, but we expect them to prioritise those who need the most catch up support. The Catch up Premium guidance is clear that schools should ensure that they provide appropriate transparency for parents in terms of how the premium is spent. The guidance can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-catch-up-premium.

Schools are held accountable for the outcomes they achieve with all their funding, including through Ofsted inspections and by governors and trustees, and this will be no exception.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of postponing the return of the school term in January 2021 in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

A new national lockdown has come into effect and schools should only allow vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to attend face to face education. All other pupils will be taught remotely.

We know that receiving face to face education is best for children’s mental health and for their educational achievement, and we will review the restrictions on schools to ensure that children and young people return to face to face education as soon as the pressures on the NHS are easing. Limiting attendance at this time is about reducing the number of contacts that people have with other households, given the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and the intense pressure on the NHS.

For those pupils and staff still attending school, the system of protective measures that we have asked schools to implement continues to mean that any risks are well managed and controlled.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether national standards have been set for local authorities to ensure that foster parents receive comprehensive training in supporting children with complex mental health needs.

Fostering can be hugely rewarding, but also challenging, demanding skills and dedication. The statutory framework and National Minimum Standards (NMS) clearly set out that all foster carers must receive the training and development they need to carry out their role effectively. The NMS are available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/192705/NMS_Fostering_Services.pdf.

Under NMS 6, there is an expectation that fostering services will promote the physical, emotional, and psychological health of children in foster care and NMS 20 covers the requirements around training and development of foster carers. These are essential for placement stability, and foster carers should receive the right training to meet the needs of the children in their care. They should have access to different or new training to develop their skills as need arises before and during placement. The Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care (TSD) sets out the minimum expectations of training for foster carers, and is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/287957/TSD_standards_guidance_for_supervisors.pdf. It is up to local fostering services to determine what training they offer, to whom and when, but information about that offer should be available to all foster carers.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of allowing private music lessons to take place in teachers' homes during the covid-19 outbreak.

As outlined in the guidance for education and childcare settings on new national restrictions from 5 November, out-of-school activities such as private tuition may continue to operate during the period of national restrictions. However, providers of these activities who are operating out of their own homes or private studios, should ensure they are only being accessed for face-to-face provision by parents if their primary purpose is registered childcare, or where they are providing other activities for children, where it is reasonably necessary to enable parents to work or search for work, or to undertake training or education; or for the purposes of respite care. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-and-childcare-settings-new-national-restrictions-from-5-november-2020#ooss.

Out-of-school activities that are primarily used by home educating parents as part of their arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full-time education, which could include private tutors, may also continue to operate for face-to-face provision for the duration of the national restrictions.

Tutors that continue to operate face-to-face provision during this period should continue to undertake risk assessments and implement the system of controls set out in the protective measures for holiday clubs and after-school clubs and other out-of-school clubs for children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak guidance, available here: 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/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Providers operating out of other people’s homes should also implement the guidance on working safely in other people’s homes, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/homes.

All other out of school activities, not being primarily used by parents for these purposes and that can offer remote education, should close for face-to-face provision for the duration of the national restrictions. This will minimise the amount of mixing between different groups of people and therefore reduce the risk of infection and transmission of the virus.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance he is providing to primary schools on enabling prospective parents to visit those schools in advance of school admissions deadlines during the covid-19 outbreak.

Local authorities are required, through the School Admissions Code and the School Information (England) Regulations 2008, to provide parents with information about all schools in their area ahead of application deadlines, through publishing a composite prospectus.

Traditionally, schools have also held open events and arranged visits for prospective parents in the autumn term. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, schools have also had to consider how to minimise the risk of transmission of the virus.

On 2 July, we published guidance to help schools prepare for all pupils to return to school full time from the beginning of the autumn term. This guidance can be viewed at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

This sets out a framework for school leaders to put in place a range of proportionate protective measures for children, staff and visitors. These include minimising contacts between groups and maintaining safe distance where possible; encouraging regular handwashing; and enhanced cleaning. As a result, face to face open events and visits are unlikely to be possible and schools are considering alternatives.

The provision of information to parents remains an important part of enabling them to make an informed choice about the schools they wish their children to attend.

The Department is aware that many schools have worked creatively to do this, but if a school does decide to hold a face to face event it is essential that a risk assessment is carried out and appropriate control measures are put in place, in line with the guidance.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his Department's average reply time has been for ministerial letters in each of the last five months.

The Department for Education aims to respond to all ministerial correspondence within 18 days of receipt. Due to the increase in correspondence received since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the average reply time (in working days) for ministerial letters due during each month from April to August this year exceeds the 18-day target, as set out in the table below:

Month Due

Average Days to Respond

April

32

May

36

June

33

July

45

August

36

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage schools to reopen their outdoor sports facilities in the evenings and weekends for (a) their own students and (b) external sports clubs.

It is important that children continue to remain fit and active and take part in the 60 minutes of daily physical activity recommended by the Chief Medical Officers wherever possible.

Schools have the flexibility to decide how physical education, sport and physical activity will be provided for their own students, following the measures in their system of controls. The Department’s guidance includes information on how schools can provide PE and opportunities for pupils to be active, including links to detailed advice from subject organisations. Schools are able to offer curricular and extra-curricular team sport, including contact sport, where there is approved guidance from national governing bodies. Guidance can be found via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools are also able to open up their facilities for use by external sports clubs at evenings and weekends. In doing so, they should ensure they are considering carefully how such arrangements can operate within their wider protective measures and should also have regard to any other relevant government guidance. For example, when opening up sports facilities for external use, the guidance issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on working safely during the COVID-19 outbreak for providers of grassroots sport and gym or leisure facilities should be followed: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/providers-of-grassroots-sport-and-gym-leisure-facilities.

Schools and external providers should also consult the guidance produced for those who run community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision for children: 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/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how he plans to distribute funding to the most deprived communities for training and employment support as part of the Government’s post-covid-19 recovery plan.

We have been working across Government to build a package of support measures to boost skills among those who will be hardest hit by the labour market impacts of COVID-19. On 8 July, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced measures across a range of targeted work-based training offers to support people to build the skills they need to get into work in all communities across the country. This amounts to investment of £1.6 billion in employment support schemes, which will substantially expand existing provision. This includes:

  • £111 million to triple the number of traineeships;
  • £17 million to triple the number of sector-based work academy placements;
  • Paying businesses to take on new apprentices – an extra £2000 for each apprentice under 25 and £1,500 for apprentices over 25;
  • £32m to help 269,000 more people receive advice from the National Careers Service;
  • £101 million for school/college leavers to study high value courses when there are not employment opportunities available to them.

Over the course of this Parliament, we are also providing £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations) for a new National Skills Fund to help people learn new skills and prepare for the economy of the future.

We are continuing to invest in education and skills training for adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) (£1.34bn in 2019/20 and 2020/21). We will continue to explore options within adult education and will be making decisions on where we may be able to introduce flexibilities to aid the Post-Covid recovery.

In areas where we have devolved the AEB, it is for Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) / Greater London Authority (GLA) to determine funding arrangements for adult education for their residents. We do, however, appreciate the importance of sharing, and where appropriate, co-ordinating, responses to attempt to ensure that providers, of all types, do not have their funding disrupted as a result of COVID-19. We are continuing to keep MCAs and the GLA updated on our skills response to COVID-19 through weekly conversations.

Devolving the AEB enables MCAs to directly support adults in developing the skills that local employers need, reducing skills shortages, boosting productivity and economic prosperity, and improving wellbeing in communities.

Within the AEB funding formula we pay a disadvantage uplift to provide extra funding to support the most disadvantaged learners, recognising that they are sometimes more costly to recruit and retain. The uplift is based on the learner’s post code and results in a funding increase for learners living in the most deprived areas of the country, as measured by the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2015. There is also an area cost uplift within the AEB funding formula which reflects the higher cost of delivering training provision in some parts of the country, such as London and the South East.

We fund education and training for 16 to 19 year olds through the National Funding Formula which includes extra funding for disadvantaged students. This funding is provided to institutions specifically for students with low prior attainment, or who live in the most disadvantaged areas. We also provide an area cost uplift to reflect the higher costs of delivering education in some parts of the country such as London and the South East.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the level of skills funding for adults at risk of unemployment due to the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he plans to take to enable people to retrain for employment opportunities in their locality.

We have been working across Government to build a package of support measures to boost skills among those who will be hardest hit by the labour market impacts of COVID-19. On 8 July, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced measures across a range of targeted work-based training offers to support people to build the skills they need to get into work in all communities across the country. This amounts to investment of £1.6 billion in employment support schemes, which will substantially expand existing provision. This includes:

  • £111 million to triple the number of traineeships;
  • £17 million to triple the number of sector-based work academy placements;
  • Paying businesses to take on new apprentices – an extra £2000 for each apprentice under 25 and £1,500 for apprentices over 25;
  • £32m to help 269,000 more people receive advice from the National Careers Service;
  • £101 million for school/college leavers to study high value courses when there are not employment opportunities available to them.

Over the course of this Parliament, we are also providing £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations) for a new National Skills Fund to help people learn new skills and prepare for the economy of the future.

We are continuing to invest in education and skills training for adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) (£1.34bn in 2019/20 and 2020/21). We will continue to explore options within adult education and will be making decisions on where we may be able to introduce flexibilities to aid the Post-Covid recovery.

In areas where we have devolved the AEB, it is for Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) / Greater London Authority (GLA) to determine funding arrangements for adult education for their residents. We do, however, appreciate the importance of sharing, and where appropriate, co-ordinating, responses to attempt to ensure that providers, of all types, do not have their funding disrupted as a result of COVID-19. We are continuing to keep MCAs and the GLA updated on our skills response to COVID-19 through weekly conversations.

Devolving the AEB enables MCAs to directly support adults in developing the skills that local employers need, reducing skills shortages, boosting productivity and economic prosperity, and improving wellbeing in communities.

Within the AEB funding formula we pay a disadvantage uplift to provide extra funding to support the most disadvantaged learners, recognising that they are sometimes more costly to recruit and retain. The uplift is based on the learner’s post code and results in a funding increase for learners living in the most deprived areas of the country, as measured by the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2015. There is also an area cost uplift within the AEB funding formula which reflects the higher cost of delivering training provision in some parts of the country, such as London and the South East.

We fund education and training for 16 to 19 year olds through the National Funding Formula which includes extra funding for disadvantaged students. This funding is provided to institutions specifically for students with low prior attainment, or who live in the most disadvantaged areas. We also provide an area cost uplift to reflect the higher costs of delivering education in some parts of the country such as London and the South East.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government has taken to identify and protect children who may be at increased risk from safeguarding issues as a result of the covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Ensuring that vulnerable children remain protected is a top priority for the government. From the outset, we asked schools to remain open for children who are vulnerable, as well as children of critical workers. This remains the case as some year groups return to school.

The government has provided an unprecedented package of support for vulnerable children, including:

  • Over £3.2 billion so far, with a further £500 million announced on 2 July, bringing the total to £3.7 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures, including on children’s services.
  • £1.6 million of funding for the NSPCC to help promote and expand their national UK helpline which provides advice and guidance and support to adults reporting safeguarding concerns. Since the start of the campaign on 4 May, the NSPCC helpline has seen the number of calls and emails grow by 66% and has made over 9,000 referrals, with one out of every 9 referrals going to emergency services such as the police and children’s social care.
  • The Adoption Support Fund – £8 million to help families under pressure as a result of the outbreak.
  • The Innovation Programme – more than £12 million for 14 projects tackling increased risk, for example from domestic violence and supporting teenagers at risk of exploitation.
  • See, Hear, Respond – £7 million partnership of national children’s charities and local organisations to provide targeted support to vulnerable children, young people and their families who are affected by COVID-19.
  • Laptops and tablets for children with social workers and care leavers to help them keep in touch with the services they need, as well as 4G internet devices for connecting to the internet. As of 30 June, over 200,000 laptops and tablets and over 47,000 4G wireless routers had been dispatched or delivered to local authorities and academy trusts.

Our Regional Education and Care Teams are working with local authorities directly to ensure the systems and processes for maintaining contact with vulnerable children are robust in every local authority in England.

We have also made temporary legislative changes to help reduce pressure on the system and enable children's services to continue to support vulnerable children during these unprecedented times.

Our latest guidance on supporting vulnerable children and young people during the COVID-19 outbreak was updated on 1 July and is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services.

The department has issued a suite of guidance to help and support schools and colleges. This includes interim safeguarding guidance, which is clear that schools and colleges should revise their child protection policies to reflect new arrangements. The guidance sets out that it is important that all staff who interact with children, including online, continue to look out for signs a child may be at risk. The safeguarding guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-and-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Schools and colleges should continue to have regard to statutory guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, as per their legislative duty or funding agreement requirements, or both.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Government's announcement on additional funding for school building repairs, if he will prioritise the upgrading of school changing rooms and sporting facilities (a) throughout England and (b) in Highgate Wood School in Hornsey and Wood Green constituency when allocating that funding.

We are providing £560 million of additional condition funding for the school system this year to support essential maintenance projects. This comes on top of over £1.4 billion capital funding already provided for school maintenance in the financial year 2020-21. We will set out details of how the additional capital funding will be allocated shortly.

As part of the condition funding already allocated this year, Highgate Wood Secondary School received £29,239 in Devolved Formula Capital funding to spend on its own capital priorities. Haringey local authority has also been allocated a School Condition Allocation of £2,959,147 to invest in condition priorities across its maintained schools, including Highgate Wood Secondary School. The school should discuss its needs with Haringey Council, so that they can be considered as part of local investment decisions.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of children classified as vulnerable attended (a) primary (b) secondary school in (i) May and (ii) June 2020.

The table below presents the latest weekly national figures for vulnerable children with an education, health and care (EHC) plan or social worker in attendance in England during May and June 2020.

Date

Vulnerable children with an EHC plan or social work in attendance

Proportion of vulnerable children with an EHC plan or social worker[1]

7 May 2020

48,000

9%

14 May 2020

51,000

10%

21 May 2020

52,000

10%

28 May 2020

23,000

5%

4 June 2020

78,000

15%

11 June 2020

92,000

18%

18 June 2020

112,000

22%

25 June 2020

116,000

23%

The data is available at:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Please note that the department has not produced separate figures for the primary and secondary phases.

We have also been monitoring contact between social workers and children in need and can confirm that the vast majority of those vulnerable children on a child protection plan have been seen or contacted by a social worker in the past four weeks.

Full guidance on the definition of vulnerable children and options for continued attendance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people.

[1] We estimate that the total number of vulnerable children with an EHC plan or social worker in England is 508,255.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the free school meals voucher scheme to children aged between two and four during the covid-19 outbreak.

Nurseries in maintained primary schools and maintained nursery schools are able to access the national voucher scheme where they have registered pupils who meet the benefits-related criteria, and who would usually receive education both before and after lunch. Private settings are not covered. Eligible children should receive vouchers at the same rate as school pupils. Newly eligible children will also be supported if they meet the above criteria and maintained nurseries and nursery schools should continue to accept free school meal applications.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support university students with accommodation they can no longer use as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

As my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have both made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by Covid-19.

We expect universities to communicate clearly with residential students on rents for this period and to administer accommodation provision in a fair manner. A number of universities and large accommodation providers have waived rents for the summer term or released students early from their contracts.

Students will continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the current 2019/20 academic year.

Students who are tenants with individual private landlords can discuss with them the possibility of an early release from their tenancy agreement. Tenants without an agreed release are still liable for their rent and should pay this as usual.

If students face financial hardship and struggle to pay rent, support is available. In the first instance, they should speak to their landlord if they think they will have difficulty meeting a rental payment. In this unique context, tenants and landlords are encouraged to work together to put in place a rent payment scheme.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds affected by the Covid-19 outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-to-investigate-concerns-about-cancellation-policies-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-consumer-contracts-cancellation-and-refunds. This sets out the CMA’s view on how the law operates to help consumers understand their rights and help businesses treat their customers fairly. Students may be entitled to refunds from accommodation providers, depending on the terms of their contract and their particular circumstances. If students need help, organisations such as Citizens Advice offer a free service, providing information and support.

If a student thinks that their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice as long as their provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/; https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and: https://www.rla.org.uk/about/nrla-code-of-practice.shtml.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had discussions with the university sector on the potential for rent refunds for students leaving campuses following the suspension of teaching as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We expect universities to communicate clearly with residential students on rents for this period and administer accommodation provision in a fair manner. Department officials, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education and I are in regular contact with universities and their representative bodies to learn about what they are doing to support students at this time and to guide as appropriate.

We are aware that a number of universities have waived rents for their students who were due to be staying in university halls for the summer term but will now not be doing so.

It is important to stress that accommodation providers should not have instructed any student to return home. If any accommodation provider did formally instruct a student to leave the property then it would be unacceptable to continue to charge student rents.

Students will continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the current, 2019/20, academic year. I have asked institutions to pay particular attention to the additional financial hardships that are being faced by student staff who have been reliant on income from campus-based jobs at this time. Students with a part-time employment contract should speak to their employer about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been set up to help pay staff wages and keep people in employment.

To ensure universities can support students who need it most, the Office for Students has relaxed rules on the student premium to top up hardship funds.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she plans to take to ensure that young people can sit (a) GCSE and (b) A-level examinations following the closing of schools.

On 16 March, the Government announced that all exams due to take place in schools and colleges in England this summer would be cancelled as part of the fight to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Department’s priority is to ensure that students can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives, including starting university, college or sixth form courses or apprenticeships in the autumn. For GCSE, A and AS level students, we will make sure they are awarded a grade which reflects their work. Our intention is that a grade will be awarded this summer based on the best available evidence, including any non-exam assessment that students have already completed. The qualifications regulator Ofqual is working urgently with the exam boards to set out proposals for how this process will work and more information will be provided as soon as possible. Given that exams will not be taking place, the normal special consideration arrangements will not apply to the awarding of grades this summer.

We recognise that some students may nevertheless feel disappointed that they haven’t been able to sit their exams. If they do not believe the correct process has been followed in their case, they will be able to appeal on that basis. In addition, if they do not feel their calculated grade reflects their performance, they will have the opportunity to sit an exam, once schools and colleges are open again. The existing special consideration arrangements will apply to any students who experience exceptional circumstances when sitting those exams: as we expect that many fewer students will be sitting the exams than in a normal exam series we are confident that the exam boards’ existing systems will be able to cope with the likely volume of such requests.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether financial support is available to schools who have cancelled trips to central Italy as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) position advises against all but essential travel to Italy due to the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19. The advice is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy.

As school trips to Italy would not be deemed essential travel, affected schools should check with their travel providers regarding securing refunds in the first instance. With the current FCO position, all schools signed up to the Risk Protection Arrangement for schools will be covered for any amounts they cannot recoup on trips to Italy, and other affected schools should contact their individual insurance providers.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to (a) allocate the disabled student allowance funding directly to Higher Education Providers (HEP's) and (b) require those HEPs to ringfence that funding for support of disabled students.

No decision has been made to allocate Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) directly to Higher Education Providers.

The government always keeps the DSAs system under review, to ensure that it is fit for purpose and provides good value for money. We are considering the recommendations made on DSAs in the Tailored Review of the Student Loans Company.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on privacy of Google Workshops operating in schools.

The Government takes data privacy, especially the privacy of more vulnerable citizens such as children, extremely seriously. The ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ statutory guidance reflects the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation, which makes clear that schools and colleges must have sufficient policies and procedures in place to meet their legal obligations, and secure pupils data protection and privacy.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the value was of apprenticeship levy funds expiring from employers’ accounts in each month from May 2019 until January 2020; what proportion of that funding will be returned to the (a) Education and Skills Funding Agency's apprenticeship budget and (b) HM Treasury.

The value of apprenticeship levy funds that expired from employers’ accounts in each month from May 2019 to January 2020 is set out in the table below:

Month

Value of expired apprenticeship levy funds

May 2019

£11,000,000

June 2019

£26,000,000

July 2019

£44,000,000

August 2019

£52,000,000

September 2019

October 2019

£114,000,000

November 2019

£72,000,000

December 2019

£83,000,000

January 2020

£90,000,000

Total Expired

£492,000,000

Notes:

  1. There was no expiry in September 2019 as this was cancelled due to an issue affecting apprenticeship payments. Cancelling expiry ensured employers and providers were not unfairly impacted as a result of this issue. All September 2019 expiry was therefore rolled forward into the process for October 2019.
  2. Figures have been rounded to the nearest million.
  3. Information is available at the end of each calendar month.

The funds in employers’ accounts reflect the ‘English percentage’ of an employer’s levy contribution and include a 10% top-up from government. Employers’ levy funds are available for them to use for 24 months before they begin to expire on a rolling, month-by-month basis. We do not anticipate that all employers who pay the levy will need or want to use all the funds in their accounts, though they are able to do so. Funds that expire are no longer available for the employer to spend on apprenticeship training.

The funds available to levy-paying employers through their apprenticeship service accounts are not the same as the Department for Education’s annual apprenticeship budget. The expiry of these levy funds does not, therefore, result in additional funds becoming available to the department or to HM Treasury.

The department’s ring-fenced apprenticeship budget was set in advance by HM Treasury for the current Spending Review period and is independent of the funds in levy payers’ accounts. In 2019-20, over £2.5 billion is available for investment in apprenticeships in England, which is double what was spent in 2010.

Our annual apprenticeship budget supports new apprenticeship starts both in levy-paying employers and non-levy paying employers as well as existing apprenticeships learners. Details of actual spend against the apprenticeships budget are published in the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s annual report and accounts.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to reduce waiting times for children with SEN to access support services.

There is a wide range of support services which children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their parents and carers can access.

Local authorities are required to make available local services which provide impartial information, advice and support to these families. The government has invested £20 million between June 2018 and March 2020 to improve the quality of these services and their accessibility. The funding also supports a national helpline and online service for families who have children and young people with SEND.

More broadly, it is the responsibility of schools and other educational establishments to ensure children and young people with SEND are identified and assessed, and that support is put in place to meet their needs. Some children and young people with SEND will need extra help and may require an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. Local authorities are responsible for putting EHC plans in place and for ensuring that the support identified to meet the needs identified in plans is available.

The government has increased local authorities’ high needs funding by £780 million in 2020/21, boosting the budget by 12% and bringing the total spent on supporting those with the most complex needs to over £7 billion for 2020-21.

However, we recognise that there is work to be done to improve the SEND system, including access to support services and that is why we are conducting a review of the SEND system.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to (a) increase the level of science teaching in primary schools and (b) provide additional cost effective training for teachers to teach science at primary school level.

Increasing the number of young people who study science is important if we are to address the science technology engineering and maths (STEM) skills shortage and support the UK economy and its growth. Pupils’ experience of science in primary school can impact on their ambitions to pursue a STEM career.

This is why the Department has kept sciences a core subject from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 4. All state-maintained schools must teach the National Curriculum science programmes of study in full, with other state-funded schools such as academies required to teach science as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. In 2014 we introduced a new programme of study for primary science, providing sequenced year-by-year content to ensure appropriate introduction to key scientific concepts and clear articulation of subject knowledge required. The breadth of content ensures that the curriculum provides a strong foundation for further study at secondary school.

To support teachers in delivering excellent teaching in science, the Department funds a programme of high quality continuous professional development (CPD) for teachers. This includes our national network of over 40 Science Learning Partnerships, which deliver locally-led training to both primary and secondary teachers. Primary teachers are also eligible for Project Enthuse bursaries to attend residential CPD at the National STEM Learning Centre in York. The bursaries are targeted at schools most in need, including those with poor levels of progress or primary science leads who do not have post-16 science qualifications. Both programmes aim to improve teachers’ subject knowledge and the quality of science teaching.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of school-owned land has been designated as playing field land in each year since 2010.

The Department does not conduct a yearly designation of school land in this manner. The Department considers the circumstances of individual school sites as necessary, and in accordance with the statutory protections and requirements, should any movement, disposal, or change of use of that land occur.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many registered PE teachers have been employed in schools in England in each year since 2010.

The head count number of physical education (PE) teachers in service in state funded secondary schools in November 2010 to November 2018 is provided in the table attached.

While there is no formal register for PE teachers; for context, information is also shown on the percentage of hours spent teaching PE in each year and the percentage of hours of PE which are taught by a teacher with a relevant post A-Level qualification. A relevant post A-Level qualification is a Level 4 qualification or above in PE, sports science, sports physiology, sports psychology or dance (including ballet).

Information for teachers in primary schools is not available.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance her Department issues to (a) schools and (b) educational providers on protecting young and vulnerable people from cults.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance is clear that schools and colleges should have in place robust systems for the safeguarding and protection of children. Staff should be alert to changes in children’s behaviour, which could indicate there is a safeguarding risk and they may be in need of help or protection. If staff have concerns about a child’s welfare, they should act immediately, following their own organisation’s child protection policy and taking advice from the designated safeguarding lead.

All schools must offer a broad and balanced curriculum, which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. Citizenship in the curriculum teaches pupils how to explore political and social issues critically, to weigh evidence, debate and to make reasoned arguments.

From September 2020, relationships education for all primary aged pupils and relationships and sex education for all secondary aged pupils will be compulsory. Health education will also be compulsory for all state funded pupils. The subjects are designed to equip young people for adult life and focus, for example, on building positive relationships, developing physical and mental health, identifying risks and knowing how to seek help when needed.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure local authorities employ an adequate number of speech and language therapists.

The information requested is not held centrally. We do not collect data on speech and language therapists, as specialist speech, language and communication support is not funded directly by the Department for Education. Speech and Language Therapists working with children are employed by local authorities, the health service or directly by schools.

Nevertheless, we are committed to supporting children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and recognise the importance of identifying SLCN early to enable the right support to be put in place and reduce the impact that SLCN may have in the longer term. For example, the department has funded a range of condition specific organisations to develop resources and training to equip the workforce, including specialist resources in relation to speech, language and communication skills.

Specific decisions on how many Speech and Language Therapists are employed by any local authority are a matter for the specific local authority. However, this government has increased local authorities’ high needs funding by £780 million in 2020/21, boosting the budget by 12% and bringing the total spent on supporting those with the most complex needs to over £7 billion for 2020/21.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many speech and language therapists were employed by local authorities in each financial year since 2010.

The information requested is not held centrally. We do not collect data on speech and language therapists, as specialist speech, language and communication support is not funded directly by the Department for Education. Speech and Language Therapists working with children are employed by local authorities, the health service or directly by schools.

Nevertheless, we are committed to supporting children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and recognise the importance of identifying SLCN early to enable the right support to be put in place and reduce the impact that SLCN may have in the longer term. For example, the department has funded a range of condition specific organisations to develop resources and training to equip the workforce, including specialist resources in relation to speech, language and communication skills.

Specific decisions on how many Speech and Language Therapists are employed by any local authority are a matter for the specific local authority. However, this government has increased local authorities’ high needs funding by £780 million in 2020/21, boosting the budget by 12% and bringing the total spent on supporting those with the most complex needs to over £7 billion for 2020/21.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the privacy of young people of the Learning Records Service's provision of access to their data by gambling firms.

The recent use of the Learning Records Service (LRS) by a data broker was unauthorised and not sanctioned by the department. There was no data released about individual learners, only a confirmation or denial that a record existed.

Learning Record Service is designed to help learning providers verify their potential student’s previous educational achievements and their eligibility for additional funding.

Education Providers who wish to use the service must register with the UK Register of Learning Providers (UKRLP). Once they are registered with UKRLP, Education Providers fill out an LRS registration form where their UKRLP data is verified, and sign the LRS provider agreement that states their data protection and security responsibilities.

We have temporarily disabled the service whilst our investigations are ongoing.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government is proactively encouraging universities to divest from fossil fuel based activities.

The government wants the public and higher education sectors to lead by example through reducing energy use and driving decarbonisation across the UK economy. Last year I published an article calling on Universities to lead the climate change debate:

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/climate-change-carbon-neutral_uk_5d08a9cae4b0ea7c4a4f220b.

It is an important issue for universities to consider and we will continue to engage with them on this.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of mature trees felled each year as a result of claims of subsidence damage to nearby buildings.

The irreplaceable nature of veteran trees and ancient woodlands is recognised in our 25 Year Environment Plan and further measures will be outlined in the Government's action plan on trees.

We have strengthened the protection of trees through the National Planning Policy Framework and guidance to planners. These outline that developments should be refused if they would lead to the loss or deterioration of ancient woodland and veteran trees, unless there are wholly exceptional reasons and suitable compensation measures.

In addition, protection can be given to trees of particular significance by the local planning authority through a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Placing a TPO on a tree or group of trees means the landowner would require local planning authority consent before working on or felling the protected trees.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to set the personal water consumption target consulted on in 2019.

Good progress has been made in water efficiency policy development. Some of our work was paused last winter, to support work on Covid-19. Our efficiency work now continues at pace and we are committed to publishing the Government response this spring, which sets out our ambition and a package of policies to reduce household water consumption.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department are taking to encourage tree planting in urban areas.

We are committed to increasing tree planting and are setting out policies to achieve this in the Government’s action plan on trees, including planting and protecting trees in and around urban areas. We are already delivering on this through:

  • £80 million of charity-led projects funded through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, the first round of which supported a wide range of projects to protect, restore and connect people with nature, including a national street tree sponsorship scheme and tree planting around the NHS estate.
  • The £10 million Urban Tree Challenge Fund, supporting planting of up to 134,000 trees, including 20,000 street trees.
  • £12.1 million investment in England's ten Community Forests to create high quality, accessible woodlands around towns and cities.
  • £2.5 million to pilot innovative means to grow trees outside woods, in partnership with Local Authorities.

This complements wider support for urban greening through:

  • Creation of a Nature Recovery Network, connecting wildlife-rich places across our towns, cities and countryside.
  • Development of a National Framework of Green Infrastructure Standards to help local authorities, developers and communities to improve greening provision.
  • Designing and investing in healthy places to live and work through the forthcoming National Model Design Code, Towns Fund and new £4 billion Levelling Up Fund.
Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what data is collected on the number of trees felled each year as a result of claims of subsidence damage to nearby buildings.

The Government is committed to seeing more trees planted and has a general policy against permanent loss of woodland cover.

Currently there is no assessment on the number of trees felled each year as result of claims of subsidence damage to nearby buildings. This information is held by local authorities as most felling its often done by a case by case basis.

The Forestry Commission does monitor felling to ensure that it is compliant with the felling license regime and uses enforcement action against individuals who allow the felling of trees without the appropriate licence.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of trees being felled in urban areas.

The Government has a general policy against permanent loss of woodland and tree cover, and the management and felling of trees is managed through the felling licence regime. We have developed the National Framework of Green infrastructure standard to help local authorities, developers and communities improve greening provisions in the area.

Through the Environment Bill we will introduce Forestry Enforcement Measures, strengthening Forestry Commission's ability to deter illegal tree felling across England. We will also introduce a duty for local authorities to consult and report the felling of street trees in their area.

We have strengthened the protection of trees through the National Planning Policy Framework and guidance to planners. These outline that developments should be refused if they would lead to the deterioration of ancient woodland and veteran trees, unless there are exceptional reasons and suitable compensation measures.

In addition, protection can be given to trees of particular significance by the local planning authority through a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Placing a TPO on a tree or group of trees means the landowner would require local planning authority consent before working on or felling the protected trees.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the rules are on guide dog owners travelling to the (a) EU and (b) Northern Ireland following the end of the transition period.

On 3 December 2020 the EU voted in favour of giving the UK Part 2 listed status for the purposes of non-commercial pet travel after the transition period. This listed status has now been formally adopted by the EU. Part 2 listed status means similar health requirements to travel to the EU as before the end of the transition period, but new documentation is required for pets and recognised assistance dogs. We are disappointed not to have been awarded Part 1 listed status for pet travel, as we are clear we meet all the requirements for this and have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity. We will continue to press the EU commission on this matter, recognising that achieving this would alleviate some of these new requirements.

In order to travel to the EU and Northern Ireland, users of recognised assistance dogs must ensure that the dog meets the following requirements:

  • It has been implanted with a microchip
  • It has received a valid rabies vaccination
  • It is accompanied by an animal health certificate unless the dog has been issued with a pet passport in an EU country or Northern Ireland
  • It is accompanied by a written declaration regarding the non-commercial nature of the movement.
  • It has received tapeworm treatment if travelling directly to Finland, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta
  • The pet will need to enter an EU country or Northern Ireland through a Travellers’ Point of Entry (TPE) where the owner must contact the competent authority present for the purposes of the documentary and identity checks.

Passengers are also advised to contact the competent authority in the country they are travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before travel.

Defra has been proactively and positively engaging with the assistance dog community and relevant stakeholders on the impacts on dog movements to the EU after the end of the transition period. We will continue to closely work with assistance dog organisations to share the latest advice and guidance (in accessible formats) with their members on pet travel requirements.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of adopting a target of 70 per cent recycling by 2030.

The Government has not recently assessed the potential merits of adopting a 70% recycling target for 2030. In 2019 we consulted on proposals to improve recycling for households and businesses and published an impact assessment alongside this which set out the benefits of achieving a 65% recycling rate by 2035. This impact assessment concluded that our proposals to ensure a consistent set of materials were collected for recycling from households and non-domestic premises together with other proposals to reform producer responsibility for recycling of packaging and to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers would achieve a 65% recycling rate by 2035.

The Environment Bill sets out the powers and duties necessary to achieve 65% recycling rate by 2035. We will consult on more detailed provisions and an updated impact assessment in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of a capital investment programme to support reuse, repair, remanufacturing, and recycling of scrap steel, glass, paper and card, plastics and biowaste.

The Government's Resources and Waste Strategy sets out our intention to move away from the linear 'make, take, use, throw' economic model to a more circular economy, keeping resources in use as long as possible so we extract maximum value from them.

We are investing some £3 billion of grant funding in 24 Private Finance Initiative waste infrastructure projects. Along with disposal of residual waste facilities (such as energy from waste plants), these grants support infrastructure including material recovery, mechanical biological treatment and anaerobic digestion facilities, as well as implementation and expanding kerbside recycling services, which help facilitate improvements in recycling levels.

In addition, £4.7 million of grant funding was announced on 12 June 2019 and made available through WRAP's Resource Action Fund to support new capital infrastructure projects that will help to recycle difficult plastic packaging and textile materials. A further £1 million of grant funding was also announced to provide capital support to increase recycling infrastructure for non-household municipal waste from businesses.

Infrastructure is central to our economic strategy, and the government will shortly publish a National Infrastructure Strategy (NIS) setting out further details on its long-term ambitions, including decarbonisation and levelling up.

The NIS will also formally respond to recommendations, including recommendations on waste, made by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) in its National Infrastructure Assessment, which is based on detailed consideration of the UK's long-term infrastructure needs.

The NIC's impartial, expert advice is central to the Government's infrastructure decision-making process. The NIC's work was the catalyst for many of the important spending decisions taken at previous fiscal events. The Government will build on this further when we publish the NIS.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is planning to take steps to manage the number of urban foxes in London and other urban areas.

The Government’s general policy is that individuals should be free to manage wildlife within the law. The fox is not a protected species so the decision to control them lies with the owner or occupier of the property where the problem occurs. Where urban foxes cause problems professional pest controllers with relevant specialist skills are likely to be the most suited people for the task of removing foxes.

Natural England, on Defra’s behalf, has a team dedicated to providing wildlife management advice to the public, both through online material and directly by telephone.

The Government has no plans to control the number of urban foxes in England.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will ensure that British firms do not have to repeat animal tests on products already in use in the UK following the end of the transition period pursuant to EU directive Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006.

We will recognise the validity of any animal tests on products that have already been undertaken and so avoid the need for further testing.

The grandfathering of all existing UK-held REACH registrations into the UK system will further avoid the need to duplicate animal testing associated with re-registration.

The UK has been at the forefront of opposing animal tests where alternative approaches could be used. This is known as the "last-resort principle", which we will retain and enshrine in legislation through our landmark Environment Bill.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to incentivise home-owners to remedy subsidence damage from trees by underpinning their homes rather than felling mature trees which are vital in helping tackle climate change.

Responsibility for trees growing on private property lies with the property owner unless, for example the tree is endangering the public or subject to a Tree Preservation Order.

In our consultation on the England Tree Strategy, we welcome feedback on what changes need to be made to plant and protect more street trees.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government is taking steps to discourage businesses from using plastic non-reusable cups during the covid-19 outbreak.

In line with the waste hierarchy, the Government encourages the use of reusable cups and containers where possible to avoid waste and increase resource efficiency.

However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to follow the latest safety guidelines and only allow them where it is safe to do so. It is up to individual businesses to decide whether to allow the use of reusable cups or containers during this period. If reusable cups or containers are used, they should be washed thoroughly in hot, soapy water, or in a dishwasher, if suitable. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) provides further guidance in its business portal:

www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/reopening-and-adapting-your-food-business-during-covid-19.

The FSA advises making sure staff do not touch the customer’s equipment. Businesses can ask customers to leave their cups on the counter and then pour the drink into the cup from their own containers or ask staff to wash the container and their hands in hot soapy water.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to increase statutory fines for littering.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Portsmouth South on 10 June 2020, PQ UIN 52409.

[www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-06-03/52409]

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to permanently improve air quality in (a) London and (b) other UK cities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality in the capital and has reserve powers under the Environment Act 1995 to reflect this.

The Government’s Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources. We have also put in place a £3.8 billion plan to tackle roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. Our Environment Bill makes a clear commitment to set a legally binding target to reduce fine particulate matter and enables local authorities to take more effective action to tackle air pollution in their areas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with supermarket leaders on social-distancing measures during queues.

We are in regular contact with the food industry to support them as they respond to COVID-19. This includes providing them with the guidance they need to keep their staff and customers safe, and Public Health England have recently published advice for retailers on social distancing measures in stores.

Representatives of our leading supermarkets have asked customers to shop considerately and we echo their call. We are grateful for the extensive support and positive collaboration that supermarkets have shown. We should be proud of all those across the country who are working round the clock to make sure people have the food they need.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure carers are able to get the food that they need in supermarkets.

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. Our retailers already have highly resilient supply chains and they are working around the clock to ensure people have the food and products they need. Industry has adapted quickly to these changes in demands, and we welcome the actions they are taking to support groups including NHS staff and the elderly.

To help supermarkets, the Government has already introduced new measures to keep food supply flowing. We have temporarily relaxed elements of competition law to enable supermarkets to work more closely together to ensure people can access the products they need. Food retailers will now be able to share data on their stock levels, cooperate to keep stores open and share staff, distribution depots and delivery vehicles. This will help keep shops open and staffed and better able to meet high demand. Guidance has been issued to local authorities to show flexibility to allow extended delivery hours to supermarkets to ensure shelves can be replenished more quickly. The Transport Secretary has also announced a temporary and limited relaxation of the drivers’ hours rules so that more goods can be delivered to every store every day.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress he has made in introducing a public plastic bottle deposit scheme.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Feltham and Heston on 3 March, PQ UIN 20490.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the Government's progress in increasing tree coverage in the UK.

The Forestry Commission produces statistics on new planting of woodland by area in the UK. These are Official Statistics produced to meet the standards of the Code of Practice for Statistics.

Woodland area statistics can be found on the Forest Research website together with background information at: www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/statistics/forestry-statistics.

The area of new planting (woodland creation) for the UK in each of the last five years, taken from the published statistics, which are reported in hectares, is shown below. The total area of woodland in the UK was 3,187 thousand hectares in 2019, covering 13.1% of the land area.

New planting of woodland (thousands of hectares)

Year (ending 31 March)

New planting

2014-15

10.30

2015-16

5.65

2016-17

6.51

2017-18

9.09

2018-19

13.40

Source: Forestry Commission, Forestry England, Scottish Forestry, Forestry and Land Scotland, Natural Resources Wales, Forest Service grant schemes.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that carbon sinks in the UK are not destroyed.

To reach net zero we must protect and enhance the capacity of our natural environment to capture carbon. Our manifesto committed to invest in nature-based solutions to climate change through a Nature for Climate Fund, to increase tree planting, peatland restoration and nature recovery.

The UK’s trees and woodlands currently capture 4% of our annual greenhouse gas emissions. We must protect the trees we already have, and plant more so that they can capture more carbon. That is why we committed to increase tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares of trees per year by 2025. Forestry regulations also ensure that when trees are felled, for example for timber, they should be replanted and the land restocked.

Our peatlands are a natural carbon sink, but they have been drained and degraded, releasing emissions. We have therefore allocated £10 million to restore approximately 6,500 hectares of degraded peatland, reducing emissions, and will fund further restoration in this Parliament.

Coastal wetland habitats such as saltmarsh and seagrass provide carbon sinks. In the UK, these habitats are protected in some Marine Protected Areas and we are looking at whether their protection could be expanded further. There are also wider measures under the 25 Year Environment Plan to secure clean, healthy, productive and biologically diverse seas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what additional steps her Department is taking to improve air quality in inner-city areas.

Air quality is a key policy area for this Government and a great deal of work is being done to tackle air pollution. Implementing the commitments set out in the Clean Air Strategy, which was published last year, will help to clean up our air faster and more effectively in towns and cities.

The upcoming Environment Bill, which will shortly be reintroduced to Parliament, will deliver some key commitments in the Strategy. This includes introducing a duty to set a legally binding target for fine particulate matter concentrations, the pollutant of most harm to health. The Bill will also ensure that local authorities have a clear framework for tackling air pollution, and are better able to tackle a key source of fine particulate matter emissions – domestic solid fuel burning. It will also provide the Government with new powers to enforce environmental standards for vehicles and machinery.

The Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit is also working with a number of local authorities to deliver compliance with legal limits for nitrogen dioxide in the shortest possible time. The unit provides these local authorities with guidance and support to develop local plans to identify and implement suitable measures to achieve this objective, supported by £572 million dedicated funding. In some instances local authorities will be implementing charging clean air zones to deliver these reductions, and the Government is working closely with these authorities to ensure the necessary IT systems are in place and ready to use.

Further, Defra’s Air Quality Grant Programme provides funding to local authorities, funding projects in local communities to tackle air pollution and reduce emissions affecting schools, businesses and residents. Defra has awarded over £60 million in funding to local authorities since the grant started in 1997.

These measures will improve air quality across the country, including in inner-city areas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment has been made of the economic value of continuing with the policy of culling badgers.

Bovine TB is one of the greatest animal health threats to the UK and is a major source of distress for hard-working farmers and rural communities. The most recent badger control policy value for money analysis, carried out in 2019, estimates the Net Present Value of Badger Control over eleven years at £1.08 million per area.

Further information can be found on Gov.uk at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bovine-tb-badger-control-policy-value-for-money-analysis

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to amend the Hunting Act 2004 with regard to fox hunting.

The Government will not amend the Hunting Act 2004.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department plans to make the living income a priority of its Economic Development Strategy.

Supporting the conditions for the creation of quality jobs and raising the incomes of the world’s poorest workers is at the heart of DFID’s Economic Development Strategy. Since 2015, DFID has supported over 3.9 million people to have raised incomes and better jobs or livelihoods to work their way out of poverty and deliver safer, more secure and higher-return work for women. DFID is also one of the founding members of the Living Income Community of Practice, which aims to increase the incomes of smallholder farmers and enable them to achieve a decent standard of living.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what amount of funding his Department has invested in (a) renewable and (b) non-renewable energy projects in the last five years.

For the most recent five-year period of complete data (2014-2018), DFID bilateral spend on energy projects was £473m. Of this, £211m was on renewable energy and £12m on non-renewable. The remaining £250m spend was on energy policy, research, efficiency and distribution not directly associated with any fuel.

One of the UK’s development priorities is to help developing countries establish a secure and sustainable energy supply, in support of economic growth and poverty reduction, whilst simultaneously pursuing our climate and environmental objectives. DFID increasingly supports renewable energy projects to unlock affordable and clean energy and has not provided ODA bilateral assistance for coal-fired power generation since 2012.

Since 2011, the UK has provided 26 million people with improved access to clean energy and installed 1,600 MW in clean energy capacity.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the new trade deal agreed with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein includes Mode 4 provisions that allow musicians and other performing artists and their crews to undertake professional work on a reciprocal basis.

The new trade deal agreed in principle with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein includes provisions for British musicians and performers, who will be able to perform in all three countries, and tour in Norway for up to 90 days every six months without a permit.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many British companies use the Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect to invest in mainland China.

We do not hold information on the number of British companies using the Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent estimate her Department has made of the number of British nationals working in financial services in Hong Kong.

We have not made any estimate of the number of British national currently working in financial services in Hong Kong.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that the UK arms licensing system is compliant with international law.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Our assessment of each export licence against the Consolidated Criteria takes into account our obligations under the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty and other relevant rules of international law.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the Australian bush fires and the climate emergency, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of barring UK Export Finance from providing credit for businesses investing in fossil fuels.

Tackling climate change and supporting the transition away from dependence on high greenhouse gas emitting energy sources is a priority for Government. As the world transitions to a low carbon economy, there remains a need for a mix of energy sources and technologies. UK companies have an important role to play in the transition away from fossil fuels and UK Export Finance (UKEF) will remain responsive to the evolving export financing needs of UK companies during this transition.

19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what engagement his Department has had with international partners on best practices for increasing the electrification of the rail network in the UK.

Departmental ministers and officials meet with international partners to discuss issues of mutual interest, which sometimes includes electrification practice. For example, the Rail Minister recently discussed electrification with representatives of the government of Poland. Rail industry research into efficient electrification and Network Rail-led advice to the Department about the decarbonisation of the railway both consider international practice.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the economic effect on Haringey of delays in the progress of proposals for Crossrail 2.

Transport projects are kept under continual review. Given current affordability constraints, Transport for London has confirmed that they are not in a position to prioritise investment in Crossrail 2, and the Government has agreed that they will stop development work on the project. No assessment has been made of the economic effect on Haringey.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with his French counterpart on the validity of British driving licenses for British residents in France since the end of the transition period.

The Government is committed to establishing reciprocal arrangements with France with the minimum of bureaucracy. The Government has secured interim arrangements with the French authorities which will allow UK licence holders, resident in France, to continue to use their valid UK licence until 1 January 2022. We are working urgently with the French government to find a solution for those with expired licences as well as to finalise a permanent arrangement. The Government commits to providing an update as soon as possible.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether procedures are in place to ensure that all airlines have up-to-date lists of approved providers for day two and day eight covid-19 testing for travel.

The Government provides links to all post-arrival testing providers on Gov.uk to support operators as well as travellers who need to book post-arrival tests in the UK.

The test package prices listed on the website are for the provider’s standard service, which meets the Government’s minimum standards, although prices may differ to reflect different levels of customer service and speed of results.

The list is continually updated as providers are reviewed by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service and declare that they meet the required standards.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing long-term goals for increasing active travel in urban areas of the UK.

The Prime Minister’s 2020 Cycling and Walking Plan ‘Gear Change’ sets a new vision that cycling and walking will be the natural first choice for many journeys with half of all journeys in towns and cities being cycled or walked by 2030. This vision is complementary to the 2040 ambition contained in the 2017 Statutory Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, that cycling and walking should be the natural choices for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey.

The second Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS 2) will be published after the Government has agreed and set out its long-term spending plans for active travel at the next multi-year Spending Review. It will reflect and build on the commitments outlined in the Prime Minister’s Cycling and Walking Plan of July 2020, including targets for cycling and walking.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce emissions on the rail network.

In the last three years, we have completed almost 700 single track miles of rail electrification in England and Wales, and we will continue to electrify more of the rail network in the years ahead. We are also supporting the development of new low-carbon technologies in rail, like battery and hydrogen trains, through innovation funding and research.

The Network Rail-led Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy (TDNS) provides advice about which decarbonising technologies (electrification, hydrogen, or battery) could best suit each part of the network. TDNS will inform the Department’s forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan and Government decisions about the scale and pace of rail decarbonisation between now and 2050.

Emissions from diesel trains can contribute to air pollution hotspots, with stations being an area of particular concern. The Government is funding a new £4.5 million air quality monitoring network, which will measure air pollution in up to 100 stations across the GB railway. Once established, the network will help to identify priority locations where air quality improvement measures are most needed.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to support walking and cycling schemes.

Last summer the Prime Minister launched ambitious plans to boost cycling and walking in England, so that half of all journeys in towns and cities are cycled or walked by 2030. This includes a £2 billion package of funding for active travel over the next 5 years.

Over £200 million has been made available to authorities during the current financial year, via the Active Travel Fund, to support an active and green recovery from Covid-19. This will enable them to deliver safe and direct cycling and walking measures in their areas, such as protected cycle lanes, widened pavements, safer junctions and cycle and bus-only corridors. The Spending Review in November confirmed that a further £257 million of dedicated funding would be made available next financial year to support cycling and walking schemes.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of further extending the MOT eligibility period in response to the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans were automatically extended by six months from 30 March 2020 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. These extensions ceased from 1 August 2020 and there are no current plans to reintroduce extensions to MOT due dates.

Most garages remain open and are carrying out MOTs. MOT garages have received guidance on how to carry out MOT tests in a COVID-19 secure way and many MOT providers have also been able to introduce contact-free testing services, including pick-up and drop-off of vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he is providing assistance to the Mayor of London in formulating strategic transport plans for the city.

The responsibility for transport in London is devolved to the Mayor of London and Transport for London.

Ministers and officials in the Department for Transport hold regular discussions with the Mayor, Deputy Mayor for Transport and Transport for London on a range of transport matters.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of accelerating the phasing out of diesel trains to help meet the UK's climate targets.

The Government is committed to rail decarbonisation to meet our target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Network Rail’s work to develop a Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy will inform our decisions about the scale and pace of rail decarbonisation, the deployment of different decarbonisation technologies on each part of the network to replace diesel trains, and the delivery of our ambition to remove all diesel-only trains from the railway by 2040.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many (a) suspected and (b) confirmed cases of covid-19 have been reported among driving examiners in each month since June 2020.

The attached table sets out both the number of suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported among driving examiners and the driving test centres in which they have been reported in each month since June 2020.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, in which driving test centres have (a) suspected and (b) confirmed cases of covid-19 been reported among driving examiners in each month since June 2020.

The attached table sets out both the number of suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported among driving examiners and the driving test centres in which they have been reported in each month since June 2020.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to bring forward proposals on limiting the noise emitted from vehicles as a result of the noise camera trial launched in June 2019.

The Government takes the impact of road noise on health, wellbeing and the natural environment seriously. Vehicles are required to meet strict noise limits before being placed on the market and should not be altered to increase their noise level.

The Department’s initial trials of a prototype noise camera have now concluded and the results will be published shortly.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to encourage passengers to return safely to rail travel as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We now understand the epidemiology of the virus better and can control it through targeted, local action. Our priority remains the safety of staff and passengers. We are working with rail operators to ensure passengers have the confidence to return to the railway, and continue to take all necessary measures to make rail travel safe. These include the installation of clear floor markings, the provision of extra staff to manage passenger flows and provide guidance, and the mandating of face coverings on public transport.

We have also asked the rail industry to increase the number of services they run. Rail operators continue to assess local demand regularly and deliver the services passengers need. From 7 September, the railway has been operating 91% of its pre-pandemic capacity, providing frequent and reliable trains for passengers.

To support a safe, green recovery and new working patterns we are also considering proposals to try to ensure better value and convenience for part-time and flexible commuters.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent progress has been made in the discussions with (a) Transport for London and (b) the Mayor of London on the Government’s review into Transport for London’s future financial sustainability.

The Government led review into Transport for London’s future financial sustainability is ongoing.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to promote the use of powered two-wheelers as an alternative to public transport during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department’s guidance issued on 12 May refers to “Private cars and other vehicles” as an alternative to using public transport, and encourages the public to “consider all other forms of transport before using public transport”. This would include private vehicles such as motorcycles and mopeds where the journey to be made is appropriate.

In response to COVID-19, we are accelerating and expanding planned trials of rental e-scooters, allowing all areas that want to host trials to do so. We will introduce legislation in June to allow trials to begin.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to continue the recent additional funding for cycling as part of a long-term increase in cycling investment.

On the 9th May the Government announced a £2bn package of funding for cycling and walking over the next five years. This includes £250m for the provision of pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling as well as vouchers for cycle repairs and greater provision for bike fixing facilities.

An updated Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy will be launched by the Prime Minister in the summer which will outline the process for the development of the second statutory Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of barring inbound flights as a result of covid-19.

In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government is working to a scientifically-led, step-by-step action plan, focusing on taking the right measures at the right time.

Targeted screening measures were carried out at UK airports for inbound passengers during the containment phase of the pandemic when the aim was to prevent the virus coming in to the UK.

Whilst there is community transmission within the UK, the role played by imported cases is less significant and so our focus in the current delay phase has not been on screening measures at the border. Additionally, it is vital that flights are still able to land in the UK in order to allow Britons who have been stranded abroad as a result of the pandemic to return home, and to allow key supplies to continue moving into and around the UK.

Airlines and airports have already implemented additional measures in response to COVID-19 in line with advice from PHE, SAGE and the Chief Medical Officer. Airports are displaying posters and digital signage relaying Government information about COVID-19. Passengers arriving into UK airports are being given a leaflet with information about the measures in place in the UK, and announcements are made on aircraft an hour before landing.

As you would expect our approach is being kept under review as the pandemic develops. This may mean that measures and procedures change as we control the spread of, and understand more about, the virus. Any changes to our approach will be led by advice from SAGE and the Chief Medical Officer. Protecting the health of the UK public will always come first.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is taking to support people on low incomes in the travel industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the importance of the UK aviation industry, which is why the Chancellor has announced an unprecedented package of economic measures to support both the sector’s businesses and its employees

These measures include the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which helps firms to retain employees. This Scheme allows businesses to put employees on temporary leave, with the Government paying cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500 per month, providing the business keeps the staff employed. The Government has also issued guidance on accessing Statutory Sick Pay and Universal Credit.

The Department for Transport continues to engage closely with key industry stakeholders to understand their position and the support they need. This includes a weekly call with key unions in the aviation sector.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is taking to decarbonise Government owned or operated vehicles.

The Government Car Service (GCS) is a division of the central Department for Transport (DfT). With the support of DfT, GCS is replacing its fleet with Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) as vehicles become due for replacement. Currently 48% of the GCS fleet is now either battery electric, petrol/electric hybrid or hydrogen, and we are actively looking at options to accelerate this transition.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of bringing forward the ban of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.

The independent Committee on Climate Change has advised Government to phase out the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2035 or ideally 2030, bringing forward the current 2040 commitment. In the recent manifesto, Government committed to consulting on the earliest possible date for doing so, while minimising the impact on drivers and businesses.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is taking to curtail the use of diesel trains on the rail network.

The Government is ensuring the railway plays its part in delivering our ambitions to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and to reduce air pollution created by transport.

We continue to expand the electrified rail network where it delivers passenger and environmental benefits and value for money. This allows removal of diesel trains. For example from this month electric trains can run between London and Cardiff.

Network Rail is developing a Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy to inform Government decisions on the scale and pace of further rail decarbonisation, and the reduced use of diesel trains that this will require.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential effect of removing the additional covid-19 support funding from the Discretionary Housing Payments allocations to local authorities on levels of homelessness.

The Government has made available £140m in DHPs funding for local authorities in England and Wales for 2021-22 to help support vulnerable people with housing costs.

We increased the LHA rates in April 2020 to the 30th percentile of local rents, an investment costing nearly £1 billion and have maintained rates at the same cash level in 2021/22.

In addition to the central government contribution, English and Welsh local authorities are able to top up Discretionary Housing Payments funding up to a maximum of two and a half times this figure, using their own funds.

We consider the allocation of Discretionary Housing Payments to individual local authorities each year. We also monitor evolving demand and trends by analysing the information that local authorities provide regarding the amount of Discretionary Housing Payment funding they are awarding.

Since the start of the pandemic, we have been monitoring the DHPs spend more closely than in previous years and will continue to monitor spend throughout 2021/22.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to offer employment opportunities in the health and social care sectors to young people affected by reductions in employment opportunities as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and how many and what proportion of employment opportunities made available through the Kickstarter programme are jobs in the health and social care sectors.

The Department for Work and Pensions’ are actively promoting roles within the Health and Social Care sector via Work Coach conversations, resources on the DWP’s JobHelp website and a range of provision. As part of A Plan for Jobs, DWP’s Sector-Based Work Academy Programmes were expanded to include an additional £17m to support 32,000 more vocational training placements in 2020/21. Employers are also offering many Kickstart jobs in the Health and Social Care sector.

I refer the honourable member to PQ 167248 for a breakdown of Kickstart jobs per sector.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) suspected and (b) confirmed cases of covid-19 have been reported among officials working in job centres in each month since June 2020.

We do not hold the information in the format requested. Our records do not differentiate between those who self-isolate because they themselves have a suspected case of COVID-19 or because a family member is exhibiting symptoms.

Any confirmed cases in a DWP office are dealt with by appropriate level of cleaning, up to a deep clean, regardless of whether this is as a result of a member of staff testing positive, or a contractor, agency worker or customer.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in which job centres have (a) suspected and (b) confirmed cases of covid-19 been reported among officials in each month since June 2020.

We do not hold the information in the format requested. Our records do not differentiate between those who self-isolate because they themselves have a suspected case of COVID-19 or because a family member is exhibiting symptoms.

Any confirmed cases in a DWP office are dealt with by appropriate level of cleaning, up to a deep clean, regardless of whether this is as a result of a member of staff testing positive, or a contractor, agency worker or customer.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) suspected and (b) confirmed cases of covid-19 have been reported among security guards working in job centres in each month since June 2020.

Table 1 provides a breakdown of the suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19 reported by G4S for their security officers, with the respective jobcentre between 1 June 2020 and 30 September 2020.

There were six confirmed cases and 40 suspected cases (46 in total) recorded for the specified timeframe (indicated in Table 2) across England, Scotland and Wales.

Any confirmed cases in a DWP office are dealt with by appropriate level of cleaning, up to a deep clean, regardless of whether this is as a result of a member of staff testing positive, or a contractor, agency worker or customer.

Table 1 – Reported suspected and confirmed Covid-19 cases by G4S for their security officers by jobcentre from June 2020. Please note G4S are a contracted supplier to the Department, these are not DWP staff.

DATE

SITE

STATUS

01/06/2020

DWP LONDON KINGS CROSS

SUSPECTED

02/06/2020

DWP BLACKWOOD VISION HOUSE

CONFIRMED

08/06/2020

DWP NORTHAMPTON FRANCES HOUSE

SUSPECTED

10/06/2020

DWP FAREHAM NEW CIVIC CENTRE

SUSPECTED

15/06/2020

DWP BELPER KING STREET

SUSPECTED

19/06/2020

DWP LEICESTER CHARLES STREET

SUSPECTED

22/06/2020

DWP SLOUGH UPTON LODGE

SUSPECTED

22/06/2020

DWP ACCRINGTON OAKBANK HOUSE

SUSPECTED

26/06/2020

DWP DIDCOT THE BROADWAY

SUSPECTED

06/07/2020

DWP LONDON POPLAR DODD STREET

SUSPECTED

22/07/2020

DWP HULL BRITANNIA HOUSE

SUSPECTED

30/07/2020

DWP CRAWLEY GRESHAM HOUSE

SUSPECTED

31/07/2020

DWP BRADFORD LEEDS ROAD

SUSPECTED

09/08/2020

DWP DERBY HOLBORN HOUSE

SUSPECTED

11/08/2020

DWP BARNSLEY COOPER HOUSE

SUSPECTED

17/08/2020

DWP BEDFORD WYVERN HOUSE

SUSPECTED

20/08/2020

DWP BLYTH BRIDGE HOUSE

SUSPECTED

21/08/2020

DWP TONBRIDGE BRADFORD STREET

SUSPECTED

24/08/2020

DWP DEREHAM ELIZABETH HOUSE

SUSPECTED

26/08/2020

DWP LEEDS SOUTHERN HOUSE

SUSPECTED

01/09/2020

DWP HEMSWORTH LOW HALL

CONFIRMED

02/09/2020

DWP CUMBERNAULD SOUTH MUIRHEAD

SUSPECTED

04/09/2020

DWP GLASGOW BENALDER STREET

SUSPECTED

08/09/2020

DWP CHESTER LE STREET STATION RD

SUSPECTED

09/09/2020

DWP WORCESTER VINE HOUSE

SUSPECTED

10/09/2020

DWP SOUTHEND TYLERS HOUSE

SUSPECTED

14/09/2020

DWP READING ADELPHI HOUSE

SUSPECTED

15/09/2020

DWP DONCASTER CROSSGATE HOUSE

SUSPECTED

16/09/2020

DWP ROTHERHAM CHANTRY HOUSE

SUSPECTED

16/09/2020

DWP PLYMOUTH OLD TREE COURT

SUSPECTED

17/09/2020

DWP HONITON HIGH STREET

SUSPECTED

17/09/2020

DWP SOLIHULL NEW ROAD

SUSPECTED

20/09/2020

DWP BLACKBURN ORCHARD HOUSE

CONFIRMED

20/09/2020

DWP HALIFAX CROSSFIELD HOUSE

SUSPECTED

21/09/2020

DWP NOTTINGHAM PEARSON BUILDINGS

SUSPECTED

22/09/2020

DWP BEVERLEY CROSSKILL HOUSE

SUSPECTED

24/09/2020

DWP BIRMINGHAM SOHO ROAD

CONFIRMED

24/09/2020

DWP ESTON HADRIAN HOUSE

SUSPECTED

24/09/2020

DWP ESTON HADRIAN HOUSE

SUSPECTED

24/09/2020

DWP ESTON HADRIAN HOUSE

SUSPECTED

25/09/2020

DWP BLAYDON ST CUTHBERTS WAY

SUSPECTED

26/09/2020

DWP LETCHWORTH PEOPLES HOUSE

SUSPECTED

28/09/2020

DWP BIRMINGHAM YARDLEY

SUSPECTED

28/09/2020

DWP ESTON HADRIAN HOUSE

CONFIRMED

29/09/2020

DWP GLASGOW SHETTLESTON ROAD

CONFIRMED

29/09/2020

DWP GLASGOW SHETTLESTON ROAD

SUSPECTED

Table 2 – Number of suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19 reported by G4S for their security officers working in jobcentres across England, Scotland and Wales.

MONTH

TOTAL CASES REPORTED

SUSPECTED CASE

CONFIRMED CASE

JUNE

9

8

1

JULY

4

4

0

AUGUST

7

7

0

SEPTEMBER

26

21

5

TOTALS

46

40

6

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 16 September to Question 86679 on National Insurance, what progress the Government has made on implementing a digital solution to the process of issuing National Insurance numbers.

DWP is continuing with the development of a digital solution to support the process of issuing National Insurance Numbers.

A minimum viable product will be entering the Private Beta stage by mid-October and will initially be available to a limited number of applicants each day.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish further guidance on the kickstart scheme to clarify recommendations on the skills development element expected of employers entering that scheme; and what steps her Department is taking to publicise that scheme to small and medium size cultural and sport charities.

The department is working with employers and organisations of all sizes and sectors, encouraging them to participate in Kickstart and provide opportunities for young people. We know employers, large and small, are considering applying to the Scheme and are keen to find out more. Our 637 Jobcentres are securing local employer and intermediary commitment, bringing forward bids across the country.

Guidance has been published through the gov.uk site on the requirements of Kickstart, and officials will continue to update this as the scheme evolves.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of improving the local delivery of unemployment support to (a) young people and (b) the long-term unemployed.

Our Plan for Jobs builds on and bolsters the existing support offered by our Jobcentre Plus network.

For young people the package includes a new Kickstart Scheme offering opportunities for high quality 6-month work placements, a new youth offer, and an expansion of sector based work academies. This package builds on our Job Help website that promotes guidance on areas such as identifying transferrable skills as well as extra information about jobs and other opportunities in different parts of the country, including local recruitments, jobsfairs and skills training.

We also plan to introduce a new, large-scale employment offer for people who have spent longer out of work, giving them the help they need to get into sustained, fulfilling employment.

The whole country has experienced the economic effect of Covid-19 but we know that some areas and some sectors of the economy have been more badly affected. DWP, along with other government departments, will continue to work in partnership with mayors, local government, businesses and charities, through forums such as local employment and skills advisory panels, to level up our economy and to make sure national programmes, such as the Kickstart Scheme, meet their economic needs. As part of our first response, we are working with local areas to invest £250 million from the European Social Fund’s reserve to help people, including young people and the long term unemployed, find jobs and learn new skills in England.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate her Department has made of the number of employees who do not qualify for statutory sick pay as a result of their pay being below the lower earnings limit.

To be eligible for SSP, earnings over the 8 week qualifying period must be at or above the National Insurance Lower Earnings Limit (LEL), currently £120 per week. The consultation “Health is Everyone’s Business” stated that widening eligibility for SSP would extend SSP protection to an estimated 2 million more employees.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate the Government has made of the potential cost to the public purse of removing the lower earnings limit for qualification for statutory sick pay.

The consultation “Health is Everyone’s Business” (CP 134, published July 2019) sought views on the recommendation of the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices to extend Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to include those earning below the lower earnings limit. On its own, such a measure would present no direct cost to the exchequer as SSP is paid by employers. There may be an indirect cost to the government as an employer but this cannot be robustly estimated.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment the Government has made of the potential effect that the level of the rate of statutory sick pay will have on the number of employees who choose to self-isolate during the covid-19 outbreak as a result of an instruction through the NHS' test and trace system.

A high level of compliance with the restrictions introduced to combat covid-19 has led to the outbreak being brought under control. This Government has a strong safety net that helps people who are facing hardship and are unable to support themselves financially. We have taken steps to strengthen that safety net so that people are supported to do the right thing. We have extended eligibility for SSP, and made sure it is payable from day 1 – rather than day 4 – for employees affected by covid-19. Employers can choose to pay more than SSP and many do - 60% of employees receive more than the statutory minimum. SSP is just part of our welfare safety net and our wider government offer to support people in times of need. Where an individual’s income is reduced while off work sick and they require further financial support they may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Employment and Support Allowance, depending on individual circumstances. We have ensured that benefits are easily accessible and more supportive for those who need to make a claim.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many employees with children earn less than the lower earnings limit for statutory sick pay.

The requested information concerning the number of employees with children who earn less than the lower earnings limit is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that pregnant women who have lost their jobs during the covid-19 pandemic are not disqualified from receiving statutory maternity pay.

The Government is committed to supporting all workers at this time, including working parents.

Where a woman satisfies the Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) Employment Test of 26 weeks of continuous employment into the 15th week before expected birth, her employer must pay it to her even if she subsequently leaves their employment or is made redundant. This test reflects the relationship between employer and employee and is designed to ensure that a woman has made a reasonable contribution towards her employer's business before that employer is required to fund and administer maternity payments.

Maternity Allowance (MA) is intended to support those who do not qualify for SMP. To qualify for MA a woman must have been employed and/or self-employed in at least 26 of the 66 weeks before the week she expects her baby (the test period) and earn on average at least £30 a week. Part-weeks of employment or self-employment count as full weeks. That work does not have to be for the same employer, nor continuous, nor undertaken on the same basis (i.e. a claim can be made where there is a mixture of employment and self-employment or where the claimant has recently become unemployed).

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of amending the qualifying criteria for statutory maternity pay so that pregnant women who have lost their jobs during the covid-19 pandemic and found alternative employment are not disqualified.

The Government is committed to supporting all workers at this time, including working parents.

Where a woman satisfies the Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) Employment Test of 26 weeks of continuous employment into the 15th week before expected birth, her employer must pay it to her even if she subsequently leaves their employment or is made redundant. This test reflects the relationship between employer and employee and is designed to ensure that a woman has made a reasonable contribution towards her employer's business before that employer is required to fund and administer maternity payments.

Maternity Allowance (MA) is intended to support those who do not qualify for SMP. To qualify for MA a woman must have been employed and/or self-employed in at least 26 of the 66 weeks before the week she expects her baby (the test period) and earn on average at least £30 a week. Part-weeks of employment or self-employment count as full weeks. That work does not have to be for the same employer, nor continuous, nor undertaken on the same basis (i.e. a claim can be made where there is a mixture of employment and self-employment or where the claimant has recently become unemployed).

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the basic rate of the state pension during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has made no such assessment.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to (a) support and (b) facilitate the establishment of disabled rights support groups.

The National Strategy for Disabled People will focus on removing barriers to ensure disabled people are able to achieve their potential, can lead a life of opportunity and fully participate in British society. Working across Government, with disability organisations and charities, the strategy will be developed with the lived experience of disabled people at its heart and will focus on the issues that affect disabled people the most, including housing, education, transport and jobs.

Through the Regional Stakeholder Network we are establishing a channel for disabled people and disability organisations from across England to engage with Government and share their views on policies and services. This will facilitate ongoing regular discussions both during the development of the National Strategy for Disabled People and beyond.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's policy paper, COVID-19 mental health and wellbeing recovery action plan, updated on 1 April 2021, if he will publish the (a) baseline, (b) timeframe and (c) specific definition of access that will be applied for improving access to eating disorder services.

The timeframe for the delivery of the Mental Health Recovery Action Plan is 2021/22. NHS England and NHS Improvement publish data on the performance against the children and young people with an eating disorder (CYP ED) waiting times standard on a quarterly basis. Data for Quarter 4 2020/21 will represent the baseline for the Mental Health Recovery Action Plan deliverable in 2021/22.

Children and young people up to the age of 19 years old referred for assessment or treatment for an eating disorder should receive National Institute for Health and Care Excellence approved treatment with a designated healthcare professional within one week for urgent cases and four weeks for every other case.

A national access and waiting times standard for adult eating disorder services has not yet been defined. A four-week waiting standard for adult community mental health services, including eating disorder services, is being piloted and considered as part of the Clinical Review of Standards. Further information on the specific definition of access for adult eating disorder services and a potential waiting time standard will be shared in 2021/22.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to (a) commission and (b) fund a long-term workforce strategy for the NHS that aligns with each of the priorities of the NHS Long Term Plan, including the expansion of mental health services.

We are working with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Health Education England and systems and employers to determine our longer term workforce and people priorities to support the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan. We remain committed to increasing the mental health workforce to achieve the ambitions set out in the Long Term Plan. An extra £500 million has been invested in mental health services for 2021/22, £111 million of which has been committed to support growth the mental health workforce.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that pregnant women are supported to access to the covid-19 vaccine.

Pregnant women can use the National Booking Service to book their vaccination on the same basis as other eligible adults. The Booking Service has been updated to ensure that those who are pregnant are offered appointments only at vaccination centres offering the appropriate vaccine for their needs. Anyone who is pregnant and who has questions about vaccination can speak to their general practitioner or maternity service or speak to a healthcare professional at their vaccination appointment.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support the development of a potential HIV vaccine.

The Department commissions research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Since 2013, the NIHR has supported five studies investigating the development of HIV vaccines through its research infrastructure. The NIHR has also funded a wide portfolio of awards investigating other methods of HIV prophylaxis, for a combined total investment of almost £11 million since 2010. As the nation's largest funder of health and care research, the NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including on HIV vaccine development and HIV prevention more broadly.

The Department will be publishing a new Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and a HIV Action Plan in 2021. HIV prevention approaches, including any new evidence related to potential HIV vaccines, will be considered as part of the development process.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 26 March 2021 to Question 134037, what steps his Department has taken to ensure the continued supply of Bedrocan oils for the treatment of severe epilepsy in advance of the end of the existing agreement on 1 July 2021.

The Dutch Government has agreed to a further six months extension, to allow continued access to Bedrocan oils - a form of unlicensed cannabis-based product for medicinal use - produced in the Netherlands until 1 January 2022.

We will continue to work closely with the Dutch Government to secure a permanent solution.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason his Department has removed .001 Doctor UK from the list of approved providers for day two and day eight covid-19 testing for travel; what due diligence was undertaken by his Department before providers were added to that list; and whether his Department is providing support to consumers who purchased covid-19 test packages from suppliers that are no longer recognised by the Government.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the attrition rate was for NHS (a) doctors, (b) nurses and (c) midwives since March 2020.

NHS Digital publishes Hospital and Community Health Services workforce statistics. These include staff working in hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups, but not staff working in primary care or in general practice surgeries, local authorities or other providers.

The official statistics on joiners and leavers for the period March 2020 to March 2021 will be published in July.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Government's target to recruit 50,000 more nurses, announced in July 2020, how many new nursing vacancies have been fulfilled since that announcement; and how many of those new nurses have been retained.

The information on number of vacancies filled is not held in the format requested as individual vacancies are not collected centrally, only aggregate numbers. However, overall trends show that nursing staff numbers are increasing therefore we are on track to deliver 50,000 more nurses by end of this Parliament.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effects of financial constraints on (a) face-to-face community translation services and (b) other non-clinical NHS services.

We have made no specific assessment. Local commissioners are responsible for putting services in place from local budgets.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the announcement by the Prime Minister in July 2020 of funding to deliver 50,000 more nurses by 2025, how many of those nursing vacancies (a) have been filled and (b) remain.

The information on number of vacancies filled is not held in the format requested as individual vacancies are not collected centrally, only aggregate numbers. However, overall trends show that nursing staff numbers are increasing therefore we are on track to deliver 50,000 more nurses by end of this Parliament.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what attrition rates have been for NHS (a) doctors, (b) nurses and (c) midwives since March 2020.

NHS Digital publishes Hospital and Community Health Services workforce statistics. These include staff working in hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups, but not staff working in primary care or in general practice surgeries, local authorities or other providers.

The official statistics on joiners and leavers for the period March 2020 to March 2021 will be published in July.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the delivery of perinatal services; and what precautionary and remedial steps his Department has taken to help reduce the (a) practical difficulties arising from the disruption caused by the covid-19 outbreak and (b) mental health consequences of that disruption for users of perinatal services.

Throughout the pandemic, NHS England and NHS Improvement have been guiding maternity services to prioritise maintaining safe and personalised maternity care by making adjustments to service provision only where necessitated by the local impact of COVID-19.

Wherever possible, services have been asked to reinstate a fully personalised approach to meeting the needs of individual women and their families across the maternity pathway.

Talking therapies are being made available remotely so people can access help safely from home and the National Health Service is working to ensure the option of face to face support is provided to people with serious mental health illnesses across all ages where it is clinically safe to do so.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing funding for health-related capital investment in Haringey.

Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust has recently received £773,000 as part of the critical infrastructure risk fund. The capital settlement has now been confirmed with HM Treasury and we will consider carefully how the next round of projects are prioritised.

Local health systems, including North Central London Partners in Health and Care, will shortly be receiving confirmation of their capital funding for 2021/22, which will enable them to progress priority investments agreed with local health partners.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether frontline NHS staff are being routinely provided with high quality FFP3 protective masks.

Personal protective equipment (PPE), including FFP3 masks, must be fit for purpose, meeting the necessary safety standards to ensure it provides the required level of protection.

Certification of PPE is supplied by the manufacturer having the product independently tested. Assurance is checked by the regulators, the Health and Safety Executive and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Evidence of certification is requested for products as part of the due diligence process. Contracts that involve the manufacture of PPE have the appropriate clauses to ensure that testing and certification is undertaken before the goods are accepted.

We now have over twelve models of FFP3s masks available to the National Health Service. In December we established a four-month stockpile of COVID-19 critical PPE, including FFP3s. We are confident that we have secured enough FFP3s for the winter period and that we have the processes and logistics in place to distribute them to where they are required.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including long covid as an underlying health condition in determining vaccine priority.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is monitoring the emerging evidence on ‘long’ COVID-19 and will review this as part of its considerations for the vaccination programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve care for black women in the NHS.

On 8 March the Government launched a call for evidence and is seeking to collect views on women’s health. It will run for a period of 12 weeks until 30 May 2021 and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/womens-health-strategy-call-for-evidence

With the Maternity Transformation programme there is greater service user participation in the design and delivery of maternity services through Maternity Voices Partnerships which is making efforts that diverse voices are heard. The NHS Long Term Plan committed to implementation of an enhanced and targeted continuity of carer model for black, Asian and minority ethnic women, as well as for women living in the most deprived areas.

The National Health Service is providing additional support for pregnant women from ethnic minorities during the COVID-19 pandemic, as research shows heightened risks.

The Department’s policy research programme is funding the National Institute for Health Research’s Policy Research Unit in Maternal and Neonatal Health and Care to conduct research to identify the factors associated with the excess risk of maternal death experienced by black and South Asian women.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a requirement for people to wear a mask in outdoor markets during the covid-19 outbreak similar to that requirement having been made by Borough Market in London.

There is no legal requirement for either staff or members of the public to wear face coverings outdoors, including at outdoor markets. This is because there is strong scientific evidence that the risk of transmission of COVID-19 is higher in enclosed spaces compared to outdoors - it is this risk of transmission that wearing a face covering will help reduce. The most effective actions members of the public can take to protect themselves and others are to avoid leaving home unless absolutely necessary, and to practice social distancing indoors and outdoors together with good hand hygiene.

The Government is guided by the advice of its scientific and medical experts and is keeping the evidence on face coverings under constant review. Further action will be taken if needed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether data by London borough will be recorded as part of the national rollout of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

NHS England and NHS Improvement publish weekly data for vaccinations in England by local authority including London boroughs. This is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether data on ethnicity will be recorded as part of the national rollout of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

From 28 January 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement have published the total number of vaccinations administered by recorded ethnicity at the following link:


https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with (a) local authorities and b) the Mayor of London on access to local data for the national covid-19 vaccination programme.

Ministers routinely meet local authorities and the M9 Mayors - the group of directly elected regional Mayors in England - including the Mayor of London, to discuss a range of issues concerning the pandemic response, including COVID-19 vaccination programme data.

NHS England and NHS Improvement provide a weekly vaccination data, including the number of people vaccinated, by both constituency and lower local authority. includes the proportion of people vaccinated for COVID-19 across a range of cohorts and geographies and population estimates are provided for most of the data. The data is available at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of clinical commissioning groups on the potential merits of capturing and publishing data by London boroughs as part of the national rollout of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

No specific discussions with clinical commissioning groups have taken place. However, Ministers and officials meet frequently to discuss all aspects of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, including data and reporting.

COVID-19 vaccination data is being shared at both a Middle Layer Super Output Area (MSOA) level and a lower tier local authority level. Additionally, NHS England and NHS Improvement’s weekly publication on COVID-19 can be found on the NHS England website. This publication currently includes data on:

- All National Health Service COVID-19 vaccinations administered in the reporting period;

- Vaccinations by age band, defined as 80 years old and over, 75 to 79, 70 to 74 and under 70 years old;

- Vaccinations by dose;

- Vaccinations by NHS region;

- Vaccinations by integrated care systems and sustainability and transformation partnerships;

- Vaccinations by clinical commissioning groups;

- Vaccinations by ethnicity; and

- Vaccinations of residents and staff in older adult care homes.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of clinical commissioning groups on the potential merits of capturing ethnicity data as part of the national rollout of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

No specific discussions with clinical commissioning groups have taken place. However, Ministers and officials meet frequently to discuss all aspects of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, including data and reporting.

COVID-19 vaccination data is being shared at both a Middle Layer Super Output Area (MSOA) level and a lower tier local authority level. Additionally, NHS England and NHS Improvement’s weekly publication on COVID-19 can be found on the NHS England website. This publication currently includes data on:

- All National Health Service COVID-19 vaccinations administered in the reporting period;

- Vaccinations by age band, defined as 80 years old and over, 75 to 79, 70 to 74 and under 70 years old;

- Vaccinations by dose;

- Vaccinations by NHS region;

- Vaccinations by integrated care systems and sustainability and transformation partnerships;

- Vaccinations by clinical commissioning groups;

- Vaccinations by ethnicity; and

- Vaccinations of residents and staff in older adult care homes.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what urgent steps he is taking to support families to continue to access Bedrolite oil for the treatment of severe epilepsy following the end of the transition period.

The Department, supported by the British Embassy to The Hague, has reached an agreement with the Dutch Government to allow the continued supply of Bedrocan oils, a form of unlicensed medicinal cannabis, against United Kingdom prescriptions for existing patients until 1 July 2021. The medicines supply chain has ensured that there continues to be good supply of licensed and unlicensed cannabis-based medicines after the transition period.

My Written Ministerial Statement of 26 January (HCWS734) provided an update on action taken by the Government on supply from the Netherlands and next steps to establish a more permanent solution.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support is being provided to Whittington Health NHS Trust to support staff and patients during the period of increased covid-19 related admissions.

Whittington Health NHS Trust is committed to supporting both staff and patients throughout the period of increased COVID-19 related admissions and beyond.

The Trust has invested in staff wellbeing to ensure everyone has the practical and emotional support they need to do their jobs. This includes support for staff to get to work with free car parking and access to free food and drink during the pandemic, creating safe spaces for staff to rest, recuperate and switch off from work and support to work flexibly


In addition, the Trust’s staff have a range of services that are available, including a mental health hotline, practical support, financial advice and specialist bereavement and psychological support. The Trust has put a series of measures in place such as changes to the Trust’s visitors policy and to non-urgent patient transport services, to ensure that patients who require treatment will be kept safe during the period of increased COVID-19 related admissions.

The Government is committed to supporting National Health Service capacity to protect it during surges in COVID-19 cases alongside the increased pressures on the system during winter. At the end of August, this included a retrospective top up payment to the Trust of £5.3 million to offset the additional costs incurred due to the pandemic. The Trust has also received £375,000 to expand and upgrade its accident and emergency departments to reduce overcrowding and improve infection control during winter

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support is being offered to families where one member of the household is shielding and another is an NHS staff member working with covid-19 patients, and where self-isolation isn’t possible within the household.

People who live in a household with someone that is considered clinically extremely vulnerable do not have to shield themselves. Shielding advice is only for the individual considered clinically extremely vulnerable.

Current Government advice is that everyone should work from home where possible. Where this is not possible, those not considered clinically extremely vulnerable can continue to attend the workplace. All employers, including the National Health Service, are required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace and employers should be able to explain to employees the measures they have put in place to keep them safe at work.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure disabled people can access support services during the covid-19 outbreak without proving their disability.

Under the Care Act 2014 an individual who appears to have care and support needs is entitled to ask their local authority for a needs assessment to establish whether they are eligible for care and support. If the individual’s needs meet the criteria set out in the eligibility regulations, the local authority has a duty to meet those needs, subject to a financial assessment.

The Care Act Statutory Guidance states that “the local authority should base their judgment on the assessment of the adult and a formal diagnosis of the condition should not be required.”

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has assessed the potential risk of transmission of covid-19 between visually impaired people and their guides

We have issued guidance on how to be supported by others outside your home in a way which limits the spread of COVID-19. This is available as part of the guidance at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-people-outside-of-their-home/supporting-people-outside-of-their-home

The guidance has been developed to permit support, including guiding, to be given whilst mitigating the risk of transmission as far as possible. The evidence considered by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and used to support the government response to COVID-19 is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/scientific-evidence-supporting-the-government-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will put in place steps to ensure that everyone (a) with suspected heart failure has access to a BNP or NT-proBNP test within the NHS to support accurate diagnosis and (b) with a confirmed diagnosis of heart failure has access to specialist NHS care, as set out in NICE guidelines NG106.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are committed to working with regions and networks to increase access to the B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) blood test and echocardiography, to improve the early detection and optimum management of heart failure.

Heart failure is a key priority in the NHS Long Term Plan which aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of heart failure and to ensure early and rapid access to diagnostic tests and treatment. This remains a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic and NHS England and NHS Improvement have a programme of work to support this.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure teachers and school staff have access to the covid-19 vaccine; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making teachers and school staff a priority group for vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is the independent medical and scientific expert body which advises the Government on prioritisation for all vaccines.

The JCVI has advised that the priority for the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality. The JCVI has advised that teachers will be considered for prioritisation in the second phase of the programme. Teachers and school staff aged 50 years and older, or in an at-risk group are eligible for vaccination in the first phase of the programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that heart failure patients have access to specialist care in the event of future covid-19 outbreaks.

During the COVID-19 pandemic the National Health Service has continued to treat people with and without COVID-19.

The recovery of non-COVID-19 services, including cardiac services, is a continued priority for 2021/22. Local teams are working hard to restore services, including for patients with heart conditions, and to provide diagnostic tests and treatments to as many people as possible this winter.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether UK residents who are in the UK on Tier Visas will be eligible to be vaccinated under the UK covid-19 vaccination programme in line with Government guidelines for priority of vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation have advised that phase one of the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be targeted at reducing mortality, as well as protecting health and social care staff and systems. As a result, vaccines have first been prioritised to care home residents and staff, followed by people aged 80 years old and above and health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.

Entitlement to free National Health Service treatment is generally based on ordinary residence in the United Kingdom. A person who can show they have taken up ordinary residence in the UK can access all NHS services immediately, including COVID-19 vaccinations in line with the guidelines on prioritisation. This will be on a free of charge basis. It is recommended those who have not done so already should apply to register with a general practitioner practice near where they now live.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure a timely and adequate supply of test kits are made available for staff and residents in care homes throughout the UK.

All Care Quality Commission registered care homes in England are eligible for a combination of polymerase chain reaction tests (PCR) and rapid lateral flow devices (LFDs). Staff have provision for two rapid LFD and one PCR test per week. Residents have provision for one PCR test per month. In addition, all staff and residents have access to ‘rapid response’ testing if a positive case is detected in the home.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the £500 million package to support mental health services in England announced in the Spending Review 2020 will be ring-fenced to fund mental health support services for children and young people in (a) schools and (b) healthcare and community settings.

This additional funding will be used to address waiting times for mental health services, give more people the mental health support they need and invest in the National Health Service workforce. Further detail will be set out in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the commissioning criteria of the nations' health authorities will be required to change as a result of the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill.

Healthcare and adult social care services are out of scope of the services framework rules in the United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020. This means there will be no disruption to the commissioning or procurement of health and care services, or supply chains.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of prioritising school staff for covid-19 vaccines.

The COVID-19 vaccination programme is based on the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The JCVI is an independent expert advisory committee to the Government.

The JCVI has advised that the priority for the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality. The JCVI has advised that teachers will be considered for prioritisation in the second phase of the programme. Teachers aged 50 years and older, or in an at-risk group are eligible for vaccination in the first phase of the programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of resuming the practice of providing hotel accommodation for NHS and care workers in areas of high covid-19 infection.

Due to its limited use and the arrangements which have been put in place by a number of local areas, the central arrangement for providing hotel accommodation for National Health Service and care workers was stood down in October 2020. However, the position is being kept under continual review and should the need arise, the central arrangement would be resumed.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of enabling a family carer to support a relative with dementia in hospital during the covid-19 outbreak.

The health, safety and wellbeing of patients, communities, individuals and teams remain our absolute priority.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s guidance ‘Visiting healthcare inpatient settings during the COVID-19 pandemic’ has consistently been that there should be reasonable adjustments to allow certain groups of people, including people with dementia, to have a family member or friend visit them if not being present would cause the patient to be distressed. This applies to all inpatient settings.

In addition, to support the provision of person-centred care for older people, including those with dementia, local National Health Service trusts provide hospital passport templates that can be completed before attending hospital as an inpatient or outpatient. The hospital passport outlines, from the patient's perspective, what they would like staff to know about them and their care to help personalise their admission.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will review the age criteria rules for IVF treatment to ensure delays resulting from the covid-19 outbreak do not cause those seeking treatment to become ineligible.

The level of provision of local health services available to patients, including fertility treatment, is, and has been since the 1990s, a matter for local healthcare commissioners. Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have a statutory responsibility to commission healthcare services including fertility services that meet the needs of their whole population. In respect of National Health Service fertility services, the Government have been consistently clear that we expect CCGs to commission fertility services in line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines, so that there is equal access across England.

The Government expects CCGs to give fair consideration to all patients who have had fertility treatment delayed so that no one misses out on treatment due to COVID-19.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase local availability of NHS dental services in London.

Dental practices are particularly impacted by the risks associated with aerosol generating procedures and therefore National Health Service dental practices are required to adhere to infection prevention and control guidance published by Public Health England (PHE). This is impacting the numbers of patients NHS dental practices are able to safely see. As a result, practices have been asked to prioritise urgent care, care for vulnerable groups and delayed planned treatment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential effects on (a) the use of European Health Insurance Cards and (b) other medical insurance for British citizens at the end of the transition period in the event of (i) an agreement being reached and (ii) no agreement being reached with the EU.

From January 2021, those people protected under the Withdrawal Agreement will continue to be entitled to a United Kingdom issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). For those not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, their EHIC may not be valid from January 2021.

For people not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, the future of reciprocal healthcare arrangements between the UK and European Union are subject to negotiations.

The UK has set out that it is ready to work to establish practical, reciprocal healthcare provisions with the EU for the future. The UK is open to arrangements that provide healthcare cover for tourists, short-term business visitors and service providers. These arrangements could benefit UK nationals and EU citizens travelling or moving between the UK.

The Department will be continuing to monitor the impact of future reciprocal healthcare arrangements including on the groups which may be most affected.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment of the needs and rights of babies and young children aged 0-2 was made in decisions regarding local lockdown social interaction rules in (a) Leicestershire, (b) Greater Manchester and (c) the North East of England.

For each change in local restrictions, formal assessments are made through a Public Sector Equality Duty analysis, under section 149(1) of the Equality Act 2010, and a National Health Service Act Duty and Family Test Assessment under the National Health Service Act 2006. These assessments respectively consider the potential equalities impacts on groups with protected characteristics as a result of restrictions and how proposed measures and changes in regulations impact on families. Both of these assessments include consideration of the needs and rights of babies and young children.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's average reply time has been for ministerial letters in each of the last five months.

The Government attaches great importance to the effective and timely handling of correspondence. Departments are seeing a significant increase in correspondence during the pandemic but are required to provide a substantial response to all correspondence from Parliamentarians in 20 days. Government departments are not required to keep a record of the average response time but the Department has responded to 21.6% of correspondence from hon. Members in 18 days since 1 April 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Recommendation 9 of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices safety Review, whether the Government has commenced that work; and steps he is taking to ensure that patient groups who submitted written and oral evidence to the review will all have a seat at the discussion table.

All recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review are being considered carefully.

While this report was published on 8 July, it took over two years to compile and we therefore consider it vitally important that each recommendation, including recommendation nine and plans for further patient engagement are given full consideration.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the guidance, Staying safe and alert, updated on 9 September 2020, whether (a) Alcoholics Anonymous and (b) Narcotics Anonymous will continue to be able to meet in groups of up to 30 people during the covid-19 outbreak.

From 14 September, social gatherings, both indoors and outdoors, must be limited to six people. There are several exemptions including where a household or support bubble is larger than six and for support groups which meet qualifying conditions.

The majority but not all support groups are not subject to the six person social gathering limit if they are in COVID-secure settings or public outdoor spaces, and are organised by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support to its members or those who attend its meetings. This includes, but is not limited to, providing support:

- to victims of crime (including domestic abuse);

- to those with, or recovering from, addictions (including alcohol, narcotics or other substance addictions) or addictive patterns of behaviour;

- to new and expectant parents;

- to those with, or caring for persons with, any long-term illness, disability or terminal condition or who are vulnerable;

- to those facing issues related to their sexuality or identity including those living as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender; and

- to those who have suffered bereavement.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase access to fertility services for people regardless of their (a) relationship status and (b) location.

The level of provision of local health services available to patients, including fertility treatment, is a matter for local healthcare commissioners. Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have a statutory responsibility to commission healthcare services including fertility services that meet the needs of their whole population. In respect of increasing National Health Service fertility services, the Government has been consistently clear that we expect CCGs to commission fertility services in line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines, so that there is equal access across England.

Ministers have written to CCGs about variations in access to fertility services twice in the last 18 months, most recently in December 2019.

Discussions are continuing with NHS England about how access to fertility services can best be addressed.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to increase the number of walk-in covid-19 testing centres available to people without vehicle access in urban areas.

We have provided a range of ways for people to be tested. For those without access to a car this has included satellite deliveries to centres at places like hospitals that have a particularly urgent or significant need, delivering test kits to people’s homes and offering walk-up appointments at mobile testing units. As our capacity has increased, we are able to expand the range of options for people. We have also made changes to home testing to allow people to drop their tests at Royal Mail priority post boxes.

Local testing centres are being set up across the country. We have increased the number of local/walk-in test sites to over 100 with more opening each week. We are planning to open additional sites to bring the total number of testing sites to 500 by the end of October.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional steps his Department is taking to tackle sexually transmitted diseases.

Local authorities in England are mandated to provide comprehensive open access sexual health services including access to the full range of contraception and sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment. The Government provides funding to local authorities for their public health responsibilities, including sexual health services, through the public health grant. It is for individual local authorities to decide their spending priorities based on an assessment of local need, including the need for sexual health services taking account of their statutory duties. The number of consultations at sexual health services increased by 7% between 2018 and 2019 (from 3,613,447 to 3,852,121).

Work on the development of a new national sexual and reproductive health strategy is underway with the Department working with Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement, local government and other partners. Details of the strategy’s scope and objectives will be announced in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 11 August 2020 to Question 66150, what the timescale is for ensuring that all children receive vaccinations for missed immunisation during the covid-19 outbreak.

Public Health England and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with regional commissioners to ensure routine childhood immunisations continue to be delivered in primary care settings.

Programmes delivered through schools have been rescheduled as schools re-open. School-age vaccination programmes are delivered at different times by different providers throughout the academic year, and so local variation will be seen in restoration. Some of the outstanding vaccinations have already been delivered before the beginning of this academic year (2020/21), and the remainder are expected to be completed by the end of the academic year.

The Government’s COVID-19 Action Plan has stated that everyone should ensure that they and their family’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan/coronavirus-action-plan-a-guide-to-what-you-can-expect-across-the-uk

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 11 August 2020 to Question 66150 on vaccination: children, what assessment his Department has made of the particular needs of vulnerable children.

Public Health England (PHE) monitors vaccine trends and coverage levels and acts jointly with the NHS England and NHS Improvement to increase uptake when it is required for public health reasons. Vaccination uptake data can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/vaccine-uptake#cover-of-vaccination-evaluated-rapidly-programme

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 7 July 2020 to Question 63465, if he will make an assessment of the prevalence of patients experiencing covid-19 symptoms for longer than three weeks.

The time to recovery for somebody with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 depends on the severity of illness and varies from relatively quickly through to extremely prolonged. Typically, time to recovery is within 10-14 days for mild and moderate cases. If a person feels unwell for longer than this, they should contact their general practitioner.

Research into the long-term health symptoms and impacts of COVID-19 is ongoing and on 4 July, the Government announced a research study into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19, which is being led by UK Research and Innovation and the National Institute for Health Research. However, it is clear that for some of those who have survived, the virus and the treatment they have received to combat it will have a lasting impact on their health.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the rate of mental health problems among people affected by covid-19; and how much funding has been allocated from the public purse to provide mental health support for those people.

There is broad consensus that there is the potential for an increase in demand for mental health services as a result of COVID-19 and we are working with the National Health Service, Public Health England and others to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term impacts and plan for how to support mental health and wellbeing throughout the ‘recovery’ phase.

Our NHS Long Term Plan commitment to investing at least £2.3 billion of extra funding a year to mental health services by 2023-24 remains. We have provided £5 million of additional funding for mental health charities to support adults and children struggling with their mental wellbeing during this time.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued to GPs to help (a) identify and (b) support people displaying signs of long term covid-19 related symptoms.

NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance for general practitioners on the after-care needs of in-patients recovering from COVID-19 on 25 June 2020 at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/06/C0388-after-care-needs-of-inpatients-recovering-from-covid-19-5-june-2020-1.pdf

On 5 July the new ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service was announced. This forms part of National Health Service plans to expand access to COVID-19 rehabilitation treatments for those who have survived the virus but still have problems with breathing, mental health problems or other complications.

By guaranteeing financial support and temporarily reducing the current Quality Outcome Framework requirements, NHS England and NHS Improvement are also releasing capacity in general practice to focus on COVID-19 recovery, and so supporting those patients most in need of long-term condition management support.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will issue updated guidance to residential homes on caring for autistic adults as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

We recognise the particular challenges autistic people and their families are facing at this time, due to the impact of social distancing measures and disruption to their usual activities.

Throughout this pandemic it has been our priority to protect care home staff and residents. All our guidance is designed with care users in mind, to ensure that individuals are treated with dignity and respect and that their particular needs are addressed.

On 19 June, we published our updated guidance for care homes, which includes information on testing for residents and staff, and isolation procedures. On 22 July 2020 the Government published updated guidance on visiting arrangements for care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance is applicable to all nursing and care homes and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus.

We keep our policies under continuous review based on the emerging international and domestic evidence.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department will review guidance to allow birthing partners to accompany pregnant women to appointments and to labour.

The National Health Service is making arrangements to ensure that women are supported and cared for safely through pregnancy, birth and the period afterwards during this pandemic.

Decisions on partners attending scans and appointments is subject to local discretion by trusts and other NHS bodies. Local maternity teams will be able to advise women on their policy on partners attending antenatal appointments including scans.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to reintroduce the school Fruit and Vegetable scheme when schools return in September 2020.

The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme will resume in September when all children will return to school. As before, all children in Key Stage 1 in state-funded primary schools will receive a free piece of fruit or vegetable every school day.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to page 20 of the NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24, whether baselines on access to mental health services for 18 to 25 year olds have been validated and published.

Under the NHS Long Term Plan, we are committed to increasing access and improving experience of care for 18-25 year olds. All sustainability and transformation partnerships have been asked to cross-validate data on baseline access for 18-25 year olds from the mental health services and Improving Access to Psychological Therapies datasets, against locally held data sources.

The validation and analysis is ongoing and a baseline access rate has not yet been published.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the delivery of routine child vaccination programmes.

Public Health England (PHE) has published a study on the early impact of COVID-19 on routine childhood vaccinations in England, which suggests that there has not been a significant impact on the number of primary immunisation doses administered compared to the previous year. Whilst there is some indication of a decrease in the first dose of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccination, this appears to be recovering. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.19.2000848

School immunisation programmes were paused as a result of school closures and PHE and NHS England and NHS Improvement are now working with regional commissioners to restore school-age vaccination programmes as quickly as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) ensure vulnerable children receive routine vaccinations during the covid-19 outbreak and (b) provide a catch-up programme for vulnerable children who may have missed their vaccinations.

The Government’s Coronavirus Action Plan stated that everyone should ensure that they and their family’s vaccinations were up-to-date. The Action Plan is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan/coronavirus-action-plan-a-guide-to-what-you-can-expect-across-the-uk

Public Health England and NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with regional commissioners to ensure routine childhood immunisations continued to be delivered in primary care settings during the COVID-19 outbreak. Programmes delivered through schools were paused as a result of school closures, but plans are in operation for their recovery, for example by vaccinating during the school holidays, to ensure that all children who missed a routine immunisation are caught up as quickly as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 9 September 2019 to Question 285039, what steps his Department is taking to reduce instances of suicide amongst people with autism.

The fourth progress report of the cross-Government suicide prevention strategy recognises autistic people as a high-risk group, and the NHS Long Term Plan reaffirms the National Health Service’s commitment to make suicide prevention a priority over the next decade. This Plan will see investment in all areas of the country by 2023/24 to support local suicide prevention plans and establish suicide bereavement support services.

We are also revisiting the work to refresh the autism strategy, working closely with the Department for Education and other Government departments. As part of this work and as a key priority, we will consider what further action can be taken to support autistic children and young people to maintain good mental health and to prevent instances of suicide.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the efficiency and effectiveness of the General Dental Council during the covid-19 outbreak.

The General Dental Council (GDC) is the body responsible for the regulation of dentists and dental care practitioners in the United Kingdom and is independent of Government.

The GDC’s Council sets the organisation’s strategy and monitors its effectiveness and efficiency on an ongoing basis. The GDC published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2019 on 18 June 2020. Alongside the retrospective view of the GDC’s performance, in light of the impact of COVID-19, updated information was provided where appropriate.

The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA) carries out annual reviews of all the healthcare statutory regulators. The PSA will shortly be undertaking the next review of the GDC for the period 2019-20 with a view to publishing its report later this year. The review will take account of the GDC’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the backlog of Healthy Child Programme appointments; and what steps he is taking to reduce that backlog.

Health visitors have continued to partially deliver the healthy child programme offer throughout the pandemic, providing continued support to families with known vulnerabilities and facilitate the identification of families with new or previously unidentified vulnerabilities during lockdown. Contacts with families have been virtual unless there was a compelling clinical or safeguarding need, ensuring children remain safe and protected.

National data is not yet available to provide insight into the reach of health visiting services during lockdown.

NHS England and NHS Improvement published the restoration framework for community health services for children and young people on 3 June 2020. The framework recommends that community health services move to restore health visiting services, following their prioritisation during the containment phase of the pandemic. The guidance recommends continuation of essential services, including antenatal, new birth and six to eight-week contacts, and the need for face to face support for vulnerable families.

The Restoration framework for community health services – children and young people can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/covid-19-prioritisation-within-community-health-services-with-annex_19-march-2020/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government has taken to prepare for a potential increase in vulnerable children and parents needing additional support from the health visiting service as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Health visitors have continued to partially deliver the healthy child programme offer throughout the pandemic, providing continued support to families with known vulnerabilities and facilitate the identification of families with new or previously unidentified vulnerabilities during lockdown. Contacts with families have been virtual unless there was a compelling clinical or safeguarding need, ensuring children remain safe and protected.

National data is not yet available to provide insight into the reach of health visiting services during lockdown.

NHS England and NHS Improvement published the restoration framework for community health services for children and young people on 3 June 2020. The framework recommends that community health services move to restore health visiting services, following their prioritisation during the containment phase of the pandemic. The guidance recommends continuation of essential services, including antenatal, new birth and six to eight-week contacts, and the need for face to face support for vulnerable families.

The Restoration framework for community health services – children and young people can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/covid-19-prioritisation-within-community-health-services-with-annex_19-march-2020/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the long-term health impacts and support needs of people severely affected by covid-19.

The time to recovery for somebody with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 depends on the severity of illness and varies from relatively quickly through to extremely prolonged. Typically, time to recovery is within 10-14 days for mild and moderate cases.

It is clear that for some of those who have recovered from the initial virus, may experience lasting impacts on their health. On 4 July the Government announced a research study into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19, which is being led by UK Research and Innovation and the National Institute for Health Research.

In addition, NHS England and NHS Improvement announced the launch of an online, on-demand, rehabilitation service called ‘My COVID Recovery’. The service forms part of National Health Service plans to expand access to COVID-19 rehabilitation treatments for those who have survived the virus but still have problems with breathing, mental health problems or other complications.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has put in place to avoid a flu epidemic at the same time as managing the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has taken unprecedented action to support the health and care system to respond to COVID-19 and help to ensure that services were not overwhelmed.

The Government will continue to support health and care services and is working with the National Health Service, Public Health England, local government and other key stakeholders on planning, to take account of the risk this winter of seasonal influenza cocirculating with COVID-19.

The flu vaccination programme will be a critical part of preparing the United Kingdom for winter, and to manage pressures on the NHS should we have co-circulation of seasonal flu and COVID-19 this winter.

On 14 May we published the Annual Flu letter 2020/21, available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/885281/The_national_flu_immunisation_programme_2020_to_2021.pdf

This indicated the main groups who are most at risk of flu and its complications, who are eligible for free flu vaccination so they are protected over the winter months.

We are planning for the flu season well in advance and further details will be published soon.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of making mandatory the use of face coverings in shops in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

From Monday 15 June passengers must wear a face covering when travelling on public transport in England by bus, coach, tram, ferry, hovercraft, cable car, aircraft and domestic and international train.

Guidance remains to work from home if you can and avoid public transport where possible, but face coverings can help people protect one another in environments when social distancing is more difficult.

The Government has considered the potential merits of making face coverings mandatory in public places, such as shops. However, as the Secretary of State for Transport set out last week, the difference is that in a shop you may pass somebody but for a short period of time. However, on public transport you could be next to somebody for a long period of time. The guidance for shops is to not let the shop become overcrowded and to put measures in place to help maintain social distancing, but we do not have the same environment for public transport. Our guidance remains that we advise people to wear face coverings in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not possible, this could include indoor crowded areas such as some shops.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to make an assessment of the effect of the redeployment of health visitors on the wellbeing of babies and families during the covid-19 outbreak.

With the onset of COVID-19 some public health nurses were redeployed into hospitals where their expertise was most needed to care for acutely ill patients. It is important that these nurses return to help mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic on families with young children.

The ‘Restoration of community health services for children and young people: second phase of NHS response’ is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/covid-19-prioritisation-within-community-health-services-with-annex_19-march-2020/

Public Health England will also work with local authority commissioners and service providers to support the return of health visiting teams.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to increase mental health service provision for 18-25 year olds who have reported mental health issues relating to the lockdown due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Mental health services remain open and are working to support people with mental health problems through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The Government and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with mental health trusts to ensure those who need them continue to have access to mental health services, including 18-25 year olds. For those with severe needs or in crisis, NHS England has instructed all National Health Service mental health trusts to establish 24 hours a day, seven days a week mental health crisis lines, clearly accessible from trust websites as an urgent priority. Mental health providers are using digital and virtual channels such as helplines and video consultations, to keep delivering support and manage the impact of self-isolation on staff and patients. In addition, we have published official guidance on mental health and wellbeing on GOV.UK and promoting this through Every Mind Matters.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department undertook data protection impact assessments before entering into NHS data-sharing contracts with (a) Faculty, (b) Palantir and (c) other companies.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement are compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation, and always undertake an appropriate Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) for all new products, systems and processing activities.

The DPIA would identify the requirement for any data processing or data sharing agreement, and they would be put in place accordingly.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what impact assessment his Department undertook on the effect on care home residents with dementia of ending visits by their relatives during the covid-19 outbreak before that decision was implemented.

Our guidance is developed and updated in line with the latest scientific advice, and in conjunction with the care sector and public health experts to ensure that residents receive the right care and support for their individual needs.

The Department, National Health Service, Public Health England, and the Care Quality Commission have published guidance on the care of residents in care homes, including those with dementia. This covers information on visiting care home residents.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people discharged from hospital into care homes (a) tested positive for covid 19 and (b) had an unknown covid-19 status between 2 March and 4 May 2020.

The Department does not currently hold data on the total number of people who were discharged from hospital into care homes, who tested positive for COVID-19 and had an unknown COVID-19 status between 2 March and 4 May.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the quality of hospital services for 18-25 year olds with severe mental health issues.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have responsibility for quality of NHS services, including mental health, and the Care Quality Commission inspects the quality of health services through a robust inspection framework to ensure quality standards are maintained.

Under the NHS Long Term Plan (2019), we will focus on improving the quality of inpatient care across the National Health Service, including for 18-25 year olds with severe mental health issues. The NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24 (2019) highlighted that all local areas are required to have a workplan and trajectories in place to reduce out of area placements, which include working to improve local system/bed capacity management and unwarranted variation in length of stay where this exists.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people that died of non-covid-19 causes in (a) care homes and (b) the community saw a GP in the week before they died (i) in person and (ii) via video in each week from 2 March to 4 May 2020.

The data is not available in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people that died of non-covid-19 causes in (a) care homes and (b) the community had been tested for covid-19 and received a negative result in each week from 2 March to 4 May 2020.

The data is not currently available in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the provision of support services for children and young people with eating disorders.

The Government is committed to ensuring everyone with an eating disorder has access to timely treatment based on clinical need. We set up the first waiting times to improve access to eating disorders services for children and young people - so that by 2020/21 95% of children with an eating disorder will receive treatment within one week for urgent cases and within four weeks for routine cases. We are on track to meet that standard.

The Government is investing £150 million to improve services for children and young people with mental health problems, with a particular emphasis on eating disorders. We are making good on this promise, and as a result 70 dedicated new or extended community services are now either open or in development. These are designed to give young people with eating disorders and self-harm early access to services in their communities with properly trained teams, including extended access to talking therapies.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to introduce residential services for sufferers of eating disorders who do not meet the minimum threshold for inpatient care.

Inpatient treatment should be a last resort and the Government is currently improving care in the community. Decisions about inpatient care should be based on clinical need and should involve short and purposeful stays, close to home and linked with quality community services to improve patient outcomes.

We announced in 2014 that we would invest £150 million to expand eating disorder community-based care for children and young people, and as a result 70 dedicated new or extended community services are now either open or in development. These are designed to give young people with eating disorders and self-harm early access to services in their communities with properly trained teams, including extended access to talking therapies.

Last autumn, we announced that 12 areas in England would receive over £70 million of transformation funding in 2019/20 and 2020/21 to test new integrated models of primary and community mental health care for adults. Eight of these sites plan to implement innovative service models that will improve access and quality for adults and older adults with eating disorders in line with new national guidance on adult eating disorder care.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to introduce specific mental health services for 18-25 year olds.

The NHS Long Term Plan and ‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision: a Green Paper’ (2017) set out an ambitious transformation programme for children and young people’s mental health. This includes significant investment in extending current services models to create a comprehensive offer for 0-25 year olds across health, social care, education and the voluntary sector. We are introducing the first mental health waiting time standards for children and young people so that more people have timely access to care. This will ensure that by 2023/24, an additional 345,000 children and young people will be able to access support via National Health Service-funded mental health services and school or college-based Mental Health Support Teams and 24 hours a day, seven days a week mental health crisis care services will be available throughout the country

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the announcement by the Prime Minister on 21 May 2020 on the exemption for NHS health and care workers from the Immigration Health Surcharge, whether that exemption will be (a) temporary or (b) permanent.

Department of Health and Social Care and Home Office officials are working to implement the Prime Minister’s announcement of 21 May and further details will be published shortly.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he had with clinical experts before changing the guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people who are shielding from the covid-19 outbreak.

It is factually untrue to suggest that NHS England were not aware of the shielding guidance being updated. We have engaged extensively with partners and the healthcare system, including NHS England and NHS Digital, throughout this process and will continue to do so.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he will take to ensure cancelled elective surgeries are rescheduled.

With evidence suggesting that we are through the peak of the first wave of COVID-19, and with the National Health Service well-placed to provide world-leading care for those who do still have the virus, we are bringing back routine services that had been temporarily paused. Where additional capacity is available, this includes routine electives, with a focus on prioritising long waiters. Recommended actions include making full use of all contracted independent sector hospital and diagnostic capacity to support with this.

The approach will be flexed at local level according to capacity and demand in different parts of the country, and will be gradual, over weeks. It will also be dependent on the type of services and different demographics affected.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many biomedical scientists employed by (a) the NHS and (b) private public partnerships have been furloughed.

The Department does not hold the data requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure cancer services can restart in safe settings during the covid-19 outbreak.

In response to COVID-19, 21 Cancer Alliances across England now have arrangements in place for cancer hubs. These are hospitals dedicated to cancer care away from hospitals dealing with the virus to keep often vulnerable cancer patients safe.

Essential and urgent cancer treatment has continued throughout the pandemic period, and we are now working on the restoration and recovery of all cancer services.

As part of the restoration of services, NHS services will continue to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer, as well as delivering treating patients in cancer hubs, to ensure that referrals, diagnostics and treatment are brought back to pre-pandemic levels.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the waiver of the Immigration Heath Surcharge for NHS and care workers announced by the Government on 21 May 2020 will also apply to the families of those workers.

Department of Health and Social Care and Home Office officials are working to implement the Prime Minister’s announcement of 21 May and further details will be published shortly.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the risk of catchin covid-19 by BME women in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

The National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit are using the United Kingdom Obstetric Surveillance System to determine the incidence of hospitalisation with pandemic COVID-19 infection in pregnancy and assess the outcomes of pandemic COVID-19 in pregnancy for mother and infant.

The initial analysis of the study found that there was a strong association between admission with infection and black or minority ethnicity. Consequently, The Royal College of Midwives has launched a targeted campaign to raise awareness of the increased risk to Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) women and reassure pregnant mothers that help is available. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is also updating its guidance to reflect the increased risks for BAME women so that health professionals can pass on relevant advice and support to the women in their care.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant the Answer of 4 May 2020 to Question 41129, whether actions, implementation and follow-up plans were developed after Exercise Cygnus; and whether those plans were directly provided to the care sector.

The lessons learned from Exercise Cygnus continue to be considered by the Government and a range of stakeholders, including expert advisory groups and local emergency planners in reviewing response plans.

Taking the recommendations from Exercise Cygnus, the Department commissioned further work on pandemic influenza preparedness from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services. This was completed in the spring of 2018 and included advice and guidance on planning for a pandemic, which was circulated to Directors of Adult Social Services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to publish for what reasons places of worship are not included in the initial easing of covid-19 lockdown measures.

The ongoing closure of places of worship reflects the need to limit social contact in indoor spaces, where the risk of infection is higher. We recognise that transparency is important in these unprecedented times. We have therefore published the statements and the accompanying evidence to demonstrate how our understanding of COVID-19 has continued to evolve as new data emerges, and how the advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has quickly adapted to new findings that reflect a changing situation.

The scientific evidence supporting the government response to COVID-19 can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that children's hospices have an adequate supply of personal protective equipment during the covid-19 oubreak.

The Department recognises the vital services that children’s hospices provide and are aware of issues they have been facing in obtaining personal protective equipment (PPE). The Department is working on putting a sustainable solution in place to ensure continuity of supply for the hospice sector, which has recently stepped up to take the pressure off the National Health Service as part of a £200 million funding arrangement announced by the Chancellor on 8 April.

To address continuity of supply concerns, central delivery points provided by hospices, including children’s hospices, to the Department will get weekly drops of PPE until they can be added to the PPE e-commerce ordering portal. The Department will continue to work with the hospice sector to ensure they have the support they need during this challenging period.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether vitamin D levels of patients are being tested in hospitals; and whether his Department has made an assessment of the extent of vitamin D deficiencies due to the covid-19 lockdown.

The specific tests undertaken on patients are based upon clinical need and are decided by clinicians. No assessment has been made of COVID-19 and Vitamin D status, and deficiency, due to the COVID-19 lockdown. However, Public Health England is considering any new evidence as it emerges. New guidance announced by the Prime Minister also allows most people to now take unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish a list of the participants of Exercise Cygnus.

Exercise Cygnus was a national level pandemic influenza exercise involving Ministers and officials from the Department; other Government departments; devolved administrations; NHS England; Public Health England and local agencies.

The lessons identified from the exercise have been considered across Government and shared with participants and local pandemic preparedness planners. Lessons identified from previous influenza pandemics, and exercises such as Exercise Cygnus, continue to inform the development of pandemic preparedness plans.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to issue guidance to (a) Clinical Commissioning Groups and (b) care homes on the use of Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders; and whether he has made an assessment of the veracity of claims that people have been pressured into signing DNR forms.

We are aware of some recent reports concerning the inappropriate use of Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) forms. It is long-standing best practice that conversations about the end of life decisions and treatments, that may or not be appropriate, should take place on a case by case basis. Discussions and decisions should take place between the individual (and those people who are important to them should they wish) and the multi-professional care team supporting them. Where a person lacks the capacity to engage in such conversations, a plan should be developed following best interest guidelines with the involvement of those who know the individual best.

In response to concerns, the British Medical Association, Care Provider Alliance, Care Quality Commission and Royal College of General Practice issued a joint statement on advanced care planning on 1 April 2020, setting out best practice and making clear that it is unacceptable for advance care plans, with or without DNR form completion, to be applied to groups of people of any description and decisions and discussions should take place on an individual basis. The statement can be viewed at the following link:

www.rcgp.org.uk/about-us/news/2020/april/joint-statement-on-advance-care-planning.aspx

Furthermore, a letter to the system from Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer, and Steve Powis, National Medical Director at NHS England and NHS Improvement was sent out on 7 April 2020, addressing concerns recently raised regarding the use of DNR forms and supporting best practice in the application of advance care plans. The letter can be found at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/04/maintaining-standards-quality-of-care-pressurised-circumstances-7-april-2020.pdf

Finally, guidance on the appropriate use of DNR forms and management of end of life care plans was set out in the Adult Social Care Action Plan, published on 15 April 2020. The guidance can be found at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-adult-social-care-action-plan

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that there is an adequate supply of fabric for industry and voluntary groups to provide personal protective equipment for NHS and care workers.

Lord Deighton is leading efforts to increase the domestic supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Contracts have been signed for over 2 billion items of PPE through United Kingdom-based manufacturers, including facemasks, visors, gowns and aprons.

Don & Low will be manufacturing 12 million metres squared of fabric for gowns over the next six months, with the first delivery expected later this month. We continue to look for opportunities to secure materials as well as manufacturers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to expedite procurement processes for personal protective equipment.

The Government’s Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) plan was published on 10 April and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-ppe-plan

As Strand 3 details, we have set up a cross-Government PPE sourcing unit to secure new supply lines from across the world and a call to industry has been issued to companies at home to manufacture and supply additional PPE at scale.

There has been limited United Kingdom manufacture of PPE to date and so new supply channels for materials to make PPE have been sourced at pace in order to enable new manufacturing to commence.

We are working with industry partners such as the Royal Mint, Burberry and Jaguar Land Rover to produce gowns and face visors and Don & Low will be manufacturing 12 million metres squared of fabric for gowns over the next six months. We are also in conversation with several additional manufacturers regarding the production of eye protection, masks and gowns to start this new sector of UK manufacturing.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government is engaged in bidding to secure (a) personal protective equipment and (b) testing equipment for use in the UK.

We have set up a cross-Government personal protective equipment (PPE) sourcing unit to secure new supply lines from across the world and a call to industry has been issued to companies at home to manufacture and supply additional PPE at scale. There has been limited United Kingdom manufacture of PPE to date and so new supply channels for materials to make PPE have been sourced at pace in order to enable new manufacturing to commence.

On testing equipment, there is a clear and unprecedented demand for testing equipment and suppliers are ramping up their capacity as quickly as possible. We are working closely with industry to obtain maximum possible supplies for the UK and with the scientific community to explore new options for test kits.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is having discussions with his counterparts in the EU on securing key medical equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.

The United Kingdom Government is working with Chief Medical Officers and Health Ministers across the four nations on personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance and supply.

In response to COVID-19, the UK continues to attend EU Health Security Committee (HSC) meetings and share information through the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

The UK will participate in the European Union Joint Procurement scheme on therapeutics that is soon to launch and will consider participating in other future schemes on the basis of public health requirements, including any on PPE.

Participating in any future EU procurements will complement the enormous domestic efforts we are already undertaking to tackle this outbreak, both independently and in direct collaboration with European countries and other international partners.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government is assessing steps other countries are taking to control and treat covid-19.

The Government is working closely with others, globally, to share knowledge and inform decisions. The G7 met recently and issued a statement on the COVID-19 outbreak, which stressed the value of real-time information-sharing to ensure access to the best and latest intelligence, prevention strategies and mitigation measures.

Countries will pool epidemiologic and other data to better understand and fight the virus.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what steps the Government is taking to increase the supply of hand-sanitisers to (a) elderly and (b) vulnerable people.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to prepare for the care of elderly people at home if they contract covid-19; and whether additional protection will be supplied to carers during the outbreak.

Current evidence suggests that the risk from coronavirus is greater for older people and people with existing health conditions, such as lung and heart conditions. We would therefore encourage those caring for such people to ensure they are following the stringent hygiene measures recommended by the National Health Service. Anyone with symptoms should avoid seeing older relatives or people with health conditions to avoid passing it on to them. We also advise carers to put in place a plan for all those they look after in case they are unable to attend them, taking into account their medication and care needs. Measures might include helping older relatives and neighbours to have someone available to go shopping for them or arranging for online delivery if needed.

Anyone concerned about COVID-19 can call NHS 111 for advice. This includes carers who suspect those they care for may have been in contact with COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with the London Ambulance Service on their level of engagement with the Patient's Forum.

The Department has recently been made aware by London Ambulance Service Trust that a significant number of the Patients’ Forum Ambulance Services (London) executive committee had resigned following serious concerns about the Forum’s governance processes.

The Trust also has some concerns about the Patients’ Forum’s ability to work in partnership.

The Trust has written to the Patients’ Forum to express its concerns and awaits assurance that there is a robust governance process in place.

The Trust’s approach to the Patients’ Forum Ambulance Services (London) is supported by its commissioners, NHS North West London Clinical Commissioning Groups on behalf of all London clinical commissioning groups. The London Ambulance Service remains committed to working with patient representative groups and the wider public, to further improve the care it delivers for Londoners.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to ensure joint replacement surgery takes place within 18 weeks of a referral.

A maximum waiting time of 18 weeks from referral to elective treatment, including for joint replacement surgery, is the existing National Health Service access standard.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the timely sending of vital medical correspondence to GPs.

The timely provision of medical correspondence to general practitioners (GPs) is vital; therefore, there are clear requirements in the current NHS Standard Contract (at Service Condition 11) for hospitals to supply patients’ discharge summaries to GPs, electronically, within 24 hours of discharge – and to supply letters following outpatient clinic attendance (where clinically required) within seven days of attendance.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of his Department's policy, Childhood obesity: a plan for action.

Through the three chapters of ‘Childhood obesity: a plan for action’ we are delivering a wide range of measures to reduce childhood obesity. We have seen important successes including the average sugar content of drinks subject to the soft drinks industry levy decreasing by 28.8% between 2015 and 2018, and significant investment being made in schools to promote physical activity and healthy eating.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has met BioMarin to discuss securing NHS access to Kuvan for people with PKU; and if he will make a statement.

There have been no meetings between BioMarin with Ministers and officials at the Department on this matter.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance is given to GPs and CCGs on the availability of augmentative and alternative communication devices.

Information on the funding is available for people who need access to augmentative and alternative communication devices and estimated the number of people who have accessed augmentative and alternative communication devices which have been funded publicly in each of the last five financial years is not held centrally.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is responsible for creating guidelines on identifying, treating and managing illnesses and reviewing new medical devices for adoption in the National Health Service. For example:

- NICE issued guidance in June 2018 on hearing loss in adults: assessment and management. This includes recommendations on when hearing aids should be offered, how they are to be prescribed and fitted, and other assistive listening devices such as TV amplifiers, personal loops, and doorbell sensors; and

- A guideline on cerebral palsy in under 25s: assessment and management published in January 2017 noted that at least one in 10 young people need augmentative and alternative communication, and one in 10 cannot use formal methods of augmentative and alternative communication because of cognitive and sensory impairments and communication difficulties.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of people who have accessed augmentative and alternative communication devices funded from the public purse in each of the last five financial years.

Information on the funding is available for people who need access to augmentative and alternative communication devices and estimated the number of people who have accessed augmentative and alternative communication devices which have been funded publicly in each of the last five financial years is not held centrally.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is responsible for creating guidelines on identifying, treating and managing illnesses and reviewing new medical devices for adoption in the National Health Service. For example:

- NICE issued guidance in June 2018 on hearing loss in adults: assessment and management. This includes recommendations on when hearing aids should be offered, how they are to be prescribed and fitted, and other assistive listening devices such as TV amplifiers, personal loops, and doorbell sensors; and

- A guideline on cerebral palsy in under 25s: assessment and management published in January 2017 noted that at least one in 10 young people need augmentative and alternative communication, and one in 10 cannot use formal methods of augmentative and alternative communication because of cognitive and sensory impairments and communication difficulties.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what funding is available for people who need access to augmentative and alternative communication devices.

Information on the funding is available for people who need access to augmentative and alternative communication devices and estimated the number of people who have accessed augmentative and alternative communication devices which have been funded publicly in each of the last five financial years is not held centrally.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is responsible for creating guidelines on identifying, treating and managing illnesses and reviewing new medical devices for adoption in the National Health Service. For example:

- NICE issued guidance in June 2018 on hearing loss in adults: assessment and management. This includes recommendations on when hearing aids should be offered, how they are to be prescribed and fitted, and other assistive listening devices such as TV amplifiers, personal loops, and doorbell sensors; and

- A guideline on cerebral palsy in under 25s: assessment and management published in January 2017 noted that at least one in 10 young people need augmentative and alternative communication, and one in 10 cannot use formal methods of augmentative and alternative communication because of cognitive and sensory impairments and communication difficulties.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of access to care for those in mental health crisis, and what steps his Department is taking to improve the provision of mental health care in the community.

We recognise the importance of people being able to access the support they need when they experience a mental health crisis. We have committed to investing an extra £2.3 billion a year for mental health services by 2023/24. Around half of this will go to improving services to help people experiencing mental health crises and community mental health services.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to 24-hour mental health crisis support being available via NHS 111 by 2023/24 alongside increased investment in a range of complementary and alternative crisis services, improvements in the mental health response from the ambulance service and testing of appropriate access and waiting times standards for urgent and emergency mental healthcare.

In September 2019, we announced funding to expand and transform community mental health services for people with mental health conditions in 12 pilot areas. This is the first step in a £975 million investment to transform community mental health services as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. These 12 pilot sites will receive £70 million funding for new specialist services for mental health community care, revamping local NHS services to build closer ties with charities, local councils and others.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of recruitment of doctors after the UK has left the EU.

The Department monitors and analyses overall staffing levels across the National Health Service, and we are working across Government to ensure there will continue to be sufficient staff, including doctors, to deliver the high-quality services on which the public relies following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.

The Government has funded an extra 1,500 undergraduate medical school places - a 25% increase taking the total number of medical school training places in England to 7,500 by 2020/21. Five new medical schools will open in England by September 2020 to help deliver the expansion.

The interim NHS People Plan, published on 3 June 2019, puts the workforce at the heart of the NHS and will ensure we have the staff needed to deliver high quality care. The final NHS People Plan will be published in early 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to undertake a public awareness campaign to educate people on PrEP.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) plays an important role in preventing HIV transmission. Currently, PrEP is funded through the three-year PrEP Impact Trial. A core function of the PrEP Impact Trial Community Advisory Board (CAB) is to raise awareness and uptake of PrEP in key populations including black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. Further information about PrEP Impact Trial CAB activities and participating community groups can be found at the following links:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/commissioning/spec-services/npc-crg/blood-and-infection-group-f/f03/prep-trial-updates/

https://www.prepimpacttrial.org.uk/faqs

In addition, Public Health England’s Innovation Fund has supported a number of community based projects aimed at increasing PrEP awareness in women, BAME groups and trans communities; information on the projects funded in 2018 can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/innovative-hiv-prevention-projects-reached-170000-people-in-2018

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) unexpected deaths and (b) serious injuries have occurred in residential care homes among people with learning difficulties in each year since 2010.

The following table shows Unexpected Death and Serious Injury Notifications raised against 'Residential social care home' locations with a Service User Band of 'Learning disabilities or autistic spectrum disorder', from 1 April 2010, provided by the Care Quality Commission:

Number of Notifications

Raised Year

16-1 Unexpected Death

18-2a,b Serious Injury

2010

260

558

2011

1,201

2,656

2012

1,248

3,112

2013

936

3,077

2014

948

3,215

2015

1,067

3,866

2016

1,221

4,236

2017

1,081

4,573

2018

1,153

4,513

2019

959

4,812

2020

12

48

Grand Total

10,086

34,666

Notes:

  1. The data does not indicate whether a notification relates directly to someone with a learning disability or autism, only that the location has the Service User Band of 'Learning disabilities or autistic spectrum disorder'. A location may have more than one Service User Band.
  2. 'Residential social care home' locations are defined as locations with a Primary Inspection Category of 'Residential social care', or with an Organisation Type of 'Social Care Organisation' and any of the Service Types 'Care home services with nursing', 'Care home services without nursing' or 'Specialist college services'
  3. This data is at location level only.
  4. The data for 2010 reflects both an incomplete year of reporting, i.e. from 1 April 2010 from a starting point of data from National Health Service providers alone, before social care and independent healthcare providers across England were included.
  5. Data for 2020 is up to and including 7 January.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) unexpected deaths and (b) serious injuries there have been in supported living in each year since 2010.

Information on unexpected deaths and serious injuries in supported living is not held centrally.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to President Biden's recent comments on alleged corruption in Ukraine, whether the UK Government is making an assessment of the potential merits of taking additional steps to help support anti-corruption activities in Ukraine.

Corruption remains a major threat to Ukraine's stability and national security. The UK is supporting a range of anti-corruption programmes in Ukraine, through the Good Governance and Conflict, Stability and Security Funds. The UK has also invested significantly in the establishment of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine and supported the establishment of the High Anti-Corruption Court. These are critical pieces of the anti-corruption machinery, which should make a significant contribution to preventing, investigating and punishing corruption. It is imperative that anti-corruption institutions are strengthened and allowed to work free from political interference. This is a message that we continue to give to Ukrainian interlocutors, bilaterally and through our chairing of the G7 Ambassadors' reform group in Kyiv. I welcome the opportunity to further discuss these issues with the Ukrainian government, civil society and international partners, when I attend the Vilnius hosted Ukraine Reform Conference on 7/8 July this year.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment has been made of the detention of opposition activists in Nicaragua.

The UK is most concerned at the unacceptable steps being taken by the Nicaraguan authorities to prevent opposition candidates and activists from taking part in November's presidential elections. The arrests and harassment of opposition figures represent further anti-democratic developments in Nicaragua at the behest of President Daniel Ortega. They violate the guarantees in Nicaragua's constitution, and further deprive the people of Nicaragua of the right to choose their own political leaders and parliamentary representatives freely.

Since the Nicaraguan authorities' lethal clampdown of protests in 2018, the UK has regularly voiced its concern over the country's deteriorating human rights and democratic situation. On 4 June, the UK issued a statement condemning the arrest and disqualification of potential presidential candidate, Cristiana Chamorro, alongside other international partners. On 15 June, as a Permanent Observer to the Organisation of American States, the UK voiced its support for the OAS' resolution condemning the arrests, and called for free and fair elections. We will continue to call on the authorities in Nicaragua to support the necessary steps for upholding the rights of all Nicaraguan voters in exercising their right to vote freely, safely, and without interference; to ensure that all political parties, their chosen candidates, and supporters can campaign freely and safely in advance of this year's elections; and to ensure that journalists and the media are allowed to operate impartially, and without restriction.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on threats to LGBT+ rights throughout the continent.

The UK Government is proud to defend LGBT+ rights worldwide through our global network. We work through existing international mechanisms and institutions to promote tolerance and non-discrimination against LGBT+ people and to address discriminatory laws. We regularly raise LGBT+ human rights issues with our EU counterparts, and as the current host of the Council of Europe's LGBTI Focal Points Network (EFPN). In May, the UK - in partnership with Cyprus - hosted a virtual conference to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) 2021 where we discussed domestic initiatives to advance LGBT+ rights and equality in Europe.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of recent reports that Azerbaijani forces have entered Armenian territory; and whether he has raised this matter with the (a) Armenian and (b) Azerbaijani governments.

The UK Government is closely monitoring the situation on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border following an increase in tensions. We welcome the ongoing communication between the parties and urge them to use this opportunity to de-escalate the situation peacefully. The UK Government fully supports the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs to secure a fully negotiated, sustainable and peaceful settlement to the conflict.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps are being taken to protect the LGBT+ minority in Chechnya.

We remain deeply concerned about the continuing persecution of LGBT individuals in Chechnya. Persecution for being LGBT, anywhere in the world, is abhorrent. As we state in our Travel Advice, there are credible reports of arrest, torture and extrajudicial killing of LGBT individuals in Chechnya. In December 2018 the UK was one of 16 countries to invoke the OSCE's Moscow Mechanism, requiring an independent OSCE investigation. The OSCE Moscow Mechanism's independent 2018 report confirmed allegations of serious human rights violations in Chechnya against LGBT individuals and other groups including unlawful detention, torture, and extrajudicial killings. We continue to urge Russia to implement the recommendations made in the Moscow Mechanism report and to end the climate of impunity for human rights abusers in Chechnya.

On 10 December 2020, we announced designations under our autonomous Global Human Rights sanctions regime, including those responsible for the ongoing torture and murder of LGBT individuals in Chechnya. We continue to raise our concerns about the persecution of LGBT individuals in Chechnya with the Russian Government at all levels. On 17 November 2020, I raised this with my counterpart, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Titov.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he has taking to promote and support good governance and democracy in South American countries.

Promoting democracy and defending democratic freedoms is a fundamental part of the UK's foreign policy. We believe that strong democratic institutions and accountable government, which uphold universal rights and the rule of law, are key building blocks for secure and prosperous states. The way we act to support democracy in each country is different, and dependent on the context and needs of the country concerned. Our approach is practical, based on an understanding of where and how we can affect positive change.

In the Americas, we support a wide range of democracy-building initiatives, including funding NGOs that increase citizen participation, promoting inclusion of marginalised groups, providing training for legal professionals, promoting freedom of expression, and strengthening political parties and parliaments. As a 'force for good,' the UK will continue to work with its allies, including championing and strengthening democracy through international bodies like the UN.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has been made of the level of threat of the recent Russian military mobilisation to NATO allies in the Baltic region.

Russia's aggressive actions in Ukraine, and provocative military activities are a source of regional instability. The enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland demonstrates NATO's steadfast commitment to collective defence and deterrence, making it clear that an attack on one Ally would be considered an attack on the whole Alliance. UK Armed Forces have a leading role in NATO's eFP in the Baltic States, in order to enhance Euro-Atlantic security, reassure our Allies and deter our adversaries.

We regularly discuss with NATO allies our responses to potential threats from Russia and as fellow Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, we engage directly with Russia on matters of international peace and security, including the Baltic Region.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his counterpart in Azerbaijan on releasing remaining Armenian prisoners of war.

During my recent visits to Armenia and Azerbaijan, I urged both parties to work with the ICRC to expedite the returns of all prisoners of war. Our Embassy in Baku continue to raise this with the Government of Azerbaijan. The UK Government will continue to support both sides in abiding by the November peace deal and to settle all outstanding matters through talks under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made representations to his Turkish counterpart on the withdrawal of the Turkish Government from the Istanbul Convention on Women's Rights.

The UK is committed to ending violence against women and girls. We were disappointed that Turkey began proceedings to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on 19 March. While this is a matter for Turkey, we regret that it has taken this decision, especially in light of President Erdoğan's ambitions for reform as expressed in Turkey's human rights action plan, published on 2 March. I expressed our view publicly in these terms on 21 March, and my colleague the Minister for the Middle East and North Africa also raised it with his Turkish counterpart when they spoke on 23 March, urging Turkey to reconsider its decision. The UK signed the Convention in 2012 and remains committed to ratifying it.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with partners in south America on protections for indigenous communities.

The UK Government is committed to promoting and defending the human rights of all individuals, including indigenous peoples. I have spoken about a range of issues with partners in South America as part of our regular dialogues. On 13 October 2020, Lord Ahmad, Minister with responsibility for Human Rights and the Prime Minister's Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, undertook a virtual visit to Colombia, where he discussed a range of human rights issues, including women and girls in indigenous communities. The UK's Ambassador for Human Rights subsequently undertook a virtual visit to Colombia between 9-10 February, and discussed a broad human rights agenda with Colombian government representatives and civil society. During the visit she also discussed protection mechanisms for social leaders, including indigenous leaders in Colombia.

More widely, the UK continues to support work with indigenous communities across Brazil, including in the Amazon region. In Brazil, UK programmes on building back better after the COVID-19 pandemic include a focus on vulnerable groups, and in the Amazon region, work on issues such as solar energy, primary health, and skills development.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with regional partners in south America on women's rights.

We remain committed to delivering a broad human rights agenda across Latin America, and this includes our work on promoting gender equality by tackling violence against women and girls. The UK is committed to advancing gender equality, women's rights, and girl's rights. We are taking full advantage of the opportunities offered by 2021, including through the UK's Presidency of the G7, co-hosting the Global Partnership for Education replenishment, and COP26. On 13 October 2020, Lord Ahmad, Minister with responsibility for Human Rights and the Prime Minister's Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, undertook a virtual visit to Colombia, where he discussed a range of human rights issues, including women and young girls in indigenous communities.

This year, the UK will co-lead (with Uruguay, Iceland, and Kenya) the new global Action Coalition on Gender Based Violence as part of the Generation Equality Forum convened by UN Women, and co-hosted by the Governments of Mexico and France in March and June 2021. The Action Coalition also seeks to adopt a multi-stakeholder approach in developing evidence-based approaches to preventing all forms of Gender Based Violence. We have supported projects in South America, including in Colombia to prevent violence against women through art, empowering women, and creating meeting spaces.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Bolivian counterpart on the need for reconciliation following the recent election in that country.

Our Ambassador and Embassy Team in La Paz are in regular contact with representatives of the Government of Bolivia at all levels, including to discuss the issue of political reconciliation.

We also continue to work with international partners in Bolivia to raise shared concerns about political developments with the Government.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Polish counterpart on the importance of a free media.

Media freedom is a priority for the UK. HMG believe that people must be able to discuss and debate issues freely, and have access to information provided by a strong, robust and independent media. We are following developments closely and will raise our concerns with the Polish Government if we judge that the plurality of the Polish media is threatened.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Ecuador on ongoing elections in that country.

Our Embassy in Quito has had discussions with the candidates and remains in close contact on this issue with other Embassies and International Organisations in country.

The first round of the Ecuadorean Presidential elections took place on 7 February. Staff from our Embassy in Quito participated in observation on the day, alongside international partners. We observed nothing of concern in terms of the conduct of the poll. The second round will be held on 11 April, and the UK fully supports the Government of Ecuador in running a peaceful, open and inclusive electoral process.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government is offering support to facilitate ongoing maritime discussions between Greece and Turkey.

The UK is in regular contact with Turkish and Greek partners to support their ongoing bilateral exploratory talks, which were held most recently on 16 March. The Foreign Secretary discussed this with Greek Foreign Minister Dendias on 2 February. Through our ongoing engagement we are encouraging the sides to continue to reduce tensions and resolve disputes through dialogue and in accordance with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as we believe this is critical for stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Slovenian counterpart on media freedom.

Our Embassy in Ljubljana monitors media freedom in Slovenia, and officials regularly discuss media freedom and ways to build on the Global Pledge on Media Freedom with Slovenian hosts.

The Foreign Secretary attended the first annual Ministerial meeting of the Media Freedom Coalition in November 2020, alongside Slovenia and other members of the Coalition. The discussion covered a range of policy options and best practices to strengthen media freedom worldwide.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Maltese counterpart, including on the treatment of migrants.

FCDO Ministers are in regular contact with our counterparts across Europe, including in Malta. We are aware of recent press reports about ill-treatment of migrants at detention centres in Malta. On 1 February the Maltese authorities stated that they have received no reports or complaints of ill-treatment and all incidents would be referred to the police. Officials from the British High Commission routinely raise the importance of ensuring the safety and security of irregular migrants with the Maltese authorities. The Foreign Secretary raised the issue of irregular migrants and their treatment with PM Abela in May 2020, and I raised it during the UK-Malta migration dialogue in July 2020. In December 2020, representatives from the UK, Malta, Italy and the United States joined international experts in a virtual conference organised by the British High Commission and Wilton Park about organised crime and migration in the Central Mediterranean. Among the conference outcomes were recommendations to improve international law enforcement efforts to prevent human trafficking and smuggling, increase numbers of prosecutions and ensure the safety and legal protection of victims.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he raised the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in his recent discussions with his German counterpart.

The UK remains concerned about the impact Nord Stream 2 will have on European energy security and on the interests of Ukraine. We continue to be supportive of initiatives that strengthen and diversify the supply of gas and competition across the European market. We engage regularly with our close allies and partners, including Germany, to keep them abreast of our position on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and to discuss European energy security more broadly.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much the UK spent on its financial contribution to the OSCE Unified Budget in the financial years (a) 2017-18, (b) 2018-19 and (c) 2019-20; and what the estimated contribution will be for the financial years (i) 2020-21 and (ii) 2021-22.

The UK's assessed contributions to the OSCE Unified Budget for the years 2017-2020 are published in the OSCE Annual Reports, available at: https://www.osce.org/annual-reports. As the 2021 Unified Budget is still under negotiation and the 2022 Unified Budget will not be negotiated until the end of this year, we are not yet able to confirm the UK contributions for 2021 and 2022.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with Latin American counterparts on the protection of tropical rainforests; and what support the Government has provided for the protection of those rainforests.

The UK is committed to encouraging and contributing to international action to address the problem of deforestation and the protection of tropical rainforests in Latin America. We believe that environmental issues can be addressed most effectively through leadership and action taken in the region, supported by international partners. Environmental issues are a regular part of our dialogue with countries in Latin America, for example through the Partnership for Sustainable Growth with Colombia and the High-Level Strategic Dialogue with Brazil, and most recently when the Foreign Secretary spoke to the Brazilian Foreign Minister in January.

Through the UK's International Climate Finance (ICF) we run major programmes on sustainable agriculture, tackling deforestation and improving livelihoods. To date the UK has committed approximately £259 million to Brazil and around £244 million to Colombia in International Climate Finance.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much Official Development Assistance has been spent in support of Ukraine's reform programme in the financial years (a) 2016-17, (b) 2017-18, (c) 2018-19 and (d) 2019-20.

The UK continues to be a strong supporter of Ukraine's reform programme, a commitment the Prime Minister reiterated during President Zelenskyy's visit in October. Over the last year, the UK has provided a total of £40 million ODA and non-ODA assistance to support Ukraine's reform programme alongside broader UK objectives. As part of this support, the Good Governance Fund (GGF) is helping to address economic and governance reform in order to fight corruption, improve the business environment and increase accountability of government.

An annual summary of UK programming assistance to Ukraine since 2016 is published on the government website. The latest version can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-programme-assistance-to-ukraine-in-2020-2021

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Integrated Review 2021, what specific steps his Department is taking to increase Ukraine's resilience to state threats.

The UK remains steadfast in its support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. In FY 2020-21 we will spend over £40m across a range of activities aimed at strengthening Ukraine's resilience against hostile state actors, including conflict stabilisation, security and defence, economic development and governance reforms. Specific activities include:

  • Defensive, non-escalatory military training delivered through Operation ORBITAL, which has now trained over 20,000 troops and has been expanded to incorporate maritime and air capacity building. As part of this, the UK is coordinating and leading allied contributions to develop Ukraine's Navy in a multinational Maritime Training Initiative (MTI) which commenced in September 2020.
  • Secondment of a large number of UK personnel to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, including one of the Deputy Chief Monitors.
  • A broad range of support aimed at strengthening Ukraine's ability to counter the de-stabilising effects of disinformation, as well as develop independent media and media literacy.
Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 16 March 2021 to Question 164568, on Georgia: Politics and Government, whether that offer of technical support has been accepted by the Government of Georgia; and what that support would entail.

Negotiations between the Georgian Government and opposition parties continue under the mediation of EU Envoy Christian Danielsson. Judicial reform is one of the issues under discussions. Although no request for further assistance has been forthcoming, the UK Government, including through our Ambassador in Tbilisi, continues to offer assistance to the Government of Georgia, including in relation to technical support on judicial reform. We will continue to monitor events closely.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what engagement he has had with the Irish Government following the end of the transition period.

The Foreign Secretary last spoke to Simon Coveney, the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, on 15 February 2021. Amongst the topics discussed were the Northern Ireland Protocol; climate security; and foreign policy, including with respect to Ethiopia and Syria.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the durability of the ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The UK Government welcomed the ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan. I have been in regular contact with the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers since the outbreak of hostilities in September. During recent visits to Armenia and Azerbaijan, I encouraged both sides to abide by the 10 November trilateral peace deal and settle all outstanding matters through talks under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group, as the most effective way to secure peace and stability in the region.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that Departmental staff deployed outside the UK have access to covid-19 vaccines.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Ministry of Defence are working together to provide access to COVID-19 vaccines for overseas staff, and dependants for whom HMG has duty of care. This is in line with the UK national rollout programme.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the Minsk Protocol as a basis for a long-term settlement to the conflict in Ukraine.

During the Foreign Secretary's meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in October last year, he reaffirmed the UK's commitment to supporting Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The UK has been clear on the importance of finding a diplomatic solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. We fully support the Minsk agreements, which consist of the 5 September 2014 Minsk Protocol, the 19 September Minsk Memorandum, and the 12 February 2015 Minsk Package of Measures. We also support the work of Germany and France within the Normandy Format and the work of the OSCE in the Trilateral Contact Group. The Russian Federation has taken unilateral steps which undermine Ukrainian sovereignty and run contrary to both the letter and the spirit of the Minsk agreements. We continue to call on Russia to play its part to end the conflict by immediately ceasing its support for the armed formations it backs, withdrawing its military personnel and weapons from the territory of Ukraine and fulfilling its obligations under the Minsk agreements.

The UK remains one of the largest contributors to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, which monitors the security situation in Ukraine. We continue to call for the Special Monitoring Mission to have full, safe and unimpeded access throughout the whole of Ukraine, including non-government controlled areas, as is provided for by the Minsk agreements.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what engagement he has had with the Armenian Government following recent protests in that country.

In the immediate aftermath of the public comments by Armenian military figures which prompted the protests, I underlined to the Armenian Foreign Minister the UK's continued support for Armenia's democracy. We continue to engage the Armenian authorities via the British Embassy in Yerevan, to reiterate our support for the democratically elected Government in Armenia and for the right of the Armenian people to protest peacefully.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many staff his Department employed in British Embassies and Consulates in South America in financial year (a) 2017-18, (b) 2018-19 and (c) 2019-20.

We have interpreted the question to mean how many staff were employed by the then Foreign and Commonwealth Office in South America in each of the financial years, (a) 2017-18, (b) 2018-19 and (c) 2019-20. All the figures shown are based on the headcount as at 31 March in each year.

The figures below cover our Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions in Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. These figures do not include staff from the then Department for International Development (DFID).

  • 2017-18 = 540-559
  • 2018-19 = 560-579
  • 2019-20 = 540-559
Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Turkish counterpart on the treatment of trade unionists in that country.

We have regular discussions with Turkish counterparts, including ministers, about human rights issues, which cover freedom of association and assembly. We consistently encourage Turkey to take greater steps to improve the human rights situation in a wide range of areas. We welcome the publication of Turkey's human rights action plan on 2 March 2021 and urge Turkey to ensure its prompt and thorough implementation for the benefit of all those living in Turkey. We will continue to monitor its progress.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his US counterpart on the threat posed by far right extremism.

Countering the rise of Right Wing Extremism and Right Wing Terrorism is a priority for the UK Government and we speak regularly to our international partners, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to help combat the threat from all forms of transnational terrorism. We regularly engage partners on multiple aspects of this threat, including with the USA, and will continue to do so.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Polish counterpart on (a) women's rights and (b) LGBT+ rights in that country.

The Foreign Secretary raised our concerns in relation to women's and LGBT rights in Poland during a call with his Polish counterpart, Foreign Minister Rau, in January.

The UK accords a high priority to promoting gender equality, and women's and girls' rights, across the world. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office officials regularly raise gender issues in multilateral fora such as the UN and the Council of Europe. The UK firmly believes that supporting the comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls, through evidence-based public health interventions, saves lives. The British Embassy in Warsaw is active on this agenda and supports Polish NGOs working on women's and girls' rights.

The UK is also implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination and committed to promoting and protecting the rights and freedoms of LGBT people in all circumstances. Our Embassy in Warsaw is engaged in dialogue with both civil society and the Polish Government, as well as with our diplomatic partners. We will continue to work with the LGBT community in Poland to identify opportunities to tackle discrimination and promote inclusion.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what engagement he has had with his international counterparts on the threat of far-right extremism.

Countering the rise of far-right extremism and far-right terrorism is a priority for the UK Government. We speak regularly to our international partners, both bilaterally and within multilateral forums, as part of our wider efforts to combat extremism.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much financial assistance the UK Government has offered to the Colombian Government to help tackle illicit drugs in that country.

Between April 2015 and March 2020, HMG spent £11,785,400 on Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) programming covering Colombia, Peru, Panama and Venezuela, focused on tackling serious organized crime and corruption, including tackling illicit drugs. It is not possible to disaggregate this figure by country as a significant proportion of the programming is regional in nature, and activities benefit more than one country. It should be noted that a significant proportion of this figure was activity delivered by HMG, and was not outsourced to other implementers.

The UK has also contributed to a multi-donor $2 million project for crop substitution and food security, as well as funding the provision of technical advisers to the Colombian government office overseeing this work.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what engagement he has had with his EU counterparts since the end of the transition period on the UK's co-operation with EU partners on Russian espionage in Europe.

It is the long-standing policy of the Government not to comment on intelligence matters.

The EU continues to be an important partner. As the Prime Minister said in the House of Commons on 30th December, 'we are going to become a friendly neighbour - the best friend and ally the EU could have - working hand-in-glove whenever our values and interests coincide while fulfilling the sovereign wish of the British people to live under their own laws, made by their own elected Parliament'.

2021 is an exciting year for the UK - with our G7, COP26 and UN Security Council Presidencies. We look forward to working with all our partners, including the EU, to tackle the biggest challenges of our time: from the global recovery from Covid-19 to turning the tide on climate change, where we are working notably with Italy as our COP26 partner. We will also continue working with EU partners on key foreign policy files such as Iran and Libya.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the British Overseas Territories in preparation for the COP26 summit.

The Overseas Territories (OTs), as small island states, are extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change and work in the OTs contributes to global understanding of climate science.

The UK Government is working closely with all OTs to ensure that their unique perspectives are accurately represented and is designing a specific package to support Territory Governments in the run up to COP26 and beyond. Whilst they are not part of the formal COP negotiating framework, COP26 provides an opportunity for the OTs to showcase their unique biodiversity, environments and marine protected areas and to highlight the importance of adaptation.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what engagement he has had with his international counterparts on the international work of the National Crime Agency.

The FCDO is committed to supporting the international work of the National Crime Agency (NCA) both through ministerial engagement and the work conducted at diplomatic posts overseas to enhance cooperation with foreign law enforcement agencies.

As the UK Government lead for serious and organised crime and the NCA, the Home Secretary leads on international engagement of this kind. However, other UK Government Ministers also engage with international counterparts on the work of the NCA when appropriate, encouraging further cooperation to tackle shared threats and promote shared interests. It is clear from HMG's international engagement that the work of the NCA is highly valued across the world.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what engagement his Department has had with international partners on cyber-espionage; and what international partnerships his Department has entered into to help tackle cyber-espionage practices.

We engage continuously with international partners on all aspects of cyber policy and security to protect and uphold a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace. This happens in a range of settings and fora including the UN, NATO, OSCE and with the EU, and in smaller groups, particularly 'Five Eyes' partners. We also regularly raise issues of cyber policy and security through our cross-Government Cyber dialogues with 30 countries and globally through our growing network of 20+ cyber experts across six continents.

Malicious actors, both State and non-State, conduct activity that harms UK interests or those of our allies. We work closely with allies to deter, mitigate and respond to malicious cyber activity including by raising awareness, attributing attacks and sanctioning those responsible.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent engagement he has had with his international counterparts on the threat of global terrorism.

Sadly, we are all too familiar with the devastating impact that terrorist attacks can have on our streets and ensuring the safety and security of the UK, and the UK's interest overseas is a priority for the government. The Foreign Secretary discusses the threat of global terrorism with his international counterparts when appropriate to do so. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office continues to work with international partners, including through its global Counter Terrorism and Extremism Network, engaging on a wide range of issues to counter the threat and keep the British people safe.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Georgian counterpart following the recent unrest in that country.

I spoke to the Georgian Foreign Minister on 24 February, following the arrest of the leader of the main Georgian opposition party, Nika Melia. I expressed my concerns about recent developments and stressed the need for the judicial process following the arrest to be fair and transparent. I also underlined the need for Georgia to complete its ongoing programme of judicial reform, and offered continued UK technical support in this regard. It is crucial that all parties in Georgia engage in a constructive dialogue to resolve their differences. We are continuing to monitor events through our Embassy in Tbilisi.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the deployment by the Russian Federation of covid-19 vaccines in the occupied areas of Ukraine.

We are deeply concerned by reports that Russia is distributing COVID-19 vaccines in illegally annexed Crimea and non-government controlled areas of eastern Ukraine without the permission of the Ukrainian authorities. The UK steadfastly supports Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Ukraine's democratically elected government should be responsible for developing and implementing a vaccination programme for everyone living in Ukraine. We oppose any action by Russia which violates this principle.

The UK continues to provide support to Ukraine in our shared struggle against COVID-19. We are working with civil society organisations to enhance oversight of COVID-19 procurement, ensuring that public funds are used to maximum effect to secure PPE, medicines, and now vaccines. We are also providing funding to the World Health Organisation to train the mobile teams who will be administering vaccines in Ukraine.

In support of global equitable access to vaccines, the UK has committed £548 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, making us one of its largest bilateral donors. Our commitment will contribute to the supply of at least 1.3 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021 for up to 92 low and lower middle-income countries, including Ukraine.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to his Belarusian Counterpart on the reported raid of the offices and homes of trade union activists and human rights defenders on 16 February 2021.

The Government is deeply concerned by the continuing campaign of oppression against the opposition movement and attacks against those seeking democratic and progressive reform in Belarus. The UK initiated the independent investigation under the OSCE Moscow Mechanism into the systematic violation of people's rights and has supported the UN Human Rights Commissioner in providing a comprehensive report on the situation. The Government has repeatedly condemned the actions of the Belarusian regime and called for the release of all those arbitrarily arrested, including workers facing politically motivated criminal charges.

The Government has raised our concerns directly to the authorities through bilateral representation and with our international partners. Her Majesty's Ambassador spoke directly to the Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister on 21 January. The Foreign Secretary issued a Joint Statement with the Canadian Foreign Minister, Marc Garneau, on 17 February to condemn the assault on civil liberties, following coordinated raids by Belarusian security forces against human rights, independent media and trade union organisations. In parallel, the British, US and Swiss Embassies in Minsk, alongside the EU delegation, issued a joint statement condemning the raids and calling for the cessation of attacks against civil society, trade union representatives and defence lawyers.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Belarusian counterpart on reports of trade union and human rights abuses by Belarusian authorities.

The Government is deeply concerned by the continuing campaign of oppression against the opposition movement and attacks against those seeking democratic and progressive reform in Belarus. The UK initiated the independent investigation under the OSCE Moscow Mechanism into the systematic violation of people's rights and has supported the UN Human Rights Commissioner in providing a comprehensive report on the situation. The Government has repeatedly condemned the actions of the Belarusian regime and called for the release of all those arbitrarily arrested, including workers facing politically motivated criminal charges.

The Government has raised our concerns directly to the authorities through bilateral representation and with our international partners. Her Majesty's Ambassador spoke directly to the Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister on 21 January. The Foreign Secretary issued a Joint Statement with the Canadian Foreign Minister, Marc Garneau, on 17 February to condemn the assault on civil liberties, following coordinated raids by Belarusian security forces against human rights, independent media and trade union organisations. In parallel, the British, US and Swiss Embassies in Minsk, alongside the EU delegation, issued a joint statement condemning the raids and calling for the cessation of attacks against civil society, trade union representatives and defence lawyers.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to the Government of Belarus on (a) police in that country beating up and arresting workers at their workplaces and (b) other instances of police brutality.

The Government is deeply concerned by the continuing campaign of oppression against the opposition movement and attacks against those seeking democratic and progressive reform in Belarus. The UK initiated the independent investigation under the OSCE Moscow Mechanism into the systematic violation of people's rights and has supported the UN Human Rights Commissioner in providing a comprehensive report on the situation. The Government has repeatedly condemned the actions of the Belarusian regime and called for the release of all those arbitrarily arrested, including workers facing politically motivated criminal charges.

The Government has raised our concerns directly to the authorities through bilateral representation and with our international partners. Her Majesty's Ambassador spoke directly to the Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister on 21 January. The Foreign Secretary issued a Joint Statement with the Canadian Foreign Minister, Marc Garneau, on 17 February to condemn the assault on civil liberties, following coordinated raids by Belarusian security forces against human rights, independent media and trade union organisations. In parallel, the British, US and Swiss Embassies in Minsk, alongside the EU delegation, issued a joint statement condemning the raids and calling for the cessation of attacks against civil society, trade union representatives and defence lawyers.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to strengthen the relationship between the UK and Canada following the end of the transition period.

The UK and Canada share a strong and collaborative bilateral relationship. This partnership is complemented by our work on the international stage, where the UK and Canada continue to work closely in multilateral organisations, including the UN, Commonwealth, G7, NATO, and as members of the 'Five Eyes.' We consistently work together to promote international leadership on our shared values around open societies, defending human rights, and tackling climate change. The UK and Canada agreed a Trade Continuity Agreement at the end of 2020, and this year, will begin negotiations on a bespoke Free Trade Agreement that will deliver for both countries, with technology, science, and environmental cooperation at its core.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support his Department is providing to the Government in Gibraltar to assist their covid-19 recovery.

The UK has agreed a £500 million loan guarantee, enabling the Government of Gibraltar to borrow at preferential rates, to fund its Covid-19 support measures. Furthermore, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, together with Public Health England, the Department of Health and Social Care, the RAF, and the UK Vaccine Taskforce, is coordinating the deployment of vaccines to Gibraltar. Gibraltar's vaccination programme is ongoing.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support his Department is offering Ukraine to (a) help it tackle and (b) facilitate a recovery from the covid-19 pandemic.

Ukraine and the UK face a shared struggle against COVID-19. We recognise the importance of supporting Ukraine, given the additional challenges it faces as a result of Russian aggression. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have provided support to maximise the effectiveness of government public communications on COVID-19, legislative assistance to the Ministry of Health, and adapted our humanitarian aid to respond to acute needs in the East. We are also working with civil society organisations to enhance oversight of Covid-19 procurement, ensuring that public funds are used to maximum effect to secure PPE, medicines, and now vaccines. UK programme support in financial year 2021/2 will be adapted to ensure that Covid-19 recovery is assisted by our work supporting Ukraine's defence, economic development, governance reforms and humanitarian needs.

The UK has committed £548 million to the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) - the international initiative to support global equitable access to vaccines, of which the UK is one of the largest bilateral donors. Our commitment will contribute to the supply of at least 1.3 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021 for up to 92 low and middle-income countries, including Ukraine, with their delivery to start shortly.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the European Court of Human Rights judgment relating to the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict; and what support the Government is providing to Georgia in the context of that matter.

The UK welcomes the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the case of Georgia vs Russia and its findings on Russia's responsibility for the torture of Georgian Prisoners of War and the killing and displacement of civilians during its continuing effective control of Georgia's Breakaway Territories. The UK is a strong supporter of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity and continues to call on Russia to adhere to its obligations under the 2008 ceasefire agreement. This judgement re-inforces the calls for Russia to stop its continuing violation of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The UK will continue to support Georgia to raise concerns about Russia's ongoing military presence in Georgia's Breakaway Territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in multilateral fora and to offer practical support to Georgian reconciliation efforts on the ground.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many British diplomatic staff were based in Brussels on (a) 1 January 2019 and (b) 20 January 2021.

For security reasons, the FCDO provides headcount detail in bands using available data from the last calendar day of the month.

As at 31st December 2018, the UK based Diplomatic headcount in Brussels was 140-159.

As at 31st December 2020, the UK based Diplomatic headcount in Brussels was 120-139.

Data includes headcount for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office only in Brussels Embassy, Corporate Services Benelux, UK Joint Delegation to NATO & UK Mission to the European Union

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with (a) his Bosnian counterpart and (b) the EU on the conditions facing refugees in Bosnia.

The UK government recognises the challenges faced by the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in dealing with migration flows but is concerned by the humanitarian situation faced by refugees, particularly in winter conditions. Following the fire that devastated the Lipa temporary migrant camp in December 2020, the UK has again urged BiH authorities to take urgent steps to ensure appropriate shelter is available for migrants.

The UK continues to coordinate with international partners, including the EU, to help BiH meet its humanitarian responsibilities and assist the migrants and refugees present in the country. In 2019, the UK provided £565,000 of bilateral funding to support communities and authorities in BiH hosting migrants and refugees.

Our Embassy in Sarajevo regularly raises the challenges associated with migration with the relevant authorities in BiH, and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to strengthen relations with Iceland on (a) sustainable fishing and (b) research and cooperation on climate change.

I signed the UK-Iceland Joint Vision with the Icelandic Foreign Minister on 14 May 2020. It forms the basis for future cooperation on our shared priorities and focusses on seven areas, including sustainable fisheries management and action to tackle climate change.

On 11 November 2020 Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Iceland which aims to boost cooperation on fisheries matters. It came into effect on 1 January. It will establish a UK-Iceland Fisheries Dialogue which will allow both countries to share best practice, including in product innovation and the traceability and marketing of seafood products.

The UK and Iceland are like-minded on climate change and we continue to work closely together on climate-related activities, including research in the run-up to COP26. Under the Joint Vision we plan to have at least one joint initiative to strengthen research collaboration in the field of climate change each year. This may be bilateral or may be undertaken through international mechanisms and fora, such as the Arctic Council or Arctic Circle Assembly. British Embassy Reykjavik are hosting a joint UK/Iceland Arctic Marine virtual science session on 23 February, bringing leading UK and Icelandic scientists and other experts together to look at latest research and discuss future collaboration opportunities.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made representations to his Turkish counterpart on the detention of Israfil Erbil.

We have not made representations to the Turkish authorities on behalf of Mr Erbil about his recent detention in Turkey. We understand that he was released the same day after questioning. We support the rights of minority communities in Turkey, including Alevis, and will continue to monitor their situation.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support investigations into human rights abuses during the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The UK Government is aware of reports of human rights abuses taking place during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I have raised allegations of war crimes and human rights abuses with the Governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan and urged that they be thoroughly investigated.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to help support and facilitate access for (a) the Red Cross and (b) other humanitarian organisations to detainees associated with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and ensure the return of the causalities.

On 30 October the Foreign Secretary announced £1 million in funding to the ICRC to support their humanitarian efforts in the region. We continue to urge both sides to ensure the safety and security of all persons including through my recent calls with the Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers. I also discussed humanitarian access with Russian Deputy Minister Titov during my recent visit to Moscow. The UK Government is keeping the situation under close review, coordinating with local and international partners and will continue to explore opportunities to support partners to deliver an effective international response.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether any agreement on the future relationship between the UK and the EU will include Gibraltar.

The UK continues to negotiate for the whole UK family, which includes Gibraltar.

We remain fully committed to finding a solution that supports Gibraltar, its people and its economy.

The UK and the Government of Gibraltar have held a number of constructive discussions with Spain on this issue. It is clearly in all parties' interests to find a solution, to ensure ongoing well-being and prosperity in the region.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Peruvian Government on recent civil unrest in that country.

Events have been moving very quickly in Peru following the removal of former President Vizcarra by Congress on 9 November. Our Embassy in Peru issued a statement on 13 November expressing concern over developments. On 15 November, following serious unrest and continued concerns over excessive use of force by the authorities and the deaths of two young men caught up in the protests, our Ambassador issued a further communication offering condolences to the families and calling for a formal investigation. Following a vote in Congress on 16 November, Francisco Sagasti was appointed as President on 17 November.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assistance the Government has offered to countries affected by Hurricane Eta.

The British Government is supporting the humanitarian response in Central America in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Eta. The UK is a large donor to many of the multilateral agencies who are already responding across the region, including the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the World Food Programme. The Start Fund, to which the UK contributes, has activated in Nicaragua to provide food, water, and sanitation to those affected. The Fund is considering further activations in Honduras and Guatemala. The UK-funded NGO Map Action is providing crucial mapping services to support regional relief efforts. We are continuing to monitor the situation, and stand ready to provide further support as required.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the number of British diplomats based in South America after the end of the transition period.

South America is an important partner for the UK. Our friendship is based on our shared liberal and democratic values, economic strengths, and our championing of free trade. We want to strengthen partnerships with those that share our values, and are keen to seize the opportunities that leaving the EU brings. Since 2010, we have established a stronger network of posts in South America, with the opening of three Embassies and two Consulates-generals, with more staff on the ground focusing on trade, prosperity, global issues, strengthening the international system, and climate change.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with the new Government of Bolivia following the recent elections in that country.

Our Ambassador in La Paz maintains regular contact with high-level representatives in the Movement for Socialism (MAS), the party of the new President of Bolivia, Luis Arce. This includes conversations since the 18 October elections regarding the new Administration's initial plans for government. The Ambassador also attended the Presidential inauguration on 8 November, and an audience for the international community with the Vice-President elect on 7 November. Further contact will take place once all government positions have been appointed.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations the Government has made to the Government of Uzbekistan on LGBT+ rights.

The UK is strongly opposed to all forms of discrimination and is committed to promoting and protecting the rights and freedoms of LGBT+ people in all circumstances. FCDO senior officials, including the UK Ambassador in Tashkent, continue to raise LGBT+ rights with the Uzbek authorities, including in the context of the current consultation on amending Article 120 of the Uzbek Criminal Code, which criminalises 'voluntary sexual intercourse between two male individuals'. We have made clear the importance of these consultations being transparent as well as the need to protect the rights of the LGBT+ community in Uzbekistan.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what additional steps the Government is taking to work with partners in south America to help protect the Amazon rainforest and work together on climate change.

The UK is engaging with international partners to ensure momentum and ambitious, collective action on climate ahead of a rescheduled COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021. As part of the UK's COP26 Presidency we are working with Chile, the current COP Presidency, to call on all countries to submit new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that represent their highest possible climate ambition. Tackling climate change remains a high priority for this Government. The Prime Minister has committed to double the UK's International Climate Finance funding to at least £11.6 billion between 2021/22 and 2025/26. In South America, the UK is one of the leading donors of climate finance. The UK runs major programmes on sustainable agriculture and deforestation with stakeholders in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, and has committed £120 million to Partnerships for Forests, a programme which supports sustainable businesses which create jobs and protect forests. This programme operates in a number of locations, including the Amazon region.

The Foreign Secretary recently raised the issue of climate change and the need to protect the Amazon rainforest with his Brazilian counterpart. We are keen to work with our South American partners to protect natural systems, like rainforest, which are on the front-line of the fight against climate change, and on the transition to sustainable land use, which is critical to raising the next 1.5 billion people globally from poverty. It is vital to ensure that our land-use, agriculture and fisheries management policies adapt so that our ecosystems can continue to support people and biodiversity. To this end, the UK has been working with a number of countries to create an ambitious 'Leaders' Pledge for Nature'. This Pledge commits leaders to take ten urgent actions to put biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030. So far, 78 countries have signed the Pledge, including Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay, and Peru.

In August 2020, the Government launched a consultation seeking views on whether it should introduce a requirement on larger business using forest risk commodities to undertake due diligence on their supply chains. The consultation attracted over 60,000 responses, which we are analysing carefully. We will publish the Government's response to the consultation shortly.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his counterparts in (a) Armenia and (b) Azerbaijan on the use of cluster munitions and heavy artillery in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

We are aware that there are allegations of the use of cluster munitions and heavy artillery in the Naognoro-Karabakh conflict. I spoke to the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister on 15 October and highlighted continued UK concern over the escalation in and around Nagorno-Karabakh and strongly condemned all targeting of civilian areas and the increasing numbers of civilian casualties. I also spoke to the Armenian Foreign Minister on 19 October where I delivered the same messages. The UK continues to urge de-escalation and a return to the negotiating table.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has held with the Russian Government regarding the treatment of minority groups in Russia; whether he has made representations regarding the treatment of Jehovah's Witnesses to his Russian counterpart; and what further steps he is taking to work with international partners to highlight the treatment of minority groups in Russia.

The UK is deeply concerned by the deteriorating human rights situation in Russia, including the treatment of minority groups such as Jehovah's Witnesses, who are being imprisoned or detained for practicing their faith.?The UK Government has raised our concerns about the human rights situation repeatedly with the Russian Government at all?levels and?has made clear that Russia must abide by its international human rights obligations.?I spoke about this with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Titov?on 17 June 2020?and?the British Embassy in Moscow continues?to raise our?concern, including at Ambassadorial level,?with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On 12 March and 23 July 2020, the UK's delegation to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna expressed our concern at?the?persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. We have called repeatedly for Russia to end this persecution and to fulfil its international obligations, including respect for freedom of religion and belief. The FCDO remains in regular contact with representatives of the Jehovah's Witnesses in the UK and Russia.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many of his staff are dedicated to working on human rights issues in (a) eastern Europe (b) South America.

The majority of FCDO staff working on human rights issues are deployed in our large network of embassies and consulates around eastern Europe and South America. In the UK, staff across several FCDO directorates spend all or a part of their time working on various aspects of human rights in those regions. The UK is committed to protecting and promoting human rights, democratic freedoms and civil society throughout the world and to raising issues and cases of concern.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 17 June 2020 to Question 60839, what steps he is taking to ensure that the UK’s Good Governance Fund in Georgia is focused on (a) anti-corruption and (b) improving the business environment; and whether he holds information on recent decisions taken by the Georgian Government against foreign investors ni relation to the Anaklia Port project and the takeover of Caucasus Online.

The UK's Good Governance Fund (GGF) in Georgia is focused on public administration reform and the strengthening of parliamentary processes, in order to address institutional weaknesses and tackle corruption. It also supports direct dialogue between the Georgia Government and investors designed to improve the business environment. The GGF Programme Teams in Tbilisi and London use robust tendering and monitoring processes to ensure GGF-funded programmes deliver on these priorities. The British Embassy in Tbilisi is aware of developments around the Anaklia Port project and Caucasus Online, and will continue to monitor the situation.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what effect the merger of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development will have on the Government's priorities and objectives in South America.

The creation of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is an important opportunity to increase Britain's influence around the world, while protecting and advancing our interests and values, including in South America. We will be developing policy and programmes reflecting the breadth of expertise and knowledge in the new Department.?South America is an increasingly important partner for the UK's global ambitions. We will be ambitious about taking the opportunity?that?our new Department's creation,?and the UK's departure from the EU will give us to strengthen partnerships with all those countries in the region that share our values and support a rules-based international system.

The?FCDO's mission statement commits us to pursuing UK national interests. Together with the Department for International Trade,?we will be working hard to grow UK trade with the region,?and to maintain and improve market access for British companies. It commits us to projecting the UK as a force for good in the world,?and we will continue to support the rule of law, justice,?and good governance through programmes and projects across the region, also working with partners in the