Daniel Kawczynski Portrait

Daniel Kawczynski

Conservative - Shrewsbury and Atcham

Subsidy Control Bill
20th Oct 2021 - 24th Oct 2021
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 20th Jul 2020
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 20th Jul 2020
Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art
20th May 2020 - 25th Jun 2020
Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee
5th Jan 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Foreign Affairs Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
International Development Committee
10th Mar 2008 - 6th May 2010
Justice Committee
6th Nov 2007 - 20th Apr 2009
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
12th Jul 2005 - 18th Dec 2007


Oral Question
Tuesday 30th November 2021
11:30
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Oral Question No. 19
What diplomatic steps the Government is taking in response to the recent conflict on the Polish-Belarusian border.
Save to Calendar
Division Votes
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Health and Care Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 302 Conservative No votes vs 1 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 240 Noes - 304
Speeches
Wednesday 24th November 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

The Prime Minister will be very pleased that Shrewsbury Conservatives are doing everything possible to help Neil Shastri-Hurst, the excellent …

Written Answers
Thursday 25th November 2021
Montenegro: Russia
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations she has made to her Russian …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 2nd December 2020
The Nord Stream 2 Pipeline
That this House recognises the threats the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would pose to NATO; understands that …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 15th November 2021
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: Honorary Consulate for the Republic of San Marino
Address of donor: Baird House, 15-17 St Cross St, …
EDM signed
Monday 19th July 2021
Mountbatten diaries
That this House notes with concern that the personal diaries of Lord and Lady Mountbatten were purchased from the family's …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Daniel Kawczynski has voted in 320 divisions, and 2 times against the majority of their Party.

24 Jun 2020 - Demonstrations (Abortion Clinics) - View Vote Context
Daniel Kawczynski voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 43 Conservative No votes vs 56 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 213 Noes - 47
27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Daniel Kawczynski voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 77 Conservative No votes vs 222 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
View All Daniel Kawczynski 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
Thérèse Coffey (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
(6 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(6 debate interactions)
Geraint Davies (Labour (Co-op))
(5 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(15 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(14 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Daniel Kawczynski's debates

Shrewsbury and Atcham 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 Shrewsbury and Atcham signature proportion
Petitions with most Shrewsbury and Atcham signatures
Daniel Kawczynski has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Daniel Kawczynski

19th July 2021
Daniel Kawczynski signed this EDM on Monday 19th July 2021

Mountbatten diaries

Tabled by: Julian Lewis (Conservative - New Forest East)
That this House notes with concern that the personal diaries of Lord and Lady Mountbatten were purchased from the family's Broadlands Archive Trust, a decade ago, by Southampton University with a substantial sum of public money including almost £2 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund; that, until the sale to …
24 signatures
(Most recent: 25 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 11
Labour: 5
Scottish National Party: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Liberal Democrat: 2
2nd December 2020
Daniel Kawczynski signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Wednesday 2nd December 2020

The Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

Tabled by: Daniel Kawczynski (Conservative - Shrewsbury and Atcham)
That this House recognises the threats the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would pose to NATO; understands that the security and stability of the United Kingdom’s allies on NATO’s Eastern flank would be threatened by the project, as it would greatly alter the geopolitics of the region; expresses …
4 signatures
(Most recent: 14 Dec 2020)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Daniel Kawczynski's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Daniel Kawczynski, 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.


Daniel Kawczynski has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Daniel Kawczynski has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Daniel Kawczynski has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Daniel Kawczynski has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


287 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
2 Other Department Questions
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what his timetable is for announcing the next round of funds from the Levelling Up Fund.

The £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund will invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including regenerating town centres and high streets, upgrading local transport, and investing in cultural and heritage assets. Further detail on how the Fund will operate from 2022-23 onwards will be set out later this year.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department has conducted an economic valuation of the benefit that funding from the Levelling Up Fund will provide for town centres.

Monitoring and evaluation of the Levelling Up Fund will involve a combination of national-level evaluation activity with project-level monitoring and evaluation. As part of business case development, local authorities are required to set out a proportionate plan for project-level monitoring and evaluation. In addition, national-level evaluation activity will include producing and publishing an M&E framework and guidance to support the development of project-level evaluations.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the level of bilateral trade was with Poland in (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether weddings with one hundred or more guests are likely to be allowed before the end of the year as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Government has been working closely with stakeholders in the wedding industry, the Places of Worship Taskforce, and the National Panel for Registration to enable small marriages and civil partnerships to begin safely from 4 July 2020. Guidance can be found at the link below, which remains under review and may be updated in line with the changing situation:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships

Large gatherings, for example of one hundred or more people, present greater risks of transmission.The Government continues to work with relevant stakeholders to consider how to enable receptions and larger marriage and civil partnership ceremonies to take place safely.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of re-introducing Double Summer Time.

The Government believes that the current daylight-saving arrangements represent the optimal use of the available daylight across the UK. There is not currently sufficient evidence to support changing the current system of clock changes, and any decision to change the current system would need to be supported by a wide-ranging cost benefit analysis.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with the BBC on the operation of the convention of the Monarch’s office being shown footage intended to be broadcast by the BBC.

The BBC is an independent body governed by the Royal Charter. It is operationally and editorially independent from the government, and the government cannot intervene in the BBC’s day-to-day operations.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to review the broadcasting licences of Russian state-backed media outlets (a) RT and (b) Sputnik in relation to potential campaigns of misinformation.

The government takes the issue of misinformation and disinformation very seriously, especially when it affects UK audiences. Ofcom, the UK broadcasting regulator, is responsible for issuing television and radio broadcasting licences and ensuring licence holders are compliant with UK broadcast standards and licensing requirements.

Autonomous Non-Profit Organisation TV Novosti holds three UK television broadcasting licences, two for the provision of the RT service and one for the provision of the RT Europe service. Sputnik does not hold a UK broadcasting licence.

All Ofcom licensed services are required to comply with Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code. This requires that news is duly accurate and that factual programmes do not materially mislead the audience. Licensees must also abide by Ofcom’s ‘due’ impartiality requirements.

12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for what reason his Department has recently changed the value of vouchers on the Community Fibre Partnership from the value that was originally agreed.

Community Fibre Partnerships are an Openreach product that they use on our Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS). Openreach operates the Community Fibre Partnership (CFP) Scheme all over the UK and they use this as an aggregation platform to gather initial contact details and ‘pledges’ (Openreach term) for communities who want to improve their broadband. The particular costings of a CFP scheme are determined by Openreach, but since the launch of the GBVS, Openreach has encouraged communities to use the voucher funding provided by the government to pay for the cost of installing the network to rural communities.

We are investing up to £210 million in vouchers over the next three years. The new voucher’s value matches that of our previous scheme, £1,500 for homes and £3,500 for businesses,which has already successfully transformed connectivity for communities across the country with 72,000 vouchers issued worth £137 million.

If you are referring to a particular project in your constituency my officials would be happy to investigate this for you, but in order to do so they would need a Pre-Registered Package (PRP) number associated with the voucher project.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to provide further financial support to organisations in the voluntary sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

The £750 million package offered unprecedented support to allow charities and social enterprises to continue their vital work in our national effort to fight coronavirus. This funding will continue to support this work over the winter.

We are not able to replace every pound of funding charities would have received this year, and many organisations will need to assess what measures they need to take. Information on the wider measures the government has made available and details on how to access the support can be found on gov.uk. The Charity Commission has also published guidance on gov.uk, which sets out how charities can get support for their staff, advice on use of reserves, and other potential issues.

We will continue to work with the charity and social enterprise sectors to assess emerging needs and how we can best support them during the COVID-19 pandemic and through recovery.

Ensuring charities can safely begin fundraising activities will be a crucial part of the sector’s recovery. DCMS has worked closely with its sectors to publish guidance relating to COVID-19. This includes practical guidance and resources from the Fundraising Regulator and Chartered Institute of Fundraising supporting charities to safeguard the public, staff and volunteers as they plan to return to fundraising activities in a safe and responsible way. This can be viewed at;

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/guidance-for-dcms-sectors-in-relation-to-coronavirus-covid-19

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to provide further support to organisations in the fundraising sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

The £750 million package offered unprecedented support to allow charities and social enterprises to continue their vital work in our national effort to fight coronavirus. This funding will continue to support this work over the winter.

We are not able to replace every pound of funding charities would have received this year, and many organisations will need to assess what measures they need to take. Information on the wider measures the government has made available and details on how to access the support can be found on gov.uk. The Charity Commission has also published guidance on gov.uk, which sets out how charities can get support for their staff, advice on use of reserves, and other potential issues.

We will continue to work with the charity and social enterprise sectors to assess emerging needs and how we can best support them during the COVID-19 pandemic and through recovery.

Ensuring charities can safely begin fundraising activities will be a crucial part of the sector’s recovery. DCMS has worked closely with its sectors to publish guidance relating to COVID-19. This includes practical guidance and resources from the Fundraising Regulator and Chartered Institute of Fundraising supporting charities to safeguard the public, staff and volunteers as they plan to return to fundraising activities in a safe and responsible way. This can be viewed at;

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/guidance-for-dcms-sectors-in-relation-to-coronavirus-covid-19

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to provide additional support to the live events industry in response to the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on that sector.

DCMS appreciates the important role that the events sector plays in the UK’s cultural economy, and that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to many businesses operating in these sectors.

The Secretary of State provided a major £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will provide targeted support to organisations across a range of cultural and creative sectors. This support package will benefit cultural sector services by providing support to cultural venues and many other organisations in the Creative Industries that host live events, to stay open and continue operating.

From 15th August venues and organisations have been able to put on live indoor performances in front of a socially-distanced audience. This is in addition to the earlier announcement that from 11 July we can all enjoy performances outdoors with social distancing. This follows the government’s five-stage roadmap outlining how DCMS will get audiences back into performing arts venues. We are now at Stage Four of the roadmap.

We are committed to continuing to work with the live events sector to understand the difficulties they face and help them access support through these challenging times and through recovery.

4th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government is planning to provide additional support for the exhibition industry in response to the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on that sector.

We recognise that the events industry and its supply chain has been severely impacted by Covid-19. We continue to meet with the stakeholders, including through the Visitor Economy Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to discuss the specific issues facing the industry.

Events businesses can continue to make use of the broader support package available to them. This includes the Bounce Back Loans scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

We have worked closely with events stakeholders, through both the Visitor Economy and Events & Entertainment Working Groups, to develop Covid-19 Secure reopening guidance for the business events industry.

We are holding three business event pilots in September as part of our preparations to help the sector safely reopen and begin its recovery. If prevalence remains around or below current levels into the autumn, we will bring back audiences in stadia, and allow conferences and other business events to recommence in a COVID-19 Secure way, from 1 October. This step will only take place once we have a reliable scientific understanding of the impact of reopening schools on the epidemic.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to enable (a) indoor gyms and (b) swimming pools be reopen.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. As announced on 9 July, from 11 July, outdoor swimming pools will be able to open and from 25 July indoor gyms, leisure centres (including sports halls) and swimming pools in England should be able to reopen. These facilities will be able to offer on-site services to customers, provided they are COVID-secure and follow Government guidance.

The updated guidance can be found at the GOV.UK website and includes advice for providers of pool, gym and leisure facilities on cleaning, social distancing, and protection for staff to help venues get back up and running safely.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his Department's policy to continue to fund the core salary of academic mentors beyond 31 July 2021.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) was developed at speed to respond to a very immediate need to support pupils to catch up on education lost because of restrictions to schools and colleges. The programme has deployed academic mentors to provide tailored support to schools, including subject specific work, revision lessons, and additional support available outside of schools. Since October 2020, academic mentors have provided significant support to young people to catch up on lost education. The programme has reached over 60,000 pupils in the most disadvantaged schools through placement of academic mentors.

In year one of the programme, schools received funding to cover the core salary of academic mentors between October 2020 and 31 July 2021. Where mentors had made agreements with schools to continue delivery over the summer holidays, arrangements were made for them also to receive a payment to cover August 2021.

Next academic year, mentor contracts will run until the end of August as standard to bring consistency between mentors and others in the school community.

Applications are now open for individuals interested in becoming an academic mentor in the academic year 2021/22. Further information is available here: https://nationaltutoring.org.uk/ntp-academic-mentors/application-process and here https://tuitionhub.nationaltutoring.org.uk/NTP/s/ntp-academic-mentor-registration.

8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the level of funding was per pupil in Shropshire in (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

The Department is increasing core schools funding nationally by £2.6 billion this year, £4.8 billion and £7.1 billion by the 2021-22 and 2022-23 financial years respectively, compared to 2019-20.

The national funding formula continues to distribute funding fairly to schools, based on the needs of the schools and their pupil cohorts, levelling up school funding and delivering resources where they are needed most. This year, every primary school will receive at least £4,000 per pupil, and every secondary school at least £5,150 per pupil, delivering on the Government’s pledge to level up the lowest funded schools. On top of that, all schools will receive additional funds to cover additional teachers’ pay and pension costs. This adds a further £180 and £265 respectively to the minimum per pupil amounts.

The table below sets out the per pupil levels of funding for 5-16 schools in Shropshire local authority over the past four financial years.

Financial year

Per pupil funding

2021-22

£5,036

2020-21

£4,652

2019-20

£4,467

2018-19

£4,454*

*This includes funding for growth (ie, to support schools facing significant growth in their number of pupils), which is not included in figures from 2019-20 because from that point, growth funding was allocated separately.

23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether students who have pre-settled status will be categorised as home students and required to the pay the same tuition fees as home students.

EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals, and their family members who are covered by the Withdrawal Agreements will continue to have access to home fee status and student financial support on broadly the same basis as now. Generally, this covers those who:

  • started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, having exercised a right to reside under EU law, the EEA Agreement or the Free Movement of Persons Agreement; and
  • continue to live in the UK after 31 December 2020.

Such persons will generally have applied for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme before 30 June 2021, apart from Irish citizens, who are not required to apply as their rights will be protected by the Common Travel Area arrangements.

​In practice, the Student Loans Company will accept pre-settled status, together with identification documentation, as evidence for the purposes of awarding student support to EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members. We anticipate that providers will take the same approach when awarding home fee status where the student has 3 years’ residence in the UK, Gibraltar, EEA, Switzerland, or the British/EU overseas territories.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, from what date university students will be able to return to campus and resume in-person teaching.

Following the review into when the remaining higher education students can return to in-person teaching and learning, the government has announced that the remaining students should return to in-person teaching no earlier than 17 May 2021, alongside Step 3 of the roadmap. Students and institutions will be given at least a week’s notice of any further return in accordance with the timing of Step 3 of the roadmap.

The government roadmap is designed to maintain a cautious approach to the easing of restrictions to reduce public health risks and ensure that we can maintain progress towards full reopening. However, the government recognises the difficulties and disruption that this may cause for many students and their families and that is why the government is making a further £15 million of additional student hardship funding available for this academic year 2020/21. In total we have made an additional £85 million of funding available for student hardship.

We are supporting universities to provide regular twice weekly asymptomatic testing for all students and staff on-site and, from May, at home. This will help break chains of transmission of the virus.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps his Department has taken to ensure that children with (a) autism and (b) high-functioning autism (i) have access to therapy while schools are closed and (ii) will continue to have access to that therapy once schools re-open as part of the education route map.

During periods of national lockdown, settings have remained open to vulnerable children and young people, including those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

Our guidance clearly states that therapists and other professionals have been able to continue to visit education settings to provide therapies and support during this period. We have worked with health partners to promote collaborative working between education settings, local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and health providers to agree appropriate support throughout this period.

Where children and young people with EHC plans are not attending their education setting, multi-agency professionals should collaborate to agree how the provision set out in the EHC plan can be delivered. This may include face-to-face visits to the home, or virtual support by means of video, telephone calls or email.

When schools and colleges open more widely they should, along with the local authority and health partners, work with families to co-produce arrangements for delivering all therapies and support that would normally be in place, including for those with autism.

In addition, the Department has provided £600,000 in 2020-21 to the Autism Education Trust to deliver autism training and good practice support to the education workforce. This includes a dedicated COVID-19 information hub which contains guidance, tools and information for education staff and families.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of underwriting school deposits for residential trips to provide that sector with a cashflow and help ensure it is ready to reopen as soon as conditions allow.

Schools are advised against all educational visits at this time. This advice will be reviewed in February 2021. Due to the uncertainty of when and how COVID-19 national restrictions will be lifted, at this time providing a specific date for the resumption of educational visits would be inappropriate. Further guidance for schools can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Officials will continue to work across Government, with industry bodies and sector representatives to address the issues arising from the COVID-19 outbreak and will help them plan for the safe reintroduction of educational visits, including residential educational visits, when it is safe to do so.

There are no plans for underwriting of school deposits for residential trips.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to lift the ban on residential trips so that the (a) School Travel Sector Stakeholder Group and (b) other organisations can plan for reopening.

Schools are advised against all educational visits at this time. This advice will be reviewed in February 2021. Due to the uncertainty of when and how COVID-19 national restrictions will be lifted, at this time providing a specific date for the resumption of educational visits would be inappropriate. Further guidance for schools can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Officials will continue to work across Government, with industry bodies and sector representatives to address the issues arising from the COVID-19 outbreak and will help them plan for the safe reintroduction of educational visits, including residential educational visits, when it is safe to do so.

There are no plans for underwriting of school deposits for residential trips.

14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans are being put in place for pupils who are home schooled and do not have access to a teacher-assessed exam grade.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the Department has decided that exams cannot be held in a way which is fair. We have therefore announced that GCSE, AS and A level exams will not go ahead this summer as planned.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has asked the interim Chief Regulator of Ofqual, Simon Lebus, to find a clear and accessible route for private candidates, and those not in school this year, to be assessed and receive a grade. The Department and Ofqual have launched a two-week consultation on how to fairly award all pupils a grade that supports them to progress to the next stage of their lives, including consulting specifically on four different approaches for private candidates to receive a grade.

The consultation can be accessed from the Ofqual website and will be open until 29 January 2021. The Department and Ofqual strongly encourage all our stakeholders, including private candidates and their parents, to respond. We will continue to engage with a range of relevant stakeholders when developing plans for our policy on GCSE, AS and A level assessments in 2021, as will the exams regulator Ofqual.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial and other support is available for clubs that support vulnerable children and provide essential childcare for key worker families.

The government recognises the value of before and after-school clubs, not only toward economic recovery in enabling parents and carers to return and continue to work, but also in providing enriching activities and development opportunities to children and young people, particularly those who are vulnerable. Therefore, we have ensured that these settings have been able to continue to stay open in the new lockdown for all vulnerable children, and for children of critical workers where it is to support critical workers to work, seek work, undertake education or training, or attend a medical appointment or to address a medical need. We have also ensured that essential youth services, such as 1-1 youth work and support groups have been able to continue for the duration of the national lockdown, to ensure vulnerable children and young people continue to have access to these valuable services.

We are acutely aware of the impact that COVID-19 has had on young people and the vital role our childcare and youth services play. That's why more than £60 million of the unprecedented £750 million package for the voluntary and charity sector has been directed towards organisations supporting children and young people. More recently a £16.5 million Youth Covid-19 Support Fund has been announced, which will protect the immediate future of grassroots and national youth organisations across the country. This is on top of £200 million government investment in early intervention and prevention support initiatives to support children and young people at risk of exploitation and involvement in serious violence, through the Youth Endowment Fund.

In addition, the Youth Investment Fund remains a manifesto commitment for transformative levelling up across the country over the course of the parliament. In the recently announced Spending Review, £30 million of this was committed as capital investment for 2021-22. This will provide a transformational investment in new and refurbished safe spaces for young people, so they can access support youth workers, and positive activities out of school, including sport and culture.

We also recognise the financial pressures currently facing providers offering before, afterschool or holiday provision for children, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is for this reason we are strongly encouraging local authorities to support these providers using grants that have been made available to assist businesses that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy has introduced support for small businesses in response to COVID-19 through grant schemes administered by local authorities this financial year (2020-21). Since the introduction of national restrictions on 5th January 2021, local authorities can use the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Addendum from 5 January 2021 onwards to support businesses impacted by restrictions but not required to close. This scheme is an extension of the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) scheme but has been adapted for the period of national restrictions. The principal feature is that the payment period is initially extended to 42 days from 5 January 2021 rather than the 14-day payment cycle in tiers.

We have also encouraged all local authorities to consider what local grants could be used to bolster this part of the childcare sector in their areas, to safeguard sufficient childcare provision for children of critical workers and vulnerable children. This includes funding streams such as the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, aimed to support vulnerable children. The expanded programme, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities, will be expanded to reach all local authority areas over the Easter, summer, and Christmas holidays in 2021.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it is his policy to differentiate between holiday and school clubs and clubs that care for vulnerable children; and whether he plans to provide specific support to those clubs.

The government recognises the value of before and after-school clubs, not only toward economic recovery in enabling parents and carers to return and continue to work, but also in providing enriching activities and development opportunities to children and young people, particularly those who are vulnerable. Therefore, we have ensured that these settings have been able to continue to stay open in the new lockdown for all vulnerable children, and for children of critical workers where it is to support critical workers to work, seek work, undertake education or training, or attend a medical appointment or to address a medical need. We have also ensured that essential youth services, such as 1-1 youth work and support groups have been able to continue for the duration of the national lockdown, to ensure vulnerable children and young people continue to have access to these valuable services.

We are acutely aware of the impact that COVID-19 has had on young people and the vital role our childcare and youth services play. That's why more than £60 million of the unprecedented £750 million package for the voluntary and charity sector has been directed towards organisations supporting children and young people. More recently a £16.5 million Youth Covid-19 Support Fund has been announced, which will protect the immediate future of grassroots and national youth organisations across the country. This is on top of £200 million government investment in early intervention and prevention support initiatives to support children and young people at risk of exploitation and involvement in serious violence, through the Youth Endowment Fund.

In addition, the Youth Investment Fund remains a manifesto commitment for transformative levelling up across the country over the course of the parliament. In the recently announced Spending Review, £30 million of this was committed as capital investment for 2021-22. This will provide a transformational investment in new and refurbished safe spaces for young people, so they can access support youth workers, and positive activities out of school, including sport and culture.

We also recognise the financial pressures currently facing providers offering before, afterschool or holiday provision for children, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is for this reason we are strongly encouraging local authorities to support these providers using grants that have been made available to assist businesses that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy has introduced support for small businesses in response to COVID-19 through grant schemes administered by local authorities this financial year (2020-21). Since the introduction of national restrictions on 5th January 2021, local authorities can use the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Addendum from 5 January 2021 onwards to support businesses impacted by restrictions but not required to close. This scheme is an extension of the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) scheme but has been adapted for the period of national restrictions. The principal feature is that the payment period is initially extended to 42 days from 5 January 2021 rather than the 14-day payment cycle in tiers.

We have also encouraged all local authorities to consider what local grants could be used to bolster this part of the childcare sector in their areas, to safeguard sufficient childcare provision for children of critical workers and vulnerable children. This includes funding streams such as the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, aimed to support vulnerable children. The expanded programme, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities, will be expanded to reach all local authority areas over the Easter, summer, and Christmas holidays in 2021.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of per pupil funding in primary schools.

The Department is increasing core schools funding by £2.6 billion this year, and £4.8 billion and £7.1 billion by 2021-22 and 2022-23 respectively, compared to 2019-20. This investment has enabled us to increase funding for primary schools by 3.2% more per pupil through the schools national funding formula (NFF) next year, 2021-22, compared to this year.

Every primary school will receive at least £4,000 per pupil next year, up from at least £3,750 per pupil this year. On top of that, all schools, will receive additional funds to cover additional teachers’ pay and pension costs, adding a further £180 to the minimum per pupil amount.

We are also increasing the extra support the NFF provides to small, rural primary schools by increasing the maximum amount they can attract through the sparsity factor to £45,000, a significant increase from £26,000 this year. This has contributed to small and remote primary schools attracting 5.1% more per pupil through the NFF next year compared to this. This is the first step towards further expanding the support the NFF offers small and remote schools from 2022-23.

We keep school funding under review on an ongoing basis and the NFF is designed to respond to changes in need, in order for us to target funding where evidence indicates it is most needed.

3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether EU students studying at UK universities, who started their 2020-21 university course online as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, will need to arrive in the UK before 31 December 2020 to be eligible for a student loan and home student status.

EU nationals and their family members who start courses in England in the 2020/21 academic year will remain eligible for undergraduate and postgraduate financial support from Student Finance England for the duration of their course, provided they meet the existing residency requirement.

It is expected that EU students will travel to England to study if it is safe and sensible to do so. However, where eligible students are prevented, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, from residing in England whilst studying on a designated course, they will be considered temporarily absent and, therefore, resident here. This will allow them to access financial student support and qualify for home fee status. This includes students who have never resided in England, but intended to travel here to undertake a designated course of study during the 2020/21 academic year.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of his civil service staff are back at work at his Department.

Staff in the Department have been working remotely since the middle of March and have been focused on dealing with the challenges posed by COVID-19.

In recent months, the Department has been working to ensure all our buildings are COVID-secure and putting in place plans to welcome staff safely back to the office.

Phase 1 saw a small number of volunteer staff return to the larger offices in August. Phase 2 started on 1 September, opening up to 20% capacity across our seven largest offices. Phase 3 is being planned and will enable 30-40% of capacity to be opened up, including at the Department’s smaller sites.

For the week commencing 14 September, approximately 13.5% of staff attended one of our offices. Since the Prime Minister announced a new series of measurements on Tuesday 22 September, the Department has advised staff to work from home where they can. Offices will remain open to support those colleagues without easy access to high quality home working facilities such as those in shared accommodation, and for new starters and colleagues earlier in their careers in need of more support. This is alongside a number of our colleagues who have continued to operate in their usual workplace throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, delivering vital public services.

1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that all civil servants are back at work at his Department.

Staff in the Department have been working remotely since the middle of March and have been focused on dealing with the challenges posed by COVID-19.

In recent months, the Department has been working to ensure all our buildings are COVID-secure and putting in place plans to welcome staff safely back to the office.

Phase 1 saw a small number of volunteer staff return to the larger offices in August. Phase 2 started on 1 September, opening up to 20% capacity across our seven largest offices. Phase 3 is being planned and will enable 30-40% of capacity to be opened up, including at the Department’s smaller sites.

For the week commencing 14 September, approximately 13.5% of staff attended one of our offices. Since the Prime Minister announced a new series of measurements on Tuesday 22 September, the Department has advised staff to work from home where they can. Offices will remain open to support those colleagues without easy access to high quality home working facilities such as those in shared accommodation, and for new starters and colleagues earlier in their careers in need of more support. This is alongside a number of our colleagues who have continued to operate in their usual workplace throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, delivering vital public services.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to include in the national curriculum, the teaching of moderate language and good manners for use on (a) social media platform and (b) other online fora.

We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe, and to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society. To help achieve this, Relationships Education for all primary school-aged pupils, Relationships and Sex Education for all secondary school-aged pupils, and Health Education for all pupils in state-funded schools, will become compulsory from 1 September 2020.

In light of the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, and following engagement with the sector, the Department is reassuring schools that although the subjects will still be compulsory from 1 September 2020, schools have flexibility over how they discharge their duty within the first year of compulsory teaching. For further information, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 10 June to Question 55660.

The principles of positive relationships apply as much online as they do offline especially as, by the end of primary school, many children will already be negotiating relationships seamlessly online and offline. The statutory guidance states that when teaching relationships content, teachers should address online safety and appropriate behaviour in a way that is relevant to pupils’ lives, including the importance of respect for others online even when they are anonymous. Within Health Education, pupils should be taught that although the internet is an integral part of life, they should understand the impact of positive and negative content online on mental and physical wellbeing, and how to consider the effect of their online actions on others and know how to recognise and display respectful behaviour online. The statutory guidance can be accessed via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

To support schools, the Department is investing in a central package to help all schools to deliver these subjects. We are currently developing a new online service featuring training materials, an implementation guide and case studies. This will cover all of the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance. The first training module for teachers, covering mental wellbeing, is now available on GOV.UK, and additional content, including teacher training modules covering online safety, internet harms and media literacy will be added in the coming months.

We have also produced supporting information, Teaching Online Safety in Schools (2019), on how to teach about all aspects of internet safety, not just those relating to relationships, sex and health. This is to help schools deliver this in a coordinated and coherent way across their curriculum. This can be accessed via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teaching-online-safety-in-schools.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the adequacy of assessments for (a) GCSEs and (b) A levels as a result of the long educational break as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Sally Collier, to write to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the devolved response on school closures on the effectiveness of communications issued to the public.

The Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy makes clear that part of that UK wide approach will be acknowledging that the virus may be spreading at different speeds in different parts of the UK. Measures may need to change in different ways and at different times.

Education is a devolved matter and it is right that individual jurisdictions take decisions in line with their local circumstances.

There are various factors including different school term dates and concerns about rates of infection that mean governments in the devolved administrations need to take the decisions that are right for them.

The Department engages regularly and positively with our counterparts in the devolved administrations to collaborate on our shared education challenges, including on the wider opening of schools.

26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking (a) to safeguard the supply of fertiliser to the UK and (b) to maintain the price of fertiliser at a level which is affordable for users.

We are aware that due to the increase in cost of natural gas across the globe, which is a key input for the production of ammonium nitrate-based fertiliser products, the cost of production of these fertiliser types has increased significantly due to higher energy prices. This has also increased the cost of other alternative fertiliser types. This is an issue affecting Europe and the global market with fertiliser companies reducing production due to high input costs. However, the recent deal announced with industry and CF Fertilisers ensures continued production of fertiliser in the UK and will help alleviate the pressure on the domestic market by helping to ensure continued supply.

Defra has been in regular contact with industry including the NFU and fertiliser producers and importers, and we have frequent contact with the key sector representative body for fertilisers, the Agricultural Industries Confederation. The situation and impact on farmers in particular and industry more widely is being monitored closely. However, decisions on pricing and supply of fertilisers are a matter for the market.

Alternatives to ammonium nitrate do exist and farmers will be looking closely at these options and how best they can be used. Support from producers of these products on how best to use them and to get the best nutrient uptake for crops has been offered to the sector.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of trends in the price of ammonium nitrate over the last 12 months; and if he will publish his assessment in the form of a percentage change.

Ammonium nitrate prices are at 12-month highs, having increased by around a half since last August. From August 2020 through to July 2021, the most recent month for which we have data, the price of imported ammonium nitrate has risen progressively from £202 per tonne to £311. This represents an increase of 53%. Over the same time period, the price of UK-produced ammonium nitrate has also risen, from £218 per tonne to £326, an increase of 50%.

The average price since January 2017 is £247 per tonne for UK-produced ammonium nitrate, and £235 for imported ammonium nitrate. Focussing on UK-produced ammonium nitrate, prices initially rose after January 2017, peaking at £293 per tonne in November 2018. Prices then fell, bottoming out at £200 per tonne in June 2020, before commencing their current increase. Prices are now at the upper end of their 5-year range and are returning to levels last seen in the early years of the previous decade.

The data on ammonium nitrate price movement is already in the public domain and there are no plans to publish any deeper assessment of the trends.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when the accumulated silt which blocks at least two of the arches under English bridge, Shrewsbury, will be removed; what steps he plans to take in relation to the two islets immediately below the English bridge which did not exist four years ago; whether temporary flood barriers of the type that has proven effective in Ironbridge and elsewhere will be provided for Coton Hill/Chester Street; what plans he is developing for a longer term solution to the flooding and whether plans similar to the Dee Regulation Scheme are part of those considerations; and whether the levels in the Vyrnwy and Clywedog dams will be lowered in the autumn period to allow additional capacity for storage of water in the winter period.

The Severn Valley Flood Risk Management Scheme has been granted £10 million to formulate a long-term holistic plan for the management of the Upper Severn catchment. This work will consider sustainable approaches to the management of the catchment from a variety of perspectives, including flood risk, water resources and the natural environment.

In the short to medium term the Environment Agency (EA) will continue to investigate the potential for flood risk management schemes for areas of Shrewsbury that are impacted by flooding. Work is progressing on the next phase of developing options for further assessment. The EA continues to deliver its annual routine maintenance programme for the River Severn and its tributaries, helping to ensure the flood risk is being effectively managed.

Shropshire Council is responsible for maintaining the bridges in Shrewsbury and, in conjunction with the EA, uses its permissive powers to reduce vegetation and remove obstructions around the English Bridge to prevent obstruction to flood flows. Whilst it is not sustainable, cost effective or a benefit to flooding to remove all the silt from the arches on the English Bridge, this management technique loosens the silt around the bridges so it can be transported by the river. Work of this nature was undertaken in spring 2021 at English Bridge and further work will be completed before autumn to reduce vegetation.

Historically there have always been islands downstream of the English Bridge due to the nature and shape of the channel and flows within it. Flood modelling has shown that complete removal of these islands would not result in any significant reduction in flooding.

The EA works in partnership with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Hafren Dyfrdwy to manage the water level of Vyrnwy and Clywedog reservoirs, together with United Utilities in the case of Lake Vyrnwy. Their primary function is public water supply. Their active management includes lowering of water levels from the autumn through to the spring to reduce the incidence of spill and provide some flood risk benefits downstream. The reservoirs are at the head of the catchment and play a very minor role in terms of mitigating flood risk to communities such as Shrewsbury and Ironbridge, with the vast majority of river flow originating from the catchments downstream of the reservoirs.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what further flood defences his Department plans to provide to Shrewsbury in the long term to avoid a repetition of flooding experienced in that area.

From April 2021, the Government is investing a record £5.2 billion in a new six-year capital investment programme to deliver around 2,000 flood schemes, benefitting every region of England, and will better protect 336,000 properties from flooding.

The details of the new six-year Capital Investment Programme for the River Severn Catchment are currently being developed by the Environment Agency in partnership with all other Flood Risk Management Authorities, including Shropshire Council.

The Environment Agency has recently completed an initial assessment of which further flood risk management measures for Shrewsbury may meet the cost benefit requirements for the programme. This includes the initial steps for a project to reduce flood risk in the Coleham area of Shrewsbury.

Last July, the Government announced it was investing £5.4 million of economic recovery funding in a large-scale carbon offsetting and natural flood risk management scheme that will include tree planting and habitat creation to reduce flood risk and capture carbon throughout the Severn Valley.

Across the wider Severn catchment, the Environment Agency continues to progress a pilot for a long-term investment pathway / Adaptation Pathway, thanks to £1.5 million of additional Government funding allocated as part of our Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme. This project will look ahead at least 50 years, to work out what flood defences are necessary in the long-term and when they should be built to avoid unnecessary further investment costs in future and missed opportunities.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to reduce the risk of flooding in Shrewsbury from the River Severn.

The Environment Agency (EA) owns and operates 13 flood defence assets in the Shrewsbury area, which provide flood protection to business and communities from the River Severn and its tributaries. These existing flood risk management assets are maintained to ensure they remain operational, protecting the communities they are designed for, with dedicated teams in place to operate them 24 hours a day.

After the 2019/2020 winter foods, £605,000 was allocated to repair flood defence assets, covering both the Frankwell and Coleham flood risk management schemes which together provide protection to around 250 properties. All work has been completed and these schemes are fully operational. The EA is currently planning further maintenance work on these defences following the winter 2020/2021 floods.

Last year, the Government announced that up to £170 million would be spent to accelerate work on 22 shovel-ready flood defence schemes, to begin construction before the end of 2021/2022. This included up to £30 million for the Severn Valley Water Management Scheme located in Shrewsbury, and up to £5.4 million for a scheme combining natural flood risk management, tree planting and habitat creation to reduce flood risk and capture carbon throughout the Severn Valley.

Across the wider Severn catchment, the EA continues to progress a pilot for the government funded long term investment pathways/Adaptation Pathways, with £1.5 million secured from April 2021, for six years. This project will look ahead at least 50 years, to work out what flood defences are necessary in the long term and when they should be built to avoid unnecessary investment costs in future and missed opportunities.

The EA, along with other members of the River Severn Partnership, is currently investigating what further measures may be implemented to reduce flood risk in Shrewsbury. As well as the potential for new proposals, on which the EA is working with local partners, the role and lifespan of existing flood risk management assets with regard to climate change, is also being considered.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on increasing financial support for flooding in the upcoming Budget.

The Government committed at Budget 2020 to a doubling of our investment in the next floods capital programme, providing long term certainty on funding levels up to 2027. Starting from April 2021, we will invest £5.2 billion in a six-year capital investment programme for flood and coastal erosion risk management to build over 2,000 new flood defences. This investment will better protect 336,000 properties, including 290,000 homes, from flooding and coastal erosion by 2027.

In addition, up to £170 million will be spent to accelerate work on 22 shovel-ready flood defence schemes that will begin construction in 2020 or 2021, which will provide an immediate boost to jobs supporting local economies as communities recover from the impact of coronavirus. A further £200 million will be invested in the Innovative Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme. This will help over 25 local areas over six years to take forward wider innovative actions that improve their resilience to flooding and coastal erosion.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of whether local authority decisions to grant applications to discharge drainage conditions attached to previously approved planning applications in relation to surface water drainage has contributed to flooding.

There are many factors that contribute to flooding, including but not limited to the built environment. National planning policy supported by planning practice guidance are the responsibility of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in England. This enables the building of new homes and developments which are more resilient to flooding and ensures that there are clear safeguards for protecting people and property.

No development should take place until the developer has had approval, from the local planning authority, of a detailed sustainable surface water drainage scheme for the site. The drainage scheme shall demonstrate that any surface water (for all rainfall durations and intensities up to and including the climate change adjusted critical 100yr storm) can be accommodated and disposed of without discharging onto the highway and without increasing flood risk on or off-site.

These schemes can include the creation of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), which reduce the risk of surface water flooding, as well as delivering water quality, biodiversity and amenity benefits, helping to make great places to live.

Planning policy ensures that SuDS are provided in all new major developments, unless there is clear evidence that this would be inappropriate. This is in addition to requirements that SuDS should be given priority in new developments in flood risk areas. A 2018 review of the application and effectiveness of planning policy for sustainable drainage systems found that 87% of the sample of approved planning applications explicitly stated that SuDS would feature in the proposed development.

Under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs) have responsibility for local flood risk management. This means ensuring risks of flooding from surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses, where this is no district council, are identified and managed as part of a local flood risk management strategy.

In managing these risks an LLFA will work closely with other Risk Management Authorities. This includes the local highways authorities, who are responsible for highway and gully maintenance and water companies who, under Section 94 of the Water Industry Act 1991, have a duty to maintain public sewers to ensure that their area is effectually drained.

When flooding occurs LLFAs investigate, to the extent that they consider it necessary or appropriate, which Risk Management Authorities have relevant flood risk management functions and whether they have exercised those functions. These are called Section 19 investigations because the duty is set out in Section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. LLFAs must publish the results of the investigation and notify the relevant Risk Management Authorities.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to help ensure that water companies take responsibility for drainage in order to prevent flooding.

Water companies, specifically sewerage undertakers, have a statutory duty under section 94(1) of the Water Industry Act 1991 to provide, improve and extend a system of public sewers to ensure that an area is "effectually drained".

However, drainage alone cannot prevent flooding, and the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 ("the 2010 Act") establishes flood Risk Management Authorities (RMAs), to address the risk of flooding. The 2010 Act defines RMAs as the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, Lead Local Flood Authorities, water and sewerage undertakers, highway authorities, district authorities and Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs).

All RMAs must act in a manner that is consistent with the National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy. The 2010 Act requires RMAs to cooperate with each other and gives them information sharing powers to facilitate cooperation. They have flexibility to form informal partnerships and to act on behalf of one another.

In addition, the Environment Bill will require sewerage undertakers to produce Drainage and Sewerage Management Plans on a statutory basis which aim to assist such partnerships and collaborative working. Plans will fully assess an undertaker's network capacity and set out the measures undertakers plan to take to develop their drainage and sewerage systems. Undertakers started developing plans on a non-statutory basis in 2018.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will impose on water companies that allow sewage to enter drainage systems additional penalties that are spent on schemes to reduce river pollution.

Sewerage systems are used by water and sewerage companies to collect sewage (comprising both rainwater run-off and waste water from domestic, industrial and commercial premises). This is then transferred to sewage treatment plants for treatment before discharge to permitted water quality standards. This is a legal use of the sewerage system and it would therefore not be appropriate to impose penalties for this use.

Separately from the sewerage system, there are surface water drainage systems that collect rainwater run-off from roads and urban areas and discharge direct to local waters. Water companies do not allow sewage to enter surface water drainage systems.

During and after heavy or prolonged rainfall, the capacity of sewerage systems can be exceeded. When this happens, storm overflows act as relief valves to discharge excess sewage combined with rainwater to rivers or the sea. This protects properties from flooding and prevents sewage backing up into streets and homes during heavy storm events.

I met water company CEOs last year and made clear that the volume of sewage discharged from storm overflows into rivers and other waterways in extreme weather must be reduced. To achieve this, our new Storm Overflows Taskforce has been established, bringing together representatives from government, the water industry, regulators and environmental NGOs to set out clear proposals to address the harm and frequency of sewage discharged into our rivers and other waterways from storm overflows. As announced on 22 January, this Taskforce has agreed a long-term goal to eliminate harm from storm overflows.

The Environment Agency currently regulates water companies in their operation of storm overflows to ensure they only discharge under strict permitted conditions. Where discharges occur outside of these conditions, the EA investigates and takes appropriate action, which includes enforcement action if necessary.

The EA has brought 44 prosecutions against water companies in the last five years, securing fines of £34 million. £7.9 million has also been donated to environmental and wildlife trusts organisations in the same period through enforcement undertakings, a voluntary agreement which will include a donation to environmental charities to restore any harm done.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to fairly assess people who have been affected by flooding on an individual basis for grant funding.

Flooding has a devastating impact on communities, businesses and individuals.

With localised flooding incidents, local authorities are expected to have well established contingency arrangements in place and to be able to respond and support their local communities from within existing budgets.

The decision to trigger financial support from Government is taken collectively by Ministers in the event of a severe weather events with significant wide area impacts. In reaching a decision, Ministers consider factors such as severity, duration and extent of the impacts. The reported impacts from Storm Christoph up until now have been lower than would justify activation of the Flood Recovery Framework of support schemes. We continue to monitor the impact on affected areas and will assess whether further support is needed.

During the unprecedented flooding in November 2019 and the storms which followed in winter 2019/2020, the Government announced Property Flooding Resilience (PFR) repair grants of up to £5,000 to help eligible properties affected by floods (homes, charities and businesses) become more flood resilient. The repair grants apply to those affected in district or unitary authorities that have 25 or more severely flooded properties. The grants are administered by eligible local authorities, with Defra reimbursing local authorities for grants paid for eligible properties. Local authorities are responsible for assessing eligibility of applications. The most recent figures show that 47 district or unitary councils with over 7000 properties are eligible in England for the November 2019 and February 2020 PFR repair schemes. This includes 458 properties in the county of Shropshire.

The Government has doubled the amount it invests in the flood and coastal defence programme in England to £5.2 billion over six years. This will better protect a further 336,000 properties including homes and non-residential properties such as schools and hospitals. On 1 February 2021, Defra published a Call for Evidence to explore whether any specific changes should be made to strengthen the assessment of local circumstances in this programme. This includes looking at potential changes to the funding formula to provide further benefit to frequently flooded communities. It will also explore further ways to increase the uptake of property flood resilience measures to enable householders and businesses to better prepare for flooding. The Call for Evidence closes on 29 March 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to allocate grant funding to those who have been affected the most by flooding.

Flooding has a devastating impact on communities, businesses and individuals.

With localised flooding incidents, local authorities are expected to have well established contingency arrangements in place and to be able to respond and support their local communities from within existing budgets.

The decision to trigger financial support from Government is taken collectively by Ministers in the event of a severe weather events with significant wide area impacts. In reaching a decision, Ministers consider factors such as severity, duration and extent of the impacts. The reported impacts from Storm Christoph up until now have been lower than would justify activation of the Flood Recovery Framework of support schemes. We continue to monitor the impact on affected areas and will assess whether further support is needed.

During the unprecedented flooding in November 2019 and the storms which followed in winter 2019/2020, the Government announced Property Flooding Resilience (PFR) repair grants of up to £5,000 to help eligible properties affected by floods (homes, charities and businesses) become more flood resilient. The repair grants apply to those affected in district or unitary authorities that have 25 or more severely flooded properties. The grants are administered by eligible local authorities, with Defra reimbursing local authorities for grants paid for eligible properties. Local authorities are responsible for assessing eligibility of applications. The most recent figures show that 47 district or unitary councils with over 7000 properties are eligible in England for the November 2019 and February 2020 PFR repair schemes. This includes 458 properties in the county of Shropshire.

The Government has doubled the amount it invests in the flood and coastal defence programme in England to £5.2 billion over six years. This will better protect a further 336,000 properties including homes and non-residential properties such as schools and hospitals. On 1 February 2021, Defra published a Call for Evidence to explore whether any specific changes should be made to strengthen the assessment of local circumstances in this programme. This includes looking at potential changes to the funding formula to provide further benefit to frequently flooded communities. It will also explore further ways to increase the uptake of property flood resilience measures to enable householders and businesses to better prepare for flooding. The Call for Evidence closes on 29 March 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what physical steps have been taken to tackle flooding along the River Severn since January 2020.

I refer the hon. Member to the replies previously given on 1 October 2020 for PQ 94381, 9 October 2020 for PQ 97520, 9 October 2020 for PQ 97519, 16 October 2020 for PQ 100332 and 24 November 2020 for PQ 115549.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what comparative assessment he has made of his Department's preparedness to respond to flooding in winter (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21 in (i) Shrewsbury and (ii) other places that experienced flooding in winter 2019-20.

In recent years, investment in defences has been effective at better protecting properties and reducing the impacts of flooding on people’s lives and livelihoods. We have seen progressively fewer properties flooded following recent incidents, avoiding more damages to people, businesses, landowners and infrastructure than might otherwise have been. In England, during the winter 2019/20 approximately 4,600 properties were sadly flooded while 128,000 properties were better protected from flooding.

In the last 12 months, the Environment Agency (EA) has completed around 20,000 inspections of flood assets that were damaged in the winter 2019/20 floods. The EA has a prioritised programme of repairs based on risk to lives and livelihoods underway. All of the flood defences damaged last year have either been repaired or have contingency plans in place to reduce the risk to their communities this winter.

Throughout the year, the EA has also continued to build and maintain flood risk management assets. The EA is on track to better protect 300,000 properties from flooding and coastal erosion between 2015 and 2021. Between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020, the EA worked with other Risk Management Authorities to complete approximately 176 flood and coastal erosion risk management schemes which helped better protect approximately 45,400 homes from flooding and 3,200 homes from coastal erosion. The EA is working through the River Severn Partnership to address long-term resilience.

During the flooding at the end of December 2020, 692 metres of demountable defences were erected across the country, 672m of which were in the West Midlands. 723 metres of temporary barriers were erected, 423 metres of which were in the West Midlands. This meant that over 9,300 properties were protected from flooding, with over 3,700 being in the West Midlands. The majority of these were within the River Severn catchment.

The EA has continued to engage virtually with communities at risk of flooding during the Coronavirus pandemic, adapting its approach by sharing scheme updates and consulting with local residents in a safe way.

The EA’s autumn Flood Action Campaign helped ensure that communities are better prepared and know how to check their flood risk with key messages around a three-point plan to PREPARE, ACT, SURVIVE. Over 1.4 million properties are signed up to receive free flood warnings.

Following the flooding in winter 2019/20 and again in February 2020 following storms Ciara and Dennis, the Government announced Property Flood Resilience (PFR) repair grants of up to £5,000 in affected areas to help eligible homes, charities and businesses become more flood resilient. The repair grants apply to those affected in district or unitary authorities that have 25 or more severely flooded properties.

The most recent figures (held by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government) show that 18 district or unitary councils with over 2300 properties are eligible in England for the November 2019 PFR repair scheme. Over 29 districts or unitary councils (including Shropshire Council, which includes Shrewsbury) with over 5000 properties are eligible in England for the February 2020 PFR repair scheme.

In recognition of the challenges created by the Coronavirus pandemic, both the 2019 and 2020 schemes have been extended by nine months to give homeowners and businesses more time to carry out repairs and local authorities a greater period to process the grants.

Local authorities on the November scheme now have until 31 December 2021 to recover their costs while local authorities on the February scheme have until 1 July 2022.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to promote public engagement when implementing flood defences along the River Severn.

The Environment Agency (EA) has published information on schemes along the River Severn via the following links:

The EA is having early discussions with community representatives. It is also working with partners to develop plans for engaging communities, businesses, landowners and members of the public for each of the potential schemes along the River Severn. The EA plans to engage with businesses, landowners and members of the public and will use a variety of methods in line with Government’s Covid-19 guidelines. Details will be publicised at the appropriate time and will include information on how members of the public can inform decisions on the potential schemes.

Information about each of the projects, which are part of the River Severn Partnership will also be shared on their website here: http://www.riversevernpartnership.org.uk

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether flood defence funding is a priority for his Department in 2021.

The first quarter of 2021 will see the completion of the Government’s six-year, £2.6 billion capital investment programme to better protect 300,000 homes in England from flooding, which commenced in 2015.

Starting in April 2021, the Government will invest a record £5.2 billion in a new six-year capital investment programme. This programme will deliver around 2,000 flood schemes, across every region of England, and will better protect 336,000 properties from flooding. This new investment is the most comprehensive ever and is in addition to support to help households and business get back on their feet more quickly after flooding.

Alongside these key capital programmes, a further up to £170 million will be invested to accelerate work on shovel-ready flood defence schemes that will begin construction in 2020/21 or 2021/22. Twenty-two areas across England will benefit from this immediate boost to jobs supporting the local economy as communities recover from the impact of coronavirus. This includes an allocation of up to £30 million for the Severn Valley Flood Risk Management Scheme, which is conditional on a partnership contribution being secured prior to commencement of delivery.

In addition, a further £200 million will be provided for local innovative resilience projects which reduce flood risk, this Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme will run for six years from 2021. The funding will help twenty-five local areas to take forward wider innovative actions that improve their resilience to flooding and coastal erosion.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to plan for potential flooding along the River Severn over the Christmas 2020 period.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 14 December 2020, PQ UIN 125221.

In addition the Environment Agency (EA) continues to work alongside Local Resilience Forums to plan, exercise and prepare for responding to flooding. The EA is ready to provide its flood warning service and to deploy local flood protection measures and barriers along the River Severn.

The EA would welcome the hon. Member’s support to urge his constituents to remain vigilant and take steps to protect themselves from the risk of flooding by signing up for free flood warnings via Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or by visiting the GOV.UK website at: www.gov.uk/sign-up-for-flood-warnings.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to allocate long-term funding to flood defences along the River Severn in response to increased risk of flooding as a result of climate change.

The River Severn Partnership (RSP) is led by the Environment Agency (EA) alongside Shropshire Council. It has united local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, water companies through the Water Resources West group, the EA and Natural Resources Wales.

The RSP will deliver a long-term programme addressing water management across the Severn Catchment. This will be achieved through a proactive, coordinated and collaborative approach to flood risk management, water quality, environmental enhancement and an integrated approach to water resource management to deal with the impacts of climate change.

The EA is updating the River Severn modelling and flood mapping to incorporate the latest available data. The £250,000 grant-in-aid investment will deliver a completed model by the end of 2021. This new model will also deliver evidence to support the flood warning service, potential future flood schemes, and will inform our advice in response to proposals to develop within the catchment.

The EA in partnership with all other Flood Risk Management Authorities along the River Severn Catchment is currently putting together the next six-year Flood and Coastal Risk Management Capital Investment Programme 2021/22 – 2027/28.

The emerging Severn Valley water management plan seeks to reduce the risk of flooding from the River Severn for nearly 3,000 homes and businesses. The proposals aim to explore options of storing flood water to reduce the amount of water flowing down the river at times of flood, while also looking at ways to store it for use when needed.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the implementation of flood defences down the River Severn will not cause further flooding; and what recent discussions he has had with local farmers on that matter.

The Environment Agency (EA), along with other members of the River Severn partnership, is investigating options to reduce overall flood risk and benefit communities along the River Severn, now and from the increasing risk of climate change.

The EA is also considering new approaches for managing the effects of too much and too little water, for example with the Severn Valley Water Management scheme, and land use practice in the upper catchment.

The National Farmers Union (NFU) is one of the partners in the River Severn Partnership and has represented farmers in a number of meetings where projects have been discussed. On 1 December, the joint chairs of the River Severn Partnership (EA and Shropshire Council) met the NFU to hear members’ views and discuss the early options appraisal work for the Severn Valley Water Management Scheme and to discuss plans for future engagement and consultation with landowners.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure the safety of residents in towns along the River Severn which are at risk of flooding during winter months.

Over the winter of 2019-20 the River Severn catchment saw some of the highest river levels ever recorded. Unfortunately, 1,600 properties were flooded across the West Midlands. The Environment Agency's (EA) flood risk management assets prevented over 14,500 properties from flooding.

Since the winter floods, the EA has been inspecting and repairing flood assets where necessary that were affected by significant flooding. Despite the challenges of Covid-19, the EA has continued to maintain its existing assets and has dedicated teams in place to operate them 24 hours a day. It is also making sure our rivers are clear from debris.

In the 2020 budget, the Government announced a £120 million package to repair flood risk management assets damaged as a result of the winter floods. For the Severn corridor, the EA secured £4.2 million, covering 18 projects. Repair work to these assets is ongoing, but the defences will remain fully operational and will function as intended, including both demountable and temporary defences at a number of locations such as Shrewsbury and Ironbridge.

The EA has also been carrying out incident response preparation and training to ensure we can respond to whatever weather comes our way.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is holding discussions with (a) farmers and (b) other members of the public on their opinion on the most effective approach to tackling flooding along the River Severn.

The National Farmers Union is a partner on the River Severn Partnership. It has represented farmers in a number of meetings where projects have been discussed, including the Severn Valley Water Management Scheme.

The Environment Agency and Shropshire Council have attended events with some local communities, however this has been reduced because of COVID-19 restrictions. Further engagement with all stakeholders and members of the public regarding project options for the River Severn, under the banner of the River Severn Partnership, will commence shortly.

The River Severn Partnership website is also due to go live imminently, which will provide further avenues for engagement with both the public and other stakeholders on any project proposals.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the progress of implementing the flood defences along the River Severn.

Progress on key schemes under the banner of the River Severn Partnership remains on course. While the COVID-19 outbreak has caused some minor impacts on delivery, the Environment Agency has developed safe systems of working to ensure that ongoing work on capital projects has continued. Site visits are carried out when required. Meetings with stakeholders have been carried out virtually. The deployment of existing barrier schemes and temporary flood barriers for communities that need them will continue as normal this winter.

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, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating additional funding to the (a) River Severn Partnership and (b) Environment Agency to further reduce the risk of flooding along the River Severn.

The recent Budget announcement confirmed that the Government will double the amount it invests in the flood and coastal defence programme in England to £5.2 billion over six years from 2021, better protecting a further 336,000 properties including 290,000 homes.

The £5.2 billion capital programme will continue to be allocated in accordance with Defra’s Partnership Funding Policy. This policy clarifies the level of investment communities can expect from Defra so that it is clear what levels of partner funding they need to attract from other sources to allow projects to go ahead.

In July this year, the Government announced that up to an additional £170 million will be spent to accelerate work on shovel-ready flood defence schemes that will begin construction in 2020 or 2021. The Government awarded the River Severn Partnership a significant additional investment from this fund which is providing up to £30 million for the Severn Valley.

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, what preparations have been made (a) along the River Severn and (b) across the UK for potential flooding during winter 2020-21.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

There are around 6,500 trained staff across the country, ready to respond to flooding. The Environment Agency (EA) may be responding to several concurrent incidents at the same time as adhering to Government coronavirus guidelines.

This year, the EA has completed around 20,000 inspections of flood risk management assets. The EA is making sure that any flood defences and equipment damaged during last winter’s flooding are either fixed or will have robust contingency plans in place. Around 160 projects will likely have contingency plans, such as temporary defences, in place that will ensure communities are well prepared for winter.

This winter, the EA’s Flood Action Campaign is asking communities to PREPARE, ACT, SURVIVE. Over 1.4 million properties are already signed up to receive free flood warnings.

Since winter 2015-16, the EA has invested in kit including 40 kilometres of temporary flood barriers and 250 high volume pumps.

Since April 2015 the EA has completed over 700 new flood and coastal defence projects. These include the Ipswich tidal defence barrier, phase 1 of the Exeter flood defence scheme and the Croston flood risk management scheme. Over 250,000 homes have already been better protected, working with partner risk management authorities. Of this total, 160,000 homes have benefitted from reduced flood risk delivered by EA schemes, and 90,000 homes at reduced risk through other Risk Management Authority led projects.

The EA is investing £500,000 in additional equipment and training to improve availability of its suppliers and specialists in flood incidents.

For part (a) specific to the Rivern Severn, I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I provided to his recent PQ 97520 asking “what steps his Department is taking to prevent flooding along the River Severn in winter 2020-21.” This is available at:

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-30/97520

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the robustness of the flood defences being implemented along the River Severn; and what their estimated lifespan is.

The Environment Agency, along with other members of the River Severn partnership, is currently investigating options to reduce flood risk along the River Severn. As well as the potential for new measures, this is taking into account the role and lifespan of existing flood risk management assets and how these might be affected by climate change.

The lifespan of any new flood risk management asset forms a key part of the assessment of their benefits when considering the expenditure of public funds.

The Environment Agency routinely maintains its existing flood risk management assets and has dedicated teams in place to operate them 24 hours a day. So far this financial year 4,260 asset inspections have been carried out across the Severn catchment, ensuring they remain operational, protecting the communities they are designed for.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to ensure that farmers' land is not affected by the implementation of flood prevention measures along the River Severn.

The Environment Agency, along with other members of the River Severn partnership, is currently investigating options to reduce flood risk along the River Severn. The partnership is taking a catchment based approach, looking at a range of options, both traditional and innovative, to better manage water across the Severn Basin.

The effects of any proposal, in terms of both its benefits and impacts, are carefully considered as part of the development process in order to ensure they are acceptable to all stakeholders and do not increase risk to others.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to ensure that the Environment Agency in partnership with the River Severn Partnership takes a holistic approach to (a) long-term and (b) short-term flooding solutions along the River Severn.

The River Severn Partnership (RSP) is led by the Environment Agency (EA) alongside Shropshire Council. It has united local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, water companies through the Water Resources West group, the EA and Natural Resources Wales.

The RSP will deliver a long-term programme addressing water management across the Severn Catchment. This will be achieved through a proactive, coordinated and collaborative approach to flood risk management, water quality, environmental enhancement and an integrated approach to water resource management.

The EA is updating the River Severn modelling and flood mapping to incorporate the latest available data. The £250,000 grant-in-aid investment will deliver a completed model by the end of 2021. This new model will also deliver evidence to support the flood warning service, potential future flood schemes, and will inform our advice in response to proposals to develop within the catchment.

The EA in partnership with all other Flood Risk Management Authorities along the River Severn Catchment is currently putting together the next six-year Flood and Coastal Risk Management Capital Investment Programme 2021/22 – 2027/28.

Around £400,000 Flood Defence Grant in Aid is being invested in the RSP area to accelerate potential scheme delivery in areas following last winter’s floods.

Ahead of this winter, the EA continues to work alongside Local Resilience Forums to plan, exercise and prepare for responding to flooding. The EA is ready to provide its flood warning service and to deploy local flood protection measures and barriers along the River Severn.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to prepare for potential flooding in winter 2020-21 in (a) Shrewsbury and (b) other areas along the River Severn which are prone to flooding.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to implement the flood defences along the River Severn set out by the Environment agency and River Severn Partnership as soon as possible.

The next six-year Flood and Coastal Risk Management Capital Investment Programme 2021/22–2027/28 is currently being put together by the Environment Agency in partnership with all other Flood Risk Management Authorities along the River Severn Catchment including Shropshire Council.

This six-year programme will be based on indicative bids put forward in previous years as well as new project bids and will use the updated Partnership Funding rules recently published on the GOV.UK website.

Some of those projects currently put forward to form the next six-year programme include the Severn Valley Water Management Scheme, Tenbury Wells, Oswestry Surface Water Scheme, Beales Corner Bewdley as well as a large-scale Carbon Offsetting and Natural Flood Risk Management Scheme which has the potential to benefit the whole of the River Severn.

Indicative proposals at this stage in the process suggest the new programme could deliver 3,000 homes better protected from flooding. Business cases will formalise the outcomes that these and other projects will deliver in due course.

In addition, the Government funding announcement on 14 July secured significant additional investment for the River Severn Partnership, providing £30 million for the Severn Valley, £4.9 million for Tenbury Wells and £5.4 million for carbon offsetting work linked to the Partnership.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to allocate additional funding for flood defences along the River Severn.

In July this year, the Government announced that an additional £170 million will be spent to accelerate work on shovel-ready flood defence schemes that will begin construction in 2020 or 2021. The Government awarded the River Severn Partnership a significant additional investment from this fund which is providing up to £30 million for the Severn Valley, in addition to up to £4.9 million for Tenbury Wells.

The recent Budget announcement confirmed that the Government will double the amount it invests in the flood and coastal defence programme in England to £5.2 billion over six years from 2021, better protecting a further 336,000 properties including 290,000 homes.

The £5.2 billion capital programme will continue to be allocated in accordance with Defra’s Partnership Funding Policy. This policy clarifies the level of investment communities can expect from Defra so that it is clear what levels of partner funding they need to attract from other sources to allow projects to go ahead.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to allocate additional funding to the River Severn Partnership to support the implementation of short term flood defences to tackle the risk of flooding in winter 2020-21.

In July, the Government announced that up to an additional £170 million will be spent to accelerate work on shovel-ready flood defence schemes that will begin construction in 2020 or 2021. The Government awarded the River Severn Partnership a significant additional investment from this fund which is providing up to £30 million for the Severn Valley, and up to £4.9 million for Tenbury Wells.

In addition, in March the Government announced its national £120 million package to repair flood risk management assets damaged as a result of the winter floods. £4.2 million will be for assets on the Severn corridor, which will cover 18 projects. Repair work to these assets is currently ongoing though, in the meantime, the defences will remain fully operational, including both demountable and temporary defences at a number of locations such as Shrewsbury and Ironbridge.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help facilitate research on the cause of the flooding on the River Severn in March 2020, in order to prevent destruction as a result of flooding in the future.

The Environment Agency’s (EA) River Severn river modelling and flood mapping is currently being updated to incorporate the latest available data, including information gathered as a result of last winter’s flooding events. The £250,000 Grant-in-Aid investment will deliver a completed model by the end of 2021.

As well as updating flood risk mapping, this new flood model will deliver evidence to support the flood warning service, potential future flood schemes, and will inform the Environment Agency’s advice in response to proposals to develop within the catchment. It is already being used to support delivery of the ambitions of the River Severn Partnership, including the Shrewsbury Water Management Scheme which has the potential to deliver significant flood risk, environmental, water resource and growth benefits. The scheme is in the early stages of development and has already benefitted from government funding of £30 million.

In addition, in July the Government chose the River Severn Partnership alongside three other places to test and develop climate adaptive pathway plans, providing £1.5 million of funding from the Innovative Resilience Programme. This will enable the Environment Agency to work with local partners through the River Severn Partnership to assess a range of climate change scenarios, and identify the right current and future decisions required to manage the risk of flooding and coastal change.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the risk of flooding along the River Severn.

The Environment Agency’s River Severn river modelling and flood mapping is currently being updated to incorporate the latest available data. The £250,000 grant-in-aid investment will deliver a completed model by the end of 2021.

This new flood model will not only provide an update to the flood risk mapping but also deliver evidence to support the flood warning service, potential future flood schemes, and ensure safe development within the catchment. It is already being used to support delivery of the ambitions of the River Severn Partnership.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the timescale is for the planned flood defence infrastructure works along the River Severn.

The next six-year Flood and Coastal Risk Management Capital Investment Programme 2021/22 – 2027/28 is currently being put together by the Environment Agency in partnership with all other Flood Risk Management Authorities along the River Severn Catchment including Shropshire Council.

This six-year programme will be based on indicative bids put forward in previous years as well as new project bids and will use the updated Partnership Funding rules recently published on the GOV.UK website.

Some of those projects currently put forward to form the next six-year programme include the Severn Valley Water Management Scheme, Tenbury Wells, Oswestry Surface Water Scheme, Beales Corner Bewdley as well as a large scale Carbon Offsetting and Natural Flood Risk Management Scheme which has the potential to benefit the whole of the River Severn.

Indicative proposals at this stage in the process suggest the new programme could deliver 3,000 homes better protected from flooding. Business cases will formalise the outcomes that these and other projects will deliver in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to prevent flooding along the River Severn in winter 2020-21.

Over the winter of 2019/20 the River Severn catchment saw some of the highest river levels ever recorded. While, unfortunately, around 1,600 properties were flooded across the West Midlands, Environment Agency (EA) flood risk management assets prevented over 14,500 properties from flooding.

Since the winter floods, the EA has been delivering its recovery programme. This is to ensure that all flood assets that were affected by significant flooding are inspected and repaired where necessary.

In the 2020 budget, the Government announced a national £120 million package to repair flood risk management assets damaged as a result of the winter floods. For the Severn corridor’s assets the Environment Agency secured £4.2 million, covering 18 projects. Ahead of this winter, EA flood risk management assets in Shrewsbury have been fully inspected. Repair work to these assets is currently ongoing. However, throughout this process the defences will remain fully operational and will function as intended, including both demountable and temporary defences at a number of locations such as Shrewsbury and Ironbridge.

As well as this asset repair work, and despite the challenges of Covid-19, the Environment Agency is continuing to deliver its annual routine maintenance programme for the River Severn. This helps to ensure any blockages or debris that may cause an increase in flood risk have been managed.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what short-term flood prevention measures will be put in place to tackle the potential for flooding in Shrewsbury in winter 2020-21.

Over the winter of 2019/20 the River Severn catchment saw some of the highest river levels ever recorded. While, unfortunately, around 1,600 properties were flooded across the West Midlands, Environment Agency (EA) flood risk management assets prevented over 14,500 properties from flooding.

Since the winter floods, the EA has been delivering its recovery programme. This is to ensure that all of its flood assets that were affected by significant flooding are inspected and repaired where necessary.

In the 2020 budget, Government announced a national £120 million package to repair flood risk management assets damaged as a result of the winter floods. For Shrewsbury’s assets the EA secured £605,000, covering both Frankwell and Coleham flood risk management schemes. Ahead of this winter, EA flood risk management assets in Shrewsbury have been fully inspected. Repair work to these defences is currently ongoing, however the defences will remain fully operational throughout this process.

As well as asset repairs, the EA continues to deliver its annual routine maintenance programme for the River Severn. This helps to ensure any blockages or debris that may cause an increase in flood risk have been managed and that Shrewsbury is winter-ready, should further flooding occur.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to support the farming industry in Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave on 23 September 2020 to Question 90985.

[https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-16/90985]

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to support the farming industry in Shropshire.

This Government is committed to supporting our farming industry. Our ambition is for this country to have a thriving, self-reliant and resilient farming sector.

The Government appreciates that the food and farming sectors are currently facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and is grateful for the hard work farmers have done to maintain food supplies

In response to the pandemic, we introduced a range of measures to support the agriculture sector, including farmers and agricultural businesses in Shropshire. These included: easements to competition law to help producers get food where it was needed; a dairy support scheme; support for various AHDB promotional campaigns and the opening of intervention and storage aid schemes for various products. Employees in the food sector were also designated as key workers and there has been a temporary relaxing of the normal rules on drivers' hours, enabling the sector to keep supply chains running, including deliveries from farm gate to processors.

Farmers have also, where eligible, been able to apply for public support through the various Covid-19 related Government schemes including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, business rates relief, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of further cooperation between Wales and border communities on farming and agriculture.

Agriculture is a devolved matter and now we have left the EU each UK administration has the flexibility to develop agricultural policy suited to their own unique circumstances. There is much merit in working cooperatively with the Welsh Government and we are working closely with all the devolved administrations on an administrative agricultural support framework. The framework will cover cross border issues. There are many farms along the border between England and Wales, so there is value in working cooperatively with the Welsh Government and learning from one another.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to work with Welsh farming communities on tackling (a) bovine TB and (b) other prevailing livestock diseases.

Animal health disease control policy is a devolved matter. Defra Ministers meet regularly with their counterparts in the devolved administrations via the Inter-Ministerial Group for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The UK Chief Veterinary Officer also meets regularly with her counterparts in the UK devolved administrations to discuss animal health issues.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to issue guidance on minimum qualifying annual pay for EU nationals seeking permits to work in the agricultural industry.

This Government is fully committed to protecting the rights of migrant workers and ensuring that they are treated fairly in the workforce, including seasonal workers in agriculture.

In recent years, there has been tremendous change to wider employment legislation, which protects and benefits workers in all sectors of the economy. The national minimum wage has been raised and the new national living wage introduced.

A key objective of the Seasonal Workers Pilot, a scheme for non-EEA migrant workers, is to ensure that they are adequately protected against modern slavery and other labour abuses. The operators of the scheme are licensed by the Gangmasters Labour and Abuse Authority (GLAA). The GLAA ensure that all workers are placed with farms who adhere to all relevant legislation, including paying the National Minimum Wage.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that an adequate number of work permits is issued to cover the demand for workers in the egg industry and associated sectors.

We are actively monitoring the impacts of COVID-19 and related control measures with significant input from industry stakeholders.

We are urgently considering which measures could be put in place to help mitigate the impact of the current situation on access to labour in the agri-food chain.

The Chancellor has announced an initial £330 billion will be made available to support UK businesses. He also set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

After the transition to a new immigration system in 2021, businesses will continue to be able to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status and there will continue to be other flexibility in the system and the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has already pointed to the estimated 170,000 recently arrived non-EU citizens currently in low-skilled occupations.

The EU Settlement Scheme, which opened in March 2019, has already received more than 3.3 million applications from EU citizens who are able to stay and work in the UK – and people have until June 2021 to apply.

The government will introduce a new points based system from January 2021 which will include an employer-led route for skilled workers to enter the UK, both EU and non-EU citizens. The skilled worker route will not be capped, there will be no requirement to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test and the salary and skills thresholds have been lowered.

These changes will ensure that a wide pool of skilled workers will be able to come to the UK from anywhere in the world.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress he has made with (a) Shropshire council and (b) the River Severn Partnership in discussions on funding research into solutions to flooding on the River Severn.

The River Severn Partnership is seeking to deliver a holistic whole water management approach to address both flood risk and water security as a means of underpinning local resilience and supporting economic prosperity across the whole catchment.

The Environment Agency (EA) is working with partners to develop a River Severn Strategy, building on established frameworks for the River Thames and Humber Estuary strategies. This will include modelling and options appraisals to identify a long-term programme of capital investment in water infrastructure across the whole catchment, including the tributaries of the River Teme, Warwickshire Avon and River Wye. The strategy will explore new and innovative fiscal models for funding infrastructure delivery as well as the ongoing operation of such measures. The comprehensive and holistic nature of the River Severn Strategy means that there are multiple potential partners and funding sources, and the EA is exploring many options and funding streams. Local partners have already contributed £300,000 to begin work on the strategy and this will be used as leverage in wider funding bids.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the presentation from the Shropshire Environment Agency and Shropshire Council during his recent visit to Shrewsbury, what steps he is taking to (a) support and (b) provide funding for the proposals on the management of the River Severn set out in that presentation.

The Secretary of State was briefed on the River Severn Partnership by the Environment Agency (EA) during his recent visit to Shrewsbury where he saw the impact of prolonged floods and spoke with responders and affected businesses. The Government commends the great progress made in establishing a strategic coalition of partners from local government, business and the EA. The Government supports the ambitious plan to develop a strategy for water resources, flood risk and sustainable growth to ensure the climate resilience and future prosperity of the River Severn catchment. I would be pleased to speak further with the hon. Member and the EA as the initiative progresses.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to help farmers tackle fly-tipping.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

Fly-tipping is unacceptable whether it occurs on public or private land. It blights local communities and the environment and is an issue the Government is committed to tackling, which is why we made tackling fly-tipping one of our manifesto commitments.

Defra chairs the National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group (NFTPG), which is a group of organisations, including rural and urban landowning groups, working with a common aim to help prevent and tackle fly-tipping.

The NFTPG is working with major landowners in England, such as the National Farmers Union and Country Land and Business Association, to increase the reporting of fly-tipping on private land. We are doing so through developing a mobile smartphone and tablet app to collect data to better understand the extent of fly-tipping nationally, along with the type and geographical pattern of incidents. This will aid the investigation of incidents and help target enforcement.

The NFTPG has published a Fly-tipping Partnership Framework, outlining best practice for the prevention, reporting, investigation and clearance of fly-tipping. The NFTPG has also published a series of fly-tipping prevention guides for householders, businesses and landowners to help stop fly-tipping on their land.

We are also fulfilling a commitment in the Resources and Waste Strategy to develop a ‘Fly-Tipping Toolkit’ that will include guidance on local partnership working between landowners, including farmers, the police, local authorities and the Environment Agency, as well as guidance on presenting robust cases to the courts to ensure tougher penalties for fly-tipping.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to (a) support and (b) help ensure provision of (i) medicines and (ii) other supplies to persecuted Christian communities during the covid-19 outbreak.

The UK is using our foreign aid budget and British expertise to stop the spread of the global coronavirus outbreak, find a vaccine and save lives around the world, including in the UK. So far £764 million of UK aid has been pledged to help end this pandemic as quickly as possible.

As a leading donor to the COVID-19 global response and one of the biggest humanitarian donors globally, we are working with our partners to ensure essential commodities and services are provided to those who need it the most, in line with international humanitarian principles. Through our support to the UN Global Humanitarian Response Plan, we have particularly advocated to ensure assistance reaches the most marginalised and vulnerable people, including religious minorities, who will be the worst affected by this crisis.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when the UK will join The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

On 28th September, the UK took the next step on the pathway to membership of this important and growing trading group, kicking off the first round of talks with officials from all Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) member countries. This has been followed by technical discussions on a range of areas including e-commerce and procurement. The UK has an ambitious timeline for UK accession to CPTPP and hopes to conclude negotiations by the end of 2022.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps are being taken to (a) reduce reliance on China for the manufacture of system-critical components for UK national infrastructure projects and (b) source those components instead from members of The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The Integrated Review identifies ‘strengthening supply chain resilience of critical goods and raw materials” as one of nine areas for action to deliver the government’s ambitions on the Indo-Pacific tilt. Ensuring the resilience of critical global supply chains is a central part of our deeper, longer-term diplomatic engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.

Membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership could help diversify our supply chains and increase our economic resilience by deepening our trading links across the region.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether he plans to increase the number of dedicated agriculture counsellors promoting UK agricultural exports.

We are considering how we might expand our overseas support for agriculture, food and drink exporters, in line with the recommendations of the Trade and Agriculture Commission and will publish a response to the Commission accordingly.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many dedicated agricultural counsellors are working in British Embassies abroad to promote British agricultural products.

There are dedicated agriculture counsellors based in China and the UAE as well as a team of trade promotion staff serving UK food and drink in 119 markets worldwide.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to help businesses to continue exporting to the EU.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) provides support for businesses to understand the changes in trade with the EU via its Transition Period Enquiry Unit. Members can direct their companies to this service here - https://www.great.gov.uk/transition-period/contact/.

DIT is also developing a refreshed Export Strategy to ensure firms can take advantage of new market opportunities through better support, better incentives, and a better business environment. DIT will raise the exporting culture of the UK, take advantage of our new independent trade policy, and target our market share in the world’s fastest growing economies.

4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Rails to Recovery report into improvements on the Shrewsbury-Black Country-Birmingham line.

I am grateful to Midlands Connect for producing this report, which provides useful insight into the case for, and potential benefits of, enhancing the line between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton.

As noted in the report, a Strategic Outline Business Case is the next stage, which I hope to receive from Midlands Connect this winter.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to increase funding for cycle lanes in city centres.

The Government is committed to spending an additional £2 billion on cycling and walking schemes over this Parliament, and the bulk of this will go towards new infrastructure such as cycle lanes in city centres. The Spending Review on 27 October has provided an unprecedented multi-year funding settlement for active travel including £710 million of new funding which will enable those local authorities who wish to do so to deliver transformational changes in their areas. Further details will be set out in the second statutory Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS 2) in the spring of 2022.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is taking to support businesses that are struggling to receive supplies and goods as a result of the current shortage of (a) HGV, (b) LGV and (c) other delivery drivers.

The Government is implementing a package of measures to address the shortage of drivers. Measures include maximising driver testing capacity by increasing the number of staff available to conduct tests, consulting on proposals to streamline the testing process to boost throughput of drivers, and support for training via funding apprenticeships to assist new entrants as well as the reskilling of jobseekers.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will release £11 million of funding from his Department's budget for track upgrades to the Shrewsbury to Birmingham railway line to reduce travel time between those stations from under an hour to 45 minutes.

The Department undertakes rigorous analysis of the potential benefits and costs of proposed schemes before making funding decisions. Midlands Connect have previously estimated that the full costs for the complete delivery of scheme improvements to be around £200m. It is developing a strategic outline business case for this project which the Department expects to receive by the end of 2021. Any decision on further development will be taken in line with the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline policy, which will include consideration of business case and affordability, in the context of the wider rail enhancements portfolio.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of track upgrade works on the Birmingham-Shrewsbury railway line on (a) levels of rail travel and (b) the UK's progress to becoming carbon neutral.

Midlands Connect is currently developing proposals to improve the rail connection between Birmingham and Shrewsbury. The outputs of this work will be presented in a strategic outline business case. Electrification of the line is also being considered as part of this work, which would contribute towards the Government’s ambition to reduce carbon emissions to net zero.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding from the public purse was allocated to Shropshire Council for pot hole repairs in (a) 2017, (b) 2018, (c) 2019 and (d) 2020.

There is a duty placed on highway authorities such as Shropshire Council, by Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 (as amended) to maintain the highways network in their area.

The highways maintenance funding provided by Government is entirely for each highway authority to determine how it is utilised to meet local needs in their respective areas, based upon their local knowledge and circumstances.

Financial Year

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

Highways Maintenance Funding allocated to Shropshire UA (total)

16,002,000

24,328,234

16,948,396

27,610,000

*Funding includes Highways Maintenance Block, Pothole Fund, Flood/Resilience Funding, and the Pothole Action Fund funding streams

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the benefit of running an hourly train service from Shrewsbury to London in realising the benefits of rail capacity released by HS2.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate after HS2 services start running. These decisions will be taken nearer the time, drawing on advice from West Coast Partnership Development and Network Rail, and will be subject to public consultation.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the part the electrification of the Wolverhampton-Shrewsbury line could play in the Union Connectivity Review.

The Union Connectivity Review is an independent review led by Sir Peter Hendy, the focus of which is on improving connectivity between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The UCR is therefore focussing on national strategic transport corridors across the UK and I look forward to the outcomes of the review.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential benefit of electrifying the Shrewsbury-Wolverhampton railway route to the Government's net zero agenda.

The Department has not made a detailed assessment of the benefits of electrification between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton.

Further electrification of the network will play an important role in our plans to decarbonise the railway between now and 2050. As we decarbonise the railway, we will develop individual schemes carefully to deliver both decarbonisation and other benefits in a way that delivers value for money and ensures affordability.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of (a) running an hourly train service from London to Shrewsbury and (b) electrifying the route between Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury on (i) the economy and (ii) jobs in Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency.

Midlands Connect is preparing a strategic review of options for speeding up and additional services to Shrewsbury. It expects to publish the review later this year and this will form the basis for specific proposals to improve the service. No formal assessment has been made by the Department at this time.

Electrification will play an important role in our programme to achieve our Net Zero 2050 objective. As we develop our rail decarbonisation programme, we will carefully consider the opportunity to support local economic development.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure all-lane running motorways are safe for drivers.

On 25 January 2021, the Secretary of State held a meeting with Highways England to discuss progress on the Smart Motorway Safety Evidence Stocktake and Action Plan. He has asked for a report setting out progress in delivering the 18-point Action Plan and identifying actions that can be delivered early by 12 March 2021, so any accelerated works can be rapidly put in place.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether driving lessons and driving tests will be allowed to recommence immediately after the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown restrictions have ended.

The Prime Minister has confirmed that when the current national restriction period ends, the country will move to local restrictions on a 3 Tier basis. Driving lessons and driving tests were permitted under the previous Tier 3 restriction. It is not yet clear what impact the new restrictions will have on driving lessons and driving tests, but the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency will update its advice on GOV.UK as soon as it has clarity.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether people who have recently recovered from covid-19, and who have a recent positive antibody test, can be exempt of quarantine measures, upon entering the UK.

There is currently no exemption for those with a recent positive antibody test.

For those planning to travel into England, they should check the current travel corridor list to see whether they need to isolate for 14 days. They will still be required to abide by the new national restrictions set out here even if they do not need to self-isolate on arrival.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november.

The Government is actively working on the practicalities of using testing to release people from self-isolation earlier than 14 days. The Global Travel Taskforce is working at pace to consider how testing, technology and innovation can drive a recovery for international travel and tourism, without adding to infection risk or infringing on our overall NHS test capacity.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what funding his Department is providing for alternative fuel sources for large vehicles that travel long distances.

The Department’s £20 million Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial launched in 2017, supporting industry-led research and development projects, including for alternative fuels. The £23 million Hydrogen for Transport Programme, launched in 2017, funded the deployment of hydrogen vehicles and refuelling stations.

The Department’s Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition has made up to £20m of capital funding available to projects that will produce low carbon waste-based fuels to be used in aeroplanes and lorries.

The Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation incentivises the supply of low carbon fuels to all modes of road transport, including HGVs.

Further plans for decarbonising freight will form part of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to make available the funding announced under the Better Bus Deal for Bus Users to provide for alternatively fuelled vehicles.

The Better Deal for Bus Users commitments from 2019 included a commitment to fund £50 million towards the UK’s first All-Electric Bus Town. We hope to announce the bid(s) progressing to the next stage of the All-Electric Bus Town competition soon.

In addition to this, on 11 February 2020 the Prime Minister announced £5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links for regions outside London. This additional investment will include at least 4,000 new Zero-Emission Buses. The funding of which will be announced in due course after the Spending Review.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to electrify the train line between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton.

Network Rail is leading development of a Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy (TDNS), due later this year, that will inform decisions about the scale and pace of railway decarbonisation to 2050 in our Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP).

Plans for decarbonisation on the line between Birmingham and Shrewsbury via Wolverhampton, will be informed by TDNS and the TDP. Once the final TDNS is published we will develop business cases for each electrification scheme to ensure they are deliverable and affordable.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Network Rail on the electrification of the railway line between Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury.

The Department is working with Network Rail and the rail industry to support Network Rail’s delivery of a Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy (TDNS). TDNS will inform decisions about the scale and pace of railway decarbonisation to 2050 in our Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

In July this year Network Rail published TDNS interim findings. The report identified electrification as the preferred option to decarbonise rail traffic between Birmingham and Shrewsbury via Wolverhampton. Once the final TDNS is published we will develop business cases for each electrification scheme to ensure they are deliverable and affordable.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with train operators on introducing bi-mode hybrid trains on the railway line between Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury.

The Department has had no such discussions with train operators.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much carbon dioxide is emitted annually by diesel-only trains between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton.

The Department does not collect data on CO2 emissions on a route by route basis.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of diesel-only trains on the environment.

Rail is a comparatively green mode of transport, but the Government is working to further decarbonise and reduce the impact of air pollution.

Diesel freight and passenger trains in Great Britain created 1,848 kilotonnes of CO2e last year. The Government will reduce these emissions through our ambition to phase out diesel-only trains by 2040 and deliver a net-zero transport system by 2050.

Diesel trains can also contribute to air pollution hotspots. The Department is working with Network Rail and the wider industry to monitor the impact that diesel trains have on air quality, to help us make improvements where they matter most.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people use the train service between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton monthly on average.

Passenger demand flows between specific stations and on specific routes are not publicly available as this data is commercially sensitive. However, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) publish data on the estimates of the total number of passengers entering and exiting each station in Great Britain.

The table below, which includes the number of station entries and exits at Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton, may be of interest.

Total number of station entries and exits, 2018-19 financial year

Station name

Entries and exits

Shrewsbury

2,226,302

Wolverhampton

5,305,432

Data for additional stations and years are available at:

https://dataportal.orr.gov.uk/statistics/usage/estimates-of-station-usage/

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many journeys are made on average annually between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton by train.

Passenger demand flows between specific stations and on specific routes are not publicly available as this data is commercially sensitive. However, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) publish data on the estimates of the total number of passengers entering and exiting each station in Great Britain.

The table below, which includes the number of station entries and exits at Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton, may be of interest.

Total number of station entries and exits, 2018-19 financial year

Station name

Entries and exits

Shrewsbury

2,226,302

Wolverhampton

5,305,432

Data for additional stations and years are available at:

https://dataportal.orr.gov.uk/statistics/usage/estimates-of-station-usage/

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people use the train service between Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury annually on average.

Passenger demand flows between specific stations and on specific routes are not publicly available as this data is commercially sensitive. However, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) publish data on the estimates of the total number of passengers entering and exiting each station in Great Britain.

The table below, which includes the number of station entries and exits at Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton, may be of interest.

Total number of station entries and exits, 2018-19 financial year

Station name

Entries and exits

Shrewsbury

2,226,302

Wolverhampton

5,305,432

Data for additional stations and years are available at:

https://dataportal.orr.gov.uk/statistics/usage/estimates-of-station-usage/

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much carbon dioxide is emitted annually by diesel-only trains in the UK.

Data from train and freight operating companies indicate that diesel train traction in Great Britain created 1,848 kilotonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) in the last financial year (2018-2019). This figure includes bi-mode diesel trains, as well as diesel-only trains.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many (a) accidents and (b) fatalities occurred on the A49 in Shropshire between the Bayston Hill junction with the A5 and Church Stretton in (i) 2019, (ii) 2018, (iii) 2017 and (iv) 2016.

The number of reported personal injury road accidents, and fatalities on the A49 between the Bayston Hill junction with the A5 and Church Stretton between 2016 and 2018 are shown in the table below.

Reported road accidents and fatalities on the A49 between the Bayston Hill junction and Church Stretton, 2016-2018

2016

2017

2018

Personal injury accidents

11

12

12

Fatal casualties

3

0

1

Source: DfT, STATS19

Detailed final statistics on reported personal injury road accidents in Great Britain for 2019 will be published on 30 September 2020. The latest annual published statistics are for 2018.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to make it compulsory for bicycles to be fitted with bells when in use.

Rule 66 of the Highway Code recommends that bells are fitted and used as necessary, and the Pedal Bicycles (Safety) Regulations 2010 require all bicycles at point of sale to be fitted with a bell. The Regulations do not compel cyclists to keep a bell fitted to the bicycle after purchase, however, and the Government has no plans to change this.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to prevent individuals form removing their face coverings on public transport.

  • The regulation makes it mandatory for passengers to wear a face covering, if they are able to, whilst travelling on public transport in England. We are working closely with operators to ensure passengers follow this requirement closely but recognise that reasonable adjustments need to be made to allow people to eat or drink if necessary or they have a medical need to do so, to take essential medication, or there is a medical emergency.

  • If someone is not complying with the regulations, operators have new powers under the Public Health Act 1984 to deny access to a service or to direct someone to leave a service if they do not wear a face covering when asked to. As a final step, operators are able to involve police, including the British Transport Police, where there is a clear breach of the rules without a reasonable excuse.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to take steps to better link the national rail network in Wales and the private rail network in England.

The ownership status of the national railway infrastructure in Wales and England is identical on both sides of the border, however Welsh Government have delegated authority for the Wales & Borders franchise and associated train services.

Rail links between Wales and England have been strengthened recently by the electrification of the Severn Tunnel, meaning that for the first time ever an electric railway will run from Cardiff and Newport in south Wales, through the Severn Tunnel and all the way to London Paddington.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to implement proposed cross-border road schemes to improve connectivity between Wales and border counties in England.

The second Road Investment Strategy, published with the Budget, confirmed funding for the development of the A483 Pant-Llanymynech bypass proposal in cooperation with the Welsh Government. The case for constructing this scheme and others proposed along the border between England and Wales will be considered as part of future investment decisions for the strategic and major road networks.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has plans to train additional driving test examiners to help tackle the backlog of driving tests as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has suspended most driver testing for up to three months to support the Government’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. The DVSA has a reduced workforce but will continue, as a priority, to make tests available for those whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or who work in critical sectors such as health and social care. The DVSA is only using driving examiners who have volunteered to conduct these emergency tests.

The DVSA’s driving examiner training and recruitment plans are revised regularly and are based on the current backlog and forecasted demand for driving tests. The DVSA is continually evaluating the current situation and is working closely with key stakeholders from the car, motorcycle and vocational industries to establish how to begin resuming its service of providing driving tests. Driving examiner training and recruitment will be adjusted accordingly to take account of the backlog caused by suspending driving tests, and any future changed in demand for driving tests. Before practical driving tests are reintroduced, the DVSA will inform the driver training industry. This will help candidates prepare and reach the standard of driving needed to pass their test.

The DVSA remains committed to resuming testing as soon as it is safe to do so and in line with further Government advice.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to reinstate non-essential (a) vocational driving tests and (b) non-vocational car driving tests during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has suspended most driver testing, including vocational and non-vocational car tests, for up to three months to support the Government’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. The DVSA has a reduced workforce but will continue, as a major priority, to make tests available for those whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or who work in critical sectors such as health and social care.

The DVSA is continually evaluating the current situation and is working closely with key stakeholders from the car, motorcycle and vocational industries to establish how to begin resuming its service of providing driving tests. Before practical driving tests are reintroduced, the DVSA will inform the driver training industry. This will help candidates prepare and reach the standard of driving needed to pass their test.

The DVSA remains committed to resume testing as soon as it is safe to do so and in line with further Government advice.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what financial support the Government is making available to the transport sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise that the Covid-19 outbreak has had unprecedented effects across the transport sector. The government has provided a comprehensive support package for businesses. This includes measures to support workers through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and support to businesses through the Covid Corporate Financing Facility, the Coronavirus Interruption Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

We are engaging with the transport sector on a regular basis to understand the impacts of Covid-19 on their businesses and providing guidance on how to access the government’s business support schemes.

On Friday 24 April the government announced a multi-million-pound support package for essential freight services, including up to £17 million for critical routes between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, up to £10.5 million for lifeline ferry and freight services to the Isle of Wight and the Scilly Isles, and further support for critical routes between Britain and the European mainland.

The Secretary of State for Transport also confirmed that the Department for Transport has been working with the Northern Ireland Executive to develop a support package which will ensure passenger flights from Belfast and Derry-Londonderry to Great Britain are maintained during this Covid-19 response period. This will ensure that routes which are vital for those who need to travel remain open. The Department is in discussions with the relevant airlines, airports and the Northern Ireland Executive to finalise this package, guaranteeing lifeline air passenger services.

In addition, government has provided funding totalling £167 million over 3 months to support bus services in England, to keep key routes running and to provide a lifeline for those who cannot work from home.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to allocate funding to Shropshire council to begin the planning phase and construction of the north west relief road.

The Department has provided £3.5m development funding to Shropshire Council in 2019/20 from the £54.4m contribution Ministers approved in March 2019 for the Shrewsbury North West Relief Road. Officials will continue to work with the Council as they develop their final business case which is due to be submitted to the Department in December 2021.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the cost of running the Child Maintenance Service was in (a) 2017 and (b) 2019.

The cost of running the Child Maintenance Service is reported in financial years rather than calendar years, the costs for the four financial years that include calendar years 2017 and 2019 are as follows:

2016/17 - £275.11m (excluding income) or £260.52m net of income

2017/18 - £221.73m (excluding income) or £199.67m net of income

2018/19 - £189.00m (excluding income) or £153.88m net of income

2019/20 - £189.77m (excluding income) or £146.17m net of income

Increasing income over time is due to both increasing caseloads on the CMS 2012 scheme and improvements to case compliance.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints were received about the website of the Child Maintenance Service in (a) 2017 and (b) 2019.

We have assumed that the website referred to is the Child Maintenance Self-Service system. This information is not produced within our published data, nor collated centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will extend the Bereavement Support Payment scheme to cover the deaths of parents who were living together or had children together in order to provide support for the remaining partner and their children.

It is a key principle that all rights to inheritable benefits derived from another person’s contributions, such as Bereavement Support Payment, should be based on the concept of a legal marriage or civil partnership. However, on 7 February the High Court ruled that the higher rate of Bereavement Support Payment (which is paid to those with children) to be incompatible with the ECHR in that it is only payable where the survivor was married to, or in a civil partnership with the deceased. Whilst this ruling does not change the current legislation, we are carefully considering what to do in response to this judgement.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average length of time was that callers to the Child Maintenance Service were on hold waiting to be put through to an adviser in (a) 2018 and (b) 2019.

For the 2018 calendar year the average wait time was 55 seconds.

For the 2019 calendar year the average wait time was 6 minutes 12 seconds.

Whilst figures for 2018 look significantly lower than the 2019 wait time, this is because the methodology in place prior to July 2019 was not accurate in terms of meeting the standard ASA measurement. It did not measure the end-to-end customer experience, instead only measuring the final stage. The BT reporting methodology was amended to ensure that the report did reflect the end to end customer experience,

There has also been a general increase in wait time due to the revised approach the Child Maintenance Group has adopted to customer service. Previously calls routed to the next available agent. We now only route calls to the individual caseworker or individuals with the appropriate skill sets. Whilst this can mean a potentially longer wait time, it does, however, mean the customer speaks to a person able to resolve their query at first point of contact, therefore improving the overall customer service experience.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Nov 2021
What discussions he has had with the Minister for Health and Social Services of Wales on the delay in delivering the Hospitals Transformation Programme in Shropshire.

I have had no meetings or discussions with the Minister for Health and Social Services of Wales or any other representative of the Welsh government regarding the Hospitals Transformation Programme in Shropshire. The only recent meeting on this subject took place in September of this year between myself, my officials, other Honourable Members representing Shropshire constituencies, and their staff.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Welsh Government and (b) other devolved officials in that country on delays to the Hospitals Transformation Programme in Shropshire.

A meeting took place between the Minister of State for Health and local MP’s regarding the Hospitals Transformation Programme in Shropshire in September 2021. As of yet no discussions have taken place with the Welsh Government concerning the Hospitals Transformation Programme in Shropshire.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help support the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital to tackle delays on progress of the Hospitals Transformation Programme at that hospital.

As with any capital investment, the business case process is led by the Trust in question. In November 2019, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) received a strategic outline business case (SOC) for the Hospital Transformation Programme from the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust and determined that the SOC required further work.

In September 2021, the Department made available £370,000 to the Trust for the redevelopment of the SOC and, hence, allow the programme to progress and avoid unnecessary delays. This is part of the £6 million early funding requested by the Trust and approved in principle in November 2020 by the Department and NHSE&I. We are expecting the business case to be received by the Department and NHSE&I national teams for joint review in early 2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timeline is for the revised Strategic Outline Case for the Hospitals Transformation Programme in Shropshire.

The Strategic Outline Case has been submitted to NHS England and NHS Improvement regional teams for initial review. We are expecting the business case to be progressed to the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement national teams for joint review in early 2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the affordability of the Hospitals Transformation Programme was included in the plans to improve hospital services in Shropshire.

The Hospital Transformation Programme or ‘Future Fit’ scheme, was assessed for affordability as part of the bidding process to become one the schemes within the sustainability and transformation partnership programme. Furthermore, any plans to improve hospital services that require significant Government funding, like the Future Fit scheme, will have their capital and revenue affordability assessed as part of the Departmental and NHS England and NHS Improvement business case assurance process

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of delays in the modernisation of health services in Shropshire on trends in the adequacy of A&E services at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

No recent assessment has been made.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to release an initial tranche of funding out of the NHS capital budget to allow foundation works to be commenced in the Future Fit programme to improve hospital services in Shropshire.

The scheme has an allocation of £312 million, which includes any early funding. A sum of £6 million has already been approved in principle in November 2020 and a request for £370,000 of this amount is being currently reviewed. NHS England and NHS Improvement are continuing to work with the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to ensure they maximise the impact of funding available. Any subsequent early funding requests will be subject to the usual approval processes.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his timetable is for releasing funds for enabling works on the Future Fit programme in Shrewsbury.

NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Department wrote to the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust on the 19 November 2020 approving the request in principle for £6 million of early funding to continue to develop the scheme. NHS England and NHS Improvement are continuing to work with the Trust to ensure they maximise the impact of funding available. Any further early funding requests will be subject to the usual approval processes.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Future Fit programme remains a priority for NHS England.

NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Department wrote to the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust on the 19 November 2020 confirming they remained committed to supporting the scheme.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the importance of personalised care for people affected by dementia.

Personalised care and support planning is supported by ‘Dementia: Good Care Planning – information for primary care and commissioners’ which sets out the development of care and support planning following an initial holistic assessment of a person’s health and well-being needs within the context of their whole life and family situation. The guide is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/dementia-good-care-planning-information-for-primary-care-and-commissioners/

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that when secondary school children receive information on abortion it is (a) accurate, (b) balanced and (c) includes information on alternatives to abortion to allow students to make an informed judgement.

Following the recent introduction of compulsory relationships, sex and health education in schools pupils will be taught that there are choices in relation to pregnancy with medically and legally accurate, impartial information on all options, including keeping the baby, adoption, abortion and where to get further advice. The statutory guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will urgently allocate funding to the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust to develop a strategic business case for the FutureFit Programme once the trust has submitted a request for that funding and subject to the necessary approvals.

We remain committed to supporting Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust’s Future Fit scheme and have previously confirmed approval in principle of £6 million of early funding to continue to develop the sustainability and transformation partnership scheme. Once approval is granted, this funding will be provided to the Trust in the usual way.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average amount of time was under the pills by post regimine between abortion pills being sent to women and the HSA4 form being submitted to the Chief Medical Officer.

Further breakdowns of the provisional 2020 data are not available as we are reviewing and assuring the underlying data in advance of the annual National Statistics publication in summer 2021.

In England the Abortion Regulations require that Form HSA4 be submitted to the Chief Medical Officer within 14 days of the termination.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many 999 ambulance calls were received nationwide from distressed women having taken mifepristone and misoprostol at home between 30 March and 30th November 2020; and how many ambulances were sent out.

This information is not held centrally.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many women required treatment for uterine perforation or a cervical tear following (a) a home medical abortion between 30 March and 30 November 2020 and (b) a medical abortion between those dates in each of the last five years.

The information is not held in the format requested. The Department collects data on the number of procedures rather than the number of women treated.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what financial support is available to NHS Bank staff who have to self-isolate but are not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay.

Guidance published by NHS Employers states that National Health Service bank staff should receive full pay for all pre-booked bank shifts they would have worked had they not needed to self-isolate due to COVID-19. Trusts may also choose to pay bank staff in self-isolation on a ‘look back’ approach, where a bank staff member’s past earnings over a reference period would be used as a basis for calculating full pay.


Where a bank staff member needs to self-isolate and there is no way to assess full pay, due to staff not having any pre-booked shifts or insufficient previous earnings, trusts will need to assess what a reasonable benchmark would be to set full pay at. Guidance issued by the Government to employers states that they should use their usual methods for calculating full pay using agreed processes at a local level and in line with NHS terms and conditions.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure all care homes across the country have access to thirty minute covid-19 testing to allow safe visits to take place.

All Care Quality Commission registered care homes in England are currently eligible for a combination of polymerase chain reaction tests (PCR) and rapid lateral flow devices (LFDs). As part of our updated guidance on regular testing, staff have provision for two rapid LFD and one PCR test per week and 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
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the accuracy of PCR covid-19 testing.

The current tests are very specific and the risk of false positives where the test is reacting to other viruses is extremely low. Independent, confirmatory testing of positive samples indicates a test specificity that exceeds 99.3% or a false positive rate of 1% and additional guidance has been provided to laboratories to reduce the rate even further.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the Government does not report the number of cases where people have recovered from covid-19.

The Government does not hold centrally information on the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19. In order to publish accurate figures the Government would need to collect the number of people who have been infected with the virus and to track their subsequent recovery.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to redistribute medical student places from over-subscribed universities to new medical schools in accordance with the concept of contestability outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan.

To increase the supply of doctors in under-doctored areas of England, Health Education England is working with partners including the Medical Schools Council to examine the possibility of redistributing some undergraduate medical places to medical schools in these areas.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to maintain the long-term funding of additional medical student places that were needed as a result of the Centre Assessed A level Grades in 2020.

The Department for Health and Social Care is working with Health Education England (HEE) to monitor these new cohorts in England throughout their degree and postgraduate training, to ensure that all places are sufficiently funded. The Department for Education is also making additional funds available through the Teaching Grant to support increased capacity. In addition, HEE is working with National Health Service providers to ensure that there are enough Foundation Year 1 and Foundation Year 2 training posts available at the point where these students have completed their education and are ready to enter work in the NHS in England.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the correlation between the high number of people from all tiers who visited Cornwall in summer 2020 and used its public venues and hospitality and that county's status as the area with the lowest cases of infection with and deaths from covid-19.

Throughout the pandemic, Cornwall has consistently been one of the areas with the lowest infection rates in England. During summer 2020, we observed lower COVID-19 prevalence in all regions. Throughout the summer, measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 were in place such as the national test and trace service, restrictions on large gatherings, guidance on COVID-19 secure workplaces, social distancing, mask wearing and hand hygiene. Furthermore, the summer allowed for more outdoor activities and socialisation which pose a lower risk of spread of COVID-19 compared to indoor activities.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps the Government has taken to increase the number of funded medical places at universities.

The Government has increased the number of funded medical school places in England by 1,500 over the last three years – a 25% increase. As part of this record expansion, we opened five new medical schools across the country. As a result of this action, this year we have seen record numbers of medical students in training.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that new medical schools are adequately funded during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that COVID-19 is having an adverse impact on higher education providers’ income and has taken action to ensure that all medical schools in England are adequately funded.

The Government has announced a package of measures to provide further financial support to all higher education providers. This includes the provision of additional funds available through the Teaching Grant to support increasing capacity in high-cost courses.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support new medical schools with a focus on innovative medical education.

The Government works with the General Medical Council, the Medical Schools Council and Health Education England (HEE) to engage with and support all medical schools in England. This includes the five new medical schools in Sunderland, Lancashire, Chelmsford, Lincoln and Canterbury delivered as part of the Government’s expansion in medical school places.

HEE is supporting the new medical schools to teach innovative curricula and share good practice in medical education through regular meetings. Medical schools in the United Kingdom are seen as being at the vanguard of innovative teaching across the world in areas such as immersive technology, simulation teaching and provision of remote learning through HEE’s online learning platform.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will prioritise the distribution of the covid-19 vaccination to people who are due to have elective surgery.

The?Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who provide advice to Government on which vaccine(s) the United Kingdom should use, and which groups within the population?to prioritise.

The committee, in their interim advice - have advised that the vaccine first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 and health and social workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors in the initial phase. The prioritisation could change substantially if the first available vaccines were not considered suitable for, or effective in, older adults.

The?JCVI?and the JCVI sub-committee are currently reviewing evidence on clinical risk factors associated with serious disease and mortality from COVID-19. Following a review of the evidence, the Committee will develop advice on risk groups for any future COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the rules are on the presence of partners during the birthing process during the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service has made arrangements to ensure that women are supported and cared for safely through pregnancy, birth and the period afterwards during this pandemic.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, women have been able to have one partner of their choice with them during labour and childbirth as long as their birth partner is well and does not have COVID-19 symptoms.

Guidance produced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is clear that women should be encouraged to have a single birth partner, who has no symptoms of COVID-19, present with them during any type of labour and birth, unless the birth occurs under general anaesthetic.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when quick turn around covid-19 tests will be available in hospitals to allow patients for cancer treatment and women in labour to have their partner with them.

Rapid turnaround testing devices have been deployed across National Health Service acute trusts throughout the autumn period.

These devices with a quick turnaround time have been made available to emergency departments to support the management of non-elective patient pathways.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to ensure that endometriosis can be detected earlier.

The Government has not taken any recent steps to ensure that endometriosis can be detected earlier.

The Government has recently received the Inquiry Report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Endometriosis, the report raised a number of important issues concerning the treatment and diagnosis of endometriosis which will be carefully considered as part of our ongoing work in women’s health.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what average length of time is for a care home to receive the results of their covid-19 tests, after they have been received by the courier.

Between 14 January and 20 January 2021, the median time taken to receive a test result from satellite test centres has decreased from 41 hours to 38 hours.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to allocate £533 million to Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS trust to enable it to develop the outline business case for the Future Fit Scheme.

We are pleased to confirm that £6 million funding has been approved in principle to allow Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to develop their plans and produce a business case for this scheme.

The business case process is led by the Trust and includes a number of stages. The Trust are currently at Strategic Outline Case (SOC) stage. The SOC should include a range of options, including option/s within the original allocation (£312 million) and will go through a necessary process of assurance.

The Department will continue to work closely with the Trust to understand how the right support can be provided centrally, including any further early funding, to develop an affordable case for the scheme and to maximise the impact of this funding.

Once the final Full Business Case has been developed and approved, full funding for the build will be provided subject to the usual approval procedures.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it is his policy to ensure the development of the Futurefit scheme at Shropshire and Telford Hospital NHS Trust sites.

We continue to support Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to progress the Shropshire Future Fit scheme.

As with any capital investment there is a necessary process of assurance to ensure the outcome is as intended i.e. it transforms services for the benefit of patients, as well as providing value for money for taxpayers. This process is led by the Trust, with funding usually provided when the Full Business Case has been approved. However, funding may be provided prior to this where appropriate to speed up delivery overall.

Recent improvements have been introduced to support projects centrally, for example a streamlined business case process with joint central approvals. In addition, our work on hospital design standards also provides a stronger approach to project delivery, to ensure that funding is reaching the frontline as soon and efficiently as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is planning to launch a mass vaccination programme in winter 2020 in response to the covid-19 outbreak; and whether parish councils should make plans to use village halls as vaccination centres.

The Department along with NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England (PHE) are currently planning for the delivery of a successful COVID-19 vaccine if one becomes available. The extent to which this is rolled out, is highly dependent on availability and the type of vaccine. In addition, NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently developing plans for the delivering of the seasonal flu vaccination programme. This will include new models for delivery. Dependent on the amount of vaccine which becomes available, it is likely that we will need to mobilise additional delivery arrangements and the workforce required to manage the volume of vaccinations. This could require a mass vaccination programme.

The Vaccines Taskforce, the Department, PHE, NHS England and NHS Improvement are coordinating the planning for settings individuals can be safely vaccinated within, as well as who within the workforce will be able to provide vaccinations against COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that care homes have access to adequate supplies of PPE.

It is vital to protect people providing and receiving care in care homes. To address the significant spike in demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), the Government stepped in to support the supply and distribution of PPE to the care sector.

We have made arrangements with 12 designated wholesalers to provide supplies to care providers registered with the Care Quality Commission. As of 21 August, we have released 192 million items of PPE through this route. We have also developed a new online PPE Portal to make it easier to request critical PPE, and all care homes have received an invitation to register on it. We continue to support Local Resilience Forums, having authorised the release of over 164 million items of PPE between 6 April and 27 August to help them respond to urgent local spikes in need across the adult social care system. To further strengthen the resilience of our supply chain, we have mobilised the National Supply Disruption Response system to respond to emergency PPE requests, including for the social care sector.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that care home (a) residents and (b) staff members can be tested regularly for covid-19.

Following an initial round of whole home testing, on 3 July we began rolling out regular retesting to care homes. We initially rolled out retesting for over 65s and those caring for people with dementia. All other adult care homes are now eligible to register for test kits using the online portal and distribution to these homes began on 7 September.

Care home staff are offered weekly testing, while residents receive a test every 28 days.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans in place to ensure that care home residents can be vaccinated against the flu in a timely manner.

Care homes should make provision, in collaboration with colleagues in primary care, to provide flu vaccination sessions for residents in a timely manner.

Primary care providers are being incentivised to work together across primary care network footprints to pool resources and collaborate to vaccinate more people. This includes the provision into care homes for both residents and staff.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will help support dental laboratories by paying them their average lab element fees.

During the suspension of routine dentistry during the pandemic peak there was almost no demand for dental laboratory products. Demand continues to be significantly reduced post lock down as there is continued reduced activity in both National Health Service and private dentistry due to the need for heightened infection controls.

Dental laboratories do not receive funding from the NHS. Dentists, whether NHS or private, contract directly with laboratories as third party suppliers. It is therefore not possible for the NHS to direct NHS funding to laboratories for work not commissioned by dentists. However as private companies, laboratories were and are entitled to the full range of financial support from the Treasury available to private sector businesses and individuals affected financially by COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that care homes have access to adequate primary care support.

From 1 May, NHS England and NHS Improvement put in place a comprehensive package of primary care support to care homes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including all care homes having a named clinical lead. NHS clinical commissioning groups were asked to take immediate steps to implement consistent weekly care home ‘check ins’ (carried out remotely wherever appropriate) in order to review patients identified as a clinical priority for assessment and care, drawing on general practice and community services staff.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people with medical conditions who cannot wear a face covering will be permitted to go into supermarkets and shops from the 24 July 2020.

The Government has provided clear guidance and communications on when and how to wear a face covering and will continue to communicate this guidance to the public and stakeholders as necessary over the coming months.

Messaging around exemptions is included as a key part of Government communications on when and how to wear a face covering. The Government also continues to engage with stakeholders and charities on the issue of exemptions to support these groups. In addition, the Government is running a major proactive communications campaign on face coverings to alert the public where they are now required to wear face coverings and educate the public on how to correctly wear one.

We are currently looking at ways in which we can support people who would be more comfortable to show they are exempt from the requirement to wear face covering, using some form of optional visual cue. Those who are exempt from the regulations will be permitted to go into supermarkets and shops without wearing a face covering.

People do not need to prove they have an exemption. Staff and employees are expected to act reasonably and not challenge people on why they are not wearing a covering.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the increase in the cost of implementing the reconfiguration of Health Care Services in Shropshire since the decision to reconfigure those services was taken; whether the additional funding of £134m be made available so that building work can commence in 2022.

We will continue to support Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to progress the Shropshire Future Fit scheme, including identifying suitable acceleration opportunities to speed up delivery overall. This could include providing funding for enabling works to allow construction to begin in advance of Full Business Case approval.

Recent improvements have been introduced to support projects centrally, for example a streamlined business case process with joint central approvals. In addition, our work on hospital design standards also provides a stronger approach to project delivery, to ensure that funding is reaching the frontline as soon and efficiently as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when day centres and respite centres will be allowed to reopen to provide support to disabled individuals and their parents as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We recognise the crucial role unpaid carers play, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak and the important role that day services play to provide care, and respite for carers.

Decisions on the running and re-opening of day services are made on a local basis. The Social Care Institute of Excellence has worked with the Department, local government and other key sector partners, to produce guidance which will support local authorities and providers to restart day services. This was published on 10 July. In addition, Public Health England is developing guidance on the use of personal protective equipment in community settings, which will be applicable to day services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) provide long-term support for care homes and (b) ensure that they are equipped effectively to prevent the spread of viruses.

Since the start of this pandemic we have been working closely with the sector and public health experts to put in place guidance and support for adult social care. On 15 April we published our detailed Adult Social Care Plan.

On 15 May, we published our care home support package. This responded to the latest evidence from Public Health England and recommended further measures care homes could take to minimise the risks of the virus including by limiting movement of staff. It was backed by a new £600 million Infection Control Fund for care homes to tackle the spread of COVID-19.

We have also made £3.7 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will allocate additional funding to the Royal Shrewsbury hospital to mitigate the level of funding of patients from Wales who use that hospital.

For the current financial year, we are not planning on the assumption that such additional funding is necessary. Funding for patients from Wales comes from the Welsh National Health Service commissioners. This is normally via the English national tariff with recent work to agree that from this year the tariff uplift will be paid in full, with NHS Wales fully engaged in tariff setting arrangements for England. However, as part of the COVID-19 response, tariff payments are currently replaced by block payment arrangements, with NHS Wales following suit.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to create a further hospital in mid-Wales.

As health is a devolved issue, the Welsh Government is responsible for determining any investment in new hospitals in Wales.

For the National Health Service in England, the Government is committed to building 40 new hospitals as part of the Health Infrastructure Plan announced in September 2019, which includes a long-term programme of investment in new NHS hospitals.

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, what plans he has to allocate (a) funding and (b) resources to help the dentistry sector reopen.

Dentists contract with NHS England and NHS Improvement to deliver a given annual level of service in return for an agreed contract value. NHS England and NHS Improvement made an early decision in late March to continue full funding for National Health Service dental contracts despite all routine dentistry being suspended. During the restart period which began on 8 June full funding continues and activity requirements continue to be suspended. Dental practices are therefore able to gradually restart while still receiving their full NHS funding.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether generic drugs will (a) remain accessible and (b) not be increased in price during the covid-19 pandemic.

The country is well prepared to deal with any impacts of COVID-19 and we have stockpiles of generic drugs in the event of any supply issues or significant increases in demand.

The Government does not set prices of generic medicines. Instead we rely on competition to drive prices down. This has led to some of the lowest prices in Europe and allows prices to react to the market. In an international market this ensures that when demand is high and supply is low, prices in the United Kingdom can increase to help secure the availability of medicines for UK patients.

The Department is working closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

The steps being taken to protect UK supplies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak were set out in the Department’s press statement issued on 11 February 2020. This statement is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-monitor-impact-of-coronavirus-on-uk-medicine-supply

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had since 1 March 2020 with the chief executive of Royal Shrewsbury Future Fit programme on its A&E service figures.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has not had discussions since 1 March 2020 with the Chief Executive of Royal Shrewsbury Future Fit programme on its accident and emergency service figures.

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, how much funding was allocated to the NHS to support people with alcohol addiction problems in (a) 2005, (b) 2010 and (c) 2019.

Data on funding allocated to the National Health Service to support people with alcohol addiction problems is not held centrally. Treatment for alcohol addiction is funded and provided by local authorities through the provision of the Public Health Grant. The grant is ring-fenced and subject to the conditions that it is to be used exclusively for the uptake and improvement of public health services, including alcohol treatment. £16 billion was made available over the period of the last spending review (2016/20) to be spent exclusively on public health services; and an additional £3.1 billion has been made available for the period 2019/20 for the same purpose. The grant will increase in real terms in 2020/21, which will enable local authorities to continue to invest in prevention and essential frontline health services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will amend the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to make provision for Future Fit investment in Shropshire.

I refer the hon. Member for Shrewsbury and Atcham to the answer I gave on 28 January 2020 to Question 5372.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to assess the long-term efficiency savings of the Future Fit reconfiguration.

I refer the hon. Member for Shrewsbury and Atcham to the answer I gave on 21 January 2020 to Question 2452.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of delays to Shropshire's reconfiguration of future fit services on recruitment at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 28 January 2020 to Question 5374.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what effect the delay of the Future Fit investment into Shropshire has had on staffing and retention at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

In March 2018 the Government backed the Future Fit proposals with £312 million. Release of this funding is subject to the usual business case approvals process, which includes approval by Departmental Ministers and HM Treasury.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has formal decision-making powers relating to service change under Regulation 23(9) of the Local Authority (Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Scrutiny Regulations) 2013. Where a local authority has referred a reconfiguration to him, the Secretary of State may make a final decision on the proposals and give directions to NHS England and NHS Improvement. On 2 October 2019 the Secretary of State communicated his decision that the Future Fit proposals should proceed, whilst keeping the accident and emergency (A&E) at the Princess Royal Hospital open as an A&E Local. On 6 January 2020, he also directed NHS England to work with the clinical commissioning groups and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) to implement the A&E Local model.

The National Health Service has made recommendations on the legislation changes it would like to see and the Department is considering those proposals.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust has faced staffing challenges in A&E departments and critical care services. Both this and an increase in attendances at the Emergency Department has resulted in doctors being on-call more frequently and working extra hours across two hospital sites. It has also been necessary to recruit temporary staff.

For the month of December 2019, 14.38% of nursing hours worked across both the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital, were staffed from agency.

The reconfiguration will address staffing challenges, by consolidating some emergency services onto one site and reducing duplication. The Future Fit proposals aim to deliver high quality, safe services for all patients for the long term. Achieving this will support the recruitment of the right level of highly skilled doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what powers he has to ensure that (a) spending on and (b) improvements to Shropshire's health services under the Future Fit programme take place.

In March 2018 the Government backed the Future Fit proposals with £312 million. Release of this funding is subject to the usual business case approvals process, which includes approval by Departmental Ministers and HM Treasury.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has formal decision-making powers relating to service change under Regulation 23(9) of the Local Authority (Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Scrutiny Regulations) 2013. Where a local authority has referred a reconfiguration to him, the Secretary of State may make a final decision on the proposals and give directions to NHS England and NHS Improvement. On 2 October 2019 the Secretary of State communicated his decision that the Future Fit proposals should proceed, whilst keeping the accident and emergency (A&E) at the Princess Royal Hospital open as an A&E Local. On 6 January 2020, he also directed NHS England to work with the clinical commissioning groups and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) to implement the A&E Local model.

The National Health Service has made recommendations on the legislation changes it would like to see and the Department is considering those proposals.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust has faced staffing challenges in A&E departments and critical care services. Both this and an increase in attendances at the Emergency Department has resulted in doctors being on-call more frequently and working extra hours across two hospital sites. It has also been necessary to recruit temporary staff.

For the month of December 2019, 14.38% of nursing hours worked across both the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital, were staffed from agency.

The reconfiguration will address staffing challenges, by consolidating some emergency services onto one site and reducing duplication. The Future Fit proposals aim to deliver high quality, safe services for all patients for the long term. Achieving this will support the recruitment of the right level of highly skilled doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of nursing shifts at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital are being completed by agency nurses.

In March 2018 the Government backed the Future Fit proposals with £312 million. Release of this funding is subject to the usual business case approvals process, which includes approval by Departmental Ministers and HM Treasury.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has formal decision-making powers relating to service change under Regulation 23(9) of the Local Authority (Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Scrutiny Regulations) 2013. Where a local authority has referred a reconfiguration to him, the Secretary of State may make a final decision on the proposals and give directions to NHS England and NHS Improvement. On 2 October 2019 the Secretary of State communicated his decision that the Future Fit proposals should proceed, whilst keeping the accident and emergency (A&E) at the Princess Royal Hospital open as an A&E Local. On 6 January 2020, he also directed NHS England to work with the clinical commissioning groups and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) to implement the A&E Local model.

The National Health Service has made recommendations on the legislation changes it would like to see and the Department is considering those proposals.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust has faced staffing challenges in A&E departments and critical care services. Both this and an increase in attendances at the Emergency Department has resulted in doctors being on-call more frequently and working extra hours across two hospital sites. It has also been necessary to recruit temporary staff.

For the month of December 2019, 14.38% of nursing hours worked across both the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital, were staffed from agency.

The reconfiguration will address staffing challenges, by consolidating some emergency services onto one site and reducing duplication. The Future Fit proposals aim to deliver high quality, safe services for all patients for the long term. Achieving this will support the recruitment of the right level of highly skilled doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what effect the delay to Future Fit has had on recruitment at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

In March 2018 the Government backed the Future Fit proposals with £312 million. Release of this funding is subject to the usual business case approvals process, which includes approval by Departmental Ministers and HM Treasury.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has formal decision-making powers relating to service change under Regulation 23(9) of the Local Authority (Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Scrutiny Regulations) 2013. Where a local authority has referred a reconfiguration to him, the Secretary of State may make a final decision on the proposals and give directions to NHS England and NHS Improvement. On 2 October 2019 the Secretary of State communicated his decision that the Future Fit proposals should proceed, whilst keeping the accident and emergency (A&E) at the Princess Royal Hospital open as an A&E Local. On 6 January 2020, he also directed NHS England to work with the clinical commissioning groups and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) to implement the A&E Local model.

The National Health Service has made recommendations on the legislation changes it would like to see and the Department is considering those proposals.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust has faced staffing challenges in A&E departments and critical care services. Both this and an increase in attendances at the Emergency Department has resulted in doctors being on-call more frequently and working extra hours across two hospital sites. It has also been necessary to recruit temporary staff.

For the month of December 2019, 14.38% of nursing hours worked across both the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital, were staffed from agency.

The reconfiguration will address staffing challenges, by consolidating some emergency services onto one site and reducing duplication. The Future Fit proposals aim to deliver high quality, safe services for all patients for the long term. Achieving this will support the recruitment of the right level of highly skilled doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of amending the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to ensure that Shropshire is allocated funding from the Future Fit programme.

In March 2018 the Government backed the Future Fit proposals with £312 million. Release of this funding is subject to the usual business case approvals process, which includes approval by Departmental Ministers and HM Treasury.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has formal decision-making powers relating to service change under Regulation 23(9) of the Local Authority (Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Scrutiny Regulations) 2013. Where a local authority has referred a reconfiguration to him, the Secretary of State may make a final decision on the proposals and give directions to NHS England and NHS Improvement. On 2 October 2019 the Secretary of State communicated his decision that the Future Fit proposals should proceed, whilst keeping the accident and emergency (A&E) at the Princess Royal Hospital open as an A&E Local. On 6 January 2020, he also directed NHS England to work with the clinical commissioning groups and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) to implement the A&E Local model.

The National Health Service has made recommendations on the legislation changes it would like to see and the Department is considering those proposals.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust has faced staffing challenges in A&E departments and critical care services. Both this and an increase in attendances at the Emergency Department has resulted in doctors being on-call more frequently and working extra hours across two hospital sites. It has also been necessary to recruit temporary staff.

For the month of December 2019, 14.38% of nursing hours worked across both the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital, were staffed from agency.

The reconfiguration will address staffing challenges, by consolidating some emergency services onto one site and reducing duplication. The Future Fit proposals aim to deliver high quality, safe services for all patients for the long term. Achieving this will support the recruitment of the right level of highly skilled doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to assess the long term health benefits of the proposed Future Fit programme in Shropshire.

The interviews for the Chief Executive Officer for Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust are taking place in January and an announcement will be made once an appointment has been confirmed.

The Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) has brought together all National Health Service and local authority organisations across the area served by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust’s two hospital sites. The STP has already brought the Future Fit hospital programme under its auspices as one element of the work to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan. All STP members understand the critical interdependencies between primary and community care and acute hospital care, and the need to integrate services. The Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Long Term Plan sets out plans to implement the out of hospital transformation.

The Future Fit consultation has been subject to a robust assurance process and a thorough review by Independent Reconfiguration Panel. The long-term health benefits of the scheme include:

- Retention of a Trauma Unit at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH);

- Fewer cancellations of patients’ operations due to an emergency admission, as emergency and planned care will be separated;

- Access to non-complex planned care for 75% of patients within 30 minutes by car, and fewer people having to travel further for emergency care;

- Reduction in waiting times and the time patients spend in hospital;

- Improved services for the older population in Shropshire and mid-Wales;

- Improved facilities for patients and staff;

- Development of an integrated care system that joins up health and social care, transforming out of hospital care which integrates community place based, primary care, mental health, community services, social care and the voluntary sector; and

- The ability to develop a system infrastructure that makes the best use of resources, reduces duplication and achieves financial stability.

As part of the planning phase of the Future Fit programme, a Programme Execution Plan was agreed for the Future Fit Programme in 2013, with phase 1 commencing in October 2013.

The long-term efficiency savings of the Future Fit reconfiguration will be identified as part of the business case process. The Strategic Outline Case is in development and is yet to be approved by NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Department.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what date the planning phase of the Future Fit reconfiguration of services in Shropshire commenced.

The interviews for the Chief Executive Officer for Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust are taking place in January and an announcement will be made once an appointment has been confirmed.

The Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) has brought together all National Health Service and local authority organisations across the area served by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust’s two hospital sites. The STP has already brought the Future Fit hospital programme under its auspices as one element of the work to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan. All STP members understand the critical interdependencies between primary and community care and acute hospital care, and the need to integrate services. The Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Long Term Plan sets out plans to implement the out of hospital transformation.

The Future Fit consultation has been subject to a robust assurance process and a thorough review by Independent Reconfiguration Panel. The long-term health benefits of the scheme include:

- Retention of a Trauma Unit at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH);

- Fewer cancellations of patients’ operations due to an emergency admission, as emergency and planned care will be separated;

- Access to non-complex planned care for 75% of patients within 30 minutes by car, and fewer people having to travel further for emergency care;

- Reduction in waiting times and the time patients spend in hospital;

- Improved services for the older population in Shropshire and mid-Wales;

- Improved facilities for patients and staff;

- Development of an integrated care system that joins up health and social care, transforming out of hospital care which integrates community place based, primary care, mental health, community services, social care and the voluntary sector; and

- The ability to develop a system infrastructure that makes the best use of resources, reduces duplication and achieves financial stability.

As part of the planning phase of the Future Fit programme, a Programme Execution Plan was agreed for the Future Fit Programme in 2013, with phase 1 commencing in October 2013.

The long-term efficiency savings of the Future Fit reconfiguration will be identified as part of the business case process. The Strategic Outline Case is in development and is yet to be approved by NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Department.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to recruit a new CEO for Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust.

The interviews for the Chief Executive Officer for Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust are taking place in January and an announcement will be made once an appointment has been confirmed.

The Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) has brought together all National Health Service and local authority organisations across the area served by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust’s two hospital sites. The STP has already brought the Future Fit hospital programme under its auspices as one element of the work to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan. All STP members understand the critical interdependencies between primary and community care and acute hospital care, and the need to integrate services. The Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Long Term Plan sets out plans to implement the out of hospital transformation.

The Future Fit consultation has been subject to a robust assurance process and a thorough review by Independent Reconfiguration Panel. The long-term health benefits of the scheme include:

- Retention of a Trauma Unit at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH);

- Fewer cancellations of patients’ operations due to an emergency admission, as emergency and planned care will be separated;

- Access to non-complex planned care for 75% of patients within 30 minutes by car, and fewer people having to travel further for emergency care;

- Reduction in waiting times and the time patients spend in hospital;

- Improved services for the older population in Shropshire and mid-Wales;

- Improved facilities for patients and staff;

- Development of an integrated care system that joins up health and social care, transforming out of hospital care which integrates community place based, primary care, mental health, community services, social care and the voluntary sector; and

- The ability to develop a system infrastructure that makes the best use of resources, reduces duplication and achieves financial stability.

As part of the planning phase of the Future Fit programme, a Programme Execution Plan was agreed for the Future Fit Programme in 2013, with phase 1 commencing in October 2013.

The long-term efficiency savings of the Future Fit reconfiguration will be identified as part of the business case process. The Strategic Outline Case is in development and is yet to be approved by NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Department.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional capital funding is being made available to hospitals affected by changes in PFI rules.

In September 2019 the Government launched a new Health Infrastructure Plan (HIP), which will deliver a long-term, strategic investment in the future of the National Health Service, including a new hospital building programme – through which the Government plans to build 40 new hospitals over the next 10 years.

The full shape of the HIP investment programme will be confirmed when the Department receives a multiyear capital settlement at the next capital review. In the meantime, the Secretary of State has confirmed that there will be opportunities for the NHS to put forward further new hospital projects for the next phases of the programme, and that Trusts should continue developing their plans and priorities for local NHS infrastructure.

In terms of sources of finance, the Government has launched the Infrastructure Finance Review (IFR) that is looking closely at private sector finance for public sector infrastructure. HM Treasury are aiming to publish the National Infrastructure Strategy, including a response to the IFR, at the Budget in March 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to enable wider system transformation at Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust in order to deliver Future Fit.

The interviews for the Chief Executive Officer for Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust are taking place in January and an announcement will be made once an appointment has been confirmed.

The Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) has brought together all National Health Service and local authority organisations across the area served by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust’s two hospital sites. The STP has already brought the Future Fit hospital programme under its auspices as one element of the work to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan. All STP members understand the critical interdependencies between primary and community care and acute hospital care, and the need to integrate services. The Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Long Term Plan sets out plans to implement the out of hospital transformation.

The Future Fit consultation has been subject to a robust assurance process and a thorough review by Independent Reconfiguration Panel. The long-term health benefits of the scheme include:

- Retention of a Trauma Unit at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH);

- Fewer cancellations of patients’ operations due to an emergency admission, as emergency and planned care will be separated;

- Access to non-complex planned care for 75% of patients within 30 minutes by car, and fewer people having to travel further for emergency care;

- Reduction in waiting times and the time patients spend in hospital;

- Improved services for the older population in Shropshire and mid-Wales;

- Improved facilities for patients and staff;

- Development of an integrated care system that joins up health and social care, transforming out of hospital care which integrates community place based, primary care, mental health, community services, social care and the voluntary sector; and

- The ability to develop a system infrastructure that makes the best use of resources, reduces duplication and achieves financial stability.

As part of the planning phase of the Future Fit programme, a Programme Execution Plan was agreed for the Future Fit Programme in 2013, with phase 1 commencing in October 2013.

The long-term efficiency savings of the Future Fit reconfiguration will be identified as part of the business case process. The Strategic Outline Case is in development and is yet to be approved by NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Department.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to assess the long term efficiency savings of the Future Fit reconfiguration of services in Shropshire.

The interviews for the Chief Executive Officer for Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust are taking place in January and an announcement will be made once an appointment has been confirmed.

The Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) has brought together all National Health Service and local authority organisations across the area served by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust’s two hospital sites. The STP has already brought the Future Fit hospital programme under its auspices as one element of the work to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan. All STP members understand the critical interdependencies between primary and community care and acute hospital care, and the need to integrate services. The Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Long Term Plan sets out plans to implement the out of hospital transformation.

The Future Fit consultation has been subject to a robust assurance process and a thorough review by Independent Reconfiguration Panel. The long-term health benefits of the scheme include:

- Retention of a Trauma Unit at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH);

- Fewer cancellations of patients’ operations due to an emergency admission, as emergency and planned care will be separated;

- Access to non-complex planned care for 75% of patients within 30 minutes by car, and fewer people having to travel further for emergency care;

- Reduction in waiting times and the time patients spend in hospital;

- Improved services for the older population in Shropshire and mid-Wales;

- Improved facilities for patients and staff;

- Development of an integrated care system that joins up health and social care, transforming out of hospital care which integrates community place based, primary care, mental health, community services, social care and the voluntary sector; and

- The ability to develop a system infrastructure that makes the best use of resources, reduces duplication and achieves financial stability.

As part of the planning phase of the Future Fit programme, a Programme Execution Plan was agreed for the Future Fit Programme in 2013, with phase 1 commencing in October 2013.

The long-term efficiency savings of the Future Fit reconfiguration will be identified as part of the business case process. The Strategic Outline Case is in development and is yet to be approved by NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Department.

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, what the added cost is in terms of inflation of every annual delay into starting the Future Fit reconfiguration of services in Shropshire.

The resource cost incurred on the reconfiguration work at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, which would have a cost to the public purse, borne by the Trust is not held centrally. The overall capital cost of the scheme is still being developed for the business case and costing includes a contingency for foreseeable cost increases, such as inflation. The preferred option in the Future Fit process will only be determined when the Strategic Outline Case is finalised and approved. The Strategic Outline Case is currently being considered by the Trust board and a draft version has been shared with the local clinical commissioning groups and NHS England and NHS Improvement.

For any capital scheme of this nature it is accepted that inflationary changes occur. Any increase in cost would apply to all options that were considered prior to consultation.

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, how many months behind schedule the Future Fit reconfiguration of health services is in Shropshire.

The resource cost incurred on the reconfiguration work at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, which would have a cost to the public purse, borne by the Trust is not held centrally. The overall capital cost of the scheme is still being developed for the business case and costing includes a contingency for foreseeable cost increases, such as inflation. The preferred option in the Future Fit process will only be determined when the Strategic Outline Case is finalised and approved. The Strategic Outline Case is currently being considered by the Trust board and a draft version has been shared with the local clinical commissioning groups and NHS England and NHS Improvement.

For any capital scheme of this nature it is accepted that inflationary changes occur. Any increase in cost would apply to all options that were considered prior to consultation.

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, what the cost to the public purse has been of the Future Fit work to reconfigure health services in Shropshire.

The resource cost incurred on the reconfiguration work at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, which would have a cost to the public purse, borne by the Trust is not held centrally. The overall capital cost of the scheme is still being developed for the business case and costing includes a contingency for foreseeable cost increases, such as inflation. The preferred option in the Future Fit process will only be determined when the Strategic Outline Case is finalised and approved. The Strategic Outline Case is currently being considered by the Trust board and a draft version has been shared with the local clinical commissioning groups and NHS England and NHS Improvement.

For any capital scheme of this nature it is accepted that inflationary changes occur. Any increase in cost would apply to all options that were considered prior to consultation.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much time is available to opponents of Future Fit in relation Shewsbury and Telford Trust to take the process to judicial review as at 1 January 2020.

The Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) decision on the Future Fit scheme was taken on 29 January 2019. This decision was referred to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who sought advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. The Secretary of State’s decision was made on 2 October 2019 and was communicated to NHS England and NHS Improvement, CCGs and Telford and Wrekin Council.

Independent legal advice would need to be sought on the timings of bringing a challenge by way of judicial review.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect on patient safety of the delays to the Future Fit process instigated by Telford Council.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care referred the Future Fit scheme to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) for their expert advice on this matter. The IRP provided a full assessment of the Future Fit scheme, which took into account concerns about patient safety, and recommended that the new model of hospital care be implemented without delay.

On 2 October 2019, in line with the IRP’s recommendations, the Secretary of State decided that the emergency care centre should be located at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital whilst enabling as much clinically appropriate care as possible at the Princess Royal Hospital. He asked NHS England and NHS Improvement to work with the clinical commissioning groups and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to develop the accident and emergency local model.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the length of time taken for discussions on the reconfiguration of A&E Departments in Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust.

Telford and Wrekin Council is an active member of the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. It has been fully involved in and scrutinised the Future Fit process and provided formal feedback to the public consultation undertaken by the NHS Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Telford and Wrekin CCG. The outcome of the consultation was a decision to designate the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital as an emergency care site and the Princess Royal Hospital a Planned Care site, with a 24-hour Urgent Care Centre at both hospitals.

The Council referred the Future Fit plans to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who requested advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. On 2 October 2019 the Secretary of State communicated his decision to locate the Emergency Care Centre for the region at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital whilst keeping the accident and emergency (A&E) at the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) open as an A&E Local. He asked NHS England to work with the CCGs and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to develop the A&E local model and to set out details on how the model could be delivered at PRH. The Secretary of State received these details from NHS England on 5 November 2019 and requested further work, including the implementation of the A&E local model, on 6 January 2020.

Clinicians have been involved in the Future Fit process from the outset and are fully supported in bringing about the necessary changes to local hospital services in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

The consultation into the future of the hospitals in Shrewsbury, Telford and Wrekin has taken some time to conclude. This has been partly due to the robust nature of the assurance process and ensuring the views of the public and other stakeholders have been taken into account. CCGs have invested much time into this process to ensure that the right model was consulted on and people could have their say and their views considered. The process has also necessitated a revised business case to be submitted to NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The cost of the consultation process is in line with other similar consultations of this scale.

Ministers are not in a position to comment on the length of time taken by opponents of the Future Fit process for seeking legal advice on whether to proceed towards a judicial review.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the length of time taken by opponents of the Future Fit process for judicial review as at 1 January 2020.

Telford and Wrekin Council is an active member of the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. It has been fully involved in and scrutinised the Future Fit process and provided formal feedback to the public consultation undertaken by the NHS Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Telford and Wrekin CCG. The outcome of the consultation was a decision to designate the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital as an emergency care site and the Princess Royal Hospital a Planned Care site, with a 24-hour Urgent Care Centre at both hospitals.

The Council referred the Future Fit plans to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who requested advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. On 2 October 2019 the Secretary of State communicated his decision to locate the Emergency Care Centre for the region at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital whilst keeping the accident and emergency (A&E) at the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) open as an A&E Local. He asked NHS England to work with the CCGs and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to develop the A&E local model and to set out details on how the model could be delivered at PRH. The Secretary of State received these details from NHS England on 5 November 2019 and requested further work, including the implementation of the A&E local model, on 6 January 2020.

Clinicians have been involved in the Future Fit process from the outset and are fully supported in bringing about the necessary changes to local hospital services in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

The consultation into the future of the hospitals in Shrewsbury, Telford and Wrekin has taken some time to conclude. This has been partly due to the robust nature of the assurance process and ensuring the views of the public and other stakeholders have been taken into account. CCGs have invested much time into this process to ensure that the right model was consulted on and people could have their say and their views considered. The process has also necessitated a revised business case to be submitted to NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The cost of the consultation process is in line with other similar consultations of this scale.

Ministers are not in a position to comment on the length of time taken by opponents of the Future Fit process for seeking legal advice on whether to proceed towards a judicial review.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the cost of the Future Fit process in Shropshire.

Telford and Wrekin Council is an active member of the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. It has been fully involved in and scrutinised the Future Fit process and provided formal feedback to the public consultation undertaken by the NHS Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Telford and Wrekin CCG. The outcome of the consultation was a decision to designate the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital as an emergency care site and the Princess Royal Hospital a Planned Care site, with a 24-hour Urgent Care Centre at both hospitals.

The Council referred the Future Fit plans to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who requested advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. On 2 October 2019 the Secretary of State communicated his decision to locate the Emergency Care Centre for the region at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital whilst keeping the accident and emergency (A&E) at the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) open as an A&E Local. He asked NHS England to work with the CCGs and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to develop the A&E local model and to set out details on how the model could be delivered at PRH. The Secretary of State received these details from NHS England on 5 November 2019 and requested further work, including the implementation of the A&E local model, on 6 January 2020.

Clinicians have been involved in the Future Fit process from the outset and are fully supported in bringing about the necessary changes to local hospital services in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

The consultation into the future of the hospitals in Shrewsbury, Telford and Wrekin has taken some time to conclude. This has been partly due to the robust nature of the assurance process and ensuring the views of the public and other stakeholders have been taken into account. CCGs have invested much time into this process to ensure that the right model was consulted on and people could have their say and their views considered. The process has also necessitated a revised business case to be submitted to NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The cost of the consultation process is in line with other similar consultations of this scale.

Ministers are not in a position to comment on the length of time taken by opponents of the Future Fit process for seeking legal advice on whether to proceed towards a judicial review.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support the 300 local clinicians in Shropshire to conclude the Future Fit process.

Telford and Wrekin Council is an active member of the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. It has been fully involved in and scrutinised the Future Fit process and provided formal feedback to the public consultation undertaken by the NHS Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Telford and Wrekin CCG. The outcome of the consultation was a decision to designate the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital as an emergency care site and the Princess Royal Hospital a Planned Care site, with a 24-hour Urgent Care Centre at both hospitals.

The Council referred the Future Fit plans to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who requested advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. On 2 October 2019 the Secretary of State communicated his decision to locate the Emergency Care Centre for the region at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital whilst keeping the accident and emergency (A&E) at the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) open as an A&E Local. He asked NHS England to work with the CCGs and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to develop the A&E local model and to set out details on how the model could be delivered at PRH. The Secretary of State received these details from NHS England on 5 November 2019 and requested further work, including the implementation of the A&E local model, on 6 January 2020.

Clinicians have been involved in the Future Fit process from the outset and are fully supported in bringing about the necessary changes to local hospital services in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

The consultation into the future of the hospitals in Shrewsbury, Telford and Wrekin has taken some time to conclude. This has been partly due to the robust nature of the assurance process and ensuring the views of the public and other stakeholders have been taken into account. CCGs have invested much time into this process to ensure that the right model was consulted on and people could have their say and their views considered. The process has also necessitated a revised business case to be submitted to NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The cost of the consultation process is in line with other similar consultations of this scale.

Ministers are not in a position to comment on the length of time taken by opponents of the Future Fit process for seeking legal advice on whether to proceed towards a judicial review.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many chief executives have (a) resigned, (b) retired early and (c) been sacked from Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust since 2000.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has existed since 2003. In that time, one Chief Executive has resigned, one has retired and three have left to take up new positions with other organisations.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of conduct of Telford Council in relation to the Future Fit process.

Telford and Wrekin Council is an active member of the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. It has been fully involved in and scrutinised the Future Fit process and provided formal feedback to the public consultation undertaken by the NHS Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Telford and Wrekin CCG. The outcome of the consultation was a decision to designate the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital as an emergency care site and the Princess Royal Hospital a Planned Care site, with a 24-hour Urgent Care Centre at both hospitals.

The Council referred the Future Fit plans to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who requested advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. On 2 October 2019 the Secretary of State communicated his decision to locate the Emergency Care Centre for the region at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital whilst keeping the accident and emergency (A&E) at the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) open as an A&E Local. He asked NHS England to work with the CCGs and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to develop the A&E local model and to set out details on how the model could be delivered at PRH. The Secretary of State received these details from NHS England on 5 November 2019 and requested further work, including the implementation of the A&E local model, on 6 January 2020.

Clinicians have been involved in the Future Fit process from the outset and are fully supported in bringing about the necessary changes to local hospital services in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

The consultation into the future of the hospitals in Shrewsbury, Telford and Wrekin has taken some time to conclude. This has been partly due to the robust nature of the assurance process and ensuring the views of the public and other stakeholders have been taken into account. CCGs have invested much time into this process to ensure that the right model was consulted on and people could have their say and their views considered. The process has also necessitated a revised business case to be submitted to NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The cost of the consultation process is in line with other similar consultations of this scale.

Ministers are not in a position to comment on the length of time taken by opponents of the Future Fit process for seeking legal advice on whether to proceed towards a judicial review.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timeframe is for the appointment of the new chief executive of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust.

The new Chief Executive has been appointed and will take up her post in February 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many new nurses will be employed at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust in (a) 2020, (b) 2021 and (c) 2022.

Healthcare providers are responsible for ensuring that they have the right level of staffing to provide high quality care. Health Education England (HEE) will work through its Local Education and Training Boards and others to ensure that there are sufficient nurses and other staff being trained to meet the needs of patients. The interim NHS People Plan, published on 3 June 2019, puts the workforce at the heart of the National Health Service and will ensure we have the staff needed to deliver high quality care. HEE will work with NHS England and NHS Improvement to understand the longer-term workforce implications of the NHS Long Term Plan. This will inform the final NHS People Plan, to be published in early 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the budget for Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust has been in (a) 2005, (b) 2010, (c) 2015 and (d) 2018.

National Health Service providers (NHS trusts and foundation trusts) fund their spending via income mostly received from NHS commissioners in return for the provision of healthcare services to their local population, and therefore do not have an annual budget.

In the years requested the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has reported the following income for its services:

- 2004-05: Data is not held by the Department;

- 2009-10: Data is not held by the Department;

- 2014-15: £316.8 million; and

- 2017-18: £358.0 million.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations her Department has made to the (a) government of North Macedonian on improving prison conditions in that country prior to its application to join the European Union and (b) government of Russia on possible Russian interference in North Macedonian elections.

The UK supports North Macedonia through a range of projects, including to improve the functioning of prisons and electoral processes. I visited North Macedonia in October and discussed the steps the Government of North Macedonia is taking to achieve greater Euro-Atlantic integration with Deputy Prime Minister Dimitrov. I also discussed security issues, including recent interference from Russia, with Foreign Minister Osmani. The UK's approach to Russia more broadly is set out in the Integrated Review: the UK takes the threat from the Russian State extremely seriously and we will continue to call out Russian aggression.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support her Department is providing to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina with joining NATO.

The UK supports Bosnia and Herzegovina's (BiH) aspirations to become a NATO member, when it meets the conditions. Working in close cooperation other members of the Alliance, the UK has helped the BiH MoD develop its medical capacities, support to civilian organisations, gender integration, officer training, international interoperability, and assisted in BiH's programme of reforms with NATO. We also support the NATO HQ in Sarajevo, including through the secondment of UK staff officers, who are playing an important role in building the capacity of the BiH Armed Forces.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations she has made to her Russian counterparts on Russian interference in religious institutions in Montenegro.

The Foreign Secretary has not discussed Montenegrin religious institutions bilaterally with her Russian counterpart Foreign Minister Lavrov. In the context of tensions in September surrounding the inauguration of the new Metropolitan of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, alongside likeminded partners, we strongly condemned all forms of violence. We called for all involved to de-escalate tensions and establish a democratic, inclusive and constructive dialogue, while respecting religious freedoms, freedom of expression, and freedom to peaceful assembly, as well as the need for individuals to be held to account for their actions.
Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations she has made to her Russian counterpart on that country's recent interference in gas supplies to Moldova.

On 15 November, I discussed Moldova's energy security and the 5 year gas supply deal through Gazprom with Moldovan Prime Minister Gavrilita. The Foreign Secretary has not discussed this bilaterally with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, but we are looking at other ways to support Moldova's energy diversification. We want Europe to be less dependent on Russian gas, and are in favour of more investment in renewables.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations she has made to her counterpart in the Republic of Belarus on the situation at the border of Poland.

As the Foreign Secretary wrote on 14 November, the situation at the Polish border marks the latest step by the Lukashenko regime to undermine regional security. He is using desperate migrants as pawns in his bid to create instability and to cling on to power regardless of the human cost. We have made clear to the Belarusian authorities, including through their Ambassador to the UK, that this harmful, aggressive and exploitative behaviour must stop. We were pleased to send a small team of personnel to provide engineering support to ease pressure at the border. The Foreign Secretary discussed the situation with her Polish counterpart on 16 November. We will continue to stand in solidarity with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia in dealing with this situation.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government plans to follow the US in recognising Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara province.

As the former Foreign Secretary stated on 11 December 2020, the UK regards the status of Western Sahara as undetermined. The UK supports UN-led efforts to reach a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his French counterpart on Mauritius' claims to sovereignty of the British Indian Ocean Territory.

The Foreign Secretary speaks to French counterparts on a large range of issues. This issue has not, however, been recently raised.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the French Government's support for Mauritius' claim to sovereignty of the British Indian Ocean Territory on UK national security.

France continues to be a valued and longstanding ally and security partner for the UK. The French Government has a longstanding approach to the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) which has not changed since our last assessment.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans she has to impose sanctions against Mauritius in relation to its attempts to overturn the 1968 Treaty granting sovereignty of the British Indian Ocean Territory to the UK; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the actions of the Government of Mauritius on UK national security.

The UK and Mauritius remain close friends and Commonwealth partners. We remain open to dialogue on all shared issues of mutual interest, including the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) and its Marine Protected Area (MPA). The joint United Kingdom - United States defence facility on BIOT helps to keep people in Britain and around the world safe. For over 40 years the facility has helped the United Kingdom, United States, other allies and our regional partners, including Mauritius, combat some of the most challenging threats to international peace and security, including those from terrorism and piracy. This is only possible under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. The joint facility is the result of a uniquely close and active defence and security partnership between two long-standing allies.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the UK, US and Australia security partnership announced on 15 September 2021, what recent assessment she has made of the potential future strategic importance of the British Indian Ocean Territory.

The joint United Kingdom - United States defence facility on the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) helps to keep people in Britain and around the world safe. For over 40 years the facility has helped the United Kingdom, United States, other allies and our regional partners, including Mauritius, combat some of the most challenging threats to international peace and security, including those from terrorism and piracy. The facility also remains ready for a rapid and impactful response in times of humanitarian crisis in the region and plays  an important role in maintaining the Global Positioning System, space debris avoidance for the International Space Station, and prevention of satellite collisions. These functions are only possible under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. The joint facility is the result of a uniquely close and active defence and security partnership between two long-standing allies. We have a long-standing commitment, first made in 1965, to cede sovereignty of the territory to Mauritius when it is no longer required for defence purposes. We stand by that commitment.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he is making to his Russian counterpart on the expulsion of the BBC journalist, Sarah Rainsford.

This unjustified action by the Russian authorities further erodes media freedom in the country. The Foreign Secretary has written to Foreign Minister Lavrov setting out his concerns about the decision taken by the Russian authorities, and the British Ambassador in Moscow has also raised this issue with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Kremlin on several occasions.

The Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office has also raised Sarah Rainsford's case with the Russian Ambassador in London, and I have raised it with my Russian counterpart.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he is making to his Pakistani counterpart on support for the Taliban in Afghanistan from Pakistani’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate.

The Foreign Secretary visited Pakistan on 3 September 2021 to discuss how the two countries can work closely together on the situation in Afghanistan. He held meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa. Discussions covered all aspects of Pakistan's interests in the region.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what safeguards will be put in place to ensure the safe passage of international flights over the British Indian Ocean Territory.

The UK has no doubt as to our sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), which has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814. All regional countries are contracting parties to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) whose objectives include ensuring the safe and secure passage of air transport.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support resistance to the Taliban in the Panjshir Valley by the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan.

We are watching the developments on the ground very carefully, but it is fair to say that the Taliban are in control of the vast majority of Afghanistan and we have to adjust to the new reality we see on the ground.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to (a) strengthen the importance of NATO since the recent withdrawal from Afghanistan and (b) encourage NATO members to contribute to future NATO missions.

The Foreign Secretary, at a NATO ministerial summit in Brussels earlier this year, took the opportunity to reiterate the UK's unwavering support for NATO as the bedrock of transatlantic security, and to support proposals that will strengthen the Alliance's response to a whole range of existing and emerging threats. This sits alongside the importance of working with non-NATO partners to tackle rising global challenges, including by engaging with European states such as Sweden and Finland, or Indo-Pacific ones like Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps are being taken to support the processing of refugees from Afghanistan in surrounding countries given that voluntary repatriation to their home countries is the preferred long-term outcome for refugees.

As the Prime Minister announced on 19 August, UK aid to Afghanistan will double to £286 million this financial year, of which £30 million has been made available to humanitarian partners to support neighbouring countries which experience a significant increase in refugees. This money will be used to provide essential services and supplies such shelters and the setting up sanitation and hygiene facilities.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Press Release of the Universal Postal Union, published on 27 August 2021, UPU adopts UN resolution on Chagos Archipelago, what steps he is taking to ensure that British stamps continue to be used in the British Indian Ocean Territory.

We are disappointed by the Universal Postal Union's resolution. The UK has no doubt as to our sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory, which has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814.

We are considering further the practical impact of the UPU resolution on the use of BIOT stamps for the BIOT postal service. UK stamps continue to be used for the UK military postal service, accessible to UK military and civilian contractors.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans he has to increase oversight and transparency of UK funding through the Integrated Activity Fund of institutions in (a) Saudi Arabia and (b) Bahrain.

The FCDO's International Programme (IP), and within it the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF), is a vital tool in promoting positive change and reforms across the world, including in the Gulf. Our programmes help our partners to continue their human rights reform, address key climate change and green growth opportunities and challenges, tackle illicit finance, improve marine conservation, promote economic diversification, promote diversity and inclusion including on LGBTQ+ rights, and develop their institutions.

All cooperation through the IP, including the GSF, is subject to rigorous risk assessments to ensure all work meets our human rights obligations and our values. The Government does not shy away from raising legitimate human rights concerns, and encourages other states to respect international law.

We now publish an annual summary of the GSF's work on gov.uk. We will not publish further information where doing so presents risks to our staff, programme suppliers and beneficiaries, or which may impact our relationships with our international partners, and therefore our ability to influence their reform efforts. We will provide updates on an annual basis.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to (a) help ensure security and (b) promote the UK’s economic interests in the Gulf.

The Government works closely with all our friends in the Gulf to strengthen our shared security and prosperity interests, including through dialogue to promote regional stability, initiatives to tackle illicit finance and terrorism, and defence cooperation.

Britain has strong bilateral trading relationships with the Gulf and it is already one of our largest export destinations, with total trade of over £30 billion in 2020. We are committed to broadening and deepening our shared economic interests further, including through government-to-government trade dialogues, and also within specific sectors following conclusion of the UK-GCC Joint Trade and Investment Review.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the opportunities for the UK through helping to facilitate regional cooperation in the Middle East.

The UK warmly welcomed the normalisation agreements between Israel, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Sudan. These are historic steps which see the normalisation of relations between friends of the UK. We also welcome the suspension of plans for Israeli annexation of the West Bank - a move the UK has opposed - as it would have been counterproductive to securing peace in the region.

Restoring cooperation is an important and constructive step towards peace, and shows both sides are willing to put the needs and security of both Israelis and Palestinians first. We need to build on this momentum through further dialogue and compromise to move towards a two state solution and a lasting solution to the conflict. The United Kingdom will continue to work towards a more peaceful and prosperous future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government plans to take to build on the momentum of the Abraham Accords and help further peace in the Middle East.

The UK warmly welcomed the normalisation agreements between Israel, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Sudan. These are historic steps which see the normalisation of relations between friends of the UK. We also welcome the suspension of plans for Israeli annexation of the West Bank - a move the UK has opposed - as it would have been counterproductive to securing peace in the region.

Restoring cooperation is an important and constructive step towards peace, and shows both sides are willing to put the needs and security of both Israelis and Palestinians first. We need to build on this momentum through further dialogue and compromise to move towards a two state solution and a lasting solution to the conflict. The United Kingdom will continue to work towards a more peaceful and prosperous future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential benefits to the UK of strengthening relations with Israel over the next five years.

We are proud to enjoy an excellent bilateral relationship with Israel. We welcome the formation of a new government, and look forward to working together closely to ensure the relationship goes from strength to strength. We engage frequently with the Government of Israel, and will continue to do so.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking in response to the recent suppression of democratic protests by the Cuban regime.

On 12 July, the UK was one of the first countries to publicly reaffirm the Cuban people's right to peaceful protest. Officials from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spoke to the Cuban Ambassador on the same day, urging respect for fundamental human rights. On 14 July, the British Ambassador in Havana met with officials in the Cuban Government and urged them to uphold freedom of expression in Cuba, including over government policy. We are clear that detention and imprisonment should not be used to restrict freedom of expression and assembly, and will continue to raise our concerns directly with the Cuban Government, and call for the authorities to release information on detained citizens.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help protect the lives and business interests of UK citizens in South Africa in response to the recent outbreak of violence in that country following the incarceration of former President Zuma for contempt of court.

The UK is concerned by the outbreak of violence and looting in South Africa in recent days, which has sadly resulted in injuries, loss of life, and substantial damage to buildings and businesses. As a long-standing friend of South Africa, our High Commission in South Africa raises issues of concern with the South African authorities where necessary, in particular where UK nationals are involved. We encourage British Nationals to check our Travel Advice pages, which we are regularly updating. The UK welcomes the South African government's efforts to restore stability and President Ramaphosa's emphasis on the importance of the rule of law. We will continue to work with South Africa as it deals with this violence and its efforts to address current social and economic challenges.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support the Government is providing to help the upholding of the rule of law in South Africa.

The UK is concerned by the outbreak of violence and looting in South Africa in recent days, which has sadly resulted in loss of life, injuries, and substantial damage to buildings and businesses. We strongly support President Ramaphosa's emphasis on the importance of the rule of law. As a long-standing friend of South Africa, the UK works closely with South Africa on a wide-range of areas including on security, health, economic and social issues. The British High Commission in South Africa raises issues of concern with the South African authorities where necessary, in particular where UK nationals are involved. We encourage British Nationals to check our regularly updated Travel Advice pages.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans he his Department to amend its travel advice for UK nationals travelling to South Africa in response to the outbreak of violence in that country following the recent incarceration of former President Zuma for contempt of court.

We are closely monitoring the situation in South Africa. The FCDO continues to advise against all but essential travel to the whole of South Africa based on current COVID-19 risks. We have been regularly updating FCDO Travel Advice during the recent unrest and have publicised consular contact details on social media. Our consular staff are contactable 24/7 for British Nationals directly affected by the protests and needing help.

12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2012 to Question 25763 on the British Indian Ocean Territory, what the reason and justification is for his policy of ceding the British Indian Ocean Territory to a country (a) without a historic governance relationship and (b) that is not the closest geographical option for governance; and what recent assessment he has made of the options for ceding the British Indian Ocean Territory including (a) not ceding, (b) ceding to Mauritius and (c) ceding to the Maldives.

The United Kingdom has no doubt about its sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), which has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814. Mauritius has never held sovereignty over the territory and we do not recognise its claim. However, the United Kingdom has a long-standing commitment, first made in 1965, to cede sovereignty of BIOT to Mauritius when it is no longer required for defence purposes. We stand by that commitment, which has been found to be legally binding. Thus no recent assessment has been made of other options for ceding the territory.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support the UK is giving to the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund.

The UK Government supports the aims of the Three Seas Initiative, which align closely with our own: building back better, addressing the drivers of climate change, and addressing our shared geopolitical challenges. The annual Three Seas Initiative Summit and Business Forum was held in Sofia, Bulgaria on 8-9 July. The Foreign Secretary addressed the Presidential Panel via video message and DIT Minister Graham Stuart led a UK Business Delegation to the Business Forum. The UK continues to explore options for deeper engagement with both the Initiative and the Fund, including sharing expertise on areas of UK excellence on digital, infrastructure, and clean energy.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made representations to the High Commissioner for Mauritius on the statements made by the Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth in October 2020 that the British are hypocrites and champions of double talk in respect of the British Indian Ocean Territory.

The UK has repeatedly made it clear to the Government of Mauritius that the UK has no doubt about its sovereignty over the territory of BIOT, which has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814. Mauritius has never held sovereignty over the territory and we do not recognise its claim. However, we have a long-standing commitment, first made in 1965, to cede sovereignty of the territory to Mauritius when it is no longer required for defence purposes. We stand by that commitment. We are disappointed with the comments made by Prime Minister Jugnauth in October 2020 in relation to the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of (a) issuing localised travel advice for Greece and (b) putting its different regions into different travel categories in response to the variation in covid-19 rates across that country.

FCDO travel advice differentiates within countries - including islands - where there is sufficient data to justify communicating specific, localised advice. Travel advice reflects assessments from Public Health England (PHE) and the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), the organisations mandated to provide health advice to British nationals travelling overseas, and who assess the risk to an individual of exposure to COVID-19 in each country. Currently, the FCDO advises against all but essential travel to Greece, except for the islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks. FCDO travel advice remains under constant review and is separate from the Department for Transport's Red, Amber and Green list rules for entering England as it also provides guidance on wider issues beyond COVID-19.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans the Government has to ensure British ships instigate freedom of navigation exercises in the straits between China and Taiwan.

Many international ships, both military and commercial, travel through the Taiwan Strait and such actions are routine and non-contentious. All activities conducted by the Royal Navy are and will be in accordance with international law.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 18 March 2021 to Question 168857 on Sanctions, when he plans to (a) make decisions on and (b) publish the first set of anti-corruption sanctions designations under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018.

As the Foreign Secretary announced to the House in July 2020, work is underway to consider how an anti-corruption sanctions regime could be added to our armoury. Sanctions are powerful tools, capable of having a significant impact, and are complex to design. We are taking the time to ensure we get them right and will update Parliament in due course.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, which Minister is responsible for managing and updating the list of British sanctions against individuals and companies.

The UK Government publishes the UK sanctions list on GOV.UK website, which provides details of those individuals and entities designated under sanctions regulations made under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act. When the UK Government makes a decision to create, change or remove a sanctions designation, it will update the UK sanctions list. All designations will need to meet the legal tests as set out in the Sanctions Act, which includes ensuring designations are underpinned by robust evidence. As set out in the legislation, designation decisions are for the Secretary of State.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of joining the United States, Germany and Japan in becoming an observer state for the Three Seas Initiative.

The Government is committed to maintaining strong relationships with our European partners, both bilaterally and through multilateral groups and arrangements. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is following the development of the Three Seas Initiative through our Embassies in the region, including by supporting UK business engagement with the Initiative. The FCDO is aware of interest in the Initiative on the part of a range of our international partners. We continue to engage with the Initiative and its member states, and are open to the possibility of deepening our interaction with it.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support the formation of a new government in Lebanon.

The collapse of government negotiations following the resignation of Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib is disappointing, as well as damaging for the long-suffering people of Lebanon. Lebanon's leaders must act in the national interest and urgently form a new government and implement reforms. The UK is a long-standing friend of Lebanon and the Lebanese people, and will be on hand now, as ever, to support them in their time of urgent need. I discussed these issues with the Lebanese Ambassador on 12 October.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with Lebanese politicians following the resignation of acting Prime Minister Mustapha Adib.

The collapse of government negotiations following the resignation of Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib is disappointing, as well as damaging for the long-suffering people of Lebanon. Lebanon's leaders must act in the national interest and urgently form a new government and implement reforms. The UK is a long-standing friend of Lebanon and the Lebanese people, and will be on hand now, as ever, to support them in their time of urgent need. I discussed these issues with the Lebanese Ambassador on 12 October.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support constitutional reform in Lebanon.

The collapse of government negotiations following the resignation of Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib is disappointing, as well as damaging for the long-suffering people of Lebanon. Lebanon's leaders must act in the national interest and urgently form a new government and implement reforms. The UK is a long-standing friend of Lebanon and the Lebanese people, and will be on hand now, as ever, to support them in their time of urgent need. I discussed these issues with the Lebanese Ambassador on 12 October.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the financial arrangement is between the UK and the US in relation to the air base in Diego Garcia.

We receive no financial payment from the US in relation to the UK/US military facility on Diego Garcia.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the (a) frequency and (b) cost was of freedom of navigation exercises through the South China sea in (i) 2018 and (ii) 2019.

As part of the Royal Navy's persistent presence in the region, five ships have transited the South China Sea since April 2018, most recently HMS Enterprise in late 2019 and early 2020. These deployments have involved a range of defence engagement with regional partners, multilateral exercises and maritime surveillance including support for enforcing UNSCR sanctions on DPRK. These deployments also serve to reinforce our commitment to regional security and to upholding the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The cost of this activity is met through the Defence budget. Wherever the Royal Navy operates, it does so in full compliance with international laws, norms and rights to freedom of navigation provided for by UNCLOS.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make it his policy to ensure the retention of the statue of Sir Clive of India in its location between his Department and HM Treasury.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not have responsibility for the statue of Sir Robert Clive, which is in the care of the English Heritage Trust.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will publish the criteria his Department plans to use to determine the retention of (a) statues and (b) other works of art depicting the UK’s colonial history that are held in his Department.

The Government does not propose to remove statues or memorials on its property. We believe it is always legitimate to examine and debate Britain's history, but removing statues is not the right approach.

The FCO building in King Charles Street dates back to 1868. With such a long history there are elements that reflect artwork and individuals from a very different era. We are examining both what those elements are, and how best to address what they represent, while preserving history. This is under active consideration.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he authorised Sir Simon MacDonald to discuss with his counterparts in other Departments the potential removal of the statue of Sir Clive of India.

Sir Simon McDonald did not discuss with his counterparts in other Departments the potential removal of the statue of Sir Robert Clive.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to support the Cypriot Government in its request for Cyprus to join the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance.

We are not aware of a recent request from Cyprus to join NATO. Should such an application be received we would of course give it due consideration, taking into account NATO policies and practices. NATO's current Open Door policy states that membership is available to any European country in a position to undertake the commitments and obligations of membership.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support the Government is providing for the repatriation of British citizens from the Grand Princess Cruise Ship.

We worked with the US authorities to arrange a repatriation flight for British nationals who were on the Grand Princess cruise ship, which landed at Birmingham Airport at 17:00 on 11 March. We liaised with the cruise company to ensure appropriate arrangements were in place to ensure passenger welfare and to get the passengers home safely. Public Health England advised all involved to self-isolate for 14 days and for COVID-19 tests to be arranged.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans the Government has to follow the US in imposing sanctions on any company involved in the construction of Nord Stream II pipeline in the Baltic.

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 on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and European energy security more broadly.

There are currently no unilateral UK sanctions being imposed with respect to Nord Stream 2. ?During the transition period, the UK will continue to be bound by the EU sanctions regime.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he plans to take to support the parts of the gig economy which have experienced economic downturn during covid-19 lockdown and which have not benefitted from Government covid-19 financial support during covid-19 lockdown.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government provided unprecedented support to protect jobs and businesses. For example, some gig workers who are self-employed may have benefited from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), designed to support the incomes of self-employed individuals who were temporarily unable to carry out their business or were impacted by reduced demand due to COVID-19, leading to a significant reduction in profits.

Government action has helped to lay the foundations for an economic recovery, and this plan is working: the UK has seen faster-than-anticipated growth, and a strong recovery in jobs across the country. The recent Budget and Spending Review builds on this, by taking action to help businesses - including those in the gig economy - to recover, invest, grow and create jobs. The Government is also taking steps to support families and working people, many of which will benefit those individuals who work in the gig economy.

Gig workers who claim Universal Credit will benefit from the reduced taper rate, which will help to make work pay; and from the Government’s new £99 million In-Work Progression offer, which will mean more people in work on Universal Credit will be able to access individualised work coach support to help them progress and increase their earnings.

Alongside individuals across the economy, gig economy workers should also benefit from investment in skills, announced at Spending Review 2021, which will give adults more opportunities to upskill and retrain to improve access to higher paid jobs. This includes continuing to offer free Level 3 courses in high value subjects, quadrupling the scale of Skills Bootcamps in growing sectors, and a brand new scheme to boost adult numeracy - Multiply. Improving numeracy can boost earnings by up to 14%.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 20 September 2021 to Question 49075 on Insurance: Floods, whether the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is classed as a saving in a Business Interruption claim.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the independent non-governmental body responsible for regulating and supervising the financial services industry. The FCA’s rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and promptly and settle claims quickly once settlement terms are agreed.

Insurers should calculate claims payments due to the policyholder in accordance with the terms and conditions of the relevant policy.

Policyholders who feel that their claim has not been handled fairly may be able to refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service, an independent body set up to provide arbitration in such cases.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether insurance companies are permitted to deduct the cost of furlough payments made to staff in a business insurance claim for flood damage.

Insurers must treat customers fairly and firms are required to do so under the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) rules.

As insurance policies differ significantly, businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. The individual policy wording generally sets out the basis on which the sum due to the policyholder following an insured event will be calculated. Insurers should therefore calculate claims payments due to the policyholder in accordance with the terms and conditions of the relevant policy.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for specific sectors, such as aerospace and aviation, to avoid redundancies due to reduced orders as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was designed as a temporary, economy-wide measure to support businesses while widespread restrictions were in place. Closing the scheme at the end of September is designed to strike  the right balance between supporting the economy as it opens up, continuing to provide support and protect incomes, and ensuring that incentives are in place to get people back to work as demand returns.  This approach has worked; the OBR have estimated that without the short-term fiscal easing announced in the Budget, and in particular the CJRS extension, unemployment would have been about 300,000 higher in the fourth quarter of this year than the 2.2 million in the central forecast.

The Government recognises the particular challenges that the travel industry has faced as a result of COVID-19. In England travel agents have recently benefited from Restart Grants worth up to £6,000, and can continue to benefit from the £2 billion of discretionary grant funding that has been made available to local authorities in England through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). Furthermore, the aviation and aerospace sectors are being supported with over £12 billion that has been made available through loan guarantees, support for exporters, the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) and grants for research and development. In addition, airports continue to benefit from the renewed Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme announced at Budget.

The Global Travel Taskforce (GTT) report sets out a clear framework for the Government’s objective of establishing a safe and sustainable return to international travel, which is key to enabling the sector’s recovery. It has been created following extensive engagement with the international travel and tourism industries, and changes following the recent checkpoint review of the GTT are a vital step in enabling the recovery of travel operators and those whose jobs rely on the travel industry.

The Government has shown throughout the pandemic that it is prepared to adapt support if the path of the virus changes. It continues to engage closely with sectors across the economy, including the travel industry, in order to understand their recovery horizons as the vaccine is rolled out and restrictions ease.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the potential value of Capital Gains Tax liability owed by UK residents in respect of Bitcoin trading and Decentralised Finance assets for each tax year from 2013-14 to date; what discussions he has had with representatives of the (a) Bank of England, (b) Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and (c) Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on the potential merits of introducing a sterling-based cryptocurrency; what assessment he has taken of the potential effect of Bitcoin trading and Decentralised Finance on Money Supply measurements (i) M1, (ii) M2 and (iii) M3 and how that effect is measured; what assessment he has made for the implications of his Department’s policies on how the (A) PRA and (B) FCA will manage and control the Decentralised Finance transfer mechanisms in respect of the potential flow of assets and cash leaving the UK instantly; whether he plans to review the FCA’s regulatory (I) mechanisms and (II) performance in enforcing the banning of sales of cryptoasset derivatives to retail consumers; whether the FCA has introduced an authorisation and registration scheme for cryptoasset derivatives; what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the time taken to register cryptoasset derivatives with the FCA; what steps he is taking to ensure tax deriving from Bitcoin trading and Decentralised Finance is collected effectively; whether his Department has conducted an assessment of the potential merits of the FCA restricting UK banks from participating in the Decentralised Finance; what comparative assessment he has made of US and European financial firms’ participation in Decentralised Finance compared with that of UK firms; and for what reasons Euro clearing of financial instruments is moving out of the City of London.

No estimate has been made on the potential value of capital gains tax (CGT) that are due on gains from cryptoassets held as investments or any tax liabilities arising from decentralised finance (also known as DeFi). The self-assessment form does not currently separate capital gains made on cryptoassets from other assets. As a result, a reliable estimate for CGT due from cryptoassets would only be available at a disproportionate cost.

The recently released cryptoassets manual, one the most detailed publications from any tax administration, explains the tax consequences of different types of transactions involving cryptoassets for both business accepting them as well as individuals using them. HMRC has taken action, including using powers provided by Parliament to gather data, to identify and investigate those that have failed to declare their tax liabilities.

Regarding the possible merits of a sterling-based stablecoin, I refer the Honourable Gentleman to the answer given to PQ UIN 37102.

On the issue of money supply, Bitcoin trading or decentralised finance will need to become a significant source of lending to the real economy in the UK before they have a notable impact on money supply measurements.

Regarding the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority’s (PRA) role with respect to decentralised finance, I refer the Honourable Gentleman to the answer given to PQ UIN 37103.

With regards to the FCA’s cryptoasset derivatives ban for retail consumers, the FCA stated that it found these products to be ill-suited for retail consumers due to potential harms, including the high risk of suffering losses. The FCA has noted that it will keep this prohibition under review. The FCA is an independent body and its decision to take the ban forward after consultation is based on powers granted to the FCA under statute, pursuant to the FCA’s objectives which include protecting consumers, enhancing market integrity and promoting competition.

Regarding the possible merits of the FCA restricting UK banks’ access to decentralised finance, the FCA is an independent regulator, and considers the risks of banks engaging in decentralised finance as one of the many risks it considers. Most decentralised finance activities are not regulated in the UK. Accordingly, the Government does not have accurate information on the number of entities operating in the UK in comparison to the EU and the US.

On the issue of clearing, the EU has granted a temporary equivalence decision to UK Central Counterparties (CCPs) which lasts until June 2022.

Therefore, without any further action by EU authorities, certain UK CCPs may need to begin offboarding EU clearing members by the end of March 2022 in order to be ready for equivalence expiring in June 2022.

However, letting equivalence expire in June next year would raise the cost of clearing for firms, particularly EU ones, and present significant financial stability risks. The Government therefore hopes that equivalence would not be allowed to expire in June 2022. As it stands, the Government has seen limited evidence of activity moving.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how the FCA and PRA plan to (a) manage and (b) control the new value transfer mechanisms from decentralised finance that will potentially see asset and cash ownership of UK PLC leave the UK.

This is a matter for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), which are operationally independent from Government. The question has been passed on to the FCA and PRA. The FCA and PRA will reply directly to the honourable Member by letter. A copy of the letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a sterling- based stable coin in the UK.

The Government launched a consultation on its regulatory approach to cryptoassets and stablecoins on 7 January. This set out the view that stablecoins, which seek to stabilise their value, could be used as widespread means of payment and potentially deliver improvements in cross-border transactions. At the same time, depending on scale and nature of use, these developments could pose similar financial stability and consumer risks as traditional regulated payment systems.

The Government’s proposed approach would make sure stablecoins meet the same high standards we expect of other payment methods. The Government is considering responses and will outline next steps in due course. Any steps taken in light of this consultation will aim to balance the potential risk to consumers with the ambition to foster competition and innovation in the sector.

Alongside this, the UK, like many countries globally, is actively exploring the potential role of central bank digital currencies: an electronic form of central bank money that could be used by households and businesses to make payments. The Bank of England published a discussion paper in March 2020, which considered the possibility of a retail central bank digital currency.

At Fintech Week 2021, the Chancellor announced a new Taskforce led by HM Treasury and the Bank of England to lead the UK’s exploration of a central bank digital currency, with separate forums to engage civil society and technology experts. The Taskforce aims to ensure a strategic approach is adopted between the UK authorities as they explore a central bank digital currency, in line with their statutory objectives, and to promote close coordination between them. The Government and the Bank of England have not yet made a decision on whether to introduce a central bank digital currency in the UK, and will engage widely with stakeholders on the benefits, risks and practicalities of doing so.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much capital gains tax was collected from decentralised finance in each year tax year from 2013 to 2020.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is due on gains from cryptoassets held as investments which are taxed in line with CGT tax rates and exemptions rules as for other assets. The Self-Assessment form does not currently separate capital gains made on cryptoassets from other assets. As a result, a reliable estimate for Capital Gains Tax due from cryptoassets would only be available at a disproportionate cost.

Decentralised Finance (also known as DeFi) is a comparatively recent innovation with notable uptake during mid-2020. Amounts arising from decentralised finance are, generally, liable to either Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax. However, as with cryptoassets, the Self-Assessment form does not separate capital gains and/or income arising from decentralised finance. As a result, a reliable estimate of Capital Gains Tax or Income Tax collected from decentralised finance would only be available at a disproportionate cost.

22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the amount of capital gains tax (a) collected and (b) that remains outstanding owed from taxpayers under (i) Bitcoin trading and (ii) other financial activity in decentralised finance in each tax year between 2013 and 2020.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is due on gains from cryptoassets held as investments which are taxed in line with CGT tax rates and exemptions rules as for other assets. The Self-Assessment form does not currently separate capital gains made on cryptoassets from other assets. As a result, a reliable estimate for Capital Gains Tax due from cryptoassets would only be available at a disproportionate cost.

Decentralised Finance (also known as DeFi) is a comparatively recent innovation with notable uptake during mid-2020. Amounts arising from decentralised finance are, generally, liable to either Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax. However, as with cryptoassets, the Self-Assessment form does not separate capital gains and/or income arising from decentralised finance. As a result, a reliable estimate of Capital Gains Tax or Income Tax collected from decentralised finance would only be available at a disproportionate cost.

15th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made, applying the Laffer curve, of the potential effect on tax revenues of a reduction in corporation tax.

The fiscal and economic impact of changes in the rate of Corporation Tax (CT) have been set out in the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR’s) Economic and Fiscal Outlooks which are published alongside fiscal events.

The most recent forecast, published in March 2021, includes the revenue raised from the announcement made at Budget 2021: that the main rate will increase to 25% from April 2023, which is forecast to raise over £45 billion across the next 5 years.

This forecast incorporates adjustments to reflect behavioural responses from businesses to changes in the rate of CT.

12th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what comparative assessment he has made of the Financial Conduct Authority's regulatory approach to (a) digital and (b) currencies; what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of UK financial regulation of digital currencies on their development; what assessment he had made of the adequacy of the steps being taken to support new business and innovation in this area in the UK; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to retaining its global leadership position in fintech and fully recognises its important role in delivering better financial services for people and businesses. The Government also believes that, in practice, this means creating a regulatory environment in which firms can innovate, while crucially maintaining the highest regulatory standards so that people can use new technologies both reliably and safely. This is essential for continuing confidence in the financial system more broadly.

On 10 January 2020, the FCA became the anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CTF) supervisor for cryptoassets firms. A robust AML regime for cryptoassets will help to bolster confidence in the UK as a safe and reputable place to start and grow a cryptoasset business.

To further protect consumers, the FCA has banned the sale of cryptoasset derivatives to retail consumers, and recently issued a warning stating that consumers who invest in cryptoassets should be prepared to lose their money.

The Government has also proposed several further changes to respond to cryptoassets. On 7 January launched a consultation on its regulatory approach to cryptoassets and stablecoins. This set out the view that new and emerging forms of cryptoassets, known as stablecoins, which seek to stabilise their value, could be used as widespread means of payment and potentially deliver improvements in cross-border transactions. At the same time, depending on scale and nature of use, these developments could pose similar financial stability and consumer risks as traditional regulated payment systems.

The Government is considering responses and will outline next steps in due course. Any steps taken in light of this consultation will aim to balance the potential risk to consumers with the ambition to foster competition and innovation in the sector.

This measure is being consider alongside a proposal to bring certain cryptoassets, including Bitcoin, into the scope of financial promotions regulation. This would ensure that relevant cryptoasset promotions are held to the same high standards for fairness, clarity, and accuracy that pertain in the financial services industry. The Government will be publishing its response in due course.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to safeguard the public finances in response to the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee's expectation that inflation will rise above 3 per cent.

The UK has a strong monetary policy framework and the operationally independent Bank of England is responsible for inflation meeting its 2% target. The Bank of England expects the rise in inflation to be temporary, as they set out in the latest minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee, and expect it to return to its 2% target over their latest forecast.

The government’s priority is to continue to invest in the economy to support recovery from the pandemic, whilst also returning the public finances to a sustainable path once the economic recovery is durably underway. The Chancellor has highlighted that at our higher level of debt, the public finances are more vulnerable to changes in inflation and interest rates. That is why at the Budget in March, the government announced fiscal repair measures that take the public finances back toward a sustainable path in the medium term with debt broadly stable and the current budget moving close to balance.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps an employee can take when they have not been paid furlough by their employer, when that employer has received the Government payment under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The scheme rules make it clear that no grant is payable if the employer is not going to abide by the requirement to pay the furloughed employee 80% of their usual monthly wage (up to a cap of £2,500). HMRC have powers to check and recover any amounts claimed where the employee has not been paid enough.

If workers are concerned they are not receiving this, they should report their employer to HMRC via the online fraud reporting tool on the Government’s website, or use HMRC’s telephone-based fraud hotline. HMRC will continue to monitor claim data, compare against records of earnings and review reports to their fraud hotline.

The Government retains the right to audit retrospectively all aspects of the scheme with scope to claw back fraudulent claims.

20th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to extend business rates relief to food and drink wholesalers who supply to (a) schools, (b) hospitals, (c) care homes and the hospitality industry to mitigate against (i) businesses in that sector closing and (ii) jobs being lost as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has provided enhanced support through business rates relief to businesses occupying properties used for retail, hospitality and leisure given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors.

A range of other measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday, such as wholesalers, has also been made available. On 8 July the Chancellor set out a package of measures to support jobs across the UK, including a Job Retention Bonus to help firms keep furloughed workers, and a new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people. The Chancellor has also announced a cut in VAT to 5% for accommodation, attractions and the hospitality sector.

18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to cover people who became self-employed in August 2018 and are not permitted to claim as a result of employed income having comprised the majority of their income during that financial year.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is designed to provide financial support to those who rely on self-employment as their main source of income. This aims to ensure the SEISS is targeted at those who need it the most. Many individuals earn small amounts of income from self-employment in addition to income from employment and other sources.

Self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, are eligible for the SEISS if they have submitted their Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, continued to trade, and have been adversely affected by COVID-19. To qualify, their self-employed trading profits must be less than £50,000, with more than half of their income coming from self-employment. Some 95 per cent of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment could benefit from this scheme.

Those with trading profits less than 50% of their total income may still benefit from other support, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Individuals may have access to a range of grants and loans depending on their circumstances, and the SEISS supplements the significant support already announced for UK businesses, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Bounce Back Loans Scheme, and the deferral of tax payments.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support his Department provides to self-employed people with an income of less than 50 per cent of their total monthly income as a result of being in receipt of an armed forces pension.

In order to qualify for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), more than half of an individual’s income must come from self-employment. Those who do not meet this criterion will not qualify for the scheme, although anyone requiring support before the beginning of June should have access to other measures appropriate to their individual circumstances. These measures include the relaxation of the earnings rules in Universal Credit.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support his Department is providing to farmers in (a) Shropshire and (b) the UK that are ineligible for universal credit as a result of their level of savings.

Farmers in Shropshire and across the UK can benefit from the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Government to protect people and businesses against the current economic emergency. This includes £330 billion of government-backed and guaranteed loans through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes, a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to help self-employed individuals affected by the outbreak, and a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help businesses keep millions of people in employment.

Universal Credit is not available to people with capital over £16,000, to ensure support is targeted at those who most need it. However, if self-employed claimants have savings in their account that are to be used for business purposes, those will not be counted towards their capital limit. Claimants should make this clear in their Universal Credit application and online journal, and may be asked to prove it.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support charities during the covid-19 outbreak; and whether he has plans to allocate emergency funding to that sector.

Many charities and social enterprises will benefit from the existing measures announced to support employers and businesses. Under these measures, like other businesses, charities can defer their VAT bills and pay no business rates for their shops next year. All charities are eligible for the job retention scheme and the right answer for many charities will be to furlough their employees with the government paying 80% of wages.

However, we know that some charities are providing critical services and wider support to vulnerable people and communities during the pandemic. On 8 April the Chancellor announced a £750 million package of support for charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the Covid-19 crisis. This new package of support will enable such organisations to continue providing essential services to those most in need.

This funding package will help charities providing essential services to continue their operations and to weather the storm until we return to more normal times. Funding for charities will be made available in the coming weeks and further information will be announced on Gov.uk. The Government’s aim is to get funding to those in greatest need as soon as possible.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to help (a) agency workers and (b) people on zero hours contracts during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government is seeking to protect, as far as possible, people’s jobs and incomes. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will help employers to continue paying 80% of their employees’ wages and is open to individuals on any contract type who were on an employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. To support those on low incomes through the outbreak the Government has also announced a package of temporary welfare measures, including an increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and the working tax credit basic element.

19th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to support businesses that do not have premises that are rateable but pay corporation tax during the covid-19 outbreak.

A range of measures to support all businesses has been made available. These include the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, allowing businesses to benefit from loans of up to £5m, with the first 12 months of that finance interest free, and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help keep people in employment. This scheme means businesses can put workers on temporary leave and the government will pay them cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, providing they keep the worker employed. They will receive the grant from HMRC, and all UK organisations can self-certify that it has furloughed employees. The scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government is taking to support self-employed people in the event they are without an income as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government is deferring tax payments, through the Income Tax Self-Assessment (ITSA) and VAT system to help support businesses and the self-employed with cash flows. VAT payments due between now and mid-June will be deferred. No business will have to make a VAT payment to HMRC in that period. Income tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021, benefitting up to 5.7m self-employed businesses.

The Government has also announced it is delaying the reforms to the off-payroll working rules (IR35) from April 2020 to April 2021 and the reforms will be legislated for in the 2020 Finance Bill. This deferral has been announced in response to the spread of Covid-19, to help businesses and individuals deal with the economic impacts of the pandemic.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is available to self-employed individuals with an eligible business entity. By providing an 80% government guarantee on finance facilities up to £5 million, this scheme will help more businesses access the finance they need. The Government will not charge businesses for this guarantee, and will also cover the first 12 months of interest payments for businesses. For more information on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme go to: www.British-business-bank.co.uk/CBILS.

The Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for all self-employed UC claimants for 1 year from 6 April. This means a drop in earnings due to the economic impacts of Covid-19 will not affect the amount of UC a claimant receives. This goes further than the Budget announcement to temporarily relax the MIF only for claimants who are directly affected by Covid-19, which has already come into effect. For those directly affected or self-isolating, there will be no attendance requirements, and Universal Credit can be claimed online or via phone.

Self-employed people unable to work because they are directly affected by Covid-19 or self-isolating will be eligible for Contributory Employment and Support Allowance. This is now payable from the first day of sickness, rather than the eighth. Eligible claimants under 25 will be entitled to £57.90 per week, and over 25s £73.10 per week.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support is available to (a) single parents in employment and (b) other parents in the event that schools are closed as part of the response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Secretary of State for Education has announced the closure of schools, colleges and early years settings as part of the country’s ongoing response to coronavirus. However, parents whose work is critical to this response and who cannot keep their children safe at home are able to access educational provision.

The government is ensuring it is protecting, as far as possible, people’s jobs and incomes during this outbreak. Last week, we announced further measures, including a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to support businesses who would otherwise have laid off employees, and we are in turn encouraging employers to support their staff by looking at this and other support being made available to them before they take the decision to make staff redundant.

We also announced additional support with housing costs, including a mortgage holiday, higher support for low income renters, and a pause on tenant evictions, and support for low income households, including those on Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit. These measures will benefit many families, including single parents.

Guidance on the government’s response to coronavirus, including for parents and employers, is available at gov.uk/coronavirus.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the total number of political asylums granted by UK to citizens of Belarus was in (a) 2019 and (b) 2020.

The Home Office publishes data on asylum applications in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on the number of the initial decision on asylum applications are published in tables Asy_D02 of the asylum and resettlement detailed datasets.

Please note, the data relates to all initial decisions on asylum applications, regardless of reason. The definition of asylum, as used by Immigration Statistics Quarterly release, can be found in the asylum section of the user guide.

Information on how to use the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relate to December 2020.

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

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

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what training police officers receive on dealing with people who have mental health issues.

Training on mental-ill health is integrated throughout the initial police learning programme which all new recruits - police constables, specials constables and PCSOs - must complete. Many individual forces have also gone on to develop their own training programmes, including joint training with partner agencies and local Mental Health trusts.

In October 2016, the College published Authorised Professional Practice on mental health, and this guidance supports all police officers, including custody staff, in responding to people suffering with mental health issues. This training package is currently being reviewed with a planned release this Spring.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle child to parent abuse.

The Government is committed to tackling all forms of domestic abuse. On 3 March 2020 we reintroduced the landmark draft Domestic Abuse Bill alongside a wide-ranging package of measures to protect and support victims. The Bill has recently passed Committee stage. Our statutory definition of domestic abuse recognises that abuse can also involve wider family members, including parental abuse by an adolescent or grown child or between older siblings.

In 2015 the Government published an information guide on adolescent to parent violence and abuse, which provides materials and advice to support professionals in the police, the health system, the justice system, the education system, youth services.

The Government has also committed to draw together best practice and develop training and resources to improve the response to victims of adolescent to parent violence; this work is ongoing.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department is taking steps to ensure that city dwellers do not move to second homes in rural areas during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government advice makes it clear that people should stay home and avoid all but essential travel. Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays. People must remain in their primary residence. Not taking these steps puts additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 give the police the appropriate powers to ensure that the public comply with these necessary measures, including through issuing penalties.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-transport-and-travel-advice

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the extent to which the Joint Expeditionary Force assists in improving stability and security in the (a) North Atlantic, (b) Baltic Sea Region and (c) High North.

Defence Ministers from the ten members of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) met in Helsinki on 30 June to 1 July 2021, signing new Political Direction which sets the strategic policy and political context in which the with which the JEF operates. As befits its membership, the principal geographic area of interest for the JEF is the High North, North Atlantic and Baltic Sea region (although it is also able to operate further afield, if required). The JEF is configured to make a key contribution to security challenges in the region by providing credible options for responding rapidly to crises and being able to operate persistently across all domains below the threshold of conflict; either in its own right or in support of other multinational organisations, such as NATO.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of whether Pakistan's PNS Zulfiqar frigate's scheduled exercise, Arabian Monsoon, with the Russian navy in the Baltic Sea after visiting St Petersburg on 22-27 July 2021 represents a potential challenge to NATO in that sea.

The NATO Alliance remains the cornerstone of Euro-Atlantic defence. This includes ensuring security and stability in the Baltic region. We are mindful of Russia's persistent hostile actions towards NATO and our Eastern Allies, and are confident in the effectiveness of NATO's routine deterrence activity in the region, which includes air policing and enhanced Forward Presence deployments of personnel.

The UK continues to value the role that Pakistan has played as a NATO Partner. This includes training and cooperation with the Alliance on areas of mutual interest, including stability and counter extremism in Afghanistan, civil preparedness and disaster response and counter narcotics. The Royal Navy via HMS Montrose also participated in Exercise AMAN 21 (February 2021) in the port of Karachi and off the coast of Southern Pakistan.

PNS ZULFIQAR will visit Portsmouth next week. Baroness Goldie will attend a reception on board and it will then conduct Exercise WHITE STAR with HMS ARGYLL on 14 July.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of whether Russia's actions in the Black Sea towards (a) HMS Defender on 23 June 2021 and (b) the Royal Netherlands naval vessel HNMLS Evertsen on 24 June 2021 represent a potential pattern of challenging NATO.

HMS DEFENDER was conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law, taking the most direct route from Odesa to Batumi, En route, she interacted with a number of Russian military vessels and aircraft: at no point was she fired upon nor bombs dropped in her path. It remains essential that all conduct is safe, professional and in line with international law. HNMLS EVERTSON was also taking the most direct route from Odesa to her destination. The UK will continue to demonstrate our commitment to maintaining regional security and freedom of navigation by undertaking periodic deployments, including under NATO, to work with allies and partners in the Black Sea region. We continue to encourage Russia to work co-operatively to reduce the risk of miscalculation.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when all armed forces personnel will have received their vaccination against covid-19.

All Armed Forces personnel are expected to be offered a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 31 July 2021, in line with UK timelines for the national vaccination programme. Defence will ensure that no member of the Armed Forces, including those serving or deploying overseas, is disadvantaged in their access to COVID-19 vaccines.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many soldiers serving abroad have been vaccinated against covid-19.

As at 10 May 2021, 2,862 UK Armed Forces personnel serving overseas have received at least one vaccine against COVID-19. Defence will ensure that no member of the Armed Forces serving or deploying overseas is disadvantaged in their access to COVID-19 vaccines.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to evaluate and support Shrewsbury to receive funding from the Towns Fund.

The Towns Fund, which comprises Town Deals and the Future High Streets Fund (FHSF), will drive the economic regeneration of towns and high streets across England to deliver long-term economic and productivity growth. The Levelling Up Fund builds on this, making £4.8 billion available to ensure more places, like Shrewsbury, can benefit from investment in local infrastructure that will improve our towns and high streets and drive long-term economic growth.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what his policy is on ground rent for leasehold properties for people who will be ineligible for proposed zero ground rent reforms.

The Government has set out a package of measures to tackle unfair practices in the leasehold market and promote transparency and fairness for both leaseholders and freeholders. We will bring forward legislation in the upcoming session to set future ground rents to zero.

We set out the detailed proposals for this policy in our response to the technical consultation Implementing reforms to the leasehold system in England (see https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/implementing-reforms-to-the-leasehold-system). The measure will also apply to retirement properties. There will be exemptions for community-led development, equity release products known as ‘Home Reversion Plans’ and Shariah Finance compliant ‘Home Purchase Plans’.

We understand the difficulties and frustrations for existing leaseholders who are unhappy with the ground rent they are required to pay and feel their leases should be changed. We are pleased that the CMA is taking enforcement action in relation to two key issues; first, to tackle certain instances of mis-selling of leasehold property and second, to address the problems faced by homeowners from high and increasing ground rents. The Government is keeping a close eye on this issue and will consider any next steps once the CMA have progressed their enforcement action.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make a financial assessment of the effect on value for money for the public purse of merging Shrewsbury Town Council with Shropshire Unitary Authority.

Shrewsbury Town Council was set up when the unitary Shropshire Council was established in 2009 and currently is responsible for such matters as the town market, street lighting, and public toilets. If local people believe these responsibilities would be better exercised by Shropshire Council, it is open to them to petition that Council to undertake a community governance review to consider a recommendation that the Town Council be dissolved.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of amending the Local Government Act 1972 to allow both (a) council meetings and (b) annual parish council meetings to use modern technology as an alternative to face to face meetings to tackle the spread of covid-19.

It is vital that local authorities can continue to function effectively as the country responds to covid-19. Following last week’s announcement that local authority elections will be postponed until May 2021, we are considering bringing forward legislation to remove the requirement for annual council and parish council meetings.

Councils already have powers to delegate functions, but we are considering whether – for a limited period - to enable use of video or tele-conferencing to facilitate decision making on those limited matters which currently require committee or full council decisions. We would of course also consider appropriate safeguards to ensure transparency and democratic accountability.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure that Shropshire council has adequate funding to provide adult social care.

The 2020-21 settlement for local government responds to the pressures councils are facing by providing access to the largest year on year increase in spending power in a decade.

The additional £1 billion funding announced for adult and children’s social care, together with the continuation of existing social care grant funding worth £2.5 billion and the Adult Social Care Precept, means that the Government will give local authorities access to almost £6 billion of dedicated funding across adult and children’s social care in 2020-21. Shropshire Council will have access to £34.5 million of dedicated social care funding over this period.

In March, the Government provided an additional £1.6 billion to help local authorities respond to coronavirus (COVID-19) pressures across all the services they deliver, including Adult Social Care. Just under £9 million was allocated to Shropshire. On 18 April, the Government announced that local authorities will receive a further £1.6 billion, allocations will be announced in due course.

This takes the total funding to support local authorities to respond to the pandemic to over £3.2 billion.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when the Maintenance Enforcement Business Centre will have a system in place to receive overseas maintenance payments through the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders from New Zealand.

The UK reciprocates with New Zealand under the 1956 New York Convention, the UN Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance. Payments are already received and processed by the HMCTS Maintenance Enforcement Business Centre under this treaty. The payment processing method is currently being updated.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether the Government plans to extend the validity period of marriage and civil partnership notices as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

We understand the frustration couples who have had to postpone their wedding or civil partnership must be feeling.

The requirement to solemnize a marriage within twelve months of giving notice to marry is set out in primary legislation, which does not provide for extending this period. It would require primary legislation to change this. In the meantime, the fees charged by local authorities for giving notice can be reduced, waived or refunded on compassionate grounds or in cases of hardship. It is for each local authority to determine when this can be applied.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make it his policy to bring forward legislative proposals to allow assisted dying in appropriate circumstances.

It remains the Government’s view that any change to the law in this area is a matter for Parliament to decide and an issue of conscience for individual Parliamentarians rather than one for Government policy.

Parliament has not so far voted to legalise assisted suicide in any circumstances.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what plans he has to work more closely with (a) Shrewsbury and (b) other border towns and communities to help encourage tourism after the covid-19 outbreak.

I continue to hold discussions with the First Minister on the reopening of Wales’ tourism industry to ensure that Wales is well placed to attract visitors whilst respecting social distancing and to make the most of the summer season.

Based on the scientific evidence available, the UK Government has set out a clear plan on how we will rebuild the UK for a world with Covid-19 whilst respecting devolved decision making. Subject to scientific advice, next month will see the partial reopening of some tourist accommodation in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. I have written to the First Minister to urge that Wales is not left behind.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what assessment he has made of the effect of the different approaches of the UK and Welsh Governments to tackling covid-19 on the health of people in (a) Shrewsbury and (b) other border communities; and if he will work with his Welsh counterpart to improve co-ordination on covid-19 between the two Administrations.

The UK Government is doing whatever it takes to ensure the UK defeats Coronavirus and I have regular discussions with the First Minister and his Ministerial team on the UK-wide response, including the impact of Covid-19 on border communities. I consider it crucial that any differences in the response between Wales and England is supported by robust evidence.

Since the start of the outbreak, including through the COBR Ministerial Committee and the Ministerial Implementation Groups, there have been 116 engagements in total between the UK and Welsh Government. I am, of course, always looking for opportunities for closer working between the two governments and have asked the First Minister to consider inviting the Parliamentary Under-Secretary or me to attend meetings of the Welsh Government’s Covid-19 Core Ministerial Group.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales