Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.
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).
Give UK nurseries emergency funding if they have to close down amid COVID-19Gov Responded - 14 Apr 2020 Debated on - 25 Jun 2020 View Felicity Buchan's petition debate contributions
If nurseries are shut down in view of Covid-19, the Government should set up an emergency fund to ensure their survival and ensure that parents are not charged the full fee by the nurseries to keep children's places.
Provide financial support to performers and creators during the COVID-19 crisisGov Responded - 22 Jul 2020 Debated on - 25 Jun 2020 View Felicity Buchan's petition debate contributions
The prospect of widespread cancellations of concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions due to COVID-19 threatens to cause huge financial hardship for Britain's creative community. We ask Parliament to provide a package of emergency financial and practical support during this unpredictable time.
Extend grants immediately to small businesses outside of SBRRGov Responded - 29 May 2020 Debated on - 25 Jun 2020 View Felicity Buchan's petition debate contributions
The cash grants proposed by Government are only for businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Relief, or for particular sectors. Many small businesses fall outside these reliefs desperately need cash grants and support now.
Government to offer economic assistance to the events industry during COVID-19Gov Responded - 27 Mar 2020 Debated on - 25 Jun 2020 View Felicity Buchan's petition debate contributions
For the UK government to provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry, who are suffering unforeseen financial challenges that could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of people employed in the sector.
Make nurseries exempt from business rates to support the childcare sectorGov Responded - 2 Apr 2020 Debated on - 25 Jun 2020 View Felicity Buchan's petition debate contributions
After owning nurseries for 29 years I have never experienced such damaging times for the sector with rising costs not being met by the funding rates available. Business Rates are a large drain on the sector and can mean the difference between nurseries being able to stay open and having to close.
Offer more support to the arts (particularly Theatres and Music) amidst COVID-19Gov Responded - 20 Jul 2020 Debated on - 25 Jun 2020 View Felicity Buchan's petition debate contributions
As we pass the COVID-19 Peak, the Government should: State where the Theatres and Arts fit in the Coronavrius recovery Roadmap, Create a tailor made financial support mechanism for the Arts sector & Clarify how Social Distancing will affect arts spaces like Theatres and Concert Venues.
Support the British aviation industry during the COVID-19 outbreakGov Responded - 7 May 2020 Debated on - 25 Jun 2020 View Felicity Buchan's petition debate contributions
As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak there are travel bans imposed by many countries, there is a disastrous potential impact on our Aviation Industry. Without the Government’s help there could be an unprecedented crisis, with thousands of jobs under threat.
Business Rate Relief to be extended to all small businesses in healthcare.Gov Responded - 5 Jun 2020 Debated on - 25 Jun 2020 View Felicity Buchan's petition debate contributions
To extend the business rate relief to all dental practices and medical and aesthetics clinics and any small business that’s in healthcare
Provide financial help to zoos, aquariums, & rescue centres during the pandemic.Gov Responded - 28 Jul 2020 Debated on - 25 Jun 2020 View Felicity Buchan's petition debate contributions
Zoos, aquariums, and similar organisations across the country carry out all sorts of conservation work, animal rescue, and public education. At the start of the season most rely on visitors (who now won't come) to cover annual costs, yet those costs do not stop while they are closed. They need help.
These initiatives were driven by Felicity Buchan, 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.
Felicity Buchan has not been granted any Urgent Questions
The Government recognises the importance of keeping Parliament updated on the Northern Ireland Protocol and on further discussions with the EU. We have done so consistently. We will continue to work constructively and transparently with Parliament on issues relating to the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee, including by continuing to lay Written Ministerial Statements before and after each Joint Committee meeting.
According to data from ThinkBroadband, 0.03% of premises in the Kensington constituency are unable to access speeds of 10Mbps through a fixed connection. This compares to a national average of 1.21% of premises that cannot access these speeds through a fixed connection. Whilst coverage is well above the national average, it is important to note that citizens will need to choose higher speed packages in order to benefit from faster speeds, and in some cases, this will involve changing networks. They can find the best services available to them by using Ofcom’s ‘Boost your Broadband’ website or using a price comparison service.
Where consumers are not able to access high-speed broadband through a fixed connection, their broadband connectivity can be supported by mobile broadband coverage. There is good 4G coverage in the London Borough of Kensington, while a number of mobile network operators are now offering 5G services within the Kensington area, which will deliver faster speeds through a mobile connection.
For those unable to access speeds of 10 Mbps through either a fixed or a mobile connection, in March 2020 the government launched the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) which gives every premises the legal right to request a broadband connection with download speeds of at least 10Mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps. Residents can find out if they are eligible by visiting BT’s USO postcode checker.
Further details on the USO can be found here.
The government is committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people and education staff during this period. The return to school for all pupils was prioritised due to the significant and proven impact caused by being out of school, including on wellbeing. The support schools provide to pupils following the return to face-to-face education should include time devoted to wellbeing.
Our new Mental Health in Education Action Group is putting mental health and wellbeing at the heart of recovery plans. It is considering how we can support the mental wellbeing of children, young people and staff following the return to education settings, with the transition period between education settings in September, and in the longer term.
Schools can use their additional funding from the COVID-19 “catch-up” package for pastoral support for mental wellbeing where pupils need it. In addition to this, the new £700 million package includes a new one-off Recovery premium for state primary, secondary and special schools to use as they see best to support disadvantaged pupils. This will help schools to provide their disadvantaged pupils with a one-off boost to the support, both academic and pastoral, that has been proved most effective in helping them recover from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Furthermore, we recently announced a £79 million boost to children and young people’s mental health support, which is on top of the £2.3 million funding for mental health in the NHS long term plan. This will accelerate the roll out of mental health support teams. We have delivered ‘Wellbeing for Education Return’ an £8 million scheme, which has helped schools and colleges to develop the knowledge and confidence to offer pastoral support at this time.
We have also taken action to respond to the mental health needs of school leaders by launching a pilot, led by the Education Support charity, to provide online peer-support and telephone supervision from experts to around 250 school leaders. Following the success of the pilot, we have recently agreed to extend this support to an additional 160 school leaders until August.
During heavy rain in London in July and early August, the Met Office recorded over a month's worth of rainfall in a few hours in certain areas. The intensity and duration of the rainfall overwhelmed the drainage infrastructure, causing surface water flooding to parts of London.
Under section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, a lead local flood authority (unitary authorities and county councils) is required to investigate, to the extent that it considers it necessary or appropriate, flooding incidents, including whether flood risk management authorities have exercised their functions. Once completed the report must be published and the relevant risk management authorities notified.
Following the summer surface water flooding in London, Thames Water has also commissioned an independent review into the performance of its network, including its Maida Vale and Counter's Creek flood defence schemes. The Government expects all relevant risk management authorities, especially lead local flood authorities and water companies, to consider and act upon the outcomes and lessons learnt.
Surface water flooding is a local flood risk; managing this risk alongside flooding from groundwater and ordinary watercourses is the responsibility of lead local flood authorities. This includes ensuring the risk of flooding is identified and managed, as part of a local flood risk management strategy, ensuring contingency arrangements and support for local communities are in place. In managing these local risks, the lead local flood authority will work with other risk management authorities. This includes the local highways authorities, who are responsible for highway and gully maintenance, and the water and sewerage companies who operate and maintain the public sewer network.
Water and sewerage companies are regulated by Ofwat, the independent economic regulator for water. Ofwat will hold the companies to account for the delivery of affordable, secure and resilient water services, and will take enforcement action where necessary e.g. where a water company has breached a duty.
Free trade will be the cornerstone of our economic recovery in this global crisis. With over 1.22bn pieces of PPE delivered to the front line already, including 11 million items on Sunday 10 March alone, we will continue this good work with international counterparts to keep global supply chains open. The Department will work to facilitate resilience building through our free trade agreements in order to secure a thriving international trading future for businesses in the United Kingdom.
Our infrastructure strategy will ensure public chargepoints are in place to support those without off-street parking and to enable long distance journeys.
Of the £2.5 billion of Government funding committed to the EV transition since 2020, over £1.6 billion will be used to support charging infrastructure.
Our infrastructure strategy will ensure public chargepoints are in place to support those without off-street parking and to enable long distance journeys. We expect at least ten times more public chargepoints to be installed across the UK by the end of the decade, bringing the number to around 300,000 by 2030.
Drivers will benefit from easier payment methods as well as the ability to compare prices and access real-time information about chargepoints. We will ensure there is a 99% reliability rate at rapid chargepoints. Chargepoints will need to have open data so that they are easy to find using maps and apps.
To ensure that the transition to electric vehicles takes place in every part of the country, we are pledging at least £500m to support local chargepoint provision. As part of this, the £450m Local EV Infrastructure (LEVI) fund will support local authorities to work with industry and transform the availability of charging for drivers without off-street parking. We have launched a £10m pilot as a springboard for the development of the full fund.
The Government has discussions with Transport for London on a wide range of topics, including decarbonising transport. However, transport in London is ultimately devolved to the Mayor of London and TfL.
Rolling out zero-emissions buses across the UK forms part of our Transport Decarbonisation Plan, and London already has the largest electric bus fleet in the UK and one of the largest in Europe. If the Mayor wants to implement a fully electric bus fleet by the 2030s, it is up to the Mayor to find the necessary funding to implement this.
We will invest over £1.3 billion in accelerating the roll out of charging infrastructure over the next four years, targeting support on rapid chargepoints on motorways and major roads, and installing more on-street chargepoints near homes and workplaces to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car.
So far, the £400 million public-private Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund has made three investments which will create 5,000 more rapid chargepoints across the UK and increase provision of on-street residential chargepoints for those without access to private driveways. The On-Street Residential Charging Scheme supports the rollout of local charging and is available to all UK local authorities to provide public chargepoints for their residents without access to private parking. This year there is £20 million available under the scheme and we have committed substantial funding to address this issue throughout this spending review period.
Our forthcoming Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Strategy will define our vision for the continued roll-out of a world-leading charging infrastructure network across the UK and will establish the Government’s expectations for the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders in the planning and deployment of charging infrastructure.
To increase confidence in the charging network and reduce range anxiety the Government consulted on measures to improve the consumer experience of public charging focusing on four key areas including ensuring the network is reliable and opening public EV chargepoint data to enable consumers to locate the right chargepoint for their needs. Our proposals will mean that consumers can easily understand where chargepoints are situated, whether they are working and available, and if they have the payment methods available that they prefer to use. We will publish our government response shortly and we will lay legislation in 2022.
All new EVs can charge on a ‘Type 2 plug’ for slow and fast charging. For rapid charging the choice is between Combine Charging System (CCS) or CHAdeMO. In 2017 we regulated through the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Regulations for all charge points to have at least a Type 2 plug for AC charging or CCS plug for DC charging. Due to our 2017 regulations, and equivalent regulations in other areas of the world, requiring rapid charge points to have CCS, there are now only two EV models are available to buy in the UK with CHAdeMO sockets.
From the driver’s perspective, if they drive a car which has a CCS then they should be able to use any rapid charge point. If they are driving a vehicle that uses a CHAdeMO connector they will be able to use almost all current rapid public chargers, as over 96% rapid charge points come with both CCS and CHAdeMO cables.
No such specific assessment has been made. Our Automotive Transformation Fund will accelerate the shift to zero emission vehicles and deliver support for 40,000 jobs in the automotive sector across the UK by 2030. More widely, decarbonising transport will lead to thousands of jobs being created in transport related green industries. The UK infrastructure sector is growing rapidly and our phase out dates for new petrol and diesel cars and vans have sent a clear signal of the UK’s direction of travel unlocking private sector funding which is expanding chargepoint provision and creating jobs and investment across the country.
Our forthcoming Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy will define our vision for the continued roll-out of a world-leading charging infrastructure network across the UK and will establish the Government’s expectations for the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders in the planning and deployment of charging infrastructure.
For public chargepoints funded with public money, the Government already requires that they meet a strict eligibility criteria. This includes that chargepoints be capable of at least charging those vehicles with a Type 2 connection and that they meet at least the minimum technical specifications required by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles including ensuring chargepoints provide ad-hoc access in line with the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulations 2017.
We want to ensure that all public chargepoints are easy to use and accessible for all motorists who need to use them. The Government has powers under the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 to improve the customer charging experience and increase provision of electric vehicle infrastructure, and stands ready to introduce regulations if they are needed. We recently consulted on improving the consumer experience at public chargepoints. This covered four key areas: making it easier to pay, opening up chargepoint data, using a single payment metric and ensuring a reliable network. The consultation closed on 10 April and we are analysing responses with a view to legislating later in the year.
The UK State Pension is payable worldwide and is up-rated where there is a legal requirement to do so, for example, where UK State Pension recipients are living in countries where there is a reciprocal agreement that provides for up-rating of the UK State Pension. Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, UK State Pension recipients living in the EEA and Switzerland by 31 December 2020 will have their state pensions up-rated for as long as they continue to live there and remain in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement. This will happen even if they claim their pension on or after 1 January 2021, provided they meet the UK State Pension qualifying conditions. For those not within scope of the Withdrawal Agreement, the rules governing up-rating are subject to the negotiations on the Future Relationship with the EU. The UK Government is seeking a reciprocal agreement with the EU which includes state pension up-rating.
It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.
It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.
It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.
In 2018, the United Kingdom National Screening Committee (UK NSC) looked at the evidence for screening for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in newborns and recommended that a population screening programme should not be introduced. The new treatment of nusinersen is still in the early stages and long-term effects to improve symptoms in children with SMA are unknown. The UK NSC is due to review its recommendation in 2021/22 and is actively engaged in discussions with stakeholders.
It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.
The Government’s COVID-19 guidance makes it clear that support groups for mutual aid, including people recovering from addictions, are able to meet in groups up to 15 people. The guidance can be viewed at the following link:
Public Health England published guidance outlining COVID-19 advice for commissioners and service providers involved in assisting people who are dependent on drugs or alcohol or both. It can be viewed at the following link:
The guidance includes advice about meetings of mutual aid and other support groups.
The Iranian Government committed to releasing Morad from prison on indefinite furlough alongside the lifting of his wife, Vida's, travel ban and has failed to honour that commitment. Continuing his horrendous ordeal sends a clear message to the international community that Iran does not honour its commitments. We continue to urge the Iranian authorities at every opportunity to release him immediately and allow his wife to leave Iran. Morad is a tri-national and we are working closely with the United States to secure both his and his wife's permanent release and departure from Iran.
The Business Rates Relief has been directed towards the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors as these are properties that are wholly or mainly being used by visiting members of the public. However, shared office spaces owners who are ineligible for the Local Authority (LA) grant schemes may be eligible for the Discretionary Grant Scheme in England. This has made up to £617m of additional funding available to LAs to enable them to make payments of up to £25,000 to businesses. LAs have received guidance regarding which kinds of businesses should be considered a priority, which includes those in shared offices. LAs may also choose to pay grants to businesses according to local economic need, so long as businesses meet the following criteria:
Small businesses operating out of shared offices also continue to have access to a range of support measures including, but not limited to:
The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible and how to apply -https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.
The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England through business rates relief, given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors. Business rates in Northern Ireland are devolved.
A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday, such as medical service providers, has also been made available. For example, the Government has launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms continue to keep people in employment, and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank. The Government is also deferring VAT payments for this quarter.
Employees on any type of employment contract, including full-time, part-time, agency, flexible and zero-hour contracts are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme providing they were on their employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020, and that HMRC received an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020. Fixed term employees can also be claimed for, and if their contract has not already expired it can be extended or renewed.
If employees were made redundant or stopped working for their employer on or after 28 February 2020, they can be re-employed by their previous employer and put on furlough as long as they were on the employer’s PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020. Employees that started and ended the same contract between 28 February 2020 and 19 March 2020 will not qualify for this scheme. This is not specific to employees on fixed-term contracts, the same would apply to employees on all other contracts.
Guidance for employers can be found at: www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#employees-you-can-claim-for
Those who are not eligible to receive this grant may be able to access other support Government is providing. This includes a package of temporary welfare measures, including increases in the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element; providing local councils an additional £500 million to support the most vulnerable people in society; and providing up to three-month mortgage payment holidays for those struggling with their mortgage payments.
The Government introduced Public Spaces Protection Orders through section 68 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (the ‘2014 Act’) to enable local authorities to tackle anti-social behaviour in public spaces.
The powers in the 2014 Act are local in nature, and it is for local agencies to determine whether their use is appropriate in specific circumstances, as they are best placed to understand the needs of their community and the most appropriate response.
There are no plans to raise the maximum value of fixed penalty notices in relation to Public Space Protection Orders. However, the Home Office does keep such matters under review.
The UK is working with Allies to ensure NATO continues to protect the Euro-Atlantic area from current and future threats. At the Summit on 14 June, leaders agreed new proposals on deterrence and defence, emerging and disruptive technology, resilience, strengthening relationships with NATO Partners and climate security. NATO remains the cornerstone of our defence and the UK is the leading European Ally in the Alliance.
The growth of this sector is important for meeting the needs of the ageing population and supporting our housing supply objectives. We are investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over 5 years, the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade. This includes the new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, where 10 per cent of delivery over the course of the programme will be used to increase the supply of much needed specialist or supported housing, including retirement housing.
We are continuing to work closely with the sector to look at how we can further support its growth.
We have made an additional £500 million available via the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) announced by the Chancellor on 5 January. This builds on the £1.1 billion already allocated following the second lockdown in November 2020.
This further grant funding is designed to support businesses that are severely impacted by the new Covid-19 restrictions. Local authorities have discretion to use this funding to support businesses in the way they see fit, and to determine which businesses are.
Local authorities must be assured that businesses applying for grants: a) have been mandated to close as a result of national restrictions, b) are solvent, c) are is eligible to pay business rates, and d) that the business in question is able to meet any other criteria laid out in the guidance. Where businesses do not meet this criteria, local authorities have the ability to provide discretionary grant funding via the Additional Restrictions Grant.
The Government has listened carefully to the views of the scientific community, in particular the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle the pandemic. SAGE advice continues to inform the decisions made by the Government, and data and scientific advice informing the fight against COVID-19 are published on gov.uk and specific relevant findings are shared in presentations accompanying significant policy announcements.
The Places of Taskforce met on 2 November. In addition, roundtables have been held with our major faith groups to discuss the revised guidance.
Discussions with our faith groups at these meetings, as they have been throughout the pandemic, have proved to be extremely helpful in sharing information with our faith groups, as well as hearing of their concerns, and we will continue to draw on the expertise of Taskforce members.