Fleur Anderson Portrait

Fleur Anderson

Labour - Putney

Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

(since January 2021)

Department Event
Wednesday 12th May 2021
Cabinet Office
Ministerial statement - Main Chamber
Covid-19 update
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Thursday 27th May 2021
09:30
Cabinet Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
27 May 2021, 9:30 a.m.
Cabinet Office (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 28th April 2021
Immigration
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 196 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 270 Noes - 358
Speeches
Tuesday 27th April 2021
Air Pollution: London

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairship, Mrs Murray. I congratulate the hon. Member for Twickenham (Munira Wilson) …

Written Answers
Thursday 29th April 2021
NHS: Procurement
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what Supply Chain Coordination Ltd's policy is on the …
Early Day Motions
Monday 24th February 2020
Clean water and climate change
That this House is very concerned that 2.2 billion people around the world still don’t have a reliable source of …
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
1. Employment and earnings
Until further notice, member of Wandsworth Borough Council, Town Hall, Wandsworth High St, London SW18 2PU. I receive a monthly …
EDM signed
Monday 18th January 2021
Godfrey Colin Cameron
That this House is deeply saddened by news of the death of Godfrey Colin Cameron, a hardworking member of Parliamentary …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Fleur Anderson has voted in 299 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Fleur Anderson 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
Alan Whitehead (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
(13 debate interactions)
Rebecca Pow (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
(11 debate interactions)
Penny Mordaunt (Conservative)
Paymaster General
(9 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for International Trade
(15 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(15 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(14 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Fleur Anderson's debates

Putney 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).

Petition Debates Contributed

We want the Government to commit to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/immunity passport to the British public. Such passports could be used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine, which would be unacceptable.

To not decide to scrap free travel for those who are under 18. As a teenager who has relied so much on free travel, it has allowed for me to go to school without the worry of an extra expense and explore around the beautiful city of London also. Destroying free travel would hurt so many of us.


Latest EDMs signed by Fleur Anderson

14th January 2021
Fleur Anderson signed this EDM on Monday 18th January 2021

Godfrey Colin Cameron

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House is deeply saddened by news of the death of Godfrey Colin Cameron, a hardworking member of Parliamentary security staff and member of the PCS trade union who passed away aged just 55 after contracting covid-19; extends our sincere condolences to his devoted wife Hyacinth, children Leon and …
139 signatures
(Most recent: 8 Feb 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 117
Scottish National Party: 15
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Alba Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
4th May 2020
Fleur Anderson signed this EDM on Wednesday 22nd July 2020

Children and Young Persons

Tabled by: Keir Starmer (Labour - Holborn and St Pancras)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (S.I., 2020, No. 445), dated 21 April 2020, a copy of which was laid before this House on 23 April 2020, be annulled.
48 signatures
(Most recent: 1 Sep 2020)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 42
Liberal Democrat: 4
Green Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Fleur Anderson's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Fleur Anderson, 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.


Fleur Anderson has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Fleur Anderson has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Fleur Anderson has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Fleur Anderson has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


345 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
2 Other Department Questions
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to tackle age discrimination.

The Equality Act 2010 provides protection for adults against direct and indirect age discrimination in employment, the provision of goods, services, public functions and in private clubs. The 2010 Act makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee or a job applicant because of their actual or perceived age or the age of someone they are associated with. Similar rules apply to service providers.

A person who believes that they have experienced discrimination because of age may take their case to an employment tribunal or a County Court (Sherriff’s Court in Scotland) in non-employment cases. The Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS), the helpline for anyone who believes that they have been discriminated against in the provision of goods, services and public functions, can provide free bespoke advice and in-depth support. The EASS can be contacted via its website - www.equalityadvisoryservice.com, by telephone on 0808 800 0082, or by text phone on 0808 800 0084. Acas can assist in relation to employment discrimination issues, their number is 0800 464 0979.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) also deals with discrimination complaints relating to employment. Acas provides authoritative and impartial advice free to employees or employers via their website (http://www.acas.org.uk) and telephone helpline 0300 123 1190 or text relay service 18001 0300 123 1190. Acas also provides employees and employers with Early Conciliation to help them resolve/settle their workplace dispute without going to court.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of commissioning an inquiry on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on frail and elderly people.

The Government is putting its full efforts into fighting the virus and remains committed to supporting all people during this time, including the frail and elderly.

This includes the work I am carrying out with the Race Disparity Unit to examine the disparities in the risks and outcomes of COVID-19 following the PHE Review.

The terms of reference can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/next-steps-for-work-on-covid-19-disparities-announced and age is one of the factors being considered.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the Government's policy is on the procurement of products that contain cotton from Xinjiang, China; when that policy was introduced; where that policy is stated; and whether that policy includes mandatory provisions; and to which parts of the public sector that policy applies.

The Cabinet Office has published commercial policy and guidance setting out the steps that all Government departments must take to identify and mitigate modern slavery and labour abuse risks throughout the commercial life cycle focussing on the areas of highest risk. This policy is mandatory for all Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies. The policy can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0519-tackling-modern-slavery-in-government-supply-chains

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to incorporate workplace rights and protections into Government procurement policy.

Regulation 32 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 sets out the grounds in which contracting authorities can procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances. In our recently published Green Paper, we have set out our proposals to clarify these rules, learning from the experience in the pandemic.

The process of implementing the Boardman recommendations began immediately, and the programme is being assured by the Cabinet Office Audit and Risk Committee. We committed to provide an update on implementation six months after publication.

All G-Cloud suppliers must publicly show their security certifications, standards and approach to personnel security on the Digital Marketplace. Suppliers must also maintain physical and IT security that follows good industry practice to ensure there is no unauthorised access to any confidential information and data. Along with this, suppliers must inform Crown Commercial Service of any data breaches within 48 hours and Crown Commercial Service has the power to undertake security audits of suppliers.

Transforming Government Procurement will make it easier to take into account issues relating to workplace rights and protections through aligning the value for money definition with that of the Green Book, and removing in certain circumstances the need for wider policy considerations to be linked to the subject matter of the contract.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to prevent data breaches when awarding contracts for cloud services to multi-national corporations.

Regulation 32 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 sets out the grounds in which contracting authorities can procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances. In our recently published Green Paper, we have set out our proposals to clarify these rules, learning from the experience in the pandemic.

The process of implementing the Boardman recommendations began immediately, and the programme is being assured by the Cabinet Office Audit and Risk Committee. We committed to provide an update on implementation six months after publication.

All G-Cloud suppliers must publicly show their security certifications, standards and approach to personnel security on the Digital Marketplace. Suppliers must also maintain physical and IT security that follows good industry practice to ensure there is no unauthorised access to any confidential information and data. Along with this, suppliers must inform Crown Commercial Service of any data breaches within 48 hours and Crown Commercial Service has the power to undertake security audits of suppliers.

Transforming Government Procurement will make it easier to take into account issues relating to workplace rights and protections through aligning the value for money definition with that of the Green Book, and removing in certain circumstances the need for wider policy considerations to be linked to the subject matter of the contract.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress the Government has made on implementing the recommendations of the Boardman Review on Cabinet Office procurement processes, published on 8 December 2020.

Regulation 32 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 sets out the grounds in which contracting authorities can procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances. In our recently published Green Paper, we have set out our proposals to clarify these rules, learning from the experience in the pandemic.

The process of implementing the Boardman recommendations began immediately, and the programme is being assured by the Cabinet Office Audit and Risk Committee. We committed to provide an update on implementation six months after publication.

All G-Cloud suppliers must publicly show their security certifications, standards and approach to personnel security on the Digital Marketplace. Suppliers must also maintain physical and IT security that follows good industry practice to ensure there is no unauthorised access to any confidential information and data. Along with this, suppliers must inform Crown Commercial Service of any data breaches within 48 hours and Crown Commercial Service has the power to undertake security audits of suppliers.

Transforming Government Procurement will make it easier to take into account issues relating to workplace rights and protections through aligning the value for money definition with that of the Green Book, and removing in certain circumstances the need for wider policy considerations to be linked to the subject matter of the contract.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether there are minimum capital requirements criteria under the Government's emergency procurement rules for the awarding of procurement contracts.

Regulation 32 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 sets out the grounds in which contracting authorities can procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances. In our recently published Green Paper, we have set out our proposals to clarify these rules, learning from the experience in the pandemic.

The process of implementing the Boardman recommendations began immediately, and the programme is being assured by the Cabinet Office Audit and Risk Committee. We committed to provide an update on implementation six months after publication.

All G-Cloud suppliers must publicly show their security certifications, standards and approach to personnel security on the Digital Marketplace. Suppliers must also maintain physical and IT security that follows good industry practice to ensure there is no unauthorised access to any confidential information and data. Along with this, suppliers must inform Crown Commercial Service of any data breaches within 48 hours and Crown Commercial Service has the power to undertake security audits of suppliers.

Transforming Government Procurement will make it easier to take into account issues relating to workplace rights and protections through aligning the value for money definition with that of the Green Book, and removing in certain circumstances the need for wider policy considerations to be linked to the subject matter of the contract.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reversing the requirements for UK small businesses that only sell their products within the UK to have an EU address on products for goods that will subsequently be sold within Northern Ireland.

There is no requirement for an EU Member State address for any goods to be sold in Northern Ireland. Where rules applied by the Protocol mean that manufactured goods must be labelled with importer information in addition to manufacturer details, the relevant address may be either in Northern Ireland or the EU.

In the case of food labelling, specifically the requirement for a food operator address, a proportionate and risk-based enforcement approach is in any case being implemented to support businesses. Full guidance on the specific rules that apply in each case is available on gov.uk.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress his Department has made on guaranteeing interviews for veterans applying to the civil service; and what the timeframe is for the roll-out of the pilot scheme for that policy.

As part of the Government’s commitment to making the Civil Service a Great Place to Work for Veterans any veteran applying for a Civil Service post will be interviewed, as long as they meet the minimum criteria for the role. Veterans can already apply to Civil Service roles and the addition of this scheme will further open up a broad range of exciting opportunities in the Civil Service, alongside existing schemes such as the Going Forward Into Employment Programme, and make it easier for the Civil Service to benefit from the talents and skills that veterans have to offer. We are committed to rolling out the pilot for this new scheme as soon as we can. Further details will be announced in the usual way.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure adequate Parliamentary scrutiny of the future trading relationship with the EU.

Further to the comments I made during the debate on the EU-UK’s Partnership in the House on 4 June 2020, this Government is determined to give Parliament appropriate opportunity for scrutiny.

On 27 February the Government laid a Command Paper before Parliament setting out its approach to negotiations. On 19 May the Government published 12 draft legal texts which represent the legal articulation of the document published on 27 February and which have been used in discussions with the EU.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has appeared before the Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union three times since negotiations began.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions the Government has had with the EU on extending the transition period in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave to PQ 28064 on 11 March 2020.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what will replace the Green Homes Grant scheme.

Following a review, the Green Homes Grant Vouchers scheme closed to new applications on 31 March 2021. We will refocus efforts and funding on alternative approaches which will maximise delivery of home retrofits for consumers who are most in need.

The Government will be expanding its funding commitment in financial year 21/22 for both the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and the Local Authority Delivery element of the Green Homes Grant scheme with £300 million of new funding and up to £100 million of recycled funding from the Green Homes Grant Vouchers, depending on take up.

All valid applications made to the voucher scheme up to 31st March 2021 will be processed, and all vouchers issued will be honoured.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who will deliver the planned training courses advising business and organisations on how to submit an honours nomination.

The Department wants to raise awareness of the honours process to encourage the nomination of individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to public life and to our economic future. We do not provide a training course on how to submit an honours nomination.

Prior to the publication of an honours list the Department will write to stakeholders known to BEIS inviting them to consider nominating individuals who they think are worthy of recognition and, where appropriate, to encourage their members to consider nominations.

Several hundred stakeholders are contacted including businesses, business representatives, employee representatives, academics, science and technology representatives and charities. Our aim is to ensure that the honours system reflects our diverse society and is a source of inspiration to others. The stakeholders who receive a letter are representative of a wide range of sectors, fields, and communities from across the UK.

In order to support our awareness raising effort, Cabinet Office and BEIS officials will host three webinars on 29th and 31st March. The webinars will provide a brief overview of the honours system, provide an opportunity to hear from recipients of honours and cover the guidance about how to write a nomination that can be found at: www.gov.uk/honours.

The webinars are open to anyone and people wanting to attend can register on the Eventbrite internet page by searching ‘honours’. The same material will be covered at each webinar.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will set out the content of the training courses advising businesses and organisations on how submit an honours nomination.

The Department wants to raise awareness of the honours process to encourage the nomination of individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to public life and to our economic future. We do not provide a training course on how to submit an honours nomination.

Prior to the publication of an honours list the Department will write to stakeholders known to BEIS inviting them to consider nominating individuals who they think are worthy of recognition and, where appropriate, to encourage their members to consider nominations.

Several hundred stakeholders are contacted including businesses, business representatives, employee representatives, academics, science and technology representatives and charities. Our aim is to ensure that the honours system reflects our diverse society and is a source of inspiration to others. The stakeholders who receive a letter are representative of a wide range of sectors, fields, and communities from across the UK.

In order to support our awareness raising effort, Cabinet Office and BEIS officials will host three webinars on 29th and 31st March. The webinars will provide a brief overview of the honours system, provide an opportunity to hear from recipients of honours and cover the guidance about how to write a nomination that can be found at: www.gov.uk/honours.

The webinars are open to anyone and people wanting to attend can register on the Eventbrite internet page by searching ‘honours’. The same material will be covered at each webinar.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what criteria were used to select the businesses and organisations that were contacted with the opportunity to attend training courses on submitting an honours nomination.

The Department wants to raise awareness of the honours process to encourage the nomination of individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to public life and to our economic future. We do not provide a training course on how to submit an honours nomination.

Prior to the publication of an honours list the Department will write to stakeholders known to BEIS inviting them to consider nominating individuals who they think are worthy of recognition and, where appropriate, to encourage their members to consider nominations.

Several hundred stakeholders are contacted including businesses, business representatives, employee representatives, academics, science and technology representatives and charities. Our aim is to ensure that the honours system reflects our diverse society and is a source of inspiration to others. The stakeholders who receive a letter are representative of a wide range of sectors, fields, and communities from across the UK.

In order to support our awareness raising effort, Cabinet Office and BEIS officials will host three webinars on 29th and 31st March. The webinars will provide a brief overview of the honours system, provide an opportunity to hear from recipients of honours and cover the guidance about how to write a nomination that can be found at: www.gov.uk/honours.

The webinars are open to anyone and people wanting to attend can register on the Eventbrite internet page by searching ‘honours’. The same material will be covered at each webinar.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish a list of businesses and organisations that have been contacted by his Department with the opportunity to attend training courses on how to submit an honours nomination.

The Department wants to raise awareness of the honours process to encourage the nomination of individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to public life and to our economic future. We do not provide a training course on how to submit an honours nomination.

Prior to the publication of an honours list the Department will write to stakeholders known to BEIS inviting them to consider nominating individuals who they think are worthy of recognition and, where appropriate, to encourage their members to consider nominations.

Several hundred stakeholders are contacted including businesses, business representatives, employee representatives, academics, science and technology representatives and charities. Our aim is to ensure that the honours system reflects our diverse society and is a source of inspiration to others. The stakeholders who receive a letter are representative of a wide range of sectors, fields, and communities from across the UK.

In order to support our awareness raising effort, Cabinet Office and BEIS officials will host three webinars on 29th and 31st March. The webinars will provide a brief overview of the honours system, provide an opportunity to hear from recipients of honours and cover the guidance about how to write a nomination that can be found at: www.gov.uk/honours.

The webinars are open to anyone and people wanting to attend can register on the Eventbrite internet page by searching ‘honours’. The same material will be covered at each webinar.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of requiring the country of origin to be displayed on (a) textiles and (b) other consumer goods.

Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, traders are banned from using misleading statements about the geographical or commercial origin of products including in response to requests for information by consumers. Aside from certain specified products such as food there is no requirement for goods to be labelled with their country of origin. The Government does not have plans to introduce such a requirement.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many applications for Green Homes Vouchers have been (a) received and (b) successful; and what the financial value is of those successful vouchers in the 2020-21 financial year.

As of 8th February, 71,953 applications have been received for the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme, with 22,165 vouchers having been issued to customers. The value of these vouchers is currently £94.1 million.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing dry cleaners, which are currently classed as essential retail, to access a wider range of support funds in response to a loss of income resulting from the covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The Government continues to offer an unprecedented support package for business including loan schemes, grant funding, tax deferrals, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all of which have been designed to be accessible to businesses in most sectors and across the UK.

Local authorities have been allocated a further £500m in discretionary funding via the Additional Restrictions Grant to support those businesses that are significantly impacted by the restrictions even though they may not be required to close. This is in addition to £1.1bn already allocated in November 2020. Local authorities have discretion to use this funding to support businesses in the way they see fit. For example, this could include supporting businesses such as dry cleaners or those which supply the retail sector.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support he is offering to businesses that have been allowed to remain open but suffered a significant loss in income due to reduced trade and footfall during the covid-19 outbreak.

Local Authorities have been provided with funding via the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). The ARG is a discretionary scheme aimed to support businesses, including those that have not been mandated to close but have had their trade adversely affected by the nationalised restrictions.

Local Authorities have been allocated a further £500m in discretionary funding via the ARG, in addition to £1.1bn already allocated in November 2020. Local Authorities can use the ARG to support businesses in their local area, as they see fit.

During the period of localised restrictions, Local Authorities were provided with similar discretionary funding via the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) when entering Tier 2 (High) or Tier 3 (Very High) restrictions.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will enable open air car wash businesses which operate safely to remain open during the covid-19 outbreak.

Only automated car washes can operate during the current National lockdown restrictions.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will temporarily suspend the requirement of a 14-day refund period stipulated in travel packages regulations for small travel companies unable to process refunds.

The Government has no plans to suspend consumers’ right to a refund within 14 days for package holidays. The Government recognises the challenges some businesses are experiencing in processing refunds for cancelled travel arrangements, andtravel businesses are encouraged to utilise the generous and comprehensive financial support packages put in place by the Government to help minimise the disruption caused by COVID-19, which includes two business interruption loan guarantee schemes, grant funding, tax deferrals and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Many travel businesses are already offering consumers credit notes or alternative dates, which consumers are able accept if they choose to. However, the Government has always been clear that consumers must be offered a genuine choice between a refund or a credit note and be able to choose a refund if that is their preference.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will suspend Sunday trading hours and extend them in December 2020 to allow for social distancing during the Christmas shopping rush on the limited number of Sundays between the end of lockdown and Christmas.

The Government has regular conversations with the retail sector and other key stakeholders,?and many have advocated a temporary change to?Sunday trading rules to?help manage social distancing.? We currently have no plans to change the legislation,?but?we will keep measures like this under review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the eligibility for the Green Homes Grant to all homes without wall or floor insulation.

The Green Homes Grant voucher scheme is open to owner occupiers, park homeowners and landlords who let privately or through the social rented sector. Solid wall, cavity wall and under floor insulation are all eligible for grant funding as primary measures, although the suitability of each type of insulation will vary by property.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether (a) lettings agents and (b) other independent businesses, required by covid-19 guidance to restrict activity, that are in shared access premises qualify for the Retail and Hospitality grant if they pay business rates and meet the relevant thresholds.

Businesses in England that would have been in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) on 11 March?with?a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for the following cash grants per property via the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund:

  • Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to?and including?£15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.
  • Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

Only businesses with their own assessment for business rates and eligible for the Expanded Retail Discount, with a rateable value below £51,000, will be eligible for the grant. Businesses which are not ratepayers are not eligible.

We understand for some shared space/service offices, individual users do have their own rating assessment and may be eligible. In these cases we encourage landlords to support local government in ensuring the grant reaches eligible ratepayers.

In addition, on?1 May,?the Government announced that up to £617 million has been made available to local authorities?in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants. The?Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs that are not liable for business rates or rates reliefs.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has established a second wave business support plan to prepare for a potential second wave of covid-19 (a) infections and (b) lockdowns.

The Department is working with the Department of Health and Social Care and Joint Biosecurity Centre to monitor Covid-19 incidence rates and the need for local responses.

We have pressed for a smarter, more targeted approach to local lockdowns to help reduce business impacts, including shaping the new, targeted regulations that allow local authorities to avoid widespread business closures.

We will take decisions on further business support for local lockdowns on the basis of evidence of need, recognising that the Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the feasibility of enabling beauty salons that have adequate (a) safety measures and (b) personal protective equipment to re-open as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We have now provided close contact services – like beauty salons – in England, except Leicester, with the certainty they need to reopen from Monday 13 July, subject to them following the COVID-secure guidelines.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last met with the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has regular discussions with Ministerial colleagues on a number of issues.

As the largest Official Development Assistance (ODA) spending department after the Department for International Development (DfID), the Department works very closely with DfID on delivery of its ODA programmes.

The Secretary of State recently met with Lord Goldsmith to discuss linkages between his Department, DfID, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs regarding ODA spending on climate policy.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will extend the Coronavirus Small Business Grant scheme to all active businesses, including (a) limited companies and (b) sole traders registered with HMRC who are not eligible for business rates relief.

The two existing business grants schemes have helped support many thousands of small businesses. In order to ensure that Local Authorities can help businesses that are not eligible for the grant schemes, the Government has allocated an additional £617 million funding to Local Authorities in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants.

The following businesses should be considered as a priority for these funds:

· Businesses in a range of shared workspaces;

· Regular market traders who do not have their own business rates assessment;

· B&Bs which pay Council Tax instead of business rates; and

· Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to prevent panic buying.

The UK is well prepared for this type of outbreak; we are taking all necessary precautions to protect the public, such as engaging with industry and businesses to discuss their preparedness planning. We will continue to work closely with sectors, companies, and business representative organisations to ensure we are fully aware of the issues and how to best provide support.

In order to help the industry respond to Covid-19, we will work with local authorities to extend delivery hours for supermarkets and other food retailers. This will allow retailers to increase the frequency of their deliveries and move stock quickly from warehouses to shelves.

The Government has also announced a temporary relaxation of the enforcement of EU drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland, and Wales. This extends to drivers of vehicles involved in the delivery of food, non-food (personal care and household paper and cleaning), and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. Additionally, we have announced a temporary relaxation of drivers’ hours, allowing delivery drivers to work the hours needed to meet the demand for home deliveries.

The Government has also announced the temporary relaxation of elements of competition law to allow supermarkets and retailers to work together. Legislation is being laid to amend elements of the Competition Act 1998, which prevents certain types of anti-competitive behaviour.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the insurance sector on extending compensation for individuals affected by covid-19-related cancellations not covered by their insurance policy.

The Government is well prepared for this type of outbreak. We will continue to take all necessary precautions, such as engaging with key industry partners and employer organisations, to understand the potential effect of Covid-19 on workers and to discuss their preparedness planning. The Secretary of State is frequently communicating with Business Representative Organisations and businesses, including the Association of British Insurers, to gain intelligence on Covid-19’s impacts and share the latest guidance and information with them.

On 17 March, the Government announced unprecedented support for businesses and workers to protect against the economic emergency caused by Covid-19. This includes unlimited loans and guarantees to support firms and help them manage their cashflows through this period. The Government will also make an initial £330 billion of guarantees available – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with multi-national corporations on their role in reducing carbon emissions.

We are committed to delivering on our world-leading target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from across the UK economy by 2050. The UK was the first major economy to legislate for a net zero target, which will end our contribution to climate change.

With our expert scientists, business leaders and innovators, the UK has already excelled at cutting emissions while creating wealth and we will continue to engage with domestic and international businesses of all sizes to look at opportunities to reduce their carbon emissions and also invest in and develop low carbon technologies, services and systems.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will reintroduce subsidies for home solar panel installation.

The cost of household solar panels has more than halved since 2011. Government support through the Feed-in Tariff between 2010 and 2019 supported over 830,000 small solar projects – and helped drive this reduction in cost.

Now, under the Smart Export Guarantee, we have given scale low-carbon electricity generators, such as?homes with?solar?panels, the right to?be paid for the renewable electricity they export to the grid. This reflects our continued commitment to ensuring that low carbon electricity – whether at the household level or the national level –?is?central to the?transition to?the?smart?and flexible?energy systems of the future. Unlike the previous Feed-in Tariff scheme, the Smart Export Guarantee is a market-driven mechanism and paves the way to projects being deployed without subsidies.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with (a) social media, (b) gaming and (c) e-sports companies on cross-platform online harms risks; and what plans he has to tackle those risks in the proposed online safety Bill.

We have published the interim codes alongside the full government response to the Online Harms White Paper to provide companies with our expectations of what they should be doing to address Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and terrorist content. The interim codes are voluntary and will enable companies to take swift action in tackling the most serious of online harms before the regulator is established.

We engaged extensively with industry stakeholders, civil society organisations and non-government organisations in the development of the interim codes.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with a wide range of stakeholders on a variety of issues, including cross-platform online harms risks. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website. The Online Safety Bill, which will be ready this year, will require all in scope companies to put in place systems and processes to keep their users safe.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with (a) gaming companies, (b) e-sports companies and (c) gaming ancillary chat platforms on (i) online harms and (ii) those companies' plans to improve (A) user safety and (B) child protection in line with the Interim Codes of Practice on online safety, published on 15 December 2020; and if he will make a statement.

We have published the interim codes alongside the full government response to the Online Harms White Paper to provide companies with our expectations of what they should be doing to address Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and terrorist content. The interim codes are voluntary and will enable companies to take swift action in tackling the most serious of online harms before the regulator is established.

We engaged extensively with industry stakeholders, civil society organisations and non-government organisations in the development of the interim codes.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with a wide range of stakeholders on a variety of issues, including cross-platform online harms risks. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website. The Online Safety Bill, which will be ready this year, will require all in scope companies to put in place systems and processes to keep their users safe.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps he has taken to regulate online rental companies that accept bookings in cities that are subject to stay at home orders.

Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs, short term lets and caravan parks may remain open for the specific reasons set out in law, including where guests are unable to return to their main residence, use that guest accommodation as their main residence, need accommodation while moving house, are self-isolating as required by law, or would otherwise be made homeless as a result of the accommodation closing.

As such, accommodation providers have not been required to stop accepting bookings under the current national restrictions, nor have the online platforms that facilitate those bookings.

Accommodation businesses should take all reasonable steps to encourage guests to adhere to government restrictions, including informing guests of restrictions when taking bookings and communicating to all customers. We expect people to act responsibly and in line with the law. Accommodation businesses should not intentionally facilitate bookings that do not adhere to government restrictions. Those not complying with these responsibilities may be at risk of the premises being closed.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the health risks of allowing tennis courts and golf clubs to re-open during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

Sports and physical activity are crucial for our mental and physical health and I recognise golf and tennis are a popular choice for many to get active.

Nobody wanted to be in the position of having to introduce further National Restrictions. However as the Prime Minister has said, with the virus spreading faster than expected we cannot allow our health system to be overwhelmed. This is something we cannot allow to happen and is why the current national lockdown was introduced.

The current restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions and in order for these measures to have the greatest impact, we will all need to sacrifice doing some things that we would otherwise like to do, for a short period of time. These regulations were voted on by the House on 6 January and are expected to last until the situation in hospitals improves.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 14th December 2020 to Question 127515, what additional funding allocations he plans to make available for cinemas seeking financial relief as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The government recognises the significant cultural and economic value of cinemas, and has supported them through both sector-specific and economy-wide measures. In the first round of the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, more than 200 independent cinemas have so far received funding from a £30m pot. This funding was administered by the BFI on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, as part of the biggest ever single investment in this country’s cultural sectors.

Grants have been awarded to cinema sites in every corner of the country, with cinemas outside London benefitting from 78% of funding to date. Further to this, we announced in December that cinemas will be able to apply for another £14 million in grants as part of the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund in 2021. This will support cinemas as they transition back to a viable and sustainable way of operating in the months ahead. Cinemas have also been eligible to apply to the second round of Arts Council England’s Repayable Finance scheme, with a total of £100m available.

Cinemas have been able to benefit from the further extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until 30 April 2021, which sees employees receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. In addition, the government has supported cinemas through the VAT cut on tickets and concessions and a business rates holiday. In light of recent tightening in restrictions, businesses in England that are forced to close will receive up to £3,000 for each 28 day period affected. We have also recently announced that businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors can apply for a one-off grant worth up to £9,000 per property.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what targeted support the Government is providing to the events and exhibitions sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are aware that the events and exhibition sector, as well as other sectors, has been severely impacted by Government measures to control the spread of Covid-19.

Events businesses have been able to access a number of the Government’s support measures throughout this period. In the context of new national restrictions, events businesses and individuals can continue to seek support in the form of various government-backed loans, new business grants and the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes. The recently announced discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant guidance for Local Authorities specifically refers to businesses in the events sector.

We are engaging with stakeholders, including through the Tourism Industry Council and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to assess how we can best support the sector’s safe reopening. The business events pilots we carried out in September will ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help larger events reopen when it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will provide a timetable for the resumption of conferences and exhibitions.

We are aware that many in the sector support the notion of publishing a timetable for reopening conferences and exhibitions.

We continue to engage with stakeholders, including through the Tourism Industry Council and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to assess how we can best support the sector’s safe reopening. The business events pilots we carried out in September will ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help larger events reopen when it is safe to do so.

We also recognise that the new national restrictions will have a significant impact on jobs and the economy, as well as on mental health and wellbeing. We’ve confirmed that there will be an extensive package of financial support in place, including the extension of various government-backed loans, new business grants and the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether outdoor tennis played by people from (a) one household or (b) different households respecting social distancing guidelines is possible during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

Sport and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus.

Nobody wanted to be in the position of having to introduce further National Restrictions. However as the Prime Minister said, with the virus spreading faster than expected we cannot allow our health system to be overwhelmed. Therefore, from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December indoor and outdoor leisure including tennis courts will need to close. The National Restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions.

In order for these measures to have the greatest impact, we will all need to sacrifice doing some things that we would otherwise like to do, for a short period of time. As soon as we're in a position to start lifting restrictions, grassroots sports will be one of the first to return.

People are still allowed to leave their homes for exercise and recreation outdoors, with their household or alone, or with one person from another household or support bubble.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of enabling amateur music groups to resume rehearsals and performances during the covid-19 outbreak.

In Medium Local Covid Alert Level areas (Tier 1) it is against the law to gather in groups of more than 6, unless everyone is from the same household and support bubble. In High (Tier 2) and Very High (Tier 3) areas, it is against the law to gather indoors in groups which do not consist only of the same household and support bubble. A number of exemptions apply. For example, some activities - such as those organised for under-18s including education or training supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities - are exempt.

In addition, in a COVID-secure venue or public outdoor place, non-professional performing arts activity, including choirs, orchestras or drama groups can continue to rehearse or perform together where this is planned activity in line with the performing arts guidance and if they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction between separate and distinct groups of no more than 6 (In Medium areas and outdoors) or individual households (in High and Very High areas) at any time (depending on Local Covid Alert Level restrictions). If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups (depending on Local Covid Alert Level restrictions) - including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising - then such non-professional activity should not take place. Local Covid Alert Level guidance (Medium, High, Very High) provides details on group size.

We will continue to work with the Performing Arts sector to understand how the new regulations affect those engaging in activity. We have always been clear that the easing of restrictions depends on the prevalence of COVID-19.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the planned timescale is for allowing (a) conferences and (b) exhibitions to be held during the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise the events industry’s disappointment at the delayed reopening of large business conferences and exhibitions.

We have always been clear that our roadmap to recovery is dependent on continued progress against the virus. Due to the sharp rise in cases over recent weeks, we needed to pause the planned 1st October reopening of business conferences and exhibitions.

Meetings of up to 30 for training, education and work purposes can still take place in permitted venues, as per the Covid-19 Secure guidance for the visitor economy. Since 11 July, a range of outdoor events have been able to take place, although again this is subject to COVID-secure guidelines.

We are also aware that many in the sector support the notion of a publishing a timescale for reopening events. We continue to engage with stakeholders, including through the Visitor Economy Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to assess how we can best support the sector’s safe reopening. The business events pilots we carried out in September will ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help larger events reopen when it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what financial support he is providing to the events and exhibitions sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are aware that the events and exhibition sector, as well as other sectors, has been severely impacted by Government measures to control the spread of Covid-19.

We also recognise that the new national restrictions will have a significant impact on jobs and the economy, as well as on mental health and wellbeing. We’ve confirmed that there will be a full package of financial support in place, with the Job Retention Scheme extended for this period of lockdown. Businesses can continue to apply for government-backed loans, and self-employed individuals can access the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

We continue to engage with stakeholders, including through the Tourism Industry Council and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to monitor the situation facing the sector. The business events pilots we carried out in September will ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help larger events reopen when it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to permit the reopening of (a) small tuition and (b) therapy swimming pools as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased; and whether the reopening of those pools will be earlier than the reopening of larger leisure centre swimming pools.

The government recognises the importance of re-opening our indoor and outdoor pools and we agree that swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy. The consideration of different venues and the activities involved are underpinned by an understanding of the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with particular activities. There are concerns about transmission around points of contact within such facilities, like changing rooms due to the high volume of contacts. As such, we need to provide reassurance that these facilities will be safe, and are working hard to achieve this in the coming weeks.

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

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether dance studios can reopen for educational activities for school children if they adhere to the same covid-19 social distancing measures as schools.

A dance school (or other sport activity for children) which operates for fewer than 18 hours per week would generally be considered to be an out-of-school setting. As the Prime Minister confirmed in his announcement on 23 June, providers who run community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision for children can operate over the summer holiday, with safety measures in place. Providers of these settings have been able to open since 4 July, provided that they follow the protective measures set out by government. However, providers should check the latest government guidelines on which businesses and venues can open and for which purposes as some premises may only be able to open for certain limited purposes.

Protective measures guidance for community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Providers who offer indoor sports activities for children should refer to the guidance for Keeping workers / volunteers and customers safe during COVID-19 for providers of grassroots sports and gym / leisure facilities. As announced on the 9 July, indoor gyms, sports courts and fitness and dance studios will be able to reopen from 25 July. They cannot be used for holiday clubs and activities for children until that point.

Sports activities that would typically take place in a gym, sports venue, or a fitness or dancing studio are permitted to take place in any venue legally able to open, such as an indoor community facility, subject to DfE guidance on protective measures being followed.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he last met with the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

I have regular discussions with Ministerial colleagues on the full range of our international activity, including through Official Development Assistance (ODA). My Department supports international development through excellent ODA projects such as our Cultural Protection Fund and the International Tech Hubs programme. I welcome the creation of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and will continue to work closely with Ministerial colleagues to promote the UK's interests around the world.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with broadband providers on ensuring service reliability whilst social distancing is being advised.

The industry has well established business continuity arrangements to ensure that the sector remains resilient. DCMS is working with the industry and Ofcom to closely monitor such arrangements.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to independently regulate the media.

Ofcom is the independent regulator of television and radio, which sets rules for licensed broadcasters to meet under the Communications Act 2003 and Broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996. The Government will continue to ensure that Ofcom has the right balance of tools and powers to effectively regulate broadcasters.

There exists an independent self-regulatory system for the press. The majority of traditional news publishers—including 95% of national newspapers by circulation—are members of IPSO. A small number of publishers have joined Impress, while others have chosen to stay outside either self-regulator with their own detailed self-regulatory arrangements.

We have recently published an initial government response to the public consultation on last year’s Online Harms White Paper. Our plans for legislation will make companies more responsible for their users’ safety online, especially children, and will help build trust in digital markets. Online Harms proposals do not seek to regulate journalistic content. Full details about an exemption for journalistic content will be published in the full Government Response to the Online Harms Consultation later this year.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

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 (Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implementing a covid-19 recovery plan for disabled children and their families.

We are committed to helping all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), to make up learning lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have plans for COVID-19 recovery, which we are continuing to develop. As part of this, both special schools and alternative provision (AP) settings will be able to access funding to provide summer schools and the National Tutoring Programme, and we recognise the additional costs associated with offering provision to pupils in specialist settings. This means that eligible pupils in special schools, special units in mainstream primary and secondary schools and AP settings will attract a higher rate of the new one-off Recovery Premium funding worth £302 million, as well as funding for summer schools. We have consistently prioritised children who attend specialist settings in our Recovery Premiums to schools by providing additional uplifts both in 2020 and in 2021.

Young people with SEND aged 19 to 24 who have an education, health and care plan will be eligible for support via the 16 to 19 tuition fund, where they meet the fund criteria. Providers are asked to have regard to the needs of students with SEND when prioritising students that would benefit most for small group tuition. Furthermore, the proposals to support early language and literacy catch-up will benefit all children, including those with SEND.

£200 million will be available to all secondary schools, including specialist settings, to deliver face-to-face summer schools. Schools will be able to target provision based on pupils’ needs. The size and shape of the summer schools will be decided by school leaders who know best what a most effective summer school will look like for their pupils, allowing them to tailor support for pupils, including those with SEND.

Sir Kevan Collins has also been appointed as the Education Recovery Commissioner. He is considering how schools and the system can more effectively target resources and support at pupils in greatest need.

The department will continue to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent COVID-19 recovery plans on all pupils, including those with SEND, to ensure that it targets support across the system most effectively.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many false positives from lateral flow tests have been reported by schools; and what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of changing the guidance to allow a correct negative from a subsequent PCR test to be allowed to reduce the number of pupils being sent home.

The Government has removed confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for lateral flow tests taken at test sites following advice from Public Health England that, when COVID-19 prevalence rates are high, the performance of lateral flow devices (LFDs) and PCRs are broadly comparable when used at test sites, significantly reducing the need for routine confirmatory testing.

All positive results from rapid tests undertaken at home do need to be confirmed with a standard PCR test. Despite the low risk of false positives, this requirement is in place because tests at home are not conducted in a controlled environment with trained staff. When testing at the home, the individual should report positive, negative and void results to the school/college. If the result is positive, the individual and close contacts should isolate, and the school/college should help with contact tracing. The individual will also need to arrange a PCR test either online or via 119 to confirm the result. If the PCR test is negative, it overrides the LFD home test, and a child can return to school.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether there is an exemptions from the requirement for children to attend school if they live with a parent who is clinically extremely vulnerable who is shielding during the covid-19 outbreak.

It is important that children attend school for their education, well-being, mental health and long-term development. School attendance is mandatory and children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable should still attend school. This position is informed by the latest medical evidence and has been agreed with the Deputy Chief Medical Officer.

The Department has asked schools to continue to implement a range of protective measures to ensure they are as safe as possible. Regular testing of children in schools will further reduce the risk of transmission. Most clinically extremely vulnerable adults will now have had at least one dose of the vaccine.

Where parents are anxious about their child's attendance, they should speak to their child's school about their concerns and discuss the protective measures that have been put in place to reduce the risk. They should also discuss other measures that can be put in place to ensure that their children can regularly attend school.

As usual, schools are also able, in exceptional circumstances, to grant leaves of absence to pupils. Schools should consider applications for leaves of absence from parents on an individual basis, taking into account the specific facts and circumstances, and the relevant background context behind the request. Where leave is granted, we would expect this to be for a limited period of time and reviewed on a regular basis.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many universities have adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism; and what action is being taken against those universities that have not adopted that definition.

The government has asked all English higher education providers registered with the Office for Students (OfS) to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. The IHRA definition is an important tool in tackling antisemitism. Adopting this widely recognised definition sends a strong signal that higher education providers take these issues seriously. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to higher education leaders, most recently in October 2020, to reiterate the importance of the definition and to urge all providers to consider adopting it.

The government is pleased to report that at least 91 providers have now adopted the definition, with many more preparing to adopt. The decision on adoption of the definition rests with individual providers, but the government will continue to urge them to adopt the definition, and ensure that higher education is a genuinely fulfilling and welcoming experience for everyone.

I am proud that so many providers have taken a positive step towards eradicating antisemitism by adopting the IHRA definition, but further progress is still needed to stamp it out. This is why, in the Secretary of State’s most recent strategic guidance letter to the OfS, the government asked the OfS to undertake a scoping exercise, to identify providers which are reluctant to adopt the definition. The letter asked them to consider introducing mandatory reporting of antisemitic incident numbers by providers, with the aim of ensuring a robust evidence base, which the OfS can then use to effectively regulate in this area.

The Secretary of State also asked the OfS to ensure that, if antisemitic incidents do occur at a provider, they should consider if it is relevant in a particular case whether the provider has adopted the IHRA definition when considering what sanctions, including monetary penalties, would be appropriate to apply.

We will continue to work across government to ensure that racism and religious hatred of any kind is not tolerated anywhere, including in our world-leading universities.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether safeguarding measures have been considered and implemented for those returning international boarding school pupils made to quarantine in hotels.

Arrangements for the quarantine of international boarders attending schools in England should be in place before boarding school pupils travel. Pupils can serve their quarantine within their boarding school (although different arrangements apply depending on whether they have travelled from a ‘red list’ country or not). Boarding school pupils have been able to return to the UK early so that they could serve the required quarantine period before school started on 8 March 2021.

Arrangement for boarders arriving from non-red list countries are laid out in the schools’ COVID-19 operational guidance published by the Department. This guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964351/Schools_coronavirus_operational_guidance.pdf.

Arrangements for boarders that meet the relevant UK entry requirements and will arrive from ‘red list’ countries (or having travelled through a ‘red list’ country in the 10 days prior to arrival) must be in line with the guidance available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quarantine-arrangements-for-boarding-school-students-from-red-list-countries.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of quarantining boarding school pupils who have returned from abroad in boarding accommodation that is operated by the school during the covid-19 lockdown.

Arrangements for the quarantine of international boarders attending schools in England should be in place before boarding school pupils travel. Pupils can serve their quarantine within their boarding school (although different arrangements apply depending on whether they have travelled from a ‘red list’ country or not). Boarding school pupils have been able to return to the UK early so that they could serve the required quarantine period before school started on 8 March 2021.

Arrangement for boarders arriving from non-red list countries are laid out in the schools’ COVID-19 operational guidance published by the Department. This guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964351/Schools_coronavirus_operational_guidance.pdf.

Arrangements for boarders that meet the relevant UK entry requirements and will arrive from ‘red list’ countries (or having travelled through a ‘red list’ country in the 10 days prior to arrival) must be in line with the guidance available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quarantine-arrangements-for-boarding-school-students-from-red-list-countries.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking ensure the return of international boarders to boarding school during the covid-19 outbreak before 8 March 2021.

Arrangements for the quarantine of international boarders attending schools in England should be in place before boarding school pupils travel. Pupils can serve their quarantine within their boarding school (although different arrangements apply depending on whether they have travelled from a ‘red list’ country or not). Boarding school pupils have been able to return to the UK early so that they could serve the required quarantine period before school started on 8 March 2021.

Arrangement for boarders arriving from non-red list countries are laid out in the schools’ COVID-19 operational guidance published by the Department. This guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964351/Schools_coronavirus_operational_guidance.pdf.

Arrangements for boarders that meet the relevant UK entry requirements and will arrive from ‘red list’ countries (or having travelled through a ‘red list’ country in the 10 days prior to arrival) must be in line with the guidance available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quarantine-arrangements-for-boarding-school-students-from-red-list-countries.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the total value of contracts awarded to Computacenter in 2020 was to help the Government’s response to covid-19.

The names of Department employees that have taken part in the procurement activities for the Get Help with Technology programme contracts, including Computacenter’s, cannot be shared due to General Data Protection Regulations. The Department can share the role titles of the individuals involved, which are the following: Commercial Lead, Commercial Practitioner, Associate Commercial Specialist, Commercial Deputy Director and Commercial Director. Representatives from the Get Help with Technology programme and legal advisors also supported discussions.

The total value of contracts and associated variations awarded to Computacenter in 2020 in response to COVID-19 activities is £229,133,959.90 excluding VAT.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the attendees at negotiations for the contracts awarded to Computacenter to help deliver the Government’s covid-19 response.

The names of Department employees that have taken part in the procurement activities for the Get Help with Technology programme contracts, including Computacenter’s, cannot be shared due to General Data Protection Regulations. The Department can share the role titles of the individuals involved, which are the following: Commercial Lead, Commercial Practitioner, Associate Commercial Specialist, Commercial Deputy Director and Commercial Director. Representatives from the Get Help with Technology programme and legal advisors also supported discussions.

The total value of contracts and associated variations awarded to Computacenter in 2020 in response to COVID-19 activities is £229,133,959.90 excluding VAT.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the value is of service credits applied to Computacenter Ltd’s contract for providing laptops for schoolchildren.

There have been multiple contracts let with Computacenter Ltd (amongst other suppliers) through the course of the Get Help with Technology Programme. Across these, the Department has not applied Service Credits to the supplier due to Service Levels being met and a high level of performance delivered.



Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the value is of service credits applied to Edenred’s contract for free school meal vouchers to date.

The continuing provision of free school meals to children from out of work families or those on low incomes is of the utmost importance to this government.

School catering contracts are agreed locally, and are held by the school, academy trust or the local authority. The department does not hold a contract with Chartwells UK or any food company for the provision of free school meals or lunch parcels to children. We have guidance in place allowing schools to decide the best approach for their pupils. This can be through lunch parcels, locally arranged vouchers, or the national voucher scheme.

Edenred are contracted to deliver the national voucher scheme. The department does not comment on the commercial arrangements of third parties but can confirm that we have only paid for the face value of goods delivered, in this case vouchers.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what value of service credits has been applied to Chartwells’ contract to provide food hampers as free school meals.

The continuing provision of free school meals to children from out of work families or those on low incomes is of the utmost importance to this government.

School catering contracts are agreed locally, and are held by the school, academy trust or the local authority. The department does not hold a contract with Chartwells UK or any food company for the provision of free school meals or lunch parcels to children. We have guidance in place allowing schools to decide the best approach for their pupils. This can be through lunch parcels, locally arranged vouchers, or the national voucher scheme.

Edenred are contracted to deliver the national voucher scheme. The department does not comment on the commercial arrangements of third parties but can confirm that we have only paid for the face value of goods delivered, in this case vouchers.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish the forthcoming review of children’s social care in England.

The Department for Education will set out the expected timescales for the review in due course.

The terms of reference of the review are available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952624/terms_of_reference_independent_childrens_social_care_review.pdf.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the forthcoming Children’s Social Care Review is planned to address racial disparities in adoption and fostering.

The Department for Education will set out the expected timescales for the review in due course.

The terms of reference of the review are available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952624/terms_of_reference_independent_childrens_social_care_review.pdf.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the International Baccalaureate organisation on exams due to take place in academic year 2020-21.

Ofqual, as the regulatory body for qualifications in England, is responsible for overseeing how individual awarding organisations award grades in qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to Ofqual on 13 January 2021, stating that the Department cannot guarantee that all students will be in a position to sit their exams fairly this summer and that alternative arrangements may be needed to award qualifications. The letter set out the Secretary of State for Education’s view that some other general qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate, which are similar to GCSEs and A levels, should be subject to similar alternative arrangements to those for GCSEs and A levels. The Department will be taking forward a consultation alongside Ofqual to consider these arrangements and how we can seek to ensure fairness for all students.

The letter is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/951797/Letter_from_Gavin_Williamson_to_Simon_Lebus.pdf.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that students due to sit International Baccalaureate exams in the UK in the 2020-21 academic year are not at a disadvantage compared with students able to sit the baccalaureate in other countries.

The Extended Extraordinary Regulatory Framework published by Ofqual sets out how qualifications, including the International Baccalaureate, can be adapted to mitigate disruption from COVID-19 to the teaching, learning and assessment of qualifications.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to Ofqual on 13 January 2021 stating that the Department cannot guarantee that all pupils will be in a position to sit their exams fairly this summer and that alternative arrangements may be needed to award qualifications. The letter set out the Secretary of State for Education’s view that some other general qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate, which are similar to GCSEs and A levels, should be subject to similar alternative arrangements to those for GCSEs and A levels. These arrangements will be considered through consultation the Department is taking forward with Ofqual, which includes consideration of how the arrangements will seek to ensure fairness for all pupils.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that home-schooled pupils will be able to achieve the qualifications they are working towards at the end of the 2020-21 academic year.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the Department will not be asking students to sit GCSE, AS and A level exams this summer as planned. The Department is working at pace to understand the implications of cancelling exams in all circumstances, including for home schooled pupils.

The Department has been clear that it is important to find an accessible route for private candidates, and those not in school this year, to be assessed and receive a grade. A rapid consultation on how to fairly award all pupils a grade that supports them to progress to the next stage of their lives will be launching shortly. 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. A full equalities impact assessment, informed by the results of the consultation, will be published in due course.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the long-term support available to clinically extremely vulnerable teachers working during the covid-19 outbreak.

As set out in the published guidance for schools on restricting attendance during the national lockdown, following the reintroduction of shielding on 5 January 2021, clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are advised that they should not attend the workplace: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf#page=30&zoom=100,72,76. Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are those identified through a letter from the NHS or a specialist doctor as in the group deemed clinically extremely vulnerable (clinically extremely vulnerable or shielding list). The guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable individuals can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19.

Clinically extreme vulnerable people will get priority access to vaccination against COVID-19 before the general population and in line with the priority ordering set by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. Individuals will be contacted by the NHS with more information on when and how they will be invited to get the vaccine.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we have worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England (PHE) to develop specific guidance for school settings. All staff who attend school settings should follow the measures set out in the system of controls section of the published guidance to minimise the risks of transmission. Where schools implement the system of controls, in line with their own workplace risk assessment, PHE and DHSC confirm that these measures create an inherently safer environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will) provide additional financial support to nurseries during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown period.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have provided unprecedented support to the early years sector by continuing to fund the free childcare entitlements, making grants and loans available and ensuring early years providers can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for their non-government funded income, and childminders the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). We continue to ensure that providers can access the support available.

On 17 December 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that both the CJRS and SEISS will be extended to April 2021. We also updated the CJRS guidance for early years so that all providers who have seen a drop in their overall income are able to furlough any staff (who were on payroll on or before 30th October) and who are not required for delivering the government’s funded entitlements. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

Where Early Years providers are struggling financially, they may be eligible to access support from the Additional Restrictions Grant, if not eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant schemes. Further information on both grants is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-additional-restrictions-grant and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-local-restrictions-support-grant-for-open-businesses.

We stay in regular contact with the early years sector and will keep under constant review whether further action is needed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether teachers and school staff will receive priority for covid-19 vaccination to protect staff, reduce disruption and increase the chances of exams being able to go ahead in the summer.

Receiving face-to-face education is best for children’s mental health and for their educational achievement. The Department will continue to review the restrictions on schools, colleges and universities, and will ensure that children and young people return to face-to-face education as soon as possible.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered them.

JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.

Regarding the next phase of vaccine rollout, JCVI have asked that the Department of Health and Social Care consider occupational vaccination in collaboration with other Government departments. The Department will input into this cross governmental exercise.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many more laptops and data packages are needed to allow all pupils in Wandsworth to access learning online.

The Government is investing over £300 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing over one million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. This includes over 560,000 laptops and tablets that have already been delivered to schools, academy trusts, and local authorities in 2020.

As of 18 December 2020, 617 laptops and tablets have been delivered to schools in Wandsworth local authority. Devices have also been delivered to academy trusts in Wandsworth which are not included in these figures. This information is published here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data.

Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, academy trusts or local authorities who can lend these to children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Where schools need additional devices, to support disadvantaged children, they should contact the Department for Education’s service team at covid.technology@education.gov.uk. They should include the number of children in Years 3 to 11 who require support and an explanation of how they have gathered this evidence.

The Department has partnered with the UK’s leading mobile network operators, such as EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone, to provide free data to disadvantaged families, which will support access to education resources, including Oak National Academy, and other websites.

Families will benefit from this additional data until July 2021. Schools will be able to request free mobile data uplifts via the Get Help with Technology service.

In addition, the Department has already provided over 54,000 4G wireless routers, with free data for the academic year, and continue to provide 4G wireless routers where children need to access remote education.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that universities provide Kosher food options to Jewish students who have been forced to self-isolate due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and students in higher education (HE) is always our priority. The government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our HE institutions in this unprecedented situation, whilst mitigating the impact on education.

HE providers are autonomous institutions, independent from government, and have a responsibility to students when delivering services, including the provision of pastoral support, and taking steps to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of students.

To support universities with this responsibility and ensure students are well looked after during self-isolation, the department has provided advice on self-isolating students in the ‘higher education reopening buildings and campuses’ guidance and the ‘end of term and spring term’ guidance. These can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

Universities UK have also produced a checklist for supporting students who are required to self-isolate, available here: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/2020/uuk-checklist-support-self-isolating-students.pdf.

Furthermore, and to impress the importance of supporting self-isolating students, I have previously written to Vice Chancellors, asking them to ensure that all self-isolating students have a range of choices available for access to food and other essential supplies. This includes providing food that is free or at a price that can be afforded within a student’s budget.

I expect this support to continue in the spring term and for universities and other HE providers to be sensitive to the diverse needs of their student population in providing this support.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reversing the reduction in teacher training bursaries announced in October 2020.

The Department reviews the bursaries that we offer for initial teacher training (ITT) before the start of the annual recruitment cycle. In doing this, we take account of a number of factors including forecast economic conditions, previous recruitment, and teacher supply need in each subject. Being able to change bursary amounts gives us the flexibility to respond to the need to attract new teachers and means the Department is spending money where it is needed most.

The Department will next review the bursaries that we offer ahead of the annual recruitment cycle for ITT courses starting in academic year 2022/23.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the cost to the public purse is of his Department's contracts with (a) accountancy and (b) auditing for the purposes of supporting universities to access finances during the covid-19 outbreak.

Higher education providers are autonomous organisations and are responsible for their own arrangements for in-house and contracted expertise to support their financial management. The Department for Education does not contract with accountancy and audit firms on behalf of providers.

On 16 July my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced arrangements for the Higher Education Restructuring Regime which may be deployed as a last resort, if a decision has been made, to support a higher education provider in England at risk of financial failure, when other steps to mitigate the risks or preserve its viability have not proved sufficient.

The department will draw in accountancy and auditing expertise from external firms, on a call-off basis, to support demand-led individual casework as necessary.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to provide guidance to schools on the use of the covid-19 catch-up premium for SEND children who do not have an education, health and care plan.

Head teachers have discretion over how to use their catch-up premium funding to best support the needs of their students, but we expect them to prioritise those who need the most catch up support. To help schools make the best use of this funding, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published a support guide for schools with evidence-based approaches to catch up for all students, available here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/covid-19-support-guide-for-schools/#nav-covid-19-support-guide-for-schools1 and a further school planning guide, available here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/guide-to-supporting-schools-planning/. The EEF support guide provides guidance on interventions to support specific groups of pupils, including those with identified special educational needs or disabilities.

Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 disruption on the attainment and progress of all pupils, including those with additional needs, is a research priority for the Government, and we have commissioned an independent research and assessment agency to consider catch up needs and monitor progress over the course of the year.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure schools that do not use pupil premium funding to offset income lost as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The pupil premium conditions of grant set out the purpose of the funding. The conditions of grant are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

Pupil premium is provided to help schools improve the outcomes of their pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. School leaders choose how to use the grant to arrange extra support addressing their pupils’ needs.

The Department established the Education Endowment Foundation with £137 million to research and share the most effective approaches to improving pupil outcomes. School leaders are encouraged to consult its extensive resources, including its 2019 Pupil Premium Guide, when deciding how to use the grant.

Schools must publish an annual statement explaining their pupil premium strategy, including how much is spent on each activity. School leaders are held to account for their choices through performance tables and inspection.

Each school’s pupil premium expenditure is subject to the same rigorous annual auditing requirements as the rest of its funding.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that roles in (a) recruitment, (b) student support and welfare and (c) other administrative functions are protected in higher education institutions.

During and after the COVID-19 outbreak, our aim is for higher education (HE) providers to continue to deliver HE provision and support the needs of students, both on and off campus.

Since my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced this government’s unprecedented package of support to help keep staff employed and support businesses, the department has provided guidance for HE providers so that they are aware of the support that is available to them. This included guidance on how they may access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

On 31 October, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that the CJRS has been extended. It will now remain open until December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.

We recognise that many students are facing additional challenges due to the disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Protecting students’ health and wellbeing is a priority and we expect providers to ensure that students are well looked after by staff with the right skills and experience to deliver the support they need. This includes the cleaning and security staff keeping campus safe and the catering staff providing meals, particularly for those self-isolating in halls, as well as those providing mental health, wellbeing and pastoral support. However, HE providers are independent institutions and are responsible for their own decisions on staffing and employment issues. They should make employment decisions according to their own operational needs and the needs of their wider staff and student community.

I wrote to Vice Chancellors on 16 October to thank staff for the work that has taken place to support students over the first term of this academic year and to emphasise that student wellbeing and mental health should continue to remain a priority for all HE providers as we move through the autumn and winter terms.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to fill gaps in school attendance data to inform catch up plans.

Since March the Department has been collecting daily attendance data from Schools and nurseries. The latest attendance data is published here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/2020-week-42.

We have also introduced a new category of non-attendance for schools to use in the school census: ‘not attending in circumstances related to COVID-19’, to ensure that they record attendance accurately and consistently over this period.

In light of the disruption earlier in the year, the summer 2020 school census did not occur, and data for absence in the spring term 2019/20 was not collected. To reduce the burden on schools, the Department took a decision not to collect attendance data in the autumn 2020 school census relating to the summer 2019/2020 term.

Census data collection will resume in the spring 2021 census, collecting data on the autumn 2020/21 school term.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools provided wrap around care in (a) 2019 and (b) 2020; and what funding is available for the provision of wrap around care.

According to the Spring School Census captured the following data, there were 16,161 schools providing school childcare in January 2020. This includes before school, after school, under 5s and holiday childcare either provided on site or signposted to by the school. In 2019, there were 16,073 schools providing the same provisions.

From the start of the autumn term, all schools should work to resume their breakfast and after-school provision, where possible. We have provided guidance to support schools on full opening. The guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

In addition, the department is investing up to £35 million into the National School Breakfast Programme from March 2018 to March 2021, using funds from Soft Drinks Industry Levy revenues. This includes an extension to the programme by a further year until March 2021 with up to an additional 650 schools being recruited and up to £11.8 million being invested. Overall, this money will kick-start or improve breakfast clubs in up to 2,450 schools in disadvantaged areas, making them sustainable in the long run. There are already more than 1,800 schools benefitting from the programme.

This summer also saw our £9 million Holiday Activities and Food Programme work, across 17 local authority areas, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities and building on the success of the 2018 and 2019 programmes.

However, we also want to give parents the freedom, support and choice to look after their children in the way that works best for them. That is why from 2021 we will be investing £1 billion to help create more high-quality wraparound and holiday childcare places. We will announce further details on this significant new investment in due course.

The government has also sought to make financial support available to employers and businesses that have found themselves adversely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Wraparound providers adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak can find out what financial support is available for their business at:
https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

They may be eligible for tax relief, loans or cash grants depending on their circumstances.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will highlight changes in guidance to schools to ensure that teachers are easily able to find small changes in long documents.

The response to COVID-19 is a fast-moving situation and, as it has evolved, guidance for schools has been needed on a range of issues. The Department have continued to update our guidance in response to feedback from school leaders and stakeholders, and to ensure that it reflects the most up-to-date medical and scientific information to make sure that teachers, parents and young people are as well-informed as possible in the current rapidly changing circumstances.

The Department published guidance for schools on full opening on 2 July, to support schools to prepare for the autumn term. We have kept this under review and updated it when needed. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Guidance from the Department lists any changes at the start of all documents to enable school staff and others to see what has been updated. The Department have also made efforts to reduce the number of different guidance documents on our website so that leaders can, as far as possible, access all the information they need in fewer places.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has established a second wave nurseries, schools and universities plan to prepare for a potential second wave of covid-19 (a) infections and (b) lockdowns.

The Government has developed plans for the next academic year to ensure that children and young people can return to nurseries, schools, further and higher education. We have put inplace a system of controls that will reduce the risk of transmission for students and staff, as well as contingencies in the case of local lockdowns to ensure there is a high-quality remote education alternative.

We continue to work closely with the education sector to prepare for the autumn term.

Links to the relevant guidance are provided below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures;

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools;

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision/what-fe-colleges-and-providers-will-need-to-do-from-the-start-of-the-2020-autumn-term;

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

We will keep guidance under review and adjust and adapt our approach as necessary.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 13 July 2020 to Question 70510 on Schools: Coronavirus, if he will make emergency funding available to schools that have been affected financially by the covid-19 outbreak.

We are providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred between March and July due to the COVID-19 outbreak that cannot be met from their existing resources.

Schools are eligible to claim for: increased premises related costs associated with keeping schools open over the Easter and summer half term holidays; support for free school meals for eligible children who are not in school, where schools are not using the national voucher scheme; and additional cleaning costs required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, over and above the cost of existing cleaning arrangements. Schools are able to claim online until 21 July, and a second claims window will run in the autumn.

Where schools have members of staff delivering services funded from self-generated income, we have advised that they should first look to redeploy these staff or use existing budgets to absorb the cost. After having looked at all other options, schools have been able to consider using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year, as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. That will ensure that they are able to continue to pay their staff, and meet their other regular financial commitments.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with external organisations on the inclusion of Black British history in the national curriculum.

On behalf of the Department, my officials have discussed the flexible scope of the history curriculum with a range of organisations such as the Historical Association, Runnymede Trust and The Black Curriculum.

The national curriculum is a framework setting out the content of what the Department expects schools to cover in each subject. The curriculum does not set out how curriculum subjects, or topics within the subjects, should be taught. The Department believes teachers should be able to use their own knowledge and expertise to determine how they teach their pupils, and to make choices about what they teach.

As part of a broad and balanced curriculum, pupils should be taught about different societies, and how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain, and this can include the voices and experience of Black people. The flexibility within the history curriculum means that there is the opportunity for teachers to teach about Black history across the spectrum of themes and eras set out in the curriculum.

We will continue to explore what more we can do to support the teaching of Black history and welcome the perspectives of committed individuals and groups, building on previous discussions.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help mitigate the loss of income from facility hire by schools during the covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

We recognise that over the last three months, schools will have lost income from facility hire and this will put pressure on budgets.

Where schools have members of staff delivering services funded from self-generated income, we have advised that they should first look to redeploy these staff or use existing budgets to absorb the cost. After having looked at all other options, schools have been able to consider using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The Department has provided additional guidance for schools in this situation which can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing a bespoke support package for universities in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The government understands that the COVID-19 outbreak poses significant financial challenges to the sector. In May 2020, the government announced a package of measures combining different ways to give further support to higher education providers at this time of financial pressure.

We have stabilised admissions and are pulling forward an estimated £2.6 billion worth of forecast tuition fee payments to ease cashflow pressure this autumn. We are also bringing forward £100 million of quality-related research funding for higher education providers in England in the current academic year.

This is on top of the unprecedented package of support for businesses already announced, to help pay wages, keep staff employed and support businesses whose viability is threatened by the outbreak. We recently confirmed universities’ eligibility for these schemes, which the Office for Students estimates could be worth at least £700 million, depending upon eligibility and take-up.

In June, the government announced further UK-wide support in the form of the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy’s research stabilisation package. More details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-university-research-and-innovation-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

In July, the government announced the higher education restructuring regime, under which support for restructuring can be given, as a last resort, when other steps to preserve a provider’s viability and sustainability have not proved sufficient. More details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-restructuring-regime.

To prevent exploitative admissions processes, the Office for Students introduced a temporary registration condition designed to address specific circumstances relating to the impact of COVID-19. To ensure a fair, structured distribution of students across providers, temporary student number controls have been put in place for full-time, undergraduate domestic and EU students for academic year 2020-21 (with certain specific exemptions).

We are reminding providers, as part of existing programmes and using established procedures, that the department will consider purchasing land and buildings where they can be used for new or expanding schools and colleges in England. In this financial year, we have budgeted up to £100 million to acquire sites for planned projects in England.

The government has been clear that our world-leading universities, will always be open to international students. Our review of the International Education Strategy this autumn will respond to the new context and the challenges posed by COVID-19 across all education settings to ensure we can continue to welcome international students in the future.

The government has worked with the Office for Students to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. Providers are able to use the funding – worth around £23 million per month for Apri, May, June and July – towards student hardship funds.

The Department for Education and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have set up a University Research and Knowledge Exchange Sustainability Taskforce to consider how best to respond to the challenges universities face on research as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

This year, students will be able to access better and more personalised information, advice and guidance, and an easy-to-use means to swap course or provider if, having reflected further and taking into account their calculated grades, students decide to change their firm choice.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether holiday clubs in schools will be permitted to open over the summer in 2020.

As per my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23 June, holiday clubs and out-of-school clubs for children will be able to restart over the summer, with safety measures in place. Adjustments to current measures for these clubs will be part of Step 3 of the recovery strategy (from 4 July). We have published guidance for the sector on how to implement the protective measures necessary to open:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Holiday clubs that open should implement this guidance from the end of summer term, when state schools in their local area have closed. Until then, while schools are open in a provider’s local area, they should follow the same protective measures as schools to limit different groups of children mixing.

We are not asking schools to open over the summer holidays; however, we are aware that some headteachers may be considering using their catch-up premium to provide summer school activities for their pupils. Schools may also consider hiring out their premises to holiday clubs. Where this is the case, they have the flexibility, discretion, and autonomy to decide how they want to do this.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he last met the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education regularly meets with his Cabinet colleagues, including my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development, to discuss a range of issues.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of suspending student loan repayments for people who experience reductions in income due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The repayment of student loans, which includes borrowers from Wales, is governed by the Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) Regulations 2009 (as amended). Department officials are in regular contact with the Devolved Administrations and will continue to liaise with them on Student Loan Repayment policy.

The current system protects borrowers if they see a reduction in their income. Repayments are made based on a borrower’s monthly or weekly income, not the interest rate or amount borrowed, and no repayments are made for earnings below the repayment thresholds. Repayments are calculated as a fixed percentage of earnings above the relevant repayment threshold - if income drops, so do repayments made. Any outstanding debt is written off at the end of the loan term with no detriment to the borrower.

If, at the end of the year, the borrower’s total income is below the relevant annual threshold, they may reclaim any repayments from the Student Loans Company made during that year.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial support will be available to the (a) childcare sector and (b) child minders in the event of school closures and enforced social distancing.

On 17 March 2020, the Chancellor confirmed the government would continue to pay for free early years entitlement places for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds even if settings were closed on the advice of the government, or children were not able to attend due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

We expect local authorities to continue early entitlements funding for all childminders, schools and nurseries.

Further, the government has announced a package of support for workers and businesses which will benefit childcare providers.

Childcare providers will be eligible for a business rates holiday for one year. That means non-local authority providers of childcare (registered with Ofsted and providing early years foundation stage) will pay no business rates in 2020 to 2021, from 1 April. Local authorities will be working on this.

Nurseries in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief will benefit from small business grant funding of £10,000.

Some settings operate from shared spaces which may now benefit from a 100% rates relief. We strongly encourage those shared spaces to reflect any business rates saving in their rent charges.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme means that for employees who are not working but kept on payroll, the government will contribute 80% of each worker’s wages of up to £2,500, backdated to 1 March 2020. Providers can access this scheme while continuing to be paid the early entitlements funding via local authorities.

The Business Interruption Loan Scheme will now be interest-free for 12 months (rather than 6 months).

VAT payments due with VAT returns between now and end June 2020 will be deferred, UK VAT registered businesses will not need make those payments until the end of the financial year.

Working tax credit has been increased by £1000 a year.

The government has also announced a £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element and an increase in the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers the cheapest third of local rents.

For the self-employed (including childminders) the minimum income floor will be temporarily relaxed, meaning Universal Credit can be accessed at a rate to match statutory sick pay.

Further information can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures#funding and

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the level of (a) financial and (b) other support for (i) Eastwood nursery Roehampton and (ii) other state nurseries.

The Government recognises that Maintained Nursery Schools (MNS) are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services to disadvantaged children.

Last October, we announced increases in hourly funding rates paid to local authorities for the early education entitlements for 2020-21.

In 2020-21, all local authorities will see an increase of 8p an hour to the hourly funding rates for the 2-year-old entitlement and an increase of 8p an hour for the vast majority of areas for the 3- and 4-year-old entitlement.

In addition to the hourly funding rates above, we invest approximately £60 million in ‘maintained nursery school supplementary funding’ each financial year, to allow local authorities to preserve MNS funding levels and last October we announced that this additional funding will continue at its current level for the whole of the 2020-21 financial year.

Details of funding paid to local authorities can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-funding-2020-2021.

The Government remains committed to funding for MNS in the longer term. Any reform to the way they are funded in the future will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections. The Government plans to spend more than £3.6 billion on early education in 2020-21.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when and how the rules to avoid duplicate testing on vertebrate animals required by Title V, Section 5 on safety testing of plant protection or biocidal products of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement will be established.

Under the terms of the Chemicals Annex of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, exchanges of non-confidential information between the UK and the EU will need the agreement of both parties. This could potentially include study summaries relating to animal testing, but that would need to be agreed with the EU and will depend on the status of the studies. We will continue to work with the EU on how the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement will be put into operation going forward

UK REACH retains both the fundamental approach and key principles of REACH with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment and enhancing competitiveness and innovation. This includes the “last resort” principle on animal testing.

This means that under UK REACH, we will recognise the validity of any animal tests on products that have already been undertaken and so avoid the need for further testing. The grandfathering of all existing GB-held EU REACH registrations into the UK system will further avoid the need to duplicate animal testing associated with re-registration


We are determined that there should be no need for any additional animal testing for a chemical that has already been registered, unless it is subject to further evaluation that shows the registration dossier is inadequate or there are still concerns about the hazards and risks of the chemical, especially to human health.


The Biocidal Products Regulation and the Plant Protection Product Regulation both contain mandatory data sharing provisions to avoid duplicative animal testing which are maintained in retained EU law and apply in Great Britain.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason the provision included in Title V, Section 5 of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, on safety testing of plant protection or biocidal products, that states that each Party shall establish rules to avoid duplicative testing on vertebrate animals, does not also apply to other categories of products.

Under the terms of the Chemicals Annex of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, exchanges of non-confidential information between the UK and the EU will need the agreement of both parties. This could potentially include study summaries relating to animal testing, but that would need to be agreed with the EU and will depend on the status of the studies. We will continue to work with the EU on how the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement will be put into operation going forward

UK REACH retains both the fundamental approach and key principles of REACH with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment and enhancing competitiveness and innovation. This includes the “last resort” principle on animal testing.

This means that under UK REACH, we will recognise the validity of any animal tests on products that have already been undertaken and so avoid the need for further testing. The grandfathering of all existing GB-held EU REACH registrations into the UK system will further avoid the need to duplicate animal testing associated with re-registration


We are determined that there should be no need for any additional animal testing for a chemical that has already been registered, unless it is subject to further evaluation that shows the registration dossier is inadequate or there are still concerns about the hazards and risks of the chemical, especially to human health.


The Biocidal Products Regulation and the Plant Protection Product Regulation both contain mandatory data sharing provisions to avoid duplicative animal testing which are maintained in retained EU law and apply in Great Britain.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Articles 7.2 and 7.4 of Annex TBT-3 Chemicals of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement which allows both parties to exchange only non-confidential information, what specific steps he is taking to ensure that duplicate tests are not performed by different companies to satisfy the separate UK and EU chemical safety regimes.

Under the terms of the Chemicals Annex of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, exchanges of non-confidential information between the UK and the EU will need the agreement of both parties. This could potentially include study summaries relating to animal testing, but that would need to be agreed with the EU and will depend on the status of the studies. We will continue to work with the EU on how the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement will be put into operation going forward

UK REACH retains both the fundamental approach and key principles of REACH with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment and enhancing competitiveness and innovation. This includes the “last resort” principle on animal testing.

This means that under UK REACH, we will recognise the validity of any animal tests on products that have already been undertaken and so avoid the need for further testing. The grandfathering of all existing GB-held EU REACH registrations into the UK system will further avoid the need to duplicate animal testing associated with re-registration


We are determined that there should be no need for any additional animal testing for a chemical that has already been registered, unless it is subject to further evaluation that shows the registration dossier is inadequate or there are still concerns about the hazards and risks of the chemical, especially to human health.


The Biocidal Products Regulation and the Plant Protection Product Regulation both contain mandatory data sharing provisions to avoid duplicative animal testing which are maintained in retained EU law and apply in Great Britain.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Articles 7.2 and 7.4 of Annex TBT-3 Chemicals of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement which allows both parties to exchange only non-confidential information, what specific steps he is taking to ensure that companies will not have to repeat animal testing of chemical substances for UK REACH that has already been carried out for EU REACH.

Under the terms of the Chemicals Annex of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, exchanges of non-confidential information between the UK and the EU will need the agreement of both parties. This could potentially include study summaries relating to animal testing, but that would need to be agreed with the EU and will depend on the status of the studies. We will continue to work with the EU on how the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement will be put into operation going forward

UK REACH retains both the fundamental approach and key principles of REACH with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment and enhancing competitiveness and innovation. This includes the “last resort” principle on animal testing.

This means that under UK REACH, we will recognise the validity of any animal tests on products that have already been undertaken and so avoid the need for further testing. The grandfathering of all existing GB-held EU REACH registrations into the UK system will further avoid the need to duplicate animal testing associated with re-registration


We are determined that there should be no need for any additional animal testing for a chemical that has already been registered, unless it is subject to further evaluation that shows the registration dossier is inadequate or there are still concerns about the hazards and risks of the chemical, especially to human health.


The Biocidal Products Regulation and the Plant Protection Product Regulation both contain mandatory data sharing provisions to avoid duplicative animal testing which are maintained in retained EU law and apply in Great Britain.

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 steps his Department is taking to ensure that bombs detonated under the ocean uses the deflagration method to protect marine wildlife.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is responsible for licensing marine activities in the seas around England, including the removal of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) from the seabed. In determining any application for a marine licence, the MMO considers all relevant matters including the method proposed e.g. deflagration or other methods, and the need to protect the marine environment. This involves assessing any potential impacts on marine life under an environmental assessment. Such assessments are made on the specifics of each case and involve consultation with the MMO’s primary advisors, including Natural England.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the impact assessment that will be published alongside the second consultation on a deposit return scheme will include an analysis of the potential for consumers to switch from aluminium cans in multi-packs to large plastic bottles due to the cumulative impact of the fee.

We will seek further evidence on consumer purchasing habits as a result of the introduction of a deposit return scheme as part of our forthcoming consultation planned for early 2021. The impact on multipack purchases will not be fully analysed in our consultation-stage Impact Assessment as we do not currently have sufficient evidence to be able to model the impact in detail.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he last met with the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has not met bilaterally with the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance (ODA) spending. ODA is discussed at the National Security Council. Officials are in regular contact on this matter.

Lord Goldsmith is the responsible Minister for Defra’s ODA spending. As joint Minister for Defra, DFID and FCO, Lord Goldsmith meets regularly with the Secretary of State for International Development and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to ensure that trade negotiations contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of food production.

We believe that environmental sustainability should be at the heart of global production and trade, and are committed to upholding our environmental standards and supporting global decarbonisation. We are exploring all options in future trade agreements to ensure that future trade is sustainable.

We are clear that trade doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment and nothing in our trade deals will prevent us delivering our commitment to net zero by 2050.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a pollution hot spot fund for areas with high levels of air pollution.

The Government is investing £572 million to support local authorities to take action as part of the Nitrogen Dioxide Plan.

In addition, the Air Quality Grant Scheme provides funding to eligible local authorities to help improve air quality. This scheme has awarded over £61 million in funding to a variety of projects since it started in 1997.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much of the £50 million in funding from her Department matched with funding from Unilever, has been disbursed to date.

As at July 2020, the Department for International Development has disbursed £15,958,394 through the Hygiene, Handwashing & Behaviour Change Coalition for COVID-19 Response.

This relates to 14 contracts and Memoranda of Understandings with implementing partners, with a total value of £34,806,976.

Additional contracts are currently being negotiated.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how many (a) people have been advised on the importance of hygiene and (b) products have been distributed through the Hygiene, Handwashing and Behaviour Change covid-19 response programme.

The Hygiene, Handwashing and Behaviour Change Coalition for COVID-19 response programme aims to reach up to 1 billion people with hygiene messaging to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Implementation is underway with 21 partners working across 37 countries. While totals have still to be verified, for Phase 1 partners alone, we are on track to reach over 300 million of the most vulnerable across countries including the DRC, Bangladesh, Yemen and Ethiopia, including in refugee settings.

Over 20 million hygiene products have already been delivered to frontline NGOs, with 60 million more being prepared for distribution by Unilever.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to the CDC Group's climate strategy, published on 2 July 2020, what assessment her Department has made of the compliance of CDC Group's on-going investments with the standards set out in that climate strategy.

CDC has published an ambitious new climate strategy that commits CDC to a portfolio-wide approach to achieving net zero by 2050, a just transition and stronger focus on adaptation and the building of climate resilience. A target to invest 30% of total annual commitments in 2021 in climate finance has been set.

DFID has closely engaged with CDC on the development of their new climate strategy. The commitments set out are forward-looking and will ensure CDC’s approach to aligning with the Paris Agreement is fully embedded within its investment processes.

The new climate strategy builds on steps taken by CDC over recent years to integrate climate risks and opportunities into investment decision making, whilst continuing to focus on the world’s poorest countries. Over the last 3 years, CDC has made climate related investments totalling over $1 billion in renewable energy, forestry and energy and water efficiency projects.

This policy is not retrospective. Investments made prior to the launch of the climate strategy were made in accordance with policies and requirements at the time those decisions were made.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to the CDC Group's climate strategy, published on 2 July 2020, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that all existing CDC investments made prior to July 2020 comply with the standards set out in that climate strategy.

DFID has closely engaged with CDC on the development of their new climate strategy. The commitments set out are forward-looking and will ensure CDC’s portfolio-wide approach to aligning with the Paris Agreement is fully embedded in its investment processes.

This policy is not retrospective. Investments made prior to the launch of the climate strategy were made in accordance with policies and requirements at the time those decisions were made.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department has allocated funding from the 2020-21 (a) central contingency budget and (b) Official Development Assistance crisis reserve budget.

DFID do not hold a central contingency budget and have not requested any funding from the central exchequer reserve held by HM Treasury.

The UK ODA Crisis Reserve is an annual allocation of £500 million. This consists of a £200 million un-allocated reserve and a £300 million re-deployable reserve. This enables ?exible, quick and effective cross government responses to crises as they happen as set out in the UK Aid Strategy published in 2015. We do not report on expenditure drawn down from the ODA Crisis Reserve.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will publish the budget reprofiling and repurposing for 2020-21 of each regional programme in each country office as a result of the forecast fall in gross national income.

DFID’s Annual Report and Accounts is due to be published on 14 July and will set out baseline programme budgets for 2020/21 spend by DFID spending unit.

DFID has a good record on transparency and meeting our reporting and publication requirements. We fully intend to maintain these standards.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department has allocated fifty per cent of Official Development Assistance to support the response of fragile states to the covid-19 pandemic.

DFID will continue to meet its commitment to spend 50% of its budget in Fragile and Conflict States.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what support her Department is providing to (a) local markets, (b) SMEs and (c) the informal economy in fragile and conflict affected states during the covid-19 pandemic.

We have adapted existing bilateral health, humanitarian, economic and social protection programmes across 35 countries and regions as part of our COVID-19 response. We are assessing secondary impacts on local agriculture and food markets in fragile and conflict affected states, and helping to mitigate these through multilateral initiatives such as the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP).

As a shareholder and leading donor to the Multilateral Development Banks, we have been working with them to ensure that they are rapidly providing much-needed working capital to SMEs and supply chains that workers and farmers in developing countries depend on. This includes $8 billion of fast-tracked support from the International Finance Cooperation.

We are also exploring how DFID’s private sector development finance programmes can respond and complement this support. For example, CDC is supporting its existing portfolio of investee companies, and their workforces, to weather the crisis, and is looking to make new investments that provide systemic liquidity to companies, including SMEs. We are also working to support businesses with supply chains in developing countries to ensure their most vulnerable workers and suppliers are prepared for the anticipated economic and social shocks.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how overseas aid is being used to mitigate the economic effect of the covid-19 pandemic by supporting people in the informal economy in fragile places.

The poorest and most fragile countries have limited economic tools to respond to the global economic downturn. We are working through the International Financial Institutions and our bilateral programmes to ensure Governments and businesses in fragile states can access affordable financing and advisory support; and to urgently establish safety nets to protect the most vulnerable.

DFID currently supports social protection and/or humanitarian cash transfer programmes in 35 countries, including Fragile and Conflict Affected States, which support people who are vulnerable to the economic impact of COVID-19.

We are also advising 20 of the poorest cities in the world to strengthen their response to COVID-19, by identifying urban areas and informal settlements, including slums, that are particularly vulnerable due to dense populations and lack of access to water and sanitation.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how Overseas Development Assistance is helping communities manage social tensions that are being exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK is taking steps to ensure that both our immediate responses to COVID-19 and long-term recovery efforts do not exacerbate social tensions and instead help to build peace, improve governance and strengthen social cohesion. We are encouraging our implementing partners to demonstrate accountability, strengthen local ownership and leadership and adopt inclusive, conflict sensitive approaches. We are further working with partners, governments, media providers, civil society and local leaders to counter mis- and disinformation.

We particularly recognise the importance of working with local women’s rights and women-led organisations to deliver more effective and safer responses, and believe that greater engagement of local partners ensures continuity and builds social cohesion as efforts shift to the medium and longer term recovery.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to tackle disparities of access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in developing countries among (a) women and girls and (b) marginalised people and groups.

Women and girls are particularly disadvantaged when adequate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities are not available, as women bear the primary burden for collecting water. The DFID approval process screens all programmes for compliance with the International Development (Gender Equality) Act at the point of approval to assess whether a programme is likely to reduce gender inequalities. DFID water and sanitation programmes are targeted to people without access to water and sanitation, which includes marginalised people and groups. Of the water and sanitation results that have been disaggregated by gender from 2015 to 2019, DFID programmes have reached 18.6 million women.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to improve water and sanitation systems in developing countries.

DFID funds water and sanitation improvements in developing countries. In 2018, the last year for which spend data is published, DFID spent £204 million on water and sanitation bilaterally. In the same year, the UK also spent approximately?£275 million?on water and sanitation through multilateral organisations. DFID funding has led to over?51?million people gaining access to improved drinking water or a toilet since 2015.?This builds on our success in helping over 64 million gain access to water and sanitation services between 2011 and 2015.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with non-governmental organisations on improving water, sanitation and hygiene access in the response to the covid-19 pandemic.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are major partners for delivering DFID water and sanitation programmes and accounted for about a third of the results achieved over the last ten years. The UK has pledged new funding for civil society to support the international COVID-19 response, including £20 million for international NGOs. Since the onset of the pandemic DFID has increased our work with NGOs on water, sanitation and hygiene. Nine NGOs are now funded under a new partnership with Unilever on the COVID-19 response. I personally met NGO heads, including the WaterAid CEO, for discussions on the COVID-19 response last month.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to raise the importance at multilateral level of water, sanitation and hygiene in responding to the covid-19 pandemic in developing countries.

Alongside our own bilateral programme funding, DFID seeks to influence multilateral organisations to improve the quality of water, sanitation and hygiene in the international COVID-19 response. We have funded a hub at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to provide evidence and advice to all partners including multilateral organisations on hygiene elements of the COVID-19 response. DFID provides funding to the Public Health Department of the World Health Organisation to provide international technical leadership on the response. We announced funding to UNICEF’s COVID-19 appeal, and DFID is a founding member of the Sanitation and Water for All partnership, which convenes parties including multilaterals on COVID-19 action. I recently spoke on a panel with the World Bank, UNICEF and African Development Bank on the importance water, sanitation and hygiene in the international COVID-19 response.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that data collated by international development agencies is disaggregated by (a) age, (b) gender and (c) ethnicity to inform responses to support women and girls in vulnerable communities facing a heightened risk of gender-based violence.

DFID’s Inclusive Data Charter Action Plan sets out our ambitions to increase the collection and use of disaggregated data, and to work with the United Nations and others to improve disaggregation at a global level. This is critical to understand who is being left behind, why, and how to reach them. Our focus is on disaggregation by sex, age, disability status and geography in the first instance, whilst we work with others in the international system to develop tools to disaggregate by other variables. In the longer term, we will move towards additional disaggregation variables; we expect this to include income, race and ethnicity.

DFID is investing £6 million to support the UN Women-led flagship programme initiative on gender data – Making Every Woman and Girl Count – and the joint UN Programme on Violence Against Women and Girls data. These programmes are working with developing country governments to improve the production, availability, accessibility and use of quality data and statistics on gender equality and gender-based violence. This includes developing new global standards for measuring violence against older women. The programme is currently supporting rapid assessment surveys focused on understanding gendered impacts of COVID-19 across a number of countries.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much of the funding that her Department has allocated to international development multilaterals has been passed through to frontline NGOs and local groups responding to the covid-19 pandemic.

NGOs are key partners for DFID in responding to the unprecedented challenges arising from COVID-19. We know that in many places NGOs will be best placed to meet the needs of those most at risk. About one quarter of our country programmes are delivered through CSOs.

The Secretary of State recently announced a further £200 million for charities and international organisations to tackle coronavirus in developing countries, which brings DFID’s total support to date to £744 million. This includes funding for NGOs, including UK charities.

DFID is also adapting its programmes across our country network to respond to COVID-19 and we have committed significant new funding through the multilateral system. NGOs are also receiving significant extra funding through the DFID COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition. We will continue to keep our humanitarian investments under review.

DFID has been engaging regularly with the NGO sector to understand the challenges they are facing in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, including regular virtual meetings with Baroness Sugg and our Permanent Secretary, Nick Dyer. There will also be a roundtable on 21 May with the Secretary of State.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to adapt existing programmes to respond to the covid-19 pandemic in developing countries.

We have focused our portfolios to respond to COVID-19 to ensure we are operating as flexibly and quickly as possible, responsive to need and context – and linking the health response with the economic response and social protection. This includes focusing over one hundred existing bilateral health and humanitarian programmes relevant to the COVID-19 response across 35 countries and regions to support developing countries and provide a safety net for the most vulnerable.

The UK is also at the forefront of the multilateral response and we are actively working with international partners to better track, monitor and respond to the impact of COVID-19.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to co-ordinate its response to covid-19 in developing countries with local community groups.

We are playing a leading role in the global response to COVID-19. The UK has, to date, pledged up to £744 million of UK aid to mitigate the health, humanitarian, and economic risks and impacts of COVID-19 in support of the poorest and most vulnerable.

We are working hard to ensure that our help reaches those most in need through close collaboration with our partners. Civil society plays a particularly important role in ensuring UK aid reaches the most vulnerable communities. Much of our work is delivered through our extensive country office network. We are currently reviewing our programme portfolio to be more responsive to COVID-19. For example, we are working with groups in Bangladesh to support and help mobilise a nationwide network of 50,000 Community Health Workers and volunteers to raise awareness of COVID-19 in their communities.

The UK is also providing £55 million to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. They play a unique role in slowing the spread of this virus at the community level, by supporting local preparations and public communication on how to reduce risk.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much funding her Department has allocated to support international health NGOs to continue pre-existing immunisation programmes in developing countries during the covid-19 pandemic.

It is vital that routine immunisation programmes continue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. If immunisation coverage is not maintained, we will face far worse public health emergencies around the world if measles, polio, yellow fever, cholera, and other deadly diseases spread in the absence of routine immunisation. That is why the UK’s commitment of the equivalent of £330 million per year for the next five years to fund Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’s work is so critical. This will help fund the immunisation of up to 75 million children in the world’s poorest countries. Gavi is an alliance, working hand in glove with international health organisations such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF. The UK’s commitment of £400 million to polio for the next four years will support not only the vaccination of over 450 million children every year against polio, but also broader health systems that are currently proving essential to the COVID-19 response in many countries. Polio vaccinations will continue to be delivered where possible during the pandemic.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent discussions she has had with her international counterparts on developing a debt-relief plan for developing countries.

The UK Government is deeply concerned about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the public finances of low-income developing countries. In this time of crisis, it is vital that creditors work together to ensure that servicing debts does not prevent countries protecting their citizens and economies.

The UK, alongside the G20 and the Paris Club of official creditors, has committed to a temporary suspension of debt service repayments from the poorest countries. This official sector effort could provide up to $12 billion of additional fiscal space until the end of the year, allowing countries to redirect finances towards mitigating the health and economic impacts of COVID-19.

In the future, some countries, especially those entering the crisis with significant debt vulnerabilities may require debt relief. If debts do require restructuring or reduction, this will need to be done evenly amongst creditors, including non-Paris Club G20 creditors and the private sector. The G20 initiative provides more time to assess countries’ debt positions and explore possible solutions with other stakeholders whilst, importantly, freeing up resources to allow countries to respond to the crisis.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to help tackle the economic effects of covid-19 on local economies in developing countries.

The UK is actively supporting the poorest countries and most vulnerable people at a time when the secondary economic impacts of COVID-19 are running ahead of the health impacts in many countries.

First, we are supporting countries to free up the fiscal space that they need to reorient spending to responding to the crisis. The UK has made a leading contribution of up to £150 million to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, to fund the poorest countries’ debt repayments to the IMF. The UK and other G20 countries have also committed to suspend debt service payments for International Development Association-eligible and the UN Least Developed Countries until the end of 2020, providing up to $12 billion of additional fiscal space. We are also providing advisory support to countries covering economic policy and their broader response, including trade-offs associated with containment measures.

Second, we are working with the International Financial Institutions to make additional resources available. We have committed to doubling our existing £2.2bn loan to the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, to support concessional financing for the poorest countries. The UK also pushed early for a capital increase of the World Bank in 2018 and, thanks to these efforts, the World Bank Group has been in a position to respond rapidly to this crisis, making $160bn of financing available over 15 months.

Third, at a time when many investors are retreating from these markets, CDC, the UK’s Development Finance Institution,?is committed to investing patiently and working alongside other Development Finance Institutions to help companies access the finance they need and to protect supply chains and jobs overseas.

Fourth, the UK is also committed to directly supporting the most vulnerable people affected by the economic fallout of COVID-19. We are currently supporting social protection and/or humanitarian cash transfer programmes in 35 countries, in addition to wider support through multilateral institutions.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what financial support she is allocating to international NGOs to adapt pre-existing humanitarian assistance and food supply programmes to ensure continuity during the covid-19 pandemic.

To date, the UK has committed £744 million to support global efforts to combat COVID-19. The UK is at the forefront of supporting those in need of humanitarian assistance and we are actively working with international partners to better track, monitor and respond to the impact of COVID-19 on food security for the most vulnerable. NGOs are a critical partner in meeting this huge challenge of tackling the virus. In addition to new and reallocated direct funding to NGOs, much of the UN’s work will be delivered on the ground by NGOs and the UK’s funding to the UN agencies will support these efforts.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to help support the informal economy in developing countries during the covid-19 pandemic.

DFID currently supports social protection and/or humanitarian cash transfer programmes in 35 countries, enabling the most vulnerable people - including those who work in the informal sector - to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19.

Beyond social protection, other DFID programmes are being adapted to support informal sector workers in response to COVID-19. For example, we are supporting the Kampala Capital City Authority with emergency provisions to assist the most vulnerable in the city, including providing shelter to vendors in the informal markets.

We have supported the Multilateral Development Banks to provide much-needed working capital for small businesses and supply chains, which informal workers depend on in developing countries.? This includes $8 billion of fast-tracked support from the International Finance Cooperation.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to engage with (a) international NGOs and (b) UK charities on their response to the covid-19 pandemic.

DFID is committed to working with and alongside international NGOs and UK charities to meet the challenges posed to both the UK and internationally by COVID-19. DFID is taking forward a structured approach to engagement with UK and international Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), incorporating strategic and technical discussions to help inform the sector’s response to the pandemic. Specifically, Baroness Sugg has chaired two round table discussions with the Chief Executive Officers from key CSOs on 3 April and the 1 May to update the sector on DFID’s COVID-19 response to date, engage with concerns across the sector, and explore how to mitigate the threats posed by COVID-19 to sector resilience.

DFID has pledged new funding specifically for civil society, including UK-based CSOs, to support the response. This includes £20 million, the majority of which will be allocated through the Rapid Response Facility, and significant funding through the DFID Unilever COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition. In addition, INGOs will receive funding through multilateral organisations as downstream partners as part of the UK’s response.

DFID is offering support to suppliers and partners where this is appropriate, in line with the UK government position and will apply the provisions of the Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Note and associated guidance for grants, which allows for relief on services and goods provided in the UK, to DFID aid programmes as a last resort and on a case-by-case basis for DFID contracts and grants.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will publish the monitoring and evaluation framework her Department is using to assess the efficacy of UK overseas aid in tackling the spread of covid-19.

The UK has so far pledged £744 million of UK aid to end the coronavirus pandemic as quickly as possible: tracking the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of that spend is essential.

We have a strong, coordinated monitoring, evaluation and learning system to ensure accountability for decision making and resource allocation to these priorities. This will also ensure DFID and other government departments learn from and use evidence to improve current and future responses to crises in developing contexts. This is part of DFID’s overall approach to ensuring that our investments in tackling COVID-19 are driven by the best evidence and latest scientific advances.

As programmes adapt and mobilise to tackle the impact of COVID-19, so too will our monitoring, evaluation, and learning approach and framework. The COVID-19 response will draw on the systems and expertise we already have on monitoring, evaluation and learning. Our existing Evaluation Strategy, the key points of which were published in the Evaluation Annual Report 18-19, will direct our monitoring, evaluation and learning response to COVID-19 interventions. This Strategy enables DFID to use the best evidence tools for learning and improving throughout our programmes, as well as prioritising investment in rigorous central evaluations in the most strategic areas.

DFID’s overarching results indicators under the Single Departmental Plan are public. We will also publish information on our monitoring, evaluation and learning approach to COVID-19 as part of our Evaluation Annual Report.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, which (a) international NGOs and (b) UK charities have been allocated funding from the public purse to tackle the spread of covid-19; and how much funding each of those organisations has received.

The UK has so far pledged up to £744 million of UK aid to support the global effort to combat COVID-19. As part of this package, we are providing funding for a range of international NGOs, including UK charities, in particular through the Rapid Response Facility. We expect to make announcements on the detailed allocations and successful Rapid Response Facility partners in due course.

DFID is also adapting its programmes across our country network to respond to COVID-19 and we have committed significant new funding through the multilateral system - we expect NGOs to play a key role in delivery through both these channels but are not able to give an exact breakdown given that, in many cases, funding will go indirectly to NGOs through partners such as the UN. In addition, extra funding has also been allocated to NGOs through the DFID Unilever COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what criteria were used to select the 15 countries which are eligible for Rapid Response Facility (RRF) funding.

DFID launched a call under the Rapid Response Facility to support the preparedness, mitigation and response to COVID-19 among vulnerable populations. The fifteen countries selected were prioritised on the basis of need, vulnerability, and risk.

DFID is also adapting its programmes across its country network to respond to COVID-19 and has also committed significant funding through the multilateral system to ensure our support reaches the most vulnerable.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what proportion of UK donations to multilateral organisations has been spent on (a) personal protective equipment, (b) testing and (c) water, sanitation and hygiene during the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK has so far committed £744 million of aid to the global fight against COVID-19. Along with other donors we are supporting UN agencies, the Red Cross and NGOs to respond to COVID-19 in developing countries. This includes helping the world’s poorest countries in a range of ways including accessing critical medical supplies. By supporting developing countries to properly respond to COVID-19, the UK is helping end the global pandemic sooner and prevent future waves of infection coming to the UK.

As part of our overall package, up to £318 million will support finding a vaccine, new drugs, therapeutics and research and development for COVID-19.

The UK government is also working with Unilever to fund a global hygiene programme, with £50 million of support from DFID, to urgently tackle the spread of COVID-19. It will reach up to a billion people worldwide, raising awareness and changing behaviour, to make sure people are washing their hands with soap regularly and disinfecting surfaces. The programme will also provide over 20 million hygiene products in the developing world, including in areas where there is little or no sanitation. This is in addition to our many existing projects on water, sanitation and hygiene.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much Official Development Assistance her Department has allocated to climate change adaptation projects in each of the last three years.

The Department for International Development (DFID) spent £482 million in 2016, £371 million in 2017 and £522 million in 2018 on climate change adaptation projects as part of its share of UK international climate finance. 2019 figures are not yet available.

The UK has committed to spend £5.8 billion on international climate finance from the Official Development Assistance budgets of DFID, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) over the period 2016-17 to 2020-21. DFID’s share is £3.6 billion over the same period. The UK aims to achieve a balance between projects to tackle climate change adaptation and climate change mitigation.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to improve access to (a) water, (b) sanitation and (c) hygiene in developing countries.

Since 2015, DFID has helped over 51 million poor people in Africa and Asia get access to a drinking water supply or toilet for the first time. Over 64 million people gained access to water, sanitation or hygiene services between 2011 and 2015.

We plan to deliver more sustainable and scalable water and sanitation programming by increasing our focus on strengthening national systems to deliver services, as part of the UK’s commitment to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children by 2030.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to remove trade barriers to imports of medical scrubs.

To make sure that those working on the frontline can access vital equipment easily, the United Kingdom introduced a temporary zero tariff rate on products deemed critical in the fight against COVID-19 in March.

This relief, which applies retrospectively to goods imported since 30th January 2020, waives the tariff and VAT on these products, including medical scrubs, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies from non-EU countries. A list of goods that the relief can be claimed on can be found on GOV.UK in the ‘COVID-19 Commodity Codes List’.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that child health is prioritised when discussing food standards during negotiations on future trade agreements.

Child Health is an extremely important matter for HM Government.

Our manifesto is clear that we will not compromise on our high food safety standards. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 transfers all existing EU food safety provisions, onto the United Kingdom’s statue book.

Our food standards agencies will continue to make sure that all food imports comply with the United Kingdom’s high safety standards, and that consumers are protected from foods that do not meet our standards.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of Brazil’s proposed new legislation (PL 2633/2020) on the ability of UK supermarkets to trade with Brazil.

I am aware of the proposed legislation to which the Hon. Lady has drawn attention. It will not, in itself, affect the legal capacity of British companies to trade with Brazil, but I am aware of concerns raised by a number of supermarkets over the environmental implications.

HM Government is concerned about deforestation in the Amazon and is working closely with Brazil to combat illegal deforestation. We have already committed £200m through international climate finance programmes that are aimed at tackling this issue.

Trade does not have to come at the expense of the environment. We are working closely with international partners and British businesses to grow trade in legal, sustainable products.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when she last met the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

The Secretary of State for International Trade and the Secretary of State for International Development meet at the Cabinet to discuss a broad range of issues. Officials from the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Department for International Development (DFID) meet regularly to discuss Official Development Assistance (ODA), and provide updates to Ministers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department plans to undertake sustainability impact assessments of trade deals agreed after the UK leaves the EU.

As set out in the February 2019 Command Paper, ‘Processes for making trade agreements after the United Kingdom has left the European Union’, at the end of negotiations the Government will publish a full impact assessment of a new free trade agreement alongside the full treaty text.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to learn from steps taken effectively by New Zealand and Australia and introduce stronger border controls alongside increased covid-19 restrictions to restrict the spread of the virus into the UK.

The UK already has some of the strongest safeguards against importing COVID-19 in the shape of mandatory 10-day quarantine for the vast majority of arrivals outside of those covered by travel corridors.

As the pandemic is continually evolving, we continue to work alongside global partners to learn lessons and implement new measures if and when needed.

Passengers arriving from all international destinations will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result before entering the UK to help protect against rising infection rates and new strains of coronavirus circulating internationally.

The move is in addition to robust existing measures the Government is taking to reduce the risk of imported cases. Passengers arriving from countries not on the Government’s Travel Corridor list will still need to self-isolate for ten days regardless of their pre-departure test result, to provide robust protection.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to fund the (a) restoration of Hammersmith suspension bridge and (b) construction of a temporary bridge at that location.

As owners of Hammersmith Bridge, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is responsible for the maintenance, repair and decision-making on its upkeep. The borough is currently considering proposals for a temporary bridge but no decisions have been taken.

We are committed to ensuring Londoners can cross the river again as soon as safely possible. That is why the Government ensured that £4m was put towards the stabilisation and repair of Hammersmith Bridge via the extraordinary funding and financing package agreed with TfL on 31 October 2020. A further condition of TfL’s bailout was the provision of a ferry service via its active travel fund.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he taking to ensure that electric vehicles bought prior to the implementation of regulations on Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems will be made compliant with those regulations.

Requirements to fit sound generators, known as Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems (AVAS), on quiet electric and hybrid-electric vehicles will become mandatory for new vehicles being registered from 1 July 2021. These requirements do not apply retrospectively to vehicles already on the road. Manufacturers may optionally choose to install AVAS in vehicles ahead of this date, and some have chosen to do so.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many (a) motorcycles, (b) scooters and (c) mopeds were registered in Putney, Roehampton and Southfields in (i) 2019 and (ii) 2020.

The following table shows the number of motorcycles, scooters, and mopeds registered to an address in the constituency of Putney at the end of June in both 2019 and 2020.

Licensed vehicles

End June 2019

End June 2020

Motorcycle (incl. those with sidecar)

1,396

1,412

Scooter

350

355

Moped

119

102

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government's plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 includes (a) motorcycles, (b) scooters and (c) mopeds.

The government's plans to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 does not include motorcycles, scooters or mopeds. Recognising that the market for plug-in motorcycles is still at an early stage of development, grant funding for zero emission two wheelers is available until 2023 alongside other plug in vehicle grants. Purchasers of eligible mopeds and motorcycles can receive a grant of 20% up to a maximum of £1,500 to reduce the up-front purchase price and take advantage of the lower running costs.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when motorcycle driving tests can resume as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been the safety of its staff and the wider public. That remains its priority as it restarts its services.

From 4 July 2020, people will be able to take motorcycle and moped compulsory basic training, and motorcycle direct access scheme training.

Motorcycle and moped module 1 and module 2 tests will be available from 13 July 2020.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when practical driving tests will be allowed to resume as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

As the health and safety of staff and customers is key, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has produced detailed standard operating procedures and is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to testing. It will announce details of resumption in due course.

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.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure people working the airline sector are not made redundant.

The Government recognises the importance of the UK aviation industry, which is why the Chancellor set out his commitment to support the industry.

The Government has announced a package of measures, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which help firms to retain employees. This Scheme will allow businesses to put employees on temporary leave, with the Government paying cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500 per month, providing the business keeps the person employed.

10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to support (a) local authorities and (b) communities to implement (i) walking and (ii) cycling strategies.

The Department has provided a £2 million programme of support to enable 46 local authorities to prepare Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs). The Department is also working with the sector to develop further support for authorities on scheme development. Following the Prime Minister's announcement on 11 February, the Government will provide further funding support to local authorities to deliver new cycling and waking schemes that have been prioritised in LCWIPs. Further details will be announced in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) Putney Heath and (b) other wildlife sites are protected from air traffic pollution if a third runway is built at Heathrow Airport.

Following designation of the Airports National Policy Statement, it is now down to an applicant for development consent to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment that identifies any likely significant effects of the proposed project on the environment. This will include a detailed assessment of the air quality impacts of its scheme, including during construction, and put forward an appropriate package of mitigations that address air quality impacts and demonstrate compliance.

In order to grant development consent, the Secretary of State would need to be satisfied that, with mitigation, the scheme would be compliant with legal obligations.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with Heathrow Airport Ltd on surface access to the airport from Putney in the event that a third runway proceeds to development.

As part of the surface access requirements in the draft Airports National Policy Statement, Government has specified that any applicant for development consent should set out the mitigation measures that it considers are required to minimise and mitigate the effect of expansion on existing surface access arrangements.

The Department is engaging with a range of stakeholders, including Heathrow Airport Ltd, about surface access to the airport. Following the publication in November 2019 of the potential strategic objectives for a new Southern Access to Heathrow scheme, the Department has been discussing with Heathrow how such a scheme could be taken forward and its future role. Subject to the scheme development, this has the potential to provide improved rail links from Putney and South West London to Heathrow Airport.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress has been made on the assessment of the potential merits of funding options for the repair of Hammersmith Bridge.

As the owners of Hammersmith Bridge, it is for the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham to assess the merits of different funding options for its repair. Transport for London, on behalf of Hammersmith & Fulham, has recently submitted a proposal to the Department to make a funding contribution towards the repairs needed to the bridge. The Department is assessing this proposal in the context of other funding requests, and in view of the devolution settlement for London.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if the Government will increase the capped portion of the social fund funeral expenses payment.

On the 8 April 2020, the value of the capped portion of the Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payment rose by 43 per cent, from £700 to £1000. There are no current plans to increase this.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications for social fund funeral expenses her Department has approved since April 2020.

In the period 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020, there were approximately 25,800 applications awarded for Funeral Expenses Payments, in England and Wales.

This figure is an estimate using unaudited internal DWP figures on the number of FEP loans. It is not quality assured to the same extent as Official / National statistics.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications for social fund funeral expenses payments her Department has received since April 2020.

In the period 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020, there were approximately 34,000 applications received for Funeral Expenses Payments, in England and Wales.

This figure is drawn from the Social Fund Policy, Budget, and Management Information System. It is not quality assured to the same extent as Official / National statistics.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he has taken to support (a) tenants and (b) property managers through the regulation of best practice measures for the Gas Safe Industry.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations places duties on landlords to maintain gas fittings and flues in a safe condition, and to have these checked for safety annually. To support tenants and property managers understand these duties, and what landlords need to do to comply with them, extensive guidance can found on the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) website - www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/index.htm.

The Gas Safe Register (delivered on behalf of HSE) also provides advice for tenants and landlords - Gas safety in rented properties. Landlord and Tenant Guides - Gas Safe Register

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will extend the criteria for the Kickstart scheme to include people under 25 who (a) had an Education Health and Care Plan before leaving education and (b) claim Employment Support Allowance.

A young person is eligible for a job on the Kickstart scheme if they are aged 16-24, on Universal Credit (UC), and considered to be at risk of long term unemployment by their Work Coach. If a young person has been identified as having an EHCP at school this would not prevent them from being referred to a Kickstart Scheme Job as it is open to all young people who are on UC as long as they meet the eligibility/suitability criteria. Existing ESA claimants cannot be referred at this time and the Department of Work and Pensions has no current plans to extend the eligibility for the scheme but will keep that under review.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing support measures for out of work homeowners similar to the support available to renters.

The Department has no plans to change current support available for homeowners.

Support for homeowners in receipt of an income related benefit is provided through the Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme. SMI helps people maintain their existing, reasonable mortgage commitments so they can remain in their homes.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what stepss he is taking to ensure that baby banks and food banks are being provided with clear and effective guidance to facilitate the provision of formula milk to vulnerable infants who cannot safely be fed any other food.

Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations and the Department for Work and Pensions does not have any role in their operation. Decisions about which donations to accept and make available to food bank users are therefore a matter for food bank providers.


Healthy Start vouchers support pregnant women or households with children under four, who are on a low income, with the cost of milk (including infant formula), fruit and vegetables helping to boost children’s long-term health. We are increasing the weekly value of these vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25 in April.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether an Equality Impact Assessment will be published for the Kickstart scheme.

The Department of Work and Pensions will publish an Equality Impact Assessment on its Kickstart Scheme in due course.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that people seeking employment are able to access in-person work-related training under (a) the November 2020 and (b) future covid-19 restrictions.

Jobcentres have remained open to provide a face to face service to those who need it, in a Covid-19 secure environment. In addition to that we have supported claimants via telephone/digital channels to ensure they receive the appropriate help and support which could involve a referral to appropriate training.

In relation to contracted employment support, the safety of contracted employment provider staff and customers has been paramount during the Covid-19 period. DWP has worked with its contracted providers to continually adapt the support offered to ensure it best meets our customers’ needs, keeping them safe and operating in line with current social distancing measures.

Where face to face interactions have not been possible, we have worked with providers to look at alternative service delivery options including digital options and providing a telephony service to ensure support has continued.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when he last met with the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

The Secretary of State meets with her Cabinet colleagues, including the Secretary of State for International Development, on a regular basis.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will extend universal credit eligibility to self-employed individuals residing in the UK on overseas visas.

Eligibility for Universal Credit depends on a person’s immigration status in the UK. DWP operates a Habitual Residence Test (HRT) in order to assess whether individuals have legal right to reside for the purpose of accessing benefits and are factually habitually resident.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will publish written guidance for jobcentre staff on benefit claimants who are self-isolating and therefore not able to meet work-related requirements including where there is a vulnerable member of the household other than the claimant.

Recognising the need for DWP staff to focus on the processing of claims, we will not be checking conditionality compliance with work search requirements for the next three months. This means no sanctions should be applied for that reason for the next three months, though we still encourage people who can work to seek work. Regulations will be introduced to bring this change into effect.

We have taken the decision to temporarily suspend the requirement for face-to-face Jobcentre Plus appointments from 19th March for all claimants in Universal Credit, Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Income Support. This means that claimants are not expected to contact their Jobcentre Plus while this temporary suspension is in place. They will continue to receive benefits as normal and they will not be sanctioned for not taking part in interviews with Jobcentres.

All Jobcentre staff have received updated guidance, which has been reinforced through calls with team leaders.

Claimants have also been informed by text message and via their online journals that they are no longer required to attend appointments. Additional information will also be provided in the FAQs accessible through a claimant’s online account.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what Supply Chain Coordination Ltd's policy is on the procurement of products and services where the production has involved child labour; when that policy was introduced; and whether the Category Tower Service Providers are mandated to follow that policy.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information he holds on Supply Chain Coordination Limited's policy on the procurement of products that contain cotton from Xinjiang, including (a) when that policy was introduced, (b) where that policy was stated and (c) whether the Category Tower Service Providers are mandated to follow that policy.

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

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons a PCR covid-19 test required for travel is more expensive in the UK than in other European countries.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the details of the contract for personal protective equipment supplies awarded to Crown Salvage on 13 April 2020.

The contract is available at the following link:

https://atamis-1928.cloudforce.com/sfc/p/#0O000000rwim/a/4J000000kHkx/O0SzPUcLh0QLRGRyvlsW0.Hwrcy4A4Zjp_Dr.A9HYDM

Some information concerning pricing and the precise amounts of personal protective equipment ordered has been redacted as this is considered commercially sensitive.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the evidential basis for including Uruguay on red list of travel ban countries; and when he plans to review that country's inclusion.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the scientific basis for including people with severe asthma in the group 6 priority group of the covid-19 vaccine rollout programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has concluded that only a subset of those with asthma are at clinically high risk from COVID-19. This group are defined as adults with asthma who require continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission and will be vaccinated as part of priority group six. An individual with a more severe case of asthma may have been included in the clinically extremely vulnerable group and would have received a letter from the National Health Service or their general practitioner, in which case they will be vaccinated as part of priority group four.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) machines and (b) tests have been purchased through the Government's contract with Optigene to date; and how many tests have been carried out using those machines.

A total of 600 machines and 39 million tests have been purchased through the contract with Optigene. As of 26 March 2021, 276,941 tests have been carried out using these machines.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of care home (a) residents and (b) staff in Wandsworth have received a first covid-19 vaccine dose; and how many have refused the vaccine.

Information is not held in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish the results of the consultation on the increased prescription of anti-psychotics to people with dementia during the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to monitor the monthly data published by NHS Digital on the prescribing of antipsychotic medication for people diagnosed with dementia. No formal consultation has been undertaken. However, NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to have regular conversations with regional clinical network leads and local services to understand the patterns in prescribing and potential reasons for trends.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether (a) minors travelling alone and (b) boarders returning to school are exempt from the covid-19 quarantine rules; and if he will ensure that relevant guidance is updated to take account of those circumstances.

Boarding school students must quarantine within accommodation provided for or arranged by their boarding school. Full guidance for students from ‘red list’ countries is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quarantine-arrangements-for-boarding-school-students-from-red-list-countries

Other individuals, including children, who have not travelled from or through a red list country in the previous 10 days must quarantine in accordance with the guidance on how to quarantine on arrive in England. Children arriving in England from a red list country should not be travelling alone. If it is not possible to travel with the child, the parent or guardian is expected to join their child in managed quarantine on arrival.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the financial costs of covid-19 testing for UK arrivals who have had to travel abroad for essential reasons.

For those facing significant financial hardship as a result of these costs there is an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking, in particular for individuals who receive income related benefits. We have set out how to apply for this on GOV.UK. We keep all our measures under constant review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of people who were on the waiting list for NHS operations who have now received private operations.

Between March and December 2020, 562,620 patients across England were removed from the National Health Service waiting list following treatment by private providers.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many FFP3 masks there are in his Department's four-month personal protective equipment stockpile; and what proportion of NHS staff has access to those masks.

The information is not yet available in the format requested. The operational process to build stockpiles is supported by a range of detailed operational and management information. We currently are working to fully validate this data.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the attendees at negotiations for the contracts awarded to Medacs to help deliver the Government’s covid-19 response.

A range of Government officials conducted the negotiations for the contracts awarded to Medacs.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the total value of contracts awarded to Globus in 2020 was to help the Government’s response to covid-19.

All offers of personal protective equipment (PPE) from suppliers received the same eight stage assurance process which selected suppliers based on the product type, clinical acceptability, price, forecasted delivery dates, volume and financial standing. This was managed by a team of around 450 officials from a number of Government Departments, who conducted the negotiations.

The value of the contract awarded to Globus for the supply of PPE was £93.7 million. The Contract Award Notice and contract have been published at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/notice/c0a249e7-5453-40f2-b047-bb5da9a1941b?origin=SearchResults&p=1

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the attendees at negotiations for the contracts awarded to Globus to help deliver the Government’s covid-19 response.

All offers of personal protective equipment (PPE) from suppliers received the same eight stage assurance process which selected suppliers based on the product type, clinical acceptability, price, forecasted delivery dates, volume and financial standing. This was managed by a team of around 450 officials from a number of Government Departments, who conducted the negotiations.

The value of the contract awarded to Globus for the supply of PPE was £93.7 million. The Contract Award Notice and contract have been published at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/notice/c0a249e7-5453-40f2-b047-bb5da9a1941b?origin=SearchResults&p=1

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that covid-19 vaccination centres are accessible to disabled people.

Vaccination centres are subject to the same standards to support people with accessibility needs including visual impairment as all health care services. This includes ensuring good lighting and clear signage. In addition, marshals and staff help people attending vaccination centres to navigate safely. When sent an invitation for vaccine by letter, the public are directed to the location’s individual details on accessibility.

Local vaccination services also coordinate and deliver vaccinations to people who are unable to attend a vaccination site, including by visiting care homes, the homes of housebound individuals, residential facilities for people with learning disabilities or autism, prisons and reaching vulnerable groups such as those who are experiencing homelessness.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of prioritising covid-19 vaccinations for the relatives of care home residents to enable those relatives to be able to resume visits to those residents.

Although the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has not made an explicit consideration of including relatives of care homes residents, this does not prevent them visiting their loved ones. It is not a condition of visiting that the visitor or the resident should have been vaccinated. However, it is strongly recommended that all visitors and residents take up the opportunity to be vaccinated when they are invited to do so through the national programme.

As part of the roadmap publication on 22 February, we confirmed that new visiting arrangements would start on 8 March. From then, every care home was asked to ensure that each resident can nominate one named person who can have regular, indoor visits.

Those residents with the highest care needs can nominate an “Essential Care Giver”. These visitors will be able to visit more often in order to provide essential care. They will have the same testing and PPE arrangements as care home staff so that they can safely provide extra support, like help with washing and dressing or eating well. Of course, over time an increasing proportion of visitors will be vaccinated by virtue of their age or other factors such as being an unpaid carer.

Guidance on care home visiting can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus/update-on-policies-for-visiting-arrangements-in-care-homes

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will bring forward proposals to allow for two children under the age of 12 to meet outdoors with an adult present for very limited interactions under covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Under the current restrictions, people cannot leave home for recreational or leisure purposes. It is against the law for anyone, including children under 12 years old, to meet socially with friends outdoors, including if an adult is present, unless they are part of their household or support bubble.

The Government keeps the restrictions under continual review and will make changes if the data and science support it.

Nadine Dorries
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 value is of service credits applied to Ayanda Capital’s contract for personal protective equipment which was later found to be unsuitable.

Service Credits are not used in the contracts the Department has awarded to personal protective equipment suppliers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the value is of service credits applied to SITEL’s contract to run the Isolation Assurance Service.

Public Health England has not awarded any service level credits to the contractor working on the Isolation Assurance Service.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what conflict of interest criteria have been applied to the awarding of contracts via the high priority lane for procurement since 1 March 2020.

Regulation 24 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 requires contracting authorities to take appropriate measures to effectively prevent, identify and remedy conflicts of interest arising in the conduct of procurement procedures. The Department has robust rules and processes in place to ensure that conflicts of interest do not occur, including declaration from suppliers, publication of ministerial interests and robust departmental guidance.

These all applied to the procurement of personal protective equipment last year by the Department, including the use of a high priority lane to consider the most credible

offers from suppliers which needed to be reviewed with more urgency.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the deadline date for all London prison officers to have received a covid-19 vaccine.

We do not hold data on the number of vaccinations administered to occupational groups other than health and social care workers, therefore no such assessment has been made.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the deadline date for all prison officers to have received a covid-19 vaccine.

We do not hold data on the number of vaccinations administered to occupational groups other than health and social care workers, therefore no such assessment has been made.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many prison staff (a) in total and (b) based in London have received a covid-19 vaccine.

We do not hold data on the number of vaccinations administered to occupational groups other than health and social care workers, therefore no such assessment has been made.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding from the public purse Sitel has received under the terms of its contract with the Government to run the Isolation Assurance Service during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Isolation Assurance Service (IAS) is undertaken through an existing Public Health England (PHE) contract which has been formally updated and is on a rolling agreement with two-weeks’ notice. Sitel is the only company working on the IAS. The spend on setting up and running the IAS to end of September 2020 was £664,000.

The performance indicators for Sitel’s contract for the IAS are contained in the original Crown Commercial Services roster agreement and within the PHE contract. The PHE contract is amended as requirements change.

There are no penalties, however both the Crown Commercial Service Framework Agreement and the PHE contractual side have performance sections in them. These refer to items such as regular review meetings, staff training, timely submission of reports, billing, agreed stand up times for staffing and cancelation of the contract. PHE does have the ability to retain 5% of the fees for poor performance.

Sitel was contracted under direct award as an existing supplier who had successfully assisted in previous urgent and sensitive situations.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there are penalties for underperformance in the terms of Sitel's contract with the Government to run the Isolation Assurance Service during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Isolation Assurance Service (IAS) is undertaken through an existing Public Health England (PHE) contract which has been formally updated and is on a rolling agreement with two-weeks’ notice. Sitel is the only company working on the IAS. The spend on setting up and running the IAS to end of September 2020 was £664,000.

The performance indicators for Sitel’s contract for the IAS are contained in the original Crown Commercial Services roster agreement and within the PHE contract. The PHE contract is amended as requirements change.

There are no penalties, however both the Crown Commercial Service Framework Agreement and the PHE contractual side have performance sections in them. These refer to items such as regular review meetings, staff training, timely submission of reports, billing, agreed stand up times for staffing and cancelation of the contract. PHE does have the ability to retain 5% of the fees for poor performance.

Sitel was contracted under direct award as an existing supplier who had successfully assisted in previous urgent and sensitive situations.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether an open tendering process was undertaken in advance of the Government awarding the contract to Sitel to run the Isolation Assurance Service during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Isolation Assurance Service (IAS) is undertaken through an existing Public Health England (PHE) contract which has been formally updated and is on a rolling agreement with two-weeks’ notice. Sitel is the only company working on the IAS. The spend on setting up and running the IAS to end of September 2020 was £664,000.

The performance indicators for Sitel’s contract for the IAS are contained in the original Crown Commercial Services roster agreement and within the PHE contract. The PHE contract is amended as requirements change.

There are no penalties, however both the Crown Commercial Service Framework Agreement and the PHE contractual side have performance sections in them. These refer to items such as regular review meetings, staff training, timely submission of reports, billing, agreed stand up times for staffing and cancelation of the contract. PHE does have the ability to retain 5% of the fees for poor performance.

Sitel was contracted under direct award as an existing supplier who had successfully assisted in previous urgent and sensitive situations.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the criteria are for the assessment of the performance of Sitel under the terms of its contract with the Government to run the Isolation Assurance Service during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Isolation Assurance Service (IAS) is undertaken through an existing Public Health England (PHE) contract which has been formally updated and is on a rolling agreement with two-weeks’ notice. Sitel is the only company working on the IAS. The spend on setting up and running the IAS to end of September 2020 was £664,000.

The performance indicators for Sitel’s contract for the IAS are contained in the original Crown Commercial Services roster agreement and within the PHE contract. The PHE contract is amended as requirements change.

There are no penalties, however both the Crown Commercial Service Framework Agreement and the PHE contractual side have performance sections in them. These refer to items such as regular review meetings, staff training, timely submission of reports, billing, agreed stand up times for staffing and cancelation of the contract. PHE does have the ability to retain 5% of the fees for poor performance.

Sitel was contracted under direct award as an existing supplier who had successfully assisted in previous urgent and sensitive situations.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what grounds the Government awarded the contract to Sitel to run the Isolation Assurance Service during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Isolation Assurance Service (IAS) is undertaken through an existing Public Health England (PHE) contract which has been formally updated and is on a rolling agreement with two-weeks’ notice. Sitel is the only company working on the IAS. The spend on setting up and running the IAS to end of September 2020 was £664,000.

The performance indicators for Sitel’s contract for the IAS are contained in the original Crown Commercial Services roster agreement and within the PHE contract. The PHE contract is amended as requirements change.

There are no penalties, however both the Crown Commercial Service Framework Agreement and the PHE contractual side have performance sections in them. These refer to items such as regular review meetings, staff training, timely submission of reports, billing, agreed stand up times for staffing and cancelation of the contract. PHE does have the ability to retain 5% of the fees for poor performance.

Sitel was contracted under direct award as an existing supplier who had successfully assisted in previous urgent and sensitive situations.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve waiting times for trans young people to access safe and supportive medical care.

The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) is currently undergoing a review led by Dr Hilary Cass. This review will make recommendations regarding how the service is planned and delivered including matters that may impact on clinical capacity, workforce recommendations and the relationship with other NHS services.

In addition, following the publication of a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection which rated the service as inadequate and identified long waiting times as an area of concern, the board of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust has submitted a plan to the CQC that includes actions to improve management of the waiting list.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that services that support trans young people provide them with medical care to (a) transition or (b) prevent puberty where appropriate.

The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust offers psychosocial support to young people, allowing individuals to explore their feelings and wants in a understanding environment, while building an individualised treatment plan.

The service is currently undergoing a review led by Dr Hilary Cass, this review is wide ranging in scope and will make recommendations on how to improve the service for its users. Treatment to ‘prevent puberty’ is currently subject to ongoing legal proceedings as such the Department is unable to comment on this.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of NHS dental contract holders delivered 45 per cent or more of their historic activity levels in each of the last three months for which figures are available.

This data is not currently available in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether physiotherapists and other healthcare staff providing patient-facing services in (a) charitable hospices, (b) care homes and (c) community services will have the same access to asymptomatic covid-19 testing as NHS employees.

Since November 2020, twice weekly lateral flow device (LFD) testing has been available for all National Health Service patient-facing staff who may conduct visits in the community including to care homes and charitable hospices. In addition, all hospices and care homes in England have access to LFD tests, which can be used to test all visiting professionals prior to admission into those vulnerable settings.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether (a) physiotherapists and (b) other healthcare staff providing patient facing NHS services, but employed by independent providers, will have the same access to asymptomatic covid-19 testing as NHS employees.

All National Health Service patient facing staff in acute, mental health, ambulance and community trusts have been provided with lateral flow tests to enable them to test themselves at home twice a week. Lateral flow tests are also being issued across primary care including general practice, community pharmacy, dentistry and optometry. Tests have been provided to independent sector providers and organisations providing patient facing NHS services to enable them to conduct twice a week testing in line with NHS employees.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to formally consult organisations representing non-GP members of primary care multi-disciplinary teams, before negotiating the next GP contact, DES and ARRS.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement engage on an ongoing basis with a wide range of professional groups on issues relating to primary care. These groups’ views and feedback help to inform priorities for negotiations with the British Medical Association on the GP Contract.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what Government funding is available to physiotherapists who wish to train as first contact practitioners in general practice.

Whilst the Government does not provide direct funding to allied health professionals to become first-contact practitioners, Health Education England is investing in the development of capability frameworks and credentials to support advanced practice across nursing, midwifery and allied health professions including physiotherapy.

In particular, it is supporting experienced physiotherapists to reach the capabilities necessary to practice as a first contact practitioner through education and training programmes and the offer of high-quality supervision.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the delivery of increased numbers of physiotherapists as set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

As part of the new funding package for healthcare students non-repayable, training grants of at least £5,000 per academic year are available to eligible new and continuing pre-registration physiotherapy students, studying at English universities. The indications are that the new financial support package has been a significant driver of demand and this year acceptances on physiotherapy courses have increased by 27% compared to the same time last year.

Health Education England is undertaking extensive allied health profession health careers work and is working with various stakeholders including the Office for Students and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy to raise the profile of physiotherapy careers. A survey of former healthcare professionals who have joined the Health and Care Professions Council temporary registers, including physiotherapists, indicated that around 50% across were interested in continuing to work in the health and social care system.

There are existing return to practice schemes designed to support physiotherapists who have been out of the workforce for a number of years to safely re-start their careers.

NHS England is working with the Department and other local employing organisations to consider a range of flexible options to make it easier for professionals, including physiotherapists, who are interested in re-joining the NHS workforce to do so. Since 2017, NHS England and NHS Improvement have supported trusts with an intensive retention support programme, which is reducing retention by working with trusts to help them address the reasons that staff have left.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help retain physiotherapists who have entered NHS employment temporarily from the private health sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of the new funding package for healthcare students non-repayable, training grants of at least £5,000 per academic year are available to eligible new and continuing pre-registration physiotherapy students, studying at English universities. The indications are that the new financial support package has been a significant driver of demand and this year acceptances on physiotherapy courses have increased by 27% compared to the same time last year.

Health Education England is undertaking extensive allied health profession health careers work and is working with various stakeholders including the Office for Students and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy to raise the profile of physiotherapy careers. A survey of former healthcare professionals who have joined the Health and Care Professions Council temporary registers, including physiotherapists, indicated that around 50% across were interested in continuing to work in the health and social care system.

There are existing return to practice schemes designed to support physiotherapists who have been out of the workforce for a number of years to safely re-start their careers.

NHS England is working with the Department and other local employing organisations to consider a range of flexible options to make it easier for professionals, including physiotherapists, who are interested in re-joining the NHS workforce to do so. Since 2017, NHS England and NHS Improvement have supported trusts with an intensive retention support programme, which is reducing retention by working with trusts to help them address the reasons that staff have left.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason there is a shortage of scrubs in hospitals and vaccination clinics; and who holds the contracts for scrubs provision.

NHS Supply Chain are the main provider of consumables and equipment into the National Health Service, which includes scrubs. It contracts with 14 suppliers on a framework contract to supply scrubs to NHS trusts. NHS Supply Chain report that none of their suppliers have received large scale enquiries which they are unable to fulfil and that all orders can be fulfilled within reasonable lead times.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of including Nuclear Medicine Technologists on the Health and Care Professions Council register.

The Government has no plans to extend statutory regulation to nuclear medicine technologists. The statutory regulation of healthcare professionals should only be used where the risks to public and patient protection cannot be addressed in other ways, such as through employer oversight or accredited voluntary registration.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure adequate supplies of glaucoma medication procured from EU suppliers.

Our priority is to ensure that patients continue to have access to the medicines they need, including glaucoma medication. We continue to work closely with the pharmaceutical industry, the National Health Service, and others in the supply chain to deliver the shared goal of continuity of safe patient care under all circumstances.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of placing people with learning disabilities in a higher covid-19 vaccination priority category.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that those with severe and profound learning disabilities and those with learning disabilities residing in residential care, should be offered the vaccine as part of priority group six. Those with a wide range of neurological conditions have also been advised to be vaccinated in this group.

In addition, on 24 February, it was clarified that everyone on their general practitioner’s learning disability register will be invited for vaccination as part of priority group six.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the disproportionate effect of diabetes in areas with greater health inequalities.

We recognise that diabetes is a disease that can affect anyone and there is increased prevalence in deprived areas. The NHS Long Term plan has committed to providing a targeted support offer and access to weight management services in primary care is available for people with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and/or hypertension, with a Body Mass Index over 30, which is adjusted appropriately for ethnicity.

NHS England and NHS Improvement recognise that obesity is strongly associated with deprivation and the Weight Management Innovation Platform will target higher levels of tailored support for people from deprived communities to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional support his Department is providing to people living with diabetes who are more likely to experience serious complications from covid-19.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic diabetes care has remained a priority and general practice has supported patients with long term conditions to access care and support.

Recognising that access to face to face care has been limited, NHS England and NHS Improvement have expedited a procurement, to make two remote programmes available to provide education and self-management support for children and adults living with type 1 diabetes. The national diabetes programme team has also developed an on-line education programme of resources for people living with type 2 diabetes.

The NHS England and NHS Improvement Diabetes Programme Team has helped to develop a COVID-19 risk prediction model to support shared decision making between clinicians and patients based on more accurate information as well as discussions on how to reduce risk of COVID-19 for all, including those with diabetes.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what process is in place for carers who attend the homes of their clients to obtain regular covid-19 testing.

Home care workers employed by Care Quality Commission-registered organisations are able to access weekly PCR tests, which can be self-administered at home. This will help identify whether any home care workers have COVID-19 asymptomatically and thereby provide further protection – in addition to the use of personal protective equipment to those they care for.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many companies hold procurement contracts for scrubs with his Department; and how many procurement contracts for scrubs his Department has put out to tender in the last 12 months.

NHS Supply Chain, the main provider of consumables and equipment into the National Health Service, reports that the NHS Supply Chain Hotel Services Tower, which manages supply of scrubs, has not put any tenders out to the market in the last 12 months. The NHS Supply Chain Hotel Services Tower has an existing framework contract which enables NHS trusts to purchase scrubs compliantly from a proven source of supply. There are 14 suppliers on this Framework which supply scrubs to NHS trusts.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who the primary supplier of NHS scrubs is.

NHS Supply Chain, the main provider of consumables and equipment into the National Health Service, reports that the NHS Supply Chain Hotel Services Tower, which manages supply of scrubs, has not put any tenders out to the market in the last 12 months. The NHS Supply Chain Hotel Services Tower has an existing framework contract which enables NHS trusts to purchase scrubs compliantly from a proven source of supply. There are 14 suppliers on this Framework which supply scrubs to NHS trusts.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps is he taking to improve supply chains for the chemicals used to process blood tests.

The Department has well established procedures to deal with shortages of medical products if and when they arise and works closely with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, NHS England and industry to help prevent shortages and to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised when they do arise. These procedures operate at a national, regional and local level to address any supply-chain related issues that might arise.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are providing support to pathology networks and suppliers of chemicals and other diagnostics products to ensure continuity of supply and delivery of pathology services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the availability of Hormone Replacement Therapy supplies during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown in England.

As part of our concerted national efforts to respond to the pandemic, we are doing everything we can to ensure patients continue to access safe and effective medicines. We are aware of supply issues that have affected some hormone replacement therapy (HRT) preparations for various reasons, including regulatory or manufacturing issues and commercial decisions made by some companies to divest some products. While a very limited number of HRT products are currently affected, most, including alternatives to those experiencing supply issues are available.

We have been working closely with all suppliers of HRT medicines to maintain overall access to patients and have provided regular updates about these issues and management advice to the National Health Service. The overall situation has been improving since the end of February 2020 and will continue to improve in the coming months.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support parents to mitigate the detrimental effects of covid-19 lockdown on the social development of (a) new born babies and (b toddlers.

Community health services have continued to provide support during the pandemic with greater use of digital and remote technologies providing support and prioritising higher needs families. Health visitors, as the lead for the Healthy Child Programme, and maternity settings will continue to be key contacts between the health system and families. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s community health services prioritisation/restoration document and standard operating procedure make clear that these services will continue to perform vital functions, virtually or face to face if there is a clinical or safeguarding concern.

The Early Years Health Adviser (Rt hon. Andrea Leadsom MP) is carrying out a review focusing on the period from birth to age two and a half. The review will look at the lessons learned from COVID-19, including minimising the risks from the pandemic to very young children.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that women working in the NHS are provided with a full range of scrubs and personal protective equipment in sizes that meet their needs.

We are committed to understanding workers’ needs. Following anecdotal feedback, NHS England and NHS Improvement have launched a project led by the Deputy Chief Nursing Officer to gather the robust evidence and data we need to understand any problems and take action.

Getting a range of the types of personal protective equipment (PPE) frontline staff require is of paramount importance. Our buying teams are aware of the various different categories they need to buy, and source as many different sizes as possible.

We are moving from a system of quality control to quality assurance, with the onus on quality assurance at source, while building user confidence around product quality and reliability in addition to driving a more efficient supply with lower waste and higher user acceptance.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to expand mental health services in the event of a second national lockdown.

We recognise the pressures on mental health services due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated measures. We have released tailored guidance on the Every Mind Matters website and GOV.UK giving advice and practical steps for people to support their mental health and wellbeing. National Health Service mental health services have remained open for business throughout this time, including delivering support digitally and by phone. For those with severe needs or in crisis, NHS mental health providers have set up 24 hours a day, seven days a week urgent mental health helplines. We have also provided over £10 million funding for mental health charities supporting people through the pandemic.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has provided to schools on managing and administering tests for covid-19.

As part of the Government's commitment to reopening schools, all schools in England have been provided with a small number of home testing kits to be offered in the exceptional circumstance that a school believes a pupil or staff member will not get a test by another route.

All schools were provided with an initial supply of kits ahead of the start of the new school year, and schools are now able to re-order a small number of kits, proportionate to their size. They are able to place these orders every 21 days.

The Government publishes guidance for schools about all aspects of COVID-19, including testing on GOV.UK.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the (a) accuracy of data and (b) criteria for measuring children’s wellbeing.

The Government continues to expand data and information on children and young people’s wellbeing.

The Department for Education recently published the second annual ‘State of the Nation: Children and Young People’s Wellbeing’ report. It is intended to help Government, children and young people’s services, schools, parents, and anyone interested in children and young people’s wellbeing to understand their experiences of the pandemic, the measures put in place to reduce the impact of the pandemic, and the broader effects on society.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people are on waiting lists for joint replacement treatment in the London Borough of Wandsworth.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) social, (b) economic and (c) personal effects of (i) beta-thalassaemia and (ii) chronic genetic illnesses on the communities in which those illnesses occur.

NHS England, as the commissioner of services for patients with beta-thalassaemia and other chronic genetic illnesses, is not responsible for assessing the social, economic and personal effects of the conditions on the communities in which they occur. However, all service specifications and policies are developed in conjunction with stakeholders, including patient groups and patient representatives, and all are subject to engagement and consultation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department takes to measure patient experience for people with beta-thalassaemia.

NHS England has looked to address health inequalities within the Haemoglobinopathy patient population, which includes beta-thalassaemia patients. In the latter part of 2019 NHS England concluded a review of Haemoglobinopathy services; resulting in the development of services which will provide the opportunity to capture patient experience at a local level. This includes the National Haemoglobinopathy Register which can capture some elements of patient experience as part of the patient’s annual review. Furthermore, in October 2019 the national conversation on rare diseases survey was launched to identify the major challenges faced by those living and working with rare diseases. We received almost 6,300 responses which, alongside lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, will be used to shape the post-2020 UK Rare Diseases Framework.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to restart the school fruit and vegetable scheme; and whether he plans to extend that scheme to all primary school pupils.

The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme resumed in September when children returned to school. As before, all children in Key Stage 1 in state-funded primary schools will receive a free piece of fruit or vegetable every school day.

There are currently no plans to extend this scheme to all primary school pupils.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Urgent Care Centre at Queen Mary's Hospital will be reopening.

A date has not yet been set for the reopening of the Urgent Treatment Centre at Queen Mary’s Hospital.

The Trust and local commissioners are undertaking work to agree a new COVID-secure model of care. The unit cannot use the model previously in place due to social distancing requirements and to infection prevention and control pathways.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS staff members have died from covid-19 since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Office for National Statistics publish mortality data for deaths involving COVID-19 for healthcare workers and social care workers in England and Wales. The last iteration of this release showed that in England there were 305 deaths among healthcare workers and 307 deaths among social care workers registered between 9 March and 12 October 2020 in England, of those aged 20-64 years, using last known occupation. The definition of healthcare workers used will include not only those employed in the National Health Service but wider healthcare sector workers.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle the effects of the covid-19 outbreak and lockdown on children’s (a) physical agility and (b) weight gain.

We published ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ in July. The strategy demonstrates an overarching campaign to reduce obesity and sets our measures to get the nation fit and healthy, protect against COVID-19 and protect the National Health Service. The strategy continues to deliver actions set out in the childhood obesity plan including promoting a national ambition for every primary school to adopt an active mile initiative. We have also confirmed that schools in England will benefit from £320 million from the PE and Sport Premium during the academic year 2020-21.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has established a second wave health and social care to prepare for a potential second wave of covid-19 infections.

To prepare the National Health Service for winter, the Government is providing an additional £3 billion of funding. This includes funding to allow the NHS to maintain the Nightingale surge capacity and continue to use the extra hospital capacity available within the independent sector.

Effective local management of any outbreaks is the first line of protection against a second wave that might overwhelm the NHS. To support local authorities, we made £300 million available and they already have robust plans in place to respond to outbreaks.

We have also made significant strides in our Test and Trace service. We have established one of the world’s largest testing programmes, with capacity at around 350,000 tests every day and we have already traced around 250,000 people who may have unknowingly spread the virus.

NHS winter preparations include delivering a very significantly expanded seasonal flu vaccination programme for priority groups.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to provide scrubs to (a) hospitals, (b) care homes and (c) dentists which rely on donations of scrubs from charitable volunteers.

NHS Supply Chain, the main provider of consumables and equipment into the National Health Service, report that its suppliers have sufficient supplies of scrubs for NHS customers to order. Care homes and dental practices access scrubs from their business as usual wholesalers and we have set up a number of new access points and distribution routes whereby all items of personal protective equipment, including gowns and aprons, can be ordered.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if will he make an assessment of the potential merits of enabling the backdating of pre-payment prescription claims to more than one month.

Legislation currently prohibits backdating certificates beyond one month. We have no plans to change this.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the guidance on shielding in England and Wales.

The Government has set up the Shielding Behavioural Survey to monitor whether the clinically extremely vulnerable population in England who had been advised to shield were following shielding guidance and to collect other information such as support that helps this group continue shielding, impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their mental health and wellbeing and changes in their mental and physical health.

The survey was produced in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Care, Department for Work and Pensions, Government Digital Service and Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS has published two reports for the periods: 9 June to 18 June 2020, published at 29 June 2020 and 28 May to 3 June 2020, published at 15 June 2020.

As health is a devolved issue, shielding guidance in Wales is a matter for the Welsh Government.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what dates the Government has made announcements in the names of the Chief Dental Officer and the General Dental Council on the operation of dental practices since the start of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will publish the guidance accompanying each of those announcements.

The Government has made no announcements in the name of the General Dental Council (GDC). The GDC is the body responsible for the regulation of dentists and dental care practitioners in the United Kingdom and is independent of Government.

The Chief Dental Officer and NHS England and NHS Improvement have issued a series of letters and guidance notes throughout the pandemic to dental practices. All letters and guidance notes are available on the NHS England and NHS Improvement website and also the GDC’s website.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps is he taking to support patients with long-term symptoms arising from contracting covid-19.

The National Health Service and the wider scientific community are currently working to better understand the disease course of the COVID-19 virus, including the severity and duration of symptoms. The UK Research and Innovation – National Institute for Health Research ‘Rapid Response Rolling Call’ has funded a large post-hospitalisation study. The study, announced in July, will establish a national consortium and a research platform embedded within clinical care to understand and improve long-term outcomes for survivors following hospitalisation with COVID-19.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust to develop a digital, interactive, personalised recovery programme for people recovering from COVID-19. The new ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service, which was announced on 5 July, forms part of NHS plans to expand access to COVID-19 rehabilitation treatments for those who have survived the virus but have not fully recovered.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he last met with the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has many discussions with the Secretary of State for International Development in conducting his Ministerial duties.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to seek justice for those patients who died prematurely at Gosport Hospital.

The police assessment of evidence relating to the events at Gosport War Memorial Hospital has now turned into an independent police lead investigation. This investigation is independent from the Department and the Government. Since this announcement the Department has been liaising closely with police colleagues to understand their approach. The key points are that Operation Magenta are now in its investigative stage of which there will be several potential outcomes.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help protect, shield and test adults with (a) severe learning disabilities and (b) serious medical conditions.

We recognise that COVID-19 poses specific challenges for people with a learning disability, autistic people and their families and carers. We are working hard across Government, the National Health Service, social care and with delivery partners to ensure that we mitigate these challenges as much as possible and to ensure the safety of people with a learning disability and autistic people, including in inpatient mental health settings.

Expert doctors have identified specific medical conditions that, based on what we knew about the virus so far, place someone at greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19. These patients have been asked to shield themselves in accordance with the guidance on shielding at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Guidance on COVID-19 testing, including who is eligible for a test and how to get tested is set out at the following link:

www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to protect people with disabilities from covid-19.

The Government is working to protect disabled people from Covid-19. This includes:

- Providing guidance on social distancing and advice for people with specific conditions who are considered to be clinically vulnerable to Covid-19:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing

- Advising people with specific health conditions, who are deemed to be extremely clinically vulnerable to Covid-19, to shield, and providing direct support to the shielded population. Support provided includes weekly boxes of basic supplies, priority for supermarket deliveries and help to meet basic care needs.

- Providing guidance and advice for health and social care providers and professionals to mitigate risks of Covid-19:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/wuhan-novel-coronavirus#adult-social-care

- Making available the NHS Volunteer Responders programme to help support people who are vulnerable but not shielding, including disabled people.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to issue detailed guidance on physical distancing to non-cohabiting couples.

During March 2020 the Government introduced a series of social distancing measures based on scientific advice. These are strict measures, but they are measures that we must take in order to protect the National Health Service and save lives.

On 1 June the Government made some changes to these measures that were a cautious next step in bringing families and friends, including non-cohabiting couples, back together whilst limiting the transmission risk. The latest guidance on social distancing rules can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

The Government will continue to review the measures, assessing them to ensure that they continue to be necessary and proportionate based on available scientific evidence.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to prevent the double-counting of covid-19 tests.

The Department has moved to split out the recording of numbers of tests sent out and the recording of numbers of tests processed in our laboratories. This has made double-counting very unlikely.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, will he bring forward legislative proposals to introduce a statutory requirement for care workers to receive a real living wage.

We are incredibly proud of social care workers and are determined to do everything we can to show they are truly valued. The National Minimum Wage and Living Wage apply across social care, and we expect local authorities to work with providers to determine a fair rate of pay.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken to carry out mass covid-19 testing of NHS staff.

Testing is a crucial part of the United Kingdom's response to the coronavirus pandemic and the Government is working on multiple fronts to deliver additional testing capacity into the system. On 4 April 2020, the Government published its testing strategy 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) Scaling up our testing programmes'. The strategy sets out five pillars and the second pillar focuses on the mass swab testing for critical key workers in the National Health Service.

The document is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-scaling-up-testing-programmes/coronavirus-covid-19-scaling-up-our-testing-programmes

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the supply of personal protective equipment to (a) primary care facilities and (b) GP staff.

As of 14 April, since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak we have delivered over 923 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to 58,000 different health and care settings including National Health Service trusts, general practitioners, pharmacies and community providers. We have provided PPE equipment to over 26,000 care homes including home care and hospices across the country. Over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, over 48 million PPE items have been delivered.

We are working around the clock to give the NHS and the wider social care sector the equipment and support they need to tackle this outbreak. We have brought together the NHS, industry and the Armed Forces to create a new nationwide PPE distribution network, delivering critical PPE supplies to those who need it.

We have a 24 hours a day, seven days a week helpline for those experiencing supply disruption with business as usual ordering channels. Where there may be any shortages, we act on this immediately. Local Resilience Forums are also supporting care homes, hospices, home care and primary care in getting hold of PPE equipment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure supply of generic drugs and repeat prescriptions of (a) paracetamol, (b) thyroxine, (c) warfarin and (d) insulin during the covid-19 outbreak.

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 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 United Kingdom supplies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak were set out in the Department’s press statement issued on 11 February 2020. This statement can be read 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 of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether personal protective equipment will be provided to (a) police officers (b) front line workers in pharmacies and (c) front line workers in community organisations.

The Government published ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): personal protective equipment (PPE) plan’ on 10 April. It incorporates guidance on who needs PPE and when they need it, routes to ensure those who need it can get it at the right time and sets out actions to secure enough PPE to last through the crisis.

The PPE stock in Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) should be distributed only where there is a clear and pressing need and in line with the latest clinical guidance. This is intended to support LRFs who have been advised to prioritise local distribution to those that have close unavoidable contact with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases including highly vulnerable groups. This may include services such as police, community pharmacies and some other vital community services, only where they are unable to obtain PPE through their usual supply routes for PPE and there remains an urgent need for additional stock.

PPE is not required when frontline workers can remain more than two metres away from anyone showing signs of COVID-19. Local services should make every effort to redesign services to minimise the number of frontline workers in close contact with symptomatic people, both to protect those workers and to minimise demand for PPE.

The plan can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-ppe-plan

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance has been published for community groups on implementing safety measures to protect people from the covid-19 outbreak.

The latest guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance

The guidance is being regularly updated as further announcements are made.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many ventilators the NHS (a) has and (b) plans on purchasing.

Ventilator machines are usually linked to patients in Intensive Care Units/Critical Care/High Dependency Units, although some patients may have them at home or use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines to assist with their breathing.

We are scaling up intensive care beds. NHS England is looking at National Health Service organisations critical care capacity - including the availability of additional facilities of independent sector providers.

It is also making sure that they have as much ventilation equipment as possible and, crucially, the skilled and trained people to use it.

Information on critical care bed capacity is published by NHS England and can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/critical-care-capacity/

Availability of an NHS critical care bed indicates the associated number of NHS staff with the appropriate skills and training are available to deliver the required treatment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to (a) the homeless community to prevent the spread of covid-19 and (b) homeless shelters to set up self-isolation facilities.

The Government recognises the challenges faced by those who are homeless or sleeping rough during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department is working closely with NHS England, Public Health England, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the sector to minimise the risk for vulnerable people and those currently unable to self-isolate.

Public Health England has published guidance for hostels or day centre providers of services for people experiencing rough sleeping.

As an initial first step the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced £3.2 million in emergency funding for local authorities to help rough sleepers and those at risk of sleeping rough to self-isolate. This funding will assist local authorities with providing accommodation and support to vulnerable people who are at risk of, or who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to publish guidance on protecting vulnerable individuals from coronavirus for carers caring for (a) ill and (b) elderly people at home.

Published guidance on how carers can protect vulnerable individuals is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

The guidance highlights the importance of ensuring carers follow advice on good hygiene.

Further information is also available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance/covid-19-guidance-on-home-care-provision

This guidance is aimed at those who support and deliver care to people in their own homes, setting out key messages to support planning and preparation in the event of an outbreak or widespread transmission of COVID-19.

We will continue to revise and update this guidance, as required.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the level of mental health workforce vacancies on the quality of mental health services.

The transformation of mental health services would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of National Health Service staff. We recognise the scale of the challenge challenge but we have made progress on increasing the mental health workforce, including; addressing pensions tax concerns; increasing university clinical placements for all nursing specialities by over 5,000 more; introducing £5,000 maintenance grants for nursing students and an additional £1,000 grant for students in specialisms where we have greater workforce shortages including mental health; and bolstering the workforce through greater international recruitment.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle health inequalities.

This Government has been clear that it will address the needs of those communities which have been left behind - where too many people lose their independence through ill-health and disability. We are taking action to improve access and outcomes from health services, supporting people to lead healthy lives and working across Government to address the wider determinants of health.

Prevention is a priority for this Government. We set out in our Prevention Green paper our ambition to deliver five extra years of healthy independent life and to close the gap between richest and poorest. We will publish our response in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to improve mental health services for children and young people.

The NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24 sets out that an additional 345,000 children and young people in England will have access to support via National Health Service-funded mental health services and school-or college-based mental health support teams by 2023/24.

The first 59 mental health support teams are becoming operational and 123 teams will be in place by early 2021 with the programme rolling out to at least 20-25% of the country by 2023.

We are also piloting a new four-week waiting time for children and young people’s mental health services in 12 areas and incentivising every school or college to identify and train a senior lead for mental health.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will commission an independent inquiry into the causes of shortages of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) medications and products.

The Department is aware that the ongoing supply issues with some hormone replacement therapy (HRT) preparations are due to a range of issues including manufacturing issues, regulatory issues and problems accessing the raw pharmaceutical ingredient as well as commercial decisions made by some companies to divest these products. Although some HRT products are affected by supply issues, supplies of other alternative HRT products remain available.

We are in regular discussion with all HRT suppliers about the underlying causes behind these issues and are working with them closely to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. We therefore have no plans to commission an independent inquiry.

We anticipate the overall supply situation for HRT products will improve from the end of this month.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps he is taking to help ensure that COP26 increases the (a) quality and (b) quantity of finance for climate adaptation; and what assessment he has made of how that finance can be used to support access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities globally.

As COP26 Presidency, we are clear that we must deliver for people at the front line of climate change. We continue to call on donors to demonstrate the required action now, including meeting and surpassing the goal of mobilising $100 billion of climate finance a year for developing countries. The UK is leading by example - we have committed to double our International Climate Finance to £11.6 billion over the next five years - and we are calling on others to be equally ambitious. We are also committed to addressing concerns about the quantity, quality and composition of climate finance, and the recent UK-hosted Climate and Development Ministerial was an important moment to listen and respond to the concerns of developing countries on these issues.

The impacts of climate change can be felt most acutely in the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). At the same time investing in WASH is an important measure for strengthening adaptation and resilience, and this is why the UK is prioritising a range of water-related resilience initiatives, including the Water Resilience Accelerator and the Adaptation Action Coalition Water initiative.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government plans to take in 2021 to improve the global provision of facilities for handwashing, particularly in healthcare facilities, as part of global efforts to help prevent the spread of (a) covid-19 and (b) future pandemics.

The UK Government recognises the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in health care facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and bolster preparedness for future pandemics. In January 2021, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office joined a variety of civil society, multilateral and governmental partners to form an international taskforce, to accelerate the provision of WASH services in global healthcare facilities over the next two years. Similarly, we continue to support the Sanitation and Water for All partnership, bringing together donors, the private sector and NGOs to help governments increase access to WASH services in healthcare facilities, as part of our wider global leadership on WASH.

Additionally, through our COVID-19 hygiene partnership with Unilever, we have jointly provided 2.6 million WASH products and services to over 10,000 health care facilities to strengthen their hygiene and infection prevention and control practices. This has included installing 2,400 handwashing stations, of which the majority are accessible for those with disabilities and older persons, and distributing nearly 1.5 million bars of soap in facilities. Partners have also trained over 10,000 healthcare workers, using innovative tools and technology in light of COVID restrictions. This partnership will continue in 2021.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government plans to take during its presidency of the G7 to ensure the 2021-25 replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education is fully funded.

The UK has placed girls' education and broader gender equality at the heart of our G7 Presidency. We have set out two ambitious global objectives to get 40 million more girls into school, and 20 million more girls reading by age 10 in the next 5 years. We are using our G7 Presidency to rally others in getting behind these objectives, and stand up for every girl's right to 12 years of quality education.

A well-funded Global Partnership for Education (GPE) will be central to delivering these global objectives, especially in securing education financing from developing countries' domestic budgets. We are looking forward to hosting the Global Education Summit to refinance GPE with the Government of Kenya in July. Details of the UK's next contribution to GPE will be announced in due course.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of pledging funding to the 2021-25 replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education on meeting his Department's target to get 40 million more girls into education globally and get 12 million girls literate by the age of 10.

The UK has placed girls' education and broader gender equality at the heart of our G7 Presidency. We have set out two ambitious global objectives to get 40 million more girls into school, and 20 million more girls reading by age 10 in the next 5 years. We are using our G7 Presidency to rally others in getting behind these objectives, and stand up for every girl's right to 12 years of quality education.

A well-funded Global Partnership for Education (GPE) will be central to delivering these global objectives, especially in securing education financing from developing countries' domestic budgets. We are looking forward to hosting the Global Education Summit to refinance GPE with the Government of Kenya in July. Details of the UK's next contribution to GPE will be announced in due course.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Colombian counterpart on reports of Colombian police using live ammunition against protesters in Bogota on 9 and 10 September 2020.

We are aware of concerning reports regarding the police response to protests in Colombia in September 2020. We are clear that we support the right of all Colombians to protest peacefully, and we look to the Colombian authorities to investigate fully any reports of excessive use of force against protestors, and take appropriate action against those responsible. Security services must be held accountable for their actions, and any complaints thoroughly investigated.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to support peace talks and the end of conflict in Tigray.

We are concerned about the fighting in Tigray and have consistently urged all parties to avoid conflict spill-over into neighbouring regions, prioritise the protection of civilians and security and allow unfettered humanitarian access. We have, and will continue to advocate that a political process is essential to bring a full end to fighting and a sustainable settlement for Tigray. The Foreign Secretary raised these points when he met with Prime Minister Abiy on 22 January and pressed for a political dialogue to bring a lasting peace to Tigray. I also pressed for political dialogue to end the conflict when I spoke with the Ethiopian Ambassador to the UK on 24 February.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of reports of (a) Human Rights Watch and (b) the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission of the (i) massacre in Axum and (ii) potential scale of human rights abuses in Tigray.

Over recent weeks multiple reports - including from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission - have begun to document the scale of abuses and violations in Tigray. Since the conflict started, the UK has consistently called for an end to fighting, and for all parties to the conflict to prioritise the protection of civilians. On 26 February I stated that we are deeply saddened and concerned by the reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch on the human rights violations of civilians in Axum, Ethiopia. These require a serious and urgent response from the Government of Ethiopia. We continue to call for independent, international investigations into these and other crimes reported in Tigray, including in multilateral fora, such as the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council, and for the Government of Ethiopia to ensure full access for human rights organisations. We have made this clear to the Government of Ethiopia.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations the Government has made to the Government of Pakistan on the killing of (a) Dr Tahir Mahmood in November 2020 and (b) other Ahmadi Muslims in that country.

The UK Government remains deeply concerned by reports of discrimination and violence against religious communities in Pakistan, including against the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.

We are concerned and saddened by the murder of Dr Tahir Mahmood in November 2020 in Punjab province. The Minister of State responsible for South Asia and Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, has publicly condemned the killing and called on the perpetrators to be held to account.

We continue to urge the Government of Pakistan at senior levels to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens, regardless of their belief. Lord Ahmad raised our concerns about the recent murder of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 16 November. Lord Ahmad also raised the need to protect religious communities, including the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, with Pakistan's Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for the Interior, Shahzad Akbar, on 7 December.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his counterpart in Pakistan on returning to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community educational institutions that were nationalised by the Pakistani Government.

The UK remains deeply concerned by reports of discrimination and violence against religious communities in Pakistan, including against the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. The Minister of State for South Asia spoke at the launch event of the APPG for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's Report on the 21 July and expressed the UK's deep concern regarding discrimination and violence against Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan.

We engage at a senior level with the Government of Pakistan on Freedom of Religion or Belief and the protection of minority religious communities, including the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. The Minister for South Asia, raised our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief, including inclusion and tolerance in education, with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 19 October. On 1 October, The Minister for South Asia met with Pakistan's Minister for Education, Mr Shafqat Mahmood, and on 8 September with the Governor of Punjab, Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, to discuss inclusive and tolerant education.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many staff of his Department are working on gender-based projects.

This information is not held centrally. The UK International Development Act (Gender Equality) 2014 makes a consideration of gender equality in all UK development assistance a legal requirement. The Act puts the UK ODA commitment to gender equality on a statutory footing and ensures that gender equality remains at the heart of the UK's and the FCDO's ODA work.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, which British-based International Development NGOs he has met with since April 2020.

The Foreign Secretary's external meetings will be published on GOV.UK in due course.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Government of Pakistan and the Supreme Court of Pakistan to help ensure that Ahmadi Muslims are represented within the National Commission for Minorities Rights while having the right to self-identify as Muslims.

We welcome the establishment of the National Commission for Minorities and would stress the importance of ensuring the new Commission is established in line with the UN Paris Principles as it begins its important work, specifically focusing on its independence, funding and membership. The UK Government remains deeply concerned by reports of discrimination and violence against Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan.

We will continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens, in accordance with international standards. Most recently, the Minister for South Asia, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, raised our concerns about human rights, including Freedom of Religion or Belief and the National Commission for Minorities, with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 15 July. Our High Commissioner to Pakistan discussed the National Commission for Minorities with Dr Mazari in a meeting on 8 June.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the (a) Government of Pakistan and (b) Supreme Court of Pakistan to help ensure that Ahmadi Muslims are represented within the Commission for Minorities Rights while having the right to self-identify as Muslims.

The UK Government remains deeply concerned by reports of discrimination and violence against Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan. We will continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens, as laid down in the constitution of Pakistan and in accordance with international standards.

On 5 June, the Minister for South Asia, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, wrote to Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari, about the National Commission on Minorities in Pakistan. He welcomed its establishment and highlighted the importance of ensuring the new Commission is established in line with the UN Paris Principles as it begins its important work, specifically focusing on its independence, funding and membership. Our High Commissioner to Pakistan raised these issues about the National Commission on Minorities with Dr Mazari in a meeting on 8 June.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he last met the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

The Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State meets with his Cabinet colleagues, including the Secretary of State for International Development, on a regular basis.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reducing the bank overdraft penalty rate for the remainder of the covid-19 outbreak.

The pricing of financial products, including the interest rates charged on overdrafts, remains a commercial decision for firms and the Government does not seek to intervene in such decisions.

In April 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced a series of temporary proposals to provide emergency support for consumer credit customers who were facing short-term cash flow problems as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. On overdrafts, firms were expected to provide up to £500 interest free buffer for customers, if requested, and make sure that customers did not see increased overdraft fees.

In September 2020, the FCA announced updated guidance to ensure that firms continued to provide tailored support for users of consumer credit and overdraft products who continue to face payment difficulties due to Covid-19. Where a customer needs further support, firms are expected to use measures such as reducing or waiving interest, agreeing a programme of staged reductions in the overdraft limit, or supporting customers to reduce their overdraft usage by transferring the debt.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support he plans to provide for hairdressers who have had to pay national insurance, pension contributions and other additional furlough costs on top of rent for several months without income and who face losing their businesses as a result of further lockdowns.

The Government recognises the extreme disruption the necessary actions to combat Covid-19 are having on businesses and workers in the beauty industry across the UK.

In response to the new restrictions, the Chancellor announced further support to businesses on top of the support already announced in the Winter Economy Plan and our previous economic responses. These support measures are carefully designed to complement each other to ensure we protect jobs and livelihoods.

This support includes a new one-off grant of up to £9,000 to support businesses in England which are legally required to close. This comes in addition to the existing monthly grants for closed businesses of up to £3,000 per month. Local authorities will also receive an additional £500m, to a total of £1.6bn, of discretionary funding to allow them to support their local businesses.

As measures to control the virus change, it is right that government support should also evolve. Because of this, we continue to take a flexible approach and keep all impacts and policies under review.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure the adequacy of the regulation of loan companies during the second covid-19 lockdown.

The Government has fundamentally reformed regulation of the consumer credit market, giving control of this area to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in 2014.

This more robust regulatory system is helping to deliver the Government’s vision for a well-functioning and sustainable consumer credit market which is able to meet consumers’ needs.

The Government has given the FCA strong powers to protect consumers. The FCA assesses every lender’s fitness to trade as part of the authorisation process, and it has put in place binding standards on these firms. It proactively monitors the market, focusing on the areas most likely to cause consumer harm, and it has various methods to punish breaches of its rules – there is no limit on the fines it can levy and, crucially, it can force lenders to compensate consumers.

The FCA have also asked Christopher Woolard, former Interim Chief Executive of the FCA, to conduct a review into change and innovation in the unsecured credit market. He will report his findings in early 2021. The review will concentrate on how regulation can better support a healthy unsecured lending market. It will take into account the impact of COVID-19 on employment security and credit scores, changes in business models and new developments in unsecured lending, including the growth of unregulated products in retail and the workplace.

We continue to work closely with the FCA to monitor the consumer credit market through the ongoing restrictions to ensure that any emerging risks are identified, and we will take action where necessary.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will offer a settlement opportunity for people affected by loan charges.

In 2017 HMRC offered settlement terms to taxpayers who used disguised remuneration (DR) tax avoidance schemes and who may have been liable to pay the Loan Charge unless they chose to settle with HMRC.

Taxpayers who provided the necessary information to HMRC by 5 April 2019 and worked with HMRC to conclude settlement by 30 September 2020 were able to settle under these 2017 terms, enabling them to keep clear of the Loan Charge.

Later this year, HMRC will publish settlement terms for taxpayers who pay the Loan Charge and still have remaining liabilities, arising from HMRC enquiries into their DR scheme use, which have yet to be resolved.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of banks on the provision of free-to-use ATMs; and if he will make a statement.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis.

The Government recognises that cash remains important to millions of people across the UK, which is why it has committed to legislate to protect access to cash and to ensure that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable in the long term. The Government is working at pace, engaging with industry and the regulators – the Financial Conduct Authority, Payment Systems Regulator, and Bank of England – whilst designing legislation. To inform the development of this legislation, the Government published a Call for Evidence on 15 October seeking views on the key considerations associated with cash access, including deposit and withdrawal facilities, cash acceptance, and regulatory oversight of the cash system.

LINK, the scheme that runs the UK’s largest ATM network, has existing arrangements in place to protect free-to-use ATMs that do not have another free-to-use ATM or Post Office within 1 kilometre. LINK’s members have also made £5 million available to fund ATMs at the request of communities with poor access to cash.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to (a) identify and (b close down disguised remuneration schemes.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) remain committed to tackling new and emerging tax avoidance schemes and will launch a call for evidence shortly to seek views on further interventions to tackle these schemes and end their use.

HMRC have opened tens of thousands of enquiries, successfully litigated cases through the courts and agreed settlements to help DR users exit tax avoidance. HMRC are now increasingly intervening in real time, using information from employers and other intelligence relating to the avoidance market. HMRC are writing to taxpayers who appear to have started using avoidance before they complete their tax return to give them an opportunity to get out of the arrangements as early as possible.

HMRC are also challenging scheme promoters and other enablers in the marketed avoidance supply chain in order to disrupt their business. On 19 March 2020, they published a revised strategy for tackling promoters of mass-marketed tax avoidance schemes which sets out HMRC’s work to date and outlines HMRC and Government ambitions to drive promoters of tax avoidance out of business. It is guiding policy, operations, engagement and communications. The Promoter Strategy is available on GOV.UK.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether childcare vouchers can be used for online service providers if they meet the criteria of developing skills in children and giving parents time to be able to do their own work.

Childcare vouchers can only be used for eligible childcare that meets the definition of “care” in section 318B(1) of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003.

Eligible care requires an element of supervised activity, where the provider has some control over the environment and can provide care for the child in the event of an emergency, thereby meeting health and safety requirements. Online service providers do not meet these conditions.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he last met with the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

Treasury Ministers meet regularly with Ministerial colleagues and officials across Government to discuss a variety of issues including Official Development Assistance.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of (a) extending business rates exemption relief to barristers’ chambers and (b) provide tailored support for publicly-funded Bar employees that are ineligible for the self-employed scheme.

While office space such as barristers’ chambers is not eligible for the retail, hospitality and leisure relief, a range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday has been made available. For example, the Government has launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms keep people in employment, and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Those ineligible for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) may still benefit from other support. Individuals may have access to a range of grants and loans depending on their circumstances, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme,?Bounce Back Loans,?and the deferral of tax payments.?There will be no further changes and no further extensions to the SEISS, which continues to be one of the most generous self-employed support schemes in the world.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when the £500m Future Fund announced on 20 April 2020 will open for applications.

The Future Fund will open to applications on 20 May. Further details and guidance are available on the British Business Bank website: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-schemes/future-fund/.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of raising the £51,000 business rates limit for covid-19 support grants for businesses in line with the variation in property values in England.

The business grants schemes have been designed to help small businesses. £51,000 is the accepted threshold in the business rates system for a “small” business, as only businesses which occupy properties with a rateable value of less than £51,000 can benefit from the Small Business Multiplier rate. This threshold applies across England, thus providing a straightforward existing basis which Local Authorities can use to issue grants.

Larger businesses may have access to other forms of support which the Government has announced, such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. In addition, there is no rateable value limit on the business rates holiday for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

The Government continues to monitor the economic situation and is keeping support for businesses and other organisations under review.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th May 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether she has plans to bring forward legislative proposals to reduce access to (a) health care for young transgender people and (b) public conveniences for transgender people in the forthcoming reforms to the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) sets out the process by which a person can change their legal gender. Healthcare for young transgender people and public conveniences for transgender people does not fall within its scope.

The Government is carefully planning next steps on reforming the GRA, so that any changes can have a positive impact on transgender adults who live in the UK.

We have listened closely to all those who engaged with the consultation, and we plan to publish our response this summer, subject to the Government's COVID-19 response.

The Government is also committed to making sure all young people have access to appropriate and timely psychological and medical support.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will he make an assessment of the potential merits of including income received through dividends in furlough calculations for directors of small limited companies.

Income from dividends is a return on investment in the company rather than wages, and it is not possible for HMRC to distinguish between dividends derived from an individual’s own company and dividends from other sources.

However, those who pay themselves a salary through their own company may be eligible for the CJRS. The CJRS is available to employers, including personal service companies, and individuals paying themselves a salary through a PAYE scheme are eligible.

More details about the scheme are available at http://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

This scheme supplements the other significant support announced for UK businesses, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the deferral of tax payments. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to include (a) tips and (b) payments through a TRONC system in furlough calculations for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in relation to hospitality industry staff.

The objective of the CJRS is to enable employers to keep people in employment. To achieve this, the grants compensate employers for the payments that they are contractually obliged to make, in order to avoid the need for redundancies. Covering discretionary payments would go beyond the objectives of the scheme. The following guidance explains how to work out employees' wages for the purpose of claiming through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/work-out-80-of-your-employees-wages-to-claim-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

The Government recognises that for some employees, the pay in scope for this emergency grant package will be less than the overall sum they usually receive. The Government is supporting people on low incomes who need to rely on the welfare system through a significant package of temporary measures. This includes a £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element, and a nearly £1bn increase in support for renters through increases to the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants. These changes will benefit all new and existing claimants. Anyone can check their eligibility and apply for Universal Credit by visiting https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the £50,000 of trading profits upper limit for eligibility to qualify for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, including the £50,000 threshold, is designed to target those who most need support, and who are most reliant on their self-employment income. The self-employed are a very diverse group. They have a wide mix of turnover and profits, with monthly and annual variations, even in normal times. Some may see their profits unaffected by the current situation, while others have substantial alternative forms of income: for example, those who had more than £50,000 from self-employment profits in 2017-18 had an average total income of more than £200,000. The self-employed can also offset losses against profits in other years and other forms of income.

Those with average profits above £50,000 could still benefit from other support. 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 Bounce Back Loan Scheme for small businesses, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the deferral of tax payments.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether businesspersons trading under an ECAA-2 visa are eligible for support from the Government during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency including an initial £330 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP. Our current support measures are well-targeted at the businesses and individuals who most need support, bearing in mind the need to act very quickly to deliver this unprecedented package.

Businesspersons operating in the UK under a Turkish businesspersons’ visa (ECAA-2) are eligible for this support which includes:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
  • The Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
  • Rebates for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for SMEs
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises
  • VAT deferral for up to 12 months
  • The Time To Pay scheme, through which businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, can receive support with their tax affairs
  • Protection for commercial leaseholders against automatic forfeiture for non-payment until June 30, 2020

The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply - https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support.

Details of the range of support for individuals affected by COVID-19 is available at:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether rehearsal studios and music sound equipment hire companies are classed as part of the leisure and hospitality sector for the purposes of receiving a business rates holiday; and what plans he has for those companies to receive support in line with the support available to pubs and live music events.

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors through business rates relief given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published guidance for local authorities on eligible properties.

A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday, has also been made available. For example, the Government has launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms keep people in employment, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank, and is deferring VAT payments for this quarter.

The Government will consider any further financial assistance necessary to help businesses get through this period.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to new employees that started work before 19 March 2020 but whose Real Time Information submission was made after that date.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is open to any individual who was on an employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and for whom HMRC received an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before the 19 March 2020. Processing claims for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where HMRC did not have RTI data by 19 March would significantly slow down the system while risking substantial levels of fraud. It would also require greater resource for HMRC when they are already under significant pressure to deliver the system designed.

Those not eligible for the scheme may be able to access other support the Government is providing, including a package of temporary welfare measures and up to three months’ mortgage payment holidays for those struggling with their mortgage payments.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the small business grant to all active businesses not eligible for business rate relief.

The Small Business Grant Fund is designed to give additional financial support to those small businesses which are likely to face high fixed building-related costs, such as rent.

However, we are aware that many small businesses which are facing high fixed costs are finding themselves excluded from the existing grants schemes because of the way they interact with the current business rates system. Government has provided up to an additional £617m for Local Authorities in England to enable them to make grants payments to businesses in these circumstances. This funding will be used by Local Authorities to create a Discretionary Grants Fund.

Local Authorities are responsible for defining precise eligibility for these funds. However, it is our intention that the following businesses should be considered as a priority for these funds:

  • Businesses in shared offices;
  • Regular market traders who do not have their own business rates assessment;
  • B&Bs which pay Council Tax instead of business rates; and
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

Recipient businesses will also have to meet the following criteria:

  • They must be facing high fixed property-related costs;
  • They must be able to demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the Covid-19 crisis;
  • They must have fewer than 50 employees;
  • They must have been trading on or before 11th March.

Businesses will need to apply to their Local Authority in order to receive grants. Each Local Authority will need to create their own process, which may take some time. We encourage businesses to look out for their Local Authority’s version of this scheme, and to contact their Local Authority for more information in due course.

Small businesses which are not eligible for business grants should still be able to benefit from other elements of the Government’s unprecedented package of support for business, including:

  • An option to defer VAT payments by up to twelve months;
  • The Bounce Back Loan scheme, which will ensure that small and micro businesses can quickly access loans of up to £50,000 which are 100% guaranteed by the Government;
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, now extended to cover all businesses including those which would be able to access commercial credit;
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to support businesses with their wage bill;
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, to provide support to the self-employed.
Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to provide additional financial support for (a) dental, (b) physiotherapy and (c) veterinary practices during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is providing funding for Local Authorities to support small businesses that benefit from small business rates relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 per property in receipt of these reliefs, to help meet their continuing business costs. There is no restriction on the type of small business which may be eligible.

In addition to these grants, small businesses may also be able to benefit from the new Discretionary Grant Fund announced by the Government on 1 May. The Government has provided up to an additional £617m for Local Authorities in England to enable them to make grants payments to businesses which are facing high fixed property-related costs, but have been excluded from the existing grants schemes because of the way they are treated by the business rates system. Local Authorities are responsible for defining precise eligibility for these funds, and businesses will need to apply to their Local Authority in order to receive grants. Businesses which think they may be eligible for a discretionary grant should contact their Local Authority.

Businesses not eligible for grant funding have access to other support measures which the Government has introduced, including:

  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme for SMEs
  • VAT deferral for up to 12 months
  • The Time To Pay scheme, through which businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, can receive support with their tax affairs
  • Protection for commercial leaseholders against automatic forfeiture for non-payment until 30 June 2020

The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to self-employed people who became self-employed after the deadline for submitting a 2018-19 tax return.

It has not been possible to include those who began trading after the 2018-19 tax year in the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. This was a very difficult decision and it was taken for practical reasons. It is correct that individuals can now submit Income Tax Self Assessment returns for 2019-20, but there would be significant risks for the public purse if the Government relied on these returns for the scheme. HMRC would not be able to distinguish genuine self-employed individuals who started trading in 2019-20 from fake applications by fraudulent operators and organised criminal gangs seeking to exploit the SEISS. The Government cannot expose the tax system to these risks.

However, those who entered self-employment after April 2019 will still be eligible for other support. For example, the self-employed can benefit from the Government’s relaxation of the earnings rules (known as the Minimum Income Floor) in Universal Credit. The SEISS supplements the significant support already announced for UK businesses, including the Bounce Back Loans Scheme for small businesses, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the deferral of tax payments. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to self-employed people who receive income through a combination of sole trader and PAYE contracts with employers.

Self-employed people who pay themselves a salary through their own company may be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The CJRS is available to employers, including personal service companies, and individuals paying themselves a salary through a PAYE scheme are eligible.

Employers can use a portal to claim for 80% of the usual monthly wage costs of furloughed employees (employees on a leave of absence) up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions for that wage.

This scheme supplements the other significant support announced for UK businesses, including the Bounce Back Loans Scheme for small businesses, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the deferral of tax payments. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to self-employed people who have set up as one to two person limited companies.

Self-employed people who pay themselves a salary through their own company may be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The CJRS is available to employers, including personal service companies, and individuals paying themselves a salary through a PAYE scheme are eligible.

Employers can use a portal to claim for 80% of the usual monthly wage costs of furloughed employees (employees on a leave of absence) up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions for that wage.

This scheme supplements the other significant support announced for UK businesses, including the Bounce Back Loans Scheme for small businesses, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the deferral of tax payments. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether it is his policy to maintain the Entrepreneurs Relief scheme.

The Government’s manifesto set out its intention to review and reform Entrepreneurs’ Relief. The Government is committed to a tax system that supports investment and growth and keeps all taxes and reliefs under review to ensure they continue to meet these objectives. Any changes to the tax system, including any reform of Entrepreneurs’ Relief, will be set out in the Budget on 11 March.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to tackle people who promoted loan charge schemes.

The Government and HMRC are determined to continue to tackle promoters of tax avoidance schemes. HMRC undertake a variety of activities such as changing promoter behaviour using the Promoters of Tax Avoidance Schemes (POTAS) regime; challenging promoters for failures under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) regime and pursuing criminal investigations and arrests where appropriate.

In December 2019 the Government announced in its response to Sir Amyas Morse’s Independent Loan Charge Review further measures to tackle promoters of avoidance schemes. Further detail on these measures will be set out at the Budget.

At Budget 2016 it was estimated that 50,000 individuals would be affected by the loan charge. As a result of the changes announced by the Government in December 2019, it is estimated that around 11,000 will now be taken out of scope of the loan charge altogether. In addition, individuals who have settled or are settling their tax liability with HMRC will also be out of scope of the charge. There is not yet a firm estimate of the number who will choose to settle and so be out of scope of the loan charge.

The Government accepted all but one of the recommendations of the Independent Review. The recommendation to introduce a write-off of tax due on the loan charge after 10 years of a time to pay arrangement, was not accepted. This would treat tax avoiders more favourably than other individuals with HMRC debts (including tax credit claimants), would reduce taxpayers’ incentive to pay off the debt, and would have unwelcome wider impacts that change how HMRC and those in debt interact.

A copy of the Government response can be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/854490/20191219_Government_response.pdf

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many people will be affected by the 2019 Loan Charge after the Government has implemented the recommendations of Sir Amyas Morse's review.

The Government and HMRC are determined to continue to tackle promoters of tax avoidance schemes. HMRC undertake a variety of activities such as changing promoter behaviour using the Promoters of Tax Avoidance Schemes (POTAS) regime; challenging promoters for failures under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) regime and pursuing criminal investigations and arrests where appropriate.

In December 2019 the Government announced in its response to Sir Amyas Morse’s Independent Loan Charge Review further measures to tackle promoters of avoidance schemes. Further detail on these measures will be set out at the Budget.

At Budget 2016 it was estimated that 50,000 individuals would be affected by the loan charge. As a result of the changes announced by the Government in December 2019, it is estimated that around 11,000 will now be taken out of scope of the loan charge altogether. In addition, individuals who have settled or are settling their tax liability with HMRC will also be out of scope of the charge. There is not yet a firm estimate of the number who will choose to settle and so be out of scope of the loan charge.

The Government accepted all but one of the recommendations of the Independent Review. The recommendation to introduce a write-off of tax due on the loan charge after 10 years of a time to pay arrangement, was not accepted. This would treat tax avoiders more favourably than other individuals with HMRC debts (including tax credit claimants), would reduce taxpayers’ incentive to pay off the debt, and would have unwelcome wider impacts that change how HMRC and those in debt interact.

A copy of the Government response can be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/854490/20191219_Government_response.pdf

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to tackle the ongoing promotion of payroll loan schemes.

The Government and HMRC are determined to continue to tackle promoters of tax avoidance schemes. HMRC undertake a variety of activities such as changing promoter behaviour using the Promoters of Tax Avoidance Schemes (POTAS) regime; challenging promoters for failures under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) regime and pursuing criminal investigations and arrests where appropriate.

In December 2019 the Government announced in its response to Sir Amyas Morse’s Independent Loan Charge Review further measures to tackle promoters of avoidance schemes. Further detail on these measures will be set out at the Budget.

At Budget 2016 it was estimated that 50,000 individuals would be affected by the loan charge. As a result of the changes announced by the Government in December 2019, it is estimated that around 11,000 will now be taken out of scope of the loan charge altogether. In addition, individuals who have settled or are settling their tax liability with HMRC will also be out of scope of the charge. There is not yet a firm estimate of the number who will choose to settle and so be out of scope of the loan charge.

The Government accepted all but one of the recommendations of the Independent Review. The recommendation to introduce a write-off of tax due on the loan charge after 10 years of a time to pay arrangement, was not accepted. This would treat tax avoiders more favourably than other individuals with HMRC debts (including tax credit claimants), would reduce taxpayers’ incentive to pay off the debt, and would have unwelcome wider impacts that change how HMRC and those in debt interact.

A copy of the Government response can be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/854490/20191219_Government_response.pdf

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reasons he did not accept the recommendation in Sir Amyas Morse's review for a maximum period for repayment of the loan charge for people on lower incomes of 10 years.

The Government and HMRC are determined to continue to tackle promoters of tax avoidance schemes. HMRC undertake a variety of activities such as changing promoter behaviour using the Promoters of Tax Avoidance Schemes (POTAS) regime; challenging promoters for failures under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) regime and pursuing criminal investigations and arrests where appropriate.

In December 2019 the Government announced in its response to Sir Amyas Morse’s Independent Loan Charge Review further measures to tackle promoters of avoidance schemes. Further detail on these measures will be set out at the Budget.

At Budget 2016 it was estimated that 50,000 individuals would be affected by the loan charge. As a result of the changes announced by the Government in December 2019, it is estimated that around 11,000 will now be taken out of scope of the loan charge altogether. In addition, individuals who have settled or are settling their tax liability with HMRC will also be out of scope of the charge. There is not yet a firm estimate of the number who will choose to settle and so be out of scope of the loan charge.

The Government accepted all but one of the recommendations of the Independent Review. The recommendation to introduce a write-off of tax due on the loan charge after 10 years of a time to pay arrangement, was not accepted. This would treat tax avoiders more favourably than other individuals with HMRC debts (including tax credit claimants), would reduce taxpayers’ incentive to pay off the debt, and would have unwelcome wider impacts that change how HMRC and those in debt interact.

A copy of the Government response can be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/854490/20191219_Government_response.pdf

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to publish the outcome of his review of proposed changes to IR35 tax regulations.

The review of the off-payroll working rules reform (also known as IR35) was announced on 7 January 2020. As set out at Budget 2018, the reform is due to be extended to medium and large organisations in all sectors from 6 April 2020. The review is looking to determine if any further steps can be taken to ensure smooth and successful implementation of the reform due to come into force in April 2020. The review will conclude by mid-February 2020, after which point the recommendations will be made public.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to launch the UK Resettlement Scheme; and what the target number is of refugees to be resettled in the UK under that scheme.

Parliament was informed by Written Ministerial Statement on 18 March (https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-03-18/hcws855) that the new global UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS) commenced on completion of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. Through UKRS we are committed to welcoming refugees through resettlement in the months and years to come. The Home Office continues to work closely with partners to access capacity for resettlement activity, as we recover from the pandemic. As set out in the New Plan for Immigration we will continue to improve our resettlement offer as a safe and legal route to the UK for refugees in need of protection.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps have been taken to ensure the smooth transfer of accepted Dublin III family reunion cases to the UK in addition to the guidance issued now that the Dublin Regulation will no longer govern the way in which transfers happen between sending states and the UK.

The ’savings’ provisions, as set out in Schedule 2, Part 3 of the Immigration, Nationality and Asylum (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, allow a Dublin Regulation family reunion request made before the end of the Transition Period at 11pm 31 December 2020 to continue to be processed after that time.

We continue to cooperate collaboratively with sending States for the transfer of individuals under the Dublin Regulation we accepted under these provisions.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of reducing the minimum salary requirement for settlement in the UK for physiotherapists in response to (a) high vacancy rates in NHS physiotherapy services and (b) the time being taken for the Government to take a decision on the Migration Advisory Committee recommendation to add physiotherapists to the Shortage Occupation List.

Under the new Skilled Worker route, we have already reduced the salary requirements physiotherapists need to meet to gain settlement from £35,800 to the national pay scale for their occupation. This applies whether or not they are included on the Shortage Occupation List.

Whilst we have considered carefully the possible impacts of the new immigration system, additional variables such as the impact of Covid-19 on the UK Labour Market require closer examination. To avoid taking a piecemeal approach to implementing the Migration Advisory Committee’s advice, we need to review the various influences on migration flows and the labour market, including introduction of a new immigration system, and whether this is in line with our anticipated outcomes, before considering which changes are required to the Shortage Occupation List.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to improve living conditions at asylum seeker processing and detainment sites.

We expect the highest standards from our providers and the accommodation provided must be safe, habitable, fit for purpose and is required to comply with the Decent Homes Standard, in addition to standards outlined in relevant national or local housing legislation.

The asylum seekers being accommodated are not being held under detention powers and they will not be prevented from leaving. Asylum seekers are free to find accommodation through friends or relatives and may be provided with the allowance alone if deemed to be financially destitute.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the asylum system has faced significant pressures and it has become necessary to use additional temporary accommodation to ensure the Home Office can continue to meet all of its statutory obligations.

Following a review of available government property, the MoD permitted the Home Office temporary use of Napier Barracks in Kent and the Penally Training Camp in Pembrokeshire, which have been in operation for almost four months. They are fit for purpose, safe and equipped in line with existing contractual requirements for asylum accommodation. We continue to work closely with our provider and partners to identify opportunities for improvement, as we do across our entire accommodation estate.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has made to enable the covid-safe continuation of citizenship ceremonies during the period of the new national covid-19 lockdown from 5 November 2020.

Each local authority is responsible for administering citizenship ceremonies. Local authorities strictly follow Government as well as local advice relating to social distancing and public safety.

In addition, an innovative process for ‘virtual’ citizenship ceremonies was implemented in July. Work continues to increase availability of virtual ceremonies across local authorities to maximise opportunities for applicants to attend one.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make it her policy to suspend the minimum income requirement during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Minimum Income Requirement is set at the level which prevents burdens on the taxpayer and promotes integration and we remain aligned with those aims whilst making adjustments to support those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Such adjustments are among a range of measures put in place by the Home Office to support those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. These are set out for customers on GOV.UK and are available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents

We have no plans to suspend the Minimum Income Requirement.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to increase youth intervention services.

It is vitally important that we prevent young people from being drawn into violent crime, exploitation and abuse. The Government recognises that high quality youth services can transform the lives of young people.

The Government has invested £200 million in a 10-year Youth Endowment (YEF) Fund to tackle the drivers behind serious youth violence. An extra £5million has been awarded to the YEF in 2020 to develop a National Centre of Excellence, which will share knowledge and expertise with those working with vulnerable children and young people at risk of involvement in serious youth violence.

In July 2020, the YEF offered a total of £6.5m to 130 organisations across England and Wales as part of its COVID-19 grant round. The funding will help charities, social enterprises, local authorities and youth organisations to re-connect with young people at-risk of being drawn into violent crime and tackle any problems to emerge because of COVID-19.

The Government has invested £70m over two years (19/20 – 20/21) in establishing Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) in the 18 police force areas most affected by serious violence. VRUs bring together police, local government, health and education professionals, community leaders and other key partners to identify the drivers of serious violence and agree a multi-agency response to them. In addition to leading and coordinating local responses, VRUs are also delivering interventions to support those most at risk of involvement in serious violence. In year 1 of their operation, VRUs applied £23.1m to enable delivery of 175 different interventions, which reached over 100,000 young people.

We are significantly increasing investment in specialist support for county lines victims this year. With investment of £860k the St Giles Trust will be delivering one-to-one support in London, Merseyside and the West Midlands (the three largest county lines exporting areas) which will help over 200 vulnerable children and young people who are criminally exploited by county lines gangs to exit their involvement.

The Home Office is also continuing to fund Missing People’s SafeCall service (c.£200k FY20/21). This specialist 24/7 helpline provides advice and support to children, young people and their parents/carers who are concerned about county lines, criminal exploitation and gangs.

Through the £13.2m Trusted Relationships Fund we are identifying innovative approaches to tackling vulnerability among children and young people at risk of exploitation and abuse. The local authority-led projects, which went live in August 2018, provide support for children and young people identified as at high risk of child sexual exploitation and abuse, criminal exploitation and peer-on-peer abuse.

The Government also funded £22 million of funding for 40 projects through Early Intervention Youth Fund which ran from 2018 – 2020. This included awareness raising and education programmes, diversionary activities, tailored interventions, and programmes which aimed to cease offending or reoffending. A process evaluation of the EIYF will be available in Autumn 2020.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to improve police response times.

Law enforcement, including response times, is an operational matter for the police. It is for local policing bodies, in the case of London the Mayor, and Chief Constables and Commissioners to decide how best to manage their communications and response to the public based on their knowledge and experience of the communities they serve.

The police funding settlement for 2020/21 sets out the biggest increase in funding for the policing system since 2010. The Government will provide a total police funding settlement of up to £15.2 billion in 2020/21, which is an increase of up to £1.1 billion compared to 2019/20.

The Metropolitan Police Service are receiving up to £2,939.9m in funding in 2020/21, an increase of up to £193m on 2019/20.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what covid-19 related funding and support is available to people with Leave to Remain.

The?Government has published advice and information about the support available to migrants with Leave to Remain during the coronavirus pandemic: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-get-support-if-youre-a-migrant-living-in-the-uk.

Most migrants with Leave to Remain in the UK are subject to no recourse to public funds (NRPF). Successive governments have set the threshold for migrants qualifying for public funds at Indefinite Leave to Remain, reflecting the strength of connection to the UK of those who hold this status. However, many of the measures introduced to support people through the coronavirus pandemic, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and protections for renters, are available to those with NRPF.

Individuals whose basis of stay in the UK is based on their family life or human rights can apply to have the NRPF condition lifted by making a ‘change of conditions’ application if there?are exceptional circumstances in their case relating?to financial circumstances.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she last met the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

Home Office Ministers have regular meetings as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will suspend the no recourse to public funds clause during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Home Office is working closely with other government departments, including the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department of Health and Social Care to support people, including migrants with NRPF, through this crisis.

Many of the wide-ranging Covid-19 measures the government has put in place are not public funds and therefore are available to migrants with NRPF. The Government has published advice and information about the support available to migrants living here, including where they are subject to NRPF. This information covers statutory sick pay, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-get-support-if-youre-a-migrant-living-in-the-uk

Migrants with leave under the Family and Human Rights routes can apply to have the NRPF restriction lifted by making a ‘change of conditions’ application if there has been a change in their financial circumstances. The Home Office has recently digitised the application form to make sure it is accessible for those who need to remain at home, and applications are being dealt with compassionately.

Local authorities may provide basic safety net support, regardless of immigration support, if it is established that there is a genuine care need that does not arise solely from destitution, for example, where there are community care needs, migrants with serious health problems or family cases where the wellbeing of a child is in question.

The Government has allocated more than £3.2 billion to local authorities in England, and additional funding under the Barnett formula to the devolved administrations, to help them respond to Covid-19 pressures across all the services they deliver, including services helping the most vulnerable.

In addition, on the 8th April the Chancellor announced an additional £750m package of support for charities across the UK to ensure they can continue their vital work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In light of the support available, we do not believe it is necessary to suspend the NRPF condition. We will keep the situation under review and consider further measures if needed.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will grant indefinite leave to remain for all foreign nationals working in the NHS.

The Government has announced we will extend the visas for a range of healthcare professionals working for the NHS and independent health and care providers, where their current visa expires before 1 October. This offer also applies to their families. The 12-month extension is automatic and free of charge and those benefitting will not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

The Home Secretary has confirmed families and dependants of the health workers applicable for this automatic visa extension, who sadly pass away due to contracting the Covid-19 virus, will be offered immediate Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, without a requirement to pay a fee.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has in place to support women who have to (a) work from home and (b) self-isolate who are at risk of domestic violence.

Domestic abuse is unacceptable in any situation. We are working closely with the sector, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner and the police to understand the impact of COVID-19 on victims, including as restrictions are eased.

The Home Secretary announced £2 million in funding to ensure that helplines and online services continue to be easily accessible to victims. £1.2 million of this has already been allocated.

This is in addition to the £750 million funding package announced by the Chancellor, £76 million of which will support survivors of?domestic abuse, sexual violence and modern slavery?as well as ensure that vulnerable children and young people continue to get the help they need. From this funding the HO launched a £2m fund for national and regionally based domestic abuse organisations. Following assessment of initial bids, £793,000 of this has been awarded to 13 organisations and the fund has been re-opened.

We have also launched a campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse and signpost victims to the support services available. The campaign, under the hashtag #YouAreNotAlone, aims to reassure those affected by domestic abuse that support services remain available during this difficult time. Details of these services can be found at www.gov.uk/domestic-abuse

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has chartered flights scheduled for deportations in 2020.

Most enforced immigration returns are undertaken using scheduled flights, alongside fare-paying passengers. However, charter flight operations are an important means to return foreign national offenders and immigration offenders where there are limited scheduled routes or where the returnees may be disruptive. We utilise both approaches flexibly to best meet operational needs, maximise value for money for the taxpayer and keep our street safe.

For operational reasons, it is not possible to disclose full details of the future returns charter flight programme.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many inadmissibility decisions based on the concept of safe third country were made by the UK in 2019, by country designated as safe third country.

The Dublin III Regulation is a long-standing mechanism between EU Member States to determine responsibility for examining asylum claims. It is not an application route for transfer to the UK. At present we do not publish data on cases covered by the Dublin Regulation. Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, regularly publishes Member State figures, which can be found at: http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=migr_dubto&lang=en

The UK is committed to providing protection to those who need it, in accordance with its international obligations. It is an established principle that those in need of protection should seek asylum in the first safe country that they enter and not put their lives at risk by making unnecessary and dangerous onwards journeys to the UK. Illegal migration from safe countries undermines our efforts to help those most in need. Controlled resettlement via safe and legal routes is the best way to protect refugees and disrupt the organised crime groups that exploit migrants and refugees.

Information regarding how many inadmissible decisions based on the concept of safe third country and which designated safe third country those decisions relate to is not recorded or held in a reportable format.

Full guidance on which asylum claims must be treated as inadmissible was published in October 2019 and can be found via the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inadmissibility-third-country-cases

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many British-born Muslims who joined the armed forces from (a) 2016 to (b) 2019 completed the minimum length of service before exiting the armed services.

In the period 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2019, an estimated 85 personnel joined the untrained Regular Armed Forces and self-identified as British-born Muslims; personnel are not mandated to provide their religious identity. As at 1 April 2020, an estimated 35 of these personnel had not joined the full-time trained strength, either because they had left their Service prior to 31 March 2020 or because they were still in training. There is no standard minimum length of service across the Armed Forces.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many formal complaints were received from British-born Muslim armed forces personnel in service from (a) 2016 to (b) 2019.

In the period 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2019 the number of admissible Service Complaints made by British-born Muslim Armed Forces personnel was 10 (rounded). This figure is based on single Service estimates.

9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many British born Muslims applied to the armed services in (a) 2016, (b) 2017, (c) 2018 and (d) 2019.

Defence is dedicated to achieving a more diverse workforce and is undertaking a wide range of activities to increase the number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) recruits into the Armed Forces, including through better understanding and greater engagement with BAME communities, reviewing recruitment processes; and better targeted marketing and communications towards potential BAME applicants. The Armed Forces set a target for 2020 that 10 per cent of recruits should be BAME; in the 12 months to 31 March 2020, 11.7 per cent of total intake into the combined UK Regular Forces and Future Reserves 2020 were BAME.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) publishes biannual statistics on diversity declarations for Armed Forces personnel. The latest edition can be found at the following link and provides a detailed breakdown of the strength of the Armed Forces, including by self-declared religion, in each of the requested years:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-armed-forces-biannual-diversity-statistics-index. However, it will take time for officials to collate the requested detailed information and I will write to the hon. Member in due course.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many and what proportion of British-born Muslims who applied to the armed forces (a) successfully completed their training and (b) served in the (i) British Army, (ii) Royal Air Force, (iii) Royal Navy and (iv) Royal Marines in each year since 2016.

Defence is dedicated to achieving a more diverse workforce and is undertaking a wide range of activities to increase the number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) recruits into the Armed Forces, including through better understanding and greater engagement with BAME communities, reviewing recruitment processes; and better targeted marketing and communications towards potential BAME applicants. The Armed Forces set a target for 2020 that 10 per cent of recruits should be BAME; in the 12 months to 31 March 2020, 11.7 per cent of total intake into the combined UK Regular Forces and Future Reserves 2020 were BAME.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) publishes biannual statistics on diversity declarations for Armed Forces personnel. The latest edition can be found at the following link and provides a detailed breakdown of the strength of the Armed Forces, including by self-declared religion, in each of the requested years:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-armed-forces-biannual-diversity-statistics-index. However, it will take time for officials to collate the requested detailed information and I will write to the hon. Member in due course.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he last met with the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

The Defence Secretary meets regularly with the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss matters of mutual interest, including Official Development Assistance.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring Housing Associations to buy back properties with fire safety defects until such time as the defects are rectified to enable residents of shared ownership properties with fire safety defects to move home.

Government guidance is clear that building safety is the responsibility of building owners including housing associations. We recognise that shared ownership leases and many other leasehold agreements will allow building owners to pass remediation costs on to leaseholders. That is why the Government has recently announced a globally unprecedented investment in building safety under which hundreds of thousands of leaseholders, including shared owners, will be protected from the cost of replacing unsafe cladding on their homes. The Government is providing over £5 billion of grant funding for the removal of unsafe cladding on buildings over 18m.

The Government is also establishing a generous finance scheme which will provide leaseholders in buildings of 11-18m, including buildings owned by Registered Providers, with access to finance for cladding remediation costs and a commitment that their monthly cladding repayment costs will not exceed £50 a month. We will be publishing more details on how these schemes will work.

We have also introduced a new model for Shared Ownership which will include a 10 year period during which the landlord will support with the cost of repairs in new build homes. The changes will prevent new shared owners from being hit with unexpected repairs and maintenance bills and will help to bridge the gap between renting and homeownership.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether buildings under 11 metres high with cladding require an External Wall Survey (EWS) assessment.

On 8 March the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) published a new guidance note which outlines when an EWS1 form should be used, which is available at www.rics.org/uk/upholding-professional-standards/sector-standards/valuation/valuation-of-properties-in-multi-storey-multi-occupancy-residential-buildings-with-cladding/ . The EWS1 process is not a Government form or regulatory requirement, and when and whether the process is used will be determined by the policies of individual mortgage and valuation firms.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure local authorities (a) adhere to the Government’s public health funeral guidelines and (b) publish their policy and contact details online.

My Department published non-statutory public health funeral guidance on September 16 2020. This was developed following feedback from some local authorities that they would value information on good practice and suggested guidelines which they could draw upon to inform their local policies.

This guidance is non-statutory therefore it does not create any new requirements local authorities must adhere to. The guidance suggests that publishing a written policy on public health funerals on their website, which can be accessed in a range of formats and languages, could be a helpful approach for local authorities to take so that the public are aware of the local arrangements for public health funerals.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what responsibilities housing associations have for shared ownership properties which have cladding and insulation non-compliant with regulatory requirements.

Existing shared owners have a full repairing lease and are financially responsible for all maintenance charges and outgoings, in the same way as any other homeowner. We have introduced a new model for Shared Ownership which will include a 10 year period during which the landlord will support with the cost of repairs in new build homes, and this will help to bridge the gap between renting and homeownership. Further, Government guidance is clear that building safety is the responsibility of building owners including housing associations.

We recognise that there are many cases where leasehold agreements will allow building owners to pass remediation costs on to leaseholders, including those participating in shared ownership schemes. That is why the Government is accelerating work on a long-term solution which will help to protect leaseholders. We will update on this work as soon as we are in a position to do so.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many applicants have applied to the Building Safety Fund for the remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems since the inception of that Fund; how many of those applicants have had their claims (a) accepted and (b) rejected; and how much funding remains to be allocated from that Fund.

The Department published the non-ACM Building Safety Fund registration statistics on 17 December, which can be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/945445/BSF_Data_Release_171220_Final.pdf .

We are committed to publishing all appropriate information in the Building Safety Programme’s data release when ready.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make it his policy to enable places of worship to remain open for services during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

Although places of worship are closed for communal prayer, they are permitted to open for individual prayer, and to record or livestream services so that worshippers can participate at home. In addition, funerals are also permitted and can be attended by a maximum of thirty people.

The regulations now in force will expire on 2?December, at which point we hope to be able to be able to ease restrictions.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many applications his Department has received to the Building Safety Fund for the remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems as of 10 September 2020.

We are currently reviewing registrations to the Building Safety Fund and verifying the registration data. We will publish registration statistics in September.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will extend the deadline for applications to the Building Safety Fund to 31 July 2020.

Registration for the Building Safety Fund opened 1 June and closes on 31 July. Guidance for the application process will be published later this month. To submit a full application buildings must be registered with the scheme. The registration process is straightforward and there should be no reason that a building owner who believes their building is eligible for funding should not be able to register before the end of the registration period.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many applications his Department has received for the Building Safety Fund for the remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems.

Registration for the Building Safety Fund opened 1 June, while guidance for the application process will be published later this month. To date, we have received 1070 completed registration forms.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will extend the pause on eviction notices from three months to six months during the covid-19 outbreak.

Through the Coronavirus Act 2020, the Government extended the notice period that a landlord is required to serve on a tenant to at least three months or, in some cases, created a three months’ notice requirement where a requirement to give notice does not currently exist.

The Act provides powers that allows the Government to keep this protection under review as efforts to tackle COVID-19 progress. Any decision to alter the duration of these emergency measures will be informed by the wider government approach to lockdown measures and Public Health England guidance, alongside consideration of the needs of landlords and tenants.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans his Department has to support homeless people that will be leaving hostels after the covid-19 lockdown has been lifted.

Over 90 per cent of those on the streets and in communal night shelters known to local authorities at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis have now been made offers of safe accommodation – ensuring some of the most vulnerable in society are protected from the pandemic.

We have already committed significant funding to help people who sleep rough. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic the Government announced £437 million in funding to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in 2020/21. And our Rough Sleeping Initiative is continuing to fund 276 authorities in 2020/2021 to deliver interventions to support rough sleepers.

.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent progress has been made under the Future High Streets Fund.

Local authorities have been working on business cases for the Future High Streets Fund (FHSF) for over eight months and we are pleased to see the progress that has been made to date. Additionally, all shortlisted places have now received feedback on their draft business cases to support councils to make clear and evidence-based funding proposals within their final business cases.

You may also wish to note that in response to a significant number of calls from local authorities whose staff have been mobilised to respond to Covid-19, we have granted an extension to the deadline. MHCLG officials were in direct contact with all shortlisted local authorities last month to inform them of this extension to the deadline.

19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whats steps are being taken to keep public libraries open for people who cannot work from home.

On 23 March the Prime Minister announced new measures to lock down the United Kingdom for a minimum of three weeks, stating that libraries were among the premises that had to close immediately. People should stay at home, except to shop for basic necessities, take exercise, address medical needs, and travel to and from essential work. More information can be found at the following link:

https://www.government-online.net/the-prime-minister-announces-new-measures-to-lock-down-the-country/

9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effect on people's mental health of being housed in temporary accommodation without cooking facilities; and what steps he is taking to improve the quality of temporary accommodation.

The use of temporary accommodation means that people are getting help and it ensures no family is without a roof over their head.

Any accommodation secured by a local authority for a homeless household must meet the standards in the homelessness code of guidance, which sets out in detail what the authority must take into account when considering the accommodation’s suitability. Housing authorities will need to consider carefully the suitability of accommodation where households have a medical and/or physical need.

Homeless households also have the right to request a review of the accommodation offered to them. This is covered in the code of guidance, along with the suitability standards which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homelessness-code-of-guidance-for-local-authorities.

Reducing the number of households in temporary accommodation is a priority for this Government. We have allocated £437 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in 2020/21 – this is £69 million more than was allocated last year and includes £263 million for homelessness services which can be used flexibly as part of councils’ resourcing to achieve their homelessness strategies.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Integrated Communities Action Plan published by his Department on 9 February 2019, what progress has been made on (a) the actions set out in the section entitled Boosting English language and (b) increasing the provision of ESOL classes with a creche.

The Department introduced the Integrated Communities English Language Programme in 2019/20, which delivers highly localised community based English language provision in community buildings including schools, community centres and places of worship. By the end of the programme we anticipate it will have provided English language learning to over 19,000 people. Building on the success of this programme, our new £6.5 million ESOL for Integration Fund 2020/21 was announced on 6 March.

In addition, MHCLG have developed partnerships with 8 local authorities to improve the coordination of ESOL provision within their areas. DfE have also created a set of teaching resources for ESOL learners with limited literacy skills.

All families in England with children aged 3 and 4 are eligible for 15 hours a week of free early education. Eligible working families are also entitled to an additional 15 hours free childcare.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to reduce social housing waiting lists.

The social housing waiting list in England has decreased by 37 per cent since 2012.

Local authorities have freedom to set their own criteria determining who qualifies for social housing in their district, through changes introduced in the Localism Act 2011, and how this is delivered. However, they must ensure that reasonable preference (overall priority) for social housing is given to certain categories of people in housing need, including homeless households, people living in overcrowded housing, and those who have medical and welfare needs.

The Government is committed to increasing the supply of social housing and has made £9 billion available through the Affordable Homes Programme to March 2022. Since 2010, we have delivered over 464,500 new affordable homes, including over 331,800 affordable homes for rent.

Building on this, we announced at Budget 2020 that we are investing £12 billion to build affordable homes between 2021/22 - 2025/26. This will be the biggest cash investment in affordable housing for a decade.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will extend the scope of the unsafe cladding fund to include all buildings with cladding that do not meet the requirements needed to issue a fire safety certificate.

The Government has committed £600 million for the removal and replacement of unsafe ACM cladding on high-rise residential buildings. Government intervention is wholly exceptional, and is based on the unparalleled fire risk ACM poses. We are aware of concerns leaseholders have about meeting the cost of remediation of fire safety issues other than ACM cladding remediation on high-rise buildings. Building safety is the responsibility of the building owner, and they should consider all routes to meet costs, protecting leaseholders where they can – for example through warranties and recovering costs from contractors for incorrect or poor work.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether Putney town centre is on his shortlist to receive funding under the Future High Streets Fund.

Putney Town Centre is one of the high streets that have been shortlisted for the first round of the Future High Streets Fund. Shortlisted high streets will now produce detailed business cases for investment proposals to renew and reshape town centres and high streets in a way that improves experience, drives growth and ensures future sustainability. Wandsworth Borough Council has received £150,000 in revenue funding to support them to develop their plans in more detail. A final decision on which places will receive capital funding will be determined following a thorough assessment of value for money of each places’ business case, in accordance with HM Treasury’s Green Book appraisal guidance.

24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to help reduce the cost of services provided by funeral companies.

The Competition and Market’s Authority have completed a comprehensive investigation into the funeral market. The government is carefully considering the recommendations made in the final report and will be issuing a response shortly.

In regard to the cost of funeral services; the Competition and Market’s Authority are continuing to look at pricing controls and will commence their monitoring programme soon. Additionally, the Government helps with the cost of funeral services for many bereaved families through the funeral expenses payment scheme and the Children’s Funeral Fund.

Alex Chalk
Assistant Whip
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the publication of the Competition and Markets Authority's final report in its funerals market investigation, published in December 2020, when the Government plans to introduce the registration and inspection regime for funeral directors recommended by the CMA.

The Competition and Market’s Authority have completed a comprehensive investigation into the funeral market. The government is carefully considering the recommendations made in the final report and will be issuing a response shortly.

In regard to the cost of funeral services; the Competition and Market’s Authority are continuing to look at pricing controls and will commence their monitoring programme soon. Additionally, the Government helps with the cost of funeral services for many bereaved families through the funeral expenses payment scheme and the Children’s Funeral Fund.

Alex Chalk
Assistant Whip
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many London prison staff have died from covid-19.

The safety of our staff and those under our supervision remains a top priority. We have taken quick and decisive action – backed by Public Health England and Wales – to limit the spread of the virus across all prison establishments.

Due to the current risk level posed by Covid-19, all adult prisons are currently operating a Stage Four regime, as outlined in our National Framework (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-national-framework-for-prison-regimes-and-services). This involves restrictions to reduce contact between people and therefore reduce the chance of transmission. We are keeping the level of restriction necessary under close review. We must continue to respond in a measured way in line with public health advice to ensure our approach is proportionate and legitimate, as we have done throughout.

Staff deaths in London prisons related to COVID-19 up until 31st October, includes deaths where HMPPS staff have died having tested positive for COVID-19 or where there was a clinical assessment that COVID-19 was a contributory factor in their death. These figures include both directly and non-directly employed staff. This information is published on a quarterly basis and the next publication is scheduled for 18 February 2021.

The prisons listed are those within the London Prison Group.

Belmarsh

-

Brixton

-

Feltham

-

Highdown

-

Isis

-

Pentonville

2

Thameside

1

Wandsworth

-

Wormwood Scrubs

-

Total

3

As of Friday 29 January, all establishments listed, with the exception of Feltham, currently have a declared Covid-19 outbreak. An outbreak is defined as two or more prisoners or detainees or staff in the prescribed place of detention who meet the case definition for COVID-19 or have a positive test result and among whom transmission was likely to have occurred within a 14-day period.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisons in London are experiencing a covid-19 outbreak.

The safety of our staff and those under our supervision remains a top priority. We have taken quick and decisive action – backed by Public Health England and Wales – to limit the spread of the virus across all prison establishments.

Due to the current risk level posed by Covid-19, all adult prisons are currently operating a Stage Four regime, as outlined in our National Framework (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-national-framework-for-prison-regimes-and-services). This involves restrictions to reduce contact between people and therefore reduce the chance of transmission. We are keeping the level of restriction necessary under close review. We must continue to respond in a measured way in line with public health advice to ensure our approach is proportionate and legitimate, as we have done throughout.

Staff deaths in London prisons related to COVID-19 up until 31st October, includes deaths where HMPPS staff have died having tested positive for COVID-19 or where there was a clinical assessment that COVID-19 was a contributory factor in their death. These figures include both directly and non-directly employed staff. This information is published on a quarterly basis and the next publication is scheduled for 18 February 2021.

The prisons listed are those within the London Prison Group.

Belmarsh

-

Brixton

-

Feltham

-

Highdown

-

Isis

-

Pentonville

2

Thameside

1

Wandsworth

-

Wormwood Scrubs

-

Total

3

As of Friday 29 January, all establishments listed, with the exception of Feltham, currently have a declared Covid-19 outbreak. An outbreak is defined as two or more prisoners or detainees or staff in the prescribed place of detention who meet the case definition for COVID-19 or have a positive test result and among whom transmission was likely to have occurred within a 14-day period.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to help reduce the cost of services provided by funeral companies.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently undertaking a full market investigation into the supply of services by funeral directors at the point of need and the supply of crematoria services, in light of the findings of a preceding market study. The CMA’s Provisional Decision Report on the market investigation was published on 13 August 2020, and it is required to publish its final report by 27 March 2021.

The Government is grateful for the CMA’s provisional findings and will give full consideration to its final report in due course.

The DWP Funeral Expenses Payments (FEP) scheme provides an important contribution towards the cost of a funeral arranged by someone who is in receipt of certain income based benefits including Universal Credit.

The scheme meets the necessary costs of a burial or cremation in full and, in April 2020, the additional element that can help with expenses such as the costs of a coffin or the services of a funeral director was increased from £700 to £1000.

Alex Chalk
Assistant Whip