Hugh Gaffney Portrait

Hugh Gaffney

Labour - Former Member for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill


Division Voting information

Hugh Gaffney has voted in 385 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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All Debates

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

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Latest EDMs signed by Hugh Gaffney

28th October 2019
Hugh Gaffney signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 29th October 2019

Industrial action of outsources workers in the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House commends the efforts and determination of members of the PCS union, employed by ISS and Aramark based at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy headquarters who have won their disputes over pay and terms and conditions; notes that these members represent catering, security, portage, cleaning, …
14 signatures
(Most recent: 5 Nov 2019)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 9
Scottish National Party: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Independent: 1
29th October 2019
Hugh Gaffney signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 29th October 2019

STUC Women's conference 2019

Tabled by: Hugh Gaffney (Labour - Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill)
That this House sends its best wishes to the 92nd annual Scottish Trades Union Congress Women’s Conference taking place in Perth on 28 and 29 October 2019; congratulates Joyce Stevenson of the Communication Workers Union on her election as Conference Chair; notes that the conference brings together over 120 women …
6 signatures
(Most recent: 5 Nov 2019)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 3
Scottish National Party: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Hugh Gaffney's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Hugh Gaffney, 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.


Hugh Gaffney has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Hugh Gaffney has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Hugh Gaffney has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Hugh Gaffney has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


239 Written Questions

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Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
8 Other Department Questions
25th Mar 2019
To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, whether the Church of England has a financial interest in (a) Tidemill Green and (b) the site of Old Tidemill School in Deptford.

The Church of England, the Church Commissioners and the Diocese of Southwark have no financial interest in the site of the former parish church of Christ Church, Deptford.

The land was sold by the Church Commissioners in 1937. The parish of Christ Church was merged with St Nicholas Church in 1936 to form the parish of St Nicholas with Christ Church. Following significant bomb damage, the Christ Church buildings were demolished in 1937 and the site sold to the London Borough of Lewisham. Housing and a school building now occupy the majority of the site

At the point of sale to the Borough of Lewisham, the usual covenants were placed on a small section of the property which formed the site of the former Church. This covenanted area is outside of the area currently used as a wildlife garden and the school. The covenanted area is to be found at the back of Frankham House. No restrictions were placed on the rest of the property to the north of Reginald Road.

2nd Jul 2018
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether the Government is taking steps to give fathers (a) longer and (b) better-paid paternity leave.

We know that helping parents to share care is good for parents and children, particularly in the crucial early months of their child’s life.

The Shared Parental Leave and Pay schemes enable fathers and partners to be their child’s main carer if this is best for the family. Qualifying working couples can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay. From February to April 2018, the Government ran a joint £1.5m campaign to promote Shared Parental Leave.

As part of the evaluation of Shared Parental Leave and Pay we are collecting information on the take up of paternity benefits, including survey data on the take up of paternity leave and pay, which will inform the development of policy in this area.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Jan 2018
To ask the Prime Minister, how many times she has (a) met and (b) spoken to Mrs Arlene Foster since June 2017.

Details of my Official meetings are in the public domain and can be found on the gov.uk website.

22nd Jan 2018
To ask the Prime Minister, how many times she has spoken to Michelle O'Neill since June 2017.

Details of my Official meetings are in the public domain and can be found on the gov.uk website.

22nd Jan 2018
To ask the Prime Minister, how many official visits she has made to Northern Ireland since her appointment as Prime Minister.

I visit all parts of the United Kingdom regularly. Details of my visits within the United Kingdom are published on the gov.uk website.

16th Nov 2017
To ask the Prime Minister, whether she plans to invite the Prime Minister of New Zealand to visit the UK.

I refer the hon. Member to the press release issued on 20 October following my call with Prime Minister Ardern and which is available on the gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-call-with-prime-minister-elect-jacinda-ardern-20-october-2017

10th Oct 2017
To ask the Prime Minister, whether she plans to visit Malawi.

For security reasons, my engagements are announced as and when appropriate.

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Attorney General, whether he has plans to conduct a review of the performance of the Serious Fraud Office.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is an independent organisation and is a key player in the response to economic crime, investigating and prosecuting some of the most serious and complex cases and recovering proceeds of crime, with a case conviction rate of over 83% during the past five years. The SFO continues to support the Government’s programme of reforms to improve our response, including the creation of the new National Economic Crime Centre. As the superintending Minister for the SFO, I regularly meet with the Director of the SFO where we discuss performance and key issues in relation to economic crime.

The new Director of the SFO, Lisa Osofsky, joined the SFO last month and is committed to building on the existing successes of the SFO and continuing to support the multi-agency response to economic crime.

3rd Sep 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent estimate he has made of the number of workers on zero-hours contracts.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th May 2019
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent estimate he has made of the unemployment rate for people with epilepsy.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Apr 2019
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of civil servants working in posts relating to the UK leaving the EU since the Government's recent decision to stand down Operation Yellowhammer.

The Government is equipping itself with the right people with the right skills for the UK to successfully exit the European Union. There are almost over 17,000 people now working on EU exit related policy and programmes across government. Workforce plans will continually be reviewed to ensure the Civil Service can respond to emerging capacity and capability requirements as we accelerate preparations.

15th Jan 2019
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the due diligence undertaken by the Government in advance of awarding public contracts to private sector providers as a result of the collapse of Carillion.

Contracts are never awarded lightly: each has an agreed and robust process. Government has always been compliant with public procurement regulations and follows these diligently when assessing the suitability of suppliers to deliver a particular contract.

As noted by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster’s speeches in June and November 2018, the Cabinet Office is currently taking forward a package of reforms to Government outsourcing policy. This includes creating a ‘playbook’ of guidelines, rules and processes for departments to follow when they outsource.

We are also reviewing how we assess suppliers’ financial health and what financial information we should seek during the procurement process. This will enable the Government to assess the level of risk that should be accepted, the extent to which we rely on historical financial information as an indicator of future financial health, and whether it is appropriate to seek and rely on forecast information. We will be issuing new guidance for departments on assessing the financial and economic standing of bidders in the coming months.

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment the Government has made of the cost-effectiveness of implementing a voter ID scheme throughout the UK.

The Government is committed to making sure that our electoral system is fit for the future. Vulnerabilities cannot be allowed to undermine the integrity of our democracy.

As part of the Government’s manifesto commitment to ensure that a form of identification must be presented before voting, five voter ID pilots took place at the local elections on 3 May 2018. In order for us to have a deeper understanding of how voter ID will work on a wider scale and what works best for voters, we plan to continue to pilot voter ID at next year’s local elections.

Part of our evaluation of the 2018 pilots and that of the Electoral Commission has been to understand the cost impact of voter ID. That analysis will be developed further when voter ID is piloted in 2019 and will help to inform decisions on voter ID in the future and ensure its cost effectiveness.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th May 2018
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that appointments to the Grenfell Tower inquiry panel have the confidence of survivors and bereaved families.

I refer the Honourable Member to the 11 May letter that the Prime Minister wrote to the Inquiry Chair, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, confirming her decision to appoint additional panel members gov.uk https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/grenfell-tower-inquiry-update

The Prime Minister will make the appointments in accordance with sections 4,7(1)(b) and 7(2)(b) of the Inquiries Act 2005

11th May 2018
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on Clause 11 of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office has held regular discussions with the Scottish Government on clause 11 of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill (clause 15 in the current print of the Bill). This matter was discussed with the Scottish Government, and the Welsh Government, at the Joint Ministerial Committee on European Negotiations on 22 February, 8 March and 2 May 2018, at the Joint Ministerial Committee (Plenary) on 14 March and at a separate trilateral meeting on 16 April 2018.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has also met with or spoken to Michael Russell, the Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe in the Scottish Government, about clause 11 on a number of occasions as well as exchanging letters on the matter.

In addition, further intensive discussions have taken place at official level between the UK and Scottish Governments.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions she has had with the Scottish Trades Union Congress on the effect of zero-hours contracts on the (a) income and (b) mental well-being of workers under the age of 18 in Scotland.

Ministers and officials from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy engage regularly with trade unions on all labour market issues, including zero hours contracts. We were also pleased that representatives from the Scottish Trades Union Congress attended discussions with BEIS on the Good Work Plan in Edinburgh on 26 September.

28th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions she has had with representatives of (a) Royal Mail Group and (b) the Communication Workers Union on postal workers' vote in favour of strike action.

Ministers have regular discussions with stakeholders on a number of issues.

25th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps she is taking to raise awareness of the Warm Home Discount Scheme among people who are eligible to participate in it.

The Department for Work and Pensions engage with participating energy suppliers to match the name and address details of those who fall within the “Core Group” of people automatically eligible for the Warm Home Discount and will write to them, either confirming, in the large majority of cases, that the discount will be paid automatically, or explaining that they need to verify their details with the Warm Home Discount helpline.

Notice is also provided to the public through GOV.UK, the website for the UK Government. For the “Broader Group” (those who may be eligible subject to an application) participating energy suppliers notify their customers in a variety of ways, including on their websites and some also choose to write to them or use referral bodies. Some organisations, such as Citizens Advice, also signpost eligible individuals to the scheme.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the Government's price cap for standard variable tariffs on trends in the level of the average household energy bill.

The price cap protects customers on standard variable and default tariffs from excessive charging. Ofgem estimates that the price cap saves the average customer £75-£100 each year, compared to what they would be paying without the price cap, and a total of £1 billion each year. Non-capped tariffs continue to be competitive, with Ofgem calculating the difference between the most expensive and the cheapest tariff in the market at £381 in May 2019.

10th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of fuel poverty in the UK.

We welcome the Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics Report for England, published on Thursday 13 June 2019, which showed that 18,000 fewer households were in fuel poverty in 2017 compared to 2016. We also saw a 4% year-on-year decrease in the average fuel poverty gap between fuel poor and other households.

These statistics show that our policies are working. Continued delivery of energy efficiency measures, the introduction of the National Living Wage in 2016 and the prepayment meter price cap introduced in April 2017 will all have made a contribution. Next year’s projections will capture the impact of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards in the private rented sector for the first time, as well as the updated Energy Company Obligation, worth £640m per year, which focuses 100% on low income and vulnerable households.

20th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the sustainability of the Post Office Network.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK. This is why the Government committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business.

The operation and management of the Post Office Network are operational matters for Post Office Limited.

I have therefore asked Alisdair Cameron, the Group interim Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the hon Member on this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the libraries of the House.

13th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the level of the National Minimum Wage on the income of people in employment aged under 18.

This Government is committed to building an economy that works for everyone. Through the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage, the Government is ensuring that the lowest paid within our society benefit from their contribution to the economy.

In April 2019, an above-inflation increase in the 16-17 year old National Minimum Wage saw 38,000 young workers receive a pay rise. The rate increased by 3.6% to £4.35 per hour. Since 2015, the National Minimum Wage for the 16-17 age group has increased by 12.4%.

In the first quarter of 2019, the unemployment rate for 16-17 year olds was 19.2%, down from 28% in 2015. As noted by the Low Pay Commission in its 2018 report, for 16-17 year olds, the priority remains their effective entry into the labour market, as they are the most vulnerable age group in the labour market due to their relative lack of experience.

In 2018, approximately 2,900 workers in Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill were on one of the minimum wage rates.

10th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the trends in the level of coal-generating electricity supplied to the national grid.

The ‘Updated Energy and Emissions Projections 2018[1] includes data on previous levels and future projections of coal-generated electricity.

There has been a rapid decline in the use of coal in power generation in recent years, from 40% in 2012 to 7% in 2017. We have seen regular periods of zero coal generation since summer 2016. Between 1 May and 8 May 2019, Great Britain went a week without coal-fired electricity generation for the first time since the Industrial Revolution. The Government has committed to phase out all unabated coal-fired electricity generation by 2025.

[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/updated-energy-and-emissions-projections-2018

23rd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on the levels of dangerous non-food products entering the UK.

The UK has a strong legal framework to protect UK consumers from unsafe goods and we will maintain those protections on exit. The Office of Product Safety and Standards is increasing its intelligence capability to monitor risks associated with goods entering the UK and ensure that enforcement interventions are properly targeted to protect consumers and provide confidence to responsible businesses.

8th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to encourage employers to offer flexible working schemes for all employees.

All employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer already have the right to request Flexible Working. This accounts for over 90% of employees.

The Government would like there to be more opportunities for flexible working, which is why we will consult on creating a duty for employers to consider whether a job can be done flexibly, and to make that clear when advertising.

The Government is also looking to work with employers on a voluntary basis. A taskforce to promote flexible working has been established. This is comprised of representatives from across Whitehall, from key organisations like Carers UK and Working Families, the TUC and key business groups. The taskforce is tackling key questions around flexible working which are key to improving the recruitment, retention and progression of key groups in the workforce.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the existing “right to request” legislation continues to have the desired impact. As part of this general commitment, it will be reviewed in 2020.

2nd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to increase the pay of workers in the (a) hospitality and (b) retail sectors.

The Government is committed to building an economy that works for everyone. We demonstrated this commitment in April by raising the National Living Wage to £8.21, a 4.9% increase from last year, and bringing in inflation-beating rises to the National Minimum Wage. An estimated 2.1 million workers will benefit from the most recent increases, and the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage worker have increased by over £2,750 since the introduction of the National Living Wage in April 2016. Latest constituency estimates from April 2018 suggest that 2,900 workers in Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill were on one of the minimum wage rates.

We estimate that in the UK 429,000 workers in the hospitality sector and 347,000 workers in the retail sector will benefit from the increases in the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage from 1 April 2019.

The industry-led Retail Sector Council recently agreed its priority work areas for the next two years, one of which focuses on employment protections. A senior industry figure will lead each of these work groups and bring proposals for action for both industry and Government back to the Council for consideration. The Tourism Industry Council is also working closely with Government Ministers to help improve in-work training and progression opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sector.

25th Mar 2019
Pay
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all workers on trial periods are paid.

National Minimum Wage (NMW) legislation proscribes unpaid work trials that are excessive and not part of a legitimate recruitment process.

This Government is committed to cracking down on employers who fail to pay the National Minimum or Living Wage. In the last 3 years we have almost doubled HMRC’s budget to enforce the NMW from £13.2 million to a record £26.3 million. In the 2017/18 financial year, HMRC identified a record £15.6 million in arrears for over 200,00 workers.

In December 2018, the Government published new work trials guidance that clarifies the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers.

Anyone who is concerned about an unpaid work trial can seek advice from ACAS which offers tailored advice and refers cases to HMRC, which considers every worker complaint received.

23rd Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with Sony on their plans to move their European Headquarters from the UK to the Netherlands.

There have been no such discussions with BEIS Ministers and officials. Sony have confirmed that they intend to set up a subsidiary in Amsterdam as part of their EU exit contingency planning. As has been widely reported, this will not result in any jobs being lost in the UK.

Department for International Trade teams in the UK and Japan actively promote and support increasing investment and trade between Japan and the UK and will continue to do so after we leave the EU. This was discussed by both Prime Ministers during PM Abe’s recent visit to the UK.

12th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, What discussions he has had with steel companies on the effect of US steel tariffs on the UK steel sector.

My ministerial team and I have had numerous discussions with the steel sector – both as part of wider discussions and on this subject alone – since the measures were announced by the US. We and our colleagues across Government have regularly raised this issue directly with the US to make our objections clear. We have also been working closely with the EU to ensure that proportionate action is taken so that UK workers are safeguarded. We remain in regular contact with the EU and the US Administration to try to reach a positive outcome. Together with BEIS officials, I will continue to engage the UK steel and aluminium companies affected by these tariffs to provide advice and support.

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the level of the national living wage.

The Government has set an ambitious target for achieving a National Living Wage that represents 60% of median earnings by 2020 subject to sustained economic growth. The National Living Wage (NLW) rate is recommended to the Government by the independent Low Pay Commission (LPC). To make their recommendations, the LPC draws on a wide range of analysis, including independent research and stakeholder evidence from both employers and trade unions.

From 1 April 2018 the Government raised the NLW from £7.50 to £7.83, which means a full-time worker will see their earnings grow by more than £600 this year.

20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the number of companies, restaurant chains and shops that require staff to organise their own cover before taking leave to which they are entitled.

The Department has not made such an assessment

30th Jan 2018
What representations he has received on the attempted takeover of GKN by Melrose.

This is a commercial matter for the companies involved. I have spoken to the Chief Executives of GKN and Melrose to understand their intentions, and will continue to monitor the situation closely.

The Government can intervene in mergers on certain public interest grounds concerning national security, financial stability or media plurality.

18th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the future operation of the Working Time Directive in the UK after the UK leaves the EU.

The Government has firmly committed to protect workers’ rights, and the Withdrawal Bill will ensure that EU-derived employment rights, including those under the Working Time Regulations, will continue to be in force via domestic law after the UK has left the EU. On 11 December 2017, the Government published draft statutory instruments to illustrate how the proposed amendments will ensure the legal framework that provides for employment rights continues to operate effectively after exiting the EU.

The draft statutory instruments and an accompanying explanatory note can be found by searching ‘Withdrawal Bill’ on the Gov.uk website.

23rd Oct 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recent ballot on industrial action at Royal Mail conducted by the Communication Workers Union; and what discussions he has had with management of Royal Mail on those implications.

The industrial dispute by Royal Mail staff is a matter for Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union. The Government encourages the parties to engage constructively to find a solution to the dispute as quickly as possible.

28th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has had with the Prime Minister on the BBC decision to change the eligibility criteria for free TV licences for people aged 75 and over.

The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State frequently discuss a wide range of issues relating to the business of the Department, including television and the media.

The Government has been clear that the future of the over 75s concession is the responsibility of the BBC, not Government. In the 2015 funding settlement, we agreed with the BBC that responsibility for the concession will transfer to the BBC in June 2020; this reform was then debated and agreed by Parliament in the passage of the Digital Economy Act 2017.

The Government is disappointed with the BBC’s decision to restrict the over 75s concession to only those aged over 75 and in receipt of Pension Credit. We recognise the importance of television to people of all ages, particularly for older people who value television as a way to stay connected with the world. The Secretary of State met with the Chairman of the BBC Board and the Director-General of the BBC, and asked them to do more to help those affected by its decision.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
25th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the BBC's decision to change the eligibility criteria for free TV licences on the incomes of over-75s households in the UK.

The future of the over 75 concession is the responsibility of the BBC, not Government. We are very disappointed with the BBC’s decision to restrict the concession to only those aged over 75 in receipt of Pension Credit.

The BBC published research from Frontier Economics in November 2018 which looked at the potential impact of changes to the concession on those aged 75 and over. This research is available here: https://www.frontier-economics.com/media/2896/bbc-licence-fee-report-nov-18.pdf

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives from (a) Facebook and (b) Twitter on the removal of abusive and harmful content from their platforms.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with social media companies on a range of issues including the removal of harmful or abusive content.

7th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with the BBC on its public consultation on licence fees for people aged over-75.

The government regularly meets with the BBC to discuss a range of issues, including the over 75 concession.

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to enable young people to participate in open access youth work.

The provision of open access youth services in Scotland is the responsibility of the Scottish Government.

Government recognises the transformational impact that open access youth work can have especially for young people facing multiple barriers of disadvantage, that is why we have invested £40m in the Youth Investment Fund to boost open access youth services in 6 disadvantaged areas and expect over 300,000 young people to benefit.

However Local Authorities in England have a statutory duty to provide sufficient open access services in their area. We believe they are best placed to know what is required in their communities.

The Government announced in the Civil Society Strategy its commitment to reviewing the guidance which sets out the statutory duty placed on local authorities to provide appropriate local youth services. Further announcements will be made in due course.

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of recent changes in the cost of train travel on sports fans.

The Government sets the limit by which train operators can increase regulated rail fares in line with July’s retail price index (RPI). This limit will be 3.2% in 2019. The Government monitors how rail fares change, and keeps under review the way fare levels are calculated. We also welcome and encourage measures by sports clubs that acknowledge and take account of the wider financial burden on travelling supporters.

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to improve mobile and broadband coverage.

DCMS has already made superfast broadband available to more than 95% of the country through its Superfast programme, and at least a further 2% is likely to be achieved. Of which, 340,000 premises (over 1% of premises) are contracted to be delivered by March 2019. In those areas where decent broadband is not available, we are introducing a broadband Universal Service Obligation so that by 2020 everyone across the UK will have a clear, enforceable right to request high-speed broadband of at least 10 Megabits per second. We will keep the speed and quality parameters under review to make sure that it keeps pace with consumers' evolving needs.

My Department created the Barrier Busting Taskforce who are working closely with local authorities and suppliers on removing obstacles that are preventing the widespread commercial deployment of full fibre connectivity.

Working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG ) we introduced 5-year business rates relief for new fibre installation. By enabling 100% business rates relief for operators who install new fibre on their networks, this will provide an incentive for operators to invest in the broadband network.

The Department also recently published a Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, which sets out our strategy to enable the roll out full fibre networks to 15 million premises by 2025 and achieve nationwide coverage by 2033. This strategy follows the creation of the Local Full Fibre Networks Programme last year, which is designed to stimulate commercial investment in full fibre networks in both rural and urban locations across the whole of the UK.

On Mobile services, the Government is committed to ensuring that the UK has good quality, consistent mobile connectivity where people live, work and travel. My Department is also working across Government, and with others, to ensure delivery of our manifesto commitment to secure 95% geographic coverage of the UK by 2022.

Alongside this work, we welcome the opportunity that Ofcom's proposed 700MHz auction presents to improve mobile coverage across the UK, including in rural area.

On 5G the Government is committed to providing the world-class digital infrastructure the UK needs to compete and grow in the modern economy. The Government’s 5G aims are to be a world leader in and to ensure that the majority of the population have access to a 5G signal by 2027.

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on the UK's digital technology sector.

We are confident that the digital technology sector will continue to go from strength to strength. Research by Dealroom and Tech Nation showed that British tech businesses attracted $7.8bn of funding last year, which was almost double the amount received in 2016 and more than Germany, France and Sweden combined (https://technation.io/news/uk-tech-extends-lead-over-europe/).

It is the job of a responsible Government to prepare for all scenarios, including the unlikely event that we reach March 2019 without agreeing a deal. This does not reflect an increased likelihood of ‘no deal’.

We have engaged with the digital technology sector to understand the potential effect of all scenarios. As part of ‘no deal’ preparations we are now publishing a series of technical notices which will advise organisations on potential courses of action to take in the unlikely event of ‘no deal’ with the EU. With the first batch already published, areas such as data protection will follow shortly.

We firmly believe it is in the interests of both the EU and the UK to strike a deal. That remains the goal on both sides and we are confident that this will be achieved.

15th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase the level of financial support available to university students.

Living costs support increased by 10.3% for students on the lowest incomes in the 2016-17 academic year compared to the previous system, with further inflationary increases for each year since then. The government has announced a 2.8% increase in maximum loans for living costs for the 2019-20 academic year starting in August.

An announcement on financial support for academic year 2020-21 will be made in due course.

21st Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to promote learning about climate change in schools.

Topics related to climate change are included in both the science and geography curricula and qualifications. Primary school science pupils are taught about how weather changes across the four seasons, and look at how environments can change as a result of human actions.

In secondary school, science pupils are taught about the production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the effect this has on the climate. This is expanded on in GCSE science where pupils will consider the evidence for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change. As part of GCSE geography pupils will look at the causes, consequences of and responses to extreme weather conditions and natural weather hazards.

In 2017, the Department also introduced a new environmental science A level. This will enable students to study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and how it can be tackled.

25th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve air quality outside schools.

​Outdoor air quality is a responsibility of local authorities. Where there are concerns about air quality, a local authority must prepare an air quality action plan. The Department has recently published guidance (Building Bulletin 101) on achieving good indoor air quality in new and refurbished schools.

2nd Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps is he taking to support children in need.

The government continues to implement its reform programme as set out in ‘Putting Children First’ (2016), towards our aim that all children, no matter where they live, should have access to the same high quality care and support to meet their needs. This includes stronger initial training and clarity about the knowledge and skills social workers need in their jobs and creating an environment where innovation can flourish and frontline practice is driven by evidence. The government is also taking decisive action to improve services in inadequate local authorities through our interventions programme and by implementing a new Improvement Strategy for local authorities at risk of failing.

The government recently launched a review of Children in Need, publishing extensive data on the outcomes of this cohort and launching a call for evidence, which closed on 1 July 2018. Through the Children in Need review we are continuing to build our evidence base – both on the educational outcomes of Children in Need, and on what works to improve these outcomes. To do this, we are engaging with professionals and organisations who support Children in Need and with three What Works Centres – the Education Endowment Foundation, Early Intervention Foundation, and the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
3rd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of food security in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

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

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
20th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the effect of air pollution on public health.

The Secretary of State has regular meetings with his counterpart at the Department for Health and Social Care and they discuss air pollution and public health most weeks.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
21st Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with EU representatives on labelling requirements for UK food companies in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Negotiations with the EU are currently restricted to the withdrawal deal. The status of UK food products in the EU market will depend on the outcome of those negotiations.

Following a consultation exercise with the food industry, discussions with the European Commission, and agreement with Defra, the final design for the new health and ID marks has been agreed. This will ensure the UK continues to have the ability to export products of animal origin to the EU. We are also aiming to be recognised by the EU as having equivalence to organic standards and establish reciprocal arrangements though at present there is no agreement on this.

Leaving the EU with a deal remains the Government’s top priority. As a responsible Government would, we are accelerating no deal preparations to ensure the country is prepared for every eventuality. Businesses and citizens should ensure they are similarly prepared.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on setting environmental and animal welfare standards for future trade deals.

Ministers and officials from Defra meet regularly with their counterparts in the Department for International Trade to discuss a wide range of trade issues.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
8th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential for food shortages in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

A responsible government should prepare for all potential outcomes, including the unlikely scenario in which no mutually satisfactory agreement can be reached and that is what we are doing.

Defra is working closely with all relevant Government departments on food sector issues relating to leaving the EU, including BEIS, DfT, HMRC, Department for Exiting the EU, Department for International Trade, the FSA and others. Defra is also working closely with industry to support preparations for leaving the EU.

Food is one of the UK’s 13 critical infrastructure sectors and Defra produces an annual sector security and resilience plan as lead Government Department. These plans identify potential risks and set out a programme of measures to improve resilience where necessary.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending existing fur import bans to cover all species affected by the fur trade.

The Government shares the British public’s high regard for animal welfare and, after we leave the EU, the Government plans to retain the current regulations banning the import of cat and dog fur and products, and seal skins and products from commercial hunts.

Any further restrictions on importing fur and fur products after we leave the EU should be based on the protection of animal welfare. The Government is considering the case for further steps.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
22nd Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support work to re-home stray and abandoned dogs.

The introduction of compulsory microchipping of all dogs in 2016 has greatly reduced the number of stray dogs needing rehoming, because the stray dog and their owner can now be quickly reunited. According to the Dogs Trust’s annual Stray Dogs Survey Report, the number of stray dogs has dropped from 126,000 in 2011 to just over 66,000 in 2017. In addition my Department has been working with the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (a group of animal welfare, pet industry and veterinary organisations) to promote more responsible advertising of pet animals, and to reduce impulse buying that so often leads to dogs being abandoned or handed in to re-homing charities. We are also updating the laws on the breeding and selling of dogs which will require all licensees to provide relevant information about pet ownership for prospective buyers, so that informed choices can be made before a purchase is made.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
7th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what recent discussions he has had with representatives from the Trades Union Congress on the effect of the Government's proposed Withdrawal Agreement on workers' rights in the UK.

Ministers and senior officials from across Government have carried out extensive engagement on EU exit - with businesses, industry bodies, and civil society organisations from all sectors of the economy and all regions of the UK. This includes recent and ongoing engagement with the Trades Union Congress. The Secretary of State for DExEU spoke to Frances O’Grady, the Director General of the Trades Union Congress, on 23 November and again on 11 January and plans to continue these discussions. The Prime Minister is also engaging with Trades Unions and spoke to a number of unions on 11 January.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
8th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what discussions he has had with the Scottish Government of the effect on Scotland of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

We are committed to securing a deal that works for the entire United Kingdom and we have been clear from the start that the Devolved Administrations should be fully engaged in this process. The Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) and the Cabinet Office continue to work closely with the Scottish Government to prepare for Exit.

The Government is undertaking a comprehensive and wide ranging programme of ongoing analysis in support of our EU exit negotiations and preparations. UK Government departments continue to discuss operational issues with the Devolved Administrations in all scenarios and it is critical that this engagement continues at pace. DExEU has engaged the Scottish Government and the other Devolved Administrations on operational issues in all scenarios.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
11th Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, whether the negotiations on the UK leaving the EU have included ensuring that mobile phone roaming charges will not be applied to British Citizens after the UK's departure from the EU.

The government holds regular discussions with the EU on the future economic partnership, covering a wide range of topics. as minimising disruption for consumers is in the mutual interests of both sides. The government’s White Paper sets out proposals for the future relationship we want to build with the European Union, including new arrangements for services and digital sectors. The government published a technical notice on 13th September 2018 which provides guidance on mobile roaming in the unlikely event that we leave the EU without a deal.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
10th Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what discussions he has had with his European Union counterparts on reciprocal arrangements for roaming charges between the UK and the EU after the UK leaves the EU.

The government holds regular discussions with the EU on the future economic partnership, covering a wide range of topics, as minimising disruption for consumers in the mutual interests of both sides. The government’s White Paper sets out proposals for the future relationship we want to build with the European Union, including new arrangements for services and digital sectors. The government published a technical notice on 13th September 2018 which provides guidance on mobile roaming in the unlikely event that we leave the EU without a deal.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what recent progress he has made on negotiations with the EU on the UK leaving the EU; and if he will make a statement.

As the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union set out in his oral statement to the House on Tuesday 4 September, we have injected additional pace and intensity into the negotiations as we reach the final phases and we are confident a deal is within our grasp.

The Government’s White Paper supplies a precise, responsible and credible basis for moving negotiations forward to achieve a deal that works in our mutual interest. We expect the EU to engage seriously with the proposals and both negotiating teams to work at pace to reach a substantive agreement on the Future Framework in the autumn.

The vast majority of the Withdrawal Agreement has also been agreed and we have made further progress across a range of the outstanding separation issues, including the protection of data and information, the treatment of ongoing police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters, and ongoing Union judicial and administrative procedures after exit.

Suella Braverman
Attorney General
19th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what plans he has to meet representatives of British in Europe to discuss the effect of the UK leaving the EU on UK citizens living in non-UK, EU countries.

Throughout this process, Ministers and senior officials from the Department for Exiting the European Union have spoken with delegates from groups representing UK nationals in the EU, including representatives of British in Europe, to hear their views and concerns. Our Embassies and Ambassadors in the EU 27 have also engaged extensively with the UK communities in their host states.


All UK nationals legally resident in the EU before the end of the implementation period, 31 December 2020, will fall under the Citizens’ Rights part of Withdrawal Agreement. This is an agreement that gives people more certainty about residence, healthcare, pensions and other benefits. As negotiations progress we will continue to work in the interests of our nationals to reach a final deal that is in the mutual interests of citizens living across the continent.

Suella Braverman
Attorney General
14th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what plans the Secretary of State has to visit the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the next 12 months.

The Secretary of State’s future travel programme takes into account a range of high priority issues. The Secretary of State has been to the border, prior to his appointment to his current role, and is very much apprised of the sensitivities and importance of this critical issue.

He previously visited Northern Ireland in September 2016 meeting with the then Northern Ireland Executive and stakeholders. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Robin Walker MP, visited Northern Ireland with former Northern Ireland Office Minister Chloe Smith in September 2017, visiting the border and meeting with Re-Gen waste and InterTradeIreland.

Northern Ireland Office Ministers have also conducted an extensive programme of engagement in Northern Ireland on EU exit with a wide range of stakeholders. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland visited the border earlier this month.

Suella Braverman
Attorney General
16th Nov 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, how many meetings his Department has had with Ministers and officials in the Scottish Government since the triggering of Article 50.

The Government has been engaging with the Scottish Government throughout the negotiation process. This has included bilateral and multilateral engagement at both ministerial and official level. The Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations met most recently in October, when it discussed priorities for the future relationship with the EU and agreed the principles that will underpin common UK frameworks. A list of ministerial meetings is published with each quarterly transparency return.

We are committed to positive and productive engagement with the Scottish Government as we seek a deal that works for the entire United Kingdom.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, What assessment has she made of the effect of Mozambique’s debt crisis on progress towards poverty reduction in Mozambique.

The Department for International Development has not commissioned any formal assessment of the effects of the debt crisis on poverty reduction. The UK did support the national census in 2017. The full results will be published by November and will provide household level data on some key development indicators. The UK has been tracking various analyses of the economic situation led by others (including the World Bank and the IMF) to understand the implications of the macro-economic on poverty levels and has advocated strongly for the Government to protect pro-poor social sector spending.

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to monitor the ongoing effect on beneficiaries overseas of the withdrawal of Government funds to Oxfam and Save the Children.

DFID’s primary concern is the impact on beneficiaries and we have been careful to ensure that Oxfam and Save the Children’s voluntary withdrawal has not directly affected them. Although there has been a voluntary withdrawal from new UK government funding, no current DFID projects with either organisation have been stopped and are proceeding with enhanced scrutiny. For all new projects where we might otherwise have considered funding Oxfam and Save the Children, we are finding alternative partners to ensure that the poorest continue to be protected.

DFID is absolutely committed to driving up standards across the aid sector and will host an international summit on tackling sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment on 18th October.

4th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much her Department has spent on aid projects in Malawi in each year for which information is available.

Information on UK aid spending by country is available in the annual Statistics on International Development publication (available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-on-international-development).

The table below shows published figures on DFID’s bilateral official development assistance (ODA) spend in Malawi from 2009-2016.

DFID bilateral ODA to Malawi, £ million:

Year

DFID Bilateral ODA to Malawi

2009

68

2010

90

2011

61

2012

117

2013

106

2014

51

2015

75

2016

94

Source: Statistics on International Development

Further information on DFID’s results achieved, spending, performance and efficiency can be found in its Annual Reports (available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dfid-annual-report-2011-2012).

23rd May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the value is of her Department's humanitarian assistance programmes for the Democratic Republic of Congo in the last three years.

The UK is one of the leading humanitarian donors in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Over the last three years, £131m of bilateral UKAid has been provided to support the humanitarian needs in the country. The table below provides a breakdown of disbursements by year.

Financial Year

Total (£m)

2015/16

30

2016/17

31

2017/18

70

Total

131

14th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to reduce income and wealth inequality in partner countries.

Reducing inequality is central to DFID’s work through its mission to eradicate extreme poverty. The UK played a major role in negotiating the 2030 Global Goals and will be at the forefront of delivering them, including Goal 10 on reducing inequalities.

The evidence is clear that delivering on the UN’s 2030 Agenda will require higher and more inclusive growth that spreads benefits across society, notably for women and girls and other excluded groups. Through supporting the poorest in partner countries, DFID is helping to reduce inequalities within them, whilst also generating faster growth that can help to close inequality gaps between countries. UK support to building human capital - for example through education, health, nutrition and social protection programmes - works to prevent entrenched poverty and expand access to opportunity.

17th Jan 2018
What progress her Department has made on delivering its commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016.

DFID is delivering on the ambitious reform agenda agreed at the World Humanitarian Summit, and holding our partners to account for their commitments. From 2018, 30% of the UK’s core funding to humanitarian agencies will be performance-based, dependent on the delivery of vital reforms agreed to at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, including the ‘Grand Bargain’.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
29th Nov 2017
What aid her Department provides to Central African Republic.

The UK is one of the largest donors to the crisis in the Central African Republic and UK Aid is making a big difference on the ground. Our support is reaching 1.5 million people with life-saving food, shelter and basic healthcare.

21st Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the (a) legal and (b) regulatory framework for UK arms exports.

The UK’s regulatory framework for export controls is set out in the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, which provide a thorough risk assessment process for reaching licensing decisions. The Court of Appeal judgment of 20 June does not undermine the UK’s overall framework for export controls as set out in the Consolidated Criteria. These Criteria have stood the test of time and are shared by EU Member States. The Court’s judgment is about how decisions were made in relation to one element of one of those Criteria in a specific context.

21st Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent estimate he has made of the level of tariffs that could be applied by both the UK and EU to food exports in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Upon leaving the EU, the UK will be responsible for its own independent tariff regime. The UK will not be responsible for the tariffs the EU sets on its imports. The EU has stated through its technical notices that it will apply the EU’s Common External Tariff to UK exports in the event of a no deal, including on food products. The Government’s tariff schedule for a no deal scenario is being finalised. Once a final decision has been taken, we will bring forward legislation to the House and communicate this in an appropriate way for a market sensitive announcement.

4th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions he has had with his US counterpart on the inclusion of the National Health Service in a future trade agreement between the US and the UK.

The Government is prioritising UK-US FTA negotiations from April, having already laid the ground work for an ambitious agreement through joint working groups. Protecting the NHS is of the utmost importance and the UK Government’s position is that the NHS is not, and never will be, for sale to the private sector, whether overseas or domestic. The NHS is protected by specific exceptions and reservations in EU trade agreements, including the recent EU-Canada agreement (CETA). As we leave the EU, the UK will continue to ensure that rigorous protections are included in all trade agreements it is party to.

4th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the effect on the Everything But Arms Agreement of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act enables the UK to put in place a UK trade preferences scheme for developing countries. The Act also enshrines into UK law the commitment contained in the UN Sustainable Development Goals to provide duty free quota free trade access for Least Developed Countries.

The UK trade preference scheme will provide the same level of access as the current EU trade preference scheme by granting duty-free, quota-free access to the 48 Least Developed Countries covered by the Everything But Arms tier.

2nd Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment he has made of the proportionality of the EU's counter-measures to US tariffs on steel and aluminium.

The EU’s rebalancing measures are a proportional and justified response to US tariffs on steel and aluminium, designed to prevent escalation. The Commission has said it will revise the list commensurately to any product exemptions received. Member States will have a say, through the Trade Barriers Committee, on any revised list.

We will continue to seek a constructive, permanent resolution with the US to avoid further escalation that would harm businesses and consumers in both the US and EU.

10th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment his Department has made of the potential benefits of appointing a UK trade envoy to Malawi; and whether his Department plans to do so.

Prime Minister’s Trade Envoys engage with markets where substantial trade and investment opportunities have been identified by UK government.

The Prime Minister currently has ten Trade Envoys appointed to countries in Africa. They play an important role in enhancing the trade and investment work carried out by our teams on the ground, supporting UK companies exporting and investing in Africa and helping to make progress in efforts to tackle market access barriers. The Department for International Trade does not currently have a presence in Malawi, where the commercial relationship is relatively small. There are no plans to appoint a Trade Envoy to Malawi at this time.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment his Department has made of the potential benefits of appointing a UK trade envoy to Malawi; and whether his Department plans to do so.

Prime Minister’s Trade Envoys engage with markets where substantial trade and investment opportunities have been identified by UK government.

The Prime Minister currently has ten Trade Envoys appointed to countries in Africa. They play an important role in enhancing the trade and investment work carried out by our teams on the ground, supporting UK companies exporting and investing in Africa and helping to make progress in efforts to tackle market access barriers. The Department for International Trade does not currently have a presence in Malawi, where the commercial relationship is relatively small. There are no plans to appoint a Trade Envoy to Malawi at this time.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department has taken to meet the Inclusive Transport Strategy target to develop a monitoring and enforcement framework for mandatory bus driver disability awareness training by spring 2019.

The Department for Transport publishes annual bus statistics which include an assessment of the proportion of operators requiring relevant staff to undertake disability awareness training consistent with relevant legislation. The most recent release indicated that 98% of staff worked for bus operators that mandated this training. The Department continues to engage with industry and regulators to ensure a proportionate approach to enforcement is followed.

25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has held with the (a) Scottish Government and (b) British Transport Police on tackling crime on Scotland's railways.

Policing is a devolved matter and policing in Scotland is therefore devolved to the Scottish Government. I am not aware of any recent discussions involving the Secretary of State for Transport.

The policing of the railway in Scotland is delivered by the British Transport Police (BTP) who work closely with train operating companies and the Scottish Government.

20th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the number of train cancellations in 2018.

The industry definition for cancellations includes those trains which did not complete their full journey or failed to call at one or more stations. Around 4% of planned services met this criteria between 7 January 2018 and 5 January 2019.

18th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the Government's draft EU Withdrawal Agreement on the the financial viability of UK airports.

The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of a time-limited implementation period. During this time air services and businesses, including airports, will be able to continue as they do now without having to comply with a different set of rules and regulations. The Political Declaration sets out the broad terms of our future relationship with the EU and signals the ambition of both sides to agree a Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement that will provide for market access for UK and EU airlines. This agreement will therefore support the continued competitiveness of the UK aviation sector.

10th Jan 2019
What recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the proposal to merge British Transport Police in Scotland with Police Scotland.

The Scotland Act 2016, following the Smith Agreement, devolves responsibility for railway policing in Scotland. The Scottish Government have announced that, although full integration of the British Transport Police into Police Scotland remains the long-term ambition, other options are now being explored. The Government continues to work with the Scottish Government as they develop their plans and we remain committed to ensuring the continuing effectiveness of railway policing across the network.

10th Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect on the viability of the UK aviation sector of the UK leaving the EU.

Aviation is critical to both the UK and the EU, so the Government has confidence that an outcome that works in the interests of both sides can be achieved. The Government’s July 2018 White Paper sets out proposals for a comprehensive Air Transport Agreement which seeks to maintain reciprocal liberalised aviation access to, from and within the territory of the UK and the EU, as well as continued participation in the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) system.

We will continue to work closely with the international aviation community to ensure that the needs of the industry are addressed as part of the negotiations and that this global industry continues to be a major success story for the UK economy.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect on the viability of the UK aviation sector of the UK leaving the EU.

Aviation is critical to both the UK and the EU, so the Government has confidence that an outcome that works in the interests of both sides can be achieved. The Government’s July 2018 White Paper sets out proposals for a comprehensive Air Transport Agreement which seeks to maintain reciprocal liberalised aviation access to, from and within the territory of the UK and the EU, as well as continued participation in the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) system.

We will continue to work closely with the international aviation community to ensure that the needs of the industry are addressed as part of the negotiations and that this global industry continues to be a major success story for the UK economy.

28th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that cohabiting couples with children can apply for bereavement support payments.

Primary legislation provides that Bereavement Support Payment can only be paid to, and for the benefit of, a surviving spouse or civil partner. The Department is ensuring that Bereavement Support Payment is being paid in accordance with that law, as it is required to do.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the affordability of the housing market in Scotland for families in receipt of benefits.

The proportion of Scottish private market rents that are at or below the LHA rate, by room entitlement, is set out below. This is based on rent officer data and the 2019/20 LHA rates published here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-housing-allowance-lha-rates-applicable-from-april-2019-to-march-2020.

Shared room

1 bedroom

2 bedroom

3 bedroom

4+ bedroom

14%

22%

17%

18%

17%

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with (a) the Prime Minister and (b) the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the length of the benefits freeze.

The Secretary of State announced on 4th November 2019 that the freeze to working age benefits will come to an end in April 2020. This was following her statutory annual review of benefit and pension rates to determine whether they have retained their value to the general level of prices and earnings. See written ministerial statement -

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2019-11-04/HCWS74/

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the number of complaints made against independent personal independence payment assessment providers.

We are committed to ensuring that all claimants receive a fair, objective and accurate assessment as well as a quality service at all stages of a claim.

In 2017 and 2018, complaint volumes for Assessment Providers equated to less than 1% of the total number of assessments carried out that year. However, the Department is continually working alongside the PIP Assessment Providers to further improve the quality of assessments.

Assessment Providers engage with medical experts, charities and relevant Stakeholders to strengthen, review and update their training programmes. Alongside this, the Departments clinicians have been observing PIP assessments to provide further assurance of the face-to face assessment process and suggest areas for improvement.

The Department ensures a high standard is always maintained by having an Independent Audit function that continually monitors the performance and provides feedback to our Providers. Improvements have been supported by two Independent Reviews of the PIP assessment process, and we take on board recommendations from the Select Committee Enquiry. This ensures that our Providers consistently exceed the Customer Satisfaction target of 90%.

18th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate her Department has made of the number of personal independence payment claims which have been rejected in Scotland in the latest period for which figures are available.

The latest available data on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims cleared by type of decision (e.g. awarded, disallowed or withdrawn) can be found in the ‘PIP clearances’ table at https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/. The statistics provide monthly breakdowns up until the end of July 2019, the latest available data, and can also be broken down by region; England, Wales and Scotland.

Guidance on how to use Stat-Xplore can be found here: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/index.html

2nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the time taken for universal credit payments to be made to claimants on trends in the level of food bank use in Scotland.

The Department does not keep official statistics on food bank use, so no such assessment has been completed. Some food aid providers produce statistics on the number of food parcels distributed, but the Government has no plans to require individual food banks to keep records as this would place a significant burden on charitable and voluntary organisations.

We have listened to feedback on how we can improve Universal Credit to support our claimants and acted quickly, making improvements such as extending advances, removing waiting days, and introducing housing benefit run on. These changes are giving support to vulnerable people who need it most, whilst at the same time helping people get into work faster.

Furthermore, in Scotland, the Department delivers Universal Credit Scottish choices on behalf of the Scottish Government, providing the option of Universal Credit being paid twice a month rather than monthly, and having Universal Credit housing element being paid directly to landlords.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect on food poverty levels of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The Government has been clear that leaving the EU with a deal is its preferred option.

The Government has put in place contingency plans for a range of exit scenarios. These contingencies ensure that DWP can continue to provide our vital services and that individuals will continue to be able to access DWP benefits and services on the same basis as they do now.

The Government is committed to providing a strong safety-net through the welfare system. We continue to spend over £95 billion a year on benefits for people of working age. DWP continues to monitor the effects of EU exit on the economy. Rates of benefits continue to be reviewed in line with the relevant legislation for uprating.

3rd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the benefits freeze on the wellbeing of universal credit claimants.

An Impact Assessment of the benefit freeze was published in 2015, this is available in the link below.

https://www.parliament.uk/documents/impact-assessments/IA15-006C.pdf

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the benefit cap on single parent households with dependent children in Scotland.

The table below shows the number of households in Scotland that have had their Housing Benefit or Universal Credit capped between the introduction of cap and May 2019 (‘cumulative caseload’), and latest capped caseload in May 2019 (‘point in time caseload’), for all capped households and lone parents.

Benefit cap caseload in Scotland

Housing Benefit

Universal Credit

Total

Lone parents

Total

Lone parents

Cumulative capped caseload (up to May 2016)

12,500

6,200

1,100

600

% of which are lone parents

-

50%

-

53%

Point-in-time capped caseload (May 2019)

2,700

1,800

600

400

% of which are lone parents

-

67%

-

64%

Source: DWP benefit cap official statistics up to May 2019, August 2019 publication

Notes:

1) All figures are rounded to the nearest 100 households.

2) Lone parents are defined are single person households with dependent children.

3) For Housing Benefit claimants, the cumulative capped caseload is the number of households that have had their Housing Benefit capped between the introduction of the benefit cap on 15 April 2013 to May 2019.

4) For Universal Credit claimants, the cumulative capped caseload is the number of households that had their Universal Credit capped between October 2016 and May 2019. Universal Credit benefit cap data is only available from October 2016 onwards.

The average weekly cap amount under Housing Benefit for lone parents in Scotland in May 2019 was £60, compared to an average of £55 for all households in Great Britain. We do not currently publish the average cap amount for Universal Credit capped households, by family type, but are planning to publish this information for the first time on the DWP Stat-Xplore portal during the w/c 9th September.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to increase access to statutory sick pay for low-paid workers.

On Monday 15th July, the Government launched its consultation: `Health is everyone’s business: proposals to reduce ill health-related job loss.’ The consultation invites views on a range of matters including extending Statutory Sick Pay to the lowest paid. It closes on 7 October 2019 and can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/health-is-everyones-business-proposals-to-reduce-ill-health-related-job-loss

15th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of recorded workplace deaths in Scotland in each of the last three years.

Notifications of workplace fatal injuries to workers are made under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).

The table below provides the number of fatal injuries to workers in Scotland reported under RIDDOR over the last 3 years.

Fatal injuries to workers in Scotland 2016/17 – 2018/19

Year

Number of fatal injuries to workers

2016/17

18

2017/18

17

2018/19

29*

*Data for 2018/19 is provisional.

There has been an increase of 12 deaths between 2017/18 and 2018/19 in Scotland, mostly due to an increase in deaths in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing sector (from 3 in 2017/18 to 13 in 2018/19, though 2017/18 was a particularly low year for fatalities in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing sector in Scotland).

Numbers from one-year to the next are subject to natural variation. The increase seen in the number of workplace deaths in Scotland in 2018/19 are within bounds of natural variation.

25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effect of universal credit on armed forces veterans.

The Department has put in place special arrangements under the Armed Forces Covenant to support veterans and to take account of their needs and circumstances, such as ensuring War Disablement Pensions and guaranteed income payments made under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme are not taken into account in the assessment of Universal Credit entitlement.

Universal Credit is a tailored service and it is important that we support those claimants, including veterans, who may find the application process for Universal Credit challenging. The Citizens Advice Help to Claim service offers tailored, practical support to help people to make their Universal Credit claim. This service is available online, over the phone and face-to-face, so that claimants can access support in the way that is most suitable for them.

Every Jobcentre Plus District has an Armed Forces Champion who ensures that any concerns and issues raised which affect Service Personnel and their families are integrated within the wider work of Jobcentre Plus. These Armed Forces Champions ensure that Work Coaches and other DWP staff can effectively support serving personnel, service leavers, veterans and their families.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to encourage people to save for their retirement.

Automatic enrolment has reversed the decline in workplace pension saving. Latest figures show that over 10 million workers have been automatically enrolled into workplace pension by more than 1.5 million employers. In 2018, eligible employees saved a total of £90.4 billion into their workplace pensions.

In 2018, 87% of all eligible workers in Great Britain were members of a workplace pension scheme, this is a 32 percentage point increase compared with 2012, when automatic enrolment was introduced. The greatest increases have been among those who have historically had least access to workplace pensions, such as women, younger people and lower earners. In 2018, workplace pension participation levels increased to 85% for eligible male and female workers in the private sector; this represented a 45 percentage point increase among eligible women compared to 2012. For eligible 22-29-year-old workers in the private sector workplace pension participation increased to 84% – up from 24% in 2012.

With record numbers of people saving for retirement, it’s more important than ever that people understand their pensions and prepare for financial security in later life.

Government is committed to facilitating industry to make pension dashboards a reality and that is why we will compel pension schemes to make consumers data available to them via dashboards, when parliamentary time allows.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the effect of universal credit on the level of rent arrears owed to Scottish local authorities; and if she will make a statement.

The Department has not made an assessment of this nature.

Caution should be exercised when considering any assessment of arrears derived from local authority level data which seeks to compare the legacy and Universal Credit welfare systems. This is because they do not compare groups with the same characteristics; typically, the legacy benefit group have been on benefits for some time, where the arrears may be under long-term management. The Universal Credit group, on the other hand, are often new to benefits, and are likely to have experienced a change in their circumstances – for example, a debt-creating event like losing a job or separation. Any arrears for this group will not have been under management and had time to clear.

The initial analytical work we have carried out with a housing provider suggests that many tenants are arriving on Universal Credit with pre-existing rent arrears, that their arrears tend to increase prior to making a claim for Universal Credit, and that Universal Credit actually appears to be helping to clear arrears over time. We are currently extending this analysis to include a number of other housing providers. It will be published when completed. Furthermore, according to latest figures in November 2018 about 8 per cent of social rented households were on Universal Credit; therefore, it is difficult to see how a national trend can be attributed to Universal Credit.

We have, however, responded to concerns in this area by putting a number of safeguards in place, such as 100% advances repayable over 12 months, increasing to 16 months in October 2021; a two-week Transition to Universal Credit Housing Payment; a new Help to Claim service to assist people to make their claim more easily; and Managed Payment to Landlord Arrangements, which allow for payments direct to the landlord if the tenant is likely to have difficulty in managing their rent payments, is unlikely to pay their rent or is in rent arrears equivalent to two months.

Furthermore, in Scotland, the Department delivers Universal Credit Scottish choices on behalf of the Scottish Government, providing the option of Universal Credit being paid twice a month rather than monthly, and having Universal Credit housing element being paid directly to landlords.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the benefits freeze on the incomes of households with children.

An Impact Assessment of the benefit freeze was published in 2015, this is available in the link below.

https://www.parliament.uk/documents/impact-assessments/IA15-006C.pdf

The Welfare Reforms such as the benefit freeze were designed to incentivise parents to choose to move into and progress in work. Evidence shows that work is the best route out of poverty. Children in workless households are five time more likely to be in poverty than those in households where all adults were working. Since 2007/08, the incomes of the poorest fifth have increased by over £850 above inflation, whereas the incomes of the richest fifth have increased by around £650.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the sanctions system on levels of foodbank use among claimants.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) does not keep official statistics on foodback use as there are many reasons why people use foodbanks.

Nevertheless, as a measured safeguard The Department offers financial support to those claimants who have been sanctioned. We have a well-established system of hardship payments for claimants who cannot meet their immediate and most essential needs, including accommodation, heating, food and hygiene, as a result of their sanction.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the level of foodbank use in Scotland.

The Department for Work and Pensions has not made an assessment of the levels of foodbank use in Scotland.

The welfare system provides a strong safety net for those who need it, spending over £95 billion a year on welfare benefits for people of working age. This includes a well-established system of hardship payments, benefit advances and budgeting loans as an additional safeguard for those who need them.

Jobcentre mangers have discretion to work with food banks in their local area; and we are exploring how to build on current good practice to make it as easy as possible for food banks to identify and refer back to the local Jobcentre any customers who may not be receiving the full formal support to which they are entitled

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on the consultation into legislating for collective defined contribution pension schemes in the UK.

The Government’s consultation on Collective Defined Contribution schemes closed in January 2019. A formal Government response to the consultation, including a summary of respondents’ views, was published on Monday 18th March and a Written Ministerial Statement was laid before the House (HCWS1422). The consultation response can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/delivering-collective-defined-contribution-pension-schemes

I am grateful for the comments and support received in response to the consultation, and the Department now intends to move forward with legislating to facilitate single and associated employer Collective Defined Contribution scheme provision as soon as Parliamentary time allows and detailed drafting of the proposed measures has been considered and then actioned.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the bedroom tax on payments to universal credit claimants.

The removal of Spare Room Subsidy was monitored and evaluated over a two-year period from April 2013. The interim report that was published in July 2014 identified that claimants were either increasing their hours of work, or earnings in order to meet the shortfall in their rent. The final report was published in December 2015 and this showed that the policy promoted more effective use of housing stock and encouraging people to enter work and increase their earnings. We are therefore maintaining this policy and continue to protect vulnerable claimants who require additional support through Discretionary Housing Payments.

19th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps her Department has taken to help ensure the financial security of universal credit claimants with cancer.

The Department takes seriously the need to support vulnerable claimants. We are committed to ensuring that people who have cancer are treated with the upmost sensitivity and care, when making a claim to Universal Credit. For instance, the UC50 questionnaire incorporates a 'light touch' evidence gathering process for cancer patients, and makes clear that Clinical Nurse Specialists and consultants can provide information on the form, therefore making the claim and assessment process simpler for people with cancer.

We are continuously reviewing and improving the service for vulnerable people who claim Universal Credit to ensure that it is accessible and responsive to their needs. This includes how they are identified and supported, either from our own staff or via referrals from local services.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
18th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the roll-out of universal credit on claimants of benefits with cancer.

The Department takes seriously the need to support vulnerable claimants. We are committed to ensuring that people who have cancer are treated with the upmost sensitivity and care, when making a claim to Universal Credit. For instance, when a claimant is asked to attend a Work Capability Assessment to determine entitlement to the additional component of Universal Credit specifically for disabled claimants, they must complete a UC50 questionnaire which incorporates a 'light touch' evidence gathering process for cancer patients; and makes clear that Clinical Nurse Specialists and consultants can provide information on the form, therefore making the claim and assessment process simpler for people with cancer.

We are continuously reviewing and improving the service for vulnerable people who claim Universal Credit to ensure that it is accessible and responsive to their needs. This includes how they are identified and supported, either from our own staff or via referrals from local services.

7th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to Answer of 28 January 2019 to Question 211713 on Universal Credit; when the (a) minutes of the meeting between the Social Security Advisory Committee and officials in her Department and (b) joint report will be published.

The minutes of the meeting on 30 January 2019 have been published and are available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/782301/ssac-minutes-jan-2019.pdf

The joint report will be published in due course.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
7th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government is taking steps to ensure that claimants in the managed migration pilot who are deemed to be vulnerable are not put at risk due to their benefits stopping.

The pilot phase will allow the Department to test our processes carefully to ensure that claimants on all legacy benefits with a range of characteristics can be successfully moved onto Universal Credit. The Department is working with a wide and diverse range of stakeholders to design the process and we are currently developing the detailed planning on how we will start the pilot process, including which groups or individuals we will begin to move to Universal Credit.

The pilot will be evaluated to ensure that the design of our processes meet the desired outcomes of supporting all eligible legacy claimants to make a claim for Universal Credit and to put in place transitional protection, where appropriate. The Department has committed to reporting its findings from the pilot to the House of Commons before we continue with the process.

We will be providing any necessary support to those claimants who are part of the pilot to ensure they are fully supported throughout. Subject to Parliamentary approval, of the draft Universal Credit (Managed Migration Pilot and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019, discretionary hardship payments will be available from July 2019 to support the successful transition of claimants who are moved from legacy benefits to Universal Credit and experience hardship. From July 2020 we are introducing a two-week run-on for all those on Employment Support Allowance, Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance who move to Universal Credit and their claim for Universal Credit terminates their existing benefit award. The two-week Transitional Housing Payment is already available to eligible claimants who move from legacy benefits to Universal Credit.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
7th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans are in place to evaluate the managed migration pilot phase; whether that evaluation will be an independent evaluation; and whether her Department plans to publish an evaluation report.

The pilot phase will allow the Department to test our processes carefully to ensure that claimants on all legacy benefits with a range of characteristics can be successfully moved onto Universal Credit. The Department is working with a wide and diverse range of stakeholders to design the process and we are currently developing the detailed planning on how we will start the pilot process, including which groups or individuals we will begin to move to Universal Credit.

The pilot will be evaluated to ensure that the design of our processes meet the desired outcomes of supporting all eligible legacy claimants to make a claim for Universal Credit and to put in place transitional protection, where appropriate. The Department has committed to reporting its findings from the pilot to the House of Commons before we continue with the process.

We will be providing any necessary support to those claimants who are part of the pilot to ensure they are fully supported throughout. Subject to Parliamentary approval, of the draft Universal Credit (Managed Migration Pilot and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019, discretionary hardship payments will be available from July 2019 to support the successful transition of claimants who are moved from legacy benefits to Universal Credit and experience hardship. From July 2020 we are introducing a two-week run-on for all those on Employment Support Allowance, Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance who move to Universal Credit and their claim for Universal Credit terminates their existing benefit award. The two-week Transitional Housing Payment is already available to eligible claimants who move from legacy benefits to Universal Credit.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
7th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to ensure the managed migration pilot phase will include sufficient numbers of claimants who are deemed to be vulnerable to allow for the collection of meaningful data on how vulnerable claimants can be safely migrated.

The pilot phase will allow the Department to test our processes carefully to ensure that claimants on all legacy benefits with a range of characteristics can be successfully moved onto Universal Credit. The Department is working with a wide and diverse range of stakeholders to design the process and we are currently developing the detailed planning on how we will start the pilot process, including which groups or individuals we will begin to move to Universal Credit.

The pilot will be evaluated to ensure that the design of our processes meet the desired outcomes of supporting all eligible legacy claimants to make a claim for Universal Credit and to put in place transitional protection, where appropriate. The Department has committed to reporting its findings from the pilot to the House of Commons before we continue with the process.

We will be providing any necessary support to those claimants who are part of the pilot to ensure they are fully supported throughout. Subject to Parliamentary approval, of the draft Universal Credit (Managed Migration Pilot and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019, discretionary hardship payments will be available from July 2019 to support the successful transition of claimants who are moved from legacy benefits to Universal Credit and experience hardship. From July 2020 we are introducing a two-week run-on for all those on Employment Support Allowance, Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance who move to Universal Credit and their claim for Universal Credit terminates their existing benefit award. The two-week Transitional Housing Payment is already available to eligible claimants who move from legacy benefits to Universal Credit.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
7th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions,pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2019 to Question 223219 on Personal Independence Payment: Epilepsy, how many people with epilepsy who were in receipt of disability living allowance but did not receive an award as a result of a reassessment for personal independence payment have chosen to appeal that decision through (a) mandatory reconsideration and (b) a tribunal.

The information requested for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) reassessments is shown in the table below.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) initial decisions, Mandatory Reconsiderations (MRs) and appeals for claimants with a primary disabling condition of Epilepsy, April 2013 to September 2018, Great Britain

Reassessments

Initial Decisions

28,880

Initial decisions - disallowed due to failing the assessment

15,600

Of which

MR registered

10,710

Appeal lodged

5,750

Under PIP, 27 per cent of working age claimants with epilepsy recorded as their primary disabling condition receive the highest level of support compared to 6 per cent under Disability Living Allowance when PIP was introduced.

Notes

Data is based on primary disabling condition as recorded on the PIP computer system. Claimants may often have multiple disabling conditions upon which the decision is based but only the primary condition is shown in these statistics. The disability subgroup of Epilepsy in the PIP Computer System includes Cataplexy, Generalised seizures (with status epilepticus in last 12 months), Generalised seizures (without status epilepticus in last 12 months), Narcolepsy, Partial seizures (with status epilepticus in last 12 months), Partial seizures (without status epilepticus in last 12 months) and Seizures - unclassified.

PIP data includes normal rules and special rules for the terminally ill claimants.

Data has been rounded to the nearest 10.

Appeals data taken from the DWP PIP computer system’s management information. Therefore this data may differ from that held by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service for various reasons such as delays in data recording and other methodological differences in collating and preparing statistics.

An appeal can only be made against a decision which have gone through the Mandatory Reconsideration process. The number of people who registered an MR and the number of people who lodged a tribunal appeal cannot be added together.

Claimants who have received benefit decisions more recently may not yet have had time to complete the claimant journey and progress to appeal.

7th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of using existing data to pre-populate Universal Credit applications for people who are (a) terminally ill and (b) in the support group; and if she will make a statement.

The Department has no plans to pre-populate Universal Credit applications for a number of reasons.

We want to ensure data is accurate and up-to-date to avoid transferring errors from legacy benefits to the Universal Credit system. Furthermore, the legacy system does not have all of the information needed for a Universal Credit claim. Implementing a claim on inaccurate data will lead to inaccurate awards and claimants not receiving the money they are entitled to.

It is also important to note that not everyone will want to move on to Universal Credit and the Department cannot simply assume that all existing claimants want to claim Universal Credit.

We have however said that we will use existing decisions or verification to make aspects of the process easier. For example, if a claimant has an existing Work Capability Assessment decision, there will be no requirement to have another assessment in order to receive the disability elements of Universal Credit. Also, for claimants who do not have any work-related requirements, we already operate a digital claimant commitment acceptance process and we will carry that forward when moving claimants over to Universal Credit without a change in circumstances.

19th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in reference to the Answer of 19 July 2018 to Question 162165 on Personal Independence Payment: Epilepsy, what the most up to date figures are on the number of people with epilepsy who were in receipt of disability living allowance who (a) did not receive an award as a result of a reassessment for personal independence payment and (b) then received an award at either mandatory reconsideration or on appeal.

The information requested for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) reassessments is shown in the table below.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) initial decisions, Mandatory Reconsiderations (MRs) and appeals for claimants with a primary disabling condition of Epilepsy, April 2013 to September 2018, Great Britain

Reassessments

Initial Decisions

28,880

Initial decisions - disallowed due to failing the assessment

15,600

Of which

MR - new decision award changed

1,200

Appeal - decision overturned

3,610

Under PIP, 27 per cent of working age claimants with epilepsy recorded as their primary disabling condition receive the highest level of support compared to 6 per cent under Disability Living Allowance when PIP was introduced.

Notes

Data is based on primary disabling condition as recorded on the PIP computer system. Claimants may often have multiple disabling conditions upon which the decision is based but only the primary condition is shown in these statistics. Question 162165 defined epilepsy as people who have Epilepsy Partial seizures (with status epilepticus in last 12 months) and Generalised seizures (with status epilepticus in last 12 months) listed as their main condition. To answer this question the definition of epilepsy has been expanded to include the following five additional conditions: Cataplexy, Generalised seizures (without status epilepticus in last 12 months), Narcolepsy, Partial seizures (without status epilepticus in last 12 months) and Seizures - unclassified.

PIP data includes normal rules and special rules for the terminally ill claimants.

Data has been rounded to the nearest 10.

Appeals data taken from the DWP PIP computer system’s management information. Therefore this data may differ from that held by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service for various reasons such as delays in data recording and other methodological differences in collating and preparing statistics.

Decisions overturned at appeal may include a number of appeals that have been lapsed (which is where DWP changed the decision after an appeal was lodged but before it was heard at Tribunal).

Some decisions which are changed at MR, and where the claimant continues to appeal for a higher PIP award, are then changed again at tribunal appeal. Therefore the number of people who had a decision changed at MR and the number of people who had a decision changed at tribunal appeal cannot be added together.

Claimants who have received benefit decisions more recently may not yet have had time to complete the claimant journey and progress to appeal.

19th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people with epilepsy who have applied or been reassessed for personal independence payment in the last twelve months have received (a) daily living only, (b) mobility only and (c) both daily living and mobility.

Between 1st November 2017 and 31st October 2018, the last year for which data is available, 8,480 claimants with epilepsy were awarded Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Of these claimants, 540 received the daily living component only, 4,300 received the mobility component only and 3,640 received both the daily living and the mobility components.

  1. Data shows the outcome of the first DWP decision on each claim (i.e. prior to any reconsideration, appeal action and award review), where that decision was made between 1st November 2017 and 31st October 2018.
  2. Data is based on primary disabling condition as recorded on the PIP computer systems. Claimants may often have multiple disabling conditions upon which the decision is based but only the primary condition is shown in these statistics.
  3. The disability subgroup of Epilepsy in the PIP Computer System includes Cataplexy, Generalised seizures (with status epilepticus in last 12 months), Generalised seizures (without status epilepticus in last 12 months), Narcolepsy, Partial seizures (with status epilepticus in last 12 months), Partial seizures (without status epilepticus in last 12 months) and Seizures - unclassified.
  4. PIP data includes normal rules and special rules for the terminally ill claimants, and is for both new claims and DLA reassessment claims.
  5. This is unpublished data. It should be used with caution and it may be subject to future revision.
  6. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 and may not total because of rounding.
  7. Great Britain only.

7th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to monitor the number of people making universal credit applications without using a computer.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer to Question 206260 on 11 January 2018.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
12th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to increase job opportunities in communities with an unemployment rate higher than the national average.

Over 3 million more people are in work, and unemployment is lower in all regions and nations of the UK than in 2010. Youth unemployment has almost halved in this time, and there has been an increase in female and older worker employment. However, DWP, along with other departments and agencies continues to focus on the labour market and its challenges. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published the ‘Industrial Strategy: building a Britain fit for the future’ white paper in November 2017. This sets out a plan for how local strategies can work together to increase local opportunities.

Jobcentre staff play an important role by offering advice and support to help jobseekers gain the relevant skills required to be able to take up jobs that are available in their communities. Roll-out of Universal Credit Full Service was completed earlier this month and across the country and gives our work coaches the flexibility to offer tailored support to claimants.

Government also provides The National Careers Service and works with local partners to provide opportunities for people. The range of support available may include:

  • Connecting people to jobs in the labour market
  • Help with job search, including CV writing, interview skills, where to find jobs and how to apply for them
  • Help to identify transferable skills and skills gaps (linked to the local labour market)
  • Training to update skills, learn new ones and gain industry recognised certification that will improve employability
  • Help to overcome barriers to attending training or securing a job
  • For large redundancies, DWP may also provide on-site services such as presentations to those affected
  • Jobs fairs and job clubs where appropriate

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
29th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment the Government has made of the effect on low-income families of the roll-out of universal credit throughout Northern Ireland.

The Department does not hold this information. Social Security is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland. The delivery of Universal Credit in Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the Department for Communities, part of the Northern Ireland Executive.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
12th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to provide (a) compensation and (b) repayments to claimants who were underpaid employment and support allowance.

We are reviewing all those cases potentially affected and paying any arrears of past payments that are due. Our focus is on paying arrears to claimants in line with the primary legislation.

A Written Statement and Frequently Asked Question document providing further details on this issue was deposited in the House of Commons Library on Wednesday 17 October which can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/business-papers/commons/deposited-papers/.

In addition the Department published the latest statistical information on the estimates and timescales, which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/esa-underpayments-forecast-numbers-affected-forecast-expenditure-and-progress-on-checking.

12th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has of trends in the level of incidences of (a) stress, (b) anxiety and (c) depression in the workplace.

No data is available to assess separate trends in (a) stress, (b) anxiety and (c) depression within the workplace, although data on this group of conditions collectively, where they are reported to be work-related, is available.

Statisticians have assessed that the trend in the rate of new cases (incidence rate) of self-reported work-related stress, anxiety or depression, has remained broadly flat over the last 15 years. However, the trend in the rate of all cases (new and existing cases) of self-reported work-related stress, anxiety or depression, although previously broadly flat, has shown signs of increasing in recent years.

Further details are available from: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/

9th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in receipt of employment support allowance are not receiving the full amount of national insurance credits for which they are eligible.

People in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance are awarded a Class 1 National Insurance credit for each complete benefit week that the benefit is in payment. A benefit week runs from Sunday to Saturday.

8th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of people expected to require additional support to make a universal credit claim during the managed migration process.

We recognise that some people will require additional support. So we have designed the process and legislation to accommodate the varying needs of claimants when they are managed migrated to Universal Credit.

We will carry out a lengthy period of testing comprising of small volumes to identify what proportion of people will require additional support and, equally importantly, what that support should be.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
8th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of recent trends in the average levels of household debt for people in receipt of universal credit.

The Government has taken a number of steps to prevent problem debt, such as capping payday lending costs, and promoting savings especially for those on low incomes. We also have interest free advances within Universal Credit, and a system of priority deductions to help claimants who are in arrears.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
8th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent equalities impact assessment her Department has conducted on its plans for the managed migration to universal credit.

In line with Ministers’ legal duties, equality impacts have been considered in developing our plans for managed migration to universal credit. We will continue to consider these impacts as our plans for managed migration develop.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
11th Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of the Government’s reassessment of people who may be eligible for personal independence payments.

This information is not available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of reassessing the eligibility of people applying for personal independence payments in Scotland.

I refer the honourable member to the answer I gave to his previous question UIN 160814

4th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect on low-income families of the roll-out of universal credit in Scotland.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I provided to Question 129558 on 1 March 2018.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
4th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of the Government’s reassessment of people who may be eligible for personal independence payments in Scotland.

We have not estimated costs of Personal Independence Payments at this level. As a result this information is not available for Scotland only and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

14th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of recent trends in the average levels of household debt of people in receipt of universal credit.

The Government has taken a number of steps to reduce the risk of problem debt, including capping payday lending costs and promoting savings.

Within Universal Credit, we have interest free advances and a system of priority deductions to help claimants who have got into arrears. This year we have also successfully implemented a further package of measures announced at the Autumn Budget 2017, such as making interest free advances of up to 100% of the indicative award available and increasing the repayment period to 12 months, removing the 7 waiting days from all claims, providing an additional payment of 2 weeks of Housing Benefit to support claimants when they transition to Universal Credit, and changing how claimants in temporary accommodation receive support for their housing costs.

Additionally, budgeting advice is offered to all Universal Credit claimants when they make a new claim, and is discussed throughout the customer journey where needed. Where problem debt is identified, claimants may be referred to appropriate external organisations for additional support.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
14th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that personal independence payment assessments are undertaken fairly and efficiently.

We are committed to ensuring claimants receive high quality, objective assessments. The Department holds regular performance meetings with Providers at local and senior levels. Assessments are independently audited and Departmental clinicians periodically observe assessments. Both providers have increased personalised clinical support to all Health Professionals.

14th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans the Government has to bring forward legislative proposals to strengthen maternity protections for women with (a) casual and (b) zero hours employment contracts.

There are two maternity payments available to pregnant working women depending on their circumstances. Statutory Maternity Pay paid by employers to qualifying employed women; and Maternity Allowance paid by the Department for Work and Pensions, to eligible women including those employed women who cannot get SMP and the self-employed.

The qualifying rules for Maternity Allowance are based on a woman’s recent record of employment or self-employment and her earnings regardless of the type of employment contract she may have. The rules are more flexible than those for Statutory Maternity Pay and do not require a continuous employment record. Providing a woman has worked for 26 weeks out of the 66 weeks immediately preceding the week her baby is due, she may qualify for Maternity Allowance. Women can qualify with a mixture of casual, fixed term and zero hours employment, as well as periods of self-employment or unemployment.

The flexibilities within existing maternity provisions aim to enable as many working women as possible to stop work in the interest of her health and that of her baby whilst maintaining a balance with the needs of employers. Currently there are no plans to introduce any legislative changes in this area.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
14th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the proposed closures of jobcentres on local communities in Scotland.

The 20-year contract covering the majority of DWP offices came to an end on 31 March 2018. Our announcement on 5 July 2017 confirmed that some smaller jobcentres would merge with larger ones, and others would be co-located with local government premises. As part of this, we confirmed that there would be a net reduction of 10 jobcentre offices, from 94 to 84, across Scotland. All mergers have now taken place, with the exception of Alexandria Jobcentre, which is merging with Dumbarton by the end of August 2018.

Throughout the estate review, DWP has been mindful of its duties under the Equality Act 2010 and has carried out local level equality analysis to inform understanding of the effect of our plans and careful consideration has been given to the wider effect on local communities.

The equality analysis findings were one of a number of considerations used to make decisions about our jobcentres. These included a complex range of factors, such as the effect on our people, customer service, the equality analysis, value for money and business needs.

This is not about reducing jobs or services. It is about reducing the amount that we spend on rent that goes towards empty space and reinvesting those savings in supporting claimants.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
14th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of recent trends in the number of in-work households living in poverty.

It is clear that work is the best route out of poverty, as the rate of poverty in working households is one third of that among workless households. The latest data for 2016/17 shows there were 2.4 million working households in absolute low income before housing costs. Since 2010 the number of people in absolute poverty has fallen by 1 million, including 500,000 working age adults.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
23rd Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 19 January 2018, HCWS414, what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of additional PIP benefits payable following the High Court's December 2017 judgement on the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) (Amendment) Regulations 2017.

I refer the Hon. Member to the statement made by myself, Official Report, 30 January 2018, Column 703.

22nd Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much was spent by the Government from the public purse in legal fees on seeking to overturn the Upper Tribunal Administrative Appeals Chamber decision of April 2016 on personal independent payments.

There are no Upper Tribunal judgments on Personal Independence Payments dated April 2016 that the Department is currently appealing to the Court of Appeal.

18th Dec 2017
What assessment his Department has made of recent trends in the average level of household debt for people in receipt of universal credit.

The Government has taken a number of steps to reduce the risk of problem debt, including capping payday lending costs and promoting savings.

Within UC, there are also interest free Advances and a system of priority deductions to help claimants who have got into arrears.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
6th Oct 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government plans to halt the roll-out of universal credit.

Under Universal Credit people are moving into work faster and staying in work for longer, and by the time it is fully rolled out we project that around 250,000 more people will be in work. There are no plans to pause the rollout of Universal Credit and deny people the real improvements Universal Credit is delivering. On 09 October the Secretary of State made a topical statement to the House of Commons confirming that the rollout will continue to the planned timescale, gradually and sensibly.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the effect of the introduction of minimum unit pricing of alcohol in Scotland on the level of alcohol consumption in Scotland.

No assessment has been made. NHS Scotland publishes annual reports on the impact of the Scottish Government’s alcohol strategy, a core element of which is minimum unit pricing. However, the Scottish Government will not publish its statutory report on the impact of minimum unit pricing (MUP) until five years post-implementation of the legislation, in 2023. The Government shall monitor the impact of MUP as robust evidence emerges.

24th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the availablity of (a) critical and (b) short shelf-life medicines in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The Government fully understands that maintaining access to all medicines and medical products, including critical medicines and short shelf-life products, is vitally important to millions of people in this country. Ensuring unhindered supply of these products remains the Government’s top priority.

As in preparation for 29 March and 12 April, our ‘no deal’ EU Exit contingency plans for 31 October will cover the NHS, social care and the independent sector and covers all medicines, medical devices and clinical consumables, supplies for clinical trials, vaccines and countermeasures, and organs and tissues for transplants.

The Department has continued to work closely with the Devolved Administrations, industry trade bodies and suppliers, the NHS and other key stakeholders. Prior to 29 March, the Department analysed the supply chains of 12,300 medicines, close to half a million product lines of medical devices and clinical consumables, vaccines used in national and local programmes, and essential non-clinical goods on which the health and care system relies. These analyses and assessments have been updated where necessary and will continue to be refined while a ‘no deal’ EU Exit remains a possibility. This work has informed our plans.

We are asking suppliers to analyse their supply chains and to make alternative plans if they anticipate disruption, including rerouting to alternative ports or using airfreight where necessary. Our contingency measures aim to support industry-led measures and, where required, act as a ‘last resort’ to be used only when a supplier’s alternative arrangements encounter difficulties, to ensure uninterrupted supply.

In the case of medicines that cannot be stockpiled because, for example, they have short shelf-lives, such as medical radioisotopes, we are working closely with suppliers to make alternative arrangements using airfreight.

Further details can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/medicines-and-medical-products-supply-government-updates-no-deal-brexit-plans

While we never give guarantees, we are confident that, if everyone – including suppliers, freight companies, international partners and the health and care system – does what they need to do, the supply of medicines and medical products should be uninterrupted in the event of a no-deal EU Exit.

18th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of access to free wheelchairs for people with short-term mobility conditions or injuries.

No recent assessment has been made of the provision of wheelchairs for short-term use.

27th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on staffing levels in the NHS.

NHS Digital publishes data on the nationality of staff working in the National Health Service in England and the latest figures show that there were over 3,200 more European Union nationals working in the NHS in September 2017 than before the referendum result.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the NHS and social care system have the nurses, midwives, doctors, carers and other health professionals that it needs.

We continue to monitor and analyse overall staffing levels across the NHS and adult social care, and we are working across Government to ensure there will continue to be sufficient staff to deliver the high quality services on which patients rely following the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU.

On 8 December, the UK and EU Commission reached an agreement which delivered on the Prime Minister’s number one priority, to safeguard the rights of people who have built their lives in the UK and EU, following the UK’s exit from the EU.

The agreement will guarantee the rights of the 150,000 EU nationals working in our health and care system. It means that EU citizens living lawfully in the UK and UK nationals living lawfully in the EU by 29 March 2019 will be able to stay and enjoy broadly the same rights and benefits as they do now.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
5th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Kalydeco as a treatment for people with cystic fibrosis.

During the last five years, NHS England commissioned a health technology assessment to review the clinical evidence for Kalydeco (Ivacaftor) and decided at the time that it would support its use to treat one gene mutation. Subsequently it has broadened use for other gene mutations following further evidence reviews.

For commissioned drugs such as Kalydeco (Ivacaftor) for named mutations, prescribing decisions are made by multidisciplinary teams in hospitals commissioned by NHS England to provide specialised services for adults and children with cystic fibrosis.

NHS England is investing significant resources into the provision of Kalydeco which works directly on the genes causing cystic fibrosis and in medicines that reduce the impact of the disease.

NHS England and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust jointly collect outcomes data through the Cystic Fibrosis Registry to inform better management of the disease.

Information about specialised National Health Service commissioning is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/commissioning/spec-services/npc-crg/group-a/a01/

4th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on the security of the UK of the US suspension of its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

We support the US decision to suspend its participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and start the treaty’s formal withdrawal process. A situation where the US was respecting the INF Treaty and Russia was not, was not sustainable.

Through the development and deployment of its SSC-8 cruise missile system, Russia has put European security at risk. We are working closely with all NATO Allies to review the security implications of Russian intermediate-range missiles and will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure the credibility and effectiveness of the Alliance’s overall deterrence and defence posture. This was reaffirmed by NATO Allies on 2 February.

8th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in the Government of Myanmar on human rights abuses against the Rohingya since his appointment.

​In his meeting with Burma's State Counsellor (and Foreign Minister) Aung San Suu Kyi on 20 September, the Foreign Secretary made clear that holding to account those responsible for atrocities was of critical importance. He underlined that giving refugees hope of a safe return and future in Rakhine depending on accountability for human rights violations. He expressed his grave concerns about Burma's refusal to grant access to the UN Fact Finding Mission.

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to help resolve the conflict in Yemen.

The UK continues to play a leading role in efforts to promote peace. We remain in close contact with Government of Yemen, the Coalition, the UN, the United States and other main Yemeni parties. We seek to secure regional and international consensus in support of the UN-led peace process, both bilaterally and in multilateral fora.

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to promote and support human rights internationally.

​Promoting and defending human rights is an essential aim of the foreign policy of "Global Britain". The Foreign Office's 2017 "Human Rights & Democracy" report demonstrates the breadth of the issues that we campaign on and how we mobilise the diplomatic network to champion universal rights.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office ministers and officials defend and promote human rights in bilateral engagements, in multilateral fora, and by funding projects through the Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy.

2nd Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on future prospects for the peace process in Israel and Palestine.

​We frequently discuss the urgent need for a resolution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict with a range of international partners most recently on 26 June. I discussed prospects for peace with Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Khaled Suleiman Al-Jarallah. The Government also has regular exchanges with European ministers on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the monthly EU Foreign Affairs Council meetings in Brussels.

5th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the situation in Yemen; and what plans the UK Government has to call for work towards an immediate ceasefire in that country.

We remain deeply concerned by the increasingly grave and distressing situation in Yemen. A political solution remains the only means for bringing long-term stability to Yemen – there is no military solution to the conflict. The UK continues to play a leading role in international efforts to achieve this goal. In June 2017 the UK sponsored and coordinated a UN Security Council Presidential Statement, agreed on 15 June, which called upon the parties to the conflict to agree the modalities for a ceasefire, take steps to address the humanitarian crisis, and restart political talks. We are now working urgently with our international and regional partners to ensure that the Security Council's words are converted into action.

1st Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the strength of the UK's relationship with Jamaica when the UK leaves the EU.

The UK and Jamaica have a strong relationship. Our Governments cooperate effectively on prosperity, development, justice and law enforcement for the benefit of all our citizens. Our membership of the Commonwealth underpins our shared values. 800,000 people in the UK have Jamaican family connections and over 200,000 Britons visit Jamaica each year. The Government of the UK and its Caribbean trading partners have agreed that future trade arrangements after the UK leaves the EU, will take existing arrangements as the starting point. The UK-Caribbean Infrastructure Fund has allocated £53 million to support development in Jamaica.

5th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans the Government has to support and encourage the re-admittance of Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth.

The UK is willing to support Zimbabwe's re-admittance to the Commonwealth provided it meets the criteria for membership, particularly in relation to human rights, good governance and the rule of law. The holding of free and fair elections in the country must be a prerequisite. I made this clear to President Mnangagwa during our meeting on 2 February.

The first step for re-entry to the Commonwealth would be for Zimbabwe to indicate to the Commonwealth Secretariat that it would like to return. Any decisions on membership are made by consensus by all Commonwealth member states.

22nd Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he plans to meet President Weah of Liberia; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister wrote to President Weah to congratulate him on his election victory, and I share those sentiments. Our Ambassador in Monrovia and a senior official from London attended President Weah's inauguration on 23rd January, and discussed early priorities with him.

The UK's relationship with Liberia is an historic one. Britain was the first country to recognise Liberia's independence in 1848. The Foreign Secretary made the first ever visit to Liberia by a serving UK Foreign Minister in February 2017. My predecessor as Minister for Africa, Rory Stewart, met with a delegation of Liberian Ministers in September. The UK financial commitment to Liberia is approximately £70m annually and our Embassy in Monrovia will work closely with the new administration to help deliver our shared priorities.

10th Oct 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he has taken in response to the recent violence in Catalonia.


The Prime Minister discussed the situation in Catalonia with the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, on 17 October and expressed the UK’s support for the rule of law and respect for the Spanish constitution. This followed a meeting between the Spanish Ambassador, Carlos Bastarreche, and I on 11 October, after which I released a public statement.

6th Oct 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support has been provided to British nationals affected by recent events in Catalonia.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has updated its travel advice to inform British nationals of the recent demonstrations and strikes in Catalonia. We keep our travel advice under constant review. We stand ready to provide consular assistance to any British people caught up in these events, although we have so far received no requests to do so.

2nd Oct 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to tackle low pay amongst workers aged 21 and below.

Each year the Government asks the Low Pay Commission to recommend minimum wage rates for younger people that are as high as possible without damaging their employment prospects. All the National Minimum Wage rates for younger workers saw above inflation increases in April 2019. The Low Pay Commission will make recommendations for the April 2020 rates later in the autumn. Alongside changes to the minimum wage, the Government is taking action to support young people to gain the skills they need to succeed in the labour market, including the rollout of T Levels from September 2020, which will provide students with clear pathways to a well-paid skilled job.

Rishi Sunak
Chancellor of the Exchequer
21st Jun 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the change in the level of consumer spending in the UK.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) produces both quarterly and annual estimates of household final consumption expenditure (HHFCE).

Household consumption grew by 1.8% in 2018, supported by a strong labour market which has seen the unemployment rate at its lowest since 1975, and regular wages outstripping inflation for over a year. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast consumption to grow in every year of their forecast.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Jun 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to improve free access to cash in Scotland.

The Government recognises that widespread free access to cash remains important to the day-to-day lives of many people and small businesses in Scotland and across the UK.

The UK has one of the most extensive free-to-use ATM networks in the world; around 80% of the ATM network in Scotland is free and there are now around 700 more free ATMs in Scotland compared to 2015. From January 2018 to March 2019, there were no publicly accessible Protected ATMs in Scotland that closed which did not have alternative free access to cash via another source, such as a Post Office.

In addition, the Government is engaging, and will continue to engage, with the regulators and industry on this important topic. In 2015, the Government established the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), with a statutory objective to ensure that the UK’s payment systems work in the interests of their users. As a result, the PSR is closely monitoring developments within ATM provision, and has used its powers to ensure LINK meets its commitment on maintaining the broad geographical spread of free-to-use ATMs.

To support this, LINK has introduced premiums through its Financial Inclusion programme to boost interchange fees, helping protect ATMs in remote, rural and deprived locations.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jan 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of Santander's proposal to close 140 branches in the UK on people's access to money.

The Treasury has not made an assessment. The decision to close a branch is a commercial issue for the management team of the bank. However, Government believes it is important the impact on communities must be understood, considered and mitigated where possible.

The Government supports the industry’s Access to Banking Standard which commits banks to ensure personal and business customers are better informed about branch closures and the reasons for them closing. It also helps customers to understand the options they have locally to continue to access banking services, including specialist assistance for customers who need more help. The Access to Banking Standard is monitored and enforced by the independent Lending Standards Board.

Government also considers it important that all customers, wherever they live and especially those who are vulnerable, can still access over the counter services. That is why we support the Post Office’s Banking Framework Agreement, which enables 99% of banks’ personal and 95% of banks’ small business customers to withdraw cash, deposit cash and cheques, and make balance enquiries at a Post Office counter via its network of 11,500 branches.

The Government is committed to ensuring that communities across the UK are fully aware of the important services that remain available to them at their local Post Office, even if their bank branch is closed. In response to my predecessor’s request, the Post Office and UK Finance have committed to work together to raise public awareness of the banking services available at the Post Office for individuals and SMEs.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Jan 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent estimate he has made of the level of average household debt.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) produces quarterly estimates of household debt in the UK, but not for estimates of average household debt in the UK. These estimates can be used to be measure household debt-to-income ratios, which provide a better measure for current levels of household debt in the economy by accounting for changes in both prices and the size of the population.

In the UK as a whole, the household debt-to-income ratio was 139% in Q3 2018. This remains significantly below the pre-crisis peak of 160% in Q1 2008. Debt interest payments as a share of income remain low by historical standards and below pre-crisis levels. Household net financial wealth as a proportion of income remains close to record highs and above pre-crisis levels.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the cost to the public purse has been of (a) subsidies and (b) reductions in tax for North Sea oil and gas companies in the last three years

There are no subsidies available to North Sea oil and gas companies.

Estimates of the reduction in taxes paid by North Sea companies due to changes to the tax regime are available from the policy costings documents published alongside each fiscal event on the gov.uk website.

4th Jul 2018
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on changes in the level of funding for local government since 2010.

Local Government funding in Scotland is devolved to the Scottish Government. It is for the Scottish Government to determine the allocation of funds from within its own budgets.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on a range of matters. The Government will consult on the local government finance settlement for 2019/20 in due course. The level of funding for local government in later years will be considered as part of the Spending Review next year.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
4th Jul 2018
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on changes in the level of public funding for children’s services since 2010.

Children’s Services is a devolved responsibility. The Scottish Government are funded through the block grant to provide children’s services in Scotland and it is their responsibility to allocate their resources as they see fit.

The Chancellor has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on a range of matters. Over £200 billion is available to English councils for local services, including children’s services, up to 2019-20. There will be a real-terms increase in resources available to local government over the next two years. Spending on the most vulnerable children in England has increased by around £1 billion since 2010.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
15th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment he has made of the accessibility of the EU Exit: ID document check android app for applicants.

EU citizens make a huge contribution to our economy and society, and we want them to stay. The EU Settlement Scheme enables them to do so. The ‘EU Exit: Identity Document Check’ app is an optional aspect of the service which allows applicants to prove their identity remotely using their biometric identity document and an android smartphone device.

The app requires applicants to complete four quick steps – to take a photo of their identity document photo page, read the chip, complete a liveness check and take a photo of themselves using the device camera. The app process can be completed by the applicant alone, or with support from a third party, for example the applicant can choose to take the photo themselves using the front facing camera, or have a third party take the photo using the back camera.

So far, the app has undergone two separate accessibility audits, the first prior to the beta test phase and the second during the testing phase. The app development team have implemented recommendations from both audits, for example enabling users to utilise accessibility tools native to their device. User Research is ongoing, including with users with specific accessibility needs and those at the lower end of the digital inclusion scale.

19th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department is taking to promote the EU settlement scheme to children of non-UK EU citizens.

We are working in partnership with vulnerable group representatives, local authorities and other experts to make sure we reach everyone.

We have established a children’s specific content steering group to develop age-appropriate communications content and material for children as part of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) communications programme.

This group has members from a range of children’s rights bodies including legal experts, academics specialising in European children’s rights and communications professionals.

The group recognises the need to create communications materials that provide greater detail on requirements for children to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (as well as organisations making applications on behalf of children). Any materials produced are also intended to empower children and young people to understand their legal rights as EU citizens in the UK.

The intention is also to include children in the development of the content and market-test our products with children, adhering to all ethical standards, to ensure they are fit-for-purpose.

Furthermore, we are engaging regularly with local authorities regarding their responsibilities for looked after children who are impacted by the introduction of the EU Settlement Scheme and are providing guidance to help them manage these often complex cases.

29th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans the Government has for the introduction of an appeal process to the EU Settled Status scheme.

If the Withdrawal Agreement is agreed the Government will implement that agreement, including appeal rights, through the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

29th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he is taking to tackle incidents of knife crime on the railways.

The chances of being a victim of crime, on the railways or elsewhere, remain extremely low. However, the Government is very concerned about increases in knife crime and its impact on victims, families and communities. The action we are taking is set out in our Serious Violence Strategy and includes new legislation in the Offensive Weapons Bill and continuing police action under Operation Sceptre. The British Transport Police also participate in Operation Sceptre and we expect the next national week of action to take place in March 2019.

More widely, we have also been supporting the #knifefree media campaign to raise awareness of the consequences of knife crime and discourage young people from carrying knives more generally. The Serious Violence Strategy includes a strong focus on prevention and early intervention to stop young people being drawn in to knife crime. Our Early Intervention Youth Fund of £22 million is already supporting 29 projects in England and Wales. Over £17 million has already been allocated to projects delivering interventions to young people at risk of criminal involvement, gang exploitation and county lines.

We are supporting 68 small community projects this year through the anti-knife crime Community Fund. In addition, we have extended our support for Redthread in hospital emergency departments to introduce its “teachable moment” youth violence intervention work to hospi-tals in Birmingham and Nottingham.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
7th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the Government's Windrush initiatives.

At the HASC evidence session on Tuesday 15 May, the Home Secretary committed to providing the HASC with regular updates on the work of the department in relation to Windrush. The most recent update was published on 17 December 2018 and Annex A provides a Financial Overview of the Windrush Initiative up to and including Period 7 of the Financial Year 2018/19.

Data would only be accurate at the time it was generated, with any answer potentially being inaccurate at the time of release. Providing a running commentary on the estimate of the cost to the public purse would not be cost and resource effective.

4th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Windrush generation cases there are in (a) North Lanarkshire and (b) Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill constituency.

The data requested is not available. Information relating to individual Windrush migrants is not recorded by constituency.

2nd May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many notices of removal from the UK were issued in error by his Department in the last 10 years.

Individuals who have been refused leave to enter at a port and those in the United Kingdom without leave to remain, following a refusal decision, will be notified of their liability to removal. These notices will also advise them of the need to raise any reasons they may have to stay in the United Kingdom as soon as reasonably practicable.

An assessment of the number of times these notices were issued in error would require the examination of individual records.

I am sorry but the information requested is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to amend the rules on refugee family reunion to include the extended definition of family in the Dublin III Regulation.

The UK Immigration Rules have a comprehensive framework for refugees and their families to be safely reunited in the UK. Our family reunion policy allows immediate family members of those granted protection here to reunite with them. The Immigration Rules also provide for relatives with protection in the UK to sponsor children in serious and compelling circumstances. The Mandate resettlement scheme also allows those recognised by the UNCHR as refugees to join close family members here in the UK.

In addition, there is provision in the policy to grant visas outside the Rules in exceptional circumstances, which caters for extended family members who otherwise do not qualify under the Rules.

We do not believe there are unnecessary barriers to family reunion for refugees. Over the last five years there have been 24,700 family reunion visas issued –and this is in addition to the numbers granted asylum here or resettled here under our resettlement schemes.

We are listening carefully to concerns raised on this issue by Non-Governmental Organisations and others. We are currently reviewing our approach to family reunion as part of the Government’s wider asylum and resettlement policy strategy. We will be following the passage of the Family Reunion Family Member’s Bill closely and will continue our productive discussions in this area.

20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress her Department has made on the implementation of the asylum and resettlement strategy; and if she will make a statement.

We continue to engage with key stakeholders, including NGOs, International Organisations and local authorities on the UK’s approach to asylum and resettlement, including the approach to family reunion for refugees.

The Government has committed to rebalancing the system to focus more resource on the most vulnerable refugees through our aid programmes and resettlement whilst ensuring the in country system provides protection for those in need but also ensures those with no lawful basis to stay in the UK are returned. Our policies and approach must reflect the capacity and resources of Government and local authorities.

2nd Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on the UK defence and military aerospace industry of the UK leaving the EU.

The Ministry of Defence is working closely with defence industry and other Government Departments to understand the implications and opportunities presented by the UK's departure from the European Union.

The European defence sector is already closely integrated; leading companies have a presence right across Europe, and across the UK. It is worth noting that current major European collaborative capability projects, such as the Typhoon programme, are managed bilaterally or with groups of partners, rather than through the EU.

18th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many staff his Department has requested to loan from the Ministry of Defence to assist with preparations for the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government no deal Yellowhammer response was formally activated on 21 October and currently a total of 155 Ministry of Defence (MOD) staff are rostered to work on that response. In addition MOD will provide military personnel to act as Government Liaison Officers (GLOs). GLOs will work alongside and support Local Resilience Forums. A total of 47 Military GLOs have to date been activated to cover the eleven priority port areas in support of Operation Yellowhammer.

18th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many staff from the Ministry of Defence are working in his Department to assist with preparations for the scenario of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has requested that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) provide a total of 167 civilian staff to help resource our planned preparations and response for a no deal exit. Civilian MOD staff are provided on temporary detachment. In addition MOD will provide up to 160 military personnel to act as Government Liaison Officers (GLOs). GLOs will work alongside and support Local Resilience Forums and will only be deployed to areas if and where required.

18th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what agreement his Department has reached with the Ministry of Defence on the length of time staff can be loaned from that Department to assist his Department with preparations for the scenario of the UK leaving the EU without a deal; and whether that agreement contains an option to increase the length of those loans.

The Ministry of Defence will provide staff to work on the Ministry of Housing, Communites and Local Government (MHCLG) no deal preparations and response for a maximum of six months on temporary detachment. The six month period will apply on an individual basis commencing on the date each person is deployed to work for MHCLG.

18th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what tasks in preparation for the scenario of the UK leaving the EU without a deal staff from the Ministry of Defence are carrying out on behalf of his Department.

Ministry of Defence (MOD) staff supporting the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) no deal preparations and response will carry out a broad range of tasks including; work to support and advise local authorities and local resilience forums on their own Brexit preparations and response; providing situation reports based on information received from local partners; contributing to briefing material for Ministers and cross Government forums. MOD staff will work alongside MHCLG colleagues in delivering the Department’s no deal response.

18th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department will cover the staff costs of civil servants loaned to his Department by the Ministry of Defence to work on preparations for the scenario of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) will fund the salary costs and any relevant allowances of staff they provide to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to support our no deal preparations and response for a maximum of six months. During this period MHCLG will reimburse MOD for travel and subsistence costs incurred by MOD staff whilst working for MHCLG. MOD staff working on the MHCLG Brexit preparations and response are provided on temporary detachment.

2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to tackle homelessness among young people.

The Government is committed to reducing homelessness and rough sleeping. That is why we introduced the Homelessness Reduction Act, the most ambitious reform to homelessness legislation in decades. The Act  ensures that there are more opportunities to prevent or relieve homelessness including for young people.

Last summer we published the Rough Sleeping Strategy. This sets out an ambitious £100 million package to help people who sleep rough now, but also puts in place the structures that will end rough sleeping once and for all. The Strategy included a commitment to develop the Young Futures Fund a social impact bond programme aimed at supporting vulnerable young people who are homeless or rough sleeping. This will build on the success of the Fair Chance Fund (2015-2017), which supported over 1,900 homeless young people to improve their accommodation, employment and education outcomes.

We have also established the Homelessness Advice and Support Team, which includes dedicated youth homelessness advisors that work with local authorities to promote joint working across housing authorities and children’s services, offering training, advice and support to all local authorities. Last year we also updated the provisions for 16-17-year olds who are homeless or require accommodation, setting out the respective duties of children’s services and housing services.

15th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to increase the availability of suitable homes for the elderly.

This Government recognises that providing more homes for older people is vital to support an ageing population. Offering older people a better choice of accommodation can help enable them to live independently for longer and help reduce costs to the social care and health systems. The proposals set out in the White Paper, “Fixing our broken housing market”, underline our commitment to do more to provide the homes we need for all in our society


In the White Paper we acknowledged that older and disabled peoples’ housing needs was an issue that needed to be addressed. We have strengthened the revised National Planning Policy Framework, published in July 2018, and on 26 June 2019 we published new guidance to help councils to put these policies in place. This makes it clear that authorities should set clear policies to address the housing needs of groups with particular needs such as older and disabled people. This guidance also sets out the range of options these should consider, from housing with improved accessibility through to more specialised options.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
13th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment he has made of the trends in the level of vacancy rates in town centre business properties.

Town centres and high streets are a crucial part of our communities and the Government is determined to see these areas thriving, both now and in the future.

The Department receives vacancy rate data on retail units from the Local Data Company which has enabled the Department to monitor the change in these vacancy rates over time at a national level. The data demonstrates that retail vacancy rates peaked at 14.6 per cent in August 2012. Although there have been fluctuations in the rate, it has not reached this high point since and current figures show this rate is at 12.9 per cent in May 2019.

At Autumn budget we set out ‘Our Plan for the High Street’ to support the sustainable transformation of high streets, including a £675 million Future High Streets Fund, a High Streets Task Force and measures on business rates and planning. We also launched a pilot of our Open Doors project in November 2018, which brings empty properties back into use by linking landlords of vacant units with community groups looking for space.

18th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many rogue landlords were issued with banning orders in 2018.

Banning orders were introduced in April 2018 and are an additional sanction for the worst offenders. It can take 12 months or more for a conviction for a banning order offence to be secured, after which a local authority may apply for a banning order. As such, no banning orders were entered onto the database of rogue landlords and agents during 2018.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
8th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to issue guidance on the settled status scheme to landlords.

The Government has made clear that the current arrangements for private landlords conducting checks on EU nationals, involving the use of national passports and identity cards, will not change prior to introduction of the future skills-based immigration system. This position applies also to those EU nationals who have acquired pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Updated guidance for private landlords will be published shortly.

Regarding social landlords, I can confirm that EU, EEA/EFTA and Swiss nationals registered under the EU Settlement Scheme will have broadly the same eligibility to access social housing and homelessness assistance as they do now. Those granted settled status, who have five or more years’ continuous residence in the UK, will have the same access to social housing and homelessness assistance as comparable UK nationals. Those granted pre-settled status, where they have less than five years’ continuous residence, will remain eligible on the same basis as now. We have laid amendment regulations to make clear that the existing position remains in place. We will revise current statutory guidance for local authorities to reflect the amending regulations when time allows.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
13th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Equality and Human Rights Commission's findings following its investigation into the fire at Grenfell Tower.

There is nothing more important than ensuring people are safe in their homes and those affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy receive the support they need. Over £80 million of Government funding has been committed to support the community, including for rehousing costs and new mental health services. In addition, the NHS has announced £50 million to fund long term health screening and treatment for those affected. The Government is committed to supporting the community in the long term and ensuring those affected get the justice they deserve.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
13th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that student accomodation is fit for habitation.

The Department is committed to raising standards in the private rented sector in England. This includes a large proportion of student accommodation. In October 2018 the department extended the criteria for licensing for houses of multiple occupation to bring a further 170,000 properties into the scope of mandatory licensing.

The Fitness for Human Habitation Act, which came into force on 20 March, will ensure that all homes are fit for human habitation at the start of a tenancy and throughout. This Act complements the existing regulatory framework and the strong powers that we have already given to local authorities to ensure that standards are met.

The department also works closely with Unipol and Universities UK to ensure that purpose-built student accommodation is properly regulated and is underpinned by student accommodation codes.

Student accommodation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a matter for the devolved administrations.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
23rd Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Victims' Commissioner's review of the criminal injuries compensation scheme.

We welcome the Victims’ Commissioner’s report, ‘Compensation without re-traumatisation’, which was published on 23 January.

We will be considering carefully the report’s findings and recommendations as part of our ongoing review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. The terms of reference for the review were published on 18 December 2018, and include consideration of how the Scheme can best reflect the changing nature of violent crime, and effectively support victims in their recovery. We intend to publish proposals later this year.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what his Department's policy is on Law Centres.

The ability of individuals to resolve their legal problems is vital to a just society. We are committed to ensuring that legal aid and legal support are available to those who need it most.

The Government recognises the work that Law Centres do in the local community, and supports Law Centres through both grant funding and through legal aid contracts. We will continue to engage with Law Centres about jointly creating a modern justice system that works for all.

Officials from the Ministry of Justice regularly and constructively engage with Law Centres. We have met with representatives from Law Centres on a number of occasions both generally and as part of the evidence gathering phase of the Post Implementation Review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. Insights from organisations like Law Centres who work within communities are crucial to understanding the experience of individuals as they progress through the justice system.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a prison service parliamentary scheme.

I recognise that it could be useful to give participants first-hand knowledge of the good work and innovation as well challenges being faced across the Service. We are carefully considering how a scheme for Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) could operate.

20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether the Government plans to reinstate legal aid in refugee family reunion cases.

Legal aid is not generally available for matters concerning family reunion. Where a case is outside the scope of legal aid, exceptional funding may be available where required under ECHR or EU law.

The Lord Chancellor has confirmed that we shall conduct an evidence-based review of Part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), assessing the changes against their objectives. This review will include changes made to provision of legal aid for family reunion.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Oct 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps the Government is taking to implement the recommendations of the Lammy Review, an independent review into the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the criminal justice system.

The Government is considering carefully all the recommendations made by David Lammy in his review and will respond in full, in due course. As part of my Department’s work stemming from the Race Disparity Audit published on 10 October we have confirmed that, in advance of our full response, we are able to accept four recommendations from the Review. These relate to the principle of “explain or change”, publishing more and better data on ethnicity, recruiting a more representative prison service workforce and developing indicators within prisons’ performance framework that allow us to assess the equality of outcomes for prisoners of all ethnicities.

29th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment the Government has made of the potential effect of the proposed EU withdrawal agreement on the economy of Northern Ireland.

Details of this analysis was published by the Cabinet Office on 28 November 2018.

29th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the fishing industry in Northern Ireland on access to UK fishing waters after the UK leaves the EU.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland regularly meets representatives from across a wide range of industries in Northern Ireland.

29th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of growth deals on the economy of Northern Ireland.

Devolved Territory City Deals are locally developed proposals to address specific regional economic challenges that result in long term funding commitments jointly from UK Government, Devolved Government and local partners such as the Councils and Universities. The intention is that the initiatives taken forward will lever in significant private sector investment and deliver step changes in local economic productivity and growth.

This Government has committed to a comprehensive and ambitious set of city deals across Northern Ireland and at Autumn Budget, the Chancellor announced a £350 million for a Belfast City Region Deal to boost investment and productivity, generating jobs, growth and prosperity, alongside the opening formal negotiations for a Derry/Londonderry and Strabane City Region Deal.

The Belfast Region have estimated that their growth proposals could deliver almost 20,000 jobs, with an annual GVA impact of £470million and create a Belfast Region that is not just self-sufficient but a driver for a rejuvenated NI economy. Proposals for the Derry/ Londonderry and Strabane City region deal are currently under development by local partners and will also include an assessment on their potential effect on the economy of Northern Ireland.

8th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, whether she has had discussions with the Minister for Food Supplies.

Details of Ministerial meetings with external organisations are published quarterly and are available on GOV.UK

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps she is taking to help deliver city deals for Northern Ireland.

This Government has committed to a comprehensive and ambitious set of city deals across Northern Ireland to boost investment and help unlock Northern Ireland’s full potential.

We have opened negotiations with local partners in the Belfast City Regions on a possible Deal and the Chancellor has invited Derry & Strabane District Council to also submit their proposals for a City Deal.

Both regions are working intensively alongside the NICS and UK Government to develop bids that will seek to deliver step changes in economic productivity and growth and I look forward to reviewing their proposals in the near future.

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what plans she has for the form of further talks aimed at restoring devolution.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland’s statement to the House of 6 September set out our clear plan for restoring the Northern Ireland Executive as soon as possible. We intend to introduce primary legislation after the conference recess to provide for a limited and prescribed period in which there will be no legal requirement to set a date for a further election. Importantly, during this period, an Executive may be formed at any point without the requirement for further legislation. The Secretary of State will shortly be engaging in further discussions with the parties and the Irish Government, in accordance with the three stranded approach, with the intention of establishing a basis for moving into more formal political dialogue aimed at the restoration of the institutions. These discussions will also seek the views from the parties on when and how external facilitation could play a constructive role in the next round of talks.

2nd Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent discussions the Government has had with politicians in Northern Ireland on access to abortion in that country.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has been taking forward regular discussions with the main political parties in Northern Ireland about restoring devolved government and the pressing devolved issues which need to be addressed by a restored Assembly and Executive, including abortion.

18th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment he has made of the effect on levels of food poverty in Scotland of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The Government has been clear that leaving the EU with a deal is its preferred option and is in the interests of Scotland and the UK as a whole.

The Government has put in place contingency plans for a range of exit scenarios. These contingencies include ensuring that the Department for Work and Pensions can continue to provide its vital services and that individuals will continue to be able to access benefits and services on the same basis as they do now.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
18th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for the effectiveness of Police Scotland of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

I have regular discussions with the Home Secretary and other colleagues on a number of matters. I am aware that Home Office officials have been working closely with counterparts in the Devolved Administrations as well as with policing representatives to ensure that a joined up approach is taken to planning for EU Exit.

The UK Government remains committed to managing the policing implications of EU Exit in the UK through a collective approach, working with the devolution of policing in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Police Scotland is represented at a number of strategic groups created for EU Exit, including the police-led EU Exit Strategic and Regional Leads Group, and input into key planning structures.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
2nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on ensuring that people are able to access free-to-use cash machines throughout Scotland.

I have regular discussions on important Scottish economic matters with my Cabinet colleagues, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Technology has transformed banking for millions of people, but we know that many still rely on cash. That is why we are co-ordinating work across government, regulators and industry so we can protect access for everyone who needs it.

LINK, the scheme that runs the UK’s ATM network, has publicly committed to maintain the broad geographic spread of ATMs and has put in place specific arrangements to protect remote free-to-use ATMs one kilometre or further from the next nearest free-to-use ATM. More recently, LINK has committed to protecting free access to cash on high streets – where there is a cluster of five or more retailers – that do not have a free-to-use ATM or a Post Office counter within 1 kilometre.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
2nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent assessment his Department has made of public satisfaction with public services in Scotland.

In a recent Scottish Government Household survey, we see that public satisfaction in health, schools, education and public transport in Scotland has dropped to 51.7%, its lowest level since 2007, which is extremely disappointing. These policy areas are devolved to the Scottish Government and they must do more to improve public services for the people of Scotland.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
25th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on the Scottish economy in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The Government delivered on its commitment to provide objective analysis to Parliament of how exiting the EU may affect the economy of the UK, sectors, nations and regions in the long run.

As we leave the EU the Scottish economy remains resilient, with near record high employment, unemployment at historic low rates, and above inflation rises in wages.

The Government would prefer to leave with a deal and will work in an energetic and determined way to get that better deal. However, if it is not possible to reach a deal we will have to leave with no deal, and the Government is committed to preparing for this outcome.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on the supply of products to NHS Scotland.

The UK Government continues to engage with the Scottish Government, who have responsibility for NHS Scotland.

The UK Government continues to work at pace to ensure that all necessary preparations are in place, including working directly with suppliers and pharmaceutical companies to ensure there is a continued supply of medicines, medical devices and clinical consumables when the UK leaves the European Union.

Additional freight capacity is being secured, which will support existing plans such as building buffer stocks of medicines and medical products, procuring additional warehouse capacity and supporting companies preparing for new customs and border requirements.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
24th Jul 2019
What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on trends in the level of claims for pension credit in Scotland.

I have regular discussions with my Rt honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on a range of issues.

Whilst the Pension Credit GB caseload stands at around 1.6 million, the number of Pension Credit claims in Scotland stands at around 150,000 - an almost 10% reduction in the number of claims since May 2017.

15th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the supply of medicine to Scotland in the event that the UK leaves the EU without an agreement.

While the Government believes that leaving the EU with a deal is the best outcome, leaving without a deal remains the legal default at the end of the extension period on 31 October 2019. As a responsible Government, we have been preparing to minimise any disruption in the event of a no-deal scenario and are continuing with these preparations.

The supply of critical ‘category 1’ goods, including medicines and medical products, remains an essential element of the Government’s no-deal contingency planning. The Department of Health and Social Care is working with the Devolved Administrations to support the continuity of medical supplies and medicines for the whole of the UK, and will continue to engage with devolved administration officials and Ministers to prepare for a potential ‘no-deal’ on 31 October. The Government has also set out in a Written Ministerial Statement an update on its preparations for a no-deal scenario on 26 June 2019 (HCWS1661).

10th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the suspension of European Social Fund payments on third sector organisations in Scotland.

In Scotland, the European Social Fund is administered by the Scottish Government, and therefore the impact of any suspension of payments on beneficiaries in the Third Sector is a matter for the Scottish Government to address. I would suggest the hon. Gentlemen contacts the relevant Minister in the Scottish Government directly to discuss the particular issue with ESF payments being referred to. I'm disappointed that this situation has arisen but this is a matter for the Scottish Government.

20th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on employment levels in Scotland's construction sector.

I have regular discussions with the Scottish Government on a range of issues on Scotland’s economy, including those which span both devolved and reserved matters.

8th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment he has made of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on Scotland's private sector activity.

Our deal is the best deal available for jobs and our economy that allows us to honour the referendum and realise the opportunities of Brexit.

In November the Government delivered on its commitment to provide appropriate analysis to Parliament with a robust, objective assessment of how exiting the EU may affect the economy of the UK, sectors, nations and regions in the long run.

25th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on reducing child poverty levels in Scotland.

I have regular discussions with the Scottish Government on a range of issues, including those which span both devolved and reserved matters; the Scottish Government has powers to tackle poverty through the devolution of skills, education, health and employment programmes.

29th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on tackling fuel poverty in Scotland.

Fuel poverty policy is devolved and is therefore a matter for the Scottish Government. I have regular discussions with Scottish Government ministers on a range of issues, and recognise the importance of this issue, in particular for those who have difficulty in paying for essential energy costs.

23rd Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Trades Union Congress on the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

I have extended an invitation to the Scottish Trades Union Congress to discuss issues around EU Exit.

16th Jan 2019
What assessment he has made of the effect on low-income families of the roll-out of universal credit in Scotland.

Evidence shows that Universal Credit is working. It empowers people to move into work and I am pleased that the budget announced a £4.5 billion cash boost for it, including measures that will allow millions of families to keep more of what they earn.

28th Nov 2018
What assessment the Government has made of the potential effect of the proposed EU withdrawal agreement on the Scottish economy.

The Government has now published EU Exit: Long-term economic analysis. This analysis shows the deal is the best deal available for jobs and our economy that allows us to honour the referendum and realise the opportunities of Brexit.

8th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether he has had discussions with the Minister for Food Supplies.

Both the Parliamentary Under–Secretary of State and I are in regular contact with ministerial colleagues from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on a wide range of issues.

10th Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what representations he has made to the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union on ensuring that residents in Scotland will remain able to use mobile communication across the EU without paying roaming charges after 29 March 2019.

I am in regular contact with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and other Cabinet colleagues on a wide range of issues, including mobile connectivity in Scotland. The Government recognises that there are specific consumer measures associated with the Digital Single Market. The White Paper on the UK’s exit from the EU proposes new arrangements for services and digital sectors, recognising that the UK and the EU will not have current levels of access to each other’s markets. That approach would not preclude discussions with the EU on arrangements for consumers, for example in the area of mobile roaming.

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the effect on access to banking services of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s branch closure programme in Scotland.

The Royal Bank of Scotland’s decision to close bank branches, the format of the provision of service and publication of its data are commercial decisions for the Royal Bank of Scotland. However, the impact on communities must be understood, considered and mitigated where possible.

That is why Government supports the industry’s Access to Banking Standard, launched in May 2017, which commits banks to ensure personal and business customers are better informed about branch closures and the reasons for them closing, along with the options they have locally to continue to access banking services, including specialist assistance for customers who need more help. The Access to Banking Standard is monitored and enforced by the independent Lending Standards Board.

The Post Office’s commercial agreement with 28 high street banks also ensures continued access to banking when a branch closes.

At Autumn Budget 2017, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury wrote to the Post Office and UK Finance to ask them to raise public awareness of these important services.

The Government is committed to widespread free access to cash. LINK, the organisation that runs the UK’s ATM network, operates a Financial Inclusion Programme, which subsidises ATMs in areas that have poor access to cash and would not otherwise be viable. LINK has committed to protecting all free-to-use ATMs which are a kilometre or more from the next nearest free-to-use ATM.

In July, LINK announced it was cancelling its third interchange fee reduction, due in January 2020, and putting on hold its fourth reduction, due in January 2021, pending a further review next year. The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has welcomed these adjustments to future interchange rates, having stated that LINK must carefully review its decisions on interchange fees to reflect changing market conditions.

The Payment Systems Regulator Limited (PSR) has committed to using their powers to maintain widespread free access to cash should they need to.

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether he has made an assessment of the effect on the Scottish economy of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The UK Government is undertaking a wide range of ongoing analysis in support of our EU negotiations and preparations. The UK Government firmly believes it is in the interests of both the EU and the UK to strike a deal. That remains the goal on both sides and we are confident that this will be achieved.

4th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on drug-related crime in Scotland.

I have regular discussions with the Home Secretary and other Cabinet colleagues on a number of matters.

The UK Government’s approach to drugs remains clear - we must prevent drug use in our communities and support people through treatment and recovery. Combatting drug-related crime in Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Government, who we will continue to work closely with.

4th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on transport provision in Scotland.

While I regularly meet with Cabinet colleagues, including the Secretary of State for Transport, to discuss a wide range of issues that relate to Scotland, the responsibility for transport provision in Scotland is primarily devolved to the Scottish Government.

4th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs on the replacement of CAP funding for Scottish farmers after the UK leaves the EU.

I meet regularly with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to discuss a wide range of issues. We recently discussed key issues of importance to Scottish farming when we both attended the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh and had the opportunity to speak directly to representatives of the industry.

I fully appreciate the importance of CAP support to Scottish farmers which is why I am pleased that this Government has made a commitment that the amount we allocate to farming support - in cash terms - will be protected until the end of this Parliament.

4th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union on the replacing of EU structural funding after the transition period after the UK has left the EU.

Cabinet meets regularly to discuss a range of issues relating to our departure from the European Union. In relation to the replacement of EU structural funds, the Government has committed to creating a UK Shared Prosperity Fund which will boost productivity and reduce inequalities across our four nations.

In 2016, the Chancellor confirmed that the Government will guarantee EU funding for structural and investment fund projects signed after the Autumn Statement and which continue after we have left the EU. Further to this, the Withdrawal Agreement ensures that UK entities’ right to participate in EU programmes will be unaffected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU for the lifetime of projects financed by the current Multi-annual Financial Framework. UK based organisations and individuals will be able to bid for funding, participate in and lead consortia, until programme closure. This settlement, once agreed as part of the Withdrawal Treaty, will supersede the requirement for the domestic guarantee announced by the Government in 2016. UK organisations should continue to bid for EU funding with the assurance that payments will continue after our departure from the EU.

4th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues and Ministers of the Scottish Government on the effect of the UK Government’s industrial strategy on Scotland.

I have regular contact with Cabinet colleagues around the Industrial Strategy and how we can maximise the potential for Scotland. I have also had many conversations with Keith Brown regarding the industrial strategy and will continue to have such conversations with the relevant ministers in the newly formed Scottish Government Cabinet. The UK Government will continue to work collaboratively with the Scottish Government to maximise the potential of the Industrial Strategy in Scotland.

23rd May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how many visits he has made in his official capacity to Brussels since 23 June 2016.

I have made two visits to Brussels in my official capacity since 23 June 2016; on 9 February 2017 and 23 November 2017. I intend to travel to Brussels again shortly.

20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment he has made of the decision by Ryanair to scrap their hub at Glasgow Airport on flight availability and passenger numbers.

Though a disappointing decision, as a privately operated airline, Ryanair’s operational decision to withdraw its fleet base was commercial one for them to make.

27th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment he has made of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on staffing levels in the NHS in Scotland.

NHS staffing levels in Scotland are a matter for the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland.

The UK Government is clear that we don't regard the EU referendum result as a vote for the UK to pull up the drawbridge - we will continue to welcome those with the skills, the drive and the expertise to make a positive contribution, including health professionals.

At this stage no decisions have been taken in respect of future immigration arrangements after the UK has left the European Union, and we are considering very carefully the options that are open to us. As part of that, it is important that we understand the impacts on the different sectors of the economy and the labour market from any changes that we make. The Home Secretary has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to gather evidence on patterns of EU migration and the role of migration in the wider economy, ahead of our exit from the EU. The MAC’s findings will be used to inform decisions about the UK’s post-EU exit immigration arrangements.

22nd Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what discussions he has had with NFU Scotland on the employment of EU agricultural workers after the UK leaves the EU.

I am in regular contact with NFU Scotland on a wide range of issues affecting the agriculture sector in Scotland, including the employment of EU agricultural workers, and am due to meet them again in the coming weeks.

5th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the viability of building a bridge from Scotland to the island of Ireland.

I have regular discussions with colleagues on a range of issues.

Upgrading our transport infrastructure underpins one of the core components of our Industrial Strategy: Creating the economic infrastructure that will increase productivity and drive growth across the whole country.

Our Industrial Strategy, and the Transport Investment Strategy that builds on it, constitutes an important opportunity to consider these kinds of decisions strategically, ensuring that our approach to infrastructure not only provides the basics for the economy, but also actively supports our long term national interests.

That is why we have established the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to advise us on investment. The NIC are in the process of producing a National Infrastructure Assessment, which will be published this year, containing recommendations for how our identified infrastructure needs and priorities should be addressed.

8th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, whether he has had discussions with the Minister for Food Supplies.

My Ministerial Team and I have regular discussions with Ministerial colleagues on a wide range of topics. Most recently, my colleague the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales Mims Davies met with the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Food and Animal Welfare on 17 September.