Hywel Williams Portrait

Hywel Williams

Plaid Cymru - Arfon

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

(since June 2017)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (International Trade)

(since June 2017)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

(since May 2001)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs)

(since July 2020)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Defence)

(since July 2020)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (International Development)

(since July 2020)

Shadow PC Chief Whip

(since July 2020)
Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art
20th May 2020 - 15th Oct 2021
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
12th May 2021 - 24th Jun 2021
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Brexit)
1st Jun 2017 - 21st Jul 2020
Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art
12th Dec 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee on Exiting the European Union
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport)
8th May 2015 - 1st Jun 2017
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Defence)
8th May 2015 - 1st Jun 2017
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Europe)
8th May 2015 - 1st Jun 2017
Shadow PC Spokesperson (International Development)
10th May 2004 - 1st Jun 2017
Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader
12th Oct 2015 - 1st Jun 2017
Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art
1st Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Panel of Chairs
24th May 2005 - 17th Sep 2015
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Education)
10th Jun 2005 - 30th Mar 2015
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Health)
10th May 2001 - 30th Mar 2015
Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art
18th Nov 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Science and Technology Committee
27th Feb 2012 - 20th Oct 2014
Science and Technology Committee (Commons)
27th Feb 2012 - 20th Oct 2014
Welsh Affairs Committee
6th Jan 2014 - 10th Mar 2014
Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
18th Jun 2010 - 18th Mar 2013
Welsh Affairs Committee
26th Jan 2004 - 6th May 2010
Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport)
10th May 2005 - 10th May 2006
Draft Mental Health Bill (Joint Committee)
20th Jul 2004 - 11th Jul 2005


Department Event
Tuesday 6th September 2022
09:25
Ministry of Defence
Third Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
6 Sep 2022, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Armed Forces Act (Continuation) Order 2022
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Tuesday 6th September 2022
Department for International Trade
Programme Motion - Main Chamber
Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Tuesday 6th September 2022
11:30
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
6 Sep 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Tuesday 6th September 2022
14:30
Department for International Trade
Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
6 Sep 2022, 2:30 p.m.
The draft Cat and Dog Fur (Control of Movement etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2022
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Department Event
Wednesday 7th September 2022
09:25
Department for Work and Pensions
Sixth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
7 Sep 2022, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Chemicals (Health and Safety) Trade and Miscellaneous Amendments Regulations 2022
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Department Event
Monday 17th October 2022
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Oral questions - Main Chamber
17 Oct 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Work and Pensions (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Thursday 20th October 2022
09:30
Cabinet Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
20 Oct 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Cabinet Office (including Topical Questions)
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Division Votes
None available
Speeches
Monday 11th July 2022
Employment Agencies and Trade Unions
I am grateful to the Minister for giving way so early on. How does she justify overturning the Trade Union …
Written Answers
Friday 22nd July 2022
Child Maintenance Service: Telephone Services
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many calls were made to the Child Maintenance Service …
Early Day Motions
Monday 11th July 2022
Keith Parry and the LGBTQ+ community in north Wales
That this House recognises Keith Parry from Bangor for a lifetime of commitment to supporting members of the LGBTQ+ community …
Bills
Tuesday 10th November 2020
Jet Skis (Licensing) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to establish a system of licensing for drivers of jet skis; to create the offence of driving a …
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
1. Employment and earnings
Payments from YouGov, 50 Featherstone Street, London EC1Y 8RT, for surveys:
EDM signed
Wednesday 20th July 2022
Media reporting of poverty
That this House recognises the importance of journalism in reporting poverty in the UK; condemns any use of derogatory language …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 28th June 2022
Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to create offences in relation to the publication of false or misleading statements by elected representatives; and for …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Hywel Williams has voted in 428 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

10 Jan 2022 - Charter for Budget Responsibility and Welfare Cap - View Vote Context
Hywel Williams voted No - against a party majority - in line with the party majority and against the House
One of 2 Plaid Cymru No votes vs 1 Plaid Cymru Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 309 Noes - 206
View All Hywel Williams Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(22 debate interactions)
Michael Gove (Conservative)
Minister for Intergovernmental Relations
(15 debate interactions)
Simon Hart (Conservative)
(13 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(30 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(24 debate contributions)
Wales Office
(22 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(21 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Hywel Williams's debates

Arfon Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petition Debates Contributed

Ensure any ban fully includes trans people and all forms of conversion therapy.

Endometriosis and PCOS are two gynaecological conditions which both affect 10% of women worldwide, but both are, in terms of research and funding, incredibly under prioritised. This petition is calling for more funding, to enable for new, extensive and thorough research into female health issues.

I would like the Government to:
• make running conversion therapy in the UK a criminal offence
• forcing people to attend said conversion therapies a criminal offence
• sending people abroad in order to try to convert them a criminal offence
• protect individuals from conversion therapy


Latest EDMs signed by Hywel Williams

12th July 2022
Hywel Williams signed this EDM on Wednesday 20th July 2022

Media reporting of poverty

Tabled by: Ian Byrne (Labour - Liverpool, West Derby)
That this House recognises the importance of journalism in reporting poverty in the UK; condemns any use of derogatory language which can lead to negative stigmatising; notes that this issue is of ever-increasing importance as the working class face a cost of living crisis and the Government's Fighting Fraud in …
32 signatures
(Most recent: 20 Jul 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 22
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Scottish National Party: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
14th July 2022
Hywel Williams signed this EDM on Monday 18th July 2022

Pub tenants

Tabled by: John Cryer (Labour - Leyton and Wanstead)
That this House is deeply concerned at the prevalence of upward-only rent reviews among pub tenants; recognises that large numbers of tenants are being placed in extremely difficult financial positions by such rent reviews and the actions of avaricious landlords; notes that in Ireland and Australia such rent reviews have …
13 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Jul 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Conservative: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Hywel Williams's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Hywel Williams, 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.


Hywel Williams has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Hywel Williams has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Hywel Williams


A Bill to establish a system of licensing for drivers of jet skis; to create the offence of driving a jet ski without a licence; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 10th November 2020
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report annually on the representativeness in respect of relevant postcode districts of weather stations designated for the purpose of calculating cold weather payments and to conduct a study of alternative methods of calculating cold weather in each postcode district; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 16th October 2018
(Read Debate)

405 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
1 Other Department Questions
12th May 2022
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, what the cost to the House administration has been in (a) preparing and conducting the State Opening of Parliament and (b) providing officials with ceremonial garments for the State Opening of Parliament in each of the last five years.

The main costs incurred for State Opening relate to maintenance works to support areas such as broadcasting and digital, as well as the installation works for the Royal Gallery, Robing Room, House of Lords Chamber and other areas. Costs are incurred for labour, both directly employed and specialist contractors, as well as transportation for items held in storage off site and the works required to the security barriers around St Stephens entrance.

Costs are split between the House of Commons, who pay 60%, and the House of Lords, who pay 40%. The table shows the House of Commons share for the last five years. Data for May 2022 is not yet available. In 2018 and 2020 there was no State Opening, while there were two in 2019.

£, House of Commons share

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Staff salaries

25,216

0

33,516

0

18,740

Other staff costs

224

0

0

0

309

Direct works

125,545

4,374

320,090

-594

107,628

Other

10,341

11,050

0

10,622

10,710

Total (House of Commons)

161,326

15,424

353,606

10,028

137,387


Other minor identifiable costs for the House of Commons not related to maintenance for State Opening in 2022 are shown in the table below.

Security pass provision (Commons share of 70%): £2,500

British Sign Language provision and audio description: £1,400


Ceremonial dress is purchased for roles in the House of Commons when needed during the year or when postholders change. Data on ceremonial uniform costs cannot be separated from other uniform spending.

Chamber related teams, including Clerks, the Speaker and their office, the Serjeant and their team of doorkeepers, require uniform supplies throughout the year. Total uniform expenditure for these functions over the last five years is shown below. Most of this spend relates to uniform for day to day use during the normal business of the House as well as supporting events and work outside the Chamber.

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

2021/22

Uniform expenditure (Clerks, Speaker team, Serjeant team)

£17,824

£13,403

£25,607

£25,197

£23,285

This answer does not represent the full cost of State Opening, or costs directly incurred by the House of Lords. Costs will also have been incurred by other bodies, which may include Westminster City Council, the Metropolitan Police and the Royal Household.

7th Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans there are for civilian defence in the event of a nuclear attack.

Nuclear rhetoric from Russia is unhelpful. It is designed to deter and distract from its barbaric invasion of Ukraine. The Government continues to call on Russia to de-escalate, starting by ceasing its assault on Ukraine and withdrawing its forces.

The UK has well developed contingency plans to respond to a wide range of eventualities. The plans and supporting arrangements have been developed, refined and tested over many years. The UK’s plans are risk-based and built on the principle of generic capabilities which are able to respond to a wide range of events, augmented by specific, niche capabilities, where needed and warranted by the risk. The scale of these capabilities is driven by classified planning assumptions derived from the UK’s National Security Risk Assessment. A public facing version is published in the form of the National Risk Register.

Michael Ellis
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, which Minister will sponsor the public inquiry into the Government's response to the covid-19 pandemic, announced on 21 May 2021.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed that a public inquiry into COVID-19 would be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022.

Further details will be set out in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress the Government has made on preparations for the public inquiry into the Government's response to the covid-19 pandemic, announced on 21 May 2021.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed that a public inquiry into COVID-19 would be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022.

Further details will be set out in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of Warrington Inland Border Facility’s capacity to undertake sanitary and phytosanitary checks in the event that a Border Control Post at Parc Cybi is not operational by January 2022.

There has been engagement with Welsh Government counterparts - as well as weekly engagement at official level - about the inland border sites in North Wales. Provision of Border Control Posts for SPS checks is a devolved matter. However, Defra, HMRC, Wales Office, and Welsh Government are working constructively to define an appropriate control regime for customs and biosecurity checks to be in place and operational at the sites in Parc Cybi from 1 January.

The Warrington Inland Border Facility has been operational since January 2021 and has the capacity to handle more than 700 goods vehicle movements per day for customs checks. Together with other inland border facilities, such as Birmingham and Sevington, there is more than adequate capacity to accommodate any shortfall capacity at Welsh ports and inland sites in January 2022, should this be needed.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions has he had with the Welsh Government regarding the establishment of a Border Control Post at Parc Cybi.

There has been engagement with Welsh Government counterparts - as well as weekly engagement at official level - about the inland border sites in North Wales. Provision of Border Control Posts for SPS checks is a devolved matter. However, Defra, HMRC, Wales Office, and Welsh Government are working constructively to define an appropriate control regime for customs and biosecurity checks to be in place and operational at the sites in Parc Cybi from 1 January.

The Warrington Inland Border Facility has been operational since January 2021 and has the capacity to handle more than 700 goods vehicle movements per day for customs checks. Together with other inland border facilities, such as Birmingham and Sevington, there is more than adequate capacity to accommodate any shortfall capacity at Welsh ports and inland sites in January 2022, should this be needed.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
11th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Answer of 21 January 2021 to Question 138883 on: UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, if he will publish an update on the formation of a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly with the European Parliament as outlined in Article INST.5 of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

We welcome dialogue between Parliament and the European Parliament. At the first meeting of the Partnership Council last week, both we and the EU encouraged continuing work on the establishment of the Parliamentary Partnership Assembly, and noted its importance.

Work is ongoing between members of this House and the Other Place. We look forward to their proposals so that we can support the early establishment of the Assembly.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate his Department has made of the number of SMEs in Wales that have been unable to export goods to the EU since 1 January 2021.

Further to my answer to PQ 160771 on 11 March 2021, the Government does not hold information on the number of businesses, if any, who have been unable to export goods to the EU since 1 January 2021. However, as the Office for National Statistics trade statistics to February, released this week, have shown, goods exports to the EU are now getting close to their average 2020 monthly levels once again. We continue to offer a wide range of support to businesses exporting to the EU. This includes the £20m SME Brexit Support Fund, which provides access to grants and practical support.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to encourage hauliers to transport goods from SMEs in the UK to consumers in the EU.

The Government has regular dialogue with representatives of the haulage sector and general business representative organisations through the Brexit Business Taskforce.

The Government is offering various avenues of support to hauliers, including over 20 helplines to provide advice to specific sectors. We have also published a Haulier Handbook - translated into 13 different languages - to provide information and advice to hauliers on how they can get ready for changes at the GB-EU border. This is in addition to the 46 Information and Advice sites across the UK.

The Government continues to provide support for businesses, as outlined in the statement made by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on Thursday 11 February in which he announced the launch of the £20m SME Brexit Support Fund, which has been met with support from SMEs and provides them with access to grants and practical support.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to reduce export (a) costs and (b) delays for hauliers transporting small quantities of goods directly from SMEs in the UK to consumers in the EU.

The Government has regular dialogue with representatives of the haulage sector and general business representative organisations through the Brexit Business Taskforce.

The Government is offering various avenues of support to hauliers, including over 20 helplines to provide advice to specific sectors. We have also published a Haulier Handbook - translated into 13 different languages - to provide information and advice to hauliers on how they can get ready for changes at the GB-EU border. This is in addition to the 46 Information and Advice sites across the UK.

The Government continues to provide support for businesses, as outlined in the statement made by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on Thursday 11 February in which he announced the launch of the £20m SME Brexit Support Fund, which has been met with support from SMEs and provides them with access to grants and practical support.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the current export arrangements between the UK and the EU on the ability of hauliers to transport small quantities of goods directly from SMEs in the UK to consumers in the EU.

The Government has regular dialogue with representatives of the haulage sector and general business representative organisations through the Brexit Business Taskforce.

The Government is offering various avenues of support to hauliers, including over 20 helplines to provide advice to specific sectors. We have also published a Haulier Handbook - translated into 13 different languages - to provide information and advice to hauliers on how they can get ready for changes at the GB-EU border. This is in addition to the 46 Information and Advice sites across the UK.

The Government continues to provide support for businesses, as outlined in the statement made by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on Thursday 11 February in which he announced the launch of the £20m SME Brexit Support Fund, which has been met with support from SMEs and provides them with access to grants and practical support.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, on what dates the UK and Welsh Governments held discussions on procurement of supplies and services relating to the covid-19 pandemic since 1 March 2020.

The UK government has been committed to working closely with the devolved administrations and there have been regular discussions throughout the Covid response, including in relation to the procurement of supplies and services.

We have procured vaccines for the whole of the UK, and provided testing capacity to all of the Devolved Administrations, including operating testing sites across the UK. Mutual aid and cooperation across and between all four nations has been a key part of ensuring PPE gets to where it is needed.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment his Department has made of the Government’s compliance with the applicant blind principle of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 120952 on 30 November 2020.

In a three month period between July and September 2020, departments received around 8,000 freedom of information requests and responded to almost 90% of them within 20 working days or with a permitted extension. This reflects the Government’s commitment to fulfill its freedom of information obligations despite the pressures of responding to COVID-19.

The FOI statistics for October to November 2020, and the annual statistics for 2020, will be published in April 2021, at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/government-foi-statistics

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to improve the Government’s response rate to Freedom of Information requests.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 120952 on 30 November 2020.

In a three month period between July and September 2020, departments received around 8,000 freedom of information requests and responded to almost 90% of them within 20 working days or with a permitted extension. This reflects the Government’s commitment to fulfill its freedom of information obligations despite the pressures of responding to COVID-19.

The FOI statistics for October to November 2020, and the annual statistics for 2020, will be published in April 2021, at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/government-foi-statistics

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the census.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) have kept ministers up-to-date on their Census preparations throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ONS have recently published an update on how everyone can be safely counted in Census 2021.

For more information please see:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/news/statementsandletters/census2021andcoronavirus.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including representatives of the (a) Senedd Cymru, (b) Scottish Parliament and (c) Northern Ireland Assembly in the membership of a potential Parliamentary Partnership Assembly with the European Parliament.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement states that the European Parliament and the Parliament of the United Kingdom may, if they so choose, establish a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly consisting of Members of the European Parliament and of Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

The exact membership of this Assembly would be for the European Parliament and the Parliament of the United Kingdom to determine. The UK Government is committed to continue working closely with the devolved administrations to ensure that our relationship with the EU works in the interests of citizens and businesses across the whole of the UK.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department plans to develop a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly with the European Parliament as outlined in Article INST.5 of the UK-EU Trade Cooperation Agreement.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement states that the European Parliament and the Parliament of the United Kingdom may, if they so choose, establish a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly consisting of Members of the European Parliament and of Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

The exact membership of this Assembly would be for the European Parliament and the Parliament of the United Kingdom to determine. The UK Government is committed to continue working closely with the devolved administrations to ensure that our relationship with the EU works in the interests of citizens and businesses across the whole of the UK.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress the Government is making on the publication of the Dunlop Review on the UK Government's Union capability.

Lord Dunlop’s review will be published in due course, alongside a full response from the Government.

Ministers and officials are in discussion regularly with the Welsh Government on a range of topics so we can work together to the benefit of all citizens of the United Kingdom.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the Dunlop Review on the UK Government's Union capability.

Lord Dunlop’s review will be published in due course, alongside a full response from the Government.

Ministers and officials are in discussion regularly with the Welsh Government on a range of topics so we can work together to the benefit of all citizens of the United Kingdom.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Minister of State for the Constitution and Devolution's statement on 13 January, what is the definition of a high bar for a potential delay to the May 2021 elections.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021. Many of these elections have already been delayed by a year. Voters have a right to be heard and to decide who governs them.

Such a policy intention should rightly be reviewed in light of the changing public health situation and we are taking steps to assure ourselves that polls can be delivered. The Government is continuing to work closely with the electoral sector, public health bodies and political parties to identify and resolve challenges in the successful delivery of the polls this May. Indeed, proper preparedness is the very thing that opposition parties have called for – and this is precisely what we are undertaking.

As I stated to the House, I will ensure Hon. Members are kept updated once we have completed this work.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Dec 2020
If he will bring forward proposals to amend Schedule 2, Part 1 of The Census (England) Regulations 2020 to include Welsh as an option to census questions on (a) main language and (b) language proficiency.

The Census questions to be used in England and Wales follow recommendations from the Office for National Statistics, based on an extensive three-year programme of consultation and research which included consideration of Welsh language skills questions. With Census Day around three months away, preparations are now well underway and it is not possible to change any questions at this late stage.

The UK government supports the ambition of the Welsh government to have one million Welsh speakers by 2050 and Census 2021 will provide valuable information on progress towards this objective.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to achieve the delivery of new port infrastructure projects for (a) Hull, (b) Immingham and (c) Plymouth by 1 July 2021.

The Government is working closely with ports to ensure they have the required infrastructure ready for the end of the transition period. Details of the recipients of the Port Infrastructure Fund will be announced in due course.

I refer the hon. Member to the published Border Operating Model, available on gov.uk and the statement made by my Rt Hon friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September.

For January 2021, HMRC is putting in place temporary arrangements to support Common Transit Convention movements through Holyhead. For July 2021, there needs to be a multi-functional site dealing with transit, customs and SPS checks to serve Holyhead. Details will be announced in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department has conducted an assessment of the readiness of UK ports and their associated infrastructure in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a trade deal.

The Government is working closely with ports to ensure they have the required infrastructure ready for the end of the transition period. Details of the recipients of the Port Infrastructure Fund will be announced in due course.

I refer the hon. Member to the published Border Operating Model, available on gov.uk and the statement made by my Rt Hon friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September.

For January 2021, HMRC is putting in place temporary arrangements to support Common Transit Convention movements through Holyhead. For July 2021, there needs to be a multi-functional site dealing with transit, customs and SPS checks to serve Holyhead. Details will be announced in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the Port of Holyhead’s state of readiness for the UK’s changed trading status in (a) January and (b) July 2021.

The Government is working closely with ports to ensure they have the required infrastructure ready for the end of the transition period. Details of the recipients of the Port Infrastructure Fund will be announced in due course.

I refer the hon. Member to the published Border Operating Model, available on gov.uk and the statement made by my Rt Hon friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September.

For January 2021, HMRC is putting in place temporary arrangements to support Common Transit Convention movements through Holyhead. For July 2021, there needs to be a multi-functional site dealing with transit, customs and SPS checks to serve Holyhead. Details will be announced in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to his oral contribution of 23 September 2020, Official Report, column 969, how much funding the Government has allocated to that facility near Holyhead; and what his timetable is for the implementation of those plans.

Further to the comments of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September 2020, the 'Check an HGV is ready to cross the border' service is being developed in accordance with the rigorous standards applied to the development of any digital Government service. This includes consultation and engagement with users as well as internal testing. The service has passed successfully into the “beta” phase and is now being subjected to operational testing with users, including businesses. It is on schedule to be ready for December 2020.

On 12 July, the Government announced a funding package in 20/21 for border infrastructure, staffing and IT to ensure GB border systems are fully operational when the UK takes back control of its border after the end of the transition period.

A breakdown will be provided, port by port and region by region, in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what internal tests his Department has conducted of the Smart Freight system; and what the outcome of those tests were.

Further to the comments of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September 2020, the 'Check an HGV is ready to cross the border' service is being developed in accordance with the rigorous standards applied to the development of any digital Government service. This includes consultation and engagement with users as well as internal testing. The service has passed successfully into the “beta” phase and is now being subjected to operational testing with users, including businesses. It is on schedule to be ready for December 2020.

On 12 July, the Government announced a funding package in 20/21 for border infrastructure, staffing and IT to ensure GB border systems are fully operational when the UK takes back control of its border after the end of the transition period.

A breakdown will be provided, port by port and region by region, in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of the Smart Freight system.

Further to the comments of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September 2020, the 'Check an HGV is ready to cross the border' service is being developed in accordance with the rigorous standards applied to the development of any digital Government service. This includes consultation and engagement with users as well as internal testing. The service has passed successfully into the “beta” phase and is now being subjected to operational testing with users, including businesses. It is on schedule to be ready for December 2020.

On 12 July, the Government announced a funding package in 20/21 for border infrastructure, staffing and IT to ensure GB border systems are fully operational when the UK takes back control of its border after the end of the transition period.

A breakdown will be provided, port by port and region by region, in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the success of the Smart Freight system.

Further to the comments of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September 2020, the 'Check an HGV is ready to cross the border' service is being developed in accordance with the rigorous standards applied to the development of any digital Government service. This includes consultation and engagement with users as well as internal testing. The service has passed successfully into the “beta” phase and is now being subjected to operational testing with users, including businesses. It is on schedule to be ready for December 2020.

On 12 July, the Government announced a funding package in 20/21 for border infrastructure, staffing and IT to ensure GB border systems are fully operational when the UK takes back control of its border after the end of the transition period.

A breakdown will be provided, port by port and region by region, in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department has contingency plans to minimise disruption at UK borders in the event that the Smart Freight system fails to work effectively.

Further to the comments of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September 2020, the 'Check an HGV is ready to cross the border' service is being developed in accordance with the rigorous standards applied to the development of any digital Government service. This includes consultation and engagement with users as well as internal testing. The service has passed successfully into the “beta” phase and is now being subjected to operational testing with users, including businesses. It is on schedule to be ready for December 2020.

On 12 July, the Government announced a funding package in 20/21 for border infrastructure, staffing and IT to ensure GB border systems are fully operational when the UK takes back control of its border after the end of the transition period.

A breakdown will be provided, port by port and region by region, in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the policy paper entitled, The Border Operating Model Border, published on 13 July 2020, whether Smart Freight Service would be required for vehicles travelling from Welsh ports to (a) the Republic of Ireland and (b) via the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland.

The use of the Smart Freight Service will be recommended but not compulsory in respect of the movement of goods between Welsh ports and the Republic of Ireland, and will not apply to the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Government has invited businesses, including businesses in Wales, to participate in user testing for the Smart Freight Service, and continues to engage with the Welsh Government regarding preparations for the end of the Transition Period.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the policy paper entitled, The Border Operating Model Border, published on 13 July 2020, whether the use of the Smart Freight System will apply in Wales; and what consultation it has had with (a) the Welsh Government and (b) businesses in Wales on the Smart Freight System.

The use of the Smart Freight Service will be recommended but not compulsory in respect of the movement of goods between Welsh ports and the Republic of Ireland, and will not apply to the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Government has invited businesses, including businesses in Wales, to participate in user testing for the Smart Freight Service, and continues to engage with the Welsh Government regarding preparations for the end of the Transition Period.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment the Government has made of the preparedness of the ports of (a) Holyhead, (b) Milford Haven, (c) Cardiff, (d) Newport, (e) Port Talbot, (f) Fishguard and (g) Swansea to adapt to changes to customs rules and physical checks requirements following the end of the transition period.

Further to the answer by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Cabinet Office's Border and Protocol Delivery Group is working with Government departments and with Welsh Government officials and with ports in Wales on their requirements for the end of the Transition Period.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
13th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 4 May 2020 to Question 40518 on Coronavirus: Wales, when his Department plans to publish disaggregated data on Government expenditure as at May 2020 on the placing of advertisements in (a) national Welsh media, (b) local and regional Welsh media and (c) Welsh language media since the start of the covid-19 public information campaign.

This is a national campaign, taking place on multiple channels in all four nations of the UK. We will publish expenditure on the whole campaign on a rolling monthly basis on GOV.UK as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will ensure that the future agreement between the UK and EU contains a clause confirming the parties’ legal commitment to the provisions of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The UK is committed to tackling climate change and as COP26 President will work with all partners to deliver the Paris Agreement. As set out in the document outlining our approach to negotiations, the agreement we reach with the EU should reaffirm both parties’ commitments to the Paris Agreement and recognise both sides’ right to decide their own regulation to meet our respective climate goals.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department is responsible for co-ordinating the covid-19 public information campaign in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland and (c) Northern Ireland.

The Government has developed a strong national campaign across all four nations of the UK to provide information and reassurance to the public about COVID-19.

This is a cross-government campaign involving multiple departments. It is being coordinated centrally by the Cabinet Office who are working closely with the Devolved Administrations, including with the Welsh Government to ensure campaign materials are translated for use in Wales.

The Cabinet Office publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much the Government has spent on placing advertisements in (a) national Welsh media, (b) local and regional Welsh media and (c) Welsh language media since the start of the covid-19 public information campaign.

The Government has developed a strong national campaign across all four nations of the UK to provide information and reassurance to the public about COVID-19.

This is a cross-government campaign involving multiple departments. It is being coordinated centrally by the Cabinet Office who are working closely with the Devolved Administrations, including with the Welsh Government to ensure campaign materials are translated for use in Wales.

The Cabinet Office publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to ensure that the ethnic groups (a) Welsh Asian and (b) Welsh Black, Caribbean or African are identified under specific sub-headings on the form in the forthcoming Census Order.

The draft Census (England and Wales) Order 2020 was laid in Parliament on 2 March. It sets the date of the Census and the topics on which census questions are to be asked.

Once made, the Order will be followed by Census Regulations for England and for Wales. The Regulations for England will be laid before Parliament. The Regulations for Wales are the responsibility of Welsh Ministers and will be laid before the National Assembly for Wales. The Regulations to be made by the Welsh Ministers will contain the final wording of the questions on Welsh language skills and ethnic group to be asked in the Wales census.

As part of the Census Data Collection and Transformation Programme, the ONS is exploring how to produce census-type statistics more frequently than the decennial census, using other sources of data. The ONS will make a recommendation to the Government in 2023 on the future of the census.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to include a question on Welsh language proficiency in the 2021 Census; and what discussions he has had with the (a) Scottish Government and (b) Northern Ireland Executive on the inclusion of that question in censuses in those nations.

The draft Census (England and Wales) Order 2020 was laid in Parliament on 2 March. It sets the date of the Census and the topics on which census questions are to be asked.

Once made, the Order will be followed by Census Regulations for England and for Wales. The Regulations for England will be laid before Parliament. The Regulations for Wales are the responsibility of Welsh Ministers and will be laid before the National Assembly for Wales. The Regulations to be made by the Welsh Ministers will contain the final wording of the questions on Welsh language skills and ethnic group to be asked in the Wales census.

As part of the Census Data Collection and Transformation Programme, the ONS is exploring how to produce census-type statistics more frequently than the decennial census, using other sources of data. The ONS will make a recommendation to the Government in 2023 on the future of the census.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with representatives of the (a) UK Statistics Authority and (b) Office for National Statistics on the future of the Census after 2021; and if he will make a statement.

The draft Census (England and Wales) Order 2020 was laid in Parliament on 2 March. It sets the date of the Census and the topics on which census questions are to be asked.

Once made, the Order will be followed by Census Regulations for England and for Wales. The Regulations for England will be laid before Parliament. The Regulations for Wales are the responsibility of Welsh Ministers and will be laid before the National Assembly for Wales. The Regulations to be made by the Welsh Ministers will contain the final wording of the questions on Welsh language skills and ethnic group to be asked in the Wales census.

As part of the Census Data Collection and Transformation Programme, the ONS is exploring how to produce census-type statistics more frequently than the decennial census, using other sources of data. The ONS will make a recommendation to the Government in 2023 on the future of the census.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 20 January 2020 to Question 5387, if he will publish the top 10 export destinations for Welsh financial services.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of whether the updated Energy Charter Treaty, as agreed by the Energy Charter Conference on 24 June, is compatible with international climate goals; what steps he is taking to encourage other states to sign up to the fossil fuel carve out agreed by the EU and UK when the new treaty is signed in November; and if he will take steps to further amend the timeline for the fossil fuel carve out in order to speed up the withdrawal of (a) protection for all new fossil-fuel investments and (b) all existing fossil fuel investments.

The modernised Treaty recognises the urgent need to address climate change and align with the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement. It also removes the Treaty’s protection for new fossil fuel investments in the UK. The Government welcomes the flexible approach in the modernised Treaty, which allows individual Parties to phase out investment protections for fossil fuels in their own territories in line with respective decarbonisation plans. The Government does not plan to seek to amend the timeline for the fossil fuel carve out, which aligns with the UK’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the Energy Charter Treaty’s compatibility with international climate goals.

The Energy Charter Treaty already calls on Contracting Parties to minimise the environmental impacts of energy operations.

Contracting Parties to the Energy Charter Treaty are negotiating the modernisation of the Treaty to ensure it is aligned with common climate objectives. The Government supports the process to modernise the Treaty in a way that advances the global energy transition, including the right for Member States to regulate in order to reach emissions reduction targets and ensure a stronger focus on climate security.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the impact on (a) electronic waste by 2050 and (b) consumer costs of standardising phone charging cables to USB-C type.

The Government is aware of the EU’s proposal for a single charging solution for certain electronic devices. While there are no current plans to introduce similar requirements in domestic law, we will monitor developments in this area.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment has he made of the adequacy of financial support available to people facing increased costs of heating oil.

The supply of heating oil is subject to UK competition law and consumer protection through a regulatory scheme under the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). If residents are off the gas grid, but on a default tariff for their electricity supply, they will still be protected by the Energy Price Cap which continues to protect 15 million households.

In the longer term, improving the energy efficiency of our homes and buildings is vital to keeping household energy costs down and reducing carbon emissions, which is why the Government is driving £6 billion into making homes more energy efficient over the next ten years.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a failure-to-prevent legal mechanism to help prevent corporate (a) human rights abuses and (b) environmental damage; and if he will make a statement.

The UK has a strong record on human rights and environmental awareness and protection, much of which results from our framework of legislation. The UK already requires companies to undertake due diligence on sustainability matters under existing legislation on corporate transparency. UK listed companies are required to report on relevant environmental, social and governance aspects in their annual reports. Large businesses are also required to publish supply chain transparency statements on steps they have taken to ensure that no modern slavery or human trafficking is taking place in their business or through their supply chains. Both reporting requirements compel disclosure of a company’s due diligence arrangements where these are in place.

In certain circumstances, companies can already be held liable for breaches of duties of care to others where harm is suffered as a foreseeable consequence of the breach.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of (a) spelling and (b) location of Welsh place names in the Ordnance Survey data.

Place names in Ordnance Survey data are sourced through updates received from authoritative bodies such as Local Authorities, or through ‘on the ground’ capture. To ensure that Ordnance Survey (OS) maps provide an accurate representation of the names in use in Wales in both their positioning and spelling, all data maintenance at Ordnance Survey is subjected to quality control as per ISO 19158 Geographic Information: Quality Assurance of data supply (2012) . This quality control methodology is itself scrutinised as part of a quality assurance process that is entirely separate from production.

In the case of potential naming errors being identified we would complete our investigations through consultation with acknowledged authorities such as Local Authorities or National Parks. Reporting errors can be made through the Ordnance Survey website: https://ordnancesurvey.co.uk/contact-us.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether energy customers will have the ability to opt out of the energy bill discount scheme.

The intention of the energy bill rebate scheme is that it is universal, and consumers will not need to apply for the discount. Details of the scheme will be subject to a public consultation in the spring.

More information on what the government is doing to protect consumers can be found online here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1052305/Energy_Intervention_factsheet.pdf

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many properties owners who received cavity wall insulation submitted complaints on the service they received in (a) Wales (b) England (c) Scotland (d) Northern Ireland in each year since 2018.

The Department does not collect data on complaints about the service households received when having cavity wall insulation installed.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many properties in (a) Wales (b) England (c) Scotland (d) Northern Ireland, have received cavity wall insulation in each year since 2018.

Between January 2018 and September 2021, 205,464 CWI measures were installed across Great Britain under ECO and the Green Homes Grant scheme (England only). Table 1 displays the annual CWI installation data for Great Britain and Table 2 displays the regional break down of total ECO measures delivered within the same time period. We are unable to provide measure-specific data by region and there is no available data for Northern Ireland.

Table 1:

2018

2019

2020

2021*

Total

79,926

40,821

39,550

45,167

205,464

Table 2:

Total GB

Wales

England

Scotland

1,072,350

50,631

900,149

121,570

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the number of properties in (a) Wales (b) England (c) Scotland (d) Northern Ireland which are eligible for cavity wall insulation.

The table below sets out the number of properties which had cavity walls and the proportion of those properties which had cavity wall insulation as at December 2020.

Nation

Approximate Properties with Cavity Walls

Estimate of Percentage of those Properties with Cavity Wall Insulation

Great Britain

20.4 million

70%

England

17.5 million

69%

Wales

0.9 million

75%

Scotland

2.0 million

80%

This data can be found at Tables 8.7a-d in the following: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/household-energy-efficiency-statistics-detailed-report-2020.

We do not hold data for Northern Ireland.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department is taking steps to protect homeowners when the companies who issue guarantees for cavity wall insulations going into administration.

The ECO scheme requires installers of cavity wall insulation to provide a warranty to householders when measures are fitted. The Government endorsed quality framework which was launched in October 2018 and overseen by Trustmark ensures an improved and comprehensive consumer protection process, including having sufficient guarantees in place to provide redress for households.

In cases where an installer is either no longer trading or has not addressed all relevant concerns, householders should contact the guarantee provider. A full list of the appropriate guarantee providers available can be found at: https://www.trustmark.org.uk/homeowners/benefits/financial-protection.

BEIS officials are exploring what mechanisms are currently in place across each of the guarantee providers to protect consumers in case of insolvency.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will bring forward (a) a review of the cavity wall insulation industry and (b) proposals for reforming the system to better protect homeowners.

The Government has no plans to commission a review of the Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI) industry or reforming the current system of consumer protection.

The Government has implemented the key recommendations of the independent Each Home Counts Review of consumer advice, protection, standards and enforcement for energy efficiency and renewable energy. This has included the launch of TrustMark as the government endorsed quality mark and the introduction of improved design and installation standards for domestic retrofit (PAS2035:2019 and PAS2030:2019).

All cavity wall insulation installed under the Energy Company Obligation, Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, the Home Upgrade Grant and Local Authority Delivery has to be completed by TrustMark registered businesses, adhering to the latest standards.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons contribution based employment and support allowance is not included in the eligibility criteria for the Warm Homes Discount.

It is the responsibility of each participating energy supplier to administer their Warm Home Discount Broader Group rebates and pay the rebates to their eligible customers. Whilst there are minimum standard criteria set out in the Regulations that energy suppliers must include, suppliers can set their own criteria for Broader Group rebates. Each energy supplier’s additional Broader Group criteria must be targeted towards consumers in fuel poverty or at risk of fuel poverty and must be approved by Ofgem each scheme year.

Typically, the Broader Group eligibility criteria focus on receipt of means-tested benefits alongside indicators of vulnerability, such as a disability premium or parental responsibility for a child under the age of 5. Some energy suppliers do consider contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance as part of their eligibility criteria.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason his Department excludes contribution-based employment and support allowance as a qualifying benefit for the Warm Home Discount.

It is the responsibility of each participating energy supplier to administer their Warm Home Discount Broader Group rebates and pay the rebates to their eligible customers. Whilst there are minimum standard criteria set out in the Regulations that energy suppliers must include, suppliers can set their own criteria for Broader Group rebates. Each energy supplier’s additional Broader Group criteria must be targeted towards consumers in fuel poverty or at risk of fuel poverty and must be approved by Ofgem each scheme year.

Typically, the Broader Group eligibility criteria focus on receipt of means-tested benefits alongside indicators of vulnerability, such as a disability premium or parental responsibility for a child under the age of 5. Some energy suppliers do consider contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance as part of their eligibility criteria.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of protections offered by the (a) Consumer Contract (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 and (b) Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Practices Regulations 2008 in supporting protecting consumers from subscription traps.

The Government is committed to tackling subscription traps and preventing consumers from being exploited.

The existing law requires that a trader informs consumers of the price and length of a subscription, before a contract is entered in to. Failure to provide this information is a breach of contract and can be challenged by consumers.

The Government is working with regulators and other key partners within the consumer protection framework to ensure that the current legal framework is robust in prohibiting harmful business practices to consumer contracts.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment has has made of the potential merits of entering into reciprocal arrangements with individual EU member states to (a) waive or (b) reduce the costs of short-stay visa and work permits for temporary seasonal tourism workers.

The end of freedom of movement between the UK and the EU will inevitably have some consequences for cross-border business travel, and we are engaging regularly with businesses to help them understand the new requirements for travel to the EU. We respect the right of individual Member States to determine their own immigration policies. Here in the UK, we have adopted a global immigration system that treats EU and non-EU citizens equally.

Tourism personnel are included in the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), removing the requirement for a work permit for up to 90 in 180 days. In addition, travel agencies, tour operators’ services and tourist guides are included in the scope of TCA commitments for contractual service suppliers and independent (self-employed) professionals.

Commitments in the TCA provide certainty and clarity for those who travel to another country temporarily to do business. The TCA guarantees market access to key economic sectors, and ease some burdens on business travellers, such as: removing the need for work permits for some short-term trips and reducing the number of economic needs tests a country could impose to block access to exporters. They also ensure that the UK and EU Member States have a minimum standard for how business travellers and service providers should be treated when working abroad through non-discrimination clauses.

We have published guidance on GOV.UK to help those intending to travel to the EU, EEA and Switzerland for work or other business purposes. The Government will continue to enhance this guidance and to engage with our embassies to better understand the requirements in Member States, on behalf of UK businesses.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Royal Mail on covid-19 protective measures for workers in delivery offices.

Safety of workers is a priority for the Government. It is essential that postal workers are, and feel, safe in their working environment.

Postal operators should put appropriate measures in place to follow the latest public health guidance and legal obligations set out under health and safety legislation to protect their staff at work. Postal workers should continue to follow the advice of their employer and work with them to ensure sensible workplace adjustments are in place.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to (a) protect and (b) enhance the resilience of postal services in rural areas from covid-19-related disruption.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, postal operators have continued to provide a valuable service to this country, including in rural communities.

The Universal Service Obligation is set out in the Postal Services Act 2011 and ensures a six-day a week, one price goes anywhere, service for the delivery and collection of letters (and five days a week for parcels) throughout the United Kingdom. Royal Mail, a private company, has well-established contingency plans to mitigate disruption to universal postal services, overseen by Ofcom, the UK’s designated independent regulator of postal services.

The Government’s objective in relation to postal services continues to be to secure a sustainable universal service for users throughout the UK, including those in remote and rural areas.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December to Question 122583, what discussions he has had with the Office for Product Safety and Standards as part of the review of the Product Safety Framework on the adequacy of protections in place for those who use menstrual products.

The UK has one of the most robust product safety systems in the world and only safe products, including safe menstrual products, may be placed on the market. The safety of sanitary products is regulated by the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR).

These regulations are within scope of the review of the Product Safety Framework which is being carried out by the Office for Product Safety and Standards.

This work will ensure that the UK product safety framework continues to be fit for purpose and adequately protects consumers so that our product safety system remains one of the best in the world.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December to Question 122583, whether the current Product Safety Framework adequately protects the health of those who use menstrual products.

The UK has one of the most robust product safety systems in the world and only safe products, including safe menstrual products, may be placed on the market. The safety of sanitary products is regulated by the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR).

These regulations are within scope of the review of the Product Safety Framework which is being carried out by the Office for Product Safety and Standards.

This work will ensure that the UK product safety framework continues to be fit for purpose and adequately protects consumers so that our product safety system remains one of the best in the world.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring menstrual products to include labels detailing the ingredients in the product.

The safety of sanitary products is regulated by the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR), which require a product to be safe in normal or reasonably foreseeable use when placed on the market.

Under the GPSR, manufacturers are not required to list ingredients for their product. But the law is clear that any sanitary products placed on the UK market must be safe for use.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards is currently conducting a review of the Product Safety Framework and Officials will consider relevant international developments to ensure our product safety system remains one of the best in the world.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had discussions with (a) officials within his Department, (b) Cabinet colleagues and (c) other stakeholders, on the Senate Bill S2387 passed by the New York State Senate which relates to menstrual product labelling and which mandates the disclosure of ingredients used to make menstrual products on the packages or boxes that they are sold in.

The safety of sanitary products is regulated by the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR), which require a product to be safe in normal or reasonably foreseeable use when placed on the market.

Under the GPSR, manufacturers are not required to list ingredients for their product. But the law is clear that any sanitary products placed on the UK market must be safe for use.


The Office for Product Safety and Standards is currently conducting a review of the Product Safety Framework and Officials will consider relevant international developments to ensure our product safety system remains one of the best in the world.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons sports therapists' premises in England are required to close during the second national covid-19 lockdown while physiotherapists', chiropractors', osteopaths', sports rehabilitators' and podiatrists' premises are permitted to stay open during that lockdown.

Massage therapists qualified to levels 1-3 are considered personal care service providers which are required to close under the national restrictions for England, but they can continue to sell retail goods online or via click-and-collect.

Massage therapists qualified to level 4-6 are classified as clinical practitioners. Further information regarding them can be sought from the Department for Health and Social Care.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish details on how the £160 million for new large scale port and manufacturing infrastructure to support increases in offshore wind capacity will be allocated.

Details on how the funding will be allocated are yet to be confirmed. The Department is considering the responses from the Request for Information, and depending on the level of interest, we expect that any funding will be awarded following a formal competitive process. Any final award decisions will be subject to in-depth appraisal, due diligence, and scrutiny.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the announcement of £160 million for new large scale port and manufacturing infrastructure to support increases in offshore wind capacity.

The Department and I have regular and ongoing dialogue with the Welsh Government on a wide range of matters, including our recent announcements regarding offshore wind.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits for (a) people who have worked in excess of 20 years and (b) workers more widely of revising the level of support offered under statutory redundancy in light of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises this is a challenging time both for employers and employees and that is why we introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Job Retention Bonus, to protect jobs and avoid redundancies. We hope that employers will use these schemes follow this lead and do everything they can to avoid making redundancies.

Where redundancies are unavoidable it is important that employees receive the payments they are entitled to. Employees with the necessary qualifying period will have access, as a minimum, to Statutory Redundancy Pay based on their age and length of employment.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that businesses do not use funds received though the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for redundancy payments.

Employees who are dismissed due to redundancy and who satisfy certain qualifying conditions are statutorily entitled to a lump sum from their employer, based on their age, length of service and contractual weekly earnings, subject to a statutory upper limit.

As per the latest updates to the guidance for the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme, grants cannot be used to cover redundancy payments.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of businesses making staff redundancies while using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of restricting employers from making redundancies while Government support is available.

The Department does not hold statistics on the number of business making staff redundant while using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. However, we are monitoring the broader picture on unemployment closely, with official data showing the number of payroll employees in April fell by 612,000 (2.1%) compared with March 2020.

The legal position in relation to redundancy and dismissal remains the same whether or not an employee has been furloughed. Any redundancy process should be fair and reasonable with appropriate equalities considerations. Employees with the necessary qualifying service who believe that they have been unfairly selected for redundancy, or that the redundancy was unfair in some other way, may be able to complain to an employment tribunal.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Government's announcement on 24 April 2020 that employees whose period of family-related leave begins on or after 25 April 2020 will be entitled to full pay, what assessment he has made of the level of financial support required by employees whose period of family-related leave began before that date.

The Government laid regulations last week to ensure that where a worker has been furloughed under the CJRS and is receiving lower earnings as a result, this does not affect his or her eligibility for statutory family-related pay.

For Statutory Maternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay, eligible parents receive 90% of normal earnings for the first 6 weeks, followed by up to 33 weeks at the statutory flat rate (£151.20 per week). The new regulations also ensure that the amount of statutory maternity or adoption pay that new mothers and adopters receive over the first 6 weeks is calculated based on their normal earnings, not their furloughed pay.

Individuals who have been furloughed and whose period of family-related pay or Maternity Allowance begins on or after 25th April 2020 will be in scope of the change. Individuals whose period of family-related pay began before 25th April 2020 may see their entitlement affected. However, we anticipate that this will be a small number of people due to the fact that, for most people starting family-related pay before 25 April, the earnings assessment period will have taken place before the furlough scheme was initiated.

In a situation where employers decide to ‘top-up’ statutory pay for their employees on a contractual basis, they are able to claim this money through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish a break down of expenditure by Creative Wales on each commissioned event taking place in Wales including (a) GALWAD, (b) About Us, (c) Green Space, Dark Skies, (d) StoryTrails and (e) Dreamachine, as part of the Unboxed festival.

UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK is delivered at arm’s length from the government by a subsidiary of the Organising Committee of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, alongside a strategic delivery body appointed by each of the devolved administrations. Creative Wales, the delivery body acting on behalf of the Welsh Government, is responsible for commissioning GALWAD, Wales’s lead UNBOXED project.

As well as GALWAD, four more UNBOXED projects will present work in Wales: About Us, Green Space Dark Skies, StoryTrails and Dreamachine. These have been funded by the UK Government. Creative Wales is providing general advice and support to those projects in Wales. The individual commission values for the projects funded by HM Government have not been published at this time, but will be released in due course. The first UNBOXED project, About Us, visited Caernarfon earlier this month, where it was seen by around 16,000 people.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the value for money of her Department's spending on Unboxed festival.

UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK is an ambitious programme of ten major multi-site and digital creative projects designed to bring people together, inspire people of all ages, and invest in the creative talent of the future. With free large-scale events, installations and online experiences available to audiences across the UK, UNBOXED demonstrates our commitment to increase access to culture and major events for communities across the UK.

The first UNBOXED project, About Us, visited Caernarfon earlier this month, where it was seen by around 16,000 people, and included local people singing in the accompanying choir.

UNBOXED will be assessed through an independent evaluation setting out social, cultural, and economic impacts of the programme. A final report is due in early 2023.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of re-establishing the Leveson Part Two inquiry.

The Government has made clear that it does not intend to proceed with Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry. This decision was reached following a public consultation and having taken into account all of the views and evidence submitted. Reopening the inquiry is no longer appropriate, proportionate, or in the public interest. This position was reiterated in the 2019 Conservative manifesto.

17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the merits of facilitating the mutual recognition of qualifications for temporary seasonal tourism workers between the UK and EU member states.

The Government continues to engage with stakeholders in the tourism sector to hear their priorities for the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

The Withdrawal Agreement protects UK nationals who live or are a frontier worker in an EU Member State at the end of the Transition Period. Those who have had a professional qualification recognised under the EU legislation listed in the Withdrawal Agreement will keep the right to practise the profession in the Member State in which they live or work. This includes many professions in scope of the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive such as engineering and accounting.

As of 1 January 2021, UK-qualified professionals who wish to supply services in the EU should seek recognition for their qualifications using the national rules in EU Member States. Professionals should check the European Commission’s Regulated Professions Database to find out if their profession is regulated in the state in which they are seeking to work. They should then contact the single point of contact for that country to find out how to get their professional qualification recognised. Alternatively, they can seek advice from the UK Centre for Professional Qualifications (UK NARIC) to find out which regulatory or professional body they should contact.

The UK-EU TCA provides a framework under which the UK and the EU may agree Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) on the recognition of professional qualification covering the UK and all 27 EU Member States. Once an arrangement is adopted under the TCA, UK professionals will be able to use the terms outlined in the arrangement to secure recognition for their professional qualifications within EU Member States.

Arrangements are implemented on a profession-by-profession basis and depend upon reciprocal cooperation from both the UK and EU Member States. The framework enables UK and EU professional bodies or authorities to make recommendations on MRAs to the Partnership Council.  Once an arrangement has been adopted, a professional qualified in the UK (e.g. an engineer) will be able to use the terms outlined in the arrangement to secure recognition of their qualifications within an EU Member State.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to his press notice entitled £1.57 billion investment to protect Britain’s world-class cultural, arts and heritage institutions, published on 5 July 2020, how much of the £1.57 billion after the deduction of Barnett funding consequentials will be spent on cultural, arts and heritage institutions in Wales.

The £1.57 billion culture recovery package - the biggest ever one-off cash-injection in UK culture - is new money and under the Barnett formula the Welsh Government received £59 million.

It is up to the Welsh Government to decide how this funding is spent but we hope they will use it to support arts, heritage and culture in Wales, as we are doing in England.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much has been spent from the public purse on preparations for the Festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to be held in 2022.

DCMS has spent £891,365 on preparations for the Festival 2022 (to December 2019). This includes work on the Festival scope and strategic objectives, discussions with other government departments and the home nations on the Festival plan, and DCMS staff costs.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the cost effectiveness of proposed spending on the Festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

DCMS has asked the Organising Committee for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, under the leadership of its Chief Creative Officer, to develop a proposal for the Festival by the spring. Once the Festival proposal has been agreed, we will assess the cost-effectiveness of the Festival through the HM Treasury business case process.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what (a) artists and (b) acts have been confirmed to perform in the Festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

DCMS has recently asked the Organising Committee for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, under the leadership of its Chief Creative Officer, to develop the Festival programme. Details will be shared as this work develops.

9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what is the estimated total cost to the public purse of publishing and distributing a commemorative book to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in Wales.

The published value of the contract, which is being funded by the department, is £12 million to develop, print and distribute sufficient books for all children in primary state funded education across the UK. Costs have not been broken down on a country by country basis. We are producing a near double-length bilingual book for Wales which will cost the UK government more to produce than single language versions.

10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of his Department’s advice on overnight stays on outdoor activity centres in (a) England and (b) Wales.

The Department has published guidance for providers who run community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision for children over the age of 5, setting out the safety measures that must be in place to ensure they can operate over the summer holiday: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

This follows confirmation from my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, that from Saturday 4 July these providers can operate, with safety measures in place.

The guidance advises that children and young people can take part in outdoor activities in small, consistent groups of no more than 15 with at least one staff member. Out-of-school provision should not, however, offer overnight or residential provision for the time-being. This is consistent with the latest government guidance on meeting people from outside your household, (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/meeting-people-from-outside-your-household-from-4-july) which advises that you should not stay overnight away from your home with members of more than 2 households.

Outdoor activity providers who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 can find out what financial support is available for their business here: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder. They may be eligible for tax relief, loans or cash grants through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme or the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for example depending on their circumstances.

10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department has had with HM Treasury on Government support for the outdoor activity sector following his Department’s advice on overnight stays.

The Department has published guidance for providers who run community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision for children over the age of 5, setting out the safety measures that must be in place to ensure they can operate over the summer holiday: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

This follows confirmation from my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, that from Saturday 4 July these providers can operate, with safety measures in place.

The guidance advises that children and young people can take part in outdoor activities in small, consistent groups of no more than 15 with at least one staff member. Out-of-school provision should not, however, offer overnight or residential provision for the time-being. This is consistent with the latest government guidance on meeting people from outside your household, (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/meeting-people-from-outside-your-household-from-4-july) which advises that you should not stay overnight away from your home with members of more than 2 households.

Outdoor activity providers who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 can find out what financial support is available for their business here: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder. They may be eligible for tax relief, loans or cash grants through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme or the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for example depending on their circumstances.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what level of cooperation the Government will seek to negotiate with the EU on (a) Erasmus, (b) Creative Europe and (c) Horizon Europe after the UK leaves the EU.

This government values the strong collaborative partnerships that we have across Europe in many areas including science, research and innovation, education, culture and media. We want to continue to support these opportunities.

We will continue to collaborate with the EU on these areas and we have been clear that where it is in the UK’s interests we will seek to participate in some specific EU Programmes. The Political Declaration agreed with the EU in October 2019 demonstrates a shared intent between UK and EU leaders to agree a framework that supports collaboration in science and innovation.

The shape and content of EU Programmes post-2020, including Horizon Europe, Creative Europe and Erasmus+, are currently being negotiated in the EU Institutions and have not yet been finalised. These EU Programmes must be adopted by the EU before any potential formal negotiations on association could begin.

The UK government is preparing for every eventuality and considering a wide range of options with regards to the future of international exchange and collaboration, including potential domestic alternatives.

1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the cost is of an Animal Health Certificate; and what steps he is taking to reduce the cost of Animal Health Certificates for UK pets.

Animal Health Certificates (AHCs) fees are set by veterinary surgeons or veterinary practices and are a private matter between individual practices and their clients and neither the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the UK regulator of the veterinary profession, nor Defra intervenes in the level of fees that are charged.

We are continuing to engage with the British Veterinary Association (BVA) to develop additional guidance to support vets in completing and issuing AHCs.

1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits and feasibility of extending the length of validity of Animal Health Certificates.

For the purposes of the EU Pet Travel Scheme, Great Britain and the Crown Dependencies are considered a Part 2 listed third country which requires an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) for travel to the EU. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, EU rules also apply to the non-commercial movements of pets into Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

The model AHC is set down in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 577/2013 and it states that the certificate is valid for 10 days from the date of issue until the date of entry into the EU, and that it is valid for onward travel within the EU for a period of four months subject to certain conditions. Great Britain cannot unilaterally choose to amend the conditions specified on this certificate.

Our advice for pet owners and users of assistance dogs travelling is that they should continue to contact their vet at least one month in advance to ensure their pet has the correct vaccinations and paperwork to travel abroad.

13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to implement the provisions of the Ivory Act 2018.

Earlier this year we ran a consultation on the implementation of the Ivory Act 2018 and on 14 September we published a summary of responses confirming our plans for implementation.

More recently we ran a consultation on additional enforcement requirements to the Ivory Act 2018 and published the government response on 6 December. There are no more consultations required ahead of us introducing secondary legislation to implement the Act, and establish enforcement provisions to bring the ban into force. We plan to implement the Ivory Act this winter and for the ban to come into force in Spring 2022.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the proposed flat rate deposit under the Deposit Return Scheme on the drinks and container materials markets; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a variable rate of deposit under the Deposit Return Scheme.

We have recently closed our second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and are analysing the responses with a view to publishing a government response later this year. We will be appointing a Deposit Management Organisation to run the DRS scheme. The recent consultation explored the potential for both a flat rate and variable rate deposit to be used in the scheme, and stated that the intention would be for the Deposit Management Organisation to have the power to set the deposit level within parameters set out in legislation by Government. This would include the ability to set either a flat rate or variable rate deposit. The government response to the consultation will include details on the agreed approach to setting a deposit level in the DRS.

I am acutely aware of the concerns that stakeholders have raised regarding the possible market distortions that could occur depending on the type and level of deposit set, and we will be keeping these concerns in mind when finalising the approach to setting and amending the deposit level.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on (a) the competitiveness on the UK internal market of goods originating in Wales and (b) consumer choice in Wales of Government authorisation for use of a product containing a neonicotinoid to treat sugar beet seed in England.

The application for emergency authorisation of the neonicotinoid product Cruiser SB was made in respect of use in England only as there is no significant commercial sugar beet production elsewhere in the UK. It is not anticipated that the decision will have any impact on the competitiveness of goods from different parts of the UK or on consumer choice. Defra has not had any discussions with the Welsh Government on internal market effects of the decision.

Officials of the Welsh Government have been sighted on the Cruiser SB application and the decision. They have not flagged to Defra any issues about internal market implications of this application.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing an independent body to protect racehorse welfare.

More must be done to improve racehorse safety and welfare. Officials have been in regular dialogue with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), British racing's governing and regulatory body, about the safety and welfare of racehorses, and to understand what the industry is doing to reduce the number of fatalities. The Government welcomed the creation of the racing industry's Horse Welfare Board, which was formed in March 2019 and includes members from across the racing industry, veterinarians and animal health and welfare experts.

The Board is committed to doing all it can to make the sport safer and we have welcomed the publication of the Board's five-year horse welfare strategy "A life well lived". The strategy contains 20 recommendations for the industry aimed at ensuring the best possible safety and quality of life for racehorses.

Whilst the Government does not consider it would be appropriate at this stage to appoint an independent body for racehorse welfare, my officials remain in regular contact with the industry and the Horse Welfare Board. We will be monitoring closely how the industry responds to the Board's recommendations so that the welfare needs of racehorses are met both during and after their racing lives.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with (a) agricultural trades unions and (b) his counterparts in the Welsh Government on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on agricultural exports.

The Government fully supports Welsh farmers and recognises the importance of Welsh agricultural businesses to the UK economy.

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

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

We acknowledge concerns about the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak and its effect on agricultural exports and are working closely with key stakeholders from across the agri-food sector to help mitigate its impact. The National Farmers’ Union and the Devolved Administrations form part of Defra’s Food Chain Emergency Liaison Group (FCELG). This forum has and will continue to meet regularly to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the food and farming sectors across the UK, and what actions are needed to support the sector.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the level of food products imported from countries at risk of climate change.

No assessment has been made of the level of food products that are at risk of climate change and imported from other countries. Climate change occurs on a global scale, and the International Panel on Climate Change has stated that warming greater than the global average is being experienced in many land regions.

The UK imports approximately £50 billion of agri-food products per year. Of this, £35 billion of agri-food imports were from the EU27 in 2018. Defra has also published experimental statistics which estimate imported greenhouse gas emissions compared with emissions from domestic production, but this is not broken down by country or import type.

The Government is clear that more trade should not come at the expense of the environment. We will maintain and enhance our already high environmental standards whilst negotiating future trade agreements.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the (a) value and (b) proportion of market share was of imports of (i) beef, (ii) sheep meat, (iii) pork, (iv) dairy and (v) poultry products in each nation of the UK over the last three years.

Data at the level of detail requested is not available.

According to Defra analysis of HM Revenue & Customs regional trade statistics, UK imports by region over the last three years (2016 to 2018) were as follows:

Meat and meat preparations:

UK region

Import value (16-18)

Share of imports

England

£16bn

81%

Wales

£378m

1.9%

Scotland

£532m

2.7%

Northern Ireland

£1.5bn

7.5%

Unallocated regional trade

£1.4bn

7.0%

Dairy and eggs:

UK region

Import value (16-18)

Share of imports

England

£7.2bn

77%

Wales

£172m

1.8%

Scotland

£281m

3.0%

Northern Ireland

£511m

5.4%

Unallocated regional trade

£1.2bn

13%

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much and what proportion of exports of (a) beef, (b) sheep meat, (c) pork, (d) dairy and (e) poultry products were attributable to each devolved nation of the UK in each of the last three years.

Data at the level of detail requested is not available.

According to Defra analysis of HM Revenue & Customs regional trade statistics, UK exports by region over the last three years (2016 to 2018) were as follows:

Meat and meat preparations:

UK region

export value (16-18)

Share of exports

England

£3.3bn

63%

Wales

£310m

5.9%

Scotland

£310m

5.9%

Northern Ireland

£970m

18%

Unallocated regional trade

£342m

6.5%

Dairy and eggs:

UK region

export value (16-18)

Share of exports

England

£2.4bn

48%

Wales

£319m

6.4%

Scotland

£141m

2.8%

Northern Ireland

£1.4bn

28%

Unallocated regional trade

£706m

14%

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) tonnage and (b) value of (i) beef, (ii) sheep meat, (iii) pork, (iv) dairy and (v) poultry products have been imported in the last three years, by country of source.

According to Defra analysis of HM Revenue & Customs overseas trade statistics, UK imports in the last three years were as follows:

Beef & veal and beef products:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

340,000

360,000

360,000

Value

£1.2bn

£1.3bn

£1.4bn

The Irish Republic was the top import market for beef and veal, with 700,000 tonnes worth £2.6 billion over the three years. Second was Brazil with 80,000 tonnes worth £274 million. Third was the Netherlands with 60,000 tonnes worth £262 million.

Sheep meat:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

90,000

80,000

78,000

Value

£345m

£369m

£373m

New Zealand was the top import market for sheep meat, with 170,000 tonnes worth £790 million over the three years. Second was Australia with 32,000 tonnes worth £140 million. Third was the Irish Republic with 23,000 tonnes worth £78 million.

Pork, bacon & ham:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

680,000

690,000

670,000

Value

£1.3bn

£1.5bn

£1.4bn

Denmark was the top import market for pork, bacon and ham, with 690,000 tonnes worth £1.3 billion over the three years. Second was the Netherlands with 450,000 tonnes worth £890 million. Third was Germany with 360,000 tonnes worth £754 million.

Dairy products:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

1,400,000

1,500,000

1,600,000

Value

£2.6bn

£3.0bn

£3.3bn

The Irish Republic was the top import market for dairy products, with 1,300,000 tonnes worth £2.2 billion over the three years. Second was France with 840,000 tonnes worth £1.5 billion. Third was Germany with 700,000 tonnes worth £1.1 billion.

Poultry meat and poultry products:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

860,000

850,000

860,000

Value

£2.0bn

£2.2bn

£2.4bn

The Netherlands was the top import market for poultry meat and poultry products, with 700,000 tonnes worth £1.9 billion over the three years. Second was Thailand with 440,000 tonnes worth £1.3 billion. Third was Poland with 380,000 tonnes worth £929 million.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the (a) tonnage and (b) value was of exports of (i) beef, (ii) sheep meat, (iii) pork, (iv) dairy and (v) poultry products to each destination country in each of the last three years.

According to Defra analysis of HM Revenue & Customs overseas trade statistics, UK exports in the last three years were as follows:

Beef & veal and beef products:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

120,000

110,000

120,000

Value

£393m

£440m

£474m

The Irish Republic was the top export market for beef and veal, with 120,000 tonnes worth £426 million over the three years. Second was the Netherlands with 80,000 tonnes worth £273 million. Third was France with 28,000 tonnes worth £150 million.

Sheep meat:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

78,000

90,000

83,000

Value

£327m

£385m

£367m

France was the top export market for sheep meat, with 120,000 tonnes worth £509 million over the three years. Second was Germany with 40,000 tonnes worth £174 million. Third was Belgium with 22,000 tonnes worth 124 million.

Pork, bacon & ham:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

220,000

240,000

240,000

Value

£293m

£347m

£354m

The Irish Republic was the top export market for pork, bacon and ham, with 140,000 tonnes worth £363 million over the three years. Second was China with 120,000 tonnes worth £130 million. Third was Germany with 100,000 tonnes worth £108 million.

Dairy products:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

1,100,000

1,400,000

1,400,000

Value

£1.3bn

£1.7bn

£1.8bn

The Irish Republic was the top export market for dairy products, with 2,700,000 tonnes worth £1.6 billion over the three years. Second was the Netherlands with 310,000 tonnes worth £506 million. Third was France with 150,000 tonnes worth £407 million.

Poultry meat and poultry products:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

340,000

400,000

430,000

Value

£358m

£404m

£438m

The Irish Republic was the top export market for poultry meat and poultry products by value, with 160,000 tonnes worth £428 million over the three years. The Netherlands was the top export market by volume, with 320,000 tonnes worth £121 million over the three years. France was the third largest export market with 100,000 tonnes worth £107 million.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what discussions he has had with the representatives of the Welsh Government on (a) Wales and (b) the UK participation in (i) Erasmus, (ii) Creative Europe and (iii) Horizon Europe after the UK leaves the EU.

The Secretary of State most recently had a bilateral meeting with Jeremy Miles AM on 9 January 2020 to discuss a number of topics. The Joint Ministerial Committee on EU negotiations also took place on 9 January 2020 which was attended by Lord Callanan, Minister of State.

If it is in the UK’s interests we will seek to participate in some EU programmes, such as those related to science, research and innovation, as a third country. The Political Declaration provides for this possibility, and the terms of participation would be a matter for upcoming negotiations.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on taking a sector-by-sector agreements approach to negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.

We recognise the importance of working closely with colleagues in the devolved administrations on preparations for negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the EU, and the significant interests of the devolved administrations and responsibilities for implementation in a number of areas.

The Secretary of State most recently met with Jeremy Miles AM on 9 January 2020. The Joint Ministerial Committee on EU negotiations also took place on 9 January 2020 which was attended by Lord Callanan, Minister of State, and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what financial support his Department is offering to support humanitarian assistance to migrants along the Greek-Turkish border.

The UK has a strong relationship with Greece on migration that was enhanced on 22 April 2020 in a joint migration action plan. We continue to offer support to the Greek Government to alleviate pressure and deliver sustainable improvements in the Greek migration system. We support vital search and rescue operations in the Aegean and have provided funding for emergency winter supplies for migrants in the Greek islands.

The UK has a similarly strong relationship with the Turkish government. We continue to contribute to the €6 billion Facility for Refugees in Turkey, which supports Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey. Through the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund (CSSF) we work to strengthen Turkey’s national migration institutions and their migration policies. We do not have specific humanitarian programmes focused on the Greek-Turkish border.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much and what proportion of Official Development Assistance was spent on tackling female genital mutilation in each financial year since 2015.

The UK leads the world in our support to the Africa-led movement to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). In 2018, we announced a further £50 million UK aid package – the biggest single donor investment worldwide to date – to tackle this issue across the most-affected countries in Africa.

The table below sets out how much DFID spent on specific programmes to end FGM in the years 2015-18. Estimates for 2019 spending will be available in autumn 2020.

DFID also supports efforts to end FGM through wider programmes and multi-donor funds which address sexual and reproductive health and rights issues, including FGM. It is not possible to disaggregate the FGM-specific spend in these programmes, so the table does not reflect the entirety of DFID spend in this area.

in £

2015

2016

2017

2018

FGM programme specific ODA Spend

£8.1 m

£10.0m

£9.4m

£5.2m

FGM spend as % of DFID ODA

0.083%

0.102%

0.093%

0.048%

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what oversight his Department plans to provide for partnerships between the City of London and African partners with reference to UK aid.

As one of the world’s largest capital markets and a global centre of financial expertise, the UK has a central role to play in channelling private capital to developing economies. We want to ensure that the City of London is a leading financial centre for the developing world, supporting economic growth, job creation and an exit from aid.

That is why at the UK-Africa Investment Summit we announced almost £400 million in UK aid support for initiatives that will improve financial systems and regulations of 45 developing nations in Africa, make it easier for global investors to invest in Africa at scale, and help African governments and companies to raise international capital in their own currencies.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she has had recent discussions with the Welsh Government on supporting Welsh businesses at Hannover Messe 2022.

I have not had any discussions with the Welsh Government regarding supporting Welsh businesses at Hannover Messe.

Andrew Griffith
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that protecting (a) the environment and (b) the human rights of indigenous communities are embedded in future trade and investment agreements.

HM Government is committed to upholding rights and responsibilities around the world, which guide our international policy, including our approach to trade.

We are protecting the environment through our recently signed trade deals with Australia and New Zealand, which go beyond precedent. They preserve our right to regulate to meet net zero, affirm our shared commitment to the Paris Agreement and seek to cooperate on a range of environmental issues.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what guidance her Department is providing to UK businesses on sponsorship of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) does not get involved with sponsorship discussions as this is a commercial matter for companies that may wish to choose to sponsor or become an official partner or supplier of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. DIT, along with the British Embassy in Beijing, offers trade advice and support to UK companies seeking to pursue export opportunities, including those which might arise from the organisation of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to improve the balance of payments between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

The Department for International Trade actively seeks out business opportunities in Ireland for firms across the United Kingdom to help increase market share. The Government continuously identifies supply lines in Ireland that match UK expertise in key sectors like Offshore Wind, Construction and Infrastructure, Life Sciences and Maritime/Aviation Services. The Government works closely with existing and new exporters, provides market access support and helps companies win contracts, which in turn generates new revenue for the United Kingdom.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 22 June 2021 to Question 17695 on Investment and Trade: Wales, what her Department’s allocated budget is for the (a) establishment and (b) running of the proposed trade and investment hub in Scotland.

The budget allocated to the Department for International Trade (DIT) Scotland hub for the current financial year is £714,394 to cover staff pay for the initial team. We expect costs to increase as our delivery progresses under the Places for Growth programme, which will see DIT grow its presence in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast and Darlington. The budget allocated for running the DIT Scotland hub in future years will be determined after the upcoming spending review has concluded.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what her Departments allocated budget is for the (a) establishment, and (b) running of the proposed trade and investment hub in Wales.

The budget allocated to the Department for International Trade (DIT) Wales hub for the current financial year is £419k, to cover staff pay for the initial team. We expect costs to increase as our delivery progresses under the Places for Growth programme, which will see the DIT grow its presence in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast and Darlington. The budget allocated for running the DIT Wales hub in future years will be determined after the upcoming spending review has concluded.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she had with the Welsh Government prior to the announcement of a Trade and Investment Hub in Cardiff.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) works closely with the devolved administrations on our full trade agenda. This includes regular ministerial engagement through the Ministerial Forum for Trade, which takes place at least 3 times a year and which met most recently on March 18th.

DIT also runs a substantial programme of senior official-level engagement which includes Welsh Government colleagues, for example through our Senior Officials Group and Executive Forum.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many meetings she has had with the Welsh Government on the (a) Welsh Government’s trade strategy and (b) promotion of Welsh exports in 2020.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) works closely with the devolved administrations on our full trade agenda. This includes regular ministerial engagement through the Ministerial Forum for Trade, which takes place at least 3 times a year and which met most recently on March 18th.

DIT also runs a substantial programme of senior official-level engagement which includes Welsh Government colleagues, for example through our Senior Officials Group and Executive Forum.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department has taken to support the Welsh Government’s trade responsibilities established through the 2013 Devolution Memorandum of Understanding.

The 2013 MoU states that HMG has lead responsibility for the provision of support and assistance to new and existing exporters and outward investors both at home and overseas, and for promoting the UK to foreign investors. The Welsh Government is responsible for devising and implementing additional programmes to meet the particular needs of companies in Wales and for promoting Wales to foreign investors.

We are dedicated to providing the best possible trade and investment support for all nations of the United Kingdom. Last month, we announced a new Trade and Investment Hub in Cardiff as part of a new strategy to boost exports and bring the benefits of the government’s global trade policy to the whole of the UK, including benefits from future free trade agreements with the US, Australia, New Zealand and CPTPP. My colleague, the Minister of State for Trade Policy, holds regular bilateral meetings with his Welsh counterpart as well as the quarterly Ministerial Forum for Trade.

In 2020 more than 56,000 jobs were created throughout the UK through foreign investment, including 2,736 new jobs in Wales. Our free trade agreements will significantly benefit exporters in Wales. For example, indicative estimates show that an ambitious UK-US FTA could boost the economy in Wales by £154m.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department conducted an impact assessment on the establishment of a Trade and Investment Hub in Cardiff.

No impact assessment was conducted on the establishment of a Trade and Investment Hub in Cardiff. Government-led research included in a Board of Trade report published in March showed exports support 6.5m jobs across the UK, 74% of which are outside London. The research estimates jobs directly and indirectly supported by exports pay around 7% higher than the national median, with Office for National Statistics estimating that goods-exporting businesses are also 21% more productive. Exports and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will be central to this Government’s mission to ‘level up’ the UK economy. Given this context, the Trade and Investment Hubs in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast and Darlington will be established as part of the Department for International Trade’s refreshed strategy to boost exports and bring the benefits of the government’s global trade policy to the whole of the UK.
Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with HMRC to simplify the application of VAT charges on imported goods.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), HM Treasury and the Department for International Trade work closely together to ensure the interests of traders are taken into account in developing HM Government’s policies on Value Added Tax (VAT) and helping businesses understand the policies.

Following the end of the transition period, businesses can account for import VAT on goods from European Union (EU) and non-EU countries through their periodic VAT returns, helping with their cash flow. Changes to other VAT rules on the import of goods have been made to address non-compliance and ensure UK high street businesses are not disadvantaged by competition from overseas businesses bringing in VAT-free imports.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will (a) make an assessment of the potential effect on the price of food in the UK of a new trade agreement and (b) lay that assessment before Parliament before signing an agreement.

The potential benefits of our new Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) include better jobs, higher wages, more choice and lower prices for people across the United Kingdom.

HM Government has published scoping assessments for FTAs with the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. We will publish impact assessments following the outcome of negotiations too, which will include an assessment of the potential benefits for British consumers.

The Hon. Gentleman will recall that an impact assessment for the United Kingdom-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) has already been published.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the risk of litigation for developing countries through the Investor-state dispute settlement mechanism as a result of those countries' covid-19 response.

The United Kingdom has investment agreements with Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions with over 90 trading partners. HM Government recognises the importance of strengthening international investment in response to COVID-19, and the continuing important role played by both investment protection and ISDS provisions in safeguarding British investors overseas – including pensioners across the country through their pension funds, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

We are clear that HM Government and our treaty partners retain the right to regulate in the public interest, including for public health purposes, that is already recognised under international law. There has never been a successful ISDS claim against the United Kingdom, nor has the threat of potential claims affected our legislation.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what her Department's policy is on the use of the Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism.

The United Kingdom has already negotiated investment agreements with Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions with over 90 trading partners. The precise details of any future Free Trade Agreement (FTAs) are a matter for formal negotiations, and we would not seek to pre-empt these discussions.

HM Government recognises the important role that investment protections with ISDS can play in protecting British investors abroad – including pensioners across the country through their pension funds, and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Where ISDS is included in future agreements, we will seek to ensure fair outcomes of claims and high ethical standards for arbitrators, with increased transparency and efficiency of proceedings.

The conduct of ISDS cases is a matter for the parties involved in the dispute and the arbitral tribunal responsible for the proceedings under the relevant international investment agreement. HM Government is not a party to any such proceedings.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to help suspend Investor-State dispute settlement cases against Governments in countries that are affected by the covid-19 pandemic.

The United Kingdom has already negotiated investment agreements with Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions with over 90 trading partners. The precise details of any future Free Trade Agreement (FTAs) are a matter for formal negotiations, and we would not seek to pre-empt these discussions.

HM Government recognises the important role that investment protections with ISDS can play in protecting British investors abroad – including pensioners across the country through their pension funds, and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Where ISDS is included in future agreements, we will seek to ensure fair outcomes of claims and high ethical standards for arbitrators, with increased transparency and efficiency of proceedings.

The conduct of ISDS cases is a matter for the parties involved in the dispute and the arbitral tribunal responsible for the proceedings under the relevant international investment agreement. HM Government is not a party to any such proceedings.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with her EU counterparts on restricting future international trade deals to countries that operate a market economy.

HM Government continues to engage regularly with all relevant counterparts as we carry out our ambitious programme of negotiating free trade deals, including negotiating our future relationship with the EU.

As we do so, we will continue to make decisions based on the United Kingdom’s national interest.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, which countries are deemed by her Department as operating under non-market economy conditions.

In line with WTO rules, the United Kingdom’s trade remedies framework allows the application of non-market economy treatment for countries:

a) That are not members of the WTO;

b) That are members of the WTO, but where the terms of their membership contain specific provisions regarding the determination of the normal value; or

c) Where there is a complete or substantially complete monopoly of its trade, and where all or substantially all domestic prices are fixed by the government.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what video conferencing system her Department will be using to conduct trade negotiations.

For security reasons I am unable to comment on the solution being used to conduct negotiations.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the export potential for green hydrogen produced in the UK.

The Department for International Trade is engaging with UK suppliers from the hydrogen industry, sector specific research centres and trade associations to understand UK capability across low carbon hydrogen technologies, including green hydrogen production. The Department is also working with UK suppliers, foreign Governments and procuring authorities to identify potential export markets and opportunities.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the export potential for green compressed natural gas.

No assessment has been undertaken by the Department for International Trade of the export potential for green compressed natural gas.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with the Welsh Government on the future role of that Government’s trade offices.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) engages extensively with the Devolved Administrations on all trade policy issues and the formulation of trade negotiation positions. I have regular contact with my Welsh Government counterpart, and in January I hosted the inaugural meeting of the Ministerial Forum for Trade, which will play an important role in ensuring that the voices of all the nations of the UK are considered as negotiations progress. DIT also runs a substantial programme of official level engagement, including our Senior Officials Group and regular policy engagement, to ensure DA views are inputted at all levels and all stages of the process.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made on trade negotiations with Algeria.

We have been in dialogue with all our trading partners around the world to ensure continuity of our current trading arrangements at the end of the Transition Period. Discussions with Algeria are ongoing, and I have personally visited Algeria to drive this agenda forward. These discussions will continue throughout the Transition Period.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department has made an assessment of the carbon footprint of each economic sector in its trade strategy.

The Department for International Trade is considering how to factor climate change and environmental impacts into the Government’s trade strategy, in order to drive the transition to a more sustainable global economy, whilst delivering economic benefits for the UK.

The Government is committed to tackling climate change at home and overseas. That is why we were the first major economy to legislate for net zero emission by 2050 and we will be targeting ambitious action to deliver on the promise of the 2015 Paris Agreement during our presidency of COP26 this year.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the levels of freight traffic passing through the ports of (a) Holyhead, (b) Pembroke dock and (c) Fishguard in (i) 2019 and (ii) 2022.

Ports and Port policy in Wales (with the exception of the port of Milford Haven) are devolved and are handled by the Welsh Assembly.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing a system of licensing for drivers of jet skis.

The riding of personal watercraft for pleasure is, in the majority of cases, conducted both sensibly and safely. Serious incidents involving these craft are rare. However, the Department recognises that, through their actions, a minority of users can endanger other water users and wildlife.

Local and harbour authorities already have significant powers to respond to instances of dangerous or anti-social behaviour in the waters they manage. To provide additional support, the Department has recently consulted on draft legislation to implement additional enforcement measures to enable those who do misuse personal watercraft to be prosecuted. The Department believes this is a proportionate and effective response to the issue.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has undertaken an impact assessment on the effect of Marine Guidance Note 628 on the Welsh fishing fleet.

Marine Guidance Note 628 came into effect on 20 July 2020, when SEAFISH Industry Authority ceased to undertake the survey of new build fishing vessels. An internal assessment was conducted on the impact of the changes on all fishing vessels being built in the United Kingdom or for The UK Ship Register, which will have included those built for use in Wales. To ensure a smooth transition, no changes to the technical requirements of the standards were made until a formal review has taken place.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his timeframe is for bringing forward legislative proposals to bring personal watercraft within the safe use and conduct provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995.

We are continuing to develop the necessary proposals to bring personal watercraft within the safe use and conduct provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995. A public consultation seeking comments on the draft legislation will be published once this process has been completed.

Local and harbour authorities already have significant powers to introduce measures to deal with any issues in the waters they manage through byelaws and harbour directions.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussion he has had with her Welsh counterpart on improving the competitiveness of Holyhead port for EU transit traffic relative to European mainland ports.

The Port of Holyhead, and utilisation of the ‘land bridge’, remains a competitive option for freight traffic to and from Ireland and the European mainland and is a preference for many freight operations. The land bridge route has significant advantages for hauliers over maritime routes and I am confident that Welsh ports will continue to thrive as we build on the opportunities provided by being an independent trading nation.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment has he made of the effect of migration provisions in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on the ability of UK road transport businesses to hire drivers.

The economic impacts of the measures necessary to tackle Covid-19 have changed the UK labour market with many UK-based workers needing to find new employment opportunities.

Therefore, our focus is on supporting the industry to address the driver shortage by training more UK-based drivers. This is being facilitated through apprenticeships and support for jobseekers to access driver training, including support to renew their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).

The Department has provided grant funding for the non-profit initiative Road to Logistics to train military service leavers, ex-offenders and the long term unemployed, and to Think Logistics/Career Ready to change perceptions of the industry among young people.

20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the Barnett consequential payment to the Welsh Government in the event that responsibility for rail in Wales was devolved in the same manner as in Scotland.

There are currently no plans for further devolution of the railway in Wales beyond the Core Valley lines which were devolved in March 2020. The Welsh and English railways are highly integrated. In the absence of a specific devolution proposal, it is difficult to make any meaningful assessment of a Barnett consequential.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the amount of funding that would be allocated to the Welsh rail system in the event that funding was allocated in proportion to (a) the number of passenger journeys, (b) the length of the rail network and (c) on a per capita basis.

DfT has not made such an assessment. While these factors such as total track miles and passenger miles impact the cost base of the railway, overall the railway is not funded on this basis. Railway decisions are made on a range of operational and engineering needs as well as economic, commercial, social and environmental considerations. This is in addition to considering the impact of wider transport investments taken as a whole.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding has been invested in the rail network in Wales in each of the last three years for which figures are available.

During this financial year (2021/2022), the third year of the current Network Rail Control Period (which runs from 2019 to 2024), planned spend on renewals in Wales is £226 million.

The past expenditure on renewals in Wales by year during this Control Period was £223 million in 2020/2021 and £185 million in 2019/2020.

While figures for expenditure on enhancements as a separate line item are not easily available given the nature of Network Rail funding and the different sources of funding for projects that are termed as ‘enhancements’, there was from FY18/19 to FY20/21 an estimated £143m invested in enhancements in Wales, predominantly in FY20/21.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the British Transport Police Authority on ensuring effective enforcement of covid-19 restrictions.

As the responsible Minister, I have discussed the enforcement of covid-19 restrictions and other operational issues with both the British Transport Police Authority and the Chief Constable of the British Transport Police Force, who is responsible for the delivery of operational policing. In addition, officials have regular discussions with the British Transport Police regarding its work to support Covid-19 regulations and Government guidance.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of blacklisting sellers of unroadworthy vehicles with improperly issued MOT certificates.

The Department for Transport has not made a recent assessment in this regard. However it is already an offence to sell a vehicle that is in an unroadworthy condition under section 75 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of vehicles not fit for the roads that have been improperly issued a MOT certificate in each of the last five years.

The Department for Transport does not make an annual assessment on this basis. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) takes action against garages if they are found to be issuing certificates to unroadworthy vehicles, including stopping them from testing altogether. In 2020 the DVSA stopped 443 garages and testers from testing.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department made of the potential merits of extending the current appeal periods for improperly issued MOT certificates of (a) three months for corrosion-related problems or (b) 28 days for other defects for buyers of unworthy road vehicles.

The Department for Transport has not made a recent assessment of extending the appeals periods for improperly issued MOT certificates. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) consider that 28 days for mechanical defects and 3 months for corrosion are still fit for purpose.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential (a) long-term and (b) short-term freight traffic flows through the port of (i) Holyhead and (ii) Liverpool after the end of the transition period.

DfT has considered the impact of additional border requirements for goods travelling to the EU following the end of the transition period. In the case of both Liverpool and Holyhead detailed modelling has been undertaken considering the potential impact of these additional checks. The modelling considered a Reasonable Worst Case Scenario (RWCS). Even under the RWCS, disruption is expected to be relatively limited at these locations with any queues clearing within the day and as such there is not expected to be a marked knock on impact on the volume of goods travelling through those ports. This impact is also expected to reduce as traders become used to the new border requirements over time. Nevertheless these queues could lead to short term localised traffic disruption. DfT has shared the results of its modelling with the Welsh Government and relevant Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) so that these estimates can be considered in the development of their traffic management plans.

8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 8 September 2020 to Question 82606, what progress he has made on those enforcement measures; when he plans to publish those measures; whether he plans to ensure that those measures cover England and Wales; and if he will make a statement.

The Department is continuing to develop draft legislation which will provide powers for enforcement authorities to ensure that anyone who wilfully or neglectfully causes an accident when using a personal water craft can be prosecuted. A consultation on the draft legislation, which would be applicable to the whole of the United Kingdom, will be published shortly.

Local and harbour authorities already have significant powers to introduce measures deal with any issues in the waters they manage through byelaws and harbour directions.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his timescale is for the completion of the Union Connectivity Review; whether that review will make an assessment of the potential merits of air connectivity between (a)(i) Ynys Mon and (ii) Gwynedd and London and (b)(i) Ynys Mon and (ii) Gwynedd and Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

The Union Connectivity Review interim report will be published in January 2021, with final recommendations in Summer 2021. The Review will cover transport connectivity between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland via road, rail and air and across the Irish Sea. This will be an independent review chaired by Sir Peter Hendy who will determine which air corridors should be assessed.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the eligibility criteria for future funding packages to protect ferry freight routes; what assessment he has made of the potential merits of basing that eligibility on (a) projections of profitability, (b) financial losses and (c) planned redundancies.

As well as safeguarding vital lifeline services to the Isle of Wright and the Isles of Scilly, we announced a package for critical Roll On, Roll Off (RoRo) freight routes between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and mainland Europe, on 24 April. We will shortly publish information about which of the eligible 31 routes will receive funding.

Kelly Tolhurst
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the criteria was for the allocation of funding to protect routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland; when he plans to publish details of further support for (a) routes between Wales and the Republic of Ireland and (b) other ferry routes; and if he will publish details of the financial commitments made under the joint statement between the UK, France and Ireland, published on 24 April 2020.

The Government has announced potential support for routes that ensure the flow of critical goods into and within the UK.

Discussions are ongoing with operators on eligible routes to determine whether those routes are no-longer economically viable. We will keep the scheme under review and we are working closely with the Devolved Administrations.

There are no financial commitments as part of the Joint Statement with France and Ireland.

Kelly Tolhurst
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is taking to help reduce disruption to British ports as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has a programme of ongoing engagement with ports associations and individual ports, to ensure that there is as little interruption as possible to the flow of goods in and out of the UK. The security and safety of seafarers and port workers continues to be protected.

Kelly Tolhurst
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the new spending on re-opening historic railway lines announced on 28 January will (a) apply to England only and (b) result in Barnett consequentials for the devolved administrations.

The UK Government’s announcement is for £500m funding to support railway re-openings within the territory for which it has funding responsibility (England and Wales). It has no immediate implications for DfT’s spending limits, and therefore none for funding of railways in the Devolved Administrations.

The final profile and exact funding arrangements for the reversing Beeching Fund have not yet been agreed. Final decisions on funding will be made at the Spending Review in the usual way.

Her Majesty’s Government is clear about the benefit of pan UK connections. For example, elsewhere in the United Kingdom the Government is supporting the examination of the potential reopening of the Edinburgh- Carlisle ‘Waverley line’ as part of the Borders Growth Deal.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to begin issuing migration notices to claimants living in Wales following the resumption of the managed migration process on the 9 May 2022.

The Department is currently focused on the Discovery Phase of managed migration. During this phase we will work with small numbers of existing benefit claimants from different places across the country to focus on identifying what is needed to prompt and help someone to make a claim to Universal Credit.

The first 500 notices were successfully issued in Bolton and Medway and we will now be expanding to new areas from the end of July, beginning in Cornwall.

We are committed to ensuring that Universal Credit is rolled out smoothly by the end of 2024.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department conducted a public sector equality duty assessment on its decision to discontinue uprating Local Housing Allowance in line with the 30th percentile of market rates.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) determines the maximum financial support available for renters in the private rented sector.

The Secretary of State has complied with her duties under the Equality Act 2010 in respect of her decisions on the LHA. Copies of the equality analysis for the decisions on LHA rates for 2021-22 and 2022-23 were placed in the House of Commons Library on 26 April 2022.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many calls were made to the Child Maintenance Service telephone line in each of the last three years.

Calls made to the Child Maintenance Group over the last three years:

  • In the reporting year April 2019 to March 2020 there were 3,464,411 calls offered to CMG lines and 2,750,564 calls answered.

  • In the reporting year April 2020 to March 2021 there were 1,494,693 calls offered to CMG lines and 1,098,457 calls answered.

  • In the reporting year April 2021 to March 2022 there were 1,853,671 calls offered to CMG lines and 1,403,895 calls answered.

Calls Offered. - The total volume of calls entering a queue to await answer.

Calls Answered - The total volume of calls successfully connected to agents from the queue.

Source: Operational MI System (OPMIS) / Historical Management Information (HMI).

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Universal Credit claims were subject to deductions in each parliamentary constituency; what the (a) average size of sums and (b) total sum deducted was in each constituency; what proportion of each of those sums was deducted to repay advance payments; and how many children were living in households that were subject to deductions in each constituency in the most recent month for which data is available.

The Government recognises the importance of supporting welfare of claimants who have incurred debt. We seek to balance recovery of debt against not causing hardship for claimants and their families. Processes are in place to ensure deductions are manageable, and customers can contact DWP Debt Management if they are experiencing financial hardship, to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment or a temporary suspension, depending on their financial circumstances.

Since April 2021, we have reduced the normal maximum rate of deductions in Universal Credit from 40% to 25% of a claimant’s Standard Allowance. These positive measures were put in place to support claimants to manage financial difficulties

Advances are a claimant’s benefit entitlement paid early, allowing claimants to access 100% of their estimated Universal Credit payment upfront. They ensure nobody has to wait for a payment in Universal Credit and those who need it are able to receive financial support as soon as possible. Claimants can receive up to 100% of their estimated Universal Credit award if required, resulting in 25 payments over a 24-month period. This is not a debt.

The requested analysis of Universal Credit claims with a deduction in February 2022 by Parliamentary Constituency in Great Britain (GB) is provided in the separate spreadsheet.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 5 July 2022 to Question 27621 on Social Security Benefits: Injuries and Death, if she will publish that information by nation of the UK in which these occurred.

Please see the attached information as requested.

July 2020 to June 2021

July 2021 to June 2022

Eng

Scot

Wales

Eng

Scot

Wales

IPR Started – Death*

52

≤5

≤5

35

≤5

≤5

IPR Started - Serious Harm**

18

≤5

≤5

15

≤5

≤5

IPR Completed – Death*

33

≤5

≤5

39

≤5

≤5

IPR Completed - Serious Harm**

11

≤5

≤5

15

≤5

≤5

* Death includes the categories death, alleged suicide and confirmed suicide.

** Serious Harm includes the categories self-harm, serious harm, attempted suicide and ‘other’.

NB: Prior to July 2020 IPR data on the nation of occurrence was not captured. We do not hold information for Northern Ireland.

≤5 signifies figures less than or equal to 5.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the number of children in each nation of the United Kingdom that would be lifted out of child poverty if Universal Credit was increased by (a) £20, (b) £30 and (c) £40 per week.

No assessment has been made.

This Government is committed to reducing child poverty and supporting low-income families, and believes work is the best route out of poverty.  Our approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of parental employment - particularly where it is full-time – in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty and in improving long-term outcomes for families and children. The latest available data on in-work poverty shows that in 2019/20, children in households where all adults were in work were around six times less likely to be in absolute poverty (before housing costs) than children in a household where nobody works.

The government is providing over £15bn in further support, targeted particularly on those with the greatest need. This package is in addition to the over £22bn announced previously, with government support for the cost of living now totalling over £37bn this year. This means that millions of low-income households will get £1,200 of one-off support in total this year to help with the cost of living, with all domestic electricity customers receiving at least £400.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many local authorities in Wales have requested a review of their Broad Rental Market Area boundaries in each of the last five years; and how many of those were successful.

We do not hold this information.

Rent Officers Wales has responsibility for setting broad rental market area boundaries in Wales.

Broad rental market areas are determined in accordance with requirements laid down in legislation. Each area must contain a variety of property types and tenures, sufficient privately rented accommodation and access to facilities for health, education, recreation, banking and shopping.

Local authorities may request a review of any broad rental market area that impacts on its administrative area by submitting a written request, including relevant reasons, to Rent Officers Wales.

Where rent officers decide that a boundary should be moved, they must carry out a review, consulting with affected local authorities among others, and submit a recommendation to the Secretary of State for agreement. No broad rental market area reviews have been submitted by Rent Officers Wales in the last five years.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the impact of not increasing Local Housing Allowance in line with rents on levels of homelessness in Wales.

The causes of homelessness are multi-faceted and often complex, they interact dynamically making it very difficult to isolate the relative importance of individual factors. The UK Government has invested heavily in supporting low-income households with their housing costs with £29 billion spent on housing support alone last year, and our housing support offer remains higher than it was before the pandemic.

In April 2020 investment in LHA rates was boosted by nearly £1 billion, providing 1.5 million claimants who rent in the private sector with an average £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. Rates have been maintained at their increased 2020 levels so that claimants continue to benefit from the significant increase. LHA rates are not intended to cover all rents in all areas.

For those who require additional support with housing costs, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. Since 2011 we have provided nearly £1.5 billion in funding for DHPs.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has made an assessment of the impact of changes to Local Housing Allowance on the amount spent in (a) Gwynedd and (b) Wales on Discretionary Housing Payments.

No such assessment has been made.

In April 2020 investment in LHA rates was boosted by nearly £1 billion, providing 1.5 million claimants who rent privately with an average £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. Rates have been maintained at their increased 2020 levels in 2021/22 and 2022/23 so that claimants continue to benefit from the significant increase.

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) continue to be an important element of an extensive cross-Government housing support package with almost £1.5 billion of DHP funding provided to local authorities since 2011.

The UK Government has invested heavily in supporting low-income households with their housing costs with £29 billion spent on housing support alone last year, and our housing support offer remains higher than it was before the pandemic.

We are also investing more than £2 billion of funding to tackle and prevent homelessness and rough sleeping over the next three years.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of the reduction in Discretionary Housing Payments funding on households in Wales.

No such assessment has been made.

In April 2020 investment in LHA rates was boosted by nearly £1 billion, providing 1.5 million claimants who rent privately with an average £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. Rates have been maintained at their increased 2020 levels in 2021/22 and 2022/23 so that claimants continue to benefit from the significant increase.

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) continue to be an important element of an extensive cross-Government housing support package with almost £1.5 billion of DHP funding provided to local authorities since 2011.

The UK Government has invested heavily in supporting low-income households with their housing costs with £29 billion spent on housing support alone last year, and our housing support offer remains higher than it was before the pandemic.

We are also investing more than £2 billion of funding to tackle and prevent homelessness and rough sleeping over the next three years.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department plans to undertake an assessment of the accuracy of the mechanism and metrics used to calculate (a) the rate at which Local Housing Allowance is set and allocated in Wales and (b) broad rental market area boundaries in Wales.

No recent assessment has been made.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates determine the maximum housing support available to claimants in the private rented sector. They are not intended to cover all rents in all areas.

In April 2020 investment in LHA rates was boosted by nearly £1 billion, providing 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. Rates have been maintained at their increased 2020 levels so that claimants continue to benefit from the significant increase.

The Secretary of State will review the rates annually in the usual way.

For those who require additional support with housing costs, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. Since 2011 we have provided nearly £1.5 billion in funding for DHPs.

LHA rates vary by geographical regions called broad rental market areas. The boundaries of the broad rental market areas in Wales are determined and kept under review by Rent Officers Wales. If they decide that a boundary should change, they can submit a review to the Secretary of State for consideration.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she mas made of the potential merits of increasing the Local Housing Allowance in line with the increase in the cost of rents.

No recent assessment has been made.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates determine the maximum housing support available to claimants in the private rented sector. They are not intended to cover all rents in all areas.

In April 2020 investment in LHA rates was boosted by nearly £1 billion, providing 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. Rates have been maintained at their increased 2020 levels so that claimants continue to benefit from the significant increase.

The Secretary of State will review the rates annually in the usual way.

For those who require additional support with housing costs, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. Since 2011 we have provided nearly £1.5 billion in funding for DHPs.

LHA rates vary by geographical regions called broad rental market areas. The boundaries of the broad rental market areas in Wales are determined and kept under review by Rent Officers Wales. If they decide that a boundary should change, they can submit a review to the Secretary of State for consideration.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland and (c) England who are only eligible for the Shared Accommodation Local Housing Allowance rate reside in one-bedroom homes.

As of November 2021, the information requested is available for people in receipt of Housing Benefit, as follows:

Number of people entitled to SAR living in a 1-bedroom property

Wales

571

Scotland

525

England

12,322

The information requested is not readily available for people in receipt of Universal Credit Housing Element.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an estimate of the average difference between the rent being paid by individuals in receipt of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and the LHA rate in each local authority in Wales in the most recent period for which data is available.

As of November 2021, the average monthly difference between the rent being paid by individuals in receipt of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and the LHA rate in each Welsh local authority is as below:

Local Authority

Average monthly difference between rent and LHA rate

Blaenau Gwent

£75

Bridgend

£59

Caerphilly

£69

Cardiff

£12

Carmarthenshire

£58

Ceredigion

£50

Conwy

£74

Denbighshire

£67

Flintshire

£48

Gwynedd

£70

Isle of Anglesey

£49

Merthyr Tydfil

£65

Monmouthshire

£91

Neath Port Talbot

£68

Newport

£49

Pembrokeshire

£75

Powys

£81

Rhondda Cynon Taf

£64

Swansea

£30

Torfaen

£59

Vale of Glamorgan

£78

Wrexham

£45

Average difference figures include both households where the rent paid by individuals is lower than the LHA and households where the rent paid by individuals is higher than the LHA. Positive values relate to where monthly rent is higher than the monthly LHA rate on average in a local authority.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much her Department has spent on housing payments to individuals in receipt of Universal Credit in Wales in each of the last five years.

The information requested on Universal Credit Housing Element (UCHE) expenditure in Wales is not readily available and to provide it would incur a disproportionate cost.

UCHE expenditure is available at the GB level for 2019/20 and 2020/21, on rows 8 and 60 of the housing benefits sheet of the benefit expenditure and caseload tables for Autumn Budget 2021:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/benefit-expenditure-and-caseload-tables-2021

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of increased costs of heating oil on levels of poverty in (a) Arfon constituency, (b) Wales, (c) England, (d) Scotland and (e) Northern Ireland.

No specific assessment has been made with regards to heating oil.

The Government is providing £12 billion of support to ease cost of living pressures, with help targeted at working families, low-income households and the most vulnerable. A further £9 billion has been announced to protect against the impact of rising global energy prices.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the impact of not uprating benefits in line with inflation on the incomes of households in receipt of universal credit.

The Secretary of State undertakes an annual review of benefits and pensions based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation in the year to September. All benefit up-rating since April 1987 has been based on the increase in the relevant price inflation index in the 12 months to the previous September.

The Government is providing £12 billion of support with the cost of living, with help targeted at working families, low-income households and the most vulnerable. A further £9 billion has been announced to protect against the impact of rising global energy prices.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of not uprating benefits in line with inflation on levels of child poverty in Arfon constituency.

No such assessment has been made. The Government is up-rating benefits in line with inflation. The Secretary of State undertakes an annual review of benefits and pensions with reference to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). All benefit up-rating since April 1987 has been based on the increase in the relevant price inflation index in the 12 months to the previous September. The relevant benefits are increasing by 3.1% from April.

The latest statistics on the number and proportion of children who are in low income families by local area, covering the six years, 2014/15 to 2019/20, can be found in the annual publication: Children in low income families: local area statistics 2014 to 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab).

This Government is committed to reducing poverty and supporting low-income families, and believes work is the best route out of poverty. Our approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of parental employment – particularly where it is full-time – in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty and in improving long-term outcomes for families and children.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will make an assessment of the cumulative impact on the living standards of households in receipt of universal credit of (a) not up-rating benefits in line with inflation, (b) the removal of the temporary £20 uplift to universal credit and (c) rising living costs.

No assessment of the cumulative impact of these measures has been made.

The Government is uprating Universal Credit in line with inflation. The Secretary of State undertakes an annual review of benefits and pensions with reference to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). All benefit up-rating since April 1987 has been based on the increase in the relevant price inflation index in the 12 months to the previous September. The relevant benefits are increasing by 3.1% from April.

The Government is providing £12 billion of support to ease cost of living pressures, with help targeted at working families, low-income households and the most vulnerable. A further £9 billion has been announced to protect against the impact of rising global energy prices.

Since 2010, the Government has regularly published cumulative analysis of the impacts of its tax, welfare and public spending policies on households. The most recent assessment was published at Budget 2021. It showed that, in 2021/22, the poorest 60% of households will receive more in public spending than they contribute in tax. And households in the lowest income decile will receive more than £4 in public spending for every £1 they pay in tax on average.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department most recently assessed the potential merits of extending to Wales the devolution of powers on social security afforded to Scotland.

Social security is a reserved matter in Wales. The UK Government has no plans to re-visit the devolution settlement confirmed in the Wales Act 2017.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the (a) number of people who have been overpaid and (b) the amount that has been overpaid, in error by her Department in Wales in each year since 2012.

We do not hold the requested information broken down by individual country or region.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Direct Earnings Attachments her Department has issued for debts that have been outstanding for two years or longer in Wales in each year since 2012.

We do not hold the requested information broken down by individual country or region.

DWP’s primary method of debt recovery is by deduction from any on-going benefit that might be in payment. There are limits on the amount we can deduct, as prescribed by legislation. In Universal Credit the maximum we can deduct, formerly 40% of the Universal Credit Standard Allowance, was reduced from 30% to 25% in April 2021.

Where recovery from ongoing benefit entitlement is not possible, DWP will seek to agree a voluntary repayment plan with the debtor, taking into account the amount they can reasonably afford to repay each month.

Where a person fails to agree a voluntary repayment plan, we can apply a Direct Earnings Attachment which allows deductions to be taken directly from a person’s earnings. A Direct Earnings Attachment will reflect the customer’s overall outstanding balance due, rather than any individual debt. Some recovery may already have been made by other methods prior to a Direct Earnings Attachment being issued.

Anyone with overpayment deductions who experiences financial hardship is encouraged to contact the Department’s Debt Management unit. Where a person cannot afford the proposed rate of these deductions, a lower amount can be negotiated.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the average length of time between the incurring of debts by claimants through overpayment of benefits as a result of errors made by her Department and the issuing of a Direct Earning Attachment by her Department to recover those debts.

We do not hold the requested information broken down by individual country or region.

DWP’s primary method of debt recovery is by deduction from any on-going benefit that might be in payment. There are limits on the amount we can deduct, as prescribed by legislation. In Universal Credit the maximum we can deduct, formerly 40% of the Universal Credit Standard Allowance, was reduced from 30% to 25% in April 2021.

Where recovery from ongoing benefit entitlement is not possible, DWP will seek to agree a voluntary repayment plan with the debtor, taking into account the amount they can reasonably afford to repay each month.

Where a person fails to agree a voluntary repayment plan, we can apply a Direct Earnings Attachment which allows deductions to be taken directly from a person’s earnings. A Direct Earnings Attachment will reflect the customer’s overall outstanding balance due, rather than any individual debt. Some recovery may already have been made by other methods prior to a Direct Earnings Attachment being issued.

Anyone with overpayment deductions who experiences financial hardship is encouraged to contact the Department’s Debt Management unit. Where a person cannot afford the proposed rate of these deductions, a lower amount can be negotiated.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential impact of removing the two-child policy limit on (a) current and (b) future levels of poverty in (i) Wales, (ii) England, (iii) Scotland and (iv) Northern Ireland.

No assessment has been carried out. However, latest figures from April 2021 indicate that over 50% of those households with three or more children who are in receipt of Universal Credit, are not affected by the two-child policy. Statistics relating to this policy are published annually, most recently on the 15 July 2021, and are available on GOV.UK.

Statistics from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2020, of all families with dependent children, 85% had a maximum of two in their family. The government therefore feels it is proportionate to provide support through Universal Credit for a maximum of two children. A benefits structure adjusting automatically to family size is unsustainable.

This policy also ensures fairness by asking families on benefits to make the same financial decisions as families supporting themselves solely through work. We recognise that some claimants are not able to make the same choices about the number of children in their family, which is why exceptions have been put in place to protect certain groups.

On 9 July 2021, the Supreme Court handed down its judgment in the judicial review of the two-child policy. The court found the two-child policy lawful and not in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential impact of removing the six week wait for new universal credit payments on (a) current and (b) future levels of poverty in (i) Wales, (ii) England, (iii) Scotland and (iv) Northern Ireland.

There are no plans to change the assessment period and payment structure of Universal Credit.

When claimants are paid Universal Credit is determined by the date of entitlement. The first payment is usually made around five weeks after the claim is made. The first calendar month is the initial assessment period. At the end of that period, entitlement for that month is calculated and paid 7 days later. Payments thereafter are made monthly in arrears.

The Universal Credit assessment period and payment structure are fundamental parts of its design. Universal Credit reflects payment patterns in the world of work, where the majority of people are paid monthly. Ensuring similarities between paid employment and receiving benefits eliminates an important barrier which could prevent claimants from adjusting to paid employment.

It is not possible to award a Universal Credit payment as soon as a claim is made as the assessment period must run its course before the award of Universal Credit can be calculated. It is not possible to accurately determine what a claimant’s entitlement will be in the month ahead. This process ensures claimants are paid their correct entitlement and prevents significant overpayments from occurring.

If new claimants need support before their first payment is made, all new claimants can request an advance of their entitlement to support them.

New Claims Advances are available urgently if a claimant needs support during their first assessment period and budgeting support is available for anyone who needs extra help. Advances of up to 100% of potential Universal Credit entitlement are available urgently if a claimant needs support. With an advance, claimants receive an additional Universal Credit payment, resulting in 25 payments over a 24-month period.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential impact of removing the benefit cap on (a) current and (b) future levels of poverty in (i) Wales, (ii) England, (iii) Scotland and (iv) Northern Ireland.

No assessment has been made of the potential impact of removing the benefit cap on the current and future levels of poverty in each nation.

The benefit cap provides a strong work incentive and fairness for hard-working taxpaying households and encourages people to move into work, where possible. This aligns with our long-term focus of continuing to support parents into, and to progress in, work. Our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which has recently been expanded by £500 million, will help people across the UK to find work and to boost their wages and prospects.

Households can still receive benefits up to the equivalent gross earnings of around £24,000, or around £28,000 in London.

The Government continues to monitor and publish trends in poverty across the UK. National Statistics on the number and percentage of people in poverty are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. This can be found at:

Households below average income: for financial years ending 1995 to 2020 - GOV.UK

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate her Department has made of the adequacy of local housing allowance rates to meet future housing costs in (a) Wales, (b) England, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland.

The Department has not made a recent estimate on the adequacy of local housing allowance rates to meet future housing costs in (a) Wales, (b) England, (c) Scotland. For d) social security is transferred to Northern Ireland.

In April 2020, we boosted investment in Local Housing Allowance rates by nearly £1 billion. We have maintained Local Housing Allowance rates at the same cash level for 2021/22 and they will remain at those levels for 2022/23, meaning everyone who benefitted from the increase will continue to do so.

For those who require additional support, Discretionary Housing Payments are available. Since 2011, we have provided almost £1.5 billion in Discretionary Housing Payments to local authorities for households who need additional support with their housing costs.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) people have been supported and (b) businesses established through the New Enterprise Allowance in I(i) Wales, (ii) Scotland, (iii) Northern Ireland and (iv) England since 2014.

New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) is available across Great Britain only. NEA data for England, Scotland and Wales is published on Gov.uk (link attached) New Enterprise Allowance: April 2011 to December 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) .

The Data tables: New Enterprise Allowance official statistics: April 2011 to December 2020 give the total number of participants broken down by month and also the individuals and businesses started on NEA broken down by regions.

23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of people have made benefit claims in Welsh in each year since 2015.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people who have received an underpayment of their benefits in Wales each year since 2015.

Details of fraud and error within the benefit system, including underpayments, are published on the Gov.UK website which can be accessed via the link below.

Fraud and error in the benefit system: financial year 2020 to 2021 estimates - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

These estimates relate to the levels of fraud and error in the benefit system in Great Britain. They are underpinned by reviews of benefit claimants in England, Wales and Scotland. We are unable to break down the statistics by region as the sample sizes are too small.

The main cause of underpayments is claimant error. To help prevent underpayments, we work hard to make it easy for claimants to tell us about changes in their circumstances and where possible, we look to update claims automatically. In Universal Credit changes can be reported electronically through the online journal.

Data is increasingly allowing the Department to check entitlement and correct any over or underpayment at the earliest opportunity. The automated use of Real Time Information means that for Universal Credit, PAYE earnings are captured automatically before any payment is.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of raising Local Housing Allowance rates in Wales on an annual basis to improve access to housing for people claiming Housing Benefit or the housing element of universal credit.

No such assessment has been made.

In April 2020 Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates were increased to the 30th percentile of local rents. This investment of nearly £1 billion provided 1.5 million claimants with an average of £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received.

We have maintained Local Housing Allowance rates at the same cash level for 2021/22. For example, the two-bedroom LHA rate in the North West Wales Broad Rental Market Area increased by over £50 a month.

For those who require additional support with housing costs, Discretionary Housing Payments are available. Since 2011 we have provided over £1 billion in Discretionary Housing Payments funding. We have allocated a further £140 million for Discretionary Housing Payments for 2021/22 in England and Wales.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of local housing allowance rates in Wales.

No such assessment has been made.

In April 2020 Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates were increased to the 30th percentile of local rents. This investment of nearly £1 billion provided 1.5 million claimants with an average of £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received.

We have maintained Local Housing Allowance rates at the same cash level for 2021/22. For example, the two-bedroom LHA rate in the North West Wales Broad Rental Market Area increased by over £50 a month.

For those who require additional support with housing costs, Discretionary Housing Payments are available. Since 2011 we have provided over £1 billion in Discretionary Housing Payments funding. We have allocated a further £140 million for Discretionary Housing Payments for 2021/22 in England and Wales.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of levels compliance of digital universal credit systems with operation requirements set out in social security regulations.

The Department, like other government departments, is obliged to comply with legal, security and regulatory requirements, including published minimum government security standards. This is regularly reviewed for Universal Credit, and the system complies with all relevant standards.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact that the re-introduction of conditionality requirements has had on the mental health of benefit claimants.

The Departmental guidance is continually reviewed and updated to ensure it reflects the changes to public health guidelines and easements due to Covid-19.

We believe it is important to ensure claimants have the support they need to move closer to and into employment if and when they are able. As such, for claimants who are expected to look for work, any work-related requirements are set in discussion with them and will always be tailored to their individual capability and circumstances, making them realistic and achievable.

We ensure that our more vulnerable claimants are further protected by exempting those with more serious medical conditions including mental health conditions and disabilities from any form of conditionality.

1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential effect of ending the £20 universal credit uplift on levels of poverty in Wales.

No such assessment has been made.

It is not possible to produce a robust estimate of the impact of removing the £20 uplift on child poverty. This is particularly the case at the moment given the uncertainty around the speed of the economic recovery, and how this will be distributed across the population.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help people move into and progress in work as quickly as possible based on clear evidence around the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty. Our ambitious Plan for Jobs is already delivering for people of all ages right across the country and includes new schemes such as the £2 billion Kickstart Scheme, the £2.9bn Restart Scheme and our Job Entry Targeted Support Scheme.”

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the rate of Local Housing Allowance on levels of rent arrears in Wales.

No assessment has been made.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential effect of the reduction of discretionary housing payment funding on levels of rent arrears in Wales.

We consider the allocation of Discretionary Housing Payments to individual local authorities each year and monitor evolving demand and trends.

For 2020-21 the Government provided an additional £40 million to help tackle affordability pressures in the private rented sector taking the total allocation for local authorities in England and Wales up from £140m to £180 million.

This year in recognition of the significant investment in April 2020 of nearly £1billion in Local Housing Allowance, Discretionary Housing Payments funding to help support vulnerable people with housing costs is set at £140m for local authorities in England and Wales. In addition to the central government contribution, English and Welsh local authorities are able to top up Discretionary Housing Payment funding up to a maximum of two and a half times this figure using their own funds.

The investment in LHA rates provided 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support last year than they would otherwise receive. We have maintained LHA rates at the same cash level for 2021/22, rather than reverting back to previous rates.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment has she made of the number of people in (a) Arfon (b) Wales who will no longer receive payments through Post Office Card Accounts.

We do not hold information on Post Office card account customers in specific geographical areas.

The Department is committed to supporting customers to access their benefit and pension payments as we transform our Payment Exception Services. When the Post Office card account contract ends nobody will be left without a means to access to their benefits or pension. A Payment Exception Service will continue to be in place for those who are unable to provide a standard account.

The Department has put in place a dedicated experienced team, the Financial Inclusion Customer Contact Centre, to support all Post Office Card Account customers to update their payment details to a standard account. The team can answer questions about the payment change and signpost customers to impartial financial advice if they need help to identify a suitable alternative account.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the High Court's ruling in January 2021, what steps her Department is taking to amend or remove the proof of payment mechanism for assessing and paying the childcare costs element of universal credit.

The Department has been granted permission to appeal. It is therefore not appropriate to comment at this time. It should be noted there are no changes to the current processes and the legislation remains the same.

The policy of reimbursing actual childcare costs paid has, as intended, resulted in a significantly lower level of fraud and error than in the legacy system, which was based on projected costs.

Eligible claimants can claim up to 85% of their registered childcare costs each month compared to 70% in legacy benefits.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of improving the clarity of information in the Child Maintenance Service's written communications to service users.

The Department and the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) regularly review the Services offered to customers, including written communications. In 2018 we identified the top ten letters sent by CMS and worked with partners to simplify them; this included, removal of duplication and simplifying the language where appropriate, whilst moving key messages up front so they could be easily identified and understood by customers.

We have also implemented several improvement suggestions from Independent Case Examiners, including clarification of the complaints process and communication with employers

We have reduced the volume of letters being sent to customers, focusing instead on fewer, clearly worded letters that can be used across the board.

In addition, the DWP External Communications team continually review letters to ensure they meet the agreed communications standard which comprises: using plain English, no jargon, no Latin words and no contractions. Whilst making sure the message is clear, helpful, respectful and positive.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Child Maintenance Service takes to monitor the efficacy of its communication practices with service users.

We are committed to ensuring our communications with claimants are clear, accurate and understandable. Using customer insight, we continuously improve our letters and take into account all the feedback we receive, analysing complaints and customer calls to further understand and focus out improvement activity, including customer testing of the messages within our letters.

The Department Customer Charter provides the standard against which all aspects of service delivery are measured. Measurement against these standards is conducted via customer surveys are carried out regularly with customers across all contact channels and customers are asked specifically about our communication practices under the ‘easy access’ and ‘keeping you informed’ elements of the Charter. Customer satisfaction levels and feedback recorded against these measures are utilised to continually improve our services.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints the Child Maintenance Service has received relating to problems with unclear communications to service users since 2019.

In the year with the most recent data (2019/2020), the Department recorded a total of 1,374 complaints to the Child Maintenance Service about unclear communications.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the comparative effects of the two-child limit on (a) universal credit and (b) child tax credit support on different ethnic groups in (a) Wales and (b) the rest of the UK since 2017.

The Government has committed to annual statistics releases related to the operation of the policy to provide support for a maximum of two children. Statistics related to the period up to April 2020 were published in July 2020 and can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-tax-credit-and-universal-credit-claimants-statistics-related-to-the-policy-to-provide-support-for-a-maximum-of-2-children-april-2020. Statistics related to the period up to April 2021 will be published in the summer.

The government’s published Impact Assessment noted that ethnic minority households may be more likely to be impacted by the policy. This is because they are, on average, more likely to be in receipt of CTC and UC, and on average have larger families. However, the government does not collect sufficiently robust data on the ethnic background or religious beliefs of benefit claimants to enable a fuller assessment of the impact of the policy on particular ethnic or religious groups. The Government has assessed the impact of the policy from an equality and human rights perspective, meeting our obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty, and ensuring compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the UN Convention.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many additional children in Wales have been affected by the two-child limit on universal and child tax credit since March 2020.

The Government has committed to annual statistics releases related to the operation of the policy to provide support for a maximum of two children. Statistics related to the period up to April 2020 were published in July 2020 and can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-tax-credit-and-universal-credit-claimants-statistics-related-to-the-policy-to-provide-support-for-a-maximum-of-2-children-april-2020. Statistics related to the period up to April 2021 will be published in the summer.

The government’s published Impact Assessment noted that ethnic minority households may be more likely to be impacted by the policy. This is because they are, on average, more likely to be in receipt of CTC and UC, and on average have larger families. However, the government does not collect sufficiently robust data on the ethnic background or religious beliefs of benefit claimants to enable a fuller assessment of the impact of the policy on particular ethnic or religious groups. The Government has assessed the impact of the policy from an equality and human rights perspective, meeting our obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty, and ensuring compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the UN Convention.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the comparative effects of the two child limit on (a) universal credit and (b) child tax credit support between (a) Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) England and (d) Northern Ireland since 2017.

The Government has committed to annual statistics releases related to the operation of the policy to provide support for a maximum of two children. Statistics related to the period up to April 2020 were published in July 2020 and can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-tax-credit-and-universal-credit-claimants-statistics-related-to-the-policy-to-provide-support-for-a-maximum-of-2-children-april-2020. Statistics related to the period up to April 2021 will be published in the summer.

The government’s published Impact Assessment noted that ethnic minority households may be more likely to be impacted by the policy. This is because they are, on average, more likely to be in receipt of CTC and UC, and on average have larger families. However, the government does not collect sufficiently robust data on the ethnic background or religious beliefs of benefit claimants to enable a fuller assessment of the impact of the policy on particular ethnic or religious groups. The Government has assessed the impact of the policy from an equality and human rights perspective, meeting our obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty, and ensuring compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the UN Convention.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of increasing the uplift to the disability living allowance for 2021-22 so that it is above the rate of inflation.

DLA was most recently uprated by 1.7 per cent from 6 April 2020 and will see a further increase of 0.5% from 12 April 2021, in line with CPI.

The disability benefits are not means–tested and are non-contributory and thus paid regardless of any income or savings. They are also tax-free and worth up to £151.40 a week. DLA can be paid in addition to other financial support that those with a health condition or disability may be eligible for, such as Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit. DLA also passports families to a range of additional support, including Carer’s Allowance, additional amounts and premiums paid within the income-related benefits, such as child disability additions paid within UC, the Blue Badge scheme, or financial help with NHS costs.

24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of implementing a £20 a week supplement to people receiving the Carers Allowance in Wales.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave on the 24th February 2021 to questions number 155395.

9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason the Child Maintenance Service formula is calculated using the gross income of recipients; and what assessment she has made of the potential merits of using the net income of recipients to make that calculation.

The former Child Support Agency (CSA) was consistently criticised for the complexity of its calculation process and the formation of the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) in 2012 sought to address this by moving from an assessment on a net income basis to a gross income basis.

CMS assessments are based initially on gross income information received directly from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Taking information directly from HMRC allows us to capture a wide range of income types received by paying parents. Basing the assessment on gross income data has enabled the Child Maintenance Service to significantly speed up the set-up of new cases which can be key to securing regular payments.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the APPG on Poverty's £20 uplift report published on 1 February 2021, what recent assessment she has made of the (a) removal of the £20 uplift to universal credit and working tax credit; (b) decision not to extend the £20 uplift to legacy and related benefits and (c) suspension of the benefit cap.

No assessment has been made.

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until March 2021. As the Government has done throughout this crisis, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context before making any decisions.

There are no plans to extend the temporary £20 uplift to legacy benefits. Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) if they think they will be better off and should check carefully their eligibility and entitlements under UC before applying, as legacy benefits will end when claimants submit their UC claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future. For this reason, prospective claimants are signposted to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK. Neither DWP nor HMRC can advise individual claimants whether they would be better off moving to UC or remaining on legacy benefits.

No assessment has been made with regards to suspending the benefit cap. There are currently no plans to change the Benefit Cap.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average length of a delay for payment of (a) employment and support allowance and (b) limited capability for work-related activity component of universal credit has been since March 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Claimants do not have to wait for a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) before they can be paid Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit (UC). They receive an assessment rate of ESA or a Standard Allowance of UC while their claim is being assessed.

For both ESA and UC, claimants will remain on the assessment rate or Standard Allowance award until the evidence needed to make a recommendation has been gathered (or until their benefit is due to end in contributory ESA). Any additional amounts the claimant may qualify for after their assessment will be backdated to ensure no long-term loss.

Statistics on WCAs for ESA by month of claim start to March 2020 for initial assessment outcomes, including those still in progress, assessment outcome by month of decision to June 2020, and clearance times for initial claims by month of clearance to June 2020, are published here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-january-2021

Statistics on WCAs for UC are currently under development for future publication and have not previously been published as official statistics. We will issue them in due course as an official statistics release in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Whilst the initial statistics will not have median clearance times, these will be developed for publication in due course.

4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have had their payment of (a) employment and support allowance and (b) limited capability for work-related activity component of universal credit delayed since March 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Claimants do not have to wait for a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) before they can be paid Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit (UC). They receive an assessment rate of ESA or a Standard Allowance of UC while their claim is being assessed.

For both ESA and UC, claimants will remain on the assessment rate or Standard Allowance award until the evidence needed to make a recommendation has been gathered (or until their benefit is due to end in contributory ESA). Any additional amounts the claimant may qualify for after their assessment will be backdated to ensure no long-term loss.

Statistics on WCAs for ESA by month of claim start to March 2020 for initial assessment outcomes, including those still in progress, assessment outcome by month of decision to June 2020, and clearance times for initial claims by month of clearance to June 2020, are published here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-january-2021

Statistics on WCAs for UC are currently under development for future publication and have not previously been published as official statistics. We will issue them in due course as an official statistics release in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Whilst the initial statistics will not have median clearance times, these will be developed for publication in due course.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that all those entitled to a UK state pension receive the full rate of that pension regardless of their country of residence.

The UK State Pension is payable worldwide to those who meet the qualifying conditions. Entitlement to the UK State Pension is based on a person’s National Insurance record without regard to nationality. The annual index-linked increases are paid to UK State Pension recipients where there is a legal requirement to do so. For example, where UK State Pension recipients are living in countries where there is a reciprocal agreement that provides for up-rating.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish her Department's review of the benefits system for terminally ill people.

The Department is committed to delivering an improved system for claimants that are nearing the end of their lives and is working across Government to bring forward proposals following the evaluation. I remain committed to implementing the key areas identified in the evaluation; the desire to change the six-month rule; improving ​consistency with other services used by people nearing the end of their lives; and raising awareness of the support that is available.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of terminally ill people who have experienced delays in receiving benefit payments when claiming under the Special Rules for Terminal Illness in (a) Wales and (b) the UK over the last five years.

No estimate has been made for the number of people who have experienced a delay in receiving benefit payment. The only available information on clearance times is for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) as there are published statistics, but the information is not readily available for other benefits and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

The Special Rules for Terminal Illness (SRTI) provide those with a limited life expectancy, simple and fast access to benefits. The SRTI allow claimants who are unlikely to live longer than 6-months to claim under a fast-tracked process without the requirement for waiting periods or a face-to-face assessment.

In October 2020, the end to end PIP median clearance time for SRTI claims was 5 working days. Data on median PIP clearance times for SRTI claims in Great Britain is published and covers each stage of the customer journey for the period covering April 2013 – October 2020 (the latest available data). This can be found in table 2B in the following published statistical tables:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/944014/tables-pip-statistics-to-october-2020.xlsx

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether eligible claimants of (a) employment and support allowance and (b) the Limited Capability for Work-Related Activity component of universal credit are potentially being required to attend face-to-face assessments to process a claim despite the suspension of such assessments for sickness and disability benefits since March 2020.

The department’s key priorities are the health and safety of our claimants and our staff and that claimants receive the support they are entitled to as soon as possible. As a result, all face to face assessments for health and disability benefits have remained suspended since March 2020. During the pandemic we have continued to assess claimants based on paper evidence where we can, using this route as often as we are able to. We have introduced telephone assessments and are working hard to increase the number of these assessments so that we can make the right decision for as many claimants as possible, while keeping them safe. We are currently in the early stages of testing Work Capability Assessment (WCA) video assessments.

Telephone assessments will not be appropriate for all claimants. We are aware that some claimants, particularly those with certain health conditions or disabilities, will have difficulty being assessed over the telephone. We are currently developing ways in which we can safely assess these claimants. For both Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC), claimants will remain on their current award until we gather the evidence needed to make a recommendation or are able to conduct a face to face assessment, (or until their benefit is due to end in contributory ESA). Any additional amounts the claimant may qualify for after their assessment will be backdated to ensure no long-term loss.

The suspension of face to face assessments is regularly reviewed in line with the latest public health guidance and will recommence as soon as it is safe to do so. The department remains committed to increasing the number of claimants able to participate in a non-face to face assessment by moving towards a wider range of channels. We are closely monitoring all new assessment processes and are working with our supplier to ensure claimants are assessed as quickly as possible.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the use of only non face-to-face forms of assessments for (a) employment and support allowance and (b) the Limited Capability for Work-Related Activity component of universal credit are viable methods for all eligible claimants to have their claims processed given the suspension of face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits since March 2020.

The department’s key priorities are the health and safety of our claimants and our staff and that claimants receive the support they are entitled to as soon as possible. As a result, all face to face assessments for health and disability benefits have remained suspended since March 2020. During the pandemic we have continued to assess claimants based on paper evidence where we can, using this route as often as we are able to. We have introduced telephone assessments and are working hard to increase the number of these assessments so that we can make the right decision for as many claimants as possible, while keeping them safe. We are currently in the early stages of testing Work Capability Assessment (WCA) video assessments.

Telephone assessments will not be appropriate for all claimants. We are aware that some claimants, particularly those with certain health conditions or disabilities, will have difficulty being assessed over the telephone. We are currently developing ways in which we can safely assess these claimants. For both Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC), claimants will remain on their current award until we gather the evidence needed to make a recommendation or are able to conduct a face to face assessment, (or until their benefit is due to end in contributory ESA). Any additional amounts the claimant may qualify for after their assessment will be backdated to ensure no long-term loss.

The suspension of face to face assessments is regularly reviewed in line with the latest public health guidance and will recommence as soon as it is safe to do so. The department remains committed to increasing the number of claimants able to participate in a non-face to face assessment by moving towards a wider range of channels. We are closely monitoring all new assessment processes and are working with our supplier to ensure claimants are assessed as quickly as possible.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many eligible claimants since March 2020 have had their (a) employment and support allowance or (b) limited capability for work-related activity component of universal credit payments delayed due to being required to attend face-to-face assessments to process their claim.

Claimants do not have to wait for a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) before they can be awarded Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or awarded Universal Credit (UC) on the grounds of having a health condition or disability, as they receive an assessment rate for ESA or Standard Allowance of UC while their claim is being assessed. Depending on the outcome of the WCA, some claimants may then be entitled to an additional amount.

For both ESA and UC, claimants will remain on their current award until we gather the evidence needed to make a recommendation or are able to conduct a face to face assessment (or until their benefit is due to end in contributory ESA). Any additional amounts the claimant may qualify for after their assessment will be backdated to ensure no long-term loss.

25th Jan 2021
What assessment she has made of the adequacy of benefit rates for disabled people on legacy benefits.

We will spend over £55 billion this year (2020/21) on benefits to support people with health conditions and disabilities. This will increase by £1.6 billion to £57 billion in 2021/22.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimates her Department has made of the number of people who have had welfare payments stopped due to being in receipt of the Welsh Government’s special payment scheme for social care staff.

For DWP purposes the payments made under the Welsh Government’s special payments scheme for social care staff are treated as earnings and are included in welfare benefit calculations. The impact on an individual claimant will depend on their household circumstances and the amount and type of welfare payments they are receiving. For income related benefits their award is calculated on the basis of the set benefit rate against money coming in to ensure fairness of treatment for all claimants against the money they have available. This means that as earnings increase the welfare payment reduces or stops. This is a long-standing principle of means-tested benefits.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what (a) discussions and (b) coordination have taken place between her Department and the Welsh Government to ensure that those in receipt of the special payment for social care staff in Wales are made aware that it is classified as income and included in welfare benefit calculations.

There is a well-established working relationship between The Department and Welsh Government at official level, ensuring that DWP policy and guidance is considered. Any further assurances would be a matter for Welsh Government.

Discussions with ourselves and HMRC took place following the Welsh Governments’ decision on 1st May 2020 to provide these one off payments to those in the Social Care workforce in recognition of the essential care they provide to our most vulnerable citizens during the Covid-19 pandemic. The discussions confirmed how these payments would be treated under current tax rules and therefore their treatment within the calculation of any means tested benefits those care workers in receipt of the payment were also claiming.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of EU citizens in the UK who have been unable to begin work due to employers refusing to employ workers without a national insurance number.

The department does not hold information on the number of EU nationals being turned down for work as a result of not having a National Insurance Number (NINo).

An individual can apply for a job or take up employment without a NINo. EU Nationals can evidence their Right to Work in the UK by providing their National Passport or Identity Card to any prospective employer.

All employers are required to conduct mandatory Right to Work checks on all prospective employees, however these checks do not include the provision of a NINo.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress has been made on introducing a digital solution to the process of issuing national insurance numbers which will provide (a) alternative identity verification solutions and (b) reduce the need for a face-to-face identity checks.

The department aims to reduce the reliance on a single Identity Verification Service by Quarter 2 in 2021. Part of this work is to introduce a new flexible reusable online service which will meet the needs of a wider range of customers that is not possible using a single solution. DWP will conduct the work to identify an online solution for those customers who have not been processed through the Home Office visa application process, to apply for National Insurance Numbers in the next Financial Year.

We are currently testing alternative identity verification solutions for some customer groups. This process will expand our ability to service a greater number of applicants whose identity has already been verified by another UK Government Department, primarily the Home Office, enabling us to offer an alternative to the need for face to face document examination. This will reduce the number of applicants that will be required to attend a face to face appointment following their digital application through the Apply for a NINO service.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the timescale of rolling out digital provision for issuing national insurance numbers to (a) Wales and (b) the rest of the UK.

The digital system ‘Apply for a NINo’ is for citizens to make an on-line application for a National Insurance number. The limited trial started in mid-October 2020 and is scheduled to run until January 2021. Once we receive confirmation that the service meets Government Digital Standards, we will then be able to extend the service to all applicants. The timescales for extending this service in Wales and UK is the same.

When applying for a National Insurance number, all applicants are required to have their identity verified. This verification is completed through attendance at a face to face interview with DWP unless we are able to confirm another Government Department has already done this.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to inform employers that national insurance numbers are not used as (a) proof of identity and (b) right to work in the UK.

The National Insurance Number (NINo) is an administrative reference number used by employers to record National Insurance contributions for their employees. Employees are advised when they receive their NINo that it is not proof of identity but that they must share it with their employer.

Possession of a National Insurance number does not demonstrate that an individual has a right to work in the UK, this is determined by Home Office legislation. A list of acceptable documents that enables an individual to demonstrate they have the right work is set out in the Employers Guide to Right to Work Checks.

https://www.gov.uk/prove-right-to-work

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will retain the minimum income floor for self-employed universal credit claimants while covid-19 related public health measures are in place in Wales.

The suspension of the Minimum Income Floor for Universal Credit that was due to expire on the 12th November 2020 will be extended to the end of April 2021.

9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the temporary suspension of the minimum income floor for self-employed universal credit claimants; and if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of permanently removing that floor.

The suspension of the Minimum Income Floor for Universal Credit that was due to expire on the 12th November 2020 will be extended to the end of April 2021.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason she did not extend the £20 uplift in universal credit to legacy benefits; and whether she plans to extend that uplift to those legacy benefits.

The Government introduced measures earlier this year that could be quickly and effectively put in place to benefit those facing the most financial disruption during the pandemic, including the £20 weekly increase to the Universal Credit Standard Allowance rates as a temporary measure for the 20/21 tax year. There are no plans to extend this to legacy benefits.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of reviewing her Department's spare room subsidy policy as part of the Government's response to the covid-19 outbreak.

There are no current plans to amend the removal of the spare room subsidy policy in response to covid-19. The policy already allows for the provision of an additional bedroom in certain circumstances, such as to support the needs of disabled people as well as exempting households in receipt of pension age Housing Benefit.

If a claimant’s ability to mitigate any shortfall between their housing support and rent has changed, Discretionary Housing Payments can be considered by their local authority. We announced last year an additional £40 million for Discretionary Housing Payments for 2020/21 in England and Wales.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants for (a) universal credit, (b) pension credit, (c) income-based jobseeker's allowance, (d) income-related employment and support allowance, (e) housing benefit and (f) income support have had their payments reduced due to reaching the savings threshold since March 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the appropriateness of the savings thresholds for (a) universal credit, (b) pension credit, (c) income-based jobseekers allowance, (d) income-related employment and support allowance, (e) housing benefit and (f) income support.

The capital limits are kept under continual review. However, they can be increased only when priorities and resources allow. The Government does not intend to increase the threshold at this time.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) EU nationals and (b) EU nationals with proof of Settled Status have had their claims for universal credit refused since March 2019; and what steps she is taking to ensure Settled Status is accepted as proof of residence by her staff.

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

Since 1st March 2019 to January 2020 there have been 27,600 UC Full Service claims closed due to failing the HRT from EEA nationals. Nearly 200,000 EEA nationals were successful in gaining access to Universal Credit during this period, showing the vast majority were accepted. It is normal on UC for some claims to be closed prior to first payment, this can be due to a number of reasons including claimants withdrawing their claim and some claims not being eligible.

The Home Office’s EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) allows EEA citizens to apply for settled status (typically on the basis of five years’ residence in the UK) and confirm their right to reside in the UK. The Habitual Residence Test recognises leave granted under the EU Settlement Scheme. EEA citizens with settled status who demonstrate habitual residence in the UK will pass the Habitual Residence Test (HRT) and be eligible to access tax-payer funded benefits, such as Universal Credit (UC).

The Department does not hold information on the number of EU nationals with settled status who have been refused UC.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people who requested a mandatory reconsideration of their universal credit claim before the covid-19 outbreak are awaiting the outcome; what the average wait is for universal credit mandatory reconsiderations; and what steps she is taking to ensure that people are supported while waiting for the outcome of those reconsiderations.

5% of the Mandatory Reconsiderations recorded prior to the CV19 outbreak are awaiting a decision.

Where a decision has been made, the average time to reach a decision is 26 calendar days.

Benefit claimants may also be eligible for assistance from their local Council through Local Welfare Support schemes. Councils will be able to use funding from the new £500 million Hardship Fund to provide further discretionary support to vulnerable people through other support arrangements such as Local Welfare Schemes.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of amending the eligibility criteria for backdating universal credit payments to include people affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

As Universal Credit claims can be made online or, where needed, by calling the Universal Credit helpline, most claims will not require backdating. However, backdating, up to a maximum of one month, is available where the circumstances are such that someone could not reasonably have been expected to claim earlier including due to illness, disability or an official computer system failure.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason the opening times of the universal credit helpline have changed; and if she will ensure that the (a) UK Government and (b) universal credit websites are updated with the new information.

Since the start of the pandemic, we have received unprecedented levels of claims for Universal Credit. This was accompanied by a significant increase in call volumes which was impacting our ability to support customers, particularly those making new claims.

To enable our people to pay customers their benefit, we implemented a temporary pause to the handling of general queries through the telephony service at the beginning and end of the day. The purpose of this change was to allow case managers to focus on progressing claims during these times.

New claim appointments and new claims by phone remained open as usual.

At the moment, people making new claims for Universal Credit do not in fact need to call the Department as part of the process and we have communicated that widely. Once they have completed their online application we will call them if we need to check any of the information they have given us.

The Universal Credit helpline returned to our normal operating hours from 11 May (8am-6pm, Monday to Friday).

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many EU citizens holding (a) settled status and (b) pre-settled status in Wales have had their applications for universal credit refused in each month in 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has plans to increase carer's allowance to reflect the (a) additional care that carers may be providing and (b) financial difficulties they may face as a result of loss of income during the covid-19 outbreak.

DWP has now introduced two important temporary measures to help unpaid carers through the current emergency:

  • unpaid carers will be able to continue to claim Carer’s Allowance if they have a temporary break in caring, because they or the person they care for gets coronavirus or if either have to isolate because of it. (Under normal rules there are restrictions on breaks in care, but these have been lifted.); and
  • providing “emotional support” (rather than just more traditional forms of care) to a disabled person will also now count towards the Carer’s Allowance threshold of 35 hours of care a week.

The rate of Carer’s Allowance was also increased in early April as part of the annual uprating process. Since 2010, the rate of Carer’s Allowance has increased from £53.90 to £67.25 a week, meaning nearly an additional £700 a year for carers. The standard allowance in Universal Credit has been temporarily increased for the 20/21 tax year by £86.67 per month (equivalent to £20 per week) on top of the planned annual uprating. This additional increase means claimants will be up to £1040 better off. Carers receiving Universal Credit will benefit from this.

Income replacement benefits help people and households on lower incomes, and can include a carer premium, currently £37.50 a week. An equivalent additional amount applies in Pension Credit. Universal Credit also includes a carer element at the rate of £162.92 per monthly assessment period. These amounts recognise the additional contribution and responsibilities associated with caring and mean that lower-income carers can receive more money than others who receive these benefits.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average cost to her Department is to process (a) paper and (b) oral hearings for mandatory reconsiderations for employment and support allowance.

The average cost to the Department to process a mandatory reconsideration for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in the last full financial year was £70. This is a combined figure for Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and Non-Work Capability Assessment cases.

All mandatory reconsiderations are ‘paper based’, although we may speak to the customer to get more information.

The costs provided are taken from the DWP’s Activity Based Models1 at an Operating Costs level which includes direct costs relating to staff undertaking the activities (staff, and local non-staff costs only). They do not include higher level support costs such as management and corporate overheads relating to administration activities.

1Please note that data supplied from the Departmental Activity Based Models is derived from unpublished management information which was collected for internal Departmental use only, and has not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standards. It should therefore be treated with caution and as an indication and not as a definitive cost. The Departmental Activity Based models are a snapshot of how many people were identified as undertaking specified activities as assigned by line managers. The data is frequently revised and changes to the definitions affect comparisons over time.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many sanctions were made against claimants of employment and support allowance in Wales in each of the last 12 months; how many of those people sanctioned asked for a mandatory reconsideration; and how many decisions on those sanctions for which such a reconsideration was requested were upheld.

The statistics are published in the Employment and Support Allowance Sanctions (Number of Decisions) dataset which can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many awards of compensation under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers Compensation) Act 1979 were paid to workers employed in (a) slate quarrying and (b) slate mining in the last year for which figures are available; and how many of those cases related to diffuse mesothelioma.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many awards of compensation under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers Compensation) Act 1979 were paid to workers employed in coal mining in the last year for which figures are available; and how many of those cases related to diffuse mesothelioma.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many awards of compensation under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers Compensation) Act 1979 were paid to workers employed in the textile industries in the last year for which figures are available; and how many of those cases related to diffuse mesothelioma.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many awards of compensation under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers Compensation) Act 1979 were paid to workers employed in the pottery industries in the last year for which figures are available; and how many of those cases related to diffuse mesothelioma.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she has taken to ensure that new universal credit claimants with children are made aware of the two child limit.

The Department publishes information for claimants on Universal Credit’s support for a maximum of two children on GOV.UK and this can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/universal-credit-and-families-with-more-than-2-children-information-for-claimants

Further advice can be provided to claimants through the freephone Universal Credit helpline and Jobcentres.

Providing support for a maximum of two children, or qualifying young persons in Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit, ensures fairness between claimants and those taxpayers who support themselves solely through work.

We recognise that some claimants are not able to make the same choices about the number of children in their family, which is why exceptions have been put in place to protect certain groups. On migration to Universal Credit, families’ existing entitlement will be protected.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her Department's policy is on receiving letters in the Welsh language; and what her Department's deadline is for replying to letters written in the (a) Welsh and (b) English language.

DWP welcomes letters in Welsh. When someone writes to us in Welsh, we will issue a reply in Welsh (if a reply is appropriate).

The target time for replying to letters written in Welsh is the same as the target for letters written in English.

Complaints – 15 working days

MPs writing to Ministers – 20 working days

Correspondence relating to policies – within 4 weeks

Where it is not possible to issue a substantial reply in this time, a written acknowledgement and explanation will be sent in whichever language the correspondence has been received (Welsh or English).

30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she has taken to make prospective parents aware of the two child limit on tax credits and universal credit in the last 12 months.

Information about this policy is available on GOV.UK and Jobcentre staff are able to advise on how the policy operates. The Government continues to look to identify effective ways of making prospective parents aware of the policy.

Claimants were alerted to this policy when it was announced by the Government as part of the Summer Budget 2015. HMRC, who currently have the majority of claims from those with more than two children, also provide information about this change in leaflets which are sent to all claimants renewing their Child Tax Credit claim.

DWP and HMRC also produce annual joint reports with statistics relating to the implementation of the policy. The most recent of these was published 31 July 2019 and can be found online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-tax-credit-and-universal-credit-claimants-statistics-related-to-the-policy-to-provide-support-for-a-maximum-of-2-children-april-2019

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answers of 18 January to Questions 7121 and 7122, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the gaps in the data relating to the two-child limit policy.

The Department has published an Impact Assessment of the two-child policy based on survey data which was of suitable quality to assess the impact of the policy from an equality and human rights perspective, meeting our obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty, and ensuring compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the UN Convention on the rights of children.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has made an assessment of the adequacy of the (a) services provided by and (b) number of Capita PIP assessment centres in (i) each local authority in Wales and (ii) each parliamentary constituency in Wales.

We set our assessment providers challenging targets, we monitor performance closely and manage contracts robustly. As part of the specification for the PIP assessment service assessment providers must provide sufficient suitable accommodation for face-to-face consultations. The department has set clear requirements in terms of geography/travel, security and claimant experience in relation to the sites used for PIP consultations. No claimant will be asked to travel more than 90 minutes to an assessment centre. Claimants can also make a request for a home assessment.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the two-child limit on child poverty in (a) each Welsh local authority and (b) each Welsh parliamentary constituency.

National Statistics on the percentage of children in low income households are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication and the latest year for which information is available is 2017/18. As the two-child limit policy was introduced in April 2017 there is insufficient data to assess any impacts of the policy on low income. Also estimates for the percentage of children in low income households are not available at local authority or parliamentary constituency level in this publication because the survey sample sizes are too small to support the production of robust estimates at this geography. For these two reasons it is not possible to evaluate the impacts of specific policies on poverty for these areas.

Data relating to the operation of the policy in Wales can be found in the latest annual statistics release which was published on 31 July 2019 and covers the period up to 2 April 2019. This data can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-tax-credit-and-universal-credit-claimants-statistics-related-to-the-policy-to-provide-support-for-a-maximum-of-2-children-april-2019

We have committed to further annual releases.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to undertake an impact assessment of the two-child limit on faith groups in Wales.

The Government’s view is that providing support for a maximum of two children or qualifying young persons in Universal Credit and Child Tax Credits, ensures fairness between claimants on the one hand and, on the other, those taxpayers who support themselves solely through work.

We recognise that some claimants are not able to make the same choices about the number of children in their family, which is why exceptions have been put in place to protect certain groups. On migration to Universal Credit, families’ existing entitlement will be protected.

The Department has published an Impact Assessment which noted ethnic minority households may be more affected by the policy. This is because on average, they are more likely to have larger families and be in receipt of Child Tax Credits and Universal Credit. However, the Department does not collect sufficiently robust data on our claimants’ ethnic or religious backgrounds to facilitate a more detailed assessment of the policy’s impact on specific ethnic or religious groups.

The Government has assessed the impact of the policy from an equality and human rights perspective, meeting our obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty, and ensuring compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the UN Convention on the rights of children.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the two-child limit on BAME communities.

The Government’s view is that providing support for a maximum of two children or qualifying young persons in Universal Credit and Child Tax Credits, ensures fairness between claimants on the one hand and, on the other, those taxpayers who support themselves solely through work.

We recognise that some claimants are not able to make the same choices about the number of children in their family, which is why exceptions have been put in place to protect certain groups. On migration to Universal Credit, families’ existing entitlement will be protected.

The Department has published an Impact Assessment which noted ethnic minority households may be more affected by the policy. This is because on average, they are more likely to have larger families and be in receipt of Child Tax Credits and Universal Credit. However, the Department does not collect sufficiently robust data on our claimants’ ethnic or religious backgrounds to facilitate a more detailed assessment of the policy’s impact on specific ethnic or religious groups.

The Government has assessed the impact of the policy from an equality and human rights perspective, meeting our obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty, and ensuring compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the UN Convention on the rights of children.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Health Promotion Taskforce will publish its progress on plans to tackle health inequalities.

The Health Promotion Taskforce is a Cabinet Committee. It is a long-established precedent that information about the discussions in Cabinet and its Committees is not shared publicly. Any actions agreed by the Taskforce will be announced in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Health Disparities White Paper will commit to cross-government action on the social determinants on health.

The health disparities white paper will review the factors which affect people’s health and how health inequalities can be addressed. The specific policy content of the white paper will be confirmed in due course. In addition, the Health Promotion Taskforce has been established to co-ordinate cross-Government efforts to improve the nation’s health.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Health Promotion Taskforce will be given a remit to act outside of the Department of Health and Social Care.

As a Cabinet Committee, the Health Promotion Taskforce can take collective decisions in areas which are determinants of health beyond the remit of Department to reduce health disparities.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to fund research into mitochondria cells and the effect upon them in relation to sufferers of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; and if he will make a statement.

The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). However, it is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. We will continue to work with stakeholders to consider how best to support continued research into ME/CFS.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what demand forecasts for covid-19 quarantine accommodation for people from red-list countries his Department has conducted for the period until October 2021.

We have thousands of hotel rooms available to meet any further demand from ‘red list’ country arrivals and we have ongoing agreements with a number of hotels moving into the summer. We closely monitor the data and increase capacity if required.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what quality assurance assessment procedure he has in place to ensure hygienic and comfort standards in covid-19 quarantine accommodation for arrivals from red-list countries.

All hotels complete a formal induction and inspection before they become available as a managed quarantine facility. Hotels have clear standard operating procedures in place, including spot checks and instructions on cleanliness, fresh linen and towels left outside of the room door every third day and provision of suitable disposable cleaning products and equipment to so guests can clean their rooms. There are provisions for guests to have personal clothes cleaned. Local liaison officers on site can deal with any issues that arise and respond to customer feedback.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of rejected applications for permanent injury benefit under the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme have been successfully appealed in each year since 2002.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is responsible for the administration of the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme on behalf of the Secretary of State.

Decisions on applications to the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme are based on the rules of the scheme and informed by medical evidence. Where an applicant is dissatisfied with a decision made, the NHS Business Services Authority operates a two stage Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) procedure in accordance with the Pensions Act 1995. If the IDR process has been exhausted and the applicant remains dissatisfied with the decision, they may approach the Pensions Ombudsman to investigate their complaint.

No statistics have been produced on how many and what proportion of rejected applications for permanent injury benefit under the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme have been successfully appealed in each year since 2002. For the NHS Business Services Authority to interrogate all individual member records, as would be necessary to obtain this data, would incur disproportionate cost


To obtain the information requested on the number of complaints received since 2002 would incur disproportionate cost.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what avenues of appeal applicants who have been denied permanent injury benefit under the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme are able to take if they can demonstrate inconsistencies between the findings at different stages of the review process.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is responsible for the administration of the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme on behalf of the Secretary of State.

Decisions on applications to the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme are based on the rules of the scheme and informed by medical evidence. Where an applicant is dissatisfied with a decision made, the NHS Business Services Authority operates a two stage Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) procedure in accordance with the Pensions Act 1995. If the IDR process has been exhausted and the applicant remains dissatisfied with the decision, they may approach the Pensions Ombudsman to investigate their complaint.

No statistics have been produced on how many and what proportion of rejected applications for permanent injury benefit under the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme have been successfully appealed in each year since 2002. For the NHS Business Services Authority to interrogate all individual member records, as would be necessary to obtain this data, would incur disproportionate cost


To obtain the information requested on the number of complaints received since 2002 would incur disproportionate cost.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the employment criteria for Dispute Advisers within the NHS Business Service Authority.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is responsible for the administration of the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme on behalf of the Secretary of State.

Decisions on applications to the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme are based on the rules of the scheme and informed by medical evidence. Where an applicant is dissatisfied with a decision made, the NHS Business Services Authority operates a two stage Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) procedure in accordance with the Pensions Act 1995. If the IDR process has been exhausted and the applicant remains dissatisfied with the decision, they may approach the Pensions Ombudsman to investigate their complaint.

No statistics have been produced on how many and what proportion of rejected applications for permanent injury benefit under the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme have been successfully appealed in each year since 2002. For the NHS Business Services Authority to interrogate all individual member records, as would be necessary to obtain this data, would incur disproportionate cost


To obtain the information requested on the number of complaints received since 2002 would incur disproportionate cost.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many complaints his Department has received on the suitability of the review process for the award of (a) permanent injury benefit and (b) any other benefits under the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme, since 2002.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is responsible for the administration of the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme on behalf of the Secretary of State.

Decisions on applications to the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme are based on the rules of the scheme and informed by medical evidence. Where an applicant is dissatisfied with a decision made, the NHS Business Services Authority operates a two stage Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) procedure in accordance with the Pensions Act 1995. If the IDR process has been exhausted and the applicant remains dissatisfied with the decision, they may approach the Pensions Ombudsman to investigate their complaint.

No statistics have been produced on how many and what proportion of rejected applications for permanent injury benefit under the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme have been successfully appealed in each year since 2002. For the NHS Business Services Authority to interrogate all individual member records, as would be necessary to obtain this data, would incur disproportionate cost


To obtain the information requested on the number of complaints received since 2002 would incur disproportionate cost.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when (a) UK visa holders and (b) other temporary UK residents who are clinically vulnerable and unable to travel out of the UK due to the risk of contracting covid-19 will be eligible to receive the covid-19 vaccine from UK health authorities.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is free to everyone living in the United Kingdom and all overseas visitors to England, regardless of their nationality. While National Health Service numbers form an important part of the administrative process, they are not a pre-condition for being offered a vaccine. For those not registered with a general practitioner, NHS regional and local health and social care systems will contact those individuals to ensure they are offered the vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Royal Mail on the delivery of NHS vaccination invitation letters.

Minsters have had discussions with Royal Mail to emphasise the importance of vaccination letters reaching people as quickly as possible.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the implications for its policies on the use of medical cannabis of the study published in the Journal of Obstetrics Gynaecology Canada on 1 March 2020 entitled Cannabis see, a self-management strategy among Australian women with endometriosis: results from a national online survey.

The Department has made no such assessment.

It is widely recognised that further research is needed on the quality, safety, and efficacy of cannabis-based medicines. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published a clinical guideline on cannabis-based medicinal products in November 2019. NICE maintains surveillance of new evidence that may affect its published guidance and would consult on proposed changes with a wide range of stakeholders if required.

23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what measures has his Department taken, in cooperation with the Welsh Government, to ensure that the covid-19 testing application system is available in Welsh; and what proportion of service users are able to access the service through the medium of Welsh.

Our Welsh sites operate with bilingual guidance which is handed out to patients in their test kits. We also aim to ensure that ingress and egress signage on the sites is bilingual, and that bilingual staff where available are on hand in our local testing sites or regional testing sites to assist patients with any queries about testing.

We have also worked with the Welsh Government to deliver the National Health Service COVID-19 contact tracing app with Welsh language support from launch. This presents citizens with another means of accessing a test through the medium of Welsh.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential for increases in post-viral complications, symptoms and ME as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Public Health England has advised that they have made no assessment on the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on the potential for increases in post-viral complications, symptoms and myalgic encephalomyelitis.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on public health of the lack of access to public toilets during the covid-19 lockdown.

Public Health England has made no assessment of the effect on public health of the lack of access to public toilets during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Local authorities are responsible for maintaining public toilet facilities.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much and what proportion of his Department's budget has been spent on tackling female genital mutilation in the UK in each financial year since 2015.

The Department funded the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Prevention Programme between 2014 and 2018. The spend is shown in the following table:

Financial Year

Amount

Proportion of Department’s budget

2015-16

£900,014

0.0008%

2016-17

£607,808

0.0005%

2017-18

£494,265

0.0004%

2018-19

£349,050

0.0003%

NHS England and local National Health Service bodies also fund healthcare services for women and girls who have undergone FGM, alongside Departmental funding for national FGM prevention work.

Note:

The above figures are based on the Department's financial records. The proportion of Department’s budget spent on FGM is shown as a percentage of the Department’s total revenue spend.

-

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

FGM spend (£ million)

0.9

0.6

0.5

0.3

Department Group spend (£ million)

113,700.0

117,000.0

120,700.0

125,300.0

FGM spend as % of Department Group spend

0.0008%

0.0005%

0.0004%

0.0003%

Spend for 2019-20 is not yet available as accounts have yet to be audited.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has had recent discussions the Devolved Administrations on conducting periodic impact assessments of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is a comprehensive free trade deal which maintains zero tariffs and zero quotas on trade in goods between the UK and the EU. It also secures market access across a broad range of key service sectors and establishes close cooperation in areas like transport, digital, and fighting crime.

The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office has not prepared an economic Impact Assessment on the TCA. The Government is taking action to support businesses across the UK to trade effectively with Europe, including through the free-to-use Export Support Service. The Government is committed to working with the Welsh Government where it has an interest in TCA implementation.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department has conducted an impact assessment of the impact of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on the Welsh labour market.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is a comprehensive free trade deal which maintains zero tariffs and zero quotas on trade in goods between the UK and the EU. It also secures market access across a broad range of key service sectors and establishes close cooperation in areas like transport, digital, and fighting crime.

The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office has not prepared an economic Impact Assessment on the TCA. The Government is taking action to support businesses across the UK to trade effectively with Europe, including through the free-to-use Export Support Service. The Government is committed to working with the Welsh Government where it has an interest in TCA implementation.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department has conducted an impact assessment of the impact of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on (a) Holyhead, (b) Fishguard and (c) Pembroke Dock.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is a comprehensive free trade deal which maintains zero tariffs and zero quotas on trade in goods between the UK and the EU. It also secures market access across a broad range of key service sectors and establishes close cooperation in areas like transport, digital, and fighting crime.

The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office has not prepared an economic Impact Assessment on the TCA. The Government is taking action to support businesses across the UK to trade effectively with Europe, including through the free-to-use Export Support Service. The Government is committed to working with the Welsh Government where it has an interest in TCA implementation.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has conducted an impact assessment of the cost of increased UK-EU trade barriers to the Welsh economy.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is a comprehensive free trade deal which maintains zero tariffs and zero quotas on trade in goods between the UK and the EU. It also secures market access across a broad range of key service sectors and establishes close cooperation in areas like transport, digital, and fighting crime.

Given the tight Parliamentary timetable the Government faced in December 2020, we were unable to produce and publish an impact assessment of the TCA before passing the EU (Future Relationship) Act 2020.

The Government is taking action to support businesses across the UK to trade effectively with Europe, including through the free-to-use Export Support Service. We are also making use of the freedoms we now enjoy as a result of leaving the EU, including amending our subsidy control regime to help all public authorities, including the Welsh Government, attract investment into the United Kingdom.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to provide UK citizens with expert volunteer humanitarian assistance in (a) Ukraine, (b) Poland, (c) Slovakia, (d) Romania and (e) Hungary.

As of 8 March, 2 million people are known to have fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries, according to UNHCR [link: https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/ukraine]. These numbers will continue to rise. The UK government has so far pledged £395 million of aid, which includes £220 million of humanitarian assistance, some of which will go to countries neighbouring Ukraine. Our humanitarian support will help partners stand up their responses to the deteriorating humanitarian situation, creating a lifeline for Ukrainians with access to immediate assistance. HMG will also match-fund the public's first £25m of donations to the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, our largest ever aid-match contribution.

In addition to the humanitarian assistance already mentioned, the UK has deployed humanitarian experts to Poland, Moldova and Romania to provide logistics, advice and analysis of the refugee situation, and a medical assessment team to Romania and Moldova to assess options for rapidly deploying UK Emergency Medical Team (UKEMT) capabilities.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she has had with her Qatari counterpart on the evacuation of eligible personnel from Afghanistan in light of recent evacuation steps taken by the US.

We remain grateful to our Qatari Government partners for their generous support in providing a safe route for British Nationals and their eligible Afghan dependants to leave Afghanistan. We are working closely with the Government of Qatar on the possible resumption of flights, currently blocked by the Taliban. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister responsible for South Asia and I [Minister Cleverly] have both had productive recent discussions with the Qataris to that end.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether UK diplomatic staff posted in countries on the UK red travel list are exempted from quarantine requirements on return to the UK.

Crown Servants posted in countries on the UK red list are required to quarantine in a government approved hotel on return to the UK unless the relevant department of the UK government has certified that they are: (i) travelling to the UK for essential government work or returning from such work outside the UK; (ii) returning from conducting essential state business outside of the UK; or (iii) returning to the UK where this is necessary to facilitate the functioning of a diplomatic mission or consular post of Her Majesty or of a military/other official posting on behalf of Her Majesty. Each case is considered individually and a clear justification must be provided with reference to the exemption criteria.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with her Polish counterpart on legislation which will enable the Polish Government to limit access to the border zone for journalists and NGOs; and if she will make representations to the Polish Government on the importance of ensuring that aid agencies are able to reach people in need.

The Foreign Secretary spoke with Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau on 16 November to express the UK's solidarity with Poland regarding the use of desperate migrants by the Lukashenko regime as pawns to undermine regional security. As President, the UK led a G7 statement on 18 November condemning the Belarusian regime for its orchestration of irregular migration and called for immediate and unhindered access for international organisations to provide humanitarian assistance. We have made clear to the Belarusian authorities bilaterally, including through their Ambassador to the UK, that this harmful, aggressive and exploitative behaviour must stop. The UK will continue supporting humanitarian partners through political advocacy and contributions to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she has had with her Israeli counterpart on the proposed construction of a settlement on the site of Qalandia airport.

Settlements are illegal under international law and undermine the physical viability of the two-state solution. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation. We understand the Israeli authorities shelved their latest proposals for development at Qalandia airport on 25 November.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
26th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the tensions at the Poland-Belarus border, what recent discussions she has had with her EU counterpart on (a) the treatment of asylum seekers and (b) ensuring that aid agencies are able to reach people in need.

As the Foreign Secretary wrote on 14 November, the situation at the Polish border marks the latest step by the Lukashenko regime to undermine regional security. He is using desperate migrants as pawns in his bid to create instability and to cling on to power regardless of the human cost. We have made clear to the Belarusian authorities, including through their Ambassador to the UK, that this harmful, aggressive and exploitative behaviour must stop.

The UK is supporting its humanitarian partners to help alleviate the suffering of migrants at the border, including through our contributions to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund, organised by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and through our political advocacy. As President of the G7, the UK led on a 18 November Foreign Ministers statement, which called on the Belarusian regime to provide international organisations with immediate and unhindered access to deliver humanitarian assistance. We were also pleased to send a small team of personnel to Poland to assess what engineering support might be needed to ease pressure at the border. The Foreign Secretary discussed the situation with Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau on 17 November and EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi on 19 November.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she or other representatives from her Department plan to attend the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

As the Government has previously made clear, no decisions have yet been made about Government attendance at the Beijing Olympics in 2022.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on the prosecution of Palestinian children by Israeli military courts.

We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation, including the treatment of Palestinian children. Officials from the British Embassy in Tel Aviv last raised the issue of Palestinian children in detention on 19 March with the Israeli Ministry of Defence.

We continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population, in particular the need to protect children.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the legality under international law of Israeli efforts to evict Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

The UK regularly raises forced evictions of Palestinians from property with the Government of Israel. The Fourth Geneva Convention, which applies to all occupied territories, prohibits demolitions or forced evictions absent military necessity. The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, evictions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to Palestinians and is harmful to efforts to promote peace.

I publicised on the 8 May outlining our concern over tensions in Jerusalem linked to the threatened eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. The current threat to communities in Sheikh Jarrah is allayed for now. We continue to urge Israel to cease such actions. UK Officials at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv continue to raise the issue regularly with the Israeli Authorities.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with (a) his Israeli counterparts, (b) Gazan authorities and (c) the Palestinian Authority to de-escalate and end the recent violence in that region.

The Foreign Secretary delivered a message of de-escalation in his calls to Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi on 11 and 16 May, and to Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh on 12 May. I spoke to the Israeli Ambassador and Palestinian Head of Mission in London to urge them to de-escalate and restore calm. We have also engaged Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Qatar and the UN to support their efforts to mediate. UK embassies throughout the Middle East are engaging regional partners, and we remain in close contact with the US administration and European allies. Our priority now must be an immediate de-escalation on all sides, and an end to the killing of civilians.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Chinese Government on human rights abuses in state-run re-education camps in Tibet.

We continue to express our concerns about the human rights situation in Tibet both directly with the Chinese authorities and at the UN. We have consistently urged China to respect all fundamental rights in line with both its own constitution and the international frameworks to which it is a party. On 22 February, the Foreign Secretary delivered a ministerial statement at the Human Rights Council where he expressed our deep concerns about the situation in Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he has taken to secure the release of Jagtar Singh Johal.

Under the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations we cannot interfere in the judicial systems of other sovereign states. However, where we have concerns that a British National has not been treated in line with internationally recognized standards, we can raise these concerns with the local authorities. We regularly raise our concerns in Mr Johal's case directly with the Government of India, including his allegations of torture, his right to a fair trial, and concerns about delays to legal proceedings against him. The Foreign Secretary raised Mr Johal's case with the Indian Minister of External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, on 15 December 2020. The Secretary of State for International Trade raised the case with the Indian Minister for Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad, on 5 February. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, last raised Mr Johal's case with the Indian High Commissioner on 28 January 2021, and with the Indian Foreign Secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, on 3 November 2020.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to introduce sanctions against Chen Quanguo.

The Government remains gravely concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang. On 12 January, the Foreign Secretary announced robust, targeted measures to help ensure that British organisations, whether public or private sector, are not complicit in, nor profiting from, the human rights violations in Xinjiang. We also continue to play a leading role in holding China to account for its human rights violations in the region, working closely with international partners, including at the UN.

The FCDO are carefully considering further designations under the Global Human Rights regime, introduced in July 2020. We will keep all evidence and potential listings under close review. It is not appropriate to speculate on who may be designated in the future, as to do so could reduce their impact.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the US administration on sanctions of Chinese officials culpable for human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

The government remains gravely concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang. We regularly discuss these concerns and related questions of policy with the US. The UK plays a leading role in holding China to account for its human rights violations in the region, working closely with international partners, including the US.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to support UK academics’ freedom and security overseas.

The UK is committed to supporting and promoting academic freedom. In October Universities UK published guidelines which provide advice to senior leaders at UK higher education providers on how best to protect their people, assets and reputation, including when travelling overseas.

The UK fully supports freedom of expression as both a human right in and of itself and as an essential element for the enjoyment of the full range of other human rights. Freedom of expression is required to allow innovation to thrive and ideas to develop; it leads to more secure and prosperous societies. In July 2019, the UK co-sponsored a joint statement alongside Canada and the Netherlands at the UN Human Rights Council, reiterating our commitment to defending the right to freedom of opinion and expression. In his statement to the Human Rights Council on 9 April, our Ambassador to the UN in Geneva stressed the importance of ensuring the actions of governments and international agencies are scrutinised, within the context of the international human rights framework.

Should a British national require consular assistance overseas we make every effort to contact vulnerable customers within 24 hours of being notified of their situation.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of imposing sanctions against Egyptian security officials charged by Italian prosecutors with involvement in the murder of Giulio Regeni.

We have the deepest sympathy for Giulio Regeni's family and their quest for justice for his appalling murder. As Mr Regeni was an Italian citizen, the Italian Government is taking the lead role on his case. We have followed the investigation into his death and continue to work closely with the Italian Government. We last discussed this at an official level with the Italian authorities on 23 November. We have also raised with the Egyptian authorities at a senior level the need for full co-operation with Italy, so that Mr Regeni's killers can be brought to justice. We will continue to follow the Italian judicial process.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he will take to support Italian prosecutors in prosecuting members of Egypt’s National Security Agency for the murder of Giulio Regeni.

We have the deepest sympathy for Giulio Regeni's family and their quest for justice for his appalling murder. As Mr Regeni was an Italian citizen, the Italian Government is taking the lead role on his case. We have followed the investigation into his death and continue to work closely with the Italian Government. We last discussed this at an official level with the Italian authorities on 23 November. We have also raised with the Egyptian authorities at a senior level the need for full co-operation with Italy, so that Mr Regeni's killers can be brought to justice. We will continue to follow the Italian judicial process.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what proportion of the aid budget has been allocated to ensure the provision of (a) water, (b) sanitation and (c) hygiene in developing countries in the 2020-2021 financial year.

The proportion of the UK aid budget allocated to water, sanitation and hygiene in the current calendar year will be known with the release of the Statistics for International Development publication in late 2021. Current figures show that in 2019 the UK Government spent £176 million?of bilateral official development assistance on water, sanitation and hygiene. This was 1.7% of total bilateral ODA last year. The 2021 annual report will confirm whether the share of ODA that was spent on water, sanitation and hygiene continued in the current year.

The UK Government can also confirm that the overall target of reaching at least 60 million people with improved water or sanitation by December 2020 has been met.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is supporting the government of Italy's investigation into Giulio Regeni's murder.

We have the deepest sympathy for Giulio Regeni's family and their quest for justice for his appalling murder. As Mr Regeni was an Italian citizen, the Italian Government is taking the lead role on his case. We continue to follow the investigation into his death and to work closely with the Italian Government. We last discussed this at an official level with the Italian authorities on 23 November. We have also raised with the Egyptian authorities at a senior level the need for a transparent and impartial investigation, in full co-operation with Italy, so that Mr Regeni's killers can be brought to justice.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has he with the Polisario Front or through third party interlocutors on the recent escalation in conflict in the Western Saharan region.

The UK regularly discusses Western Sahara issues with the parties including the Polisario Front. We continue to urge the parties to avoid further escalation, return to the ceasefire agreement, and re-engage with the UN-led political process.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to the United Nations on the recent escalation in conflict in the Western Saharan region.

We are closely monitoring the situation in Western Sahara and have regular discussions with the UN, both in New York and in the region. We continue to urge the parties to avoid further escalation, return to the ceasefire agreement, and re-engage with the UN-led political process. We strongly support the UN Secretary General's efforts to appoint a Personal Envoy as soon as possible.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Greek counterpart on the humanitarian situation of migrants along the Greek-Turkish border.

The British Government remains committed to supporting Greek efforts to manage migration effectively. We regularly discuss our concerns with Greek ministers and senior officials, as well as our Turkish counterparts. The Foreign Secretary spoke to the Greek Foreign Minister about the issue of migrants on the Greece/Turkey border on 18 March. On 22 April, the UK Immigration Compliance Minister and Greece's Alternate Migration Minister signed a bilateral migration action plan to reaffirm our commitment to cooperation. The Plan covers joint work to tackle organised immigration crime; sharing of expertise on asylum processing and migrant returns; deployment of a Border Force search and rescue cutter to the Aegean; facilitation of family reunification of unaccompanied asylum seeking children; and establishment of a strategic migration dialogue.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Turkish counterpart on the humanitarian situation of migrants along the Greek-Turkish border.

We continue to be concerned by the situation on the Greece-Turkey border. We recognise Turkey's generosity in supporting millions of refugees who have fled the civil war in Syria; and the challenge faced by both Greece and Turkey in dealing with increased migrant flows. We remain committed to supporting Turkey's efforts to manage migration effectively and are working both bilaterally and with our international partners to this end. The Prime Minister discussed this with the Turkish President on 3 March, as did the Foreign Secretary during his visit to Ankara, also on 3 March.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to assist the repatriation of people on (a) spouse and (b) family visas during the covid-19 pandemic.

Our objective remains to bring home British national travellers who want to return to the UK, as soon as possible. British national travellers will therefore be prioritised for seats on HMG repatriation flights. We are seeking to help vulnerable non-British UK residents with indefinite leave to remain where possible. We will not split up families where any non-British spouses or dependents have the relevant entry clearance, are resident in the UK, and are travelling with a British family member. This goes beyond what we usually do, since our consular assistance is for UK nationals. However, recognising the exceptional challenge of Covid-19 and that many people who call the UK home want to get back, we are seeking to help vulnerable people with ILR wherever possible so long as they have lived in the UK within the last year.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Western Sahara region is included in the UK-Morocco trade and political continuity agreement.

The UK-Morocco Association Agreement, once in force, will apply in the same way as the EU-Morocco Association Agreement. It treats products originating in Western Sahara in the same way as the EU-Morocco Association Agreement, in line with the European Court of Justice's ruling on that issue and the subsequent amendment of the EU-Morocco Association Agreement. The UK is clear that the application of parts of the UK-Morocco Association Agreement to certain products originating in Western Sahara is without prejudice to our position on the status of Western Sahara, which we regard as undetermined.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of civil servants based in the UK Mission to the EU in Brussels in each of the last five years.

The UK Mission to the European Union (UKMis Brussels) currently employs around 180 people, comprising both permanent civil servants from multiple Government Departments and locally recruited staff. We keep staffing under regular review to ensure it is appropriate to deliver HMG objectives including supporting negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
26th May 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with his G20 counterparts on the effectiveness of the Common Framework process; and what assessment he has made of Zambia application under that framework.

The Common Framework, agreed between the G20 and the Paris Club, represents the first time that all G20 creditors and the Paris Club have committed to work together to coordinate debt treatments. The Framework is intended to deliver a longer-term, more sustainable approach to dealing with debt vulnerabilities for countries that request it. Progress in implementing the Common Framework has been a regular feature in the Chancellor’s discussions in the G20 and in its February 2022 communique, the G20 reiterated its commitment to step up efforts to implement the Framework in a timely, orderly and coordinated manner.

Zambia is one of three countries – along with Chad and Ethiopia - to have requested the Common Framework. Zambia reached a Staff-Level Agreement with the IMF in December, marking a step forward. At Spring Meetings, the IMF managing director indicated that China had agreed to join the creditor committee for Zambia. As a creditor to Zambia, it is a priority to work with our G20 partners to ensure swift progress on the debt treatment.

25th May 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to protect Ukraine from Russian litigation in English courts on the payment of bonds.

The UK judiciary is independent of the UK government and will make this ruling based on the arguments made before it.

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine we have announced an unprecedented package of sanctions to cut off the funding for Putin’s war machine.

Our sanctions are working, including those directed at the Central Bank of Russia and Russia’s foreign currency reserves, of which around 60% are frozen globally.

17th May 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department will introduce further targeted affordability funding to help address the cost of living pressures.

The government appreciates the challenges people are facing as a result of how the rising cost of living is making life harder for people. These are global challenges however, as set out in the Spring Statement, the government is providing support worth over £22 billion this financial year to help families with these pressures.

We stand ready to take further action as the pressures the UK faces become clearer.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of people who will become bankrupt as a result of paying loan charge payments.

I refer the Hon Member to the answers that were given to the Hon Member for Hemsworth on 9 December 2021 to UIN 87576 and UIN 87577.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many people affected by the loan charge has Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs referred to suicide prevention organisations since that charge was introduced.

Any loss of life is a tragedy, and my thoughts are with the families of those affected. The Government takes concerns about the wellbeing of all taxpayers seriously and recognises that the Loan Charge can add significant pressures for some taxpayers.

Individuals are supported on a case-by-case basis and all HMRC call handlers and case workers are trained to identify taxpayers who might need extra help, including those in distress. The support HMRC provides could be in relation to their tax affairs, or by signposting to specialist voluntary and community organisations, such as Mind or Samaritans. However, we do not keep a composite record of taxpayers that HMRC has referred to these specialist organisations.

The Government is working with HMRC to consider what additional specialised support could be provided to taxpayers who need extra help.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress he has made on the findings of the Access to Cash consultation which closed on 23 September 2021.

The Government recognises that cash remains an important part of daily life for millions of people across the UK, and remains committed to legislating to protect access to cash.

As part of the Financial Services Act 2021, the Government made legislative changes to support the widespread offering of cashback without a purchase by shops and other businesses.

From 1 July to 23 September last year, the Government held the Access to Cash Consultation on further proposals for new laws to make sure people only need to travel a reasonable distance to pay in or take out cash. The Government’s proposals intend to support the continued use of cash in people’s daily lives and help to enable local businesses to continue accepting cash by ensuring they can access deposit facilities.

The Government received responses to the consultation from a broad range of respondents, including individuals, businesses, and charities. The Government has carefully considered responses to the consultation and will set out next steps in due course.

7th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with (a) his Ukrainian counterpart and (b) the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs on Ukrainian sovereign debt relief.

The Chancellor continues to engage with G7 partners and International Financial Institutions on progressing current and future support to Ukraine. This includes a G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting held on 1 March with the Ukrainian Finance Minister.

Alongside our allies, we’ve hit Russia with the most severe package of sanctions it has ever seen and our economic and humanitarian support to Ukraine now totals around £400 million. This includes USD$100 million of funding to Ukraine through the World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund and that we stand ready to provide USD$500 million in loan guarantees to support Multilateral Development Bank lending. This support has also enabled a package to be agreed on 8 March of over $700m for direct fiscal support to Ukraine via the World Bank, to help mitigate direct economic impacts.

18th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions has he had with (a) bank and card issuers, (b) the Financial Conduct Authority, c) the British Bankers’ Association and (d) the UK Cards Association on (i) subscription traps and (ii) supporting customers to cancel continuous payment authorisations.

The Government is committed to tackling subscriptions traps and other business practices that harm consumers. To that end, the Government has been working closely with regulators to ensure consumers can easily cancel unwanted subscription contracts and avoid facing unreasonable charges.

Regarding Continuous Payment Authorities (CPAs), the Payment Services Regulations regulate how CPAs are established, and the rights and obligations of payers, payees and payment service providers. In its published guidance on the regulations, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) states that consumers have the right to cancel CPAs by contacting their payment service provider at any time before the end of the business day before a payment is due to be made, and to obtain an immediate refund from their payment service provider if any future payments are debited from their account after they have revoked their consent.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-giftsand-overseas-travel

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Social Investment Tax Relief in Wales.

The Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) was introduced in 2014 to encourage risk finance investments in qualifying social enterprises and charities. Social enterprises anywhere in the UK can benefit from SITR, provided that they meet certain qualifying conditions.

HMRC statistics show that up to 2018-19, about 110 enterprises have used the scheme to raise £11.2 million.

The Government keeps all taxes and reliefs under review in order to ensure they continue to meet policy objectives in a way that is fair and effective. The Government previously published a Call for Evidence in 2019 on SITR’s use to date. A response to the consultation will be published in due course and a decision on SITR’s future will be announced at the Budget.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the Social Investment Tax Relief in Wales.

The Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) was introduced in 2014 to encourage risk finance investments in qualifying social enterprises and charities. Social enterprises anywhere in the UK can benefit from SITR, provided that they meet certain qualifying conditions.

HMRC statistics show that up to 2018-19, about 110 enterprises have used the scheme to raise £11.2 million.

The Government keeps all taxes and reliefs under review in order to ensure they continue to meet policy objectives in a way that is fair and effective. The Government previously published a Call for Evidence in 2019 on SITR’s use to date. A response to the consultation will be published in due course and a decision on SITR’s future will be announced at the Budget.

5th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to cap the interest accrued during mortgage payment holidays.

Mortgage holidays have provided support for borrowers to manage their finances during a period of uncertainty. Borrowers will still need to repay the full balance of their loan, and will continue to accrue interest during the payment holiday, unless the lender has indicated otherwise. There are various options for managing this, for example, by increasing their remaining monthly payments, or by adding an extension to the term. Borrowers should talk to their lender to understand the options they offer.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions officials in his Department have had with (a) small maritime ports and (b) wharves in (i) Amlwch, (ii) Menai bridge and (iii) the rest of Wales on the necessary infrastructure for compliance with regulations in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

HMRC carried out high level engagement with small maritime ports and wharves ahead of the end of the transition period; this includes those within Wales.

Ports indicating an intention to operate CTC will have also received direct communications from HMRC to understand their position for January 2021. Officials will carry out more detailed engagement with these stakeholders ahead of July 2021 to ensure they are ready for the introduction of staged controls.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when consultations will begin with the local community in Bangor on the potential development of Parc Bryn Cegin industrial estate into a lorry park by HMRC.

HMRC and Welsh Government are currently assessing the site based on deliverability as an Inland Border Facility to support the port of Holyhead. Access with the surrounding areas is being considered during this process. Should the site be selected, HMRC will consult with local communities.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of jobs that will be created by the establishment of an offsite HMRC facility to serve the port of Holyhead; and what proportion of those jobs will be (a) professional and (b) routine.

Estimates have been carried out based on volumes of traffic and expectations of site use.

HMRC are currently planning on in excess of 120 full time equivalent roles on site, attending over three shifts a day. The majority of roles will range from security and traffic marshalling to front office staff. Specialist roles will be provided by Defra, the Welsh Government and Border Force.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the resilience of the road network around Bangor in the event of the location of an HMRC offsite facility to serve the port of Holyhead in that area.

HMRC are working in partnership with the Welsh Government to provide for a joint Inland Border Facility/Border Control Point in North Wales, exploring suitable sites. Part of this consideration includes access to and from sites from the strategic road network.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the length of time an HMRC facility will be required offsite to serve the port of Holyhead.

HMRC will use the facility for two years.
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to prevent companies recruiting already-qualified custom brokers from other companies under the Recruitment Grant scheme.

The Government is supporting the intermediary sector to expand to meet predicted demand at the end of the transition period, making available over £80m of support for IT, training and recruitment.

The sector is varied and made up of a number of different business models including specific customs brokers, freight forwarders and fast parcel operators; all of which will require varied numbers of staff and operate in different ways. The scheme allows maximum flexibility in order to meet the needs of different business models.

The Government continues to monitor the uptake of the scheme and its impact on the market, and keeps the rules for operation under review.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of (a) large companies, (b) SMEs and (c) micro businesses in recruiting customs brokers ahead of the end of the transition period.

Most companies will not need to employ customs brokers directly. The Government expects that all but the largest of businesses will use the services of an intermediary to support them in completing customs declarations.

The Government is supporting the intermediary sector to expand to meet predicted demand at the end of the transition period making available over £80 million of support for IT, training and recruitment through the Customs Grant Scheme.

In addition, the Government is supporting the sector through measures including changing liability rules, allowing parcel operators to bulk consignments, and the staging-in of import declarations.

The Government continues to monitor progress carefully, keeping all support mechanisms under review.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many customs intermediaries are employed in the UK as of November 2020; how many customs intermediaries he estimates will be employed by January 2021.

HMRC do not employ customs agents/customs intermediaries directly.

The sector is varied and made up of a number of different business models including specific customs brokers, freight forwarders and fast parcel operators; all of which will require varied numbers of staff. Many in the sector have innovated and brought in significant IT solutions which have reduced the numbers of staff they require.

The Government has made available over £80 million to increase the capacity of the sector. The grants are flexible in order to reflect the diversity of the sector and cover IT, training and recruitment to support businesses to innovate and work within their own business model.

The Government continues to monitor progress carefully and keeps all support mechanisms under review.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) changing the requirements of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Job Support Scheme to allow for eligibility to be considered on an individual basis and (b) those schemes using national insurance numbers to allow support to be transferable between successive employers.

The requirements of the Job Support Scheme (JSS) have been carefully considered to ensure that the scheme is effective at supporting jobs, is accessible to those who need it and minimises the risks of fraud.

Further details are set out in the JSS Policy Paper, which was published on 22 October 2020 and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-job-support-scheme/the-job-support-scheme

Full guidance will be published shortly.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much the Welsh Government has received in Barnett consequentials as a result of the £1.6 billion allocated to cladding remediation in England.

At Spring Budget 2020, £1 billion of additional funding was allocated to cladding remediation in England through the creation of the Building Safety Fund. This generated a Barnett consequential of around £59 million for the Welsh Government. The remaining £600m was funded through existing MHCLG budgets as set at the 2015 Spending Review. The Welsh Government has therefore already received the Barnett consequentials associated with this funding.

HM Treasury’s Block Grant Transparency publication sets out the breakdown of changes in the devolved administrations’ block grants, including all Barnett consequentials, since the 2015 Spending Review.

This is available on the gov.uk website here:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/block-grant-transparency-july-2020

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what tests he has carried out on the application of the Goods Vehicle Movement Service for goods moving through Welsh ports; and what the outcome of those tests was.

HMRC will work with carriers and operators to develop delivery plans, provide technical support and guidance on their key milestones of development, IT build and test, and will monitor progress against their plans.

The Goods Vehicle Movement Service technical specifications have been available since mid-July and provide carriers and operators with the specifications and understanding of the technical requirement.

A new Virtualised Test Service has been available since 3 August 2020 which allows carriers and operators to test their software against the HMRC specification to ensure alignment and compliance.

8th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has identified an inland customs clearance area for Holyhead port.

HMRC are working closely across Government and with ports to understand requirements and implement infrastructure changes in line with the support announced by the Government. As well as engaging with ports to understand what infrastructure may be required, HMRC are reviewing a number of potential sites which are close to ports, and near strategic road networks, including options to support Holyhead.
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on customs clearance areas for Holyhead port.

Treasury ministers and officials meet with a wide range of stakeholders across the public and private sector as part of policy development and implementation.

In addition, HMRC hold regular discussions at working level with the Welsh Government concerning the need for clearance facilities for traffic moving through the port of Holyhead. They are also engaging with Anglesey County Council.

8th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to undertake an independent quality assurance review of RBS Global Restructuring Group's treatment of SMEs.

The fact that there were areas of widespread inappropriate treatment of firms by RBS GRG is clearly unacceptable. RBS rightly apologised for these mistakes, and set up a scheme to compensate victims. This scheme has, to date, paid out [£150] million to complainants.

This complaints process, overseen by Sir William Blackburne, adds a robust, transparent and independent step to the complaints process, should SME customers who were in GRG wish to complain about their treatment or challenge the bank’s decision on a previous complaint.

Therefore the Government will not establish an independent quality assurance review.

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the upcoming G20 meeting of Finance Ministers, what steps he has taken to facilitate debt relief for developing countries.

HM Government is concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the debt vulnerabilities low-income developing countries, which were already at worrying levels before the crisis.

While the UK cancelled most of our low-income developing country debt under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, the Chancellor joined his G20 counterparts to commit to a temporary suspension on debt service repayments from the 77 poorest countries under the debt service suspension initiative (DSSI). Through the DSSI, official creditors will provide up to US$12bn of cash flow relief to help countries respond to the health and economic impacts of COVID-19.

The Chancellor and his counterparts will be meeting with his G20 counterparts later this month, in part to discuss DSSI implementation. The DSSI provides the breathing room for countries to respond to the crisis and for the international community to determine what further support may be needed for countries on a case-by-case basis. If debts do require restructuring, the UK will work with the Paris Club of official creditors, IMF, and WBG to support equitable debt reductions and long-term sustainable growth.

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the valuation of properties under the Non-Domestic Rating (Definition of Domestic Property) (Wales) Order 2010, what guidance his Department has issued to the Valuation Office Agency on non-domestic properties that have been let out to key workers during the covid-19 pandemic; and what discussions he has had with representatives from the Welsh Government on that matter.

Business rates and ratings are devolved in Wales, and are therefore a matter for the Welsh Government.

In England, to be classed as non-domestic property the owner must have made the property available for commercial short-term letting for at least 140 days in the last year; to have actually let it for a total of at least 70 days; and have arranged for it to be available on the same basis over the next 12 months.

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will he take steps to ensure that the Valuation Office Agency classifies accommodation let out to key workers on reduced rates as being commercially let and in fulfilment with the specified time periods for short-term letting availability.

Business rates and ratings are devolved in Wales, and are therefore a matter for the Welsh Government.

In England, to be classed as non-domestic property the owner must have made the property available for commercial short-term letting for at least 140 days in the last year; to have actually let it for a total of at least 70 days; and have arranged for it to be available on the same basis over the next 12 months.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what target the Government has set for recruiting new HMRC customs agents by 1 January 2021; how many of those agents have been recruited as at 1 June 2020; how many of the 20,000 training courses have been applied for by (a) newly recruited agents and (b) current employees.

HMRC do not employ customs agents/customs intermediaries directly. The UK has a well-established industry of customs intermediaries which serve British businesses trading outside the EU. The sector is varied and made up of a number of different business models including specific customs brokers, freight forwarders and fast parcel operators; all of which require differing numbers of staff. Government support of £34m has been designed to meet the needs of the sector flexibly to build capacity by covering training and IT innovation, as well as recruitment.

This support has funded approximately 20,000 training courses in customs processes and procedures and the creation of a new UK Customs Academy to provide online training courses and industry-recognised qualifications.

The sector is encouraged to innovate flexibly to meet demand and as such HMRC do not prescribe whether training support should be for existing or new staff.

14th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans the Government has to establish a free port in Milford Haven.

We plan to introduce up to 10 Freeports across the UK which will be national hubs for trade, investment and innovation. We want to ensure that this is a UK wide offer, not just for England, and we are working with the DAs to pursue this.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
14th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether an economic impact assessment has been undertaken on a potential free port in Milford Haven.

We will take on board suggestions and feedback about our proposed policy from stakeholders during the Freeport consultation to ensure the policy is grounded in local needs and ambitions.

Specific locations will then be chosen in due course according to a fair, transparent and robust allocation process. HM Treasury will not be assessing the detail of individual ports’ infrastructure requirements ahead of that.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
14th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when his Department last met with Milford Haven Port Authority to discuss a potential free port in Milford Haven.

HM Treasury has not met specifically with Milford Haven Port Authority to discuss a potential Freeport in Milford Haven. We would welcome a response from Milford Haven Port Authority to the consultation.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
14th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the additional infrastructure that will be required to support a free port in Milford Haven.

Specific locations will be chosen in due course according to a fair, transparent and robust allocation process. HM Treasury will not be assessing the detail of individual ports’ infrastructure requirements ahead of that.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
14th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Government plans to fund all additional infrastructure required to facilitate a potential free port in Milford Haven.

We are considering a wide range of measures to create vibrant, innovative Freeports which are attractive to domestic and international investors looking to start or grow their UK operations. We are considering additional targeted funding for infrastructure improvements in Freeport areas to level up communities and increase employment opportunities.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2020 to Question 39478 on Revenue and Customs: Staff, what plans his Department has to increase the grant funding available for customs agent training as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

A full range of business support measures has been made available to UK businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Separately, the Government has made available £34m of funding to support the expansion of the customs intermediaries sector, including the development of an online customs academy to deliver training to the sector. The Government continues to work closely with industry to consider if further support is needed.

The UK has a well-established industry of customs intermediaries which serve British businesses trading outside the EU. The sector is varied and consists of a number of different business models, including specific customs agents, freight forwarders and fast parcel operators; all of which will require differing numbers of staff. Government support of £34m has been designed to meet the needs of the sector to build capacity, covering training and IT innovation, as well as recruitment. The further expansion of the sector will require the recruitment and training of talented individuals from all backgrounds.

4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2020 to Question 39478 on Revenue and Customs: Staff, how many of the 50,000 customs agents target have been recruited as at May 2020.

A full range of business support measures has been made available to UK businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Separately, the Government has made available £34m of funding to support the expansion of the customs intermediaries sector, including the development of an online customs academy to deliver training to the sector. The Government continues to work closely with industry to consider if further support is needed.

The UK has a well-established industry of customs intermediaries which serve British businesses trading outside the EU. The sector is varied and consists of a number of different business models, including specific customs agents, freight forwarders and fast parcel operators; all of which will require differing numbers of staff. Government support of £34m has been designed to meet the needs of the sector to build capacity, covering training and IT innovation, as well as recruitment. The further expansion of the sector will require the recruitment and training of talented individuals from all backgrounds.

4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2020 to Question 39478 on Revenue and Customs: Staff, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of retraining people who have been made redundant due to covid-19 as customs agents.

A full range of business support measures has been made available to UK businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Separately, the Government has made available £34m of funding to support the expansion of the customs intermediaries sector, including the development of an online customs academy to deliver training to the sector. The Government continues to work closely with industry to consider if further support is needed.

The UK has a well-established industry of customs intermediaries which serve British businesses trading outside the EU. The sector is varied and consists of a number of different business models, including specific customs agents, freight forwarders and fast parcel operators; all of which will require differing numbers of staff. Government support of £34m has been designed to meet the needs of the sector to build capacity, covering training and IT innovation, as well as recruitment. The further expansion of the sector will require the recruitment and training of talented individuals from all backgrounds.

4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2020 to Question 39478 on Revenue and Customs: Staff, how many additional customs agents the Government plans to have (a) recruited and (b) retrained by December 2020.

A full range of business support measures has been made available to UK businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Separately, the Government has made available £34m of funding to support the expansion of the customs intermediaries sector, including the development of an online customs academy to deliver training to the sector. The Government continues to work closely with industry to consider if further support is needed.

The UK has a well-established industry of customs intermediaries which serve British businesses trading outside the EU. The sector is varied and consists of a number of different business models, including specific customs agents, freight forwarders and fast parcel operators; all of which will require differing numbers of staff. Government support of £34m has been designed to meet the needs of the sector to build capacity, covering training and IT innovation, as well as recruitment. The further expansion of the sector will require the recruitment and training of talented individuals from all backgrounds.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will amend the Treasury Direction in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to enable employers to furlough employees (a) on sick leave and (b) that were pregnant women and sent home on sick leave following the Prime Minister’s public advice statement of 16 March 2020.

The Direction does not prevent someone from being furloughed if they are pregnant, on Statutory Sick Pay or are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, including if they are following shielding measures in line with public health guidance. This is consistent with the published guidance and the Prime Minister’s public advice statement.

The Government is grateful for the feedback it has received on both the HM Treasury Direction and HMRC’s guidance. HMRC and HM Treasury will continue to consider these comments and will provide appropriate clarification if necessary.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to issue guidance to (a) businesses and (b) employers on the (i) support they are required to provide to pregnant employees and (ii) the furloughing of pregnant employees who are unable to work safely or work from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

It is against the law to discriminate against anyone because of being pregnant. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 continue to apply, and guidance can be found here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/mothers/law.htm.

An employee can be furloughed if they are pregnant, including if they are following shielding measures in line with public health guidance. When furloughing pregnant employees, the normal rules for maternity and other forms of parental leave and pay apply. Employers can claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for enhanced (earnings related) contractual pay for employees who qualify for maternity pay.

All employers are eligible to claim under the scheme and the Government recognises different businesses will face different impacts from coronavirus. Guidance on the scheme is available for employers at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-step-by-step-guide-for-employers, and for employees at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress has been made on (a) recruiting and (b) training additional HMRC customs agents.

HMRC have engaged extensively with the customs intermediaries sector on demand for customs broker services post-EU Exit and a possible shortfall in capacity. In response to feedback, HMRC have made £34 million available to support the sector with training, improvements in automation and recruitment of customs agents, and HMRC continue to consider ways to promote innovation in the sector and increase capacity. This support has funded approximately 19,200 training courses in customs processes and procedures and the creation of a new UK Customs Academy to provide online training courses and industry-recognised qualifications.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will take steps to ensure that interest is not charged on PAYE payments that are deferred as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has announced an unprecedented package of support for businesses and individuals affected by COVID-19. This includes the deferment of VAT and Income Tax Self-Assessment payments for specified periods. Interest on these deferred payments will be waived.

All other taxes are required to be reported and paid on time, and interest continues to apply to late payments. HMRC have scaled up their Time to Pay service, which is available to any taxpayer in temporary financial distress as a result of COVID-19 and with outstanding tax liabilities. Time to Pay arrangements are tailored to the taxpayer and can include deferment of tax payments and an agreed time period to repay. They can cover any tax liability, including PAYE.

The Government has announced a range of other support for businesses, including grants for small businesses and government-backed loans that do not accrue interest for the first 12 months. Further information about HMRC’s dedicated COVID-19 support can be found by visiting the GOV.UK website.

4th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when information on the two child limit policy was most recently included in leaflets sent to claimants renewing their child tax credit claim.

HMRC provide information about this policy in leaflets which are sent to all claimants in their renewal packs and to those customers finalising their claim in year. Leaflets were last issued in the 2018/19 Tax Credit renewals packs and will again be included in 2019/20 renewal packs from April 2020 onwards.

Information is also available on GOV.UK, while Jobcentre Plus staff can advise on how the policy operates. Claimants were alerted to this policy when it was announced by the Government as part of Summer Budget 2015.

DWP and HMRC also produce annual joint reports with statistics relating to the implementation of the policy. The most recent of these was published on 31 July 2019 and can be found online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-tax-credit-and-universal-credit-claimants-statistics-related-to-the-policy-to-provide-support-for-a-maximum-of-2-children-april-2019

18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of introducing greater flexibility on the use of diacritics beyond the guidelines set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

The British passport continues to be issued in line with international standards.

British passports are not currently issued with a name using numbers, symbols or punctuation marks other than hyphens or apostrophes; or any diacritical marks such as accents.

We have no current plans to revisit this issue.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the ability for individuals granted Ukraine Family scheme visas under exceptional circumstances to fully access benefits and public services.

Applicants coming to the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme, including those granted under exceptional circumstances, are given access to work, benefits and public services as laid down in Appendix Ukraine to the Immigration Rules, details of which can be found at:

Immigration Rules Appendix Ukraine Scheme - Immigration Rules - Guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many outstanding applications for the EU Settlement scheme are from (a) Wales (b) rest of the United Kingdom.

The Home Office publishes data on the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) in the ‘EU Settlement Scheme statistics’. Data on the number of applications and concluded applications in total and for Wales to 30 June 2021 are published in ‘EU Settlement Scheme quarterly statistics, June 2021’, tables EUSS_MON and EUSS_05 respectively.

Summary statistics of total EUSS applications and concluded applications to 30 September 2021 are published on the ‘EU Settlement Scheme statistics’ web page.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent estimate she made of the number of outstanding applications to the EU Settlement scheme.

The Home Office publishes data on the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) in the ‘EU Settlement Scheme statistics’. Data on the number of applications and concluded applications in total and for Wales to 30 June 2021 are published in ‘EU Settlement Scheme quarterly statistics, June 2021’, tables EUSS_MON and EUSS_05 respectively.

Summary statistics of total EUSS applications and concluded applications to 30 September 2021 are published on the ‘EU Settlement Scheme statistics’ web page.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of including a Welsh-only option for people receiving registration documents from the General Register Office.

The Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 requires all events to be registered in the registration district in which they take place. The forms which are used are prescribed in secondary legislation.

Where an event takes place in Wales, the information to be recorded in the registration can be provided and recorded in English only, or in both English and Welsh.

The General Register Office (GRO) has made no assessment of including a Welsh-only option for people receiving registration documents.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing a Seasonal Visa Scheme for qualified lorry drivers to tackle shortages in labour supply.

The UK Government is working with the haulage sector to promote jobs, training and a range of other initiatives to get more people into HGV driving.

Like other sectors the focus should be on training and recruiting from the UK based workforce in the first instance, especially given the impact of the pandemic resulting in more looking for secure new employment. Immigration policy will be considered alongside strategies to do this, not separately or as an alternative to doing so.

The Government therefore has no plans to introduce a seasonal visa scheme for heavy goods vehicle drivers in the UK. The job of HGV driver is not eligible to be sponsored for a Skilled Worker visa so cannot be added to the Shortage Occupation List.

The Home Office has though amended the Immigration Rules to enable drivers who come to the UK on an international journey to transport goods or people on journeys within the UK and undertake cabotage operations in line with Department for Transport rules.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of adding drivers of heavy goods vehicles to the Shortage Occupation List to tackle shortages in labour supply.

The UK Government is working with the haulage sector to promote jobs, training and a range of other initiatives to get more people into HGV driving.

Like other sectors the focus should be on training and recruiting from the UK based workforce in the first instance, especially given the impact of the pandemic resulting in more looking for secure new employment. Immigration policy will be considered alongside strategies to do this, not separately or as an alternative to doing so.

The Government therefore has no plans to introduce a seasonal visa scheme for heavy goods vehicle drivers in the UK. The job of HGV driver is not eligible to be sponsored for a Skilled Worker visa so cannot be added to the Shortage Occupation List.

The Home Office has though amended the Immigration Rules to enable drivers who come to the UK on an international journey to transport goods or people on journeys within the UK and undertake cabotage operations in line with Department for Transport rules.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the affordability of short-stay visa and work permits for UK citizens who perform temporary seasonal tourism work in the EU.

The Home Office is responsible for setting the immigration policy for those who wish to travel for work purposes to the UK and not those who seek to travel for work purposes to other countries. Hence we do not assess the immigration policies relating to seasonal work set by foreign Governments.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Biometric Residence Permit Cards enquiry forms were (a) received and (b) answered within the five day working day target in November 2020.

Quality assured data on the number of unique enquiries received is not available.

The Home Office is not meeting its five working day response time for deliveries, collections and errors. At the end of November, it was taking 35 working days. Additional staff are being recruited and trained to undertake this work to improve this position.

An Application Planning Interface (API) is due to be introduced at the end of January 2021 to improve the National Insurance Number verification process between the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and UKVI. This will reduce data transfer delays and speed up the verification process.

Work is underway to improve address quality and prevent mis-delivery of BRPs, as well as reducing errors in production. We are meeting weekly with our delivery partner (FEDEX) to improve delivery processes.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department has taken to improve the (a) production and (b) delivery times of Biometric Residence Permit Cards since the 1 of November 2020.

Quality assured data on the number of unique enquiries received is not available.

The Home Office is not meeting its five working day response time for deliveries, collections and errors. At the end of November, it was taking 35 working days. Additional staff are being recruited and trained to undertake this work to improve this position.

An Application Planning Interface (API) is due to be introduced at the end of January 2021 to improve the National Insurance Number verification process between the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and UKVI. This will reduce data transfer delays and speed up the verification process.

Work is underway to improve address quality and prevent mis-delivery of BRPs, as well as reducing errors in production. We are meeting weekly with our delivery partner (FEDEX) to improve delivery processes.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to minimise the time taken by her Department to issue biometric residence permits.

The Home Office does not hold the data in a way that would allow it to provide an accurate estimate of people who have been unable to (a) work, (b) access healthcare, (c) access social security benefits and (d) enrol onto further or higher education courses as a result of the time taken to provide Biometric Residence Permits (BRP). Finding the requested information would be likely to breach the disproportionate cost threshold.

The Home Office process includes daily checks on any failure by decision makers to request a Biometric Residence Permit and to identify any request for a BRP which has not been produced. The Home Office aims to deliver a BRP within 10 working days of an immigration application being approved.

The Home Office works closely with the DVLA, which produces BRPs, and TNT/Fedex, which delivers them, to ensure that service level agreements are met and performance is improved, through improved reconciliation reporting and clearer escalation processes.

The DVLA has an SLA to complete 90% of production requests within one working day and the remaining 10% within two working days. While this was met consistently until early 2020 the impacts of Covid-19 restrictions and safe working practices have caused occasional delays of up to four working days since April.

TNT/Fedex is required to attempt first delivery of 99% of BRP within two working days of collection from DVLA. This target was met up until February 2020 and is 91% since then.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of people who have been unable to (a) work, (b) access healthcare, (c) access social security benefits and (d) enrol onto further or higher education courses as a result of the time taken by her Department to provide biometric residence permits.

The Home Office does not hold the data in a way that would allow it to provide an accurate estimate of people who have been unable to (a) work, (b) access healthcare, (c) access social security benefits and (d) enrol onto further or higher education courses as a result of the time taken to provide Biometric Residence Permits (BRP). Finding the requested information would be likely to breach the disproportionate cost threshold.

The Home Office process includes daily checks on any failure by decision makers to request a Biometric Residence Permit and to identify any request for a BRP which has not been produced. The Home Office aims to deliver a BRP within 10 working days of an immigration application being approved.

The Home Office works closely with the DVLA, which produces BRPs, and TNT/Fedex, which delivers them, to ensure that service level agreements are met and performance is improved, through improved reconciliation reporting and clearer escalation processes.

The DVLA has an SLA to complete 90% of production requests within one working day and the remaining 10% within two working days. While this was met consistently until early 2020 the impacts of Covid-19 restrictions and safe working practices have caused occasional delays of up to four working days since April.

TNT/Fedex is required to attempt first delivery of 99% of BRP within two working days of collection from DVLA. This target was met up until February 2020 and is 91% since then.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of (a) Biometric Residence Permit cards are issued within her Department's target time; (b) responses to BRP has not been delivered forms are answered within her Department's target time; and (c) correspondence in relation to BRP are answered within her Department's target time.

(a) The Home Office does not keep data relating to volume of Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) issued and delivered within target, but it does have service level agreements (SLAs) with partners for the creation and delivery of BRPs. The Home Office can also check whether and how quickly an individual BRP was created and delivered.

The Home Office aims to deliver a BRP within 10 working days of an immigration application being approved.

The DVLA, which produces BRPs, has an SLA to complete 90% of production requests within one working day and the remaining 10% within two working days. While this was met consistently until early 2020 the impacts of Covid-19 restrictions and safe working practices have caused occasional delays of up to four working days since April.

Our delivery partner is required to attempt first delivery of 99% of BRP within two working days of collection from DVLA. This target was met up until February 2020 and is 91% since then. We are working to improve our performance in all areas.

(b) Based upon locally held records, for the period 1st April 2020 to 31st October 2020, the Home Office received 44,258 BRP delivery enquiry forms and answered 91% within the 5 working day target.

(c) Based upon locally held records, for the period 1st April 2020 to 31st October 2020, the Home Office received 38,226 items of correspondence relating to matters other than delivery and answered 76% within the 5 working day target.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate her Department has made of the number of (a) EU, (b) EEA and (c) Swiss nationals in the UK who do not hold comprehensive sickness Insurance.

To meet the statutory requirements for naturalisation, a person of any nationality must have been in the UK lawfully during the residential qualifying period.

EEA Regulations set out the requirements which EEA nationals needed to follow if they wished to reside here lawfully on the basis of free movement. In the case of students or the self-sufficient, but not those who were working here, the possession of comprehensive sickness insurance has always been a requirement under them.

The British Nationality Act allows us to exercise discretion over this requirement in the special circumstances of any particular case. We cannot therefore prescribe when discretion will or will not be exercised. UKVI will consider cases sensitively, taking into account the nature and reasons for any period of unlawful residence alongside other information relevant to the individual.

There are no plans to amend legislation in this respect.

We do not have figures for the number of EU, EEA Swiss nationals in the UK who do not hold comprehensive sickness Insurance. It is only required where a person is either self-sufficient or a student. As EEA and Swiss nationals did not previously need to hold a document confirming their status, we cannot say how many failed to comply with this requirement.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will remove the requirement for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals with Settled Status to have had Comprehensive Sickness Insurance when studying or self-sufficient in order to be able to be granted British citizenship.

To meet the statutory requirements for naturalisation, a person of any nationality must have been in the UK lawfully during the residential qualifying period.

EEA Regulations set out the requirements which EEA nationals needed to follow if they wished to reside here lawfully on the basis of free movement. In the case of students or the self-sufficient, but not those who were working here, the possession of comprehensive sickness insurance has always been a requirement under them.

The British Nationality Act allows us to exercise discretion over this requirement in the special circumstances of any particular case. We cannot therefore prescribe when discretion will or will not be exercised. UKVI will consider cases sensitively, taking into account the nature and reasons for any period of unlawful residence alongside other information relevant to the individual.

There are no plans to amend legislation in this respect.

We do not have figures for the number of EU, EEA Swiss nationals in the UK who do not hold comprehensive sickness Insurance. It is only required where a person is either self-sufficient or a student. As EEA and Swiss nationals did not previously need to hold a document confirming their status, we cannot say how many failed to comply with this requirement.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to page 28 of her Department's document entitled, Nationality policy: Naturalisation as a British citizen by discretion, published on 14 May 2020, if she will provide a definition of what constitutes compelling grounds to exercise discretion.

To meet the statutory requirements for naturalisation, a person of any nationality must have been in the UK lawfully during the residential qualifying period.

EEA Regulations set out the requirements which EEA nationals needed to follow if they wished to reside here lawfully on the basis of free movement. In the case of students or the self-sufficient, but not those who were working here, the possession of comprehensive sickness insurance has always been a requirement under them.

The British Nationality Act allows us to exercise discretion over this requirement in the special circumstances of any particular case. We cannot therefore prescribe when discretion will or will not be exercised. UKVI will consider cases sensitively, taking into account the nature and reasons for any period of unlawful residence alongside other information relevant to the individual.

There are no plans to amend legislation in this respect.

We do not have figures for the number of EU, EEA Swiss nationals in the UK who do not hold comprehensive sickness Insurance. It is only required where a person is either self-sufficient or a student. As EEA and Swiss nationals did not previously need to hold a document confirming their status, we cannot say how many failed to comply with this requirement.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the potential risk of smuggling through Welsh ports after the end of the transition period; and what steps the Government it taking to mitigate that risk.

The UK has now left the EU, providing a once in a generation opportunity to take back control and strengthen the security of the UK border as a whole.

In December, the Government announced a plan to strengthen our border security. This included introducing the collection of pre-arrival goods data to stop smuggling and enable us to more effectively target illicit commodities travelling from the EU to the UK, the power to stop EU criminals at the border once we have ended free movement, the phasing out the use of European ID cards that are regularly used fraudulently given their insecurity compared to passports as well as introducing Electronic Travel Authorisation to provide an enhanced ability to screen arrivals and block threats from entering the UK.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when Priority Service and Super Priority Service for visa and indefinite leave to remain applications will resume.

International students travelling to the UK to commence courses in the Autumn semester are not considered under the indefinite leave to remain route.

We continually review our global visa operation to improve performance and ensure value for money while maintaining excellent customer service.

We have not yet re-introduced Super Priority and Priority visa services, but are keeping the position under constant review as more of our visa application centres reopen. The decision to reopen visa application centres is taken in conjunction with our commercial partners and is subject to the easing of restrictions in locations by host Governments. As centres reopen details of these will be published on our commercial partner websites.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to indefinite leave to remain decisions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the suspension of the priority and super priority services on the ability of international students to start university courses in September 2020.

International students travelling to the UK to commence courses in the Autumn semester are not considered under the indefinite leave to remain route.

We continually review our global visa operation to improve performance and ensure value for money while maintaining excellent customer service.

We have not yet re-introduced Super Priority and Priority visa services, but are keeping the position under constant review as more of our visa application centres reopen. The decision to reopen visa application centres is taken in conjunction with our commercial partners and is subject to the easing of restrictions in locations by host Governments. As centres reopen details of these will be published on our commercial partner websites.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for what reason time when employees are furloughed does not count towards the 12 month period for the purposes of Tier 1 entrepreneur visa despite employees being considered as employed during furlough; and if she will take steps to change that policy and ensure that the period of furlough does count towards meeting the conditions of the visa.

To extend leave or apply for settlement, Tier 1 Entrepreneurs must demonstrate they are undertaking ongoing business activity. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused disruption to many businesses and in light of this a number of Tier 1 Entrepreneur requirements have been relaxed to make sure applicants are able to remain in the UK.

Ordinarily, applicants must show they have created jobs for at least two people for 12 consecutive months. They will be allowed to include non-consecutive periods, as well as amalgamate multiple jobs to make the equivalent of two full time employees. For those applicants who are still unable to meet these requirements before the expiry of their visa, the Government will allow more time to qualify via temporary extensions of leave.

The Government continue to keep policies under review to ensure individuals, including those on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, do not suffer any detriment as a result of this pandemic.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of (a) extending the deadline for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme beyond 30 June 2021 and (b) making the EU settlement scheme an automatic registration system in response to additional pressures on the Civil Service resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

There are no plans to extend the deadline for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme or to replace it with an automatic registration system. There is still over a year before the deadline of 30 June 2021 and the latest published statistics, to 31 March 2020, show the scheme is performing well, with more than 3.4 million applications having been received and over 3.1 million concluded. The Home Office has continued to receive and process applications throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

EU citizens can apply online, free of charge, simply by completing three key steps: proving their identity, showing they live in the UK and declaring any criminal convictions. There is support available online, by email and by telephone from our assisted digital provider.

Where a person eligible for leave under the scheme has reasonable grounds for missing the application deadline, they will be given a further opportunity to apply. Our compassionate and flexible approach will ensure that individuals who miss the deadline through no fault of their own can still obtain lawful status in the UK. We will publish clear guidance for caseworkers in due course to ensure consistency of approach.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will automatically extend all visas due to expire during the covid-19 outbreak, including those of people unable to return to the UK due to travel restrictions.

The Home Office has put in place a range of measures to support those affected by the covid-19 outbreak. The latest information in respect of advice for visa holders can be found on GOV.UK at: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents.

This advice is kept under regular review as we recognise further adjustments are likely to be required to cater for all scenarios. We are working through these to ensure people are not unduly affected by circumstances beyond their control.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if the Government will waive the requirement for applicants for Indefinite Leave to Remain not to have spent more than 90 days outside the UK in circumstances where applicants are unable to return to the UK due to travel restrictions during the covid-19 outbreak.

Individuals who hold leave in categories including Tier 2, Start-up and Global Talent are allowed a maximum of 180 days absence from the UK without breaking their continuous residence. However, the published guidance confirms that applicants may exceed the 180 days in the event of serious or compelling circumstances. This would include travel disruption caused by the covid-19 pandemic.

A full list of categories covered by this exemption is available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/indefinite-leave-to-remain-calculating-continuous-period-in-uk

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much funding the Government has allocated to tackling female genital mutilation in each financial year since 2015; and how that funding was allocated.

FGM is a crime and it is child abuse. The Government will not tolerate a practice that can cause extreme and lifelong physical and psychological suffering to women and girls. We significantly strengthened the law in 2015 in order to improve protection for victims and those at risk, and to break down the barriers to prosecution.

The table below comprises funding allocated by UK Government departments to tackle FGM since April 2015.? It excludes:

  • staffing and other administrative costs;

  • grants which were made to organisations to tackle both FGM and other issues, where it is not possible to break down the money spent on FGM and on those other issues; and

  • components of broader funding provided to statutory agencies and office holders (namely the NHS and Police and Crime Commissioners) which those agencies and office holders chose to spend on FGM.

All figures are rounded to the nearest £1,000. Financial years run from 1 April to 31 March.

Financial Year

Total Domestic Government Spend

2015/2016

£2,718,000

2016/2017

£1,664,000

2017/2018

£1,918,000

2018/2019

£1,814,000

2019/2020

£432,000

This funding comprised:

  • Home Office expenditure on grants to four organisations for projects dealing solely with FGM as part of the Building a Stronger Britain Together Fund (2017/18-2019/20); and on a communications campaign to raise awareness of the risks of FGM (2017/18-2019/20).

  • Department for Education expenditure on grants to the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) (2015/16); to Barnardo’s/National FGM Centre (2015/16-2019/20); and to two other voluntary sector organisations (2016/17-2017/18).

  • Department of Health and Social Care expenditure on the FGM Prevention Programme (2015/16-2017/18), as well as additional funding in 2018/19 to embed the improvements delivered by that programme across NHS services.

  • Funds allocated by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to 37 local authority areas to fund locally-driven outreach, engagement and communications on the practice of FGM (2018/19).

The Home Office also awarded £476,000 in grants to two projects dealing solely with FGM as part of the Violence Against Women and Girls Service Transformation fund. As these grants were awarded as a block encompassing three financial years, the figures cannot be broken down into financial years.

Information on the amount of funding provided by the Department for International Development (DfID) since 2015 is not available by financial year. DfID's spending by calendar year is outlined here: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-03-02/23440/

28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2020 to Question 1876, on Extradition: Offenders, what discussions (a) officials and (b) Ministers in her Department have had with their (i) Austrian, (ii) German and (iii) Slovenian counterparts on the extradition of criminals during the transition period.

Home Office officials and Ministers regularly engage with their international counterparts in EU Member States on security cooperation. Engagement also takes place between the law enforcement agencies and prosecution services responsible for the execution of individual warrants, including with Austria, Germany and Slovenia where appropriate.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the (a) European Commission and (b) her (i) Austrian, (ii) German and (iii) Slovenian counterparts on the extradition of criminals during the transition period.

Home Office officials and Ministers regularly engage with their international counterparts in EU Member States on security cooperation. As the UK has left the European Union, these policy discussions take place via bilateral rather than EU channels.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to respond to Questions 7123 and 7124 on Immigration: EU Nationals, tabled on 23 January 2020 by the hon. Member for Arfon.

The responses for UIN 7123 and 7124 were given on 24th June 2020.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her Department's definition is of a complex immigration case; and what the criteria are for designating a case as complex.

There is no prescribed test or definition for when a case is deemed to be complex.

Each case is dealt with on its own merits and, while reviewing an application, a trained caseworker will make an assessment of whether the particular circumstances of that application would deem it to be classed as complex.

If a case is classed as complex the Home Office will write to the customer explaining why.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many immigration cases have taken longer than (a) six months and (b) one year to be resolved in each of the last five years.

Information on our immigration routes with service standards and whether they have been processed against these standards is available as part of our transparency data, at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-transparency-data#uk-visas-and-immigration

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Border Force staff her Department is planning to recruit in the financial year 2020-21 in preparation for the UK leaving the EU.

Border Force have already delivered a largescale recruitment and training exercise, which has seen an uplift of permanent staff, bringing the number of full-time equivalent Border Force staff to over 8,700 from c7,700 in March 2018. This includes a multi-disciplinary Readiness Task Force (RTF) of c.300 officers, which is available to deploy across the UK at short notice to deal with emerging issues and peaks in demand.

Resource and staffing requirements are continually reviewed, and we deploy resources flexibly as and when they are required. Border Force will continue to build a pipeline of resource to flexibly respond to future requirements.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many staff were recruited by her Department in the last twelve months to work on preparations for the UK leaving the EU; and what the Border Force budget has been for (a) additional permanent staff members and (b) agency workers in each financial year since 2015-16.

The department has been continually assessing the resourcing levels required to prepare for EU Exit across all possible scenarios, developing contingency plans in line with government policy. It is not possible to provide the number of staff who have been recruited to work on preparations for the UK leaving the EU as staff are generally engaged across a range of workstreams, which will include business as usual activity as well as EU Exit preparations, across all scenarios.

Over the last 12 months the department has adapted to the different scenarios in preparation for the UK leaving the EU and our staffing numbers have fluctuated to meet these demands.

The latest published staffing and finance figures for Border Force can be found in the Home Office Annual Report for 2018-2019 on page 85 at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/home-office-annual-report-and-accounts-2018-to-2019

The previous published staffing and financial figures for Border Force since 2015 to 2018 can be found at the following links:

2015-2016: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/home-office-annual-report-and-accounts-2015-to-2016

2016-2017: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/home-office-annual-report-and-accounts-2016-to-2017

2017-2018: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/home-office-annual-report-and-accounts-2017-to-2018

2018-2019: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/home-office-annual-report-and-accounts-2018-to-2019

Excluding EU Exit, Border Force’s gross resource budget for 2019-20 is £488m. This includes an income target of £19m, which means a net allocation of £469m.

Border Force has received a total of c.£182m for EU Exit preparations in 2019/20. (£141m Resource and £41M Capital)

Border Force originally received funding, based on a Deal, of £100m; this funding was to fund recruitment for full customs compliance by the end of 2020. The recruitment and training for this uplift of permanent staff has completed bringing the Border Force FTE to over 8,700 from 7,700 in March 2018.

The additional £41m Resource funding provided throughout 2019-20 enabled further recruitment with Border Force expecting to reach c9,300 FTE by March 2020.

Border Force received a total £82.1m for EU Exit preparations in 2018/19 (£72.1m Resource and £10m Capital)

Border Force received a total of £3.2m for EU Exit preparations in 2017/18 (£1.7m Resource and £1.5m Capital)

Budgets for 20-21 cannot be confirmed as they remain subject to final confirmation.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what qualifications or criteria are required for Border Force personnel working in (a) ports and (b) airports; and whether those qualifications or criteria applied to the recruitment of agency staff, in the last twelve months.

Border Force have recruited nationally for permanent staff at various grades in the last twelve months. The educational qualifications and other criteria required will be dependent on the grade being recruited.

However, the basic criteria for all recruitment of permanent staff into Border Force must be:

  • Be a UK national; evidence of which, will be required.
  • Hold a full and valid passport;
  • Be at least 18 years old as you will be required to work between midnight and 4am which is not legal unless you are 18.
  • Depending on location and grade have a full and valid driving license

The agency staff are temporary staff which Border Force engaged for an administrative purpose should the UK have left the EU in a no deal scenario. Their intended role was not consistent with that of a permanent Border Force Officer and the agency staff received training appropriate to the duties to be carried out.

The criteria for eligibility to apply for agency staff was the consistent with the criteria set out above for permanent recruitment, with the exception that there was no academic qualifications required due to level of responsibilities to be undertaken

All agency staff were interviewed (assessed) and selected upon suitable demonstration of the following skills:

  • excellent interpersonal and communication skills;
  • a strong sense of personal ethics and integrity;
  • they enjoy interacting with colleagues, members of the public and external stakeholders;
  • the ability to build relationships and thrive working as part of a team;
  • a desire to develop.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if her Department will increase the number of scanning centres in Wales to improve access for EU27 citizens applying for settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme.

The latest published information shows more than 3.6 million EU Settlement Scheme applications had been received up to 31 May 2020. Of these, 59,400 applications had been received in Wales. The latest figures can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics.

In order to ensure resident EEA and Swiss nationals, and their family members, understand how and by when to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office has put in place a comprehensive communications and engagement plan, using all available channels to reach our audiences – such as marketing, presentations, email updates, toolkits and webinars.

The Home Office has delivered a £4 million marketing campaign to encourage resident EEA and Swiss nationals to apply. During the first burst of campaign activity billboards were placed in 186 locations in Wales with 50% of these posters in Welsh and 50% in English.

No-one will be left behind, which is why we are working in partnership with representatives of vulnerable groups and other expert organisations to make sure the right level of support is available. This includes £9 million of funding awarded last year to 57 voluntary and community sector organisations across the UK to assist vulnerable and at-risk EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members. Five organisations are providing support for EEA and Swiss citizens in Wales: Newport Mind Association, Tros Gynnal Plant, International Organisation for Migration, Royal Association for Deaf People, and Rights of Women.

There are multiple ways applicants can have their identity documents checked as part of the application process, including using the EU Exit: ID Document Check smartphone app or by posting identity documents to the Home Office.

The identity document scanner locations are currently closed due to the COVID pandemic, following the latest public health guidance to protect staff. However, the Home Office and its delivery partners are keeping this situation under constant review and will endeavour to reinstate identity document scanner locations to their original capacity in line with public health guidance.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to increase the proportion of EU27 citizens in Wales who apply for settled status.

The latest published information shows more than 3.6 million EU Settlement Scheme applications had been received up to 31 May 2020. Of these, 59,400 applications had been received in Wales. The latest figures can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics.

In order to ensure resident EEA and Swiss nationals, and their family members, understand how and by when to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office has put in place a comprehensive communications and engagement plan, using all available channels to reach our audiences – such as marketing, presentations, email updates, toolkits and webinars.

The Home Office has delivered a £4 million marketing campaign to encourage resident EEA and Swiss nationals to apply. During the first burst of campaign activity billboards were placed in 186 locations in Wales with 50% of these posters in Welsh and 50% in English.

No-one will be left behind, which is why we are working in partnership with representatives of vulnerable groups and other expert organisations to make sure the right level of support is available. This includes £9 million of funding awarded last year to 57 voluntary and community sector organisations across the UK to assist vulnerable and at-risk EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members. Five organisations are providing support for EEA and Swiss citizens in Wales: Newport Mind Association, Tros Gynnal Plant, International Organisation for Migration, Royal Association for Deaf People, and Rights of Women.

There are multiple ways applicants can have their identity documents checked as part of the application process, including using the EU Exit: ID Document Check smartphone app or by posting identity documents to the Home Office.

The identity document scanner locations are currently closed due to the COVID pandemic, following the latest public health guidance to protect staff. However, the Home Office and its delivery partners are keeping this situation under constant review and will endeavour to reinstate identity document scanner locations to their original capacity in line with public health guidance.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what further steps his Department has taken to reduce noise disruption from Texan trainer aircraft operating from RAF Valley.

In training our future fast jet pilots, RAF Valley plays a vital role in our national security. It has taken a number of measures to minimise disturbance to local communities from the Texan aircraft, including spreading operational training as widely and equitably as possible, rotating regularly through training areas in any day; conducting an increased proportion of Texan flights over the sea; and increasing the amount of training conducted in simulators.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what proportion of Texan trainer aircraft operating from RAF Valley have been fitted with the Universal Water Activated Release System harness.

All 14 of the Texan T MK1 aircraft operated at RAF Valley are fitted with the Universal Water Activated Release System harness.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to point 5 of his letter of 20 April 2021, reference MSU4.6.7.2, what progress has been made since on improvements to Texan trainer aircraft.

Work continues with industry on the life raft and there has been significant progress on the Universal Water Activated Release System harness, with embodiment on all ten Texan aircraft due to be complete by the end of October.

It remains the case that Texan aircraft continues to routinely and safely operate over the sea. The modifications identified are to further enhance the protection for our aircrew, enabling training over the roughest of sea states. However, it also remains the case that we will always need to conduct essential training flights over land to ensure pilots receive training for all scenarios they may face when on operations and to ensure effective use of all available airspace and training sortie times.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many Royal Saudi Air Force pilots (a) are currently training at RAF Valley and (b) have trained at RAF Valley annually in the last three years.

There are no Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) students currently training at RAF Valley. In the last three years 30* RSAF students have trained at RAF Valley.

We are unable to breakdown the total number of Royal Saudi Air Force students annually as training spans more than one year and individuals may be counted more than once.

*In accordance with the Data Protection Act and our obligations in relation to the protection of confidentiality when handling personal data, the data has been rounded to the nearest 10.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what ratio of land to sea training is planned for the T6 Texan once the certification issues have been resolved.

The set requirement of night flying on the Texan Ab-Initio Course to gain night flying qualification roughly equates to 95 per cent day flying and 5 per cent night flying. However, there has never been a military requirement in setting any form of ratio of land to sea training. The primary responsibility is to operate efficiently and safely within available airspace to deliver military training course aims.

For the Texan fleet, the Valley Aerial Tactics Area (VATA) and the RAF Valley/Mona Air Traffic Zones remain the most appropriate airspace to deliver many of these training aims. RAF Valley undertakes to distribute training activity as fairly as possible for all aircraft types based at the station, but the local airspace is surrounded by civil airways over much of the Irish Sea. Although a far greater proportion of Texan training is conducted over-water than a year ago, for all communities under the VATA airspace, a level of flying locally remains inevitable.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the ratio is of day to night flying of the T6 Texan II based at RAF Valley.

The set requirement of night flying on the Texan Ab-Initio Course to gain night flying qualification roughly equates to 95 per cent day flying and five per cent night flying. However, there has never been a military requirement in setting any form of ratio of land to sea training. The primary responsibility is to operate efficiently and safely within available airspace to deliver military training course aims.

For the Texan fleet, the Valley Aerial Tactics Area (VATA) and the RAF Valley/Mona Air Traffic Zones remain the most appropriate airspace to deliver many of these training aims. RAF Valley undertakes to distribute training activity as fairly as possible for all aircraft types based at the station, but the local airspace is surrounded by civil airways over much of the Irish Sea. Although a far greater proportion of Texan training is conducted over-water than a year ago, for all communities under the VATA airspace, a level of flying locally remains inevitable.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department made of the suitability of the Texan T1 for operations from RAF Y Fali prior to the transfer of basic flying training to Y Fali from Linton-on-Ouse.

The Military Flying Training System Fixed Wing Element contract was for a system of training covering three different aircraft types selected by the bidder to provide Elementary Flying Training, Basic Flying Training (BFT) and Multi-Engine Flying Training, along with associated qualified instructors, infrastructure, course-ware, advanced simulation and aircraft engineering support across a multiple training RAF Stations. The procurement of modern glass cockpit turboprop trainer aircraft for the BFT role enabled much more sophisticated training which better prepares our trainee aircrew for the frontline. Coupled with an increase in simulator training, the overall live flying element of the BFT course has been reduced for each student.

Alongside the procurement contract, the collocation of BFT with Texan alongside the Advanced Training of Hawk T2 at RAF Valley provided additional benefits of shared infrastructure and support efficiencies, alongside use of the existing Valley Aerial Tactics Area airspace. This has enabled the wider rationalisation of UKMFTS training estate, delivering better value for money while also generating further job and investment opportunities at RAF Valley supporting the regional economy.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he became aware of the certification issues with the Texan T1 training aircraft; and whether an assessment was made of the potential merits of purchasing an alternative aircraft.

The Texan T Mk1 entered service in 2019. It is a Civil Certified aircraft, certified by the Federal Aviation Authority and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. The Ministry of Defence operates Texan on the Military Register, which requires a Military Type Certificate (MTC) issued by the Military Aviation Authority (MAA). The MAA imposed a restriction in the MTC on initial Release To Service to minimise flight over water in order to drive further improvements to the Texan, so that its operation would be coherent with the protection levels afforded by other UK military aircraft. This has led to work to implement improvements to the Harness, Life Preserver and Life Raft. The Department is now preparing for a review of the MTC Restriction.

During procurement, Texan was assessed as the most suitable training aircraft for the required syllabus. The MTC restriction was imposed after the procurement of the Texan and as such no further assessment has been made of any potential merits of purchasing an alternative aircraft.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the area of operations is for Texan T1 trainer aircraft operating out of RAF Valley.

The airspace around Wales is crowded and has developed over many years to deconflict safely the competing requirements of both civil and military users. The areas immediately to the north of RAF Valley over the Irish Sea contain some of the busiest civil airways, with stringent civil air traffic control procedures. The Texan Course is split between two primary requirements; roughly half of the course is training in general aircraft handling and military tactics; while the other half of the course concentrates on air traffic control procedures, instrument flying and navigation.

The primary areas of operation for the general aircraft handling phase include the RAF Valley and RAF Mona Military Aerodrome Traffic Zones, the Valley Aerial Tactics Area and the North Wales Military Training Area as these areas offer the best training advantage in this phase and safe deconfliction from the civil airways. The Texan fleet looks to distribute training as much as is practicable within those airspace constraints and will also occasionally use the Aberporth Danger Area complex D201 in Cardigan Bay/Bae Ceredigion when it is available.

In the navigation phase of the course, training is routinely distributed farther afield to other areas of the United Kingdom, often using civil airways and landing at another aerodrome to refuel. The airways of the Holyhead Control Area (CTA) in the Irish Sea immediately north of RAF Valley can also be used during this phase by Texan aircraft to enable these transits.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 8 February 2021 to Question 147752, which Department or contractor will pay for the cost of retrofitting safety equipment to the RAF’s fleet of Texan trainer aircraft to allow training over water.

The over-water safety equipment for the RAF Texan fleet comprises three main elements, a modified harness, the Life Preserver, and the life raft.

The cost of the development, certification and embodiment of the harness modification is £1.858m (ex VAT), which is being funded by the Ministry of Defence.

At present there is no activity to replace the current Life Preserver. Ascent, the Training System Partner, is integrating a water activated light on the Life Preserver to enable night flying over water from RAF Valley.

Consideration is underway within the Department regarding the funding for a replacement Life Raft, and I am withholding the cost information on the basis that it would prejudice value for money.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 8 February 2021 to Question 147752, what the estimated cost is of retrofitting the safety equipment of the RAF’s fleet of Texan trainer aircraft to allow training over water.

The over-water safety equipment for the RAF Texan fleet comprises three main elements, a modified harness, the Life Preserver, and the life raft.

The cost of the development, certification and embodiment of the harness modification is £1.858m (ex VAT), which is being funded by the Ministry of Defence.

At present there is no activity to replace the current Life Preserver. Ascent, the Training System Partner, is integrating a water activated light on the Life Preserver to enable night flying over water from RAF Valley.

Consideration is underway within the Department regarding the funding for a replacement Life Raft, and I am withholding the cost information on the basis that it would prejudice value for money.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to his letter of 7 December 2020, reference MSU/4/6/2/1/ap, what progress has been made on the acquisition of new harnesses, life jackets and life rafts which would enable the Texan aircraft to operate over seas; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 28 January 2020 to question 142802.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the planned timescale is for orders to be placed for safety equipment including harnesses to enable the Texans to operate over the sea.

As I set out in my letter to the hon. Member of 7 December 2020, to follow up on your question to my Right hon. Friend the Leader of the House on this topic, this remains a priority for the Texan fleet. However, as it is based on three different system elements being individually evaluated and certified, it is not possible for me to give you a definitive timescale at this time. I intend to write to the hon. Member and other local MPs next month advising on the different elements of the project and potential timing and will place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what his Department's policy is on reducing the noise pollution caused by training planes near North Wales towns and tourist areas.

As home of two-thirds of MOD’s fast-jet training, RAF Valley has seen significant investment in recent years, cementing the station’s position as one of the largest employers in the area and supporting and strengthening the local economy. This does, however, mean a level of flying locally is inevitable.

However, we continue to make every effort to ensure training flights are fairly distributed, and we are working hard to remove remaining restrictions that reduce overwater activity as part of this. Although much of the airspace over the Irish Sea is reserved for civilian airways and airliner traffic, RAF Valley continues to distribute Texan training to other areas when this is practicable and offers effective training opportunities.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many planes out of each of the Prefects, Texan T1s, Hawk T2s, and E35 Lightening IIs and Typhoons are without appropriate safety equipment for conducting sorties over sea.

There are no restrictions for Prefect, Hawk T2, Lightning and Typhoon. As set out in my letter to the hon. Member of 7 December 2020, to follow up on your question to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House on this topic, the Texan aircraft has a temporary restriction to minimise (but not preclude) operation overwater. Therefore, overwater training can still be undertaken, when required, and with a full assessment of the balance of risk relating to the operation.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether all Prefects, Texan T1s and Hawk T2 aircraft have been operating throughout the last 12 months.

Other than due to maintenance or fault rectification requirements, all aircraft in the active fleets have been operating over the past 12 months.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many compensation payments and of what amounts were made by his Department in the financial years (a) 2019-20, (b) 2018-19, (c) 2017-18, (d) 2016-17 and (e) 2015-16 by (i) Low Flying Area and (ii) Tactical Training Area where data is available; and if he will make a statement.

The Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) expenditure on compensation claims arising from operational military low flying by Low Flying Area (LFA) for the financial years (FY) 2015-2020 is attached.

Tactical Training Areas are not designated on a permanent basis but limited in use to the published timetables. At all other times the same area is deemed to be the LFA in which it is contained.

In order to ensure that military low flying is as accountable to the public as possible the MOD provides the Low Flying Complaints Enquiry Unit, located at RAF Wittering, which allows the public to report low flying incidents which have raised concern.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the hours were of military low flying within the UK low flying system in financial year 2019-20; and if he will make a statement.

The military low flying statistics are published annually at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/the-pattern-of-military-low-flying-across-the-uk-index

The hours for financial year 2019-20 are currently being collated and will be published later in 2021. Low flying training in the United Kingdom ensures our Armed Forces are fully competent in a wide range of flying skills and tactics before they deploy on operations.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many complaints his Department's low flying complaints and enquiries unit received in the 2019-20 financial year; and if he will make a statement.

In calendar years 2019 and 2020, the Low Flying Complaints and Enquiries Unit (LFCEU) received 768 and 1,256 low flying complaints respectively. The figures are currently being collated by financial year for the Department's low flying official statistics return which is published annually at the following website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/the-pattern-of-military-low-flying-across-the-uk-index

The Ministry of Defence takes its responsibilities to the general public very seriously and measures are taken to provide a balance between essential military training and the need to avoid excessive disturbance on the ground. Low flying activity is spread as widely as possible across the UK to minimise the impact on particular communities.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent discussions he has had with Ascent Consortium on noise pollution and safety procedures; and if he will make a statement.

The collaborative approach to training delivery and safety management systems at RAF Valley ensure expert staff from Ascent are fully integrated into all appropriate operating, safety and environmental working groups at the Station.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the size of the fleet of (a) Texan T1 and (b) Tucano was in each RAF training ground in each year since 2017.

The Tucano fleet was headquartered at RAF Linton-on-Ouse and was withdrawn from Service in October 2019. The Texan fleet is headquartered at RAF Valley. The attached table is extracted from the National Statistic - UK Armed Forces Equipment and Formations 2020.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the RAF’s Texan T1 trainer aircraft has been cleared to operate over water.

The operation of Texan T1 trainers over water is currently minimised on a temporary basis. This is because as part of the aircraft certification process, the Military Aviation Authority (MAA) deemed that the harness on this particular aircraft could not currently be fitted with a water-activated quick-release mechanism which would be required if a pilot became incapacitated in a sea survival situation. Also, in extreme cold weather survival situations, the life raft would not provide extended thermal protection period for the pilot. The RAF is working as a priority exploring options for a new combination of life raft, harness and life jacket on Texan aircraft, that would enable the review of this restriction.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to reduce noise nuisance from Texan T1 aircraft operating from RAF Y Fali over north west Wales.

The Ministry of Defence recognises that while aircraft bases bring significant benefits to their local area, the noise generated by aircraft can have an impact on local communities. Unfortunately, a level of disturbance is unavoidable.

RAF Valley takes its responsibilities to the public very seriously and seeks to minimise the impact of noise on local residents as far as possible. Restrictions are placed on the height, speeds and operating procedures of all military aircraft, including the Texan T1, and the amount of training conducted is limited to the operational requirement.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many overseas student pilots are being trained at RAF Valley as at 21 April 2020.

There are currently four overseas students receiving flying training at RAF Valley.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether training flights have been conducted from RAF Valley since 23 March 2020.

Yes. Following the Prime Minister's announcement on 23 March there was a short pause in flying training to assess the impact of COVID-19. Essential flying training at RAF Valley on the Hawk aircraft recommenced on 31 March and on the Texan aircraft on 14 April. The delivery of all training will remain under constant review as the situation changes.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)