Ian Blackford Portrait

Ian Blackford

Scottish National Party - Ross, Skye and Lochaber

SNP Westminster Leader

(since June 2017)
Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament
16th Nov 2017 - 29th Apr 2019
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Pensions)
20th May 2015 - 20th Jun 2017
Petitions Committee
20th Jul 2015 - 31st Oct 2016


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
None available
Speeches
Wednesday 20th July 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
Mr Speaker, may I join you in wishing all the best, at his impending retirement, to—James Mackay and Beth, who …
Written Answers
Tuesday 8th March 2022
Aviation: Russia
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether a private or chartered aircraft registered in a third country other …
Early Day Motions
Friday 15th July 2022
John Stevenson of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Service
That this House congratulates John Stevenson after a remarkable 41 years of service with Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team; recognises the …
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 28th June 2021
8. Miscellaneous
From 25 June 2021, investment portfolio managed on a blind discretionary basis by Rathbones and previously by Brooks MacDonald Plc. …
EDM signed
Monday 18th July 2022
Specialist Huntington’s Disease Services
That this House notes that Huntington’s Disease is a rare, hereditary and incurable neurological condition that slowly robs patients of …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 23rd February 2022
Energy Pricing (Off Gas Grid Households) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision about the application of the energy price cap in relation to households without mains gas …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Ian Blackford has voted in 362 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Ian Blackford 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
(300 debate interactions)
Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker)
(89 debate interactions)
Eleanor Laing (Conservative)
(18 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(272 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(47 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(28 debate contributions)
Wales Office
(24 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020
(18,068 words contributed)
Coronavirus Act 2020
(3,193 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Ian Blackford's debates

Ross, Skye and Lochaber Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Ross, Skye and Lochaber signature proportion
Petitions with most Ross, Skye and Lochaber signatures
Ian Blackford has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Ian Blackford

11th May 2022
Ian Blackford signed this EDM on Monday 18th July 2022

Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

Tabled by: Grahame Morris (Labour - Easington)
That this House is shocked by the killing of Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli forces whilst reporting on raids in Jenin; extends its sincere condolences to her family and colleagues who are devastated? by her death; is appalled that this widely-respected, brave and committed journalist was hit by …
60 signatures
(Most recent: 18 Jul 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 29
Scottish National Party: 20
Independent: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
17th May 2022
Ian Blackford signed this EDM on Monday 18th July 2022

Specialist Huntington’s Disease Services

Tabled by: Hilary Benn (Labour - Leeds Central)
That this House notes that Huntington’s Disease is a rare, hereditary and incurable neurological condition that slowly robs patients of their ability to walk, talk, eat, drink, make decisions and care for themselves; notes that a University of Aberdeen study, published in the Journal of Neurology, highlights that the number …
81 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Jul 2022)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 38
Labour: 18
Liberal Democrat: 10
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Alba Party: 2
Conservative: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Ian Blackford's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Ian Blackford, 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.



38 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
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the status is of the submission on behalf of the Campaign for the Harmonisation of Criteria for Both Versions of the Accumulated Campaign Service Medal which was received by AMSC, SW1A 2HQ, on 15 January 2021.

The assessment of historic medals claims is a matter for the independent Advisory Military Sub-Committee (AMSC). Campaigners can be assured their case is under review and recommendations will be made as soon as possible.

27th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to publish the second Register of Ministers' Interests from 2020.

The Prime Minister yesterday announced the appointment of Rt Hon Lord Geidt to serve as the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests. The Independent Adviser oversees the production of a List of Ministers' Interests, and the next publication will occur once Lord Geidt has concluded that process.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Advisory Military Sub Committee plans to review all cases relating to nuclear test veterans.

Further to the answer given on 9 March 2020, campaigners can be assured their case is under review and recommendations will be made as soon as possible.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has plans to implement the Contracts for Difference auction and allocation on an annual basis.

On 9 February 2022, the Secretary of State announced that Contracts for Difference allocation rounds will be held on an annual basis from March 2023, when the next round (AR5) will open to applications.[1]

[1] https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2022-02-09/hcws600

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Royal Society's report, entitled A review of the UK and British Channel Islands practical tidal stream energy resource, published in November 2021, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of reaching 11.5 gigawatts of electricity output for tidal marine energy.

The Government has made targeted support available for tidal stream energy projects in Great Britain through allocation round 4 of the Contracts for Difference scheme. Promising technologies in the early commercial stage of development must prove their viability and scalability by driving down prices before the Government takes a view on whether the levels of deployed capacity are feasible.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the announcement to include £20 million of ring-fenced in the fourth allocation round of the Contracts for Difference Scheme, what target is in place for electricity gigawatt output generated through tidal marine energy.

The £20 million ring-fence of UK government funding for Tidal Stream was announced on 24th November. The Government has no specific target for gigawatts of capacity from tidal sources.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the £20 million of ring-fenced funding for tidal marine energy as part of the Contracts for Difference Scheme; and if the Government will provide increased ring-fenced funding should that assessment find those funds to be insufficient.

The next Contracts for Difference round will be the biggest yet, affirming this Government’s commitment to fully decarbonise the electricity system by 2035. The £20m ringfenced support for Tidal Stream is sufficient to kick-start innovation across the UK and balances our objectives of decarbonisation, fairness and value for electricity billpayers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the level of service delivery SmartDCC met of the UK network; and what plans his Department has for the introduction of smart meters in the Maryburgh, Dingwall area.

The Data Communications Company (DCC), the organisation responsible for the national smart metering data and communications infrastructure across Great Britain, has contracts in place for the provision of communications coverage to at least 99.5% of premises across its ‘North Region’ (which covers Scotland). Industry information shows that there is communications coverage in the Maryburgh, Dingwall area.

Energy suppliers are responsible for installing smart meters in households and small businesses. The Government will continue to work closely with the DCC and other industry parties to ensure that households across Great Britain can realise the benefits of smart meters.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the timeframe is for the introduction of smart meters on Glenhinnisdal on the Isle of Skye.

Smart meters are operating on the Isle of Skye and smart metering communications services are being provided to the island.

The Data Communications Company (DCC), the organisation responsible for the national smart metering infrastructure, has contracts in place for the provision of communications coverage to at least 99.5% of premises in the North Region by the end of 2020. Glenhinnisdal does not currently receive network coverage for smart meters due to mountainous terrain affecting wireless coverage in the area. The DCC is required by licence conditions to seek to provide communications services to all premises where it is practicable and cost proportionate, and is also required to assess opportunities to increase the overall level of coverage.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government's 2010 consultation on peat, whether it is his policy that the use of peat in amateur horticulture will end and more sustainable peat-free alternatives commence in 2020.

The Government is committed to phasing out the use of peat in horticulture in England by 2030. In 2011 we introduced a voluntary target for amateur gardeners to phase out the use of peat by 2020 and a final voluntary phase-out target of 2030 for professional growers of fruit, vegetables and plants. While some progress has been made, we stated in the 25 Year Environment Plan that we would consider implementing further measures if there is insufficient movement to peat alternatives by 2020. We will set out our plans around the use of peat in horticulture in due course.

We are working with the industry to make the transition to peat alternatives and to overcome barriers to their use. This includes, for example, jointly funding research with the industry on peat replacements in professional horticulture.

3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether a private or chartered aircraft registered in a third country other than the Russian Federation is prevented from travelling to the Russian Federation under the terms of the NOTAM issued on the 25 February 2022 at 21:00 GMT.

The restrictions prohibit any aircraft registered in Russia, or any aircraft, - irrespective of the state registry - that is owned, chartered, or operated by a person connected with Russia, from using UK airspace.

On 25 February, in a tit for tat response, the Russian authorities banned aircraft owned, leased or operated by a person associated with the UK, or registered in the UK from landing at Russia's airports and from crossing its airspace.

We have remained engaged with NATS throughout and grateful to their work to reject flight plans submitted by Russian registered aircraft and working with us to investigate any potential breaches. NATS has confirmed to the Department that there have been two flights, operated by non-UK airlines, from UK to Russia since the 25 February.

Regarding notifications of the restrictions, a NOTAM was issued at 21:00 on 25 February informing all aviation stakeholders of the new strengthened restrictions. It is the responsibility of all aviation, including HIAL and Inverness Airport, to check NOTAMs. A further guidance was sent to the aviation industry, including HIAL, via the CAA Siren system on 26 February at 18:59. This provided the industry further clarification on the restrictions; however, the industry would have been fully aware restrictions were in place via the appropriate route, which was the NOTAM.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many flights in the UK have been given air traffic control authorisation to travel to a destination in the Russian Federation since the issuing of the NOTAM on the 25 February 2022 at 21:00 GMT.

The restrictions prohibit any aircraft registered in Russia, or any aircraft, - irrespective of the state registry - that is owned, chartered, or operated by a person connected with Russia, from using UK airspace.

On 25 February, in a tit for tat response, the Russian authorities banned aircraft owned, leased or operated by a person associated with the UK, or registered in the UK from landing at Russia's airports and from crossing its airspace.

We have remained engaged with NATS throughout and grateful to their work to reject flight plans submitted by Russian registered aircraft and working with us to investigate any potential breaches. NATS has confirmed to the Department that there have been two flights, operated by non-UK airlines, from UK to Russia since the 25 February.

Regarding notifications of the restrictions, a NOTAM was issued at 21:00 on 25 February informing all aviation stakeholders of the new strengthened restrictions. It is the responsibility of all aviation, including HIAL and Inverness Airport, to check NOTAMs. A further guidance was sent to the aviation industry, including HIAL, via the CAA Siren system on 26 February at 18:59. This provided the industry further clarification on the restrictions; however, the industry would have been fully aware restrictions were in place via the appropriate route, which was the NOTAM.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will investigate whether the NATS Centre at Prestwick gave authorisation for a private jet to travel from Highlands and Islands Airport to Moscow on 26 February 2022; and if he will make an assessment of the compatibility of that authorisation with the NOTAM issued on the 25 February 2022 at 21:00 GMT.

The restrictions prohibit any aircraft registered in Russia, or any aircraft, - irrespective of the state registry - that is owned, chartered, or operated by a person connected with Russia, from using UK airspace.

On 25 February, in a tit for tat response, the Russian authorities banned aircraft owned, leased or operated by a person associated with the UK, or registered in the UK from landing at Russia's airports and from crossing its airspace.

We have remained engaged with NATS throughout and grateful to their work to reject flight plans submitted by Russian registered aircraft and working with us to investigate any potential breaches. NATS has confirmed to the Department that there have been two flights, operated by non-UK airlines, from UK to Russia since the 25 February.

Regarding notifications of the restrictions, a NOTAM was issued at 21:00 on 25 February informing all aviation stakeholders of the new strengthened restrictions. It is the responsibility of all aviation, including HIAL and Inverness Airport, to check NOTAMs. A further guidance was sent to the aviation industry, including HIAL, via the CAA Siren system on 26 February at 18:59. This provided the industry further clarification on the restrictions; however, the industry would have been fully aware restrictions were in place via the appropriate route, which was the NOTAM.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Civil Aviation Authorities Siren notification concerning the NOTAM issued on 25 February 2022 at 21:00 GMT was communicated to Highlands and Islands Airport.

The restrictions prohibit any aircraft registered in Russia, or any aircraft, - irrespective of the state registry - that is owned, chartered, or operated by a person connected with Russia, from using UK airspace.

On 25 February, in a tit for tat response, the Russian authorities banned aircraft owned, leased or operated by a person associated with the UK, or registered in the UK from landing at Russia's airports and from crossing its airspace.

We have remained engaged with NATS throughout and grateful to their work to reject flight plans submitted by Russian registered aircraft and working with us to investigate any potential breaches. NATS has confirmed to the Department that there have been two flights, operated by non-UK airlines, from UK to Russia since the 25 February.

Regarding notifications of the restrictions, a NOTAM was issued at 21:00 on 25 February informing all aviation stakeholders of the new strengthened restrictions. It is the responsibility of all aviation, including HIAL and Inverness Airport, to check NOTAMs. A further guidance was sent to the aviation industry, including HIAL, via the CAA Siren system on 26 February at 18:59. This provided the industry further clarification on the restrictions; however, the industry would have been fully aware restrictions were in place via the appropriate route, which was the NOTAM.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Civil Aviation Authorities Siren notification concerning the NOTAM issued on 25 February 2022 at 21:00 GMT was communicated to all UK airports.

The restrictions prohibit any aircraft registered in Russia, or any aircraft, - irrespective of the state registry - that is owned, chartered, or operated by a person connected with Russia, from using UK airspace.

On 25 February, in a tit for tat response, the Russian authorities banned aircraft owned, leased or operated by a person associated with the UK, or registered in the UK from landing at Russia's airports and from crossing its airspace.

We have remained engaged with NATS throughout and grateful to their work to reject flight plans submitted by Russian registered aircraft and working with us to investigate any potential breaches. NATS has confirmed to the Department that there have been two flights, operated by non-UK airlines, from UK to Russia since the 25 February.

Regarding notifications of the restrictions, a NOTAM was issued at 21:00 on 25 February informing all aviation stakeholders of the new strengthened restrictions. It is the responsibility of all aviation, including HIAL and Inverness Airport, to check NOTAMs. A further guidance was sent to the aviation industry, including HIAL, via the CAA Siren system on 26 February at 18:59. This provided the industry further clarification on the restrictions; however, the industry would have been fully aware restrictions were in place via the appropriate route, which was the NOTAM.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her timetable is for clearing the backlog of new State Pension claims where applicants have submitted all necessary documentation.

All outstanding claims have been cleared subject to receipt of any necessary documentation within usual operating procedures.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will overturn benefit reductions taken from some universal credit recipients whose payments have been adversely affected by receiving a small grant from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme which covers individual months but due to being paid quarterly has resulted in recipients losing money.

SEISS payments are treated as self-employed earnings for Universal Credit, which are taken into account in the month that they are received. We will not therefore readjust previous months’ awards.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will increase the standard rate of (a) employment support allowance and (b) jobseekers allowance in line with the increases applied to (i) universal credit and (ii) working tax credit to help support claimants who are not entitled to other extra cost benefits.

Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support were increased by 1.7% in April 2020 following the Government’s announcement to end the benefit freeze.

It has always been the case that claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) if they believe that they will be better off. There are special arrangements for those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium, who will be able to make a new claim to Universal Credit from January 2021.

Claimants should check their eligibility before applying to UC as legacy benefits will end when they submit their 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.

From 22 July 2020, a two-week run on of Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance (IR) and Jobseeker’s Allowance (IB) is available for all claimants whose claim to UC ends entitlement to these benefits, to provide additional support for claimants moving to UC.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent comparative assessment he has made of the risks of prescribing (a) medicinal cannabis and (b) treatments for drug addiction including methadone and diamorphine; and for what reasons prescription of medical cannabis is required to be prescribed by clinicians listed on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council.

The Department has not made a comparative assessment of the risks of prescribing medicinal cannabis versus methadone and diamorphine. Methadone and diamorphine are licensed medicines, whereas the vast majority of cannabis-based medicines are unlicensed, which means they have not been assessed for their safety, quality and efficacy by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Whilst the evidence-base remains limited, the decision to prescribe unlicensed products remains with specialist doctors who have expert knowledge and take responsibility for prescribing.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office what steps he is taking to ensure people in Afghanistan with refugee reunion visas are able to travel to the UK.

We stand by our commitment to help all Afghans who are eligible to come to the UK, including those who hold refugee reunion visas, to travel by whatever routes are available. We are clear that the Taliban must ensure safe passage for these people out of Afghanistan, and any engagement with them will emphasise this first and foremost. We are also in frequent contact with neighbouring countries, and wider partners, to help secure safe routes.
Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has for the application and administration of VAT thresholds in relation to non-VAT registered UK businesses exporting to individual customers in the EU from January 2021.

Following the end of the Transition Period, non-VAT registered businesses exporting to customers in the EU will not be subject to UK VAT rules but will be subject to any VAT rules in the country to which they are exporting. It would therefore be a matter for the country to which the goods are exported to set any such thresholds.

8th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what her policy is on tariff payments for non-vat registered businesses that export directly to customers in the EU at the end of the transition period.

Following the end of the transition period, there will be no tariffs on the export of goods from the UK to the EU, or any other country. This is irrespective of whether the exporter is VAT registered or not.

16th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to discount the state pension as income for the purpose of claiming the Self-Employment Support Scheme.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answer to Parliamentary Question 49808 on 2 June 2020: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-05-20/49808/.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to review the tax status of furnished holiday lets.

Furnished Holiday Lettings (FHLs) make an important contribution to local economies across the UK, especially in coastal and rural areas. To support FHLs in England during the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has provided full business rates relief and grants of up to £25,000 per business. Consequential funding has been provided to the devolved administrations in line with the Barnett formula.

The Government does not currently plan to review the tax status of FHLs, which are well established and provide equitable tax outcomes.

However, the Government keeps all tax policy, including the tax status of FHLs, under review, including as part of the response to COVID-19.

13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to expand eligibility to refugee family reunion for Afghan refugees in the UK to sponsor their (a) adult dependent children, (b) parents and (c) siblings.

The Government’s refugee family reunion policy allows a partner and children under 18 of those granted protection in the UK to join them here, if they formed part of the family unit before the sponsor fled their country. Afghan nationals recognised as refugees or with humanitarian protection in the UK, including those who will be resettled here under the new Afghanistan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, can sponsor qualifying family under this route. In the year ending June 2020, over 200 Afghan nationals came to the UK under the family reunion policy, including 130 children.

There are separate provisions in the Rules to allow extended family to sponsor children to come here where there are serious and compelling circumstances. Refugees can also sponsor adult dependent relatives living overseas to join them where, due to age, illness or disability, that person requires long-term personal care that can only be provided by relatives in the UK.

Our policy makes clear that there is discretion to grant visas outside the Immigration Rules, which caters for extended family members in exceptional circumstances.

There are additional safe and legal routes for people to come to the UK should they wish to join family members here, work or study.  They would need to meet the requirements of the relevant Immigration Rule under which they were applying to qualify for a visa.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to expedite decisions on family reunion applications made by Afghan refugees in the UK.

The Home Office has already taken steps to prioritise any outstanding Family Reunion applications made by Afghan refugees in the UK.

The Home Office will not routinely expedite Afghan cases, as to do so would discriminate against other nationalities who may face similar risks, but we will consider cases on an individual basis to assess, in line with the existing approach on applications for Family Reunion, whether the risks presented mean the case should be expedited.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of allowing Afghan nationals in the UK to submit further submissions on asylum applications online.

In March 2020, to protect claimants and Home Office staff, we made changes to the further submissions process to allow for representations to be made remotely. It was always the intention of the Home Office to re-start the process of requiring further submissions from failed asylum seekers to be made in person as this helps to ensure people maintain contact with the Home Office and enables identity to be checked.

In order to make this process more accessible, we have recently increased the number of locations people can lodge submissions, with Glasgow coming on line in mid-August 2021, in addition to the previous locations of Liverpool and Belfast.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of whether there is a viable route of return to Afghanistan for the purposes of applications for support under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999; and if she will make a statement.

Afghan nationals who have an asylum claim or appeal which has not yet been decided are eligible to receive support under section 95 of the 1999 Act if they would otherwise be destitute. Furthermore, failed asylum seekers may be supported under section 4(2) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (1999 Act) if they would otherwise be destitute and meet other conditions set out in the Immigration and Asylum (Provision of Accommodation to Failed Asylum-Seekers) Regulations 2005.

Regulation 3(2)(c) provides, subject to the individual being destitute, support may be provided where there is no “viable route of return” to the individual’s country of origin. However, this is not considered to be relevant to the current situation in Afghanistan, where the relevant issue is the safety of individuals if they were to return to the country, rather than the practicalities of travelling there.

Failed asylum seekers who consider they would be at risk of harm on return to Afghanistan because of the recent changes in the country are able to lodge further asylum submissions and would therefore be eligible to receive support under Regulation 3(2)(e) of the 2005 Regulations, subject to meeting the destitution criteria.

There are no plans to change the policy so Afghans may not be evicted from accommodation provided under section 95 or 4(2) in any circumstances. Like others supported under the provisions, their support may be discontinued in a number of circumstances, including where it appears they are no longer destitute, where they are no longer living in the accommodation provided to them and where they are granted refugee status and therefore become eligible to take up employment or apply for mainstream benefits.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to ensure that Afghan nationals are not evicted from asylum accommodation.

Afghan nationals who have an asylum claim or appeal which has not yet been decided are eligible to receive support under section 95 of the 1999 Act if they would otherwise be destitute. Furthermore, failed asylum seekers may be supported under section 4(2) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (1999 Act) if they would otherwise be destitute and meet other conditions set out in the Immigration and Asylum (Provision of Accommodation to Failed Asylum-Seekers) Regulations 2005.

Regulation 3(2)(c) provides, subject to the individual being destitute, support may be provided where there is no “viable route of return” to the individual’s country of origin. However, this is not considered to be relevant to the current situation in Afghanistan, where the relevant issue is the safety of individuals if they were to return to the country, rather than the practicalities of travelling there.

Failed asylum seekers who consider they would be at risk of harm on return to Afghanistan because of the recent changes in the country are able to lodge further asylum submissions and would therefore be eligible to receive support under Regulation 3(2)(e) of the 2005 Regulations, subject to meeting the destitution criteria.

There are no plans to change the policy so Afghans may not be evicted from accommodation provided under section 95 or 4(2) in any circumstances. Like others supported under the provisions, their support may be discontinued in a number of circumstances, including where it appears they are no longer destitute, where they are no longer living in the accommodation provided to them and where they are granted refugee status and therefore become eligible to take up employment or apply for mainstream benefits.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on mental health support for people arriving under the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme.

On Wednesday 18 August, the Government announced the launch of a new bespoke Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), to welcome up to 20,000 vulnerable Afghans to the UK. The scheme will focus on those most at risk and in its first year will resettle up to 5,000 vulnerable Afghans. Subsequently, on 31 August, the Government announced ‘Operation Warm Welcome’ to ensure that all those relocated to the UK can access the vital health, education, and support into employment they need to fully integrate into society.

The Home Office has been working across Government to ensure that those evacuated from Afghanistan are well supported in all their needs. This includes engagement with the Department for Health and Social Care where we are having ongoing conversations around health provision regarding England as well as local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups working with people directly. We are working with the devolved administrations in their actions to welcome Afghan people as well.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether people arriving in the UK under the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme will be granted indefinite leave to remain.

On Monday 6th September, the Prime Minister announced that those arriving through the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) will be granted immediate Indefinite Leave to Remain, allowing them to benefit from full rights and entitlements and providing them with the certainty and stability they need to build their life here.

This is consistent with the leave granted to those arriving through the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS) and the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP).

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Afghan applicants for asylum (a) have received a notice of intent that their claim is being considered for inadmissibility and (b) have had their claim deemed inadmissible since 1 July 2021.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail inadmissibility decisions made and can be found online at:

How many people do we grant asylum or protection to? - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

A breakdown of these figures into nationality is not currently available.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to expedite decisions on asylum applications, including appeals made by Afghan nationals.

The UK has a proud history of providing protection to those who need it, in accordance with our international obligations. All asylum claims are considered on a case by case basis and in line with published policy. Claims by Afghan nationals will be considered in the same way as claims from any other nationality; we do not believe it is appropriate to prioritise claims from one nationality over another as many claimants, irrespective of nationality, are potentially vulnerable and no one is expected to leave the UK while they have a claim outstanding.

We are currently reviewing the country situation and will issue updated country policy and information notes shortly for Afghanistan, which reflect revised assessments of risk of persecution. We have therefore temporarily paused asylum decision making for Afghan nationals to ensure that our decision makers are only considering claimants’ protection needs in the light of relevant and up-to-date country information.

All asylum appeals from Afghan nationals will be reviewed ahead of any hearing to look at the individual claim in light of the changed country situation, current guidance and any further information submitted by the claimant, to assess whether the decision to refuse is still appropriate.

No one who is found to be at risk of persecution or serious harm in Afghanistan will be expected to return there, and enforced returns of those who have been refused asylum and have exhausted all rights of appeal are currently paused while we consider the situation.

8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her timescale is for the Emergency Services Network and Extended Area Service mast in Strathconon becoming operational.

The mast is part of the UK's Emergency Services Network (ESN), which is designed to give our emergency services reliable communications coverage in more rural areas across the whole of the country. We are focussing on completing the infrastructures as soon as possible, but generally the sites will only be activated closer to the time when they are needed, as there are significant operational costs when the sites are live. The ESN Programme is currently looking at cases where there may be a particular case for early activation due to community need, as well as potential funding sources to enable this. In this instance the Programme is looking to activate this mast ahead of ESN, timescales are still to be determined.

Kit Malthouse
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department has plans to review the metrics used in the (a) Levelling Up Fund and (b) Community Renewal Fund; and when his Department plans to publish the consultation to review those metrics.

We have shaped the methodologies for the UK Community Renewal Fund and the Levelling Up Fund to reflect their individual and distinct objectives and policy goals. For example, the capital-focused Levelling Up Fund will invest in local transport and high street regeneration, and therefore includes metrics around local connectivity and commercial vacancy rates


By contrast, the revenue-focused UK Community Renewal Fund will look to invest across a range of smaller scale trial projects with the overall goal of supporting people and communities in need. For this reason it uses metrics which more broadly aim to assess a place’s general economic resilience


Methodological notes explaining the two indices have been published and can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fund-prospectus/uk-community-renewal-fund-prioritisation-of-places-methodology-note

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/levelling-up-fund-additional-documents/levelling-up-fund-prioritisation-of-places-methodology-note