Ian Murray Portrait

Ian Murray

Labour - Edinburgh South

Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland

(since April 2020)
Foreign Affairs Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 11th May 2020
Foreign Affairs Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Foreign Affairs Committee
31st Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Scottish Affairs Committee
5th Sep 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Public Accounts Commission
4th Nov 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
8th May 2015 - 26th Jun 2016
Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)
7th Oct 2011 - 8th May 2015
Environmental Audit Committee
26th Jul 2010 - 10th Dec 2012
Business, Innovation and Skills Committee
2nd Nov 2010 - 24th Oct 2011
Committees on Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee)
12th Jul 2010 - 24th Oct 2011
Committees on Arms Export Controls
12th Jul 2010 - 24th Oct 2011


Department Event
Wednesday 3rd November 2021
11:30
Scotland Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
3 Nov 2021, 11:30 a.m.
Scotland
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Tuesday 21st September 2021
Working People’s Finances: Government Policy
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 160 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 222 Noes - 300
Speeches
Wednesday 8th September 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

May I join the Secretary of State in congratulating our Olympians and Paralympians on their wonderful medals haul in Tokyo? …

Written Answers
Monday 20th September 2021
Fiscal Policy: Scotland
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what correspondence and representations he has received from the Scottish Government on the …
Early Day Motions
Monday 24th June 2019
DR JENNIFER GARDEN
That this House congratulates Dr Jennifer Garden of Edinburgh South on being awarded a £15,000 Fellowship at the L’Oréal-UNESCO For …
Bills
Wednesday 11th February 2015
Tweets
Friday 15th October 2021
15:08
MP Financial Interests
Monday 23rd August 2021
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: R&A Championships Ltd
Address of donor: Beach House, Golf Place, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9JA
Amount of …
EDM signed
Monday 19th April 2021
Immigration
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Immigration (Guidance on Detention of Vulnerable Persons) Regulations …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 14th November 2018
European Union Withdrawal (Evaluation of Effects on Health and Social Care Sectors) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Ian Murray has voted in 250 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Ian Murray 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
Alister Jack (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Scotland
(23 debate interactions)
Iain Stewart (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)
(9 debate interactions)
David Duguid (Conservative)
(8 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(24 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(18 debate contributions)
Home Office
(6 debate contributions)
Scotland Office
(3 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Ian Murray has not made any spoken contributions to legislative debate
View all Ian Murray's debates

Edinburgh South 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 Edinburgh South signature proportion
Petitions with most Edinburgh South signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

The SNP government appears solely intent on getting independence at any cost.


Latest EDMs signed by Ian Murray

24th March 2021
Ian Murray signed this EDM on Monday 19th April 2021

Immigration

Tabled by: Keir Starmer (Labour - Holborn and St Pancras)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Immigration (Guidance on Detention of Vulnerable Persons) Regulations 2021 (S.I., 2021, No. 184), dated 23 February 2021, a copy of which was laid before this House on 25 February 2021, be annulled.
82 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 40
Scottish National Party: 24
Liberal Democrat: 8
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
4th June 2020
Ian Murray signed this EDM on Wednesday 1st July 2020

Legal Aid and Advice

Tabled by: David Lammy (Labour - Tottenham)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 (S.I., 2020, No. 515), dated 15 May 2020, a copy of which was laid before this House on 18 May 2020, be annulled.
138 signatures
(Most recent: 11 Feb 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 115
Liberal Democrat: 9
Scottish National Party: 5
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Alliance: 1
View All Ian Murray's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Ian Murray, 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.


Ian Murray has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Ian Murray has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Ian Murray



Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 11th February 2015

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 provide for the setting of a decarbonisation target for the UK; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 3rd December 2013

125 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
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the terms of reference for the independent inquiry into lobbying by Greensill will include its contacts with the Scottish Government in connection with Liberty Steel and its funding of GFG Alliance assets in Lochaber.

I refer the hon. Member to the review's Terms of Reference, published on 16 April: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/review-into-the-development-and-use-of-supply-chain-finance-in-government-terms-of-reference.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what effect the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement has had on the (a) costs and (b) timescales of shipping from the UK to the EU since the end of the transition period.

On costs, I refer the Hon. Member to the answers given at Oral Questions for the Cabinet Office on 11 February.

Freight flows through GB ports are now nearly at the normal levels we would expect for this time of year.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the English Votes for English Laws process.

It is the case that MPs from across the UK are able to debate, amend and vote on every piece of legislation that passes through the House of Commons as no legislation can be made without the consent of the whole House. The English Votes for English Laws procedure has provided a mechanism for MPs representing English constituencies to consent to legislation that affects England only.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his Department’s latest estimate is of the savings that will be delivered for consumers from the successful projects in Contracts for Difference Allocation Round 3 in each of the 15 years of their Contracts for Difference.

As part of the evaluation of Contracts for Difference (CfD), we have carried out some analysis on the estimated saving of successful projects in CfD Allocation Round 3 in comparison to the Renewables Obligation. This analysis will be published in due course.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the potentially eligible capacity in the fourth allocation round for Contracts for Difference in (a) Pot 1: established technologies, including onshore wind and solar PV, (b) Pot 2: less-established technologies, including floating offshore wind, advanced conversion technologies and tidal stream and (c) Pot 3: offshore wind.

In order to be eligible to bid into the round, projects competing in all pots must first have obtained planning permission from the relevant authority and meet eligibility criteria specific to each technology.

The Department publishes the quarterly Renewable Energy Planning Database (REPD) which provides information on the potential pipeline for renewable technologies. This includes detail on the estimated capacities of known projects that have already obtained planning permission, and those which are currently in the planning process (although will still need to demonstrate compliance with the eligibility criteria before bidding in to the Contracts for Difference Auction). The latest published REPD can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/renewable-energy-planning-database-monthly-extract.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish the evidential basis for the proposed 12GW overall capacity cap in the fourth allocation round for Contracts for Difference, scheduled to commence in December 2021.

As set out in my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement of 6 October 2020, Allocation Round 4 aims to support up to 12GW capacity of renewable electricity, subject to the availability of the pipeline. This is not an overall capacity cap, and we are currently considering auction parameters (including caps) ahead of publishing the Draft Budget Notice.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to publish the draft budget notice for the fourth allocation round for Contracts for Difference.

We are currently developing parameters for Allocation Round 4 and will publish these well in advance of the next auction in December 2021.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how his Department plans to use its ability to set a flexible cap in each pot in the fourth allocation round for Contracts for Difference.

Applying a capacity cap as a soft constraint might allow us to achieve capacity closer to the Government’s ambitions for the round than is possible with a hard capacity cap. We will publish the parameters for the fourth Contracts for Difference allocation round soon, including decisions on any use of soft capacity caps.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) UK and (b) Scottish-led projects in Official Development Assistance (ODA) countries that will be terminated as a result of the recent reduction in ODA funding to UK Research and Innovation.

The challenging financial situation we face due to the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a temporary reduction in the UK’s aid spending target from 0.7% of GNI to 0.5%. This means making difficult decisions when it comes to prioritising how we spend aid money to deliver the most impactful outcomes.

The Government recognises the importance of supporting international research partnerships, and supporting the UK research sector. Our commitment to research and innovation has been clearly demonstrated by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget announcement of increasing investment in R&D across government to £14.6bn in 2021/22; and as has been set out in our Integrated Review ambitions, international collaboration is central to a healthy and productive R&D sector.

On 1st April, the Department set out an additional £250m of funding for the R&D sector. As a result, UK scientists will have access to more public funding than ever before. This takes total Government investment in R&D to £14.9 billion in 2021/22 and follows four years of significant growth in R&D funding, including a boost of more than £1.5 billion in 2020/21.

We are currently working with UKRI, and all our Global Challenges Research Fund and Newton Fund Delivery Partners, to manage the financial year 2021/22 ODA allocations, including determining which projects will be going ahead. Our Delivery Partners have communicated with award holders setting out the next stage of the review of ODA funding next year, and to explore options for individual programmes. Full details have been published on the UKRI website. Due to the ongoing nature of this process, until it is complete, we cannot share project-level details.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will undertake an impact assessment of the reduction in Official Development Assistance funding to UK Research and Innovation on the UK's ability to assist in addressing societal issues in Lower and Middle Income countries.

The challenging financial situation we face due to the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a temporary reduction in the UK’s aid spending target from 0.7% of GNI to 0.5%. This means making difficult decisions when it comes to prioritising how we spend aid money to deliver the most impactful outcomes.

On 2nd December last year, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary wrote to the Chair of the International Development Committee setting out the Strategic Framework for UK ODA, which details the UK’s foreign aid spending priorities. This is in addition to tackling poverty, as all UK ODA does. In line with these priorities, he confirmed each Department’s total ODA settlement on 26th January.

We are currently working with UKRI, and all our Global Challenges Research Fund and Newton Fund Delivery Partners, to manage the financial year 2021/22 ODA allocations. Once this process is complete, BEIS officials will review the impact of these spending decisions, in line with relevant public sector duties.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the average (a) cost and (b) time taken to ship a parcel to the EU in 2021 compared to 2020.

The Government’s priority is to keep goods moving and avoid delays at the border. The Government is ensuring that border processes are as smooth as possible, without compromising security.

The Government is continuing to engage with businesses across sectors to support their adjustment to the new processes and arrangements with the European Union.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 22 February 2021 to Question 152474 on Energy: Prices, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of transmission charges on the competitive process of awarding contracts for difference.

National Grid Electricity System Operator collects transmission charges from network users to recover the cost of installing and maintaining the transmission system in Great Britain and the offshore electricity network infrastructure. These include a locational element to reflect network use as part of the requirement for cost reflective network charges.

Individual Contracts for Difference bidders will determine their bid prices based on their own assessment of expected costs and revenues. The price paid to each successful bidder is based on the clearing price of a competitive auction.

However, the Department does set the maximum strike price each technology can receive (the Administrative Strike Price), which takes into account a broad range of factors. This incorporates our latest view of transmission charges, estimated for pipeline projects where possible using tariffs and network charging assumptions for each location (provided by National Grid).

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether there will be a regionalisation to the awarding of contracts for difference in the fourth auction later in 2021.

The Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme does not award contracts to projects based on regional quotas. The scheme awards contracts through a competitive process which ensures the most cost-effective projects are supported. The focus on supporting the lowest price bids drives efficiency and cost reduction and has resulted in significant quantities of new renewable electricity capacity being delivered across Great Britain.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of removing transmission charges as an element in applications for the fourth contracts for difference auction.

National Grid Electricity System Operator collects transmission charges to recover the cost of installing and maintaining the transmission system in Great Britain and the offshore electricity network infrastructure. These include a locational element to reflect network use as part of the requirement for cost reflective network charges.

Individual Contracts for Difference bidders will determine their bid prices based on their own assessment of expected costs and revenues. The price paid to each successful bid is based on the clearing price of a competitive auction.

However, the Department does set the maximum strike price each technology can receive (the Administrative Strike Price), which takes into account a broad range of factors. This incorporates our latest view of transmission charges, estimated for pipeline projects where possible using tariffs and network charging assumptions for each location (provided by National Grid).

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made has he made of the effect of transmission charges on the pricing of contract for difference tenders; and is he will make a statement.

National Grid Electricity System Operator collects transmission charges to recover the cost of installing and maintaining the transmission system in Great Britain and the offshore electricity network infrastructure. These include a locational element to reflect network use as part of the requirement for cost reflective network charges.

Individual Contracts for Difference bidders will determine their bid prices based on their own assessment of expected costs and revenues. The price paid to each successful bid is based on the clearing price of a competitive auction.

However, the Department does set the maximum strike price each technology can receive (the Administrative Strike Price), which takes into account a broad range of factors. This incorporates our latest view of transmission charges, estimated for pipeline projects where possible using tariffs and network charging assumptions for each location (provided by National Grid).

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment has been carried out with regards to the need for additional and continuing support for the hospitality sector in 2021.

Over the course of the pandemic the Government has worked closely with the hospitality sector to understand the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and has responded with an unprecedented package of business support, which we keep under review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the Competition and Markets Authority on guidance for nurseries charging full fees from parents while closed during the covid-19 outbreak.

Ministers have regular meetings with the CMA leadership, and the CMA issued guidance for nurseries on charging and refunds for parents following closure due to the covid-19 outbreak on 28th July 2020.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what equality impact assessment she has made of health related funding allocated by her Department in respect of the industrial strategy; and if she will undertake equality impact assessments of health related funding allocated by her Department over the next five years.

As a public authority, BEIS is required to adhere to the Public Sector Equality Duty in line with the Equality Act. The Department takes its obligations under the Equality Act very seriously, specifically in ensuring that we give due regard to the impacts on people with protected characteristics. We are currently reviewing the assessments made, and are committed to undertaking equality impact analysis of health-related funding allocated by BEIS over the next five years.

Health-related projects funded by BEIS and its delivery partners includes funding in the Life Sciences Sector Deals, the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Healthy Ageing Programme, and the Artificial Intelligence Sector Deal.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if she will undertake an equality impact assessment of the work of UK Research and Innovation.

The Government recognises that equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), of both people and ideas, is crucial to delivering excellence in research and innovation. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has been developing work on this topic, led by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Executive Chair Jennifer Rubin and an external advisory group that brings together experts from the UK and international bodies. UKRI will be publishing its EDI strategy in February 2020, laying out the challenges and opportunities that the organisation and wider community faces. More information will be available after the anticipated House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into EDI and the publication of UKRI diversity data in the spring. The department will make decisions on further requirements in due course.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will introduce a Government-backed insurance indemnity package against the risk of cancellation for the festival industry.

This Government recognises the importance of the UK’s live events sector and has provided significant financial support including an additional £300 million to the Culture Recovery Fund, details of which were announced on Friday 25th June.

The DCMS Secretary of State made clear at the DCMS Select Committee in May, the government is aware of the wider concerns around securing indemnity for live events and we continue to assess options to provide further support to the sector within the public health context. He also underlined that the government’s first priority is to remove remaining barriers (such as social distancing) by reaching Step 4 of the Roadmap. Once that point is reached, if events still cannot go ahead because of a failure of the commercial insurance market, the Government will look at intervening as was done for the TV/Film sectors.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish data on the number of (a) freelancers and (b) supply chain businesses that are awaiting payments from the Culture Recovery Fund that were due from January 2021.

DCMS and Arms Length Bodies categorise organisations by discipline, rather than position within the supply chain, and so we cannot provide the data requested.

We appreciate that grant payment delays can cause confusion and concern, however as of 24 June, 88% of CRF recipients have now received first round funding, and 72.6% have received second round funding. Culture Recovery Fund grant payments are typically made in multiple tranches, a first payment at the start of the grant period, followed by a final payment at the end of the period.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the eighth report of the Public Accounts Committee, COVID 19: Culture Recovery Fund published on 23 June 2021, what recent assessment he has made of the extent of the challenges experienced by (a) freelancers and (b) supply chain businesses in accessing the Culture Recovery Fund.

The Government recognises the significant challenge the current pandemic poses to our arts and creative sectors and to the many freelancers and supply chain businesses working across these industries and keeps cultural recovery policy under constant review.

Freelancers have been supported through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). SEISS has so far helped 2.8m self employed. Details on future SEISS support were announced by the Chancellor in his Budget Statement in March, with an extension of the scheme to September 2021. Around 500,000 people were brought into scope who filed a tax return in 2019-20, or were previously ineligible, who now may be able to claim the fourth grant.

However, it is also the case that the Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) had significant indirect benefits for freelancers. In Round 2, organisations were asked to estimate how many FTEs and freelancers were protected by the fund until the end of June. Collectively, applicants reported that 52,000 full time staff and almost 100,000 freelancers would be supported until the end of June. And ALBs were able to complement SEISS with their own interventions i.e. over £51m from ACE to individuals.

Similarly, supply chain organisations were eligible for the first and second rounds of the CRF and are recognised as a critical part of the sector. Many organisations have been funded through the CRF, including: Production Park, Wakefield and Adlib Audio Limited, Knowsley.

Additionally, the third round of the Culture Recovery Fund was announced on 25 June. This third and final round of funding will provide further support as the cultural, heritage and creative sectors move towards reopening at full capacity, underlining the government’s commitment to help them build back better as life returns to normal.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with Ofcom on the pricing of landline phone calls during the covid-19 outbreak.

In March 2020 the Government and Ofcom worked with the UK’s major broadband, landline and mobile providers to develop a package of voluntary industry measures to support consumers, especially those who are vulnerable. Providers agreed to give their customers new and generous offers on mobile and landline services. This includes some providers who gave effect to this commitment by giving free and low cost data boosts, and free calling allowances on landline packages.

Ofcom has also recently published a vulnerability guide for providers, setting out its expectations and good practice on how vulnerable telecoms consumers should be supported. This includes treating those in financial distress fairly, providing them with payment support options, such as payment holidays, and only disconnecting consumers as a last resort option. More broadly, Ofcom is reviewing affordability issues in the communications market, and intends to publish its findings later this year.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the availability of insurance for the live events and festivals industry to cover the loss of income during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are aware that concerns have been raised over the challenge of securing insurance for live events and festivals.

We are working with the sector to better understand the nature and scale of the issue before considering whether Government intervention would be necessary or desirable.

We continue to meet with stakeholders to provide support and guidance for venues to re-open and stage live events.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will provide sector-specific support to the cinema sector following the closure of Cineworld venues; and if he will make a statement.

The government deeply regrets the unfortunate news of Cineworld’s temporary closure and is in direct and regular contact with the screen industry, including distributors and exhibitors, as well as through the BFI Screen Sector Task Force.

The government has supported cinemas through the VAT cut on tickets and concessions, business rates holiday and Bounce back loans. Independent cinemas are also eligible for a share of £30m from our unprecedented £1.57bn Culture Recovery Rund, and funding has started to be allocated already.

We recognise that cinemas need an incoming stream of new releases to show and we are supporting production by establishing a £500 million in a UK-wide Film and TV Production Restart Scheme to help get productions back up and running again. This will support the creation of new content which can be released into cinemas of all sizes.

Cinemas up and down the country are open for business and Covid secure - we urge the British public to support their local cinema and save jobs by visiting and enjoying a film in accordance with the guidance.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the economic effect of Cineworld's decision to close its cinemas affecting up to 6,000 UK jobs.

The government deeply regrets the unfortunate news of Cineworld’s temporary closure and is in direct and regular contact with the screen industry, including distributors and exhibitors, as well as through the BFI Screen Sector Task Force.

The government has supported cinemas through the VAT cut on tickets and concessions, business rates holiday and Bounce back loans. Independent cinemas are also eligible for a share of £30m from our unprecedented £1.57bn Culture Recovery Rund, and funding has started to be allocated already.

We recognise that cinemas need an incoming stream of new releases to show and we are supporting production by establishing a £500 million in a UK-wide Film and TV Production Restart Scheme to help get productions back up and running again. This will support the creation of new content which can be released into cinemas of all sizes.

Cinemas up and down the country are open for business and Covid secure - we urge the British public to support their local cinema and save jobs by visiting and enjoying a film in accordance with the guidance.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if the Government will adopt a list of specific high-value datasets similar to the European Commission’s Directive on open data and the re-use of public sector information which was entered into force on 16 July 2019.

The UK Government Licensing Framework is designed to support our drive to open up access to publicly held information and datasets, promoting transparency and enabling wider economic and social gain.

The Framework mandates the Open Government Licence, a set of terms and conditions which facilitate the re-use of a wide range of public sector information free of charge, as the default licence for Crown bodies, and recommends it for other public sector bodies. It is our policy that public sector information should be licensed for use and re-use free of charge under the Licence, with only a few exceptions.

In the global recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, open data and sharing of best practice will be more vital than ever. Data will underpin our future resilience and future economy, and further detail will be set out in our National Data Strategy, which we are aiming to publish later this year.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to publish the National Data Strategy for the UK in 2020.

This government is committed to delivering an ambitious, pro-growth National Data Strategy. In the global recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, data will be more vital than ever, underpinning our future resilience and future economy. We aim to publish the strategy in 2020.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when university students will be permitted to return to campuses in the UK; and what discussions he is having with universities on the safe return of students as soon as possible.

Following the review into when the remaining higher education students can return to in-person teaching and learning, the government has announced that the remaining students should return to in-person teaching no earlier than 17 May 2021, alongside Step 3 of the roadmap. Students and institutions will be given at least a week’s notice of any further return in accordance with the timing of Step 3 of the roadmap.

The government roadmap is designed to maintain a cautious approach to the easing of restrictions to reduce public health risks and ensure that we can maintain progress towards full reopening. However, the government recognises the difficulties and disruption that this may cause for many students and their families and that is why the government is making a further £15 million of additional student hardship funding available for this academic year 2020/21. In total we have made an additional £85 million of funding available for student hardship.

We are supporting universities to provide regular twice weekly asymptomatic testing for all students and staff on-site and, from May, at home. This will help break chains of transmission of the virus.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether nurseries that have closed due to covid-19 and continue to charge parents full fees are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Competition and Markets Authority issued an open letter on 28 July 2020, followed by detailed advice to the sector, following complaints from parents about allegedly unfair charging practices during early days of the COVID-19 outbreak. These are available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/904194/Open_letter_to_Nursery_and_Early_Years__settings.pdf and https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gov.uk%2Fgovernment%2Fpublications%2Fnursery-and-early-years-sector-covid-19-restrictions-and-consumer-law%2Fnursery-and-early-years-sector-covid-19-restrictions-and-consumer-law-advice&data=04%7C01%7CCraig.McClue%40cma.gov.uk%7C13f076f944ec466e247908d89b80c830%7C1948f2d40bc24c5e8c34caac9d736834%7C1%7C0%7C637430324728268280%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=9en2gwX9WZOMNHfFhbXioDVoJg1XujuKtWgAahheiVM%3D&reserved=0.

The letter supported the government’s position that providers must be balanced and fair in their dealings with parents, and that they must avoid unfair charging practices. While contracts are a private arrangement between consumers and providers, the provisions of the letter are still broadly applicable. If parents or their children test positive for COVID-19, or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, the principle that parents should not be charged for a service that cannot be provided without breaching government legal requirements would apply. We ask that providers continue to be fair and balanced in dealings with parents and must continue to avoid unfair charging practices.

An early years provider can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to cover up to the proportion of its salary bill which could be considered to have been paid for from that provider’s private income. This would typically be income received from ‘parent-paid’ hours that have not yet returned because of COVID-19, and excludes all income from the government’s free entitlements. Providers should use the month of February 2020 to represent their usual income, in calculating the proportion of its salary bill eligible to be covered by the scheme, taking into account parent-paid income that has returned. Providers should adjust these proportions in subsequent furloughing applications if their income from the governments free entitlements changes.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the ability of the Scotch Whisky industry to contribute to national economic recovery after the covid-19 outbreak.

No specific assessment has been made of the ability of the Scotch whisky industry to contribute to the national economic recovery from Covid-19. The Scotch whisky industry makes a significant contribution to the UK economy. We are confident that the strength and resilience of the industry will ensure that it successfully recovers from these challenging times and continues to contribute.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the proposed merger of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development (DFID) on employment at DFID’s office at Abercrombie House, East Kilbride.

Merging the departments will bring together the best of what we do in aid and diplomacy, and create new opportunities for staff. There are no plans to close DFID’s office in Scotland, where staff play a vital role in ensuring UK aid delivers results for the world’s poorest and value for UK taxpayers.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will make representations to the Prime Minister of India on the international arbitration tribunal decision in favour of Cairn Energy plc in its dispute with the Indian Government during their scheduled discussions in April 2021.

We note the award made by the arbitral tribunal in the case brought by Cairn Energy against the Government of India under the United Kingdom-India Bilateral Investment Treaty.

HM Government is not a party to this dispute, but we hope that the case can be resolved.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the international arbitration tribunal decision in favour of Cairn Energy plc in its dispute with the Indian Government; and if she will make a statement.

HM Government respects the rights of both parties to pursue the legal options available to them and we note the award made by the arbitral tribunal in the case brought by Cairn Energy under the United Kingdom-India Bilateral Investment Treaty. HM Government is not a party to these legal proceedings, so it would be inappropriate to comment.

The Department for International Trade continues to provide support to any British investor seeking investment opportunities in India.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the backlog of correspondence at the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency on correspondents; what strategy is in place to clear that backlog; what discretion will be in place for people who have been affected by the backlog; and if he will make a statement.

The quickest and easiest way to make an application to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is by using its extensive suite of online services. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their documents within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application. The DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day and industrial action by members of the Public and Commercial Services union has led to delays for customers alongside a significantly reduced number of staff on site to ensure social distancing in line with Welsh Government requirements. The current increased demand for the DVLA’s services has also contributed to delays with paper applications.

The DVLA understands the impact that delays can have on people’s everyday lives and is working as quickly as possible to process applications and return people’s documentation to them.

The DVLA continues to explore opportunities to reduce the backlog. The DVLA has introduced additional online services and recruited additional staff. The DVLA is exploring the possibility of securing extra office space to house more staff to work predominantly on driver’s medical casework and queries. This will be surge capacity accommodation and resource to help reduce backlogs while providing future resilience and business continuity.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will extend the validity of driving licences for foreign nationals from the US who are eligible to drive in the UK for 12 months before requiring a theory test in the context of disruption caused by the covid-19 outbreak.

After becoming resident in Great Britain, foreign licence holders from outside the European Economic Area can drive all classes of small vehicle, motorcycle and moped to which their domestic licence applies for up to 12 months. After this time, unless they have a licence from certain designated countries/territories, they are required to take a GB driving test. A list of the designated countries can be found here. The 12-month limit is set in law and there are no current plans to change it.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will update the Government's online guidance for people driving in the UK on an EU licence to reflect the changes as a result of the end of the transition period.

Some discussions are still ongoing with Member States around the exchange of driving licences. Gov.uk pages, including the pages “Driving in Great Britain on a non-GB licence” and “Exchange a foreign driving licence” will be updated as information becomes available.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to establish an air bridge for tourists between the UK and Thailand.

Our approach to travel corridors has been guided by the science and we have worked closely with health and policy experts from across government to ensure the steps we are taking will minimise the risk of importing COVID-19 cases, while helping to open our travel and tourism sector.

Although Thailand was not included in the travel corridors announced on 3 July, the Health Regulations relating to the self-isolation requirements remain under constant review. The next formal review will be on 27 July 2020.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made with regards to extending the cold weather payments to people on furlough to help with fuel bills.

People on low incomes, including those who are furloughed, are able to apply for Universal Credit (UC), which is one of the qualifying benefits for Cold Weather Payments (CWP). If they qualify for UC and meet the additional eligibility criteria for CWP, they will be paid automatically.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant of the Answer of 28 January 2021 to Question 142894 on Universal Credit, for what reason her Department will not publish that data.

The Department does not currently make estimates of UC take-up rates.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish data on the estimated take-up of universal credit.

No

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have (a) not been assessed for Employment and Support Allowance and are close to reaching the 365 day limit, (b) been placed in the Limited Capability for Work group at the end of 365 days and (c) been placed in the Support group in each of the last two years.

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

Quarterly Employment and Support Allowance caseload statistics to May 2020, by duration and phase of claim are published here:

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

Guidance for users is available at:

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

Employment and Support Allowance Work Capability Assessments statistics by month of claim start (to March 2020) for initial assessment outcomes including those still in progress, and assessment outcome by month of decision 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

15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will extend the 365 day limit for those claiming Employment and Support Allowance who have not had a face-to-face assessment.

There are no plans to extend the time limit for people claiming contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who reach their 365-day limit and have not had a Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits remain suspended. We are continuing to assess as many people as we are able to on paper evidence or via telephone assessments. Claimants are encouraged to provide all the evidence they have that is relevant to their case at the outset of their claim, including evidence supplied by their GP or other professionals, such as support workers, carers and community mental health nurses. The healthcare professionals who carry out assessments are expected to seek further evidence where it would help them provide advice to a DWP decision maker on a person’s claim.

Furthermore, we now have a ring-fenced operational team in place to identify contributory ESA claims that we can progress in the absence of face-to-face assessments – for instance, those where further evidence might exist on other DWP benefit systems. If claimants have further evidence they think might help progress their claim, they should contact the Department.

Where an individual’s contributory ESA ends, their income is reduced because they cannot work due to disability or a health condition and they require further financial support, they may be able to claim Universal Credit, depending on their personal circumstances.


15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance his Department has provided to benefit assessment companies to ensure they are proactively seeking further medical evidence from claimants who are almost at the 365 day limit for Employment and Support Allowance and have not yet been assessed.

There are no plans to extend the time limit for people claiming contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who reach their 365-day limit and have not had a Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits remain suspended. We are continuing to assess as many people as we are able to on paper evidence or via telephone assessments. Claimants are encouraged to provide all the evidence they have that is relevant to their case at the outset of their claim, including evidence supplied by their GP or other professionals, such as support workers, carers and community mental health nurses. The healthcare professionals who carry out assessments are expected to seek further evidence where it would help them provide advice to a DWP decision maker on a person’s claim.

Furthermore, we now have a ring-fenced operational team in place to identify contributory ESA claims that we can progress in the absence of face-to-face assessments – for instance, those where further evidence might exist on other DWP benefit systems. If claimants have further evidence they think might help progress their claim, they should contact the Department.

Where an individual’s contributory ESA ends, their income is reduced because they cannot work due to disability or a health condition and they require further financial support, they may be able to claim Universal Credit, depending on their personal circumstances.


8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect on claimants of the new employment and support allowance of having to wait for face-to-face work capability assessments in order to have their claim processed during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are continuing to process claims for Employment and Support Allowance and refer them for a Work Capability Assessment (WCA). Claimants will receive the Assessment Rate of benefit for the first 13 weeks as normal. At present, claimants may stay on the assessment rate for longer than usual.

The health and safety of our claimants and staff is our key priority. We suspended all face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits in March. This temporary suspension, brought in to protect people from unnecessary risk of coronavirus at the outset of the pandemic, remains in place, and is being kept under review in line with the latest public health guidance. Any re-introduction of face-to-face assessments would involve stringent Covid-19 related safety measures, supported by guidance for claimants and assessment providers to ensure compliance with the relevant public health guidance.

Throughout the pandemic we have continued to complete paper-based assessments wherever possible and telephone assessments have been in place since last summer with the number of claims being assessed through this channel increasing. If a claimant qualifies for an additional amount following their WCA, it will be backdated to ensure no long-term loss.

Where an individual’s income is reduced because they cannot work due to disability or a health condition and they require further financial support, they may also be able to claim Universal Credit, depending on their personal circumstances.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the financial effect on claimants with (a) Parkinson's disease and (b) other degenerative and incurable diseases of the new employment and support allowance who will not have their claims processed without a face-to-face interview due to postponed interviews during the covid-19 outbreak; and what arrangements are being put in place to ensure that those claimants can have their applications assessed in a timely manner.

We are continuing to process claims for Employment and Support Allowance and refer them for a Work Capability Assessment (WCA). Claimants will receive the Assessment Rate of benefit for the first 13 weeks as normal. At present, claimants may stay on the assessment rate for longer than usual.

The health and safety of our claimants and staff is our key priority. We suspended all face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits in March. This temporary suspension, brought in to protect people from unnecessary risk of coronavirus at the outset of the pandemic, remains in place, and is being kept under review in line with the latest public health guidance. Any re-introduction of face-to-face assessments would involve stringent Covid-19 related safety measures, supported by guidance for claimants and assessment providers to ensure compliance with the relevant public health guidance.

Throughout the pandemic we have continued to complete paper-based assessments wherever possible and telephone assessments have been in place since last summer with the number of claims being assessed through this channel increasing. If a claimant qualifies for an additional amount following their WCA, it will be backdated to ensure no long-term loss.

Where an individual’s income is reduced because they cannot work due to disability or a health condition and they require further financial support, they may also be able to claim Universal Credit, depending on their personal circumstances.

17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many reports of cases of covid-19 contracted in the workplace have been received by the Health and Safety Executive under the reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations for (a) hospitals, (b) GP practices, (c) community pharmacies, (d) residential nursing care facilities and (e) prisons in Scotland.

Under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR), duty-holders are obliged to report cases of a worker contracting COVID-19 when:

  • a worker has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work (reportable as an ‘exposure to a biological agent’ case of disease under Regulation 9(b));
  • a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to COVID-19 and this is confirmed as the likely cause of death by a registered medical practitioner (reportable as a ‘death due to exposure to a biological agent’ case of disease under Regulation 6(2)).

Figures in the Table below only cover Scottish reports made, where the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or the local authority are the enforcing body, and relate to the location of the premises where the affected person usually works, as reported by the employer.

Table: Worker COVID-19 Disease reports made by employers to HSE by disease severity and specific industry sector1, Scotland, 10th April – 11th July 2020

(Source: RIDDOR disease reporting)

Specific industry sector (as reported by employer)1

SIC2 code

Total COVID-19 notifications

Hospital activities

8610

24

General medical practice activities

8621

3

Dispensing chemist in specialised stores

4773

0

Residential nursing care activities

8710

288

Justice and judicial activities

8423

0

Grand Total

315

Footnotes

1Industry as reported by employers.

2Standard Industrial Classification (SIC): The current system used in UK official statistics for classifying businesses by type of activity they are engaged in.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants of (a) universal credit and (b) legacy benefits in Scotland had awards that were reduced by the tariff income rules (i) before and (ii) after the covid-19 pandemic was declared.

The information requested could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 5 June 2020 to Question 43917, on Universal Credit, how many families in Scotland who have made a claim for universal credit since 23 March 2020 have three or more children.

From 23rd March 2020 to 5th May 2020, 3,500 of the 57,000 applications made by claimants with children to Universal Credit, who had three or more children in their family, were from Scotland

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people (a) made an application for personal independence payments in Scotland (i) since 24 March 2020 and (b) in 2019; and how many of those people had their application (A) awarded and (B) disallowed (1) pre-assessment and (2) post-assessment.

The table below shows a comparison of the outcomes of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims registered by claimants in Scotland throughout the whole of 2019 and between 24th March – 30th April 2020.

The latest published journey time from PIP registration to clearance in April 2020 in Scotland was 21 weeks on average for a new claim and 27 weeks for a Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to PIP reassessment claim. This goes some way to explaining why the majority of claims registered from 24th March 2020 onwards had not received an initial decision as of 30th April 2020, the latest date for which data is available.

It is worth noting that the majority of claims cleared since 24th March 2020 were cleared under the Special Rules for Terminally Ill claimants for which the average customer journey time in Great Britain was 5 working days for New Claims and 6 working days for DLA to PIP Reassessment claims.

Table 1: Comparison of outcomes of PIP claims registered in Scotland in 2019 and from 24th March 2020

Date of registration to PIP

Outcome of PIP Claim

2019

24th March 2020 Onwards

Total

Awarded

43,660

140

43,800

Disallowed post-referral to AP

24,980

-

24,990

Disallowed pre-referral to the AP

16,950

-

16,950

Withdrawn

1,350

10

1,360

Case Still Outstanding

7,600

3,220

10,810

Total number of PIP Registrations

94,550

3,370

97,920

Source: PIP ADS

Notes

  • PIP data includes normal rules and special rules for terminally ill claimants, and is for both new claims and DLA reassessment claims.
  • Data has been rounded to the nearest 10. Component parts may not sum due to rounding.
  • Cases disallowed post referral to the AP includes claims disallowed at assessment and claims disallowed for failing to attend the assessment.
  • Cases disallowed pre-referral to the AP includes claims Disallowed for failing to return the PIP2 form and claims disallowed for failing lay rules.
  • Definition of Claims Still Outstanding: Claims that have been registered but have not received an initial decision as of 30th April 2020.
  • This is unpublished data. It should be used with caution and it may be subject to future revision.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to extend the suspension of benefit reviews and reassessments for (a) universal credit, (b) employment and support allowance and (c) personal independence payment beyond 24 June 2020.

We are currently in the process of reviewing this measure, and will confirm next steps as soon as possible.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will take steps to (a) cancel or (b) suspend all pre-existing benefits sanctions during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are focused on the processing of claims and will not be checking conditionality compliance regarding preparing for, looking for and being available for work until the end of June. This means that claimants won’t receive any new sanctions if they are unable to meet these commitments during this period.

We currently have no plans to cancel or suspend pre-existing sanctions. Claimants who were sanctioned before Covid 19 can continue to apply for hardship payments and are no worse off as a result of the pandemic. We continue to review our policies as the situation evolves.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department's guidance that employers should allow pregnant women past 28 weeks gestation to work from home or be suspended on paid leave where that is not possible, as set out in the Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for pregnant employees published on 20 July 2021, remains in place.

The ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for pregnant employees’ published on 20 July 2021, remains in place.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to provide a substantive Answer to Question 92755 on Coronavirus: Laboratories, tabled on 21 September 2020 by the hon. Member for Edinburgh South.

We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold the Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s questions will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 92754 on Coronavirus Laboratories tabled by the hon. Member for Edinburgh South on 21 September 2020.

We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold the Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s questions will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which parts of the Coronavirus Act 2020 have been implemented in practice.

The status of each of the provisions in the Act is set out in the two month reports that the Government presents to Parliament. These are available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-act-report-may-2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-act-report-july-2020

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many members of staff are employed at each Lighthouse Laboratory covid-19 testing facility in the UK.

We do not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he was made aware of the suspected outbreak of covid-19 at a the Nike international conference in Edinburgh on 26 and 27 February 2020 by (a) Public Health England, (b) Public Health Scotland and (c) the Scottish Government; and if he will make a statement.

The Nike international conference held in Edinburgh on 26 and 27 February took place in accordance with scientific advice available at the time.

It was agreed by the four Chief Medical Officers ahead of the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 that each administration would announce their own cases and take their own decisions about what is appropriate to release, so this was a matter for the Scottish Government.

Public Health England (PHE) was alerted to a case associated with the Nike conference in Edinburgh on 2 March 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he was made aware of the Swindon Nike store and Sunderland Head Office being sanitised after the covid-19 outbreak at the Nike Conference in Edinburgh in February 2020.

Public Health England (PHE) did not have any contact with the Nike Factory Store Swindon.

PHE North East were contacted by the Head Office in Sunderland on 2 and 3 March 2020 to report illness amongst employees attending the Nike conference. The Head Office was referred to Health Protection Scotland as the lead organisation in the incident response.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when Public Health England were informed of a covid-19 outbreak at a Nike conference in Scotland; what advice was provided as result; and if he will make a statement.

Public Health England (PHE) was alerted to a case associated with the Nike Conference in Edinburgh on 2 March 2020. Around 50 individuals who attended this conference lived in England and were identified. PHE followed up these individuals. They were sent text messages informing them of the exposure and asking them to self-isolate for 14 days and contact 111 if they develop symptoms.

PHE did not have direct contact with conference organisers in Edinburgh or Nike in Edinburgh. Health Protection Scotland had direct contact with the conference organisers as the lead organisation in the incident response.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on whether Public Health England was informed by Nike that it was (a) closing and (b) disinfecting its stores in Edinburgh as a result of a suspected outbreak of covid-19 at the Nike international conference on 26 and 27 February 2020.

Public Health England (PHE) was alerted to a case associated with the Nike Conference in Edinburgh on 2 March 2020. Around 50 individuals who attended this conference lived in England and were identified. PHE followed up these individuals. They were sent text messages informing them of the exposure and asking them to self-isolate for 14 days and contact 111 if they develop symptoms.

PHE did not have direct contact with conference organisers in Edinburgh or Nike in Edinburgh. Health Protection Scotland had direct contact with the conference organisers as the lead organisation in the incident response.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's criteria are for deciding when to inform the public of the outbreak of an infections disease in a specific (a) local and (b) regional location.

Local outbreaks are usually managed by a multi-agency Outbreak Control Team (OCT). Member organisations will be appropriate to each situation but an OCT will usually be chaired by either a Public Health Consultant from Public Health England (PHE) or the Local Authority Director of Public Health and will include experts from PHE, the local authority, the local National Health Service, the setting concerned and other wider partners. Each OCT considers the response required to each outbreak on its own merits. Informing the public about the outbreak is a key decision which is discussed and agreed by all the members of an OCT when an outbreak is considered to pose an ongoing risk to the wider public who need to be alerted to measures they need to take in order to protect their health.

Use of communication through the media may be a valuable part of the control strategy of an outbreak and the OCT will consider the risks and benefits of proactive versus reactive media engagement in any outbreak.

Further information is available in the PHE Communicable Disease Outbreak Operational Guidance at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/communicable-disease-outbreak-management-operational-guidance

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the full eligibility criteria for the death in service benefit for NHS and social care staff who have died from covid-19.

The Government is in the process of setting up a life assurance scheme for frontline health and social care staff in England who contract COVID-19 during the course of their work.

The scheme is non-contributory and pays a £60,000 lump sum where staff die as a result of COVID-19 and had been recently working in frontline roles and locations where personal care is provided to individuals who have recently contracted COVID-19.

The Department will publish the legal rules for the scheme, which will cover eligibility, as soon as possible. The NHS Business Services Authority will administer the scheme and will also publish guidance for staff and employers.

We understand the Scottish Government are working on a separate scheme for NHS Scotland.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will undertake an equality impact assessment of research funding spent by the National Institute for Health Research.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department. As a public authority, the Department is required to adhere to the Public Sector Equality Duty in line with the Equality Act 2010. The Department takes its obligations under the Equality Act very seriously, specifically in ensuring that we give due regard to the impacts on people with protected characteristics. The NIHR Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Board is leading work on equality impact assessments and their applicability to the NIHR. A decision on whether and where to apply equality impact assessments will be made as a result of this work.

14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish his Department's long-term financial plan for Official Development Assistance funding.

The Foreign Secretary laid a WMS on 26 January setting out the conclusion of the cross-government review of Overseas Development Assistance. The total FCDO ODA settlement for 2021 is £8.115 billion, funding beyond 2021/22 will be determined by a future government spending review, expected later this year.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much and what proportion of the 2021 Official Development Assistance budget had been allocated as part of long-term spending commitments before the start of 2021.

The Foreign Secretary has set out seven core priorities for the UK's aid budget in the overarching pursuit of poverty reduction: climate and biodiversity; Covid and global health security; girls' education; science and research; defending open societies and resolving conflict; humanitarian assistance; and promoting trade and economic growth. We are working through our internal business planning process which will allocate the ODA budget across these priorities and geographies. No decisions have yet been made on budget allocations for 2021/22.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding his Department and its predecessors allocated to the humanitarian response in Yemen in (a) 2019 and (b) 2020; and how much ODA funding his Department plans to allocate to that matter in 2021.

Last financial year (19/20), the UK contributed £240 million on the humanitarian response in Yemen. Our total commitment for this financial year (20/21) is £214 million. This takes our total commitment to over £1 billion since the conflict began in 2015.

Our funding is providing support to at least 500,000 vulnerable people each month to help them buy food and household essentials, enrolling 25,000 children on malnutrition programmes and providing 1 million people with improved water supply and basic sanitation across Yemen.

I will announce the UK allocation for Yemen for the upcoming financial year (21/22) at the Yemen Pledging Conference on 1 March.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the UN’s Virtual High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Situation in Yemen promotes improved humanitarian access.

On 1 March, I have announced the UK's commitment to Yemen for the upcoming financial year at the UN Virtual High level Pledging Conference.

We will be using our intervention to highlight that the current unprecedented restrictions on humanitarian access in Yemen must be lifted, to ensure essential aid reaches those who need it and to call for all parties to bring an end to the conflict.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans his Department has to announce a contribution to the UN’s Virtual High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Situation in Yemen.

On 1 March, I announced the UK's commitment to Yemen for the upcoming financial year at the UN Virtual High level Pledging Conference.

We will be using our intervention to highlight that the current unprecedented restrictions on humanitarian access in Yemen must be lifted, to ensure essential aid reaches those who need it and to call for all parties to bring an end to the conflict.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of his Department's covid-19 travel guidance for Liberia.

The safety of British nationals abroad is of paramount concern to the Government. The purpose of FCDO travel advice is to provide information to help British nationals make their own informed decisions about foreign travel. We advise against travel only when we consider the risk to British nationals to be unacceptably high. Due to the ongoing global pandemic, the FCDO continues to advise British nationals against all but essential international travel, with some countries and territories exempted where the risks are not unacceptably high. This advice is kept under constant review. In respect of Liberia, based on epidemiological evidence and other factors, we continue to advise against all non-essential travel. The latest update for Liberia was made on 15 August. These assessments are made by drawing on expert sources of information available including local knowledge, and the experience of our staff at the Embassy in Monrovia.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what the cost was, including staff time, equipment and processes, to set up the virtual parliament.

The House of Commons Commission is responsible for the hybrid proceedings in the Commons. The costs set out below therefore relate only to work associated with the Commons, not Parliament as a whole. The figures show combined implementation/other one-off costs and running costs as at 31 May 2020, and cover committed spend up to that date, not just actual expenditure.

VIRTUAL CHAMBER REVENUE COSTS:

Chamber set up – £31,200

Broadcasting hub set up – £12,734

Specialist operating team – £176,000

Technical infrastructure hire – £334,000

Remote broadcasting provision for Ministers and other key Members – £70,000

Additional internet bandwidth – £6,000

Sub-total excluding VAT = £629,934

(all supplier costs concerned, excluding any capital costs, are VAT recoverable)

VIRTUAL CHAMBER CAPITAL COSTS:

Broadcasting equipment – £123,994

Hansard recording equipment – £58,306

Sub-total excluding VAT = £182,300

Sub-total including VAT = £218,760

REMOTE VOTING, BALLOTING AND ANNUNCIATOR COSTS

Remote voting (development, hosting) – £40,000 approx.

Commons Balloting – £12,500

Remote annunciator (“UKParliamentNow”) – £33,464 (Commons share only)

Sub-total including VAT = £85,964

VIRTUAL COMMITTEES REVENUE COSTS:

Implementation = £24,327 ex VAT (£29,192 including VAT)

VIRTUAL COMMITTEES CAPITAL COSTS:

Implementation = £330,824 ex VAT (£396,988 including VAT)

ONLINE BY-ELECTION FOR SELECT COMMITTEE CHAIRS

£3,780 including VAT.

TOTAL REVENUE INCLUDING NON-RECOVERABLE VAT = £745,090

TOTAL CAPITAL INCLUDING VAT = £615,748

GRAND TOTAL = £1,360,838

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what correspondence and representations he has received from the Scottish Government on the Scottish Fiscal Framework negotiations.

The published Scottish Government Fiscal Framework agreement sets out the arrangements for an independent report to inform the review. Namely that the UK and Scottish governments will jointly commission an independent report on the Block Grant Adjustment arrangements, which is to be presented to both governments by the end of 2021. This independent report on the Block Grant Adjustment arrangements will then inform the UK and Scottish governments review of the Fiscal Framework.

The scope and authorship for the independent report, as well as the arrangements for the subsequent review, are to be finalised by the Joint Exchequer Committee. For transparency, a communiqué is typically published after meetings of the Joint Exchequer Committee to outline agreements reached between the UK and Scottish governments.

The UK Government is committed to following the arrangements for the report and the review as set out in the Fiscal Framework agreement. I look forward to continuing the engagement the UK Government has had with the Scottish Government on preparations for the review.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the negotiations on reviewing the Scottish Fiscal Framework being a transparent open book exercise.

The published Scottish Government Fiscal Framework agreement sets out the arrangements for an independent report to inform the review. Namely that the UK and Scottish governments will jointly commission an independent report on the Block Grant Adjustment arrangements, which is to be presented to both governments by the end of 2021. This independent report on the Block Grant Adjustment arrangements will then inform the UK and Scottish governments review of the Fiscal Framework.

The scope and authorship for the independent report, as well as the arrangements for the subsequent review, are to be finalised by the Joint Exchequer Committee. For transparency, a communiqué is typically published after meetings of the Joint Exchequer Committee to outline agreements reached between the UK and Scottish governments.

The UK Government is committed to following the arrangements for the report and the review as set out in the Fiscal Framework agreement. I look forward to continuing the engagement the UK Government has had with the Scottish Government on preparations for the review.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the process will be for discussions with the Scottish Government on the scope of the independent report into the Scottish Fiscal Framework; and if he will make a statement.

The published Scottish Government Fiscal Framework agreement sets out the arrangements for an independent report to inform the review. Namely that the UK and Scottish governments will jointly commission an independent report on the Block Grant Adjustment arrangements, which is to be presented to both governments by the end of 2021. This independent report on the Block Grant Adjustment arrangements will then inform the UK and Scottish governments review of the Fiscal Framework.

The scope and authorship for the independent report, as well as the arrangements for the subsequent review, are to be finalised by the Joint Exchequer Committee. For transparency, a communiqué is typically published after meetings of the Joint Exchequer Committee to outline agreements reached between the UK and Scottish governments.

The UK Government is committed to following the arrangements for the report and the review as set out in the Fiscal Framework agreement. I look forward to continuing the engagement the UK Government has had with the Scottish Government on preparations for the review.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the process is for the production of an independent report on the Scottish Fiscal Framework; and what the timetable is for (a) the appointment and (b) the production of that report.

The published Scottish Government Fiscal Framework agreement sets out the arrangements for an independent report to inform the review. Namely that the UK and Scottish governments will jointly commission an independent report on the Block Grant Adjustment arrangements, which is to be presented to both governments by the end of 2021. This independent report on the Block Grant Adjustment arrangements will then inform the UK and Scottish governments review of the Fiscal Framework.

The scope and authorship for the independent report, as well as the arrangements for the subsequent review, are to be finalised by the Joint Exchequer Committee. For transparency, a communiqué is typically published after meetings of the Joint Exchequer Committee to outline agreements reached between the UK and Scottish governments.

The UK Government is committed to following the arrangements for the report and the review as set out in the Fiscal Framework agreement. I look forward to continuing the engagement the UK Government has had with the Scottish Government on preparations for the review.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what data is shared with HMRC by NHS Scotland, Scottish health boards or agencies to assist in the implementation of the Scottish rate of income tax.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) administer Scottish income tax as part of the UK income tax system. Scottish income tax is collected through existing PAYE and Self-Assessment processes, which have been adapted to reflect Scottish income tax rates and thresholds.

HMRC receive data from employers across the UK as part of their administration of income tax, and do not have any specific data-sharing arrangements with NHS Scotland or other Scottish health agencies to assist in the administration of Scottish income tax.

Further information about how HMRC administer Scottish income tax and work with employers can be found in the Scottish Income Tax HMRC annual report 2020, which is published on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/scottish-income-tax-hmrc-annual-report-2020.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much funding has been allocated to hospices in England in each relevant budget year since the start of covid-19 related expenditure; and what the consequential allocations to each devolved Administration were.

In 2020/21 we have made available an additional £280m to hospices in England as part of the COVID-19 response.

Of this, £31m was funded by the Department for Health and Social Care from existing budgets (on which the devolved administrations have already received Barnett consequentials) and £249m was new funding confirmed at Supplementary Estimates 2020-21.

The £249m new funding generated £47m in Barnett consequentials for the devolved administrations at Supplementary Estimates 2020-21. This comprised £24m for the Scottish Government, £15m for the Welsh Government and £8m for the Northern Ireland Executive.

It is up to the devolved administrations to allocate this funding across their devolved responsibilities as they see fit, including to hospices.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the temporary VAT reduction for the (a) hospitality sector and (b) other sectors that are most financially affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The temporary VAT reduced rate came into effect on 15 July 2020 and was initially scheduled to end on 12 January 2021.

In order to continue supporting the cash flow and viability of over 150,000 businesses and to protect 2.4 million jobs, the Government extended the temporary reduced rate of VAT (five per cent) to goods and services supplied by the tourism and hospitality sectors until 31 March 2021.

The Government keeps all taxes under review, and any future tax decisions will be made at Budget.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish a final consequential funding figure specifically for hospices in Scotland.

The UK Government has provided the Scottish Government with an unprecedented upfront funding guarantee this year. This means they are receiving at least £8.6 billion in additional resource funding this year on top of their Spring Budget funding.

The final amount will be confirmed at Supplementary Estimates 2020-21, including Barnett consequentials resulting from additional spending on hospices in England. Full details of Barnett consequentials will be published in Block Grant Transparency after the UK Budget.

It is up to the Scottish Government to allocate this funding across their devolved responsibilities as they see fit, including to hospices in Scotland.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 15 July 2020 to Question 72196 on Children's Play: Facilities, whether soft play centres are included in the temporary 5 per cent VAT provisions as set out in Revenue and Customs Brief 10 (2020).

Admissions to shows, theatres, circuses, fairs, amusement parks, concerts, museums, zoos, cinemas and exhibitions and similar cultural events and facilities are covered by the temporary reduced rate of VAT for attractions. This is set out in GOV.UK guidance on admission charges to attractions.

Whether the temporary reduced rate applies depends on the facts of each individual case. Generally, where an admission fee is charged for entry to premises that are predominantly dedicated to soft play for children, this would be covered by the reduced rate.

Further detail about the operation of the new reduced rate more generally can be found in Revenue and Customs Brief 10 (2020) on the temporary reduced rate of VAT for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions, which can be found on GOV.UK.

24th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of including bio-based and compostable bioplastics in the scope of the plastic packaging tax on levels of bio-based plastic packaging; and if he will make a statement.

On 12 November, the Government published the summary of responses to the recent consultation on the detailed design and implementation of the Plastic Packaging Tax. This included confirming the consultation proposal to include compostable and bio-based plastic packaging in the scope of the tax.

As set out in the summary of responses to the consultation, the Government believes that alternative plastics can play a role in addressing plastic waste if used in the right circumstances. However, further evidence is needed on the impact of widespread adoption of such materials. This includes the interaction with current waste management as noted in the 2019 call for evidence on standards for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics. It is therefore right to include them within scope of the tax at this stage.

As part of the Bioeconomy Strategy, the Government is working with industry and the research community to better understand the impact of using bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics. Following the conclusion of the Bioeconomy Strategy, the Government will consider further the treatment of these plastics in relation to Plastic Packaging Tax.

The Government carefully considered the impacts of the tax when making the decisions set out in the summary of responses to the consultation. More information on impacts is available in the Tax Information and Impact Note - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/introduction-of-a-new-plastic-packaging-tax/introduction-of-a-new-plastic-packaging-tax

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what evidence basis his Department used to inform the decision to include compostable material in the forthcoming plastic tax.

On 12 November, the Government published the summary of responses to the recent consultation on the detailed design and implementation of the Plastic Packaging Tax. This included confirming the consultation proposal to include compostable and bio-based plastic packaging in the scope of the tax.

As set out in the summary of responses to the consultation, the Government believes that alternative plastics can play a role in addressing plastic waste if used in the right circumstances. However, further evidence is needed on the impact of widespread adoption of such materials. This includes the interaction with current waste management as noted in the 2019 call for evidence on standards for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics. It is therefore right to include them within scope of the tax at this stage.

As part of the Bioeconomy Strategy, the Government is working with industry and the research community to better understand the impact of using bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics. Following the conclusion of the Bioeconomy Strategy, the Government will consider further the treatment of these plastics in relation to Plastic Packaging Tax.

The Government carefully considered the impacts of the tax when making the decisions set out in the summary of responses to the consultation. More information on impacts is available in the Tax Information and Impact Note - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/introduction-of-a-new-plastic-packaging-tax/introduction-of-a-new-plastic-packaging-tax

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate has he made of the proportion of (a) producers and (b) importers of plastic packaging that would be liable for the plastic tax that deal with (i) bio-based and (ii) compostable plastics.

The Government carefully considered the impacts of the tax across the supply chain when making the decisions set out in the summary of responses to the consultation, which was published on 12 November. As per the Tax Information and Impact Note, the Government considered the overall impacts on up to an estimated 20,000 producers and importers of plastic packaging that would be liable for the tax, including those who produce bio-based and compostable packaging. The proportion of those liable for Plastic Packaging Tax that handle bio-based and compostable packaging will depend on business decisions. More information on impacts is available in the Tax Information and Impact Note:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/introduction-of-a-new-plastic-packaging-tax/introduction-of-a-new-plastic-packaging-tax

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of the plastic packaging tax on trends in the availability of 100 per cent compostable packaging.

The Government carefully considered the impacts of the tax across the supply chain when making the decisions set out in the summary of responses to the consultation, which was published on 12 November. As per the Tax Information and Impact Note, the Government considered the overall impacts on up to an estimated 20,000 producers and importers of plastic packaging that would be liable for the tax, including those who produce compostable packaging. More information on impacts is available in the Tax Information and Impact Note - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/introduction-of-a-new-plastic-packaging-tax/introduction-of-a-new-plastic-packaging-tax.

As set out in the summary of responses to the consultation the Government believes that alternative plastics can play a role in addressing plastic waste if used in the right circumstances. However, further evidence is needed on the impact of widespread adoption of such materials, and it is right to include them within scope of the tax at this stage. As part of the Bioeconomy Strategy, the Government is working with industry and the research community to better understand the impact of using bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics. Following the conclusion of the Bioeconomy Strategy, the Government will consider further these plastics in relation to Plastic Packaging Tax.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of the plastic packaging tax on businesses that produce 100 per cent compostable and bio-based packaging; and if he will make a statement.

On 12 November, the Government published the summary of responses to the recent consultation on the detailed design and implementation of the Plastic Packaging Tax. This included confirming the consultation proposal to include compostable and bio-based plastic packaging in the scope of the tax. As set out in the consultation, all packaging, including that which is 100% compostable, will be in scope of the tax if plastic is the predominant material by weight.

As set out in the summary of responses to the consultation, the Government believes that alternative plastics can play a role in addressing plastic waste if used in the right circumstances. However, further evidence is needed on the impact of widespread adoption of such materials, and it is right to include them within scope of the tax at this stage. As part of the Bioeconomy Strategy, the Government is working with industry and the research community to better understand the impact of using bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics. Following the conclusion of the Bioeconomy Strategy, the Government will consider further the treatment of these plastics in relation to Plastic Packaging Tax.

The Government carefully considered the impacts of the tax when making the decisions set out in the summary of responses to the consultation. More information on impacts is available in the Tax Information and Impact Note - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/introduction-of-a-new-plastic-packaging-tax/introduction-of-a-new-plastic-packaging-tax

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the £200 per tonne plastic packaging tax will apply to 100 per cent compostable packaging; and if he will make a statement.

On 12 November, the Government published the summary of responses to the recent consultation on the detailed design and implementation of the Plastic Packaging Tax. This included confirming the consultation proposal to include compostable and bio-based plastic packaging in the scope of the tax. As set out in the consultation, all packaging, including that which is 100% compostable, will be in scope of the tax if plastic is the predominant material by weight.

As set out in the summary of responses to the consultation, the Government believes that alternative plastics can play a role in addressing plastic waste if used in the right circumstances. However, further evidence is needed on the impact of widespread adoption of such materials, and it is right to include them within scope of the tax at this stage. As part of the Bioeconomy Strategy, the Government is working with industry and the research community to better understand the impact of using bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics. Following the conclusion of the Bioeconomy Strategy, the Government will consider further the treatment of these plastics in relation to Plastic Packaging Tax.

The Government carefully considered the impacts of the tax when making the decisions set out in the summary of responses to the consultation. More information on impacts is available in the Tax Information and Impact Note - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/introduction-of-a-new-plastic-packaging-tax/introduction-of-a-new-plastic-packaging-tax

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to support people in shared appreciation mortgage schemes.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has responsibility for the conduct regulation of mortgages, including shared appreciation mortgages. The FCA sets the rules regarding the information that has to be disclosed before, during and after sale and, in addition, rules in respect of the advice that should be given to consumers.

The Government is determined that lenders should treat borrowers fairly. Any dispute arising between a lender and its customers is usually best resolved by the parties involved. However, if a shared appreciation mortgage holder believes they have been missold a shared appreciation mortgage, they are able to take their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS is an independent body set up to provide arbitration in such cases.

The FOS received a number of complaints from people who purchased shared appreciation mortgages and are alert to the issues involved. However, the FOS said in its Annual Review for 2003-04 that in most cases it had not upheld the shared appreciation mortgage mis-selling complaints it had received because it had concluded that the documents were clear and the terms had been fully explained to the borrowers. Therefore, there appear to be no grounds for Government intervention in this instance.

The FOS remains willing to consider all cases on their individual merits, and any customer that has not already been in touch with the FOS may wish to contact the organisation. The FOS can be contacted by post at: Financial Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower, London, E14 9SR, by telephone on 0800 023 4567, or through their website at www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the (a) direct and (b) wider effect of ending the VAT Retail Export Scheme on the retail, hospitality and tourism sectors in Scotland.

Ahead of the end of the transition period, the Government has announced the VAT and excise duty treatment of goods purchased by individuals for personal use and carried in their luggage arriving from or going overseas (passengers). The following rules will apply from 1 January 2021:

- Passengers travelling from Great Britain to any destination outside the United Kingdom (UK) will be able to purchase duty-free excise goods once they have passed security controls at ports, airports, and international rail stations.

- Personal allowances will apply to passengers entering Great Britain from a destination outside of the UK, with alcohol allowances significantly increased.

- The VAT Retail Export Scheme (RES) in Great Britain will not be extended to passengers travelling to the EU and will be withdrawn for all passengers.

- The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales for non-excise goods will be removed across the UK.

The Government published a consultation which ran from 11 March to 20 May. During this time the Government held a number of virtual meetings with stakeholders to hear their views and received 73 responses to the consultation. The Government has also continued to meet and discuss with key stakeholders following the announcement of these policies.

The detailed rationale for these changes are included in the written ministerial statement and summary of responses to the recent consultation: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-09-11/hcws448 and https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-duty-free-and-tax-free-goods-carried-by-passengers.

In 2019 HMRC estimate that VAT RES refunds cost around £0.5billion in VAT for around 1.2million non-EU visitors. In 2019 the ONS estimate there were substantially more EU visitors (24.8 million) than non-EU passengers (16.0 million) to the UK. This implies an extension to EU residents would significantly increase the cost by up to an estimated £0.9billion. This would result in a large amount of deadweight loss by subsidising spending from EU visitors which already happens without a refund mechanism in place, potentially taking the total cost up to around £1.4billion per annum.

The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales currently affects airports that fly to non-EU destinations. The extension of duty-free sales to EU bound passengers will be a significant boost to all airports in England, Scotland and Wales, including Edinburgh and Glasgow and smaller regional airports which have not been able to offer duty-free to the EU before.

HMRC estimate that around £150 million of VAT is not charged as a result of tax-free airside sales. As with the VAT RES, extending the relief to the EU would significantly increase the cost of the scheme and result in a large amount of deadweight loss by subsidising spending from EU-bound passengers which already happens.

The final costings will be subject to scrutiny by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility and will be set out at the next forecast.

The Government also recognises the challenges the aviation sector is facing as it recovers from the impacts of Covid-19 and has supported the sector throughout the pandemic, and continues to do so, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with (a) retail industry bodies and (b) trade unions on the effect on the retail sector of ending the VAT Retail Export Scheme.

Ahead of the end of the transition period, the Government has announced the VAT and excise duty treatment of goods purchased by individuals for personal use and carried in their luggage arriving from or going overseas (passengers). The following rules will apply from 1 January 2021:

- Passengers travelling from Great Britain to any destination outside the United Kingdom (UK) will be able to purchase duty-free excise goods once they have passed security controls at ports, airports, and international rail stations.

- Personal allowances will apply to passengers entering Great Britain from a destination outside of the UK, with alcohol allowances significantly increased.

- The VAT Retail Export Scheme (RES) in Great Britain will not be extended to passengers travelling to the EU and will be withdrawn for all passengers.

- The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales for non-excise goods will be removed across the UK.

The Government published a consultation which ran from 11 March to 20 May. During this time the Government held a number of virtual meetings with stakeholders to hear their views and received 73 responses to the consultation. The Government has also continued to meet and discuss with key stakeholders following the announcement of these policies.

The detailed rationale for these changes are included in the written ministerial statement and summary of responses to the recent consultation: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-09-11/hcws448 and https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-duty-free-and-tax-free-goods-carried-by-passengers.

In 2019 HMRC estimate that VAT RES refunds cost around £0.5billion in VAT for around 1.2million non-EU visitors. In 2019 the ONS estimate there were substantially more EU visitors (24.8 million) than non-EU passengers (16.0 million) to the UK. This implies an extension to EU residents would significantly increase the cost by up to an estimated £0.9billion. This would result in a large amount of deadweight loss by subsidising spending from EU visitors which already happens without a refund mechanism in place, potentially taking the total cost up to around £1.4billion per annum.

The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales currently affects airports that fly to non-EU destinations. The extension of duty-free sales to EU bound passengers will be a significant boost to all airports in England, Scotland and Wales, including Edinburgh and Glasgow and smaller regional airports which have not been able to offer duty-free to the EU before.

HMRC estimate that around £150 million of VAT is not charged as a result of tax-free airside sales. As with the VAT RES, extending the relief to the EU would significantly increase the cost of the scheme and result in a large amount of deadweight loss by subsidising spending from EU-bound passengers which already happens.

The final costings will be subject to scrutiny by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility and will be set out at the next forecast.

The Government also recognises the challenges the aviation sector is facing as it recovers from the impacts of Covid-19 and has supported the sector throughout the pandemic, and continues to do so, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will (a) reverse his decision to end the VAT Retail Export Scheme or (b) postpone its implementation until an impact assessment has been conducted.

Ahead of the end of the transition period, the Government has announced the VAT and excise duty treatment of goods purchased by individuals for personal use and carried in their luggage arriving from or going overseas (passengers). The following rules will apply from 1 January 2021:

- Passengers travelling from Great Britain to any destination outside the United Kingdom (UK) will be able to purchase duty-free excise goods once they have passed security controls at ports, airports, and international rail stations.

- Personal allowances will apply to passengers entering Great Britain from a destination outside of the UK, with alcohol allowances significantly increased.

- The VAT Retail Export Scheme (RES) in Great Britain will not be extended to passengers travelling to the EU and will be withdrawn for all passengers.

- The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales for non-excise goods will be removed across the UK.

The Government published a consultation which ran from 11 March to 20 May. During this time the Government held a number of virtual meetings with stakeholders to hear their views and received 73 responses to the consultation. The Government has also continued to meet and discuss with key stakeholders following the announcement of these policies.

The detailed rationale for these changes are included in the written ministerial statement and summary of responses to the recent consultation: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-09-11/hcws448 and https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-duty-free-and-tax-free-goods-carried-by-passengers.

In 2019 HMRC estimate that VAT RES refunds cost around £0.5billion in VAT for around 1.2million non-EU visitors. In 2019 the ONS estimate there were substantially more EU visitors (24.8 million) than non-EU passengers (16.0 million) to the UK. This implies an extension to EU residents would significantly increase the cost by up to an estimated £0.9billion. This would result in a large amount of deadweight loss by subsidising spending from EU visitors which already happens without a refund mechanism in place, potentially taking the total cost up to around £1.4billion per annum.

The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales currently affects airports that fly to non-EU destinations. The extension of duty-free sales to EU bound passengers will be a significant boost to all airports in England, Scotland and Wales, including Edinburgh and Glasgow and smaller regional airports which have not been able to offer duty-free to the EU before.

HMRC estimate that around £150 million of VAT is not charged as a result of tax-free airside sales. As with the VAT RES, extending the relief to the EU would significantly increase the cost of the scheme and result in a large amount of deadweight loss by subsidising spending from EU-bound passengers which already happens.

The final costings will be subject to scrutiny by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility and will be set out at the next forecast.

The Government also recognises the challenges the aviation sector is facing as it recovers from the impacts of Covid-19 and has supported the sector throughout the pandemic, and continues to do so, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the reduction in VAT from 20 per cent to 5 per cent announced in the summer economic update on 8 July 2020 applies to soft play centres.

Admissions to shows, theatres, circuses, fairs, amusement parks, concerts, museums, zoos, cinemas and exhibitions and similar cultural events and facilities are covered by the new reduced rate of VAT for attractions. This is set out in GOV.UK guidance on admission charges to attractions. This guidance includes examples of what is considered to be a similar cultural event. Whether the temporary reduced rate applies depends on the facts of each individual case.

Further detail about the operation of the new reduced rate more generally can be found in Revenue and Customs Brief 10 (2020) on the temporary reduced rate of VAT for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions, which can be found on GOV.UK.

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that banks comply with Financial Ombudsman decisions to compensate claimants.

Final decisions made by the Financial Ombudsman are binding on firms, up to certain limits, if they are accepted by the customer. If a firm fails to comply with the Financial Ombudsman's decision, the ombudsman can report it to the Financial Conduct Authority and a business can ultimately lose its authorisation if it doesn’t comply. A complainant can also recover the money awarded, or enforce any direction made, through the courts.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the Barnett consequentials are for Scotland with regards to the £1 billion education catch-up fund announced on 19 June 2020.

Any new funding for the Department for Education will have the Barnett formula applied to it in the usual way.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many tax credits claimants in Scotland have (a) notified a change of circumstances and (b) ended their claim since the 11 March 2020.

From the 11th March 2020 until Tuesday 9th June 2020 there were around 110,000 notifications of change of circumstances from customers in tax credits in Scotland. In the same period around 18,000 tax credits awards in payment in Scotland have ended.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
20th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many written instructions as described in section 5.5 of the Ministerial Code have been issued by Ministers in each year since 2010; for what reason each instruction was issued; and in which Department they were issued.

Ministerial Directions are published on gov.uk. As set out in paragraph 3.4.5. of “Managing Public Money”,[1] it is the responsibility of the relevant accounting officer to arrange for the existence of the direction to be published, no later than in the next report and accounts, unless the matter must be kept confidential.

There have been 27 Ministerial Directions published since April 2011, set out in the table attached. Prior to this date, publication was not required.

Date

Department

Direction

Reason(s)

Links

January 2015

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Hatfield Colliery Partnership Ltd

Value for money

AO request Min direction

February 2015

Department for Transport

Northern and TransPennine Express franchises 2015: invitations to tender

Value for money

AO request Min direction

March 2015

Department for Transport

Manston Airport: procuring consultants for independent review

Value for Money

AO request Min direction

June 2015

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Royal Mail Employee Shares (1)

Value for money

AO request Min direction

June 2015

Cabinet Office and Duchy of Lancaster

Kids Company

Value for money

AO request Min direction

June 2015

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Flood reinsurance scheme

Value for money

AO request Min direction

October 2015

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Royal Mail Employee Shares (2)

Value for money

AO request Min direction

October 2015

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Redcar Steelworks

Value for money

AO request Min direction

May 2016

Department for Transport

London Garden Bridge

Value for money

AO request Min direction

July 2016

Cabinet Office

Special Advisers’ Pay

Value for money

AO request Min direction

January 2018

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

European Union exit costs

Propriety

AO request Min direction

February 2018

Department for Transport

European Union exit preparations

Propriety

AO request Min direction

March 2018

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Local government overpayment

Propriety

AO request Min direction

March 2018

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

European Union exit preparations – market surveillance

Propriety

AO request Min direction

March 2018

Department for International Trade

Spend before Royal Assent on EU Exit costs

Propriety

AO request Min direction

May 2018

Department for Education

T Levels delivery time-table

Feasibility

AO request Min direction

June 2018

UK Export Finance

Support for export of Typhoon aircraft to Qatar

Value for money

AO request Min direction

April 2019

UK Export Finance

Increased cover for Iraq

Regularity and value for money

AO request Min direction

May 2019

Ministry of Justice

Financial assistance for subcontractors affected by the collapse of Working Links

Value for money

AO request Min direction

May 2019

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

Remediation of private sector residential buildings with unsafe ACM cladding

Value for money

AO request Min Direction

July 2019

Home Office

Windrush Compensation Scheme

Regularity and Propriety

AO request Min Direction

November 2019

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Continuation of Official Receiver’s Indemnity

Value for money

AO request Min direction

November 2019

National Health Service

NHS Pension tax charges

Regularity and Priority

AO request Min direction

March 2020

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

(Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support Fund for Retail, hospitality and Leisure Business

Value for Money Feasibility

AO request Ministerial Direction

March 2020

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Coronavirus COVID-19 the Small Grants Fund

Value for Money Feasibility

AO request Ministerial Direction

March 2020

Department for Health and Social Care

Coronavirus (Covid-19): Ministerial direction on spend.

Regularity

AO request Ministerial Direction

May 2020

Ministry of Communities and Local Government

Grant for unsafe cladding

Value for Money

AO request Ministerial Direction

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/managing-public-money

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to his news story, Chancellor sets out extra £750 million coronavirus funding for frontline charities, published on 8 April 2020, how many additional consequentials will be passed to each of the devolved administrations using the Barnett formula as a result of additional funding announced for hospices.

The UK government is applying the Barnett formula in the normal way to the additional funding for charities announced by the Chancellor.

The devolved administrations are receiving £60 million as a result of funding provided to the National Lottery Communities Fund from the charities pot. This means £30m for the Scottish Government, £18m for the Welsh Government and £10m for the Northern Ireland Executive, as confirmed on the day of the announcement.

Further Barnett allocations will be provided in relation to the £360m direct grant pot. The UK government has agreed to provide Hospices UK with up to £200m from this pot to support hospices in England. The devolved administrations will therefore receive up to £38m in Barnett consequentials on this element of the pot. This means up to £19m for the Scottish Government, £12m for the Welsh Government and £7m for the Northern Ireland Executive. Further consequentials are dependent on the final proposals funded from this pot so will be communicated shortly.

The UK government has so far announced almost £7 billion in Covid-19 Barnett consequentials to the devolved administrations to support people, business and public services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of reducing the duty on spirits as a result of producers switching production to hand sanitiser; and if he will make a statement.

The government is aware that some distillers have offered to support their local communities by using their alcohol stocks to produce hand sanitiser. We are keen to support this and ensure that were alcohol is used for this purpose it does not attract excise duty.

Under new measures announced by HM Revenue & Customs on 23rd March, distillers and gin producers that hold alcohol within an excise warehouse may, without prior approval, use this to produce hand sanitiser without the payment of excise duty, providing the final product meets the World Health Organization’s formulation for Handrub.

Further information on all the easements announced by to support hand sanitiser production can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/producing-hand-sanitiser-and-gel-for-coronavirus-covid-19

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he has taken since 18 October 2019 to help the Scotch Whisky industry tackle the effect of US tariffs on single malt Scotch Whisky and liqueurs.

The Treasury is discussing with other departments the Government’s next steps on the Airbus dispute that has led to tariffs being imposed on a range of UK products. The Government is working closely with the EU and US to support a negotiated settlement as soon as possible, as the best way to resolve this dispute.

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, who took the recent decision to stop cash payments for asylum seekers placed in hotels in Glasgow.

The Home Office have not taken the decision to stop support for any service users in Glasgow or anywhere else the UK, where they remain entitled to it.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect of an Exceptional Assurance visa extension of four weeks on a person's ability to remain in or secure rental accommodation.

Each request for Exceptional Assurance is dealt with on its own merits. There is no condition in place limiting Exceptional Assurance to a maximum of four weeks.

Exceptional Assurance allows for the conditions of a previous grant of leave to continue until its expiration, including the right to rent. We have provided clear guidance on GOV.UK stipulating landlords must take extra care to ensure no one is discriminated against if they are struggling to evidence their right to rent during this pandemic.

The Landlord Checking Service is in place to verify the confirmation of Exceptional Assurance.

This service provides a response within two working days, from receipt of request, providing the landlord with a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-landlord-right-to-rent-checks

https://eforms.homeoffice.gov.uk/outreach/lcs-application.ofml

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will extend Exceptional Assurance from four weeks to six months for people who are unable to travel to their home country due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Each request for Exceptional Assurance is dealt with on its own merits and the end date is under constant review.

There is no condition in place limiting Exceptional Assurance to a maximum of four weeks.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect of the need to reapply for an Exceptional Assurance visa every three to four weeks on a person's (a) mental health, (b) financial situation and (c) ability to maintain stable accommodation.

There is no current condition in place limiting Exceptional Assurance to four weeks or requiring all covered by one to reply every three to four weeks, each request for Exceptional Assurance is dealt with on its own merits.

Exceptional Assurance allows for the conditions of a previous grant of leave to continue until its expiration, including the right to rent and the right to work where relevant.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 16 June 2020 to Question 57177 on Visas, whether she plans to introduce a further extension of visas for people that are unable to travel home after 31 July 2020.

The Home Office has put in place a range of measures to support those affected by the covid-19 outbreak. We recognise further adjustments are likely to be required to cater for all scenarios, and we are working to ensure people are not unduly affected by circumstances beyond their control.

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 is being kept under review, including whether further extensions will be necessary. We will confirm the position for those affected shortly.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to introduce a further extension of visas for people that are unable to travel home after 31 May 2020.

Individuals who are in the UK legally and whose visa expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 can have their visa extended to 31 July 2020, if they cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus.

The latest information can be found on GOV.UK at: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents.

This is being kept under regular review in case further extensions are needed

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the effect of the reduction in armed forces personnel on (a) total armed forces numbers in Scotland, (b) individual regiments in Scotland and (c) the sustainability of all of Scotland's current regiments.

The hon. Member will be fully aware of the commitment made to the House by the Defence Secretary on Monday 22 March that the transformation of the Armed Forces will see no redundancies of our personnel or deletion of capbadges. He was also clear that there would be no further major unit deletions beyond those announced to the House. Whilst the announcement sets out some of the structural changes which will be implemented, this transformation requires significant reorganisation of force structures and so the Army will use the next several months to refine its work before releasing more detail.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the Scottish Government has made any request to the armed forces for support in the covid-19 vaccine rollout in Scotland.

Yes. The Ministry of Defence has received a Military Aid to Civil Authorities (MACA) request from the Scottish Government for 88 Service Personnel to support the identification and operationalisation of vaccination sites across Scotland.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many troops are available to support the covid-19 vaccine rollout in Scotland.

At present, 11 teams of 8 Service personnel have deployed to support the NHS Scotland Health Board in order to identify and operationalise vaccination centres across Scotland.

Defence stands ready to provide further support to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Scotland, as and when requested by the Scottish Government.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the capability is of each army medic team to support the covid-19 vaccine rollout.

The initial tranche of Defence Vaccination Teams include 1 Doctor, 2 Registered Health Professionals and 3 Medics from across all three Services. On top of their professional training, teams will undergo NHS Region-specific induction packages to ensure they are current with local policies and protocols. Further teams may be constructed differently depending on the setting within which they will operate and the clinical capabilities of those they are operating alongside.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will ensure that there is an element within the UK Shared Prosperity Fund reserved for research organisations which have had particular dependency on Interreg cross-border funding in order to maintain continuity of research and UK participation in these fields.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK in places most in need, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities, and for people who face labour market barriers.

This Government will ensure that the UK Government and its institutions are working effectively to realise the benefits of four nations working together as one United Kingdom.

Spending Review 2020 set out the main strategic elements of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in the Heads of Terms.  The Government will publish a UK-wide investment framework later this year and confirm its funding profile at the next Spending Review.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will take steps to ensure that the research and development of marine energy technologies, which has been dependent on funding under the Interreg scheme, is not disadvantaged under the transition to a UK Shared Prosperity Fund; and if he will make a statement.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK in places most in need, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities, and for people who face labour market barriers.

This Government will ensure that the UK Government and its institutions are working effectively to realise the benefits of four nations working together as one United Kingdom.

Spending Review 2020 set out the main strategic elements of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in the Heads of Terms. This stated that UK Shared Prosperity investment should be aligned with the government's clean growth and net zero objectives. The Government will publish a UK-wide investment framework later this year and confirm its funding profile at the next Spending Review.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he has taken within the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to replicate the specific functions performed by the Interreg scheme in supporting cross-border research and development.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK in places most in need, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities, and for people who face labour market barriers.

This Government will ensure that the UK Government and its institutions are working effectively to realise the benefits of four nations working together as one United Kingdom.

Spending Review 2020 set out the main strategic elements of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in the Heads of Terms.  The Government will publish a UK-wide investment framework later this year and confirm its funding profile at the next Spending Review.

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made on the number of families with disabled children are unable to access their child's child trust fund account when that child turns 18 years.

In order for anyone to make decisions on behalf of an adult who lacks mental capacity in relation to their financial affairs, they must be granted legal powers to do so, either by a Lasting Power of Attorney or by authorisation from the Court of Protection - the specialist court that deals with issues concerning a lack of capacity.

We do not hold data on the proportion of holders of child trust funds who have a disability. However, we are working with the financial institutions to ensure that the parents of young people who do not have the required mental capacity to make the decision to access a Child Trust Fund at age 18, are made aware of Lasting Powers of Attorney and the possible need to make applications to the Court of Protection.

Fees are payable to register Lasting Powers of Attorney and for applications to the Court and we recognise that these fees may be difficult for the families of disabled children to afford. Help with Lasting Power of Attorney registration fees, Court of Protection fees and deputy supervision fees is available, depending upon the financial circumstances of the person who lacks mental capacity, and in some cases a full fee exemption may be available.

We consider that our processes for applying for a Lasting Power of Attorney, court applications, the structure of court fees and the policy around Help with Fees are adequate and we keep these under regular review.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the mechanisms by which parents of children with learning disabilities are able to access their child's child trust fund account when that child turns 18 years.

In order for anyone to make decisions on behalf of an adult who lacks mental capacity in relation to their financial affairs, they must be granted legal powers to do so, either by a Lasting Power of Attorney or by authorisation from the Court of Protection - the specialist court that deals with issues concerning a lack of capacity.

We do not hold data on the proportion of holders of child trust funds who have a disability. However, we are working with the financial institutions to ensure that the parents of young people who do not have the required mental capacity to make the decision to access a Child Trust Fund at age 18, are made aware of Lasting Powers of Attorney and the possible need to make applications to the Court of Protection.

Fees are payable to register Lasting Powers of Attorney and for applications to the Court and we recognise that these fees may be difficult for the families of disabled children to afford. Help with Lasting Power of Attorney registration fees, Court of Protection fees and deputy supervision fees is available, depending upon the financial circumstances of the person who lacks mental capacity, and in some cases a full fee exemption may be available.

We consider that our processes for applying for a Lasting Power of Attorney, court applications, the structure of court fees and the policy around Help with Fees are adequate and we keep these under regular review.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the financial effect on families of disabled children as a result of being required to apply to the Court of Protection to access their child's child trust fund account.

In order for anyone to make decisions on behalf of an adult who lacks mental capacity in relation to their financial affairs, they must be granted legal powers to do so, either by a Lasting Power of Attorney or by authorisation from the Court of Protection - the specialist court that deals with issues concerning a lack of capacity.

We do not hold data on the proportion of holders of child trust funds who have a disability. However, we are working with the financial institutions to ensure that the parents of young people who do not have the required mental capacity to make the decision to access a Child Trust Fund at age 18, are made aware of Lasting Powers of Attorney and the possible need to make applications to the Court of Protection.

Fees are payable to register Lasting Powers of Attorney and for applications to the Court and we recognise that these fees may be difficult for the families of disabled children to afford. Help with Lasting Power of Attorney registration fees, Court of Protection fees and deputy supervision fees is available, depending upon the financial circumstances of the person who lacks mental capacity, and in some cases a full fee exemption may be available.

We consider that our processes for applying for a Lasting Power of Attorney, court applications, the structure of court fees and the policy around Help with Fees are adequate and we keep these under regular review.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when he plans to provide the option of hearings by video link for all appeal hearings in the Social Entitlement Chamber (First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support)).

HM Courts & Tribunals Service is working hard to keep our justice system functioning during this unprecedented public health emergency. We are focusing on priority cases, changing working practices and introducing new procedures to minimise risks to the judiciary, staff and all those who use our courts and tribunals.

In line with government guidance, face to face hearings in the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) (SSCS) have been replaced with telephone hearings and the use of other remote hearing technology to facilitate as many hearings as possible being held remotely. All parties to the hearings are being contacted directly to confirm new hearing arrangements.

After a number of successful tests, arrangements are currently being made to introduce and make available Cloud Video Platform (CVP) hearings in all SSCS Tribunal regions. The decision as to how a hearing is conducted is a matter for the judge who will determine how best to uphold the interests of justice. In considering the suitability of video/audio, judges will consider issues such as the benefit type under appeal, the nature of the matters at stake during the hearing and any issues the use of video/audio technology may present for participants in the hearing.

The latest period for which official statistics about SSCS appeals are available is up to March 2020. Up until that time no SSCS hearings had taken place by video link due to Covid-19.

www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many appeals in the Social Entitlement Chamber (First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support)) have been heard by video link during the Covid-19 outbreak.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service is working hard to keep our justice system functioning during this unprecedented public health emergency. We are focusing on priority cases, changing working practices and introducing new procedures to minimise risks to the judiciary, staff and all those who use our courts and tribunals.

In line with government guidance, face to face hearings in the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) (SSCS) have been replaced with telephone hearings and the use of other remote hearing technology to facilitate as many hearings as possible being held remotely. All parties to the hearings are being contacted directly to confirm new hearing arrangements.

After a number of successful tests, arrangements are currently being made to introduce and make available Cloud Video Platform (CVP) hearings in all SSCS Tribunal regions. The decision as to how a hearing is conducted is a matter for the judge who will determine how best to uphold the interests of justice. In considering the suitability of video/audio, judges will consider issues such as the benefit type under appeal, the nature of the matters at stake during the hearing and any issues the use of video/audio technology may present for participants in the hearing.

The latest period for which official statistics about SSCS appeals are available is up to March 2020. Up until that time no SSCS hearings had taken place by video link due to Covid-19.

www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what estimate his Department has made of the amount of funding from the public purse spent by the Scottish Government on reserved areas, including (a) overseas offices, (b) the constitution and (c) work undertaken by civil servants on reserved areas in the most recent period for which figures are available.

The International Relations reservation set out in the Scotland Act 1998 is clear that the United Kingdom Government is responsible for international relations. The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) promotes the international interests of the United Kingdom and all its constituent parts. The UK Government recognises that the devolved administrations will have an interest in international policy making in relation to devolved matters and also in obligations touching on devolved matters that the UK may agree as a result of concluding international agreements (including UN Conventions). Such work is conducted by the Scottish Government, including from a number of overseas offices, which are usually co-located with British overseas missions.

The UK Government has been very clear that our immediate responsibility must be the economic recovery from the consequences of the pandemic, supporting people back into work and building back better.

In accordance with the Statement of Funding Policy and the Scottish Fiscal Framework, the Scottish Government is not required to set out its spending decisions to the UK Parliament. The Scottish Parliament, its MSPs, the committees and independent bodies, such as Audit Scotland, scrutinise the Scottish Government’s spending decisions.

In addition, the Scottish Government published this year’s National Statistics on public spending in Scotland - Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland - on 18 August 2021, including estimates of public sector expenditure by organisation and type of spend.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what representations he has received from Scottish Government Ministers by (a) email, (b) letter and (c) other means of communication on matters which are reserved to the UK Government since August 2020.

In the time period outlined, the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland has received 11 letters (attached to emails) from Scottish Ministers in relation to reserved matters.

The Department is unable to provide information on other means of communication.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland