Imran Ahmad Khan Portrait

Imran Ahmad Khan

Independent - Wakefield

11 APPG memberships (as of 17 Nov 2021)
Afghanistan, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Belarus, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK (CANZUK), Foreign Affairs, International Freedom of Religion or Belief, Key Cities, Knife Crime and Violence Reduction, Pakistan, Sweden, Waterways
151 Former APPG memberships
African Great Lakes Region, Agroecology for Sustainable Food and Farming, Algeria, Allergy, Alternative Investment Management, Antisemitism, Apprenticeships, Archaeology, Archives and History, Armenia, Artificial Intelligence, Australia and New Zealand, Bangladesh, Beer, Bermuda, Betting and Gaming, Botswana, Chemical Industry, Chile, China, Choir, Climate Change, Corporate Responsibility, Counter-Extremism, Cricket, Cyber Security, Cycling, Dairy, Deaths Abroad and Consular Services and Assistance, Denmark, Digital Identity, Digital Skills, Diversity and Inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, Dog Advisory Welfare, Energy Costs, Energy Studies, Engineering, Environment, Explosive Threats, Families in the Early Years, Female Genital Mutilation, Fire Safety Rescue, Fisheries, Fit and Healthy Childhood, Food and Drink Manufacturing, Food and Health, Forestry, Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency, Future Generations, Gambling Related Harm, Game and Wildlife Conservation, Gardening and Horticulture, General Aviation, Germany, Golf, Greece, Heathrow Expansion, Heritage Rail, Highways, Homelessness, Horse, Humanist, Hungary, Inclusive Growth, India, Infrastructure, Intelligent Energy, International Conservation, International Students, Internet, Communications and Technology, Iran, Japan, Jazz Appreciation, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latin America, Learning Disability, Libraries, Liechtenstein, Life Sciences, Lithuania, London's Planning and Built Environment, Malaysia, Maldives, Maritime and Ports, Mayflower Pilgrims, Mersey Dee North Wales, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Mountaineering, Mozambique, Multiple Sclerosis, Music Education, Nepal, Norway, Nuclear Energy, Opera, Pancreatic Cancer, Park Homes, Personalised Medicine, Philanthropy and Social Investment, Photography, Pigeon Racing, Plastic Waste, Polar Regions, Population, Development and Reproductive Health, Portugal, Poverty, Private Rented Sector, Qatar, Rail, Rail in Wales, Rare, Genetic and Undiagnosed Conditions, Respiratory Health, Rugby League, Rural Health and Social Care, Russia, Rwanda, School Food, Self-Build, Custom and Community Housebuilding and Place-Making, Sex Equality, Shared Ownership Housing, Shooting and Conservation, Skills and Employment, Social Enterprise, Spain, Spinal Cord Injury, Sport, Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights, St George's Day, State Pension Inequality for Women, Street Children, Students, Swimming, Tajikistan, Tamils, Terminal Illness, Ticket Abuse, Trade out of Poverty, Transport Safety, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Ukraine, United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development, Uzbekistan, Vaping, Venezuela, Women in the Penal System, Youth Hostelling, Zimbabwe
Imran Ahmad Khan has no previous appointments


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 14th December 2021
16:00
Backbench Business Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Proposals for backbench debates
14 Dec 2021, 4 p.m.
At 4.15pm: Oral evidence
Members of Parliament - Members of Parliament at House of Commons
View calendar
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Information Commissioner (Remuneration)
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 359 Conservative Aye votes vs 0 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 2
Speeches
Thursday 20th May 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

What steps he is taking to improve digital infrastructure and connectivity in rural areas. (900235)

Written Answers
Friday 2nd July 2021
Aducanumab
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
Tweets
Wednesday 27th October 2021
14:18
MP Financial Interests
Monday 15th February 2021
1. Employment and earnings
3 February 2021, received £3,000 from Bindmans LLP (law firm), 236 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8HB, for participation in …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Imran Ahmad Khan has voted in 282 divisions, and 5 times against the majority of their Party.

9 Feb 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Imran Ahmad Khan voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 31 Conservative No votes vs 318 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 318 Noes - 303
19 Jan 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Imran Ahmad Khan voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 34 Conservative No votes vs 319 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 319 Noes - 308
1 Dec 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Imran Ahmad Khan voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 53 Conservative No votes vs 290 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 291 Noes - 78
13 Oct 2020 - Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations - View Vote Context
Imran Ahmad Khan voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 42 Conservative No votes vs 298 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 299 Noes - 82
2 Sep 2020 - Recall of MPs (Change of Party Affiliation) - View Vote Context
Imran Ahmad Khan voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 41 Conservative No votes vs 47 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 55 Noes - 52
View All Imran Ahmad Khan 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
Nigel Adams (Conservative)
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
(17 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(10 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(8 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(13 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(12 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(12 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Imran Ahmad Khan's debates

Latest EDMs signed by Imran Ahmad Khan

Imran Ahmad Khan has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Imran Ahmad Khan, 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.


Imran Ahmad Khan has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Imran Ahmad Khan has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Imran Ahmad Khan has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Imran Ahmad Khan has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


447 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
3 Other Department Questions
18th Mar 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what engagements he has had with former coal mining communities in the run up to COP26.

Through the UK Mayors and Regions Advisory Council, which met most recently on 15 March, I have met with mayors and local leaders from across the UK, including those from former coal mining communities such as the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

As Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy I set up the Green Jobs Taskforce, which is working in partnership with business, skills providers, and unions, to help us develop plans for long-term, good quality green jobs, and support transitioning industries, such as coal.

Internationally, the UK is bringing together the leading global actors in the power sector through the COP26 Energy Transition Council and the Powering Past Coal Alliance, to support countries to more equitably transition away from coal.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what discussions he has had with local authorities in (a) West Yorkshire and (b) England in the run up to COP26.

I have set up the UK Mayors and Regions Advisory Council with mayors and local leaders from across the UK. The West Yorkshire Combined Authority is a member along with mayors and local authority leaders from across the UK and the chair of the Local Government Association. We met most recently on 15 March to discuss how mayors and local authorities could contribute to the Together for our Planet Campaign, and I look forward to engaging further with the group in the run up to COP26.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the five countries that produce the highest levels of non-renewable energy sources on preparations for COP26.

COP26 is a top priority for the Government and we are engaging with all countries ahead of the summit, through Ministerial and senior official engagement alongside our extensive diplomatic network.

As COP President-Designate, I have engaged with governments of over 50 countries to date both virtually and physically. This includes engagement with representatives from some of the largest producers of hydrocarbon energy, including the US, China, Canada and Saudi Arabia. I am also engaging a range of countries through the COP26 Energy Transition Council that the UK government has established in response to the global challenge of accelerating the transition from coal to clean power.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether covid-19 infections and hospitalisations among people who have been offered but refused to accept a covid-19 vaccine will be included in the data when deciding whether to ease restrictions on 19 July 2021.

The move to Step 4 will be based on the four tests outlined in the roadmap. The first of these tests - that the vaccine deployment programme continues successfully - will consider vaccine coverage across regions and demographics and ethnicity groups. The third of these tests - that infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS - looks at data on hospital admissions, patients in hospitals, and their vaccines status, in order to assess the likely pressure on the NHS in coming months.


The Delta variant is already driving the growth we are seeing in infection rates and hospitalisations, and at the same time non-COVID emergency demand on the NHS is the highest it has been since the start of the pandemic. The Government has consistently followed the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advice on vaccine deployment. We have implemented a range of initiatives to drive vaccine uptake, and to mitigate the impact of the Delta variant in areas of concern. Data on the number of COVID-19 vaccinations provided by the NHS in England can be accessed here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish a full list of the forms of photographic identification that will be acceptable for Voter ID.

As legislation is brought forward to enable the national roll out of voter identification, appropriate impact assessments, which include information on costs, will be provided for Parliament in the normal way.

The list of approved photographic identification will not be limited to passports and driving licences. A broad range of documents will be accepted, including, for example, various concessionary travel passes, Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) cards and photocard parking permits issued as part of the Blue Badge scheme. The full list of accepted photographic identification will be made available in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of providing voter cards to people with no other form of photographic document for identification purposes.

As legislation is brought forward to enable the national roll out of voter identification, appropriate impact assessments, which include information on costs, will be provided for Parliament in the normal way.

The list of approved photographic identification will not be limited to passports and driving licences. A broad range of documents will be accepted, including, for example, various concessionary travel passes, Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) cards and photocard parking permits issued as part of the Blue Badge scheme. The full list of accepted photographic identification will be made available in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Written Statement of 8 February 2021, Local Elections, HCWS773, how much of the £92 million of government grant funding that will be provided to local authorities for the local elections in 2021 will be allocated to (a) Wakefield Council and (b) other local authorities in West Yorkshire.

The Government will now make available an increased estimated total of £95 million to support the running of the May 2021 elections. Of this, £15 million will be paid to local authorities in the form of additional funding grants to support the delivery of the local elections in May, given the additional costs associated with COVID-19 precautions that will be incurred. The grant funding allocations for the five local authorities in the West Yorkshire area are listed below. These allocations reflect the particular circumstances of each local authority area and the level of poll combination expected on 6 May.

Local Authority Name

Funding Allocation

Bradford

£205,779

Calderdale

£103,443

Kirklees

£175,995

Leeds

£295,271

Wakefield

£145,910


The remainder of the £95 million is to fund the conduct of the Police and Crime Commissioner elections and will be paid directly to Returning Officers in line with statutory requirements.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much funding his Department provided to veteran’s groups in Wakefield in 2020.

The Government provides a range of financial support to veterans groups including through regular allocations of £10million per annum to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, to be distributed amongst the service charity sector. In 2020, as it has this year, the Government provided an additional £10million to deliver charitable projects and initiatives that support veterans with mental health needs. A further £6m was provided to over 100 charities through the COVID-19 Impact Fund, to sustain charitable operations through the pandemic.


These figures include both funding for local projects and for organisations who operate nationally. The Government does not hold a central breakdown of all funding received by veterans groups that operate in Wakefield. However, an example of local funding is the grant awarded to Age UK Wakefield District, which received £18,747 enabling them to reach out to over 100 local Veterans dealing with issues such as Shopping and other practical help to emotional and wellbeing calls to people struggling on their own in this uncertain time.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what guidance his Department has issued to candidates in Mayoral elections on campaigning across their region during the covid-19 national lockdown.

Campaigning is an essential part of democracy. Voters deserve to be well informed before going to the polls and there must be a level playing field for candidates. However, all those involved in the electoral process must also ensure that public health is protected. There is therefore a necessary balance to be struck in allowing campaigning activity and continuing to protect the NHS and save lives.

On 22 February the Prime Minister announced the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown and on 26 February, we published further guidance on campaigning for all forthcoming polls, reflecting the updated COVID restrictions and guidance. All campaigners should follow the guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus at all times.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the average pay is of civil servants in Wakefield constituency.

The Cabinet Office does not hold the data requested by constituency.

As at 31 March 2020, HM Revenue & Customs was the largest employer of civil servants in West Yorkshire.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, which Department has the largest number of staff working in (a) Wakefield constituency and (b) West Yorkshire.

The Cabinet Office does not hold the data requested by constituency.

As at 31 March 2020, HM Revenue & Customs was the largest employer of civil servants in West Yorkshire.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to increase the proportion of civil service jobs in (a) Wakefield, (b) West Yorkshire and (c) the rest of the UK outside London.

Further to my answer to PQ72996 on 21 July 2020, we are working to increase civil service presence throughout the regions and nations of the UK. We want to ensure our geography of locations covers as large and representative an area of the UK as possible, including West Yorkshire.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to encourage new businesses to begin operating in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

A wide range of support and funding is available in Wakefield and across West Yorkshire for businesses at all stages, from start-ups and early-stage companies to established businesses that are ready to expand and grow.

Start Up Loans, part of Government’s British Business Bank, provide government-backed loans and support for businesses who struggle to access other forms of finance. New businesses and those who have been trading for up to 24 months can apply. Since the scheme launched in 2012 to the end of April 2021, 308 loans have been approved worth £2,804,475. In the Wakefield constituency 94 loans have been delivered worth £739,389. In Yorkshire and the Humber, 7,160 loans have been delivered worth £64,629,043.

Business support in Wakefield and across West Yorkshire includes the Business Growth Programme 2021/22 which comprises capital investment grants for businesses that can deliver jobs growth and safeguarding focussed on productivity, innovation, digital, resource efficiency and new start enterprises. It is available to existing businesses and inward investors and is supported by £7m from Government’s Getting Building Fund, extending services provided to March 2021 through the Government’s Local Growth Fund.

The Ad:Venture programme - dedicated business start-up programme, with young West Yorkshire businesses benefitting from a tailored mix of practical advice, coaching, academic support, incubation work space, finance brokerage and low rate loans. To April 2021, 42 Wakefield businesses have benefitted from the programme, with £2.4m grant awarded to 489 businesses across the City Region.

The Entrepreneurship Support Package 2021 launching this summer will encourage people from all communities across West Yorkshire to set up new businesses and help them tap into the wider sources of support. The package will use at least £6m of investment funds provided by Government through the West Yorkshire Devolution Deal.

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership Strategic Inward Investment service supports new investors and businesses to move into Wakefield and West Yorkshire. Government is also supporting two Enterprise Zone sites within Wakefield to attract new business investment and jobs in the region.

At Budget in March 2021, Government announced two Towns Fund deals in Wakefield district worth £49m, providing the tools and funding for places to design and deliver local economic growth priorities and encourage and facilitate new investment in Wakefield. The Government invited eight towns across West Yorkshire to develop investment plans and will be announcing further Towns Fund deals in due course.

With BEIS Growth Hub funding support, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s Business Support Service provides a single point of access to a wide range of national and local support and funding. The Government has also supported LEPs in England to create a network of 38 Growth Hubs which deliver impartial advice and support to businesses of all sizes and stages of growth and join up national and local offers. The Leeds City Region Growth Hub supports businesses across West Yorkshire and the Wakefield constituency. Businesses can search online www.the-lep.com/business-support, email businessgrowth@the-lep.com or call 0113 348 1818 to speak to an adviser by telephone.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many new businesses have been registered in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire from the start of the 2021-22 financial year to 27 May 2021.

The Department does not currently hold data on new business registrations for the 2020-21 financial year or for the 2021-22 financial year to 27 May 2021. (8775)

In the 2019 calendar year 11,005 new businesses were registered in West Yorkshire including Wakefield. 1,320 new businesses were registered in the Wakefield constituency in the same year[1]. (8776)

[1] These figures are from the latest data release (Business demography, UK: 2019) published in November 2020, with the next release to be announced.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many new businesses were registered in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire in the 2020-21 financial year.

The Department does not currently hold data on new business registrations for the 2020-21 financial year or for the 2021-22 financial year to 27 May 2021. (8775)

In the 2019 calendar year 11,005 new businesses were registered in West Yorkshire including Wakefield. 1,320 new businesses were registered in the Wakefield constituency in the same year[1]. (8776)

[1] These figures are from the latest data release (Business demography, UK: 2019) published in November 2020, with the next release to be announced.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the average payment made to businesses under the Closed Business Lockdown Payment scheme was in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

The Closed Business Lockdown Payment was a one-off payment for businesses that were required to close from 5 January 2021 due to the introduction of national restrictions.

We are not able to share a breakdown of the funding distributed by Local Authorities at this stage. We will publish data on Closed Business Lockdown Payments in due course.

All data on Government allocations and Local Authority payments of grant schemes is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many businesses applied for the Closed Business Lockdown Payment in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

The Closed Business Lockdown Payment was a one-off payment for businesses that were required to close from 5 January 2021 due to the introduction of national restrictions.

We are not able to share a breakdown of the number of businesses that have applied for funding at this stage. We will publish data on Closed Business Lockdown Payments in due course.

All data on Government allocations and Local Authority payments of grant schemes is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many companies which were operating in the 2018-19 financial year ceased trading in the 2019-20 financial year in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

Companies House has identified the number of companies that were operating in Wakefield and West Yorkshire in the financial year 2018/19 and for which either a first or second notice was published in the London Gazette in the financial year 2019/20. These notices are indicative that a company is no longer trading and will be dissolved in due course.

Wakefield:

There were 1,794 companies that were operating in Wakefield in 2018/19 for which first or second notices were published in the London Gazette in 2019/20.

West Yorkshire:

There were 14,841 companies that were operating in West Yorkshire in 2018/19 for which first or second notices were published in the London Gazette in 2019/20.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department are taking to encourage new businesses in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

The Government aims to make the United Kingdom the best place to start, grow and run a business. Government provides support and information for small businesses, including on starting and running a business, through our online services on GOV.UK; via the Business Support Helpline on FREEPHONE 0800 998 1098; and through the network of 38 local Growth Hubs in England.

A wide range of support and funding is available in Wakefield and across West Yorkshire for businesses at all stages, from start-ups and early-stage companies, to established businesses that are ready to expand and grow. With BEIS Growth Hub funding support, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s Business Support Service provides a single point of access to a wide range of national and local support and funding.

Local programmes which encourage and support start-ups and young businesses include:

The Ad:Venture programme provides a full business start-up programme, with young West Yorkshire businesses benefitting from a tailored mix of practical advice, coaching, academic support, incubation work space, finance brokerage and low rate loans. Grant funding of between £1,000 and £25,000 is available to support capital growth costs. As of February 2021, 40 Wakefield businesses have benefitted from the programme, with £2.3m grant awarded to 427 businesses across the City Region.

The Business Growth Programme 2021/22 includes support for new start enterprises and assistance to established businesses to help them recover and adapt following the Covid-19 pandemic. Grants of between £5,000 and £500,000 will be available across West Yorkshire. The programme is supported by £7m from Government’s Getting Building Fund, extending services provided to March 2021 through the Local Growth Fund.

Entrepreneurship Support Package 2021 will encourage people from all communities across West Yorkshire to set up new businesses and help them tap into the wider sources of support that are available. The package will use at least £6m of investment funds provided by Government through the West Yorkshire Deal.

The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme provides loans of up to £25,000 for those starting a new business, or for businesses which have been trading for up to 24 months. In addition to finance, loan recipients are offered a dedicated mentoring service and access to a free expert business mentor for 12 months to help them with every aspect of setting up a business. The Start Up Loans programme has delivered over 81,000 loans totalling more than £707m (as at end-Feb 2021). 92 loans have been issued in Wakefield, totalling over £727,000. 9% of loans have been issued in Yorkshire and the Humber region, totalling over £62m. The British Business Bank’s online Finance Hub also offers independent and impartial information on different finance options for businesses. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Finance Hub has been updated to clearly signpost the financial support options available for businesses during this period of uncertainty.

The Government’s new ‘Help to Grow’ scheme will help small businesses across the UK learn new skills, reach new customers, and boost profits. Help to Grow: Management will provide intensive management skills support to 30,000 small businesses whilst Help to Grow: Digital could support 100,000 small businesses with online advice and a voucher for software costs. BEIS will be engaging with stakeholders shortly but businesses can register their interest now at https://helptogrow.campaign.gov.uk/.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many companies are registered in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

As of 1 April 2021, the number of companies registered in (a) Wakefield was 14,380 and the number of companies registered in (b) West Yorkshire was 135,136.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to encourage businesses in (a) Wakefield constituency and (b) West Yorkshire to sign the Employers' Initiative on Domestic Abuse.

As recognised in our report from January this year, employers can play a key role in supporting their employees if they are victims of Domestic Abuse, including working with other employers to break the silence on domestic abuse. I am proud to promote membership of the Employers Initiative on Domestic Abuse to employers in Wakefield, West Yorkshire and all across the country. I have recently done this through an open letter to employers. I welcome the support and interest from my Hon. Friend on this important agenda, and hope that he will continue to encourage businesses in his local area to take action.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to promote the Coronavirus Restart Grant to eligible businesses based in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

Guidance for the Restart Grant scheme was published on the 17th March for both Local Authorities and businesses. This guidance sets out the funding and eligibility criteria for businesses.

The Government is working closely with Local Authorities to ensure that Restart Grant schemes are set up and operational for April.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that utility companies have provided support to people on the Priority Services Register during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) works closely with electricity and gas companies, the regulator Ofgem and other stakeholders to ensure that the appropriate measures are in place to protect customers, especially the most vulnerable.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, electricity and gas network operators reviewed and modified their working practices to comply with the Safer Working Guidance published by the Government. They also carried out targeted engagement with their most vulnerable customers to update them on changes to processes, and provide assurance that essential services remain available.

Additionally, the Department secured a voluntary agreement with energy companies in March 2020 to support all households impacted by Covid-19, requiring suppliers to support those struggling with their energy bills and to take action to keep them on supply. This is available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-agrees-measures-with-energy-industry-to-support-vulnerable-people-through-covid-19.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many people are registered on the Priority Services Register in Wakefield constituency.

Electricity network operators are obliged to maintain a Priority Services Register (PSR) to ensure the correct support is given to the most vulnerable customers. Each network operator maintains its own register and shares this information with energy suppliers.

Northern Power Grid, the network operator responsible for operating and maintaining the electricity distribution network in North East England, has 27,709 properties on the PSR within the postcodes covered by the Wakefield constituency.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of equalising paternity and maternity leave rights.

In 2019, the Government consulted on high-level options and principles for reforming the parental leave and pay system to enable parents to balance the gender division of parental leave. We are currently assessing the responses to the consultation and intend to publish our response later this year.

We are also carrying out an evaluation of the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme which was introduced in 2015. The scheme challenges the assumption that the mother will always be the primary carer and enables eligible working parents to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay in the first year of their child’s life. As part of this evaluation, we have undertaken a large-scale representative survey which sought views from over 3,000 parents on parental leave and entitlements. We are currently processing and analysing the data that we have collected and intend to publish our findings later this year, alongside the response to the consultation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of women who have taken maternity leave have taken their full entitlement of 12 months in each of the last three years.

In order to gather information among parents on how parental entitlements, including Maternity Leave and Pay, are used in practice, the Government commissioned the Maternity and Paternity Rights Survey. Fieldwork for the survey is complete and we are currently processing and analysing the data that we have collected. We intend to publish our findings, including detailed information on the duration of Maternity Leave taken by mothers surveyed, later this year.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many pubs in Wakefield constituency are classified as wet pubs and are eligible for the Government's £1,000 Christmas grant for pubs located in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas of covid-19 restrictions as a result of that classification.

Officials are working closely with local authorities to establish the number of wet-led pubs in each area that are in scope for the Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs.

Full guidance to local authorities will be issued shortly setting out the process local authorities must undertake to enable eligible pubs to apply for the payment.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that the UK manufacturing sector has access to an adequate supply of computer chips.

HMG recognises the severity of the current chip shortage and the difficulties it has created for a number of UK firms. This is a global market and a confluence of unexpected events, including unprecedented pandemic-driven shifts in demand, have had widespread ramifications internationally. HMG are engaging affected UK sectors and key international partners to identify any available domestic or international mitigations.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will list the objects of either historical or cultural importance that have been subject to an export ban since 2016.

Details of cultural objects for which a decision on the export licence was deferred are published in the annual report of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest.

Reports for the years 2016 -17 and 2017-2018 are available on the website of Arts Council England.

The reports for 2018-19 and 2019-20 will be published shortly.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many objects of cultural or historical significance have been subject to an export ban since 2016.

The number of cultural objects for which a decision on the export licence was deferred are published in the annual report of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest. These are available on the website of Arts Council England.

For the years 2016 -17 and 2017-2018, 61 objects were placed under export-deferral.

The figures for 2018-19 and 2019-20 will be published shortly.

27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 26 May 2021 to Question 3199 on Company Liquidations: West Yorkshire, how many business operating in West Yorkshire published a first or second notices in the London Gazette in each financial year between 2015-16 and 2018-19.

The National Archives has reviewed notices placed in The London Gazette in each financial year between 2015-16 and 2018-19 in order to answer this question.

Whilst no notice types in The Gazette are formally termed “first” or “second” notices, in order to answer this question “first” notices have been defined as relating to a resolution for winding up, or, in the case of court-led insolvencies, petitions to wind up companies or partnerships; and “second” notices have been defined as relating to the appointment of a liquidator.

In order to fully cover West Yorkshire, this data includes all relevant notices which have been placed in relation to a company with either a registered address or principal trading address within the following local authority areas: Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council, Leeds County Council, Kirklees Council, Bradford Metropolitan District Council and Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, noting that an individual notice can refer to more than one company. The total number of notices for the period specified was 9914.

Financial Year

“First Notices”

“Second Notices”

Total

2015-16

1069

1260

2329

2016-17

1192

1358

2550

2017-18

1024

1290

2314

2018-19

1315

1406

2721

TOTAL

4600

5314

9914

27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 26 May 2021 to Question 3199 on Company Liquidations: West Yorkshire, how many business operating in Wakefield published a first or second notice in the London Gazette in each financial year between 2015-16 and 2018-19.

The National Archives has reviewed notices placed in The London Gazette in each financial year between 2015-16 and 2018-19 in order to answer this question.

Whilst no notice types in The Gazette are formally termed “first” or “second” notices, in order to answer this question “first” notices have been defined as relating to a resolution for winding up, or, in the case of court-led insolvencies, petitions to wind up companies or partnerships; and “second” notices have been defined as relating to the appointment of a liquidator.

This data includes all relevant notices which have been placed in relation to a company with either a registered address or principal trading address within the Wakefield Metropolitan District Council area, noting that an individual notice can refer to more than one company. The total number of notices for the period specified was 1119.

Financial Year

“First Notices”

“Second Notices”

Total

2015-16

84

110

194

2016-17

138

167

305

2017-18

109

187

296

2018-19

118

206

324

TOTAL

449

670

1119

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department will take to ensure that the tourism industry in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire complies with covid-19 rules as the lockdown is eased.

My Department will continue to provide guidance and support to tourism businesses across England to ensure that they can comply with COVID-19 restrictions.

The Government’s COVID-19 Secure guidance for hotels and guest accommodation and the visitor economy will be kept up to date over the coming months, in line with the reopening process for the sector. We have also worked with industry bodies like UKHospitality and the Association of Event Organisers during the pandemic to produce more detailed sub-sector specific guidance.

We will continue to provide guidance and assurance regarding when people can safely go on holiday - as demonstrated through initiatives such as VisitBritain’s ‘Good to Go’ COVID-19 secure industry standard, now in use by over 44,000 tourism businesses across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department plans to take to increase the level of tourism to (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire once covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

My Department plans to take a number of steps to encourage tourism in all regions following the easing of restrictions.

The Global Travel Taskforce last year committed the Government to publish a Tourism Recovery Plan in support of the sector. The Government intends to set out proposals in the Spring, including plans for a marketing campaign to welcome visitors back to the UK as soon as it is safe to do so.

The recently announced £56 million Welcome Back Fund will help councils improve green spaces, provide more outdoor seating areas and support tourism’s reopening this summer.

When holidays are permitted again, we will work with VisitBritain, VisitEngland and local partners to champion the UK’s diverse tourism offer once again - just as we did with last year’s Enjoy Summer Safely and Escape The Everyday campaigns.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support his Department has recently provided to media outlets based in Wakefield constituency.

The government is committed to supporting local and regional media outlets as vital pillars of communities and local democracy. Local newspapers have benefited from a number of recent interventions, including the extension of business rates relief for local newspaper office space in England for an additional five years; the investment of £2 million in the Future News Fund; and the zero-rating of VAT on e-newspapers.

During the pandemic, many newspapers have also benefited from a unique and unprecedented government advertising partnership, designed to deliver important messages to UK citizens. Newspapers received up to £35 million additional government advertising revenue as part of the first phase of our coronavirus communications campaign. The campaign has subsequently been extended with at least 60% funding going to smaller regional and local titles. The Wakefield Express and Dewsbury Reporter are both included in the Partnership.

Looking ahead, the government announced in November 2020 that it will establish a new pro-competition regime for digital markets. At the heart of this will be a mandatory code of conduct to govern the relationships between dominant firms and those that rely on their services, including news publishers. The code will be a significant intervention in the government’s effort to support the sustainability of the news publishing industry, helping to rebalance the relationship between publishers and the online platforms on which they increasingly rely.

We will continue to consider all possible options in the interests of promoting and sustaining high-quality news journalism at a local level.

17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much his Department (a) has spent to date and (b) plans to spend in total on tackling covid-19 disinformation online.

Addressing the challenges of COVID-19 disinformation is a whole of Government effort. That is why we stood up the Counter Disinformation Unit in March 2020, drawing on resources from a number of existing cross-government teams, giving it the flexibility to respond to a range of different issues as needed.

We have reallocated staff from within the Department to boost the size of the team at DCMS. We continually review the requirement and work flexibly across government to ensure the unit is sufficiently resourced, allowing us to surge capacity where it's needed.

17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department plans to take to encourage people to participate in indoor group sports after covid-19 restrictions have been eased.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus. That’s why we have made sure that people can exercise throughout the national and local tiered restrictions. We will continue to promote sport and physical activity and encourage the usage of indoor sports facilities such as gyms as part of Step 2 of the Roadmap.

Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support, which many sport clubs have benefited from. On top of wider economic support, the Government has announced a £100m support fund for local authority leisure centres to ensure these important facilities remain available once public health restrictions are lifted. This is on top of the £270m which Sport England have committed to providing to the Grassroots sports sector.

We know how important sport is for young people’s physical and mental wellbeing. That is why the Culture Secretary and Education Secretary are working closely with our national sports and Sport England on an extensive offer of activities in schools over the summer.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department plans to take to encourage people to visit exhibitions after covid-19 restrictions have been eased.

The Government has been here for culture throughout the pandemic, and, as we emerge from it, we know that the public will want to be there, too. As our cultural institutions reopen, we will encourage people to get out there and support them and we will continue to provide guidance to ensure venues are safe for the public.

The Government’s roadmap to recovery reaffirms its commitment to publish a Tourism Recovery Plan in support of the sector. The Government intends to set out proposals in the spring, including plans for a world class marketing campaign to welcome back visitors to the UK as soon as it is safe to do so.

DCMS has been working closely with the tourism, arts and cultural sectors to ensure that they are ready for reopening. The government published the roadmap on 22 February, which sets out a step-by-step plan to ease restrictions in England cautiously.

The design of the roadmap has been informed by the latest scientific evidence and seeks a balance between our key social and economic priorities, whilst preserving the health and safety of the country. The scientific evidence shows that opening too early or too quickly risks a further lockdown.

The Government recognises that this continues to be an incredibly challenging time and that there are many cultural organisations and professionals who are currently facing difficult and uncertain circumstances. We are continuing to engage extensively with stakeholders from across DCMS’s sectors to understand the impacts of the pandemic and to determine how sectors can reopen when it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department plans to take to encourage people to visit theatres after covid-19 restrictions have been eased.

The Government has been here for culture throughout the pandemic, and, as we emerge from it, we know that the public will want to be there, too. As our cultural institutions reopen, we will encourage people to get out there and support them and we will continue to provide guidance to ensure venues are safe for the public.

The Government’s roadmap to recovery reaffirms its commitment to publish a Tourism Recovery Plan in support of the sector. The Government intends to set out proposals in the spring, including plans for a world class marketing campaign to welcome back visitors to the UK as soon as it is safe to do so.

DCMS has been working closely with the tourism, arts and cultural sectors to ensure that they are ready for reopening. The government published the roadmap on 22 February, which sets out a step-by-step plan to ease restrictions in England cautiously.

The design of the roadmap has been informed by the latest scientific evidence and seeks a balance between our key social and economic priorities, whilst preserving the health and safety of the country. The scientific evidence shows that opening too early or too quickly risks a further lockdown.

The Government recognises that this continues to be an incredibly challenging time and that there are many cultural organisations and professionals who are currently facing difficult and uncertain circumstances. We are continuing to engage extensively with stakeholders from across DCMS’s sectors to understand the impacts of the pandemic and to determine how sectors can reopen when it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department plans to take to encourage British tourism following the easing of covid-19 restrictions.

The Government has been here for culture throughout the pandemic, and, as we emerge from it, we know that the public will want to be there, too. As our cultural institutions reopen, we will encourage people to get out there and support them and we will continue to provide guidance to ensure venues are safe for the public.

The Government’s roadmap to recovery reaffirms its commitment to publish a Tourism Recovery Plan in support of the sector. The Government intends to set out proposals in the spring, including plans for a world class marketing campaign to welcome back visitors to the UK as soon as it is safe to do so.

DCMS has been working closely with the tourism, arts and cultural sectors to ensure that they are ready for reopening. The government published the roadmap on 22 February, which sets out a step-by-step plan to ease restrictions in England cautiously.

The design of the roadmap has been informed by the latest scientific evidence and seeks a balance between our key social and economic priorities, whilst preserving the health and safety of the country. The scientific evidence shows that opening too early or too quickly risks a further lockdown.

The Government recognises that this continues to be an incredibly challenging time and that there are many cultural organisations and professionals who are currently facing difficult and uncertain circumstances. We are continuing to engage extensively with stakeholders from across DCMS’s sectors to understand the impacts of the pandemic and to determine how sectors can reopen when it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department plan to take to encourage visits to museums as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The Government’s roadmap to recovery reaffirms its commitment to publish a Tourism Recovery Plan in support of the sector. The Government intends to set out proposals in the spring, including plans for a world class marketing campaign to welcome back visitors to the UK as soon as it is safe to do so.

DCMS has been working closely with the museums sector to ensure that they are ready for reopening. The government published the roadmap on 22 February, which sets out a step-by-step plan to ease restrictions in England cautiously. Under the roadmap, we seek to reopen outdoor elements of museums and galleries in Step 2 (no earlier than 12 April), with indoor elements at these attractions opening at Step 3 (no earlier than 17 May).

The design of the roadmap has been informed by the latest scientific evidence and seeks a balance between our key social and economic priorities, whilst preserving the health and safety of the country. The scientific evidence shows that opening too early or too quickly risks a further lockdown.

11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that Wakefield benefits from the rollout of (a) superfast broadband and (b) 5G.

Since its inception in 2012, the Superfast Broadband programme has delivered superfast broadband coverage to 5.3 million premises, which constitutes 17% of all households in the UK. As part of this programme, to date, superfast coverage has been provided to c12,000 premises within the Wakefield District.

According to Thinkbroadband (http://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/E14001009), superfast broadband speeds in the Wakefield constituency are above the national average with superfast connectivity (>=30Mbps) of 98%. The UK average is 96.7%, and the average in England is 97.2%.

We are, however, not resting on our laurels and have a project running in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to utilise the latest Fixed Wireless technology to further deliver superfast broadband connectivity across the West Yorkshire region, including an additional 1,000 premises in the Wakefield district.

The government is committed to providing world-class digital infrastructure, and our ambition is for the majority of the population to have access to 5G by 2027. Approximately 3,000 mobile base stations now provide 5G services across the UK, and it is available in 200 towns and cities including Wakefield.

11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department plans to take to help increase the uptake of sport by the general public as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Sports and physical activity are crucial for our mental and physical health. That’s why we have continued to make sure that people can exercise throughout the national restrictions, and why we have ensured that grassroots and children’s sport is front of the queue when easing those restrictions.

On Monday 22 February, the Prime Minister announced a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England. The government has introduced a step approach to the return of outdoor and indoor sport areas across England. From 8 March, sport can take place in school for all children, or as part of wraparound activities if children are attending in order to enable their parents to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care, or attend a support group. Any organised outdoor sport can restart on 29 March.

The Government has provided unprecedented support to the sport sector to ensure these facilities are able to open. Beyond elite level sport, on the 22nd October 2020, the government announced a £100 million support fund for local authority leisure centres. Sport England are also providing £220 million directly to support community sport clubs and exercise centres through this pandemic, including their £35 million Community Emergency Fund. Sport England’s new strategy, ‘Uniting the Movement’, dedicated an additional £50 million to support grassroots sports clubs and organisations.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the long-term sustainability of museums in Wakefield constituency.

The Government has demonstrated the significance it places on culture through the Cultural Recovery Fund. This £1.57bn support package to protect Britain’s world-class cultural, arts and heritage institutions, is the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture. The funding will support our critical cultural and heritage institutions to survive and recover through the coronavirus pandemic.

My department has been working tirelessly with our Arms’ Length bodies to process the awards and I am pleased organisations across the country have benefitted including The Hepworth Wakefield, which was awarded £146,726, and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park which was awarded £804,013 from the Fund.

The National Coal Mining Museum is also supported via Grant in Aid distributed through the DCMS- sponsored Science Museum Group.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to help preserve historic sites in Wakefield constituency.

Heritage policy ensures that the historic environment across all parts of England are protected and conserved for the benefit of present and future generations. Through statutory functions (for example, making listing and scheduling decisions to protect our most special buildings and ancient monuments) and also through the bodies it funds such as Historic England, DCMS seeks to promote understanding of and access to the historic environment.

Within the Wakefield constituency, Wakefield Upper Westgate is a High Street Heritage Action Zone under the Government funded High Street Heritage Action Zone £92million scheme. A Historic England grant of £1,899,994 with match funding of just under £2.4m will see the repair and conversion of around 20 priority historic buildings along Westgate.

In addition to this, as of the end of the financial year 2019/20 the National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded a total of 91 projects worth £26m in the Wakefield constituency. This includes two awards totalling £5m to The Hepworth, 10 awards totalling £10.1m to the National Coal Mining Museum, 6 awards totalling £3.8m to Wakefield Cathedral and £2.8m to Pontefract Market Place.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the viability of jobs in the events industry.

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

My department continues to closely assess the impact on all aspects of the events industry, including employment. We are also in regular contact with Her Majesty’s Treasury to closely assess the effectiveness of COVID-related support measures for the events industry.

Businesses can continue to access the Government’s UK wide support package. This includes the Bounce Back Loans scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

As the Chancellor announced on 24 September, we are also offering affected businesses generous terms for the repayment of deferred taxes and government-backed loans, as well as extending the application window of the government-backed loan schemes.

We continue to engage with stakeholders, including through the Visitor Economy Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to monitor the situation facing companies across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the steps he is taking to support the events industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

My department continues to closely assess the impact on all aspects of the events industry, including employment. We are also in regular contact with Her Majesty’s Treasury to closely assess the effectiveness of COVID-related support measures for the events industry.

Businesses can continue to access the Government’s UK wide support package. This includes the Bounce Back Loans scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

As the Chancellor announced on 24 September, we are also offering affected businesses generous terms for the repayment of deferred taxes and government-backed loans, as well as extending the application window of the government-backed loan schemes.

We continue to engage with stakeholders, including through the Visitor Economy Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to monitor the situation facing companies across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support his Department is providing to the (a) events and (b) the music industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

We appreciate the important role that the events and music industries play in the UK’s economy, and that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to these sectors.

The Chancellor has announced the Winter Economy Plan to protect jobs and support businesses over the coming months, once the existing Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme come to end. From November, the Jobs Support Scheme will provide further support to returning workers, while the extended Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will aid the self-employed who are currently actively trading but are facing reduced demand.

We are also offering businesses who face a drop in demand for their services and possible cash flow issues generous terms for the repayment of deferred taxes and government-backed loans. We will give all businesses that borrowed under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme the option to repay their loan over a period of up to ten years. This will reduce their average monthly repayments on the loan by almost half. We also intend to allow CBILS lenders to extend the term of a loan up to ten years, providing additional flexibility for UK-based SMEs who may otherwise be unable to repay their loans.

In addition, the Secretary of State announced an unprecedented £1.57 billion support package for the cultural sector which will benefit the live music sector by providing support to music venues and many other cultural organisations to stay open and continue operating.

We continue to engage with the sector to discuss the on-going challenges facing the industry.

6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to improve the application process for covid-19 related support for businesses in the (a) events and (b) music industry.

The £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund will provide targeted support to critical cultural, arts and heritage organisations to help them survive and recover through the coronavirus pandemic.

Our priority is to ensure that organisations get the funding they need as swiftly as possible. That is why £3.36 million has already been allocated to 136 grassroots music venues across England, in view of the urgent need to protect organisations in that sector from imminent collapse. The delivery bodies are also currently processing more than £800 million of applications for grant funding, and will make announcements about hundreds of allocations in the coming weeks.

We are aware that the events industry and its supply chain has been severely impacted by Covid-19. We continue to engage with stakeholders, including through the Visitor Economy Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to monitor the situation.

8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children of compulsory school age in Wakefield are electively home educated in comparison to prior to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department does not collect data on the number of electively home educated children. This data is held by local authorities.

27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 26 May 2021 to Question 537, how the figures provided in that Answer compare to the average per pupil funding for (a) primary and (b) secondary schools throughout West Yorkshire.

The schools block funding allocated to schools for the 2021-22 financial year in each West Yorkshire local authority is as follows:

Local Authority

Primary funding per pupil

Secondary funding per pupil

Bradford

£4,596.16

£6,042.03

Calderdale

£4,593.96

£5,799.59

Kirklees

£4,573.93

£5,856.52

Leeds

£4,548.03

£5,961.28

Wakefield

£4,502.36

£5,755.73

The schools block funding allocated to the Yorkshire and Humber region is £4,567.07 per primary pupil and £5,858.44 per secondary pupil.

Further information on school funding statistics can be found at the following link, for which the latest available figures are for the 2020-21 financial year: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-funding-statistics/2020-21#dataDownloads-1.

25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children in West Yorkshire were eligible for the free school meals voucher scheme during its operation.

According to the census data for 2020: in West Yorkshire there were 76,940 (19.9%) pupils eligible for benefits-related free school meals in the spring of 2020 and 85,738 (22.4%) pupils eligible in the autumn of 2020. This year’s spring census is due to be published in June 2021.

During the periods of school opening restrictions, we continued to provide extra funding to support schools to provide food parcels or vouchers to pupils who were eligible for benefits-related free school meals and who were required to stay at home during term time.

Guidance was in place allowing schools to decide the best approach for their pupils. School leaders know their communities best and were given flexibility to select the most appropriate support for their pupils.  This could have been through lunch parcels, locally arranged vouchers or through the national voucher scheme.

Now schools are fully open, all children should be able to access a nutritious meal at school, free to those that are eligible for free school meals. Where pupils eligible for benefits related free school meals are required to stay at home, schools should work with their school catering team or food provider to offer good quality lunch parcels. This is the same arrangement that was in place throughout the autumn term.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage pupils to study STEM subjects in (a) further and (b) higher education in (i) Wakefield and (ii) West Yorkshire.

The government is encouraging more students, including those in Wakefield and West Yorkshire, into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and training at all stages from primary school to higher education. Improving take-up of STEM subjects is vital for the UK’s future economic needs and to drive up productivity.

To ensure a strong pipeline of qualified students into higher education and careers in STEM areas, the department has committed substantial spending on mathematics, digital and technical education to increase take-up and better teaching of STEM subjects in schools.

We have also introduced T Levels as a high-quality technical alternative to A levels. T Levels in Digital and Construction were launched last year, Health and Science will be taught for the first time from this September, and courses in Engineering and Manufacturing will launch in 2022. In the West Yorkshire area, Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College and Shipley College began teaching the Digital T Level last year. Wakefield College, Calderdale College and Leeds City College plan to deliver T Levels (including Digital, Construction, Health & Science and Education & Childcare) from September this year. A further 3 providers - Kirklees College, Leeds College of Building and Garforth Academy - will start delivering T Levels (including Digital, Construction, Health & Science, Education & Childcare, Business Administration and Engineering & Manufacturing) in 2022.

The government is also funding the creation of up to 20 Institutes of Technology, which will be centres of excellence for technical training. These unique collaborations between further education colleges, universities and businesses offer higher technical education and training (mainly at levels 4 and 5) in key sectors such as digital, construction, advanced manufacturing and engineering.

The government also funds programmes to support STEM and the creation of a more diverse STEM workforce now and in the future, such as the STEM Ambassador programme and the CREST Awards, which focus on increasing engagement in STEM through informal and extra-curricular activities, to support young people’s learning, skills and decision-making in pursuing STEM qualifications and careers.

The STEM Ambassadors programme is a nationwide network of over 30,000 volunteers representing over 7,000 employers, who engage with young people to support their interest and knowledge in STEM subjects and to illuminate the broad range of STEM careers through their own experiences. STEM Ambassadors delivered over half a million volunteering hours per year, acting as relatable role models to illustrate to young people that science, research, engineering and innovation is for ‘people like me’ (57% of STEM Ambassadors are under 35, 45% are women and 15% are from an ethnic minority background).

Careers information, advice and guidance opens young people’s eyes to a range of different career possibilities, such as careers in STEM, and challenge stereotypes as well as helping to prepare young people for the workplace.

We know that supporting schools to deliver STEM-related careers education is important. Secondary schools are expected to provide pupils with at least one meaningful interaction with employers per pupil per year, with a particular focus on STEM employers.

The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) launched a STEM toolkit to support Careers Leaders, helping them to build STEM-specific content into their careers strategy. The toolkit can be found here: https://www.stem.org.uk/resources/elibrary/resource/467467/stem-careers-toolkit-secondary-schools-and-colleges. The CEC has funded encounters between young people and STEM employers since it was established, investing in organisations like Engineering UK, Greenpower Trust and Manufacturing UK.

The CEC is also working with Local Enterprise Partnerships to help Enterprise Coordinators in those areas with the lowest uptake of STEM qualifications to make sure that STEM encounters are built into careers and enterprise plans.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of graduates entering into postgraduate studies from (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

The postgraduate master’s loan scheme was introduced in summer 2016 to help remove the financial barrier often faced by those wishing to step up to achieving a master’s level qualification and stimulate take up of postgraduate master’s study. The loan is intended as a contribution to the cost of study, rather than to specifically cover tuition fees or livings costs. Entitlement is not means-tested.

Similarly, since 2018 students have been able to apply for a loan to contribute to the costs of postgraduate doctoral study. These loans are available to all eligible students who have gained a place on an eligible programme of study.

The maximum loan amounts for the 2021/22 academic year of £11,570 for master’s study and £27,265 for doctoral study are available to all eligible students domiciled in England. Additional support is not provided for individual areas.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding is allocated per pupil in (a) high and (b) primary schools in Wakefield constituency.

The schools block funding allocated for schools for financial year 2021/22 for Wakefield local authority is £4,502.36 per primary pupil and £5,755.73 per secondary pupil.

Further information on school funding statistics can be found at the following link, for which the latest available figures are for financial year 2020/21: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-funding-statistics/2020-21#dataDownloads-1.

20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps his Department has taken to increase numeracy rates for children from low-income households.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 14 April 2021 to Question 176112.

In addition to this, the Department has also launched the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) which provides additional, targeted support for those children and young people who have been hardest hit from disruption to their education as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The NTP is an ambitious scheme that aims to increase access to high-quality tuition for the most disadvantaged children and young people, helping to accelerate their academic progress and tackling the attainment gap between them and their peers.

Children can receive tuition in one of six main subject areas, including mathematics. Further information on the NTP can be found here: https://nationaltutoring.org.uk/.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps his Department has taken to increase literacy rates for children from low-income households.

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards, ensuring all children can read fluently and with understanding. The first five years of a child’s life provide a critical opportunity to close development gaps between disadvantaged children and their peers, particularly in Reception year.

Through the Early Years Professional Development Programme, the Department is investing £20 million to provide practitioners in pre-Reception settings with access to high-quality training to raise practitioners’ skills in supporting young children’s development in early language, literacy and mathematics. Improving these skills will drive up quality in the pre-school years, so that more children arrive at Reception year with the foundations in place to make the most of primary school. We have also invested £9 million of National Tutoring Programme funding in improving the language skills of Reception age children who need it most this academic year, through the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI).

In 2018, we launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme dedicated to improving the teaching of reading, with a focus on supporting children making the slowest progress in reading, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds. The 34 English Hubs in the programme are primary schools which are outstanding at teaching early reading. We have since invested a further £17 million in this school to school improvement programme, which focuses on systematic synthetic phonics, early language, and reading for pleasure. Since its launch, the English Hubs Programme has provided appropriate and targeted support to several thousands of schools across England. In this academic year, the programme is providing intensive support to over 875 partner schools.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, English Hubs have continued to offer support and training to schools across the country by bringing much of their offer online. This has involved opening up virtual training and professional development events to a wider pool of schools and distributing materials targeted specifically at remote education and recovery. English Hubs have adapted well to providing intensive support remotely and have delivered more than 1,400 days of specialist phonics training to over 875 partner schools so far this academic year. Furthermore, we have worked closely with our English Hubs Programme to support them in guiding their networks of schools through the challenges of school disruption, particularly in promoting the importance of reading among head teachers.

As part of recognising the importance of reading during the disruption to education caused by COVID-19, the Department held a Reading Together Day on 16 July 2020 to celebrate the benefits of reading: https://readingagency.org.uk/news/media/reading-together-day-announced-for-16-july-2020.html. As part of this, we have published 10 top tips to help parents support their children to read: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/10-top-tips-to-encourage-children-to-read.

Additionally, the £1 billion catch up package announced in June 2020 included a new £350 million National Tutoring Programme (NTP) which provides additional, targeted support for those children and young people who have been hardest hit from disruption to their education as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The NTP is an ambitious scheme that will increase access to high-quality tuition for the most disadvantaged children and young people, helping to accelerate their academic progress and tackling the attainment gap. The programme is intended to support disadvantaged pupils eligible for pupil premium funding. We recognise there are different indicators for disadvantage and teachers and head teachers should exercise professional judgement when identifying which pupils would benefit most from this additional support. The NTP for this academic year comprises of three elements:

  • A tuition programme for 5-16 year olds; schools can access tuition support from approved Tuition Partners and the most disadvantaged schools are supported to employ an ‘in-house’ Academic Mentor to support tuition for their pupils: https://nationaltutoring.org.uk/.
  • A 16-19 Tuition Fund; we are providing funding to support small group tuition for 16-19 year olds, in English, mathematics, and other courses where learning has been disrupted as a result of COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-funding-16-to-19-tuition-fund. We are asking colleges to prioritise their disadvantaged students who have not achieved a grade 4 in English and/or mathematics.
  • The evidence-based NELI. We have invested £9 million on NELI this academic year to improve the language skills of Reception age children who need it most, providing training and resources free of charge to schools that would particularly benefit. 40% of primary schools signed up for the programme. Priority was given to schools with the highest levels of disadvantage (% pupils eligible for free school meals). In February 2021, we announced plans for the next academic year - a further £8 million for Nuffield Foundation to deliver Reception year early language provision in academic year 2021-2022, enabling the NELI to be offered to many more schools in the next academic year.

Furthermore, to support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education, Oak National Academy was very quickly brought together by over 40 teachers, their schools and other education organisations. The Department has made £4.84 million available for Oak both for the summer term of the academic year 2019-20, and then for the 2020-21 academic year, to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects, including English, for Reception up to Year 11. Specialist content for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities is also available.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of teachers recruited from (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

It is a top priority of the Government to ensure that we continue to attract, retain and develop the high-quality teachers we need to inspire the next generation. We are moving forward with delivery of the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy that the Government published in January 2019.

The Early Career Framework (ECF), the biggest teaching reform in a generation, will provide newly-qualified teachers with a funded, two-year support package. Targeted early roll-out of the ECF is currently taking place for 1,900 newly qualified teachers in Bradford, the North East, Greater Manchester and Doncaster. Around 4,600 more newly qualified teachers were targeted and are benefiting from a one-year support package based on the ECF, including in disadvantaged areas.

We recognise that some schools and local areas face greater challenges with recruitment and retention than others. To supplement the national strategy, we are delivering targeted programmes to support recruitment and retention in these areas, including funding a range of regionally targeted initiatives. Wakefield, as well as Bradford, Calderdale, Leeds and Kirklees, are areas where eligible mathematics and physics teachers can claim a £2,000 retention payment in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years. Eligible mathematics, physics, chemistry and languages teachers in Bradford and Kirklees can apply for larger early-career payments of up to £7,500. Finally, Bradford is one of 25 local authorities where eligible languages, physics, chemistry, biology and computing teachers can claim back student loan repayments.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to encourage students from (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire to enter into higher education.

It is more crucial than ever before that we tap into the brilliant talent that our country has to offer, and make sure that university places are available to all who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue them and who wish to do so.

All higher education (HE) providers wishing to charge higher levels fees must have an access and participation plan agreed by the Office for Students (OfS). These plans set out how they will support students from disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented groups, to access, participate and succeed in HE and progress from it. This includes setting targets where the provider identifies the inequalities that it intends to address.

Prior attainment is a key determinant of participation in HE. Universities must do more to reach out to those from under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds to raise aspirations and support the raising of attainment in schools. That is why in our latest strategic guidance to the OfS, we asked them to encourage providers to do much more to work with schools in a way which meaningfully raises the attainment of disadvantaged children.

In addition, the OfS were also asked to urge providers to do more to ensure that all students, particularly those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, are recruited to HE courses that will deliver good outcomes. Too many students are being let down by HE courses with low completion rates and courses which have no real labour market demand and therefore do not lead them into skilled employment. True social mobility is when we put students and their needs and career ambitions first, be that HE, further education or apprenticeships.

We want to help disadvantaged students by driving up standards, and providing equality of opportunity so that students have access to new skills and better paid jobs. This is fundamental to this government’s ambition of enabling every person to fulfil their potential.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to encourage the uptake of apprenticeships among teenagers and young people in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

Apprenticeships provide young people with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start an exciting career in a wide range of industries, everything from artificial intelligence, archaeology, data science, business management, and banking. We want more young people across the country to benefit from high-quality apprenticeships. Since May 2010, there have been 36,640 apprenticeship starts in Wakefield (local authority).

To encourage more young people to consider apprenticeships, we are promoting apprenticeships in schools across the country through our Apprenticeship Support & Knowledge programme. This free service provides schools and teachers with resources and interventions to help better educate young people about apprenticeships. In the Skills for Jobs White Paper, published in January, we announced the introduction of a 3-point-plan to enforce the Baker Clause, our requirement that all maintained schools and academies provide opportunities for providers of technical education and apprenticeships to visit schools to talk to all year 8 to 13 pupils. This includes creating clear minimum legal requirements, specifying who is to be given access to which pupils and when. This is an important step towards real choice for every pupil.

We are also working with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to enable Kickstart placements to turn into apprenticeships where that is the right thing for the employer and the young person. We have made a special provision to allow employers taking on Kickstarters as apprentices to be eligible for the incentive payment, which will increase to £3000 from 1 April 2021 until September 2021, supporting a pathway between the schemes.

In addition, we are supporting the largest ever expansion of traineeships to ensure that more young people have access to high-quality training to develop the skills, experience, and confidence to obtain an apprenticeship. My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, confirmed an additional £126 million at the Budget to fund a further 40,000 traineeship places in the 2021/22 academic year, and we have extended the £1000 incentive payments for employers who offer traineeship work placement opportunities to July 2022. We are taking several steps to raise awareness of traineeships among young people. We have created a new online collection of free resources for schools including factsheets, case studies and a guide for teachers. We are also working with the National Careers Service and DWP to ensure that young people across the country understand the different options available to them and are supported on the right path.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to increase numeracy levels in children from low-income households.

The Education Endowment Foundation highlights that “quality of teaching is the single most important driver of pupil attainment and a range of other positive outcomes”. The Department’s national network of 40 school-led Maths Hubs aims to help local schools improve the quality of their mathematics teaching based on best practice. The Maths Hubs programme aims to help improve attainment gaps, which may be associated with disadvantage or other factors.

Maths Hubs deliver our £100 million Teaching for Mastery programme, which is bringing mastery teaching methods to 11,000 primary and secondary schools across England by 2023, including throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Mastery teaching focusses on depth of understanding and is based on best practice from East-Asian jurisdictions that perform highly in international mathematics tests. Mastery is characterised by whole-class teaching, where pupils work on the same content together, ensuring no one gets left behind. It encourages all pupils with the belief that by working hard at mathematics they can succeed and rejects the idea that some pupils “can’t do maths”. The programme also includes funding for approved maths textbooks, which is currently focussed on schools with the highest proportions of disadvantaged pupils.

Recent international testing results demonstrate our progress on mathematics. In PISA 2018 there was a significant improvement in maths scores for 15-year-olds, particularly for lower attaining pupils. Similarly, results from TIMSS 2019 show our Year 5 and Year 9 pupils continue to perform above the international average – with a significant improvement in attainment for our Year 5 pupils.

17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage university applications amongst students from the backgrounds least likely to currently go to university.

It is more crucial than ever before that we tap into the brilliant talent that our country has to offer, and make sure that university places are available to all who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue them and who wish to do so.

All higher education (HE) providers wanting to charge higher level fees must have an Access and Participation Plan agreed by the Office for Students (OfS), in which they set out the measures that they intend to take to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented groups to access HE and succeed in it.

In our latest strategic guidance to the OfS, we asked them to urge providers to do more to ensure that all students, particularly those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, are recruited to HE courses that will deliver good outcomes. Too many students are being let down by HE courses with low completion rates and courses which have no real labour market demand and therefore do not lead them into skilled employment. We also asked the OfS to encourage providers to do much more to work with schools in a way which meaningfully raises the attainment of disadvantaged children.

We want to help disadvantaged students by driving up standards and providing equality of opportunity so that students have access to new skills and better paid jobs. This is fundamental to this government’s ambition of enabling every person to fulfil their potential.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that students continue to benefit from the Holocaust Educational Trust’s, Lessons from Auschwitz programme during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has remained fully committed to Holocaust education during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Holocaust is the only subject named as a compulsory part of the history curriculum which ensures that young people from every background can continue to learn about the Holocaust and its relevance today.

The Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) has adapted delivery of the Lessons from Auschwitz programme during the COVID-19 outbreak. Although in-person visits to Auschwitz have been suspended, HET has continued to support students and teachers in learning about the Holocaust by delivering resources, continuing professional development and events online.

1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department has put in place to support performing arts colleges during the covid-19 outbreak.

Performing Arts Colleges registered under the department’s Dance and Drama Awards programme, are private organisations.

Programme funding offers income-assessed support for students’ tuition fees and living costs. The intention being to provide a contribution to the costs of participating for talented individuals who want to become professional actors and dancers.

The organisations themselves could also benefit from the extensive and unprecedented package of support measures for businesses across the country announced by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, such as loans, tax relief and cash grants.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the protection of endangered species which are native to Yorkshire.

The Government is committed to taking action to recover our threatened native species. A number of our most threatened species, many of which can be found in Yorkshire, are protected by law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017. Towards our goal to address the overall decline of species in England, we will be amending the Environment Bill to require an additional legally binding target for species for 2030, aiming to halt the decline of nature. We will publish a Green Paper later in 2021, setting out how our protections framework might deliver this better and our wider domestic ambitions.

Alongside our work at the national scale for the recovery of species and their habitats, such as through new schemes for environmental land management and the Nature Recovery Network, we have also taken positive steps for protecting and investing in species in Yorkshire. In May this year, the Dearne Valley Wetlands was recognised by its notification as a new Site of Special Scientific Interest, for its nationally important native birds. Additionally, as part of the £80m Green Recovery Challenge Fund the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust was awarded funding for the restoration of two nationally important species in the Humber Estuary: native oysters and dwarf seagrass. The Froglife Trust also received funding for a project that aims to stop the decline of the UK's common toads in Yorkshire and replenish populations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of properties in West Yorkshire that are at risk of flooding.

The Environment Agency estimates there are 45,453 properties at risk of flooding across West Yorkshire.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of Wakefield Council on ash dieback in that local authority area.

The Forestry Commission is engaged with Wakefield Council through their Arboricultural Officer in the planning team. The Officer attended a Tree Health event in January which was run by the Forestry Commission in partnership with Sheffield City Council, Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust and Amey. The event focused on a number of tree health issues including Ash Dieback, woodland resilience and future species choice.

On 12 March 2021 Defra announced the Local Authority Treescapes Fund to increase tree planting and natural regeneration in local communities. £2.7 million will be available this year (2021/22), building the pipeline of projects for community planting in future years. The fund is part of the Government’s Nature for Climate Fund. Local authorities can apply for funding to build back greener from the pandemic and will target landscapes that have been ecologically damaged or affected by tree diseases like ash dieback.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what engagement he has had with UK communities with an increased risk of flooding due to climate change in the runup to COP26.

Flood and coastal erosion risk management is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

Ministers meet regularly with communities, honourable members of this house, and a range of organisations representing those at risk from flooding and coastal erosion.

Adapting to the current and predicted changes to our climate is vital. The UK is already leading the fight against climate change by delivering on our world-leading target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Whilst we continue to reduce our contribution to climate change, we are also taking robust action to improve the resilience of our people, economy and environment.

Last year, the government published a long-term Policy Statement which sets out our ambition to create a nation more resilient to future flood and coastal erosion risk. The Policy Statement includes five policies and over 40 supporting actions which will accelerate progress to better protect and better prepare the country against flooding and coastal erosion in the face of more frequent extreme weather as a result of climate change. For example, by the end of March 2021, we will have invested £2.6 billion to better protect more than 300,000 homes from flood and coastal erosion risk between 2015/16 and 2020/21.

From April 2021, the government will double the amount it invests in the flood and coastal defence programme in England to £5.2 billion over six years. This will provide around 2,000 new defence schemes to better protect a further 336,000 properties. In addition, up to £170 million will be spent to accelerate work on 22 shovel-ready flood defence schemes that will begin construction before the end of 2021/2022. We are also investing an additional £200 million in the Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme. This will help over 25 local areas over six years to take forward wider innovative actions that improve their resilience to flooding and coastal erosion.

Adaptation and Resilience is one of the priority action areas for COP26. This will build upon the ‘Call for Action’ which was launched at the United Nation’s Climate Action Summit (UNCAS) in September 2019. Hosting COP26 provides the UK with an unrivalled opportunity to capitalise on its reputation in science, innovation and climate leadership to drive forward change on a global stage.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support his Department is providing to areas adversely affected by Storm Christoph and its aftermath in West Yorkshire.

The Government is closely monitoring the impact of Storm Christoph on affected communities and coordinating the cross-government response to flooding impacts.

Across West Yorkshire, Environment Agency flood defences have protected approximately 7100 properties from flooding. The EA's incident rooms have been open and operational teams have been out on the ground 24 hours a day. The EA also worked alongside Local Authorities and the emergency services as part of Strategic and Tactical Command Groups to manage the flood risk and keep people safe.

With localised flooding incidents, local authorities are expected to have well established contingency arrangements in place and to be able to respond and support their local communities from within existing budgets.

Following severe weather with significant impacts across multiple local authorities the Government is able to deploy the Flood Recovery Framework.

We will continue to monitor the situation and assess whether further support is needed in the event that flooding impacts increase.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help minimise the risk of flooding in Wakefield constituency.

The Environment Agency (EA) is working on a number of flood defence schemes to minimise the risk of flooding in the Wakefield constituency and on the River Calder.

On the River Calder, upstream of the Hon Member's constituency, the EA is completing a flood alleviation scheme this year at Mytholmroyd to better protect 216 homes as well as businesses. It is commencing construction on a scheme in Hebden Bridge to better protect 400 homes and businesses, and on a scheme in Brighouse in summer 2021 which includes natural flood risk management features.

In the Wakefield constituency, the EA is reviewing the standard of protection offered by existing flood defences at Horbury Bridge. It is also updating its flood modelling for the River Calder in Horbury Bridge and Reid Park Beck. This modelling will allow the EA to better assess opportunities for future flood defence investment.

At Reid Park Beck, Wakefield Council has undertaken work to ensure the local pumping stations operate as designed, and the EA is working with the Council to secure funding to investigate potential upgrades. Across its district, Wakefield Council is also progressing a programme of culvert surveys and investigations to identify flood risk issues and inform a future programme of works.

Downstream of Wakefield, the EA is investigating opportunities for flood alleviation interventions to better protect Castleford from flooding from the River Calder and River Aire.

The EA is maintaining its flood defences throughout the River Calder and is working to ensure that its defences and flood response capabilities are ready for the winter.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to prevent flooding from the River Calder.

The Environment Agency (EA) is working on a number of flood defence schemes to minimise the risk of flooding in the Wakefield constituency and on the River Calder.

On the River Calder, upstream of the Hon Member's constituency, the EA is completing a flood alleviation scheme this year at Mytholmroyd to better protect 216 homes as well as businesses. It is commencing construction on a scheme in Hebden Bridge to better protect 400 homes and businesses, and on a scheme in Brighouse in summer 2021 which includes natural flood risk management features.

In the Wakefield constituency, the EA is reviewing the standard of protection offered by existing flood defences at Horbury Bridge. It is also updating its flood modelling for the River Calder in Horbury Bridge and Reid Park Beck. This modelling will allow the EA to better assess opportunities for future flood defence investment.

At Reid Park Beck, Wakefield Council has undertaken work to ensure the local pumping stations operate as designed, and the EA is working with the Council to secure funding to investigate potential upgrades. Across its district, Wakefield Council is also progressing a programme of culvert surveys and investigations to identify flood risk issues and inform a future programme of works.

Downstream of Wakefield, the EA is investigating opportunities for flood alleviation interventions to better protect Castleford from flooding from the River Calder and River Aire.

The EA is maintaining its flood defences throughout the River Calder and is working to ensure that its defences and flood response capabilities are ready for the winter.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to protect ancient woodlands in Wakefield constituency.

The irreplaceable nature of ancient woodlands as a habitat is recognised in our 25 Year Environment Plan.

We therefore strengthened the protection of ancient woodlands through the National Planning Policy Framework and guidance to planners. These outline that developments should be refused if they would lead to the deterioration of ancient woodland and veteran trees, unless there are exceptional reasons and suitable compensation measures.

This change reflects the importance of ancient woodlands to native biodiversity, our landscapes, and our communities.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce pollution in the river Calder.

The River Calder comes under the Humber River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) which provides a framework for protecting and enhancing the water environment. The Environment Agency (EA) is currently updating the RBMP to make it more ambitious in addressing plastic pollution and managing water in a changing climate. The EA is considering responses to a recent consultation on these proposals and will produce draft plans for each catchment, setting out comprehensive measures to protect and enhance the water environment, meet the objectives of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and support regulation of those sectors that may cause pollution. The Lower Calder’s (around Wakefield) WFD status is ‘moderate’.

To improve water quality, the EA is working on a range of partnership projects with local communities across the Calder catchment. One example is the £1.3 million ‘Calder Greening’ project near Mytholmroyd. Here the EA is working with Calderdale Council and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to create a wetland area, improve river bank habitats, and is working with landowners to reduce sediment and treat invasive plant species. The EA also supports the River Calder Catchment Partnership, hosted by the Calder and Colne Rivers Trust to deliver strategic catchment plans for the river and wider environment.

To prevent pollution of the River Calder, the EA regulates a wide range of industrial and waste management sites. This includes Yorkshire Water Services Ltd and discharges to the River Calder from their sewage treatment sites. The EA provides 24 hour pollution incident response cover, including attendance at serious water pollution incidents.

The EA also works with Wakefield Council and Canal and Rivers Trust to provide advice and guidance to local businesses to improve water quality through the use of effective surface water management plans.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to tackle air pollution in Wakefield constituency.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. The Government's Air Quality Grant Programme provides funding to local authorities for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution and reduce emissions which may include action targeting schools. The Government has awarded over £64 million in funding since the air quality grant started in 1997, including £3 million in 2018/19.

In 2018 Wakefield received from the Air Quality Grant £27,131.27 for a targeted extension of the “Eco stars scheme” to reduce diesel fuel consumption in commercial vehicle fleets through fleet management and efficient driving, and a further £61,604.33 for NO2 and PM10 sensors placed at 24 schools to measure air quality.

The Government has put in place a £3.8 billion plan to improve air quality and reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions. Our Clean Air Strategy sets out measures we are taking to improve air quality and reduce emissions of pollution, improving public health. This includes being the first major economy to set goals working towards World Health Organization recommendations on particulate matter emissions.

We are bringing forward primary legislation on clean air, giving local government powers to take decisive action in areas with an air pollution problem.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department plans to take to promote the potential merits of the UK-Australian Free Trade Agreement to businesses in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

The scoping assessment published in June 2020 assessed the potential impacts of a deal, before negotiations started, under two illustrative scenarios. It found the region of Yorkshire and the Humber benefited in all modelled scenarios.

More than 1,200 businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber exported more than £240 million worth of goods to Australia in 2020. As part of an Free Trade Agreement, manufacturers could benefit from the removal of a 5% tariff on metals exports, and broader tariff elimination could benefit the machinery and transport equipment industries in the region, whilst the removal of tariffs of up to 5% on food and drink could provide new opportunities for Yorkshire and the Humber’s outstanding food and drink producers. Provisions on digital and services will also open up new opportunities for the service sector.

Further to this, the Department for International Trade is establishing a trade hub in Darlington as part of a new strategy to boost exports and bring the benefits of the government’s global trade policy to the whole of the UK, including Yorkshire and the North East, providing exporters with a stronger feed into UK trade policy, to take better advantage of opportunities in fast-growing markets like the Indo-Pacific region.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of the UK-Australian Free Trade Agreement on the economy of (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

The scoping assessment published in June 2020 assessed the potential impacts of a deal, before negotiations started, under two illustrative scenarios. It found the region of Yorkshire and the Humber benefited in all modelled scenarios.

More than 1,200 businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber exported more than £240 million worth of goods to Australia in 2020. As part of an Free Trade Agreement, manufacturers could benefit from the removal of a 5% tariff on metals exports, and broader tariff elimination could benefit the machinery and transport equipment industries in the region, whilst the removal of tariffs of up to 5% on food and drink could provide new opportunities for Yorkshire and the Humber’s outstanding food and drink producers. Provisions on digital and services will also open up new opportunities for the service sector.

Further to this, the Department for International Trade is establishing a trade hub in Darlington as part of a new strategy to boost exports and bring the benefits of the government’s global trade policy to the whole of the UK, including Yorkshire and the North East, providing exporters with a stronger feed into UK trade policy, to take better advantage of opportunities in fast-growing markets like the Indo-Pacific region.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to help increase the volume of trade between the UK and Tunisia.

Following extensive engagement, my Department has secured trade deals with Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Tunisia; plus the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) trade bloc; and the Southern Africa Custom Union and Mozambique (SACU+M).

Rwanda and The Gambia currently benefit from the our Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which provides Least Developed Countries with duty-free and quota-free access on all imports except arms and ammunition to the British market. HM Government intends to improve the scheme in order to grow trade with developing countries, supporting economic growth and jobs across the globe and at home. In coming weeks, we will hold a public consultation, to give exporters, businesses and other interested parties the opportunity to provide feedback.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to increase the volume of trade between the UK and Côte d’Ivoire.

Following extensive engagement, my Department has secured trade deals with Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Tunisia; plus the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) trade bloc; and the Southern Africa Custom Union and Mozambique (SACU+M).

Rwanda and The Gambia currently benefit from the our Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which provides Least Developed Countries with duty-free and quota-free access on all imports except arms and ammunition to the British market. HM Government intends to improve the scheme in order to grow trade with developing countries, supporting economic growth and jobs across the globe and at home. In coming weeks, we will hold a public consultation, to give exporters, businesses and other interested parties the opportunity to provide feedback.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to increase the volume of trade between the UK and Cameroon.

Following extensive engagement, my Department has secured trade deals with Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Tunisia; plus the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) trade bloc; and the Southern Africa Custom Union and Mozambique (SACU+M).

Rwanda and The Gambia currently benefit from the our Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which provides Least Developed Countries with duty-free and quota-free access on all imports except arms and ammunition to the British market. HM Government intends to improve the scheme in order to grow trade with developing countries, supporting economic growth and jobs across the globe and at home. In coming weeks, we will hold a public consultation, to give exporters, businesses and other interested parties the opportunity to provide feedback.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to increase the volume of trade between the UK and the Faroe Islands.

My Department has been implementing the United Kingdom-Faroe Islands Trade Agreement, which secures a trading relationship that was worth £503 million in 2020 and maintains preferential trading conditions for British businesses.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to increase the volume of trade between the UK and Lebanon.

The United Kingdom and Lebanon have a long-standing trade relationship, with current bilateral trade reaching £560 million in 2020. An Association Agreement between us came into force on 1st January 2021 and contributes to increasing trade by reducing tariff barriers and identifying trade opportunities for both British and Lebanese businesses.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to help increase the volume of trade between the UK and Kosovo.

Bilateral trade with Albania and Kosovo was worth £55 million and £15 million respectively in 2020. The Department for International Trade and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office have worked closely with Albania and Kosovo. We have negotiated and brought into effect comprehensive Partnership, Trade and Cooperation Agreements with both Albania and Kosovo.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of securing a bilateral trade agreement with Republic of Maldives.

The United Kingdom has set an ambitious programme of work through our independent trade policy. British bilateral trade with the Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan respectively sits at £144m, £93m and £2m currently.

HM Government has set out that the Indo-Pacific is a priority, which includes the Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan. We are keen to boost bilateral trade in the region and are currently exploring options to deliver on this.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of securing a bilateral trade agreement with Bhutan.

The United Kingdom has set an ambitious programme of work through our independent trade policy. British bilateral trade with the Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan respectively sits at £144m, £93m and £2m currently.

HM Government has set out that the Indo-Pacific is a priority, which includes the Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan. We are keen to boost bilateral trade in the region and are currently exploring options to deliver on this.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of securing a bilateral trade agreement with Nepal.

The United Kingdom has set an ambitious programme of work through our independent trade policy. British bilateral trade with the Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan respectively sits at £144m, £93m and £2m currently.

HM Government has set out that the Indo-Pacific is a priority, which includes the Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan. We are keen to boost bilateral trade in the region and are currently exploring options to deliver on this.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of securing a bilateral trade agreement with Kuwait.

Britain has strong bilateral trading relationships with our friends in the Gulf and a clear ambition to deepen them. The Gulf is already one of our largest export destinations, with trade of over £30 billion in 2020, but there are many sectors in which we can collaborate further.

We are currently conducting a Joint Trade and Investment Review with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Upon completion of the review shortly, we will look to deliver on its recommendations, as we continue to broaden and deepen our trade and investment relationships with countries in the Gulf.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to help increase the volume of trade between the UK and Turkey.

Total trade between the United Kingdom and Turkey was valued at £15.1 billion in 2020. HM Government is taking steps to increase the volume of trade with Turkey, including in areas such as clean growth, technology, automotive and the digital economy, as well as through the promotion of investment and the resolution of market access barriers.

Following significant engagement last year, the United Kingdom-Turkey Free Trade Agreement was signed on 29th December 2020. It includes a review clause that commits us both to begin discussions on ways to enhance the agreement before the end of 2022, which offers an additional route to develop and grow bilateral trade in the future.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to help increase the volume of trade between the UK and Ghana.

Following extensive engagement, my Department has secured trade deals with Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Tunisia; plus the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) trade bloc; and the Southern Africa Custom Union and Mozambique (SACU+M).

Rwanda and The Gambia currently benefit from the our Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which provides Least Developed Countries with duty-free and quota-free access on all imports except arms and ammunition to the British market. HM Government intends to improve the scheme in order to grow trade with developing countries, supporting economic growth and jobs across the globe and at home. In coming weeks, we will hold a public consultation, to give exporters, businesses and other interested parties the opportunity to provide feedback.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to help increase the volume of trade between the UK and Egypt.

Following extensive engagement, my Department has secured trade deals with Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Tunisia; plus the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) trade bloc; and the Southern Africa Custom Union and Mozambique (SACU+M).

Rwanda and The Gambia currently benefit from the our Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which provides Least Developed Countries with duty-free and quota-free access on all imports except arms and ammunition to the British market. HM Government intends to improve the scheme in order to grow trade with developing countries, supporting economic growth and jobs across the globe and at home. In coming weeks, we will hold a public consultation, to give exporters, businesses and other interested parties the opportunity to provide feedback.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of securing a bilateral trade agreement with Rwanda.

Following extensive engagement, my Department has secured trade deals with Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Tunisia; plus the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) trade bloc; and the Southern Africa Custom Union and Mozambique (SACU+M).

Rwanda and The Gambia currently benefit from the our Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which provides Least Developed Countries with duty-free and quota-free access on all imports except arms and ammunition to the British market. HM Government intends to improve the scheme in order to grow trade with developing countries, supporting economic growth and jobs across the globe and at home. In coming weeks, we will hold a public consultation, to give exporters, businesses and other interested parties the opportunity to provide feedback.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of securing a bilateral trade agreement with The Gambia.

Following extensive engagement, my Department has secured trade deals with Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Tunisia; plus the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) trade bloc; and the Southern Africa Custom Union and Mozambique (SACU+M).

Rwanda and The Gambia currently benefit from the our Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which provides Least Developed Countries with duty-free and quota-free access on all imports except arms and ammunition to the British market. HM Government intends to improve the scheme in order to grow trade with developing countries, supporting economic growth and jobs across the globe and at home. In coming weeks, we will hold a public consultation, to give exporters, businesses and other interested parties the opportunity to provide feedback.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department have taken to increase the volume of trade between the UK and the Eastern and Southern Africa trade bloc.

Following extensive engagement, my Department has secured trade deals with Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Tunisia; plus the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) trade bloc; and the Southern Africa Custom Union and Mozambique (SACU+M).

Rwanda and The Gambia currently benefit from the our Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which provides Least Developed Countries with duty-free and quota-free access on all imports except arms and ammunition to the British market. HM Government intends to improve the scheme in order to grow trade with developing countries, supporting economic growth and jobs across the globe and at home. In coming weeks, we will hold a public consultation, to give exporters, businesses and other interested parties the opportunity to provide feedback.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department have taken to increase the volume of trade between the UK and the Southern Africa Customs Union and Mozambique trade bloc.

Following extensive engagement, my Department has secured trade deals with Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Tunisia; plus the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) trade bloc; and the Southern Africa Custom Union and Mozambique (SACU+M).

Rwanda and The Gambia currently benefit from the our Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which provides Least Developed Countries with duty-free and quota-free access on all imports except arms and ammunition to the British market. HM Government intends to improve the scheme in order to grow trade with developing countries, supporting economic growth and jobs across the globe and at home. In coming weeks, we will hold a public consultation, to give exporters, businesses and other interested parties the opportunity to provide feedback.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to help increase the volume of trade between the UK and Singapore.

The UK is Singapore’s top European trading partner and Singapore is the UK’s largest trade partner from ASEAN. The UK-Singapore bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) came into force on 1 January 2021. Since 1st January 2021, when the FTA took effect, the Government has been engaging with UK businesses to promote its benefits and is currently focusing on its implementation. Furthermore, the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA), whose negotiations the Government intends to launch soon, and the UK’s proposed accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), of which Singapore is a founding member, are also expected to boost bilateral trade flows.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department have taken to increase the volume of trade between the UK and Japan.

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) entered into force in January 2021. The Government’s analysis shows that in the long run, the CEPA could increase UK-Japan trade by £15.7 billion compared to a situation where there was no agreement. CEPA goes beyond the EU-Japan deal, with enhancements in areas such as digital and data, financial services, food and drink, and creative industries.

In March 2021, the Department for International Trade launched a four-month trade mission to support businesses to trade with Japan. As of the 27 May 2021, 2,000 UK and Japanese companies have been involved, and over 250 UK businesses have been introduced to Japanese buyers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of securing a bilateral trade agreement with Malaysia.

On 1 February 2021 the Government submitted its notification of intent to begin the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) accession process, of which Malaysia is a signatory. This is the first formal step towards accession that aims to deepen the United Kingdom’s access to the fast-growing markets and major economies of the future, including Malaysia.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department have taken to increase the volume of trade between the UK and Canada.

The UK-Canada Trade Continuity Agreement (TCA) entered into force on 1 April. It facilitates bilateral trade worth £17.7bn in 2020. On 18 May, the Government launched a public Call for Input on how this deal might be improved for UK businesses and consumers. Later this year negotiations will begin for a new and ambitious trade deal with Canada that goes even further in key areas of mutual interest.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to help increase the volume of trade between the UK and South Korea.

The UK-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which entered into force on 1 January 2021, forms the basis of an ambitious new trading partnership between the United Kingdom and South Korea.

The UK also has a Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) with South Korea, led by my Rt hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade. This helps to develop further the positive trade and investment relationship and compliments the opportunities the FTA presents.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department have taken to increase the volume of trade between the UK and the Andean countries.

Last year, my Department for International Trade successfully negotiated and brought into force the United Kingdom-Andean countries trade agreement, covering Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. Peru is a founder member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership also, and is supportive of our planned accession.

The United Kingdom recently co-chaired trade dialogues with both Colombia and Peru, in which we agreed to work together to boost trade in key sectors, such as services, digital, clean energy and agri-food. As part of our government-to-government deal with Peru, British businesses are working on a £1.7 billion reconstruction of Peruvian public services, following significant damage caused by the climate cycle El Niño in 2017.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to help increase the volume of trade between the UK and Jordan.

The United Kingdom and Jordan have a long-standing trade relationship, with current bilateral trade reaching £606 million in 2020. My Department has secured an Association Agreement, which contributes to increasing trade by reducing tariff barriers and identifying trade opportunities for both British and Jordanian businesses.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to help increase the volume of trade between the UK and Albania.

Bilateral trade with Albania and Kosovo was worth £55 million and £15 million respectively in 2020. The Department for International Trade and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office have worked closely with Albania and Kosovo. We have negotiated and brought into effect comprehensive Partnership, Trade and Cooperation Agreements with both Albania and Kosovo.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to help increase the volume of trade between the UK and Central America.

Last year, my Department successfully negotiated and brought into force the United Kingdom-Central America Association Agreement that maintains preferential trading conditions, providing certainty for businesses. Trade between the United Kingdom and countries party to this Agreement was worth £1.3bn in 2020.

My Department continues to work with our Central American partners to resolve market access barriers on issues such as procurement. We are sharing best regulatory practice to improve the ease of doing business and identifying opportunities for British businesses looking to enter the Central American markets.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to help increase the quantity of trade between the UK and Chile.

Trade between the United Kingdom and Chile was worth £1.4bn in 2020. Last year, my Department successfully negotiated and brought into force the United Kingdom-Chile Association Agreement that maintains preferential trading conditions, providing certainty for businesses.

Chile is also a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and is supportive of the United Kingdom’s planned accession.

In October 2020, I co-chaired the inaugural Anglo-Chilean dialogue where we agreed to work together to boost trade in important sectors such as Financial Services, Life Sciences, and Infrastructure.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of securing a bilateral trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates.

Britain has strong bilateral trading relationships with our friends in the Gulf and a clear ambition to deepen them. The Gulf is already one of our largest export destinations, with trade of over £30 billion in 2020, but there are many sectors in which we can collaborate further.

We are currently conducting a Joint Trade and Investment Review with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Upon completion of the review shortly, we will look to deliver on its recommendations, as we continue to broaden and deepen our trade and investment relationships with countries in the Gulf.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of securing a bilateral trade agreement with Bahrain.

Britain has strong bilateral trading relationships with our friends in the Gulf and a clear ambition to deepen them. The Gulf is already one of our largest export destinations, with trade of over £30 billion in 2020, but there are many sectors in which we can collaborate further.

We are currently conducting a Joint Trade and Investment Review with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Upon completion of the review shortly, we will look to deliver on its recommendations, as we continue to broaden and deepen our trade and investment relationships with countries in the Gulf.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of securing a bilateral trade agreement with Qatar.

Britain has strong bilateral trading relationships with our friends in the Gulf and a clear ambition to deepen them. The Gulf is already one of our largest export destinations, with trade of over £30 billion in 2020, but there are many sectors in which we can collaborate further.

We are currently conducting a Joint Trade and Investment Review with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Upon completion of the review shortly, we will look to deliver on its recommendations, as we continue to broaden and deepen our trade and investment relationships with countries in the Gulf.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of the bilateral trade agreement with Oman.

Britain has strong bilateral trading relationships with our friends in the Gulf and a clear ambition to deepen them. The Gulf is already one of our largest export destinations, with trade of over £30 billion in 2020, but there are many sectors in which we can collaborate further.

We are currently conducting a Joint Trade and Investment Review with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Upon completion of the review shortly, we will look to deliver on its recommendations, as we continue to broaden and deepen our trade and investment relationships with countries in the Gulf.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to help increase the quantity of trade between the UK and the CARIFORUM trade bloc.

Trade with CARIFORUM states was worth £2.6bn in 2020. The United Kingdom-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) successfully came into effect on 1st January 2021 and provides certainty and continuity for business.

The tenth United Kingdom-Caribbean Ministerial Forum took place in March, where we agreed to further promoting and expanding bilateral trade flows and reducing market access barriers for exporters.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what her planned timescale is for the beginning of formal discussions for the UK to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

On 1st February, we submitted our notification of intent to begin the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) accession process.

This is the first formal step towards accession before formal negotiations start later in the year. The CPTPP member countries are now considering our notification and will decide when to commence negotiations. These would be taken forward through an Accession Working Group to agree the terms of our accession.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the timeframe is for the free trade agreement with Albania to come into force.

The United Kingdom-Albania trade deal was signed in Tirana on 5th February 2021 and formally laid in Parliament on 19th February 2021. It is expected to enter into force in early May, following the completion of both British and Albanian domestic processes.

We have published the text of the agreement and guidance for British business at: gov.uk/government/collections/uk-albania-partnership-trade-and-cooperation-agreement.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the timeframe is for the free trade agreement with Mexico to come into force.

The United Kingdom-Mexico trade deal was formally laid in Parliament on 26th February 2021. Mexico is in the process of completing their domestic legislative processes required to bring the agreement into force too.

We have published the text of the agreement and guidance for British business at: gov.uk/government/publications/ukmexico-trade-continuity-agreement.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what timeframe is for the free trade agreement with Canada to come into force.

The UK-Canada Trade Continuity Agreement (TCA) completed Parliamentary scrutiny in the UK under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act on 3rd February 2021, and will come into force once Canada completes its own parliamentary procedures.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions her Department has had with the transition team for President-Elect Joseph Biden on a future trade deal between the UK and the US.

The Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and British Embassy Washington (BEW) are responsible for the relationship with the Biden/Harris transition team. The Department for International Trade (DIT), works closely with the FCDO and BEW in advancing UK national objectives, including on trade.

The incoming US administration is currently in the process of nominating members of its Cabinet and appointing senior staff. In line with previous practice, the transition team is limiting foreign government contact with the President-elect’s appointees and nominees ahead of the inauguration and (where applicable) Senate confirmation process. We look forward to working closely with the new team once this process has concluded.

DIT Ministers continue to engage senior US political figures on a bipartisan basis, including positive discussions on UK-US trade negotiations held between the Secretary of State and Senator Wyden (Dem) and Senator Portman (Rep) since 2 December.

UK and US negotiators continue to be in regular contact during the Presidential transition period.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made on securing a free trade agreement with Algeria.

In under two years, and as of 15th December, we have agreed trade deals with 58 countries that accounted for £198 billion of bilateral trade in 2019. We have always been clear that we will not do a deal that is not in the British national interest, whatever the deadline.

Whilst we have had some robust discussions in that spirit, leading to a mutually beneficial agreement in most cases, this has not been the case for all countries. Further, it has not always been possible to engage with partners due to their elections and delays in forming their governments. As a result, we have announced that agreements with Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Algeria – as well as, seeking to be open with my Hon. Friend, Montenegro – will not be in force on 1st January 2021.

However, they are all valued partners on a range of economic and security issues and we remain willing and committed to concluding agreements with them as soon as possible.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made on securing a free trade agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In under two years, and as of 15th December, we have agreed trade deals with 58 countries that accounted for £198 billion of bilateral trade in 2019. We have always been clear that we will not do a deal that is not in the British national interest, whatever the deadline.

Whilst we have had some robust discussions in that spirit, leading to a mutually beneficial agreement in most cases, this has not been the case for all countries. Further, it has not always been possible to engage with partners due to their elections and delays in forming their governments. As a result, we have announced that agreements with Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Algeria – as well as, seeking to be open with my Hon. Friend, Montenegro – will not be in force on 1st January 2021.

However, they are all valued partners on a range of economic and security issues and we remain willing and committed to concluding agreements with them as soon as possible.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made on securing a free trade agreement with Serbia.

In under two years, and as of 15th December, we have agreed trade deals with 58 countries that accounted for £198 billion of bilateral trade in 2019. We have always been clear that we will not do a deal that is not in the British national interest, whatever the deadline.

Whilst we have had some robust discussions in that spirit, leading to a mutually beneficial agreement in most cases, this has not been the case for all countries. Further, it has not always been possible to engage with partners due to their elections and delays in forming their governments. As a result, we have announced that agreements with Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Algeria – as well as, seeking to be open with my Hon. Friend, Montenegro – will not be in force on 1st January 2021.

However, they are all valued partners on a range of economic and security issues and we remain willing and committed to concluding agreements with them as soon as possible.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made in securing a free trade agreement with Albania.

In under two years, HM Government has signed, or agreed in principle, trade agreements with 57 countries that accounted for £193 billion of bilateral trade in 2019. The negotiations behind our continuity programme are unprecedented in scale and ambition – and are helping to secure better jobs, higher wages, more choice and lower prices for the British people.

An up-to-date list of trade continuity agreements, signed and in discussion, is available on GOV.UK and our work to secure free and fair trade around the world remains a top priority for the Department.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made in securing a free trade agreement with Vietnam.

In under two years, HM Government has signed, or agreed in principle, trade agreements with 57 countries that accounted for £193 billion of bilateral trade in 2019. The negotiations behind our continuity programme are unprecedented in scale and ambition – and are helping to secure better jobs, higher wages, more choice and lower prices for the British people.

An up-to-date list of trade continuity agreements, signed and in discussion, is available on GOV.UK and our work to secure free and fair trade around the world remains a top priority for the Department.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made in securing a free trade agreement with Ghana.

In under two years, HM Government has signed, or agreed in principle, trade agreements with 57 countries that accounted for £193 billion of bilateral trade in 2019. The negotiations behind our continuity programme are unprecedented in scale and ambition – and are helping to secure better jobs, higher wages, more choice and lower prices for the British people.

An up-to-date list of trade continuity agreements, signed and in discussion, is available on GOV.UK and our work to secure free and fair trade around the world remains a top priority for the Department.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made in securing a free trade agreement with Mexico.

In under two years, HM Government has signed, or agreed in principle, trade agreements with 57 countries that accounted for £193 billion of bilateral trade in 2019. The negotiations behind our continuity programme are unprecedented in scale and ambition – and are helping to secure better jobs, higher wages, more choice and lower prices for the British people.

An up-to-date list of trade continuity agreements, signed and in discussion, is available on GOV.UK and our work to secure free and fair trade around the world remains a top priority for the Department.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made in securing a free trade agreement with Moldova.

In under two years, HM Government has signed, or agreed in principle, trade agreements with 57 countries that accounted for £193 billion of bilateral trade in 2019. The negotiations behind our continuity programme are unprecedented in scale and ambition – and are helping to secure better jobs, higher wages, more choice and lower prices for the British people.

An up-to-date list of trade continuity agreements, signed and in discussion, is available on GOV.UK and our work to secure free and fair trade around the world remains a top priority for the Department.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made in securing a free trade agreement with Montenegro.

In under two years, HM Government has signed, or agreed in principle, trade agreements with 57 countries that accounted for £193 billion of bilateral trade in 2019. The negotiations behind our continuity programme are unprecedented in scale and ambition – and are helping to secure better jobs, higher wages, more choice and lower prices for the British people.

An up-to-date list of trade continuity agreements, signed and in discussion, is available on GOV.UK and our work to secure free and fair trade around the world remains a top priority for the Department.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made in securing a free trade agreement with Singapore.

In under two years, HM Government has signed, or agreed in principle, trade agreements with 57 countries that accounted for £193 billion of bilateral trade in 2019. The negotiations behind our continuity programme are unprecedented in scale and ambition – and are helping to secure better jobs, higher wages, more choice and lower prices for the British people.

An up-to-date list of trade continuity agreements, signed and in discussion, is available on GOV.UK and our work to secure free and fair trade around the world remains a top priority for the Department.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made in securing a free trade agreement with Turkey.

In under two years, HM Government has signed, or agreed in principle, trade agreements with 57 countries that accounted for £193 billion of bilateral trade in 2019. The negotiations behind our continuity programme are unprecedented in scale and ambition – and are helping to secure better jobs, higher wages, more choice and lower prices for the British people.

An up-to-date list of trade continuity agreements, signed and in discussion, is available on GOV.UK and our work to secure free and fair trade around the world remains a top priority for the Department.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made in securing a free trade agreement with Cameroon.

In under two years, HM Government has signed, or agreed in principle, trade agreements with 57 countries that accounted for £193 billion of bilateral trade in 2019. The negotiations behind our continuity programme are unprecedented in scale and ambition – and are helping to secure better jobs, higher wages, more choice and lower prices for the British people.

An up-to-date list of trade continuity agreements, signed and in discussion, is available on GOV.UK and our work to secure free and fair trade around the world remains a top priority for the Department.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the UK-Egypt Association Agreement announced on 5 December 2020, what steps her Department is undertaking to increase the UK's volume of trade with Egypt.

The United Kingdom-Egypt Association Agreement will allow British businesses and consumers to benefit from continued preferential access to the market after the end of the transition period, which will help boost vital trade and investment.

The Department for International Trade engages with hundreds of businesses every day on a wide range of issues and we have a large and experienced network of around 300 Trade Advisors who provide face-to-face support to exporters across the country.

Through our work in Egypt and around the world, we are making it simpler and more cost effective for businesses to trade by using preferential trading arrangements.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, which of the 16 chapter areas discussed during the fourth free trade agreement negotiating round with the US are now at an advanced stage in those talks.

In the fourth round of the UK/US free trade agreement, both sides continued to have detailed textual discussions and negotiators are now in the process of consolidating texts in the majority of chapter areas - an advanced stage of talks.

We have made particularly strong progress on small and medium-sized enterprises, where we have reached broad agreement on the Chapter’s contents.

A full list of chapter areas discussed is released after each negotiating round in the Written Ministerial Statement and GOV.UK.

However, because negotiations are ongoing and discussions are therefore sensitive, it would not be prudent to provide precise details on progress in specific chapters at this stage.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of decreasing the time between the (a) announcement of countries being removed from the covid-19 green list for travel purposes and (b) enforcement of that rule.

The allocation of countries to the traffic light system will be reviewed every three weeks, unless there is a sudden change in the data and risk to a country that needs to be acted upon quickly. The next review will take place in the week commencing 21 June.

The timing between announcement and implementation of changes to country allocations under the traffic light system has been assessed to be appropriate in order to give travellers as much notice as possible whilst balancing the public health risk.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to lower the amount of carbon dioxide emitted as a result of transport in the UK.

Our Transport Decarbonisation Plan will set an ambitious pathway to end UK transport’s carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest and we intend to publish it shortly.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the proportion of road freight journeys made in vehicles powered by renewable energy.

Decarbonisation of the UK’s road freight sector will play a critical role in delivering on our climate ambitions. The Government is rewarding the supply of renewable fuels for use in road transport, including heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), through the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation scheme. We have also made funding available through multimillion-pound industry demonstration competitions, such as the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition (the F4C), which support projects capable of producing low carbon waste-based fuels for use in aviation and HGVs.

The Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution announced that we are investing £20m this financial year in planning for zero emission road freight trials which will support UK industry to develop cost-effective, zero-emission HGVs and their refueling infrastructure in the UK. These trials will advance research and development in the technologies of catenary electric, battery electric and renewable hydrogen-powered HGVs, allowing us to begin the commercial roll-out of the appropriate new technologies before the end of the decade.

We will also be consulting on a date for phasing out the sale of new diesel HGVs to drive innovation and development and increase the uptake of zero emission alternatives within the HGV sector.

In November 2020, HM Treasury published the National Infrastructure Strategy. This confirmed that the £950m Rapid Charging Fund (RCF) was to be made available to future-proof electrical grid capacity at service areas on motorways and major A-roads. Whilst the RCF is currently targeting cars and vans, the additional electrical capacity will support charging infrastructure for zero emission HGVs. We are currently analysing the demand from zero-emission HGVs at Motorway Service Stations and considering how the infrastructure installed as part of the RCF can be used by zero emission HGVs in the future.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of journeys undertaken by bus in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

The National Bus Strategy, published on the 15 March, will deliver better bus services for passengers across England, through ambitious and far-reaching reform of how services are planned and delivered, to make local bus services more frequent, more reliable, easier to understand and use, better co-ordinated with simpler fares.

We expect Local Transport Authorities to produce Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs) by the end of October 2021, setting out an ambitious vision for travel by bus in their area, meeting the goals and expectations in the strategy. BSIPs will influence the share of the £3 billion transformation funding that each authority receives.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of journeys undertaken by train in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

We have just announced an investment of £317 million as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade which will boost punctuality, reliability and connectivity across West Yorkshire.

The region has the latest high-tech trains which stop at Wakefield, the city’s Westgate station has recently undergone a major £8.8 million rebuild, its Kirkgate station has been redeveloped and furthermore we are investing in two new stations for Leeds.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that train stations in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire are fully equipped with tactile paving along platform edges.

I have asked Network Rail to develop a programme to aim to install platform edge tactile strips on every platform in Great Britain.

I will make a further announcement in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve transport infrastructure between Wakefield and Hull.

The Government is committed, as part of its Levelling Up agenda, to improving transport connectivity between the towns and cities of the North. Since 2009/10, £17.8 billion has been invested on railways, and £9.2 billion on national roads, in the north of England, including schemes on the M1 Junctions 39-42, M62 Junctions 25-30 and A63 Castle Street to benefit journeys on the strategic road network between Wakefield and Hull. The Government’s Integrated Rail Plan will set out how best to deliver and sequence Northern Powerhouse Rail, and other major rail projects such as HS2, so that the benefits of these investments are delivered to passengers and communities more quickly. The Government intends to publish the IRP this Spring.

We are also providing local authorities across the North of England access to the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, launched at the Budget 2021, which will enable places to bid for transport project funding that will enable them to continue to develop and progress their transport and connectivity ambitions.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve transport infrastructure between Wakefield and Sheffield.

The Government is committed, as part of its Levelling Up agenda, to improving transport connectivity both within and between, the towns and cities of the North. In West Yorkshire, we are providing £317m from our Transforming Cities Fund and access to the £4.2bn Intra-City Transport Fund to improve transport infrastructure between Wakefield, Leeds, Dewsbury and Huddersfield alongside £49.6m to maintain local highways and improve local transport infrastructure. In addition, local authorities in West Yorkshire will be able to bid for transport projects for the £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund, launched at the Budget 2021.

The Government’s Road and Rail Investment Strategies are improving strategic infrastructure between Wakefield, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester through our £589m commitment to upgrade and electrify the Transpennine main line between Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester, and investment on the M1 between Junctions 39-42 between Wakefield and Leeds, now open to traffic. The second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2), published in 2020, also included funding for Highways England to develop proposals to upgrade M1 Junctions 35A-39. If funded for construction by the next RIS (starting in 2025), this would provide extra capacity on this stretch of the M1 and would allow more drivers to travel between Wakefield and Sheffield.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve transport infrastructure between Wakefield and Manchester.

The Government is committed, as part of its Levelling Up agenda, to improving transport connectivity both within and between, the towns and cities of the North. In West Yorkshire, we are providing £317m from our Transforming Cities Fund and access to the £4.2bn Intra-City Transport Fund to improve transport infrastructure between Wakefield, Leeds, Dewsbury and Huddersfield alongside £49.6m to maintain local highways and improve local transport infrastructure. In addition, local authorities in West Yorkshire will be able to bid for transport projects for the £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund, launched at the Budget 2021.

The Government’s Road and Rail Investment Strategies are improving strategic infrastructure between Wakefield, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester through our £589m commitment to upgrade and electrify the Transpennine main line between Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester, and investment on the M1 between Junctions 39-42 between Wakefield and Leeds, now open to traffic. The second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2), published in 2020, also included funding for Highways England to develop proposals to upgrade M1 Junctions 35A-39. If funded for construction by the next RIS (starting in 2025), this would provide extra capacity on this stretch of the M1 and would allow more drivers to travel between Wakefield and Sheffield.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve transport infrastructure between Wakefield and Dewsbury.

The Government is committed, as part of its Levelling Up agenda, to improving transport connectivity both within and between, the towns and cities of the North. In West Yorkshire, we are providing £317m from our Transforming Cities Fund and access to the £4.2bn Intra-City Transport Fund to improve transport infrastructure between Wakefield, Leeds, Dewsbury and Huddersfield alongside £49.6m to maintain local highways and improve local transport infrastructure. In addition, local authorities in West Yorkshire will be able to bid for transport projects for the £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund, launched at the Budget 2021.

The Government’s Road and Rail Investment Strategies are improving strategic infrastructure between Wakefield, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester through our £589m commitment to upgrade and electrify the Transpennine main line between Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester, and investment on the M1 between Junctions 39-42 between Wakefield and Leeds, now open to traffic. The second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2), published in 2020, also included funding for Highways England to develop proposals to upgrade M1 Junctions 35A-39. If funded for construction by the next RIS (starting in 2025), this would provide extra capacity on this stretch of the M1 and would allow more drivers to travel between Wakefield and Sheffield.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve transport infrastructure between Wakefield and Huddersfield.

The Government is committed, as part of its Levelling Up agenda, to improving transport connectivity both within and between, the towns and cities of the North. In West Yorkshire, we are providing £317m from our Transforming Cities Fund and access to the £4.2bn Intra-City Transport Fund to improve transport infrastructure between Wakefield, Leeds, Dewsbury and Huddersfield alongside £49.6m to maintain local highways and improve local transport infrastructure. In addition, local authorities in West Yorkshire will be able to bid for transport projects for the £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund, launched at the Budget 2021.

The Government’s Road and Rail Investment Strategies are improving strategic infrastructure between Wakefield, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester through our £589m commitment to upgrade and electrify the Transpennine main line between Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester, and investment on the M1 between Junctions 39-42 between Wakefield and Leeds, now open to traffic. The second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2), published in 2020, also included funding for Highways England to develop proposals to upgrade M1 Junctions 35A-39. If funded for construction by the next RIS (starting in 2025), this would provide extra capacity on this stretch of the M1 and would allow more drivers to travel between Wakefield and Sheffield.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve transport infrastructure between Wakefield and Leeds.

The Government is committed, as part of its Levelling Up agenda, to improving transport connectivity both within and between, the towns and cities of the North. In West Yorkshire, we are providing £317m from our Transforming Cities Fund and access to the £4.2bn Intra-City Transport Fund to improve transport infrastructure between Wakefield, Leeds, Dewsbury and Huddersfield alongside £49.6m to maintain local highways and improve local transport infrastructure. In addition, local authorities in West Yorkshire will be able to bid for transport projects for the £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund, launched at the Budget 2021.

The Government’s Road and Rail Investment Strategies are improving strategic infrastructure between Wakefield, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester through our £589m commitment to upgrade and electrify the Transpennine main line between Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester, and investment on the M1 between Junctions 39-42 between Wakefield and Leeds, now open to traffic. The second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2), published in 2020, also included funding for Highways England to develop proposals to upgrade M1 Junctions 35A-39. If funded for construction by the next RIS (starting in 2025), this would provide extra capacity on this stretch of the M1 and would allow more drivers to travel between Wakefield and Sheffield.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much money has been spent on upgrading roads with provisions for cyclists in (a) Wakefield, (b) West Yorkshire and and (c) England.

On the 9th May 2020 the Government announced a £2 billion five-year package of funding for cycling and walking. This included a £225 million Active Travel Fund for English Local Authorities in the current financial year to enable them to deliver new safe cycling and walking measures in their areas. West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) was allocated over £12.5 million of this funding. Decisions on how much of this funding to spend in which parts of its region are matters for WYCA. The Spending Review in 2020 confirmed that over £250 million of dedicated funding will be made available for cycling and walking in 2021/22, and decisions on how the rest of the £2 billion will be spent will be taken as part of the next multi-year Spending Review.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of journeys undertaken by foot in Wakefield constituency.

On the 9th May the Government announced a £2bn package of funding for cycling and walking. This included a £225 million Active Travel Fund from which West Yorkshire Combined Authority has been allocated around £12,500,000 this financial year. The Department has also funded the development of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan which includes plans for a Core Walking Zone in Wakefield city centre.

Decisions on the allocation of the rest of the £2 billion will be made during the life of this Parliament. Much of this funding will be provided to local authorities to deliver local cycling and walking plans.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage electric vehicle uptake in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

We are investing over £1.8bn? to help people buy zero emission vehicles and accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure across the whole of the UK.

Through our Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS), businesses, charities and the wider public sector can get grants of up to £350 per socket for installing up to 40 charging sockets for their employees and fleets. Under the WCS Wakefield has received funding of £37,815 for 77 sockets and West Yorkshire has received a total of £227,792 funding for 495 sockets. Local authorities across the country are also able to take advantage of the On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS), which assists them with the cost of installing chargepoints on residential streets. Calderdale Council have received funding through the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme for 13 chargepoints across the district, while Leeds City Council have also received funding for 15 chargepoints through the Scheme. Over 13,000 ultra-low and zero emission vehicles are on the road in west Yorkshire (including over 700 in Wakefield), many of which will have received funding from the Government’s Plug-in Grant Schemes.

In addition, through the Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme the Government has provided £1,770,472.50 to First West Yorkshire and £617,000 to West Yorkshire Combined Authority to deliver 14 electric buses and associated recharging infrastructure. West Yorkshire Combined Authority has been awarded £1,980,000 through the Ultra Low Emission Vehicle Taxi Infrastructure scheme to deliver 66 rapid and 22 fast chargepoints for taxis and private hire vehicles.

More generally, the roll out of rapid charging is an opportunity to remove range anxiety for electric vehicle drivers across the roads network which the Government will do by:

  • Ensuring the private sector can continue to expand the charging network by investing £950 million to future proof grid capacity along the Strategic Road Network in preparation for 100% uptake of zero emission cars and vans ahead of need.

  • The publication in May 2020 of our ambitious vision for rapid charging infrastructure along strategic roads in England over the next decade. This vision sets out the number of rapid chargepoints that will be located across motorways and major A roads to meet the future demand for electric vehicles.

  • Working with industry to make chargepoint data available, helping drivers easily locate and access available chargepoints. Government will consult on using its powers under the Automated Electric Vehicles Act to improve the consumer experience of charging.
Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department has taken to encourage cycling as a means of transport in Wakefield constituency since the covid-19 outbreak began.

On the 9th May the Government announced a £2bn package of funding for cycling and walking. This included a £225 million Emergency Active Travel Fund from which West Yorkshire Combined Authority was allocated £2,513,000 in the first tranche, and indicatively allocated a further £10,053,000 from tranche 2. The Department will be confirming final allocations for tranche 2 of the fund shortly.

Decisions on the allocation of the rest of the £2 billion will be for the Spending Review in due course. The majority of this funding will be provided to local authorities in order to deliver local cycling and walking plans.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much of the additional £30 million in bus funding announced on 3 April 2020 will be spent in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which includes Wakefield, has been provided with £1,086,414 from the additional £30 million bus fund.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many (a) electric vehicles, (b) petrol fuelled vehicles and (c) diesel fuelled vehicles are registered to addresses in Wakefield constituency.

At the end of June 2020, vehicles licensed to an address in the Wakefield constituency comprised (a) 134 battery electric vehicles, (b) 27,773 petrol vehicles, and (c) 27,166 diesel vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many of the new Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches will be located in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

As of 26th May, there has been 551 Work Coaches recruited in the West Yorkshire District, 51 of these were recruited for Wakefield Jobcentre.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much her Department has disbursed in cold weather payments to the residents of (a) Wakefield constituency and (b) West Yorkshire in the most recent period for which that information is available.

The Cold Weather Payment scheme is administered at weather station level rather than at a constituency or regional level. The coverage area for each weather station is determined by the Met Office, which assesses the most appropriate weather station for each postcode area. Cold weather payments are triggered when the average temperature recorded at the weather station has been recorded as, or is forecast to be, 0oC or below over seven consecutive days, during the Cold Weather season (November to March).

The constituency of Wakefield covers all or part of the following postcode areas: S75, WF1, WF12, WF2, WF3, WF4 and WF5. These postcode areas are covered by the weather station Sheffield. Sheffield weather station covers the postcode areas, in Table 1, which include constituencies other than Wakefield.

There are twenty-two constituencies in West Yorkshire. Postcodes within these constituencies are linked to one of four weather stations: Sheffield, Bramham, Bingley and Rochdale. Table 1 shows the weather stations linked to West Yorkshire postcodes, and also includes postcodes in constituencies other than West Yorkshire.

Table 1 Postcode sectors mapped to Weather Stations

Weather station

Postcode Sectors Covered

Sheffield

DN1-8, DN11-12, HD1-2, HD4-6, S1-14, S17-18, S20-21, S25-26, S35, S40-45, S60-66, S70-75, S80-81, WF1-17.

Bramham

HG1-5, LS1-20, LS22-28, YO1, YO8, YO10, YO19, YO23-24, YO26, YO30-32, YO41-43, YO51, YO60-61.

Bingley

BB4, BB8-12, BB18, BD1-22, HD3, HD7-9, HX1-7, LS21, LS29, OL13-14, S36.

Rochdale

BL0-9, M24, M26, OL1-12, OL15-16, SK15.

Table 2 Estimated number of Cold Weather recipients

Weather station

2020/21

Number of triggers

Sheffield

156,000

1

Bramham

60,000

1

Bingley

73,000

2

Rochdale

69,000

1

Qualifying individuals living in this area will have received a £25 payment in respect of a seven-day period of Cold Weather. Expenditure can be estimated by multiplying the number of payments by £25.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to reduce the time taken for child maintenance payment assessments.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) has introduced the Apply Online Service for customers which has reduced the average application time from 45 minutes to 15 minutes. This service also has a webchat function to support customers applying online.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many businesses based have applied for the Kickstart scheme with less than 30 job placements on offer since the 30-placement minimum rule was removed in (a) Wakefield, (b) West Yorkshire and (c) England.

We are not able to publish this information at this time. For the latest statistics on the Kickstart Scheme, I refer my honourable member to oral question 912997.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of pregnant women have been entitled to maternity allowance in the last 12 months.

The proportion of pregnant women who have been entitled to Maternity Allowance in the last 12 months has not been assessed.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average processing time is for applications to the Kickstart Scheme in (a) Wakefield, (b) West Yorkshire and (c) England.

Weare unable to provide location specific processing times as many applications cover multiple areas or even nations within Great Britain. Our aim to process applications within four weeks, although they may take longer if we have to seek additional information from the bidder.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons applications to the Government’s Kickstart scheme are restricted to (a) limited companies and (b) registered charities.

The Kickstart Scheme is open to a wide range of public, private and charitable sector employers. To apply for funding via the DWP’s Kickstart Scheme, we require a Companies House registration number or a Charity Commission number. Public Sector organisations and exempt charities can still apply and there is guidance that outlines the process. This requirement enables our due diligence checks to ensure the proper spending of public money.

Businesses without a Companies House registration number may still apply through a Kickstart Gateway.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the rate of unemployment was in the Wakefield constituency (a) on 12 December 2019, (b) in March 2020 and (c) on 10 November 2020.

All estimates of unemployment are publicly available on the NOMIS website (https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/).

All estimates of Alternative Claimant Count are publicly available on the StatXplore website (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/alternative-claimant-count-statistics-january-2013-to-may-2020

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people from Wakefield constituency applied for universal credit in the (a) 2019-20 financial year and (b) 2020-21 financial year to date.

In the 2019-20 financial year, 6,940 claims to Universal Credit were made in the Wakefield constituency.

In the 2020-21 financial year (up to 31st August 2020), 3,500 Universal Credit claims were made in the Wakefield constituency

Notes:

Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 cases.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claims from Wakefield constituency have been rejected in the (a) 2019-20 financial year and (b) 2020-21 financial year to date.

There are a number of reasons a Universal Credit (UC) claim may be unsuccessful. These can include ineligibility, nil entitlement, insufficient evidence, claim withdrawal and non-compliance with the UC process.

In the 2019-20 financial year, in the Wakefield constituency, 1,380 UC claims were unsuccessful before reaching payment.

In the 2020-21 financial year (up to 31st August 2020), 500 UC claims, in the Wakefield constituency, were unsuccessful before reaching payment.

Notes:

  • Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 cases.
Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to provide mental health support to people under the age of 30 in (a) Wakefield, (b) West Yorkshire and (c) England.

In March we launched a Mental Health Recovery Action Plan, backed by £500million for 2021/22. This includes £79 million to significantly expand children’s mental health services, allowing approximately 22,500 more children and young people aged 0 to 25 years old to access community health services, 2,000 more children and young people to access eating disorder services and a faster increase in the coverage of mental health support teams in schools and colleges over the 2021/22 financial year. It also includes £13 million to ensure young adults aged 18 to 25 years old, including university students, are supported with tailored mental health support, helping bridge the gap between children’s and adult services

In Wakefield district child and adolescent mental health services responsive adolescent and children’s home-based treatment (ReACH) team are operating seven days a week. Turning Point deliver talking therapy services in Wakefield available for children and young people aged 16 years old and above who are registered with a general practitioner surgery in the Wakefield district. An online confidential support service, Kooth, provides a safe and secure means of accessing mental health and wellbeing support designed specifically for young people aged 11 to 25 years old.

In West Yorkshire, in line with the NHS Long Term Plan, all clinical commissioning groups in the region are committed to delivering the Mental Health Investment Standard, which sees the overall budget for mental health growing faster than overall National Health Service budget.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the Janssen vaccine can be administered at the earliest possible date.

On 28 May 2021 the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency authorised the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for use and 20 million doses of the vaccine have been secured. The first deliveries are expected to arrive later this year.

As with the currently deployed vaccines, all necessary preparations to receive, store and distribute the Janssen vaccine, as well as train health professionals in its handling and administration, will be in place prior to any deployment.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of the Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is monitoring regulatory developments regarding Aducanumab (Aduhelm). We are unable to formally comment on any product that is not approved for use in the United Kingdom due to commercial and market sensitivities surrounding the approval process of a product. As with all other treatments for life threatening or debilitating conditions, the MHRA will ensure a thorough and expedited assessment of this medicine.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the £12 million of additional funding for self-isolation announced by his Department on 24 May 2021, how much of that funding will be allocated to (a) Wakefield Metropolitan District Council and (b) councils in the West Yorkshire region.

Funding to support self-isolation pilots is not currently due to be allocated directly to Wakefield Metropolitan District Council or other councils in the West Yorkshire region. This pilot funding is in addition to the significant investment in supporting local outbreak management through the Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF). Local authorities should use the COMF funding first before submitting a bid for pilot funding.

Of the £12 million funding allocated to support self-isolation pilots across areas in England with higher COVID-19 prevalence rates, £548,592 has been allocated to undertake a pilot which will be run across the whole of the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of pharmacies which are signed up to the Pharmacy Collect scheme in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

As of 18 May 2021, 68 pharmacies have opted in to provide the service in Wakefield. We do not hold this data for West Yorkshire as a region. Nine in 10 pharmacies across England are currently registered to offer lateral flow tests and there are no current plans to increase the numbers further across West Yorkshire.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of moving more NHS mental health services to (a) telephones and (b) online.

Under the NHS Long Term Plan, we have set out specific objectives for the digitisation of mental health services by 2023/24. This includes digital options for accessing care, including online referrals, digital consultations and digitally enabled models of therapy to support access to psychological therapies in the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme.

The digitisation of services enables people to have more control over their own appointments, have greater choice over their treatment as well as manage their own mental health in between appointments. The shift to delivering greater care online and by phone has created new opportunities to provide care more flexibly and reduce barriers to access for some people. Although some services will see the benefit of continuing to use remote consultations in the future, we recognise that many people will still prefer or require face-to-face appointments.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish monthly data on contact mediums for adult mental health services in the Mental Health Services Data Set.

We have no current plans to do so.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) offer to and (b) uptake of remote mental health support services based on people's (i) ethnicity, (ii) gender and (iii) age.

No such assessment has been made. However, research is being undertaken by the National Institute for Health Research’s Mental Health Policy Research Unit to develop broad models of telemental health services and how they could be used appropriately.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to help ensure that people are safeguarded when accessing NHS mental health services through (a) computer programmes, (b) video calls and (c) telephones.

NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance for digital mental health services to support their response to the pandemic, which included the importance of safeguarding. This guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.nhsconfed.org/resources/2020/12/digital-inclusion-guide

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of remote mental health services on patient outcomes.

Data on access to mental health services on people with mental health conditions is collated in the Mental Health Services Dataset and the Improving access to Psychological Therapies dataset. While both these datasets are able to record the consultation medium and show increased use of remote consultations for people in contact with services, it is too early to determine the overall effect of this change on service users and outcomes.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of digital exclusion on the delivery of remote NHS mental health services.

The Department has made no such assessment.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the NHS Confederation and the Association of Mental Health Providers to develop a guide on digital inclusion in mental health which is available at the following link:

https://www.nhsconfed.org/resources/2020/12/digital-inclusion-guide

Local efforts to tackle digital exclusion have been supported by additional capital funding, and the launch of the Attend Anywhere video consultation platform to ensure that staff and service users have the technology they need. NHS England and NHS Improvement have asked integrated care systems to develop digitally-enabled care pathways in ways which increase inclusion, including reviewing new primary, outpatient and mental health digitally-enabled care pathways.

The 2021/22 NHS Operational Planning Guidance, asked health systems to ensure providers offer face-to-face care to patients who cannot use remote services and to ensure more complete data collection on consultation mediums is carried out.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions his Department has had with representatives from the cardiology workstream of the Getting it Right the First Time programme on the timetable for publishing that report.

cardiology workstream of the Getting it Right the First Time programme

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking with the NHS to collect data to (a) assess the affect the covid-19 outbreak has had on heart failure services, and (b) to inform patient care.

The National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research (NICOR) has worked with the cardiovascular professional societies and individual hospitals to ensure a continuous flow of data to assess the effect of the pandemic on patients with cardiovascular disease. NICOR’s report outlines the findings of recent analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on routine cardiovascular care including services for heart failure patents.

A close collaboration between NHS Digital, NICOR and the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership with NHS England has also transformed the information governance landscape by creating a linked ‘cardiovascular data spine’. This has enabled data to be collated and analysed rapidly to inform on National Health Service patient care improvements.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 20 April 2021 to Question 179681 on Coronavirus: Homelessness, what plans his Department has to expand its work with homelessness providers (a) to West Yorkshire and (b) across England.

We are engaging with local authorities and community-based service providers across England, including in West Yorkshire, to share the learning from the pilot work and offer support and gather and disseminate best practice. Each setting is different and we know that co-designed, tailored responses are needed in each locality and across different area of service provision within the homelessness sector.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of pharmacies in (a) West Yorkshire and (b) England offering lateral flow tests.

On 29 March, pharmacies in England were invited to offer Pharmacy Collect as an opt in service and from 5 April as part of the universal offer for rapid testing for all. To increase the number of pharmacies offering lateral flow tests we have directed NHS England and NHS Improvement to commission the community pharmacy COVID-19 lateral flow device distribution service. Over 90% of pharmacies across England registered to offer lateral flow tests within 10 days of the Pharmacy Collect service launch and this continues to increase.

NHS Test and Trace continues to work closely with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee who work directly with Local Pharmaceutical Committees across the country, including West Yorkshire.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the need for routine lateral flow and PCR covid-19 testing in homeless accommodation settings.

NHS Test and Trace has not made a specific assessment.

However, a number of pilots have been delivered working with homelessness providers in Wolverhampton, Peterborough and in Birmingham. The outcomes have been used to promote the Test and Trace offer by local authorities and their partners in homeless accommodation settings and to support them in the implementation and engagement of priority groups.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2021 to Question 169989, what recent steps his Department has taken to increase covid-19 vaccine uptake in Wakefield constituency.

NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group and Wakefield Council have recently prepared a local vaccination engagement and patient experience update for the general public.

This includes commissioning voluntary and community organisations to further engage with communities and making sure messages and vaccinations are accessible to all.

A roving vaccination team has been developed to access local venues such as homeless/asylum seeker accommodation, Gypsy and Traveller sites and mosques to deliver vaccinations, including single gender sessions particularly suitable for Muslims. Outreach work continues, including planned engagement with Eastern European communities.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much the NHS has spent on PCR testing for covid-19 to date.

The National Health Service budget has not funded polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. PCR testing is provided by the NHS Test and Trace team using a separate budget administered through the Department. The breakdown of the audited Test and Trace expenditure for the 2020/2021 financial year will be published as part of the Department’s 2020-21 Annual Report and Accounts.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to mental health charities in (a) Wakefield constituency and (b) West Yorkshire.

This information is not held centrally.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to promote bone marrow donations during the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS Blood and Transplant’s British Bone Marrow Registry has continued to recruit blood donors as potential stem cell donors after a brief pause at the start of the pandemic. They have exceeded the annual target for new donors for the past year and aim to double the number of donors added in this coming year to 30,000.

In 2020-21, the Department’s stem cell programme provided funding of £620,000 including recruitment and genotyping of prospective donors from ethnic minority backgrounds and supporting the use of the cord blood stem cell bank. In 2020, Anthony Nolan was awarded £315,000 from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport voluntary sector scheme to support stem cell donations, stem cell transplants and blood cancer patient’s wellbeing during the pandemic.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to promote the giving of blood donations from students approaching the age of 18.

NHS Blood and Transplant, in collaboration with Anthony Nolan, has developed free, curriculum-linked resources for secondary school teachers in England, to educate children aged 11 to 16 years old about blood, organ and stem cell donation. In addition, NHS Blood and Transplant charity partners have developed resources for children and young people.

NHS Blood and Transplant also delivers events and outreach activity in local colleges, sixth forms and universities. This activity has currently been paused or delivered virtually but will resume when national restrictions ease.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to promote blood donations during the covid-19 outbreak.

In collaboration with Anthony Nolan, NHS Blood and Transplant has continued to promote blood donation during the pandemic, using a combination of partnership outreach, press and social coverage, paid media and extensive direct communications to targeted groups. It has also maintained regular engagement with the public and donors to reinforce the ongoing need for blood donation and to overcome perceived barriers, such as whether travel to donate was allowed and safety of the donation sessions.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of altering the time period permitted between receiving a covid-19 vaccine and donating blood.

’Non-live’ immunisations, including all COVID-19 vaccines currently licensed in the United Kingdom, do not use material that can cause the recipient infection. This means there is no risk to people receiving donated material from a recently immunised non-exposed donor. However, NHS Blood and Transplant advises donors who have received a COVID-19 vaccine to wait for seven days before donating blood. This is because some patients may experience side effects which would require the donation to be deferred until the side effects had settled to ensure the safety of the donor. If a donor develops symptoms after their donation, NHS Blood and Transplant would recall any components made from these donations from production and/or hospitals as a precautionary measure.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many adults who received a positive test result from a lateral flow test for covid-19 subsequently received a negative test result from a PCR test in the most recent period for which that information is available.

The Department does not hold the data requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many school-age students who received a positive test result from a lateral flow test for covid-19 subsequently received a negative test result from a PCR test in the most recent period for which that information is available.

The Department does not hold the data requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much the NHS has spent on lateral flow covid-19 testing to date.

Lateral flow device testing is provided by NHS Test and Trace using a separate budget administered through the Department. The final audited NHS Test and Trace expenditure will be published as part of the Department’s 2020-21 Annual Report and Accounts.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 March 2021 to Question 166600 on what type of equipment will be redistributed from Nightingale hospitals (a) to elsewhere within the NHS and (b) placed into storage for future use.

This includes clinical equipment, beds, other ward items and non-clinical IT.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 March 2021 to Question 166600, how it will be determined whether equipment from Nightingale hospitals will be (a) redistributed to elsewhere within the NHS and (b) placed into storage.

Equipment is being distributed based on immediate clinical need and to support current National Health Service provider plans. Where there are items to be stored, they will continue to be made available.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of including people who have medical conditions which result in sleep deprivation in priority group six of the covid-19 vaccine programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination is based on a range of evidence including a review of United Kingdom epidemiological data on the impact of the pandemic so far and data on demographic and clinical risk factors for mortality and hospitalisation. To date, sleep deprivation in itself has not been identified as a condition that would place an individual at increased clinical risk to COVID-19.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the running cost of each NHS Nightingale Hospital to close in April 2021.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are in the process of reviewing all spending incurred for each individual site. The forecast for total costs including set-up, running costs, stand-by costs and costs of decommissioning across all sites will reach around £532 million covering the end of the financial year 2019/20 and 2020/21.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that homeless people are able to receive a covid-19 vaccine as quickly as possible.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recognises that many people who are homeless or sleeping rough are likely to have underlying health conditions which would place them in priority group six. These are likely to be under-diagnosed or not properly reflected in general practitioner (GP) records. The JCVI advised they should be offered the vaccine without the need for a National Health Service number or GP registration.

There is work being undertaken to update our operational guidance on reaching rough sleepers and homeless people based on this recent JCVI advice. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government are working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement to support outreach and further work is being done to explore the availability of effective on-street models which could be used to support this work. Local teams are now prioritising all homeless people for vaccination alongside priority group six.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people who have been offered a covid-19 vaccine have refused the vaccine in (a) West Yorkshire and (b) England.

Information on those who have refused a COVID-19 vaccine is not centrally collected at national or regional level.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase BAME uptake of the covid-19 vaccine in West Yorkshire.

On 13 February we published the ‘UK COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake Plan’, which aims to improve uptake across all communities. The approach set out in the plan is underpinned by four enablers at national, regional and local level. These are working in partnership; removing barriers to access; data and information; and conversations and engagement. The plan takes a local, community-led approach, with support provided from Government, NHS England and NHS Improvement and local authorities to coordinate and enable action.

The Department, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the National Health Service hold regular meetings with local authorities, faith leaders and black, Asian and minority ethnic organisations to provide advice and information about COVID-19 vaccines and how they will be made available.  In West Yorkshire, we have been delivering ‘pop up’ clinics in local community areas in Bradford such as local mosques and providing regular updates and resources to faith and community leaders to share. Local NHS staff and council officials have attended online question and answer sessions facilitated by local community leaders and engagement workers have been visiting areas of low vaccine uptake to provide information in spoken and written community languages.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of people who cannot receive a covid-19 vaccine for medical reasons.

There are very few people who cannot receive one of the current COVID-19 vaccines for medical reasons. Those who have previously had an allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine, or to a component of one of the COVID-19 vaccines should not receive the vaccine. Current guidance is that pregnant women should also not receive a COVID-19 vaccine, unless they are at high risk of exposure to the virus and this cannot be avoided or where the woman has underlying conditions which put them at very high risk of serious complications of the virus.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the speed of diagnosis and treatment of conditions which affect female reproductive health.

The Government has embarked on the Women’s Health Strategy for England. To ensure the strategy reflects what women identify as priorities, we launched a call for evidence on International Women’s Day which will run for twelve weeks.

The call for evidence seeks to examine women’s experiences of the whole health and care system, including female-specific issues like gynaecological conditions, pregnancy and post-natal support. Research, evidence and data improvements in women’s health is a key theme in the call for evidence to aid the diagnosis and treatment of female-specific conditions. The Government has also committed to developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health strategy and HIV Action Plan, which we plan to publish in 2021.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing a system by which a negative PCR test for covid-19 can overrule a positive lateral flow test conducted at a school.

Recent evaluation of lateral flow tests suggests they are at least 99.9% specific which means that the risk of false positives is extremely low.

Tests taken on test sites, such as on school and college grounds, do not currently need confirmation by polymerase chain reaction testing. This is because these tests are done in a supervised environment where the individual being tested swabs themselves under supervision of a trained operator, and the trained operator processes the test and reads the result.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department made an assessment of the potential merits of turning the NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and the Humber Hospital into a covid-19 vaccination centre.

There are no plans to use the NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and the Humber as a vaccination centre.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the cost of closing down the NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and Humber Hospital.

The decommissioning of Nightingale hospital sites is still under way and these costs are not yet available.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the cost of closing down the NHS Nightingale Hospitals.

The decommissioning of Nightingale hospital sites is still under way and these costs are not yet available.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to reallocate the equipment in NHS Nightingale Hospitals when those hospitals are closed.

Equipment in Nightingale hospitals will be redistributed within the National Health Service to ensure it is used to support patient care. Some equipment will also be put into storage to support future demand.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people not registered with a GP in (a) West Yorkshire and (b) England.

The Department does not hold the information requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to assist other nations in identifying new variants of the covid-19 virus.

On 26 January, we announced a global offer of United Kingdom genomics expertise to detect new variants of COVID-19. Following this, the New Variants Assessment Platform (NVAP) has been developed by Public Health England. The primary aim of the NVAP is to support global mapping of variants of concern, feeding into the World Health Organization, with further assessments to determine the risk of vaccine escape when deemed necessary.

In addition to the NVAP there are several work programmes, including through the UK’s G7 presidency, which address other aspects of global pathogen surveillance needs.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people whose covid-19 vaccinations have been cancelled as a result of severe weather conditions will be prioritised for new appointments.

Anyone whose COVID-19 vaccinations were cancelled as a result of severe weather conditions will be prioritised for new appointments. They will be contacted by the National Booking Service by letter, text or phone call and given the option to re book their appointment either online or by calling 119.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of reducing the 15-minute waiting period following the administration of the second dose of a covid-19 vaccine when no negative reaction occurred following the administration of the first dose of that vaccine.

The 15 minute waiting period applies only to the Pfizer vaccine. Appropriate medical treatment and supervision should always be readily available in case of an anaphylactic reaction following the administration of the vaccine. The waiting time is in line with the conditions under which that vaccine was authorised for use, which are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-pfizer-biontech-vaccine-for-covid-19

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) advised that Pfizer vaccine recipients should be monitored for 15 minutes after vaccination. The MHRA’s advice is informed by their research on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines prior to approving them for use. It also recommends that a second dose of the vaccine should not be given to those who have experienced anaphylaxis to the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, following vaccination of the key priority groups which the Government has outlined, if he will (a) prioritise people working in emergency call operating centres and (b) publish a timescale for the roll-out of that vaccine to that group of people.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.

If emergency call operating centre workers are captured in phase one due to their age, or clinical risk factors they will be prioritised. However the Government, as advised by of the JCVI, are not considering vaccinating emergency call operating centre workers as a phase one priority at this stage. Prioritisation decisions for next phase delivery are subject to of the surveillance and monitoring data and information from phase one, as well as further input from independent scientific experts such as the JCVI. Phase two of the roll-out hopes for further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the cost to the public purse has been of (a) establishing the NHS Nightingale hospital in Yorkshire, (b) operating the site from its establishment through to 15 January 2021 and (c) per patient treatment by that hospital as of 15 January 2021.

Estimates previously provided by NHS England and NHS Improvement to the Department indicated that the set-up cost for the Nightingale hospital in Harrogate would be £27.314 million. Accurate estimates for per-site running costs, per patient treatment and stand-by costs are not yet available. NHS England and NHS Improvement are in the process of reviewing all spending incurred for each individual site.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much his Department (a) has spent to date and (b) projects to spend in total in tackling vaccine disinformation.

This information is not held centrally.

The Department continues to work closely with Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in tackling vaccine disinformation.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS staff (a) are working primarily in the NHS Nightingale Hospital in Yorkshire and (b) have worked at that site since its inception.

Nightingale hospital Yorkshire and the Humber has not been required to open for COVID-19 patients, therefore no National Health Service staff currently working at the site to care for patients with COVID-19. A number of NHS staff worked on-site during the establishment of the hospital and these numbers varied on a day-to-day basis.

However, there is currently a CT scanning service delivered from the site which supports the delivery of medical imaging services for local hospital trusts. This is staffed each day as necessary to run this service.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) prioritise people working on critical infrastructure projects for the covid-19 vaccine and (b) publish a timescale for the rollout of that vaccine to that group of people.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, people aged over 80 years old and frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.

If critical infrastructure workers are captured in phase one due to their age, or clinical risk factors they will be prioritised. Prioritisation decisions for the next phase of delivery are subject to the surveillance and monitoring of data and information from phase one, as well as further input from independent scientific experts, such as the JCVI. Phase two of the programme may include targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) prioritise people working in frontline logistical services for the covid-19 vaccine and (b) publish a timescale for the rollout of that vaccine to that group of people.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, people aged over 80 years old and frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.


Frontline healthcare workers are staff who have frequent face-to-face clinical contact with patients and who are directly involved in patient care in either secondary or primary care/community settings. Non-clinical ancillary staff who may have social contact with patients but are not directly involved in patient care are also considered frontline healthcare workers. If people working in frontline logistical services for the COVID-19 vaccine fall into these groups, then they will be vaccinated in priority group two.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) prioritise people working in the armed forces overseas for the covid-19 vaccine and (b) publish a timescale for the rollout of that vaccine to that group of people.

The  Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, people aged over 80 years old and frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.

If military personnel are captured in phase one due to their age or clinical risk factors they will be prioritised. Prioritisation decisions for the next phase of delivery are subject to the surveillance and monitoring of data and information from phase one, as well as further input from independent scientific experts, such as the JCVI. Phase two of the programme may include targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) prioritise people working in the armed forces in the UK for the covid-19 vaccine and (b) publish a timescale for the rollout of that vaccine to that group of people.

The  Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, people aged over 80 years old and frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.

If military personnel are captured in phase one due to their age or clinical risk factors they will be prioritised. Prioritisation decisions for the next phase of delivery are subject to the surveillance and monitoring of data and information from phase one, as well as further input from independent scientific experts, such as the JCVI. Phase two of the programme may include targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) prioritise people working in jobs where maintaining social distancing is not practically possible for the covid-19 vaccine and (b) publish a timescale for the rollout of that vaccine to that group of people.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the  Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, people aged over 80 years old and frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.

If people working in jobs where maintaining social distancing is not practically possible are captured in phase one due to their age, or clinical risk factors they will be prioritised. Prioritisation decisions for the next phase of delivery are subject to the surveillance and monitoring of data and information from phase one, as well as further input from independent scientific experts, such as the JCVI. Phase two of the roll-out may include targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) prioritise firefighters for the covid-19 vaccine and (b) publish a timescale for the rollout of that vaccine to firefighters.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, people aged over 80 years old and frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.


If firefighters are captured in phase one due to their age or clinical risk factors then they will be prioritised. Prioritisation decisions for the next phase of delivery are subject to the surveillance and monitoring of data and information from phase one, as well as further input from independent scientific experts, such as the JCVI. Phase two of the programme may include targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what protocols his Department has put in place to minimise the risk of disruption in the supply chain for the distribution of the covid-19 vaccine.

Public Health England (PHE) has worked with its specialist medical logistics partners over many months to plan for the storage and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the United Kingdom.

PHE has well established ordering and distribution mechanisms which have been built over many years of successful delivery of vaccines for the national immunisation programme. These have been enhanced to accommodate for the challenging storage temperatures for some of the COVID-19 vaccines. This has been in combination with an increased level of service for all UK locations and flexibility to manage urgent delivery requirements.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to arrange for the publication of covid-19 vaccine uptake data by geographic area.

The Department, the National Health Service and Public Health England are committed to providing accurate and timely data in order to improve the transparency of the COVID-19 vaccine programme.

Since 24 December 2020, we have published weekly data on the total number of vaccinations among those aged under 80 years old and over in England. From 11 January, daily data for the United Kingdom has been published showing the total number vaccinated to date, including first and second doses.

More detailed data of vaccinations by age group and region in England was published on 14 January. This will now be a weekly publication. As the programme develops it is hoped more reliable data will be able to be extracted and published.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 6 January 2021 to Question 104209, whether the total figure provided for the number of downloads of the NHS Covid-19 app includes multiple downloads of the app to the same device on different occasions.

The download figures released are unique downloads per a user’s Apple or Google account, so it does not include multiple downloads of the app to the same device. A download is only counted once per user account and we do not count downloads to separate devices registered on the same user account; re-downloads following a deletion; re-downloads due to a device upgrade; or app upgrades.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have received two separate doses of a covid-19 vaccine to date.

The Government publishes daily data on vaccination totals at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/vaccinations

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the £150 million in additional funding to support the hospice sector in response to the covid-19 outbreak that his Department was scheduled to pay in July 2020 has yet to be paid.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement recognise the huge role palliative and end of life care services, including hospices, have played in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This importance was acknowledged in the provision of over £150 million in additional funding to the hospice sector between April and July 2020. The proportion of this additional funding that was scheduled to be paid in July 2020 is currently subject to financial reconciliation.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 November 2020 to Question 102204 on Coronavirus: Hospitals, how many people requiring (a) treatment for covid-19 and (b) a CT scan have been treated at the NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and the Humber Hospital since that hospital opened.

NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and the Humber has not treated any inpatients with COVID-19.

NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and the Humber has been used to treat patients requiring a computed tomography scan. As of 22 November 2020, 3,025 scans have been completed.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether cases of covid-19 at HMP Wakefield were included as part of the decision to place the Wakefield area in a tier 2 local covid alert level.

The decision to place the Wakefield area in to local Covid alert level 2 was based on an assessment of a number of factors including epidemiological analysis of the rates of COVID-19 across the population and in certain age groups. It also took account of pressures on the National Health Service across the system. The ‘R’ rate is still above 1, meaning infections, hospitalisations and deaths continue to double and the virus is now a national problem. From 5 November everyone must stay at home, with a limited set of exemptions. Non-essential shops, hospitality, leisure and entertainment venues will close, schools, colleges and universities will stay open and those needing treatment urged to continue using the NHS. Time limited restrictions are set to be eased on 2 December, going back to a regional approach according to the latest data.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether cases of covid-19 at Pinderfields hospital diagnosed in people living outside of the Wakefield area were included as part of the decision to place Wakefield into a tier 2 local covid alert level.

The decision to place the Wakefield area in to local Covid alert level 2 was based on an assessment of a number of factors including epidemiological analysis of the rates of COVID-19 across the population and in certain age groups. It also took account of pressures on the National Health Service across the system. The ‘R’ rate is still above 1, meaning infections, hospitalisations and deaths continue to double and the virus is now a national problem. From 5 November everyone must stay at home, with a limited set of exemptions. Non-essential shops, hospitality, leisure and entertainment venues will close, schools, colleges and universities will stay open and those needing treatment urged to continue using the NHS. Time limited restrictions are set to be eased on 2 December, going back to a regional approach according to latest data.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have downloaded the NHS covid-19 app (a) in total and (b) as a proportion of the population in Wakefield since that app was launched.

As of 28 October, the NHS COVID-19 app has been downloaded over 19.22 million times. This figure covers both England and Wales.

The app has been designed with user privacy in mind. We do not hold exact data on app downloads by local area.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the proportion of covid-19 transmissions that have been linked to the hospitality sector in Wakefield constituency.

We do not hold data for the hospitality sector by constituency.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been advised to self-isolate via the NHS covid-19 app in Wakefield constituency since that app was launched.

We do not hold data on how many app users have been advised to self-isolate in Wakefield constituency since the app was launched.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have entered into the NHS covid-19 app that they are suffering from covid-19 symptoms in (a) Wakefield constituency, (b) West Yorkshire and (c) England.

We currently publish data on the number of app downloads.

Work is underway to establish what additional information can be published about app usage bearing in mind that app users are anonymous. We are considering the possibility of providing data related to how many people have reported symptoms via the app.

We will not be able to provide app-related data by constituency as the app only asks users to provide the first half of their postcode.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has put in place to ensure the safety of staff at emergency call operating centres as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has published clear guidance on working safely during COVID-19, including advice for staff who work in operational contact centres. This includes robust advice and recommendations for employers on infection prevention and control measures, COVID-19 risk assessments and social distancing requirements.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many staff at emergency call operating centres have tested positive for covid-19 since March 2020.

The Department does not hold the information in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients have been treated at the NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and the Humber since it opened.

NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and the Humber has been used to treat patients requiring a CT scan. Up until 22 September 2020 it has seen 2,210 patients.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of covid-19 test results in Wakefield have been confirmed within (a) 24 hours and (b) 48 hours.

We do not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions his Department have had with their Bangladeshi counterparts on the persecution of atheists in that country.

The UK Government is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities.

Bangladesh is a human rights priority country for the FCDO. Ministers and our High Commission in Dhaka regularly raise human rights concerns as part of continued dialogue with the Government of Bangladesh. The UK supports community leaders in Bangladesh to address the causes and effects of inter-religious, ethnic and political conflict. Our development programming supports citizen groups in 31 districts across the country to come together to resolve grievances, mitigate religious violence and advocate for inclusive and peaceful co-existence.

While Bangladesh is a secular people's republic with formal guarantees of religious freedom, we recognise the risk of religious persecution faced by Ahmadiyya Muslims and other groups including Hindus, Christians and atheists in Bangladesh, and actively engage with minority communities to understand their concerns. We will continue to monitor this closely and advocate for FoRB as well as other human rights.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Bangladeshi counterpart on the persecution of Ahmadis in that country.

The UK Government is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities.

Bangladesh is a human rights priority country for the FCDO. Ministers and our High Commission in Dhaka regularly raise human rights concerns as part of continued dialogue with the Government of Bangladesh. The UK supports community leaders in Bangladesh to address the causes and effects of inter-religious, ethnic and political conflict. Our development programming supports citizen groups in 31 districts across the country to come together to resolve grievances, mitigate religious violence and advocate for inclusive and peaceful co-existence.

While Bangladesh is a secular people's republic with formal guarantees of religious freedom, we recognise the risk of religious persecution faced by Ahmadiyya Muslims and other groups including Hindus, Christians and atheists in Bangladesh, and actively engage with minority communities to understand their concerns. We will continue to monitor this closely and advocate for FoRB as well as other human rights.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Afghani counterpart on the ongoing talks between that government and the Taliban.

The UK is in regular contact with the Afghan Government on a number of issues, including the Afghan peace negotiations. The Prime Minister spoke to President Ghani on 17 June, and reiterated the UK's commitment to Afghanistan. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon spoke to the Afghan Foreign Minister, Hanif Atmar, most recently on 2 June and 3 May. The UK remains committed to supporting Afghanistan and continues to encourage efforts to reach a sustainable and inclusive political settlement. For there to be a lasting peace, the Taliban must engage meaningfully in a dialogue with the Afghan government.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with their Bangladeshi counterparts on the persecution of Christians in that country.

The UK Government is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities.

Bangladesh is a human rights priority country for the FCDO. Ministers and our High Commission in Dhaka regularly raise human rights concerns as part of continued dialogue with the Government of Bangladesh. The UK supports community leaders in Bangladesh to address the causes and effects of inter-religious, ethnic and political conflict. Our development programming supports citizen groups in 31 districts across the country to come together to resolve grievances, mitigate religious violence and advocate for inclusive and peaceful co-existence.

While Bangladesh is a secular people's republic with formal guarantees of religious freedom, we recognise the risk of religious persecution faced by Ahmadiyya Muslims and other groups including Hindus, Christians and atheists in Bangladesh, and actively engage with minority communities to understand their concerns. We will continue to monitor this closely and advocate for FoRB as well as other human rights.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support his Department is providing to governments in Africa to ensure they have access to an adequate supply of oxygen to help tackle covid-19.

The UK is one of the largest donors to the international pandemic response. We have committed up to £1.3 billion of UK aid to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to help end the pandemic as quickly as possible. We are one of the major funders of the Access to COVID-19 Tools or ACT Accelerator, which is a global collaboration mobilising technical and financial support to increase equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, including oxygen. FCDO is also supporting regional bodies like Africa Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa Regional Office that are directly working with the governments on oxygen supplies in African countries.

For example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the UK has provided nearly £15 million support to the COVID-19 response that includes supporting the health facilities in Kinshasa. We provided 80 oxygen concentrators in the city and supported the installation of solar energy in five health facilities to ensure a reliable and green electricity supply for these oxygen concentrators.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with representatives from the Governments of (a) Chad and (b) the Central African Republic on the recent reported violence at the border between those two countries.

The UK's statement at the UN Security Council on 7 June condemned the recent violence on the Chad / Central African Republic (CAR) border, and expressed our condolences for the lives lost. As our Ambassador to Chad stated on 5 June, the UK supports the stability of the region, and takes seriously infringements of the territorial integrity of any country. Tensions must be de-escalated through diplomatic means. Ministers have not held discussions recently with the Governments of Chad or CAR regarding the border clashes.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Afghanistan on protections for religious minorities in that country.

UK Ministers and officials frequently raise the protection of religious minorities with Afghan counterparts. Most recently, on 2 June Lord Ahmad spoke to Afghan Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar to offer condolences for the attack on 8 May on a school in a predominantly Hazara area of Kabul. British Embassy officials in Kabul regularly meet with representatives from religious minority groups to hear their concerns. We continue to make public condemnations about targeted killings, and violence against minorities and human rights advocates, calling for transparent investigations. Only a negotiated and inclusive settlement will bring sustainable peace to Afghanistan. We continue to make clear to all sides that any political settlement must protect the progress made in the country, including protection for women and minority groups.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Government of India on protections for people practicing minority religions in that country.

Human rights form a regular part of our dialogue with India. Most recently, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State for South Asia, discussed the situation for Christians in India with India's Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kishan Reddy, on 15 March. Our Acting High Commissioner in New Delhi also discussed UK Parliamentary interest in minorities in India with officials from India's Ministry of External Affairs on 5 January. A senior FCDO official discussed the situation for India's religious minorities with the Indian High Commissioner on 29 December.

The British High Commission in New Delhi regularly meets religious representatives and has run projects promoting minority rights. This year, they supported an interfaith leadership programme for a cohort of emerging Indian faith leaders, creating an opportunity to exchange expertise on leading modern, inclusive faith communities, and promoting values of tolerance and multi-culturalism.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to help prevent the persecution of atheists in Saudi Arabia.

The UK strongly supports the right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), which is restricted in Saudi Arabia. Ministers and our Ambassador in Saudi Arabia regularly raise and discuss freedom of religion or belief.

On 24 May 2021, I raised FoRB with the Saudi President of the Human Rights Commission during my visit to Saudi Arabia. Our views are well known and the UK will continue to encourage further human rights reform in Saudi Arabia.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Malian counterpart on the Malian military capturing Bah Ndaw and Moctar Ouane.

I have condemned the coup in Mali and called for the immediate, safe and unconditional release of all those detained, including the former President and Prime Minister who remain under house arrest. The UK has made clear that any attempt to impose a change of leadership by force, including through forced resignations, is unacceptable. The British Ambassador to Mali met the former Prime Minister Moctar Ouane after he was released from detention. The UK has not engaged with the leadership in place since the coup. I made clear that the UK stands ready to support ECOWAS efforts to monitor progress towards democratic, constitutional rule within the agreed timeframe, and with full respect for the conditions set out by ECOWAS. The UK's Sahel Envoy has already been speaking to like-minded counterparts to understand how best to coordinate international support. I have also reiterated the importance of renewed commitment to the broader priorities set out by the former transitional government, including efforts to tackle impunity and drive forward progress on the Malian peace process.

27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Mozambican counterpart on the insurgency in that country.

The UK is deeply concerned by the deteriorating security situation in the north-east of Mozambique, and the increasing attacks by groups with links to Islamic extremism. As I made clear publicly on 26 and 28 March, we condemn the appalling attacks in Cabo Delgado and stand with the people of Mozambique against terrorism. The UK Government continues to support the Government of Mozambique to address the causes of the conflict.

Lord Ahmad spoke to Mozambican Foreign Minister Macamo on 11 March, reaffirming UK support to help Mozambique fight terrorism, and stressing that human rights must be at the forefront of the government's approach. I also raised Cabo Delgado when I spoke to the Foreign Minister on 4 February. The Foreign Secretary last discussed the situation in northern Mozambique with President Nyusi on 11 June 2020, urging him to address the underlying causes of the insurgency as well as its effects. Our High Commissioner in Maputo most recently met President Nyusi on 1 April to discuss the Palma attacks and how the UK could support Mozambique's response.

25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Sudanese counterpart on recent reports of violence in the Red Sea state.

The UK is deeply concerned by reports of intercommunal violence in the Red Sea state between the Beni Amer and Nuba. It is an important reminder of the challenges Sudan faces as it transitions to democracy and seeks to end decades of conflict. Following the removal of President Bashir in 2019 the UK is supporting Sudan through this transition process, including efforts to deliver much needed economic stability and aid to those most in need.

We welcome the efforts made by the Sudanese Government to ensure that Sudan is an inclusive peaceful country, embracing the diversity of its people, and urge the Government to: deliver their commitment to assume full responsibility for the Protection of Civilians; implement swiftly their National Plan for Civilian Protection; and implement the Juba Peace Agreement, particularly provisions relating to security arrangements.

24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support his Department has offered to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo following the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo.

We are working closely with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO), the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and our humanitarian partners to monitor the situation, assess the impact and coordinate the response. UK-funded partners are already on the ground providing emergency support. The International Federation of the Red Cross Disaster Relief Emergency Fund is providing first aid, water, sanitation, hygiene, shelter and psychological support and working to restore family units. ICRC, one of our major humanitarian partners, is providing support for unaccompanied children and the UN Humanitarian Air Service is providing vital reconnaissance flights in the area.

24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support his Department is providing to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in response to the drought being experienced in that country.

Jordan is a close and valued partner and we are providing significant support to Jordan's economic resilience and to meet the needs of its most vulnerable people. Since the start of the Syria crisis in 2011, the UK has spent over £500m to support Jordanian stability, including humanitarian aid and investment in education and job opportunities, for Syrian refugees and vulnerable Jordanians.

We recognise the pressure of water scarcity in Jordan. The Prime Minister discussed the effects of climate change and efforts to protect biodiversity in the Middle East in his call with His Majesty King Abdullah on 13 April. Jordan is also a member of the Adaptation Action Coalition which works to build resilience to the effects of climate change.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much his Department spent on ending violence against women and girls in 2020.

The latest data on UK ODA spend was published in the Statistics on International Development: Provisional UK Aid Spend 2020 document on 8 April 2021. A full breakdown of 2020 spend by sector code (including violence against women and girls) will be published in autumn 2021.

2019 spend data shows that a total of £68.9 million of UK ODA was spent on violence against women and girls, £36.2 million of which was through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure food security during the covid-19 pandemic in (a) Africa and (b) Asia.

Building on the Foreign Secretary's Call to Action and through our G7 Presidency, the UK secured the G7's first ever Compact to tackle the drivers of famine - protecting 34 million people at risk and addressing upward trend in humanitarian needs. G7-prioritised funding will alleviate extreme hunger in some of the worst conflict-hit places, including North-East Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen and Syria. It will ensure people have access to food, water and sanitation, and that their children have access to lifesaving malnutrition treatment and vaccinations. I have seen the importance of this work including during my visits to South Sudan (with UK Special Envoy for Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Affairs Nick Dyer) and Nigeria.

We have adapted development programmes in agriculture, food security and nutrition, to reduce the scale of the emergency; build resilience; and prepare recovery. Our Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness (CASA) programme helped food supply chains in Uganda, Malawi and Nepal remain functional, fast-tracked digital innovation, improved processing, storage, and transportation, and protected food security and nutrition. The UK-co-chaired multilateral Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) adapted its portfolio and committed its full balance to mitigating COVID-19 impacts, in line with strategic parameters through UK leadership. GAFSP also launched a call for a greener recovery. We are working with partners to strengthen global food security monitoring and analysis and to better understand what COVID-19 has done to food security.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure access to healthcare for people with disabilities in (a) Africa and (b) Asia.

The UK is committed to ensuring people with disabilities globally are provided with the same access to health services as people without disabilities where possible. The pandemic has shown us that people with disabilities are disproportionately affected in crisis, so it is critical health systems are disability inclusive. The UK is supporting several countries in Asia and Africa, for example, to ensure COVID-19 public health messages are disability-responsive. In Nigeria alone this has reached at least 2.7 million people living with a disability. The UK is also helping people with disabilities access sexual health services. In 2019-2020 this resulted in a quadrupling of health visits by people with disabilities.

In January this government supported a new World Health Organisation resolution on the "the highest attainable standard of health for persons with disabilities". If adopted, the resolution will help to ensure that global health responses, including in Africa and Asia, provide quality responses to people with disabilities. Later this year we will also launch the enhanced Disability Inclusion Strategy which will include a sharper focus on global health.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Iranian counterpart on the persecution of Zoroastrians in that country.

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities.

While Zoroastrians are formally protected in the Iranian constitution, the reality is that many non-Muslims face discrimination. Meanwhile, the Baha'i community in Iran continue to be systematically discriminated against, harassed, and targeted. We have repeatedly raised these persistent human rights violations with Iran. On 9 March, at the UN Human Rights Council, the UK called on Iran to end the discrimination and persecution of religious minorities, particularly towards the Baha'i and Christian converts.

We condemn the incarceration of all religious minorities for the act of practicing their faith in Iran. We regularly raise human rights with the Iranians at all levels and take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor record on all human rights issues.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Iranian counterpart on the persecution of Baháʼís in that country.

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities.

While Zoroastrians are formally protected in the Iranian constitution, the reality is that many non-Muslims face discrimination. Meanwhile, the Baha'i community in Iran continue to be systematically discriminated against, harassed, and targeted. We have repeatedly raised these persistent human rights violations with Iran. On 9 March, at the UN Human Rights Council, the UK called on Iran to end the discrimination and persecution of religious minorities, particularly towards the Baha'i and Christian converts.

We condemn the incarceration of all religious minorities for the act of practicing their faith in Iran. We regularly raise human rights with the Iranians at all levels and take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor record on all human rights issues.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure access to healthcare for internally displaced people abroad.

Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are disproportionately affected by lack of access to healthcare and particularly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19. The UK COVID-19 response includes contributions of £137 million to the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19 and £55 million to appeals from the Red Cross Movement in addition to support to NGOs, to reduce transmission and mitigate the primary and secondary impacts of the virus on vulnerable populations. The UK provided an early and substantial contribution of £548 million to the COVAX Facility, a mechanism to deliver rapid, global and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines to underserved populations including IDPs. The UK e is also providing £340 million four-year core funding to the World Health Organisation including for its work in health emergencies, and helping to track the inclusion of IDPs, refugees and other persons of concern in national vaccination plans.

The UK is also advocating for longer term solutions for IDPs through the UN High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement so that IDPs are able to realise their fundamental rights, including access to health care. This is supported by UK-backed research into constraints to access to healthcare in conflict settings.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Egyptian counterpart on ensuring the safety of Coptic Christians in Egypt from religious persecution

We have been encouraged by the positive steps the Government of Egypt has taken in recent years, including President Sisi's public commitments, to uphold the rights of minorities and freedom of worship. There has also been a number of protections for freedom of religion enshrined in Egypt's constitution and the Middle East's largest cathedral was opened in Egypt in 2019. Most recently, during their telephone call in March, the Prime Minister and President Sisi agreed on the importance of upholding freedom of religion and belief. Our strong relationship with Egypt also allows us to discuss sensitive issues, such as the ongoing detention of Coptic activist Ramy Kamel, which we raised with the Egyptian authorities in November 2020.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help increase the level of democracy in countries in Africa categorised as Not Free by the Freedom House index for 2020.

Promoting democracy and defending democratic freedoms is a fundamental part of the UK's foreign policy in Africa. We believe that strong democratic institutions and accountable governments, which uphold universal rights and the rule of law, are key building blocks for secure and prosperous states. The way we act to support democracy in each country is different and dependent on the context and needs of the country concerned. Our approach is principled but practical, based on an understanding of where and how we can affect positive change. The UK is a strong advocate for the promotion and defence of democracy in Africa. We support a wide range of democracy-building initiatives, including funding Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that increase citizen participation, promoting inclusion of marginalised groups, providing training for legal professionals, promoting freedom of expression, and strengthening political parties and parliaments. As a 'force for good,' the UK will continue to work with its allies, including championing and strengthening democracy through international bodies like the UN.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle Ahmadi persecution in Bangladesh.

The UK government is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities.

Bangladesh is a human rights priority country for the FCDO. Ministers and our High Commission in Dhaka regularly raise human rights concerns as part of continued dialogue with the Government of Bangladesh. The UK supports community leaders in Bangladesh to address the causes and effects of inter-religious, ethnic and political conflict. Our development programming supports citizen groups in 31 districts across the country to come together to resolve grievances, mitigate religious violence and advocate for inclusive and peaceful co-existence.

While Bangladesh is a secular people's republic with formal guarantees of religious freedom, we recognise the risk of religious persecution faced by Ahmadiyya Muslims and other groups in Bangladesh, and actively engage with minority communities to understand their concerns. We will continue to monitor this closely and advocate for FoRB as well as other human rights.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much his Department has spent on promoting freedom of religion in (a) Africa and (b) Asia in each of the last three years.

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities.

Resources dedicated to FoRB work in Africa and Asia, including staff time, are not recorded centrally, but we have a number of human rights-related activities that contribute to supporting the FoRB agenda. This includes two targeted FoRB programmes through UK Aid Connect where we have spent £482,628, £1,683,095 and £2,785,822 in the years 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively. The programmes are delivered by the Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development which is led by the Institute of Development Studies, and the Freedom of Religion and Belief Leadership Network, managed by the University of Oxford. Both programmes have reach in Africa and Asia.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to encourage the Pakistani Government to appoint a new leader of Pakistan's National Commission for Human Rights since the ruling of the Islamabad High Court accusing the Pakistani Government of deliberately obstructing the Commission by leaving it leaderless.

The UK Government is committed to promoting human rights in Pakistan and around the globe. We regularly urge the government of Pakistan at a senior level to guarantee the rights of all people in Pakistan as laid down in the Constitution of Pakistan and in accordance with international standards. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia, responsible for human rights, raised our human rights concerns with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 20 February 2021.

We will continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to take the steps necessary to comply in full with its human rights obligations. This includes ensuring the effective operation of institutional human rights structures and processes.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Pakistani counterpart on the persecution of Ahmadis in that country.

The UK Government remains deeply concerned by reports of discrimination and violence against religious communities in Pakistan, including against the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. We continue to urge the government of Pakistan at senior levels to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens, regardless of their religion or belief.

Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia, raised our concerns about the recent murders of Ahmadi Muslims with Pakistan's Special Representative for Religious Harmony, Tahir Ashrafi, on 23 March. Lord Ahmad also raised our concerns about the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 20 February. In addition, Officials from the British High Commission in Islamabad met with representatives from the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Rabwah on 3 November 2020, in order to understand and engage with their concerns.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Pakistani counterpart on the effect of blasphemy laws on religious and belief minorities in that country.

The UK Government remains deeply concerned about reports of discrimination against the Christian community and other religious minorities in Pakistan. We regularly raise at a senior level our concerns regarding blasphemy laws with the Government of Pakistan. On 23 March, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia, discussed Freedom of Religion or Belief with Pakistan's Special Representative for Religious Harmony, Tahir Ashrafi. On 20 February, Lord Ahmad raised our concerns about the protection of minority religious communities, including the use of blasphemy laws, with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari. We will continue to urge the government of Pakistan to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens, regardless of their religion or belief.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of reports that Christian nurses Mariam Lal and Navish Aroojtwo in Faisalabad, Pakistan, have been charged under that country's blasphemy statutes.

The UK Government remains deeply concerned about reports of discrimination against the Christian community and other religious minorities in Pakistan. We regularly raise at a senior level our concerns regarding blasphemy laws with the Government of Pakistan. On 23 March, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia, discussed Freedom of Religion or Belief with Pakistan's Special Representative for Religious Harmony, Tahir Ashrafi. On 20 February, Lord Ahmad raised our concerns about the protection of minority religious communities, including the use of blasphemy laws, with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari. We will continue to urge the government of Pakistan to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens, regardless of their religion or belief.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Somalian counterpart on the recent violence in that country.

The UK has expressed deep concerns about the outbreak of violence in Somalia at the end of April and the risks of future escalation. With its international partners the UK condemned the violence, and has consistently urged Somali leaders to show restraint and return rapidly to dialogue on the electoral process on the basis of the 17 September agreement. Failure to move quickly towards consensus-based elections in Somalia risks greater insecurity and serious humanitarian consequences. On 1 May the UK welcomed the Somalia Parliament's endorsement of a return to talks. Through the British Embassy in Mogadishu, the UK, with its international partners, continues intensive diplomatic engagement with leaders of the Federal Government, Federal Member States and Opposition parties, to curb risks of violence and restore the political process.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the Government of Chad in response to the death of the former President of Chad, Idriss Déby.

I am concerned by the situation in Chad. My thoughts are with those mourning the death of President Déby and others who have died in fighting. The Foreign Secretary and I have publicly called for an end to violence in Chad. It is vital that stability is restored in order to allow for a peaceful, inclusive transition to civilian and constitutional rule.

We continue to engage closely with our international partners on developments in Chad. Through our Ambassador (designate) to Chad and our Sahel Envoy, we are holding regular discussions with the US, France and Germany. I have discussed the situation with regional leaders, including on my visit to Nigeria and with the AU's Commissioner for Political Affairs, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye. Ministers have not held discussions with Chad's transitional authorities following the death of President Déby.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help increase literacy rates in (a) Africa and (b) Asia.

The UK Government helps many of the most marginalised children in Africa and Asia gain critical foundational skills (literacy and numeracy) needed to progress in school. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 9 in 10 children in low income countries could not read a simple story by the age of ten. Now, with two-thirds of the academic year lost on average worldwide due to school closures, an additional 72 million children are expected to fall behind and fail to read by the time they leave primary school, with girls disproportionately impacted.

In response to school closures in Pakistan, UK technical support to the Government has provided teachers with scripted lessons and students with learning materials, benefitting more than 8.5 million students, including 4.3 million girls. In Ethiopia, the UK has helped the Government with school reopening and post COVID 19 recovery plans, working to improve the literacy and numeracy skills of over 1 million primary school aged children in the most marginalised parts of the country. Through our presidency of the G7 this year, the UK is asking G7 members and global education partners to raise their ambitions for girls education and endorse two new global targets - to get 40 million more girls into school and 20 million more girls reading by age 10 in low and lower middle income countries by 2026.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Indian counterpart on the application of blasphemy laws in that country.

India has a proud history of religious tolerance and we look to the Government of India to address concerns raised about articles in the Indian Penal Code which relate to religion. Human rights forms a regular part of our dialogue with the Government of India. On 15 March, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State responsible for Human Rights and South Asia, discussed the situation for Christians with India's Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kishan Reddy. Our Acting High Commissioner in New Delhi also discussed UK Parliamentary interest in minorities in India with officials from India's Ministry of External Affairs on 5 January, and a senior FCDO official discussed the situation for India's religious minorities with the Indian High Commissioner on 29 December 2020


Staff in our diplomatic network across India regularly meet religious representatives and have run projects promoting minority rights. Over the last three years, they have worked with local NGOs to bring together young people of diverse faith backgrounds to work together on social action projects in their local communities and promote a culture of interfaith tolerance. This year, they supported an interfaith leadership programme for a cohort of emerging Indian faith leaders, creating an opportunity to exchange expertise on leading modern, inclusive faith communities.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to increase the level of internet freedom in countries in Asia categorised as Partly Free by the Freedom House index for 2020.

Promoting and protecting media freedom is an important part of the UK's work to protect and defend human rights in Asia. The UK is committed to a free, open, peaceful and secure internet. It enables freedom of expression and provides a wide arena for human rights defenders and civil society to engage in democratic processes and to hold governments to account. The FCDO is supporting the NGO Access Now's #KeepItOn campaign, which brings together a coalition of over 100 countries to counter internet shutdowns. The UK also works to defend internet freedom though our membership of the Freedom Online Coalition, a coalition of 32 countries.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to increase the level of internet freedom in countries in Asia categorised as Not Free by the Freedom House index for 2020.

Promoting and protecting media freedom is an important part of the UK's work to protect and defend human rights in Asia. The UK is committed to a free, open, peaceful and secure internet. It enables freedom of expression and provides a wide arena for human rights defenders and civil society to engage in democratic processes and to hold governments to account. The FCDO is supporting the NGO Access Now's #KeepItOn campaign, which brings together a coalition of over 100 countries to counter internet shutdowns. The UK also works to defend internet freedom though our membership of the Freedom Online Coalition, a coalition of 32 countries.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in Asian countries ranked in the bottom quartile of the Economic Freedom Rankings by the Fraser institution on liberalising their economies.

As set out in the Integrated Review, the UK is committed to working in partnership to create open societies and open economies, and champion free trade and global economic cooperation.

My ministerial colleagues and I [Minister Adams] engage regularly with our counterparts to further this agenda, including with those countries in Asia ranked in the bottom quartile of the Economic Freedom Rankings. For example, in Vietnam, the Foreign Secretary recently renewed our Strategic Partnership Agreement, which includes cooperation on open trade and investment. In Bangladesh, Minister Jayawardena spoke to his counterpart in February to inaugurate the UK-Bangladesh Trade & Investment Dialogue and discuss trade and investment liberalisation.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to increase the level of democracy in countries in Asia categorised as Partly Free by the Freedom House index for 2020.

Promoting democracy and defending democratic freedoms is a fundamental part of the UK's foreign policy. We believe that strong democratic institutions and accountable government, which uphold universal rights and the rule of law, are key building blocks for secure and prosperous states. The way we act to support democracy in each country is different and dependent on the context and needs of the country concerned. Our approach is practical, based on an understanding of where and how we can affect positive change. We support a wide range of democracy-building initiatives, including funding Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that increase citizen participation, promoting inclusion of marginalised groups, providing training for legal professionals, promoting freedom of expression, and strengthening political parties and parliaments.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to increase the level of democracy in countries in Asia categorised as Not Free by the Freedom House index for 2020.

Promoting democracy and defending democratic freedoms is a fundamental part of the UK's foreign policy. We believe that strong democratic institutions and accountable government, which uphold universal rights and the rule of law, are key building blocks for secure and prosperous states. The way we act to support democracy in each country is different and dependent on the context and needs of the country concerned. Our approach is practical, based on an understanding of where and how we can affect positive change. We support a wide range of democracy-building initiatives, including funding Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that increase citizen participation, promoting inclusion of marginalised groups, providing training for legal professionals, promoting freedom of expression, and strengthening political parties and parliaments.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to increase the level of democracy in countries in the Americas categorised as Partly Free by the Freedom House index for 2020.

Promoting democracy and defending democratic freedoms is a fundamental part of the UK's foreign policy. We believe that strong democratic institutions and accountable government, which uphold universal rights and the rule of law, are key building blocks for secure and prosperous states. The way we act to support democracy in each country is different, and dependent on the context and needs of the country concerned. Our approach is practical, based on an understanding of where and how we can affect positive change.

In the Americas, we support a wide range of democracy-building initiatives, including funding NGOs that increase citizen participation, promoting inclusion of marginalised groups, providing training for legal professionals, promoting freedom of expression, and strengthening political parties and parliaments. As a 'force for good,' the UK will continue to work with its allies, including championing and strengthening democracy through international bodies like the UN.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to increase the level of democracy in countries in the Americas categorised as Not Free by the Freedom House index for 2020.

Promoting democracy and defending democratic freedoms is a fundamental part of the UK's foreign policy. We believe that strong democratic institutions and accountable government, which uphold universal rights and the rule of law, are key building blocks for secure and prosperous states. The way we act to support democracy in each country is different, and dependent on the context and needs of the country concerned. Our approach is practical, based on an understanding of where and how we can affect positive change.

In the Americas, we support a wide range of democracy-building initiatives, including funding NGOs that increase citizen participation, promoting inclusion of marginalised groups, providing training for legal professionals, promoting freedom of expression, and strengthening political parties and parliaments. As a 'force for good,' the UK will continue to work with its allies, including championing and strengthening democracy through international bodies like the UN.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in South American countries ranked in the bottom quartile of the Economic Freedom Rankings by the Fraser institution on liberalising their economies.

I have spoken to my Argentine counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Pablo Tettamanti, about a range of issues, including economic cooperation. On 3 March, he and I discussed future engagement to support market access, among other issues. I also spoke to the Argentine delegation about green finance and post-COVID recovery strategies at the recent Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) Annual Meeting. The UK Government has offered to share technical expertise with Argentina on green finance, electromobility, and sustainable infrastructure in order to facilitate a global green recovery.

The UK does not recognise the Maduro regime in Venezuela, and remains deeply concerned at the deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation in the country. Economic mismanagement has resulted in hyperinflation, shortages of food and medicine, and the collapse of critical infrastructure.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to increase the level of internet freedom in countries in the Americas categorised as Partly Free by the Freedom House index for 2020.

The UK is committed to a free, open, peaceful, and secure internet. It enables freedom of expression, and provides a wide arena for human rights defenders and civil society to engage in democratic processes, and hold governments to account.

The Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office is supporting the NGO Access Now's #KeepItOn campaign, which brings together a coalition of over 100 countries to counter internet shutdowns. The UK also works to defend internet freedom though our membership of the Freedom Online Coalition, a coalition of 32 countries.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to increase the level of democracy in countries in Africa categorised as Not Free by the Freedom House index for 2020.

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

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to increase the level of internet freedom in countries in the Americas categorised as Not Free by the Freedom House index for 2020.

The UK is committed to a free, open, peaceful, and secure internet. It enables freedom of expression, and provides a wide arena for human rights defenders and civil society to engage in democratic processes, and hold governments to account.

The Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office is supporting the NGO Access Now's #KeepItOn campaign, which brings together a coalition of over 100 countries to counter internet shutdowns. The UK also works to defend internet freedom though our membership of the Freedom Online Coalition, a coalition of 32 countries.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in African countries ranked in the bottom quartile of the Economic Freedom Rankings by the Fraser institution on liberalising their economies.

I regularly engage with our counterparts in African countries on economic policies, including those ranked in the bottom quartile of the Economic Freedom Rankings. As set out in the Integrated Review, the UK Government is committed to the promotion of free and fair trade around the world and has already concluded trade agreements with 15 African countries. The UK Government supports economic development of African countries through a variety of channels, and UK investors have continued to invest throughout 2020 and 2021, meaning the £15.4 billion of deals made around the 2020 Africa Investment Summit are on track.

Looking specifically at countries in the bottom quartile of the Economic Freedom Rankings, in the past 6 months FCDO Ministers have visited Ethiopia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, and Malawi. These visits included discussions on improving economic development and trade policies. Such discussions have also taken place with other countries in the bottom quartile of the rankings. There are many examples of how our economic development support in these countries has delivered impact including:

In DRC the UK has helped to reduce multiple corruption opportunities, encourage increased formalisation, and has reduced the time taken to register a business by 22 days.

The UK's £6.8 million of support to the 'Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund' has leveraged over $9.8 million in private capital into medium and small enterprises which created over 3,400 permanent jobs, almost half of these for women.

In Sudan the UK has supported the reforms process we have seen progress on exchange rate, subsidies, and the early improvements to the enabling environment for trade and investment.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to increase the level of internet freedom in countries in Africa categorised as Partly Free by the Freedom House index for 2020.

Promoting and protecting media freedom is an important part of the UK's work to protect and defend human rights in Africa. The UK is committed to a free, open, peaceful and secure internet. It enables freedom of expression and provides a wide arena for human rights defenders and civil society to engage in democratic processes and to hold governments to account. The FCDO is supporting the NGO Access Now's #KeepItOn campaign, which brings together a coalition of over 100 countries to counter internet shutdowns. The UK also works to defend internet freedom though our membership of the Freedom Online Coalition, a coalition of 32 countries. Defending Media Freedom forms a key part of our commitment to supporting Open Societies and Human Rights, which was set out recently in the Integrated Review and which forms one of the seven key priority areas set out by the Foreign Secretary for the aid budget this year.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to increase the level of internet freedom in countries in Africa categorised as Not Free by the Freedom House index for 2020.

Promoting and protecting media freedom is an important part of the UK's work to protect and defend human rights in Africa. The UK is committed to a free, open, peaceful and secure internet. It enables freedom of expression and provides a wide arena for human rights defenders and civil society to engage in democratic processes and to hold governments to account. The FCDO is supporting the NGO Access Now's #KeepItOn campaign, which brings together a coalition of over 100 countries to counter internet shutdowns. The UK also works to defend internet freedom though our membership of the Freedom Online Coalition, a coalition of 32 countries. Defending Media Freedom forms a key part of our commitment to supporting Open Societies and Human Rights, which was set out recently in the Integrated Review and which forms one of the seven key priority areas set out by the Foreign Secretary for the aid budget this year.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department are taking to increase the level of democracy in countries in Africa categorised as Partly Free by the Freedom House index for 2020.

Promoting democracy and defending democratic freedoms is a fundamental part of the UK's foreign policy in Africa. We believe that strong democratic institutions and accountable governments, which uphold universal rights and the rule of law, are key building blocks for secure and prosperous states. The way we act to support democracy in each country is different and dependent on the context and needs of the country concerned. Our approach is principled but practical, based on an understanding of where and how we can affect positive change. The UK is a strong advocate for the promotion and defence of democracy in Africa. We support a wide range of democracy-building initiatives, including funding Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that increase citizen participation, promoting inclusion of marginalised groups, providing training for legal professionals, promoting freedom of expression, and strengthening political parties and parliaments.

24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to challenge the spread of technological surveillance in (a) Tibet and (b) Xinjiang.

We regularly raise our deep concerns about the human rights situation in Tibet and Xinjiang bilaterally with the Chinese authorities and at the UN. There is a growing body of evidence of extensive and invasive surveillance targeting minorities in Tibet and Xinjiang. The UK is committed to promoting the ethical development and deployment of technology in the UK and overseas.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in Vietnam.

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities.

In Vietnam we have publicly confirmed our position that members of religious groups and organisations, both recognised and unrecognised, should be allowed to worship and practise their beliefs peacefully. The UK works alongside likeminded diplomatic missions and organisations to coordinate activity on FoRB of religious communities. The UK-Vietnam Strategic Partnership Agreement commits to cooperation on human rights and we raise concerns on policy and individual cases during our annual Strategic Dialogue with Vietnamese Ministers.

The Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, made the UK's commitment to FoRB for all clear in a number of international meetings in November 2020. On 16 November 2020, he virtually attended the Ministerial meeting to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief in Warsaw and reaffirmed the UK's commitment to promoting FoRB, particularly during the pandemic. He also reaffirmed the UK's commitment to promoting FoRB for all at the Ministers' Forum of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance in the same month. On 20 December 2020, the Prime Minister appointed Fiona Bruce MP as his special envoy for FoRB. Mrs Bruce represents the UK at meetings of the alliance, who work to advocate for the rights of individuals being discriminated against or persecuted on the basis of their faith or belief.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in Indonesia.

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities. Ministers and officials regularly raise specific cases of concern, and discuss practices and laws that discriminate on the basis of religion or belief. On a multilateral level, we work within the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance ('Alliance') and other international organisations and networks to promote and protect FoRB for all where it is threatened. On 20 December 2020, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to FoRB by appointing Fiona Bruce MP as his Special Envoy for FoRB. Mrs Bruce represents the UK at meetings of the Alliance who work to advocate for the rights of individuals being discriminated against or persecuted on the basis of their faith or belief.

In Indonesia, Embassy officials regularly meet with senior members of all six official faiths and also with Ahmadiyah and Shia communities. The British Ambassador to Indonesia met with the Indonesian Religious Affairs Minister on 19 January 2021 and discussed this issue.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if the Government will place sanctions on Chen Quanguo, the highest ranking Chinese Communist Party Official in Xinjiang.

On 22 March, the Foreign Secretary announced that the UK has imposed, under the UK's Global Human Rights sanctions regime, asset freezes and travel bans against four Chinese government officials responsible for the violations that have taken place and persist against the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. Alongside those individuals, the UK also designated the Public Security Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, the organisation responsible for enforcing the repressive security policies across many areas of Xinjiang. By acting with 30 other countries on an agreed set of designations we increased the reach and impact of these measures and sent the clearest possible signal of the international community's serious concern and collective willingness to act. The FCDO will keep all evidence and potential listings under close review.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle the use of forced labour in (a) Tibet and (b) Xinjiang.

Evidence of forced labour within Tibet and Xinjiang is credible and growing. The UK continues to urge China to respect all fundamental rights in line with both its own constitution and its international human rights obligations. The Foreign Secretary raised concerns about Uyghur forced labour in his intervention at the UN Human Rights Council on 22 February. On 12 January, the Foreign Secretary announced robust, targeted measures to help ensure that British organisations, whether public or private sector, are not complicit in, nor profiting from, the human rights violations in Xinjiang. These measures will target in a forensic way either those profiting from forced labour or those who would financially support it, whether deliberately or otherwise.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Chinese Government on the persecution of Tibetan Buddhists.

On 22 February, the Foreign Secretary expressed his deep concerns about the human rights situation in Tibet in a ministerial statement at the Human Rights Council. Officials have also raised concerns with the Chinese Embassy in London and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing in recent months. We consistently urge China to respect all fundamental rights in line with both its own constitution and the international frameworks to which it is a party. We will continue to raise the situation in Tibet with the Chinese authorities.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in Uzbekistan.

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities. The UK and Uzbekistan have an open dialogue on a wide-range of human rights issues. The UK's Human Rights Ambassador, Rita French, recently undertook a virtual visit to the country, and held a follow up meeting with the Uzbek Deputy Foreign Minister, which included discussions on protection of fundamental freedoms. Following lobbying from our Ambassador to Uzbekistan, alongside other diplomatic missions in Tashkent, the Uzbek authorities submitted a draft law on freedom of conscience and religious organisations to the Venice Commission and we urge Uzbekistan to consider the Commission's response to the draft. Our Ambassador also recently met with local religious groups and listened to concerns regarding registration of religious organisations. We will continue to raise issues related to freedom of religion or belief with the Uzbek authorities.

The Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, underlined the UK's commitment to FoRB for all in a number of international meetings in November 2020, speaking at the Ministerial to Advance FoRB and the Ministers' Forum of the Alliance. On 20 December 2020, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to FoRB by appointing Fiona Bruce MP as his Special Envoy for FoRB. Mrs Bruce represents the UK at meetings of the Alliance who work to advocate for the rights of individuals being discriminated against or persecuted on the basis of their faith or belief.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the US Tibet Policy Support Act 2020.

We are aware of the US Tibet Policy Support Act 2020, which calls for reciprocal access to Tibet and makes it official US policy that the succession of the Dalai Lama should be left solely to Tibetan Buddhists to decide. The UK continues to call for unfettered access to the Tibet Autonomous Region, and seeks a reciprocal, fair and transparent system of access for our diplomats and citizens. British diplomats last visited the Tibet Autonomous Region in July 2019, following a request for access by our Embassy in Beijing. We periodically request access to the Tibet Autonomous Region, but did not do so in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. We continue to raise our concerns about the human rights situation in Tibet with the Chinese authorities, including through joint statements in the UN's human rights bodies, and call on them to uphold the rights of all citizens guaranteed in international law and China's own constitution.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the social credit system in China on freedom of religion or belief in that country.

We remain deeply concerned about the persecution of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners and others on the grounds of their religion or belief in China. The freedom to practise, change or share ones faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a human right that all people should enjoy. Alongside partners, we have expressed concerns to China's authorities that elements of its social credit system may infringe on the freedom of expression as set out in China's constitution and international instruments. We believe that societies which aim to guarantee freedom of religion or belief are more stable, prosperous and more resilient against violent extremism.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Indian counterpart on countering the influence of the China in the Indo-Pacific.

The UK's ambition in the Indo-Pacific is to have a broad and integrated presence - with a long term commitment to closer and deeper partnerships, bilaterally and multilaterally. The Foreign Secretary has discussed the UK's Indo-Pacific tilt with his Indian counterpart and our shared vision of an inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region, including during his visit to India in December 2020 and his phone call with his Indian counterpart on 3 March.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts for countries in the Sahel on insurgents in that territory.

The UK is deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel. At the G5 Sahel Summit on 16 February, attended by all Sahelian governments and international partners, the Foreign Secretary set out the need to address impunity for human rights abuses and violations, strengthen civil-military coordination, and improve efforts to enhance stability in the region.

24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in the Central African Republic.

The UK is committed to supporting Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious groups in the Central African Republic (CAR). We work through the UN General Assembly Third Committee, UN Security Council and UN Human Rights Council to promote and protect these rights in CAR.

The UK contributes approximately £40 million annually to the UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA) which continues to provide security across CAR. The mission works closely with the CAR government with the aim of protecting civilians and helping religious and non-religious groups and communities to co-exist peacefully. We also continue to monitor and report human rights abuses committed by armed groups in CAR, including violations of the 2019 Peace Agreement such as violent attacks on houses of worship, hospitals, and schools.

24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in Algeria.

The UK is committed to defending Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. We regularly engage the Algerian authorities on this issue, including raising the importance of freedom of religion or belief as set out in Algeria's Constitution, and the need to ensure that Algeria's laws and processes allow the freedom to practise one's religion or belief. Our Embassy in Algiers is in regular contact with minority religious groups in Algeria, including the Protestant Church of Algeria (EPA) and the Ahmaddiya Muslim community.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in Iraq.

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities.

Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities. HRH Prince Charles discussed the need to promote FoRB with Iraq's Prime Minister Kadhimi during his visit to London in October 2020. HMA Baghdad regularly discusses the need to protect and empower religious minorities with the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

The UK is working to support the rights of religious minorities in Iraq who were the victims of appalling Daesh crimes. To enable the return of internally displaced persons, including minorities, we have contributed £28 million to the UNDP Funding Facility for Stabilisation, which is restoring vital infrastructure and basic services in areas liberated from Daesh. In order to support the prosecution of Daesh crimes in Iraq, we have provided £2 million to the UN Investigative Team for the Accountability of Daesh (UNITAD) and are encouraging close co-operation between UNITAD and the Government of Iraq to achieve justice for Daesh's victims.

The Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, underlined the UK's commitment to FoRB for all in a number of international meetings in November 2020, speaking at the Ministerial to Advance FoRB and the Ministers' Forum of the International Freedom of Belief Alliance. On 20 December 2020, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to FoRB by appointing Fiona Bruce MP as his Special Envoy for FoRB. Mrs Bruce represents the UK at meetings of the Alliance who work to advocate for the rights of individuals being discriminated against or persecuted on the basis of their faith or belief.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in Syria.

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities.

Christians and people of other religions or beliefs have suffered in the Syrian conflict, persecuted particularly by Daesh. The UK is committed to supporting efforts to bring an end to this conflict as quickly as possible through the UN-facilitated political process, which aims to reach a lasting political settlement which protects the rights of all Syrians. We also support efforts to pursue accountability for the most serious crimes committed in Syria and have contributed over £13 million since 2012 in support of Syrian and international efforts to gather evidence and assist victims of human rights abuses and violations, including support to the UN International Impartial and Independent Mechanism.

The Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, underlined the UK's commitment to FoRB for all at the Ministerial to Advance FoRB and the Ministers' Forum of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance. On 20 December 2020, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to FoRB by appointing Fiona Bruce MP as his Special Envoy for FoRB.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in Eritrea.

The UK Government takes every opportunity to voice our concern about arbitrary arrests and detentions in Eritrea on the basis of religion or belief, and have called for release of such worshippers. We have done so directly with the Government of Eritrea and publicly - through our annual reporting on human rights and at the UN Human Rights Council. Most recently the UK raised Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) in Eritrea in a statement by the UK's International Ambassador for Human Rights, Rita French, at the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea during the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council on 24 February. We welcomed the release of Muslim, Christian and Jehovah's Witness detainees in 2020 and continue to push for further releases. We also encouraged Eritrea to make progress on their commitment to the Universal Periodic Review process including the promotion of FoRB.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in Iran.

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities.

The Baha'i community in Iran continue to be systematically discriminated against, harassed, and targeted. We have repeatedly raised these persistent human rights violations with Iran. On 9 March, at the latest session of the UN Human Rights Council, the UK called on Iran to end the discrimination and persecution of religious minorities, particularly towards the Baha'i and Christian converts. Lord Ahmad made a statement on 12 February, criticising the persecution against religious minorities in Iran, particularly focusing on expropriation of Baha'i-owned land. The UK fully backs renewing the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, so he can examine these issues further.

The minister responsible for human rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, made the UK's commitment to FoRB for all clear in a number of international meetings in November 2020. On 16 November 2020, he virtually attended the ministerial meeting to advance Freedom of Religion or Belief in Warsaw and reaffirmed the UK's commitment to promoting FoRB, particularly during the pandemic. He also reaffirmed the UK's commitment to promoting FoRB for all at the ministers' forum of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance in the same month. On 20 December 2020, the Prime Minister appointed Fiona Bruce MP as his special envoy for FoRB. Mrs Bruce represents the UK at meetings of the alliance, who work to advocate for the rights of individuals being discriminated against or persecuted on the basis of their faith or belief.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans his Department has to help encourage tourism to British Overseas Territories following the covid-19 pandemic.

Responsibility for tourism is devolved to the Overseas Territories Governments. The British Government supports strong cultural links with the Overseas Territories, which attract many visitors from the United Kingdom each year.

The UK Government has supported the Overseas Territories throughout the pandemic, and the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office have been coordinating the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to the Territories which will be essential to help reopen their economies and borders.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to increase biodiversity in the British Overseas Territories.

Environmental policy is a devolved responsibility. However the UK works in partnership with the Overseas Territories (OTs) to deliver both OT- specific objectives and to contribute to wider regional and international environmental commitments. Since 2012, the UK Government's Darwin Plus Programme has committed £22m towards 122 individual projects in the UK Overseas Territories, aimed at conserving and protecting unique and globally significant species and habitats.

There are a number of funding streams available to the British Overseas Territories to support the protection and management of their natural resources, including Darwin Plus (also known as The Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund), with an annual budget of £10 million from 2021. The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund has also provided funding from 2016-2021 for a number of environmental projects such as the Blue Belt of marine protection around the OTs. Other environmental projects include assessing renewable and non-renewable natural assets (natural capital); implementing actions plans to protect fragile coral reefs and non-native species, and biosecurity measures to prevent the introduction and spread of harmful species to new environments.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in Pakistan.

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities around the globe. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities.

We continue to urge the Government of Pakistan at senior levels to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens, regardless of their religion or belief. Most recently, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia and Human Rights, raised the need to promote respect for all religions with Pakistan's Special Representative for Religious Harmony, Tahir Ashrafi, on 23 March. Lord Ahmad also raised our concerns on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Pakistan with the Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 20 February.

The UK works within the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, and the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance ("the Alliance") to promote and protect FoRB for all. Lord Ahmad underlined the UK's commitment to FoRB for all at a number of international meetings in November 2020, speaking at the intergovernmental Ministerial to Advance FoRB and the Ministers' Forum of the Alliance. On 20 December 2020, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his personal commitment to the issue by appointing Fiona Bruce MP as his Special Envoy for FoRB.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in North Korea.

The UK continues to have strong concerns about the lack of freedom of religion or belief in North Korea. We continue to urge North Korea to uphold its human rights obligations and engage substantively with the international community on this issue. We regularly raise our concerns directly with the North Korean authorities and at the UN, including most recently through the Human Rights Council in March 2021.

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities.

The Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, underlined the UK's commitment to FoRB for all in a number of international meetings in November 2020, speaking at the Ministerial to Advance FoRB and the Ministers' Forum of the Alliance. On 20 December 2020, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to FoRB by appointing Fiona Bruce MP as his Special Envoy for FoRB. Mrs Bruce represents the UK at meetings of the Alliance who work to advocate for the rights of individuals being discriminated against or persecuted on the basis of their faith or belief.

In 2019, the Bishop of Truro released a report commissioned by the then Foreign Secretary looking into the then FCO support for persecuted Christians, with recommendations to improve the lives of people persecuted for their religion, faith or belief. One of those recommendations related to the establishment of the UK's Global Human Rights sanctions regime. This regime came into effect on 6 July 2020 and allows us to designate those who commit serious human rights abuses or violations, including those who target individuals on the grounds of their religion or belief. We take decisions about whether particular individuals or entities could be subject to measures under the regime on a case-by-case basis. We have already designated two entities involved in administering the North Korean penal system.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in the Xinjiang province of China.

The Government remains gravely concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang, including the systematic restrictions on Uyghur culture and the practice of Islam. The UK is committed to taking robust action to hold China to account for its human rights violations in the region. On 22 March, the Foreign Secretary announced that the UK has imposed, under the UK's Global Human Rights sanctions regime, asset freezes and travel bans against four Chinese government officials, as well the Public Security Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, the organisation responsible for enforcing the repressive security policies across many areas of Xinjiang. The Government has repeatedly called on China to respect the freedom of religion and belief in line with its Constitution and its international obligations.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in Myanmar.

The UK is very concerned by divisive, racist and nationalist propaganda perpetuated by the military regime since the coup. Our Embassy is meeting with a range of stakeholders, including Buddhist, Christian and Muslim leaders who are bravely standing up against the military junta.

We continue to raise our concerns, including at the UN Human Rights Council, on the Race and Religion Laws and the 1982 Citizenship Law which have been used to discriminate against non-Buddhists.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in Malaysia.

The British Government is firmly committed to standing up for freedom of religion, and for individuals to practise their beliefs free from fear. These views are well known in Malaysia, and our longstanding relationship allows us to raise concerns in this area at senior levels with the Malaysian government.

HMG funded a project in 2020 to better understand attitudes towards freedom of religion or belief in Malaysia, facilitate two interfaith community exchange programmes, and develop a policy recommendation paper on the promotion of inter-religious understanding and education.

Our High Commission in Kuala Lumpur regularly raises the issue of freedom of religion or belief with their Malaysian counterparts. The Minister for South Asia and the Commonwealth, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, discussed freedom of religion or belief with the then Malaysian Minister for National Unity, Waytha Morthy, in January 2020.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in Tajikistan.

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities. On a country level, Ministers and officials regularly raise specific cases of concern, and discuss practices and laws that discriminate on the basis of religion or belief. On a multilateral level, we work within the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance ('Alliance') and other international organisations and networks to promote and protect FoRB for all where it is threatened. The Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, underlined the UK's commitment to FoRB for all in a number of international meetings in November 2020, speaking at the Ministerial to Advance FoRB and the Ministers' Forum of the Alliance. On 20 December 2020, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to FoRB by appointing Fiona Bruce MP as his Special Envoy for FoRB. Mrs Bruce represents the UK at meetings of the Alliance who work to advocate for the rights of individuals being discriminated against or persecuted on the basis of their faith or belief.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of the press in Venezuela.

We remain concerned about the increasing intimidation and harassment of the media by the Maduro regime. A statement by the Independent International Fact Finding Mission on Venezuela on 10 March stated that there have been 9 detentions of journalists, and the independent press since its last report in September 2020. We highlighted this issue at the UN Human Rights Council meeting on Venezuela in March, and signed up to the ministerial statement by the International Contact Group on Venezuela on 2 February, which called for an immediate end to repression and attacks on the media in Venezuela.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in Turkmenistan.

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities. Turkmenistan remains a Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) Human Rights Priority Country. Our 2019 Human Rights Report and a subsequent statement by the Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, in November 2020 highlighted our concerns over the imprisonment of a number of conscientious objectors to military service, which included Jehovah's Witnesses. Officials in London have met with The European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses to discuss freedom of religion or belief across Central Asia.

Lord Ahmad also underlined the UK's commitment to FoRB for all in a number of international meetings in November 2020, speaking at the Ministerial to Advance FoRB and the Ministers' Forum of the Alliance. On 20 December 2020, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to FoRB by appointing Fiona Bruce MP as his Special Envoy for FoRB. Mrs Bruce represents the UK at meetings of the Alliance who work to advocate for the rights of individuals being discriminated against or persecuted on the basis of their faith or belief.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in Sudan.

We welcome the Government of Sudan's pledge to ensure that human rights and freedom of religion and belief are fully respected and commend progress, including legal reforms decriminalising apostasy, declaring Christmas a national holiday and lifting of public order laws that disproportionately affected Christian women. In addition we commend the reference to freedom of religion or belief as part of the Juba Peace Agreement (JPA), including the intention to establish an independent commission for religious freedom in Sudan. However, long-standing human rights issues remain and it will take time for these commitments to impact ordinary people as the country transitions to democracy and the JPA is implemented. The Foreign Secretary emphaised the need for progress on human rights reforms when he met Prime Minister Hamdok in Khartoum in January 2021. The UK also continues to work with the Government of Sudan, civil society and the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission Sudan (UNITAMS), to deliver further progress as part of our wider work to support human rights improvements. More broadly our Annual Human Rights Report sets out in detail the UK's approach to human rights priority countries, including Sudan, and the work we have undertaken to promote and protect human rights around world.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the finding of Amnesty International's report of 19 March 2021 alleging that China has been sending the children of exiled Uighur parents to orphanages.

We are deeply concerned by reports of the mistreatment of Uyghur children, including reports of children being forcibly separated from their parents and placed in state run institutions. The Government has noted Amnesty Internationals's report of 19 March 2021 and will continue to engage with a range of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and other experts, to inform our understanding of the situation in Xinjiang and guide policy development. We will also continue to take action to hold China to account for its human rights violation in Xinjiang, working closely with international partners. On 22 March, the Foreign Secretary announced that the UK has imposed, under the UK's Global Human Rights sanctions regime, asset freezes and travel bans against four Chinese Government officials, as well the Public Security Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, the organisation responsible for enforcing the repressive security policies across many areas of Xinjiang.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps his Department is taking to help encourage freedom of the press in Hong Kong.

The UK is deeply concerned about the situation in Hong Kong and the erosion of rights and freedoms and the high degree of autonomy enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration. The UK has already taken a number of actions in response to developments in Hong Kong. These include introducing a new bespoke immigration path for British Nationals (Overseas) (BNOs), suspending our extradition treaty with Hong Kong indefinitely, and extending our arms embargo on mainland China to Hong Kong.

Freedom of the press is one of the rights set down in paragraph 3(5) of the Joint Declaration. It is vital that journalists are able to investigate and report without undue interference. We expect the Hong Kong authorities to abide by their international obligations and to investigate instances of attacks on the media. It is imperative that this freedom is fully respected. We will continue to stand up for the people of Hong Kong as befits our historic commitment to them, to call out the violation of their rights and freedoms.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps his Department is taking to help encourage freedom of the press in Egypt.

Promoting media freedom is a priority for the UK in Egypt. We regularly raise concerns relating to restrictions on media freedom with the Egyptian authorities, both in private and public, including at Ministerial level. On 12 March the UK participated alongside 30 other countries in making a joint statement on Egypt at the UN Human Rights Council. The statement called on the Egyptian authorities to end the practice of blocking independent media websites and to release all journalists arrested in the course of practicing their profession. We regularly raise the cases of detained journalists with the Egyptian authorities.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps his Department is taking to help encourage freedom of the press in Myanmar.

The UK has led a strong, coordinated international response to the coup and the crackdown on rights and freedoms. We used our UN Security Council Presidency to urgently convene the Council following the coup and secured a unanimous statement of condemnation on 4 February. In response to the deteriorating situation in Myanmar we convened the Council again on 5 March and secured a UN Security Council Presidential Statement on 10 March calling for the protection of human rights and freedoms. We co-led a Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council on 12 February and secured a unanimous resolution which called for the protection of press freedom and journalists. Our Embassy in Yangon has worked closely with partners to highlight the draconian measures limiting freedom of speech in Myanmar and to coordinate joint statements on these issues. We continue to condemn the deliberate disruption of communications to limit freedom of expression and press freedom as well as the intimidation and arbitrary detention of journalists. Journalists must be allowed to carry out their job without fear or threat of violence.

The UK has consistently raised the issue of freedom of expression and press freedom internationally both with partners and at the UN. The unanimous statements at the UN Security Council on 4 March and 10 March called for the respect of human rights and freedom of expression, as did the resolution passed at the Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council on 12 February.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Mozambican counterpart on the ongoing violence in that country.

The UK is deeply concerned by the deteriorating security situation in northern Mozambique, and the increasing attacks by groups with links to Islamic extremism. We are supporting the Government of Mozambique to address the drivers of insecurity and violence and have provided £19m of humanitarian and development support to those displaced by the conflict. I [Minister Duddridge] spoke to Foreign Minister Macamo on 4 February to raise the need for Mozambique to follow through on investigations of human rights abuses by all sides involved in the conflict. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon also spoke to Foreign Minister Macamo on 11 March when he reaffirmed that we would continue to work with Mozambique on their counterterrorism efforts and underlined the importance of respect for human rights.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much funding allocated to the BBC World Service has been used to promote covid-19 vaccine uptake overseas.

We have made it clear that the UK strongly supports COVID-19 vaccine uptake worldwide. The BBC World Service is an internationally trusted broadcaster, and is editorially and operationally independent of government. It would not be appropriate for the FCDO to direct programming.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much funding his Department has allocated to the distribution of covid-19 vaccines to British Overseas Territories.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of the UK's Overseas Territories, with confirmed outbreaks in all but two of the inhabited Territories. The UK Government has been directly supplying the UK's Overseas Territories with COVID-19 vaccines as part of the UK's enduring commitment to the Territories. The UK Government's policy is to publish data on vaccinations administered. By 19 March, each Overseas Territory had administered approximately the following number of doses:

Approximate number of doses administered by 18 March 2021

Anguilla

5,500

Ascension

816

Bermuda

30,000

British Virgin Islands

6,500

Cayman Islands

38,300

Falkland Islands

1,787

Gibraltar

53,171

Montserrat

1140

Pitcairn

0

St Helena

3,400

Tristan da Cunha

0

Turks & Caicos Islands

11,283

The FCDO are arranging and funding the delivery of vaccines to the Territories, which began on 5 January and are aiming to deliver enough doses to offer vaccines to every adult across the Territories. So far, there have been 27 deliveries, reaching all of the permanently inhabited Overseas Territories with airports. Further deliveries are scheduled and planning is underway to deliver vaccines to the two remaining permanently inhabited Overseas Territories without airports: Pitcairn and Tristan da Cunha. In line with the UK Government's commitment to supply the Overseas Territories with a population proportionate share of vaccines, our programme aims to provide vaccines for the entire adult populations of the Territories and is expected to be complete in a similar timescale to the UK domestic rollout.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 14 December 2020 to Question 126163, how many covid-19 vaccines have been distributed to each British Overseas Territory to date.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of the UK's Overseas Territories, with confirmed outbreaks in all but two of the inhabited Territories. The UK Government has been directly supplying the UK's Overseas Territories with COVID-19 vaccines as part of the UK's enduring commitment to the Territories. The UK Government's policy is to publish data on vaccinations administered. By 19 March, each Overseas Territory had administered approximately the following number of doses:

Approximate number of doses administered by 18 March 2021

Anguilla

5,500

Ascension

816

Bermuda

30,000

British Virgin Islands

6,500

Cayman Islands

38,300

Falkland Islands

1,787

Gibraltar

53,171

Montserrat

1140

Pitcairn

0

St Helena

3,400

Tristan da Cunha

0

Turks & Caicos Islands

11,283

The FCDO are arranging and funding the delivery of vaccines to the Territories, which began on 5 January and are aiming to deliver enough doses to offer vaccines to every adult across the Territories. So far, there have been 27 deliveries, reaching all of the permanently inhabited Overseas Territories with airports. Further deliveries are scheduled and planning is underway to deliver vaccines to the two remaining permanently inhabited Overseas Territories without airports: Pitcairn and Tristan da Cunha. In line with the UK Government's commitment to supply the Overseas Territories with a population proportionate share of vaccines, our programme aims to provide vaccines for the entire adult populations of the Territories and is expected to be complete in a similar timescale to the UK domestic rollout.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the British Overseas Territories on preparations for COP26.

The UK Government is working closely with all Overseas Territories (OTs) in the lead up to COP26, and UK Officials regularly meet with representatives from the OTs to ensure that their unique perspectives are accurately represented. The UK Government is also designing a specific package to support Territory Governments in the run up to COP26 and beyond. In November 2020, the UK hosted a Joint Ministerial Council for the OTs which included sessions on COP26 and Environmental Protection, led by Lord Goldsmith. At this meeting, territory leaders pledged to work with the UK to secure an ambitious agreement to tackle climate change at COP26. By the time of the Summit, each territory government will have endeavoured to communicate their plan for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The President of COP26 has also asked his Regional Ambassador for Latin America and the Caribbean for COP26 to act as a liaison point for the OTs.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has of the potential effect of the formation of a unity government in Libya in March 2021 on the prospects for long term peace that country.

The UK welcomes the endorsement by the House of Representatives of the new Government of National Unity in Libya, charged with leading the country to elections. This outcome is an important step on the path towards the unification of Libyan institutions and a comprehensive political solution that ultimately makes Libya more stable, secure and prosperous. The Government of National Unity must now work to hold national parliamentary and presidential elections in December 2021, improve the delivery of services to the Libyan people, and prioritise implementation of the 23 October 2020 ceasefire agreement, including the withdrawal of foreign fighters and mercenaries.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of implications for Government policy of the findings of the report entitled The Uyghur Genocide: An Examination of China’s Breaches of the 1948 Genocide Convention, published on 8 March 2021 by the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy .

The Government has noted the findings of the report. We will continue to engage with a wide range of experts and review all available evidence to inform our understanding of the situation in Xinjiang and to guide policy development. The Government remains deeply concerned by the human rights violations occurring in the region and continues to play a leading role in holding China to account, including at the UN.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Senegalese counterpart on the recent unrest in that country.

The UK Government was concerned by the recent unrest and violence in Senegal, including reports of protesters being killed following the arrest of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko. Our condolences go to the families of all those affected.

The British Embassy in Dakar released a joint statement on 7 March 2021 alongside international partners, including the US, Canada and the EU. We expressed our collective concern over the violent incidents witnessed across the country and called on all parties to exercise restraint, restore calm and engage in dialogue.

On 12 March, our ambassador to Senegal met Foreign Minister Sall to discuss recent events. We are monitoring the situation closely and I plan to speak to my counterpart soon.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support his Department has provided to displaced people in Tigray, Ethiopia.

The conflict in Tigray has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, internally and externally, as well as adversely impacting upon those that were already in need of humanitarian assistance. The UK has been consistent in calling for free and unfettered humanitarian access to those people in need, now estimated at 4.5 million. The Foreign Secretary raised the need for humanitarian access to Tigray with Prime Minister Abiy during his recent visit to Ethiopia and pressed for a political dialogue to bring lasting peace to the region. I re-enforced the urgency of the need for humanitarian access when I spoke with the Ethiopian Ambassador to the UK on 24 February.

The UK is working closely with humanitarian and development agencies to make sure aid reaches civilians affected by the fighting. UK-funded aid agencies in Tigray are delivering support in challenging circumstances, including food, shelter, water and healthcare. A joint humanitarian and political team from the British Embassy in Addis Ababa visited Mekelle on 5 March. They met with the provisional administration of Tigray, the mayor of Mekelle, humanitarian agencies and people displaced by the violence. The Embassy team heard harrowing accounts of human rights violations, the challenges of aid delivery and how some of the £15.4 million of UK Aid is helping to support those affected by the Tigray conflict. The Government of Ethiopia must act now to protect its people.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Paraguayan counterpart on the recent protests in that country.

The British Embassy in Asuncion is in regular contact with the Paraguayan authorities covering a wide range of issues, including the recent protests.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many potential cases of forced marriage were investigated by the Forced Marriage Unit in 2020.

Statistics on the number of cases dealt with by the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), including a breakdown by region and age, are published annually and are available online at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/forced-marriage-unit-statistics. Statistics for 2020 will be added to this page as soon as data assurance processes are complete.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support his Department is providing to Indonesia to help that country deal with the aftermath of the Sulawesi earthquake in January 2021.

The UK is monitoring the impact of the earthquake in Sulawesi and we are in contact with the Indonesian government and international partners. The UK is a contributor to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF), which allocated 459,977 Swiss Francs to the earthquake response on 18 January. The DREF is a pooled fund that provides financial support to local Red Cross and Red Crescent societies to ensure a rapid and effective response to smaller emergencies and crises. This vital funding will help the Indonesian Red Cross provide targeted support to 20,000 people (5,000 households) directly impacted by the earthquake to meet their immediate needs.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help support independent journalism in the Xinjiang province of China.

Alongside severe restrictions on religion and culture in Xinjiang, freedom of expression and of the media is severely curtailed. We continue to urge the Chinese authorities to allow journalists to practice their profession without fear or arrest, harassment or reprisal, and to end extensive censorship and control over the media and wider freedom of expression. The UK has repeatedly taken a leading international role in holding China to account, including by leading statements at the UN Human Rights Council in June and the UN Third Committee in October. At the time, the UK was the only country to have led a joint statement at the UN.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many people resident in the British Overseas Territories have received a covid-19 vaccine to date.

The UK Government has been supporting the Overseas Territories throughout the pandemic and began deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines to the Overseas Territories on 5 January. Deliveries so far have included Gibraltar, St Helena and some of the Caribbean Territories who are the first to start vaccinating priority groups. The operation to deliver vaccines is led by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office with support from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Vaccines Taskforce. This is a complex operation, which will take some weeks to complete, but will ensure that vulnerable people in the Overseas Territories will be protected.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Iranian counterpart on the executions of people in that country for crimes committed when under the age of 18.

The UK Government is firmly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances and in every country, including Iran, especially in cases that do not meet the minimum standards defined by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This includes the execution of minors. We have repeatedly made clear to Iran, both in public and in private, our opposition to the use of the death penalty and will continue to do so.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his (a) US, (b) Moroccan, (c) Mauritanian and (d) Algerian counterpart on the disputed sovereignty of Western Sahara.

We are closely monitoring the situation in Western Sahara. We are in close contact with a range of interlocutors, including the parties to the dispute and fellow members of the UN Security Council. We continue to urge the parties to avoid further escalation, return to the ceasefire agreement, and re-engage with the UN-led political process.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support freedom of the press in countries listed in the lowest category of the World Press Freedom Index, as compiled by Reporters Without Borders.

We are working to support media around the world to find sustainable models to work in challenging environments. As the Foreign Secretary affirmed at the World Press Freedom Day Conference on 9 December, the UK will use its G7 presidency to promote media freedom. The Foreign Secretary, along with the Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, also represented the UK at the virtual Global Conference on Media Freedom in November, where we recommitted members of the Media Freedom Coalition to working together to improve media freedom and the safety of journalists at home and abroad.

Our Overseas Development assistance programmes have included support to independent media in countries listed in the lowest category, such as in Iraq, where the Al-Mirbad radio station provides a vital public service, and Egypt, where we have funded capacity-building activities for local journalists. In Sudan, we are supporting journalists to report on the Covid-19 pandemic accurately and responsibly and are helping senior media leaders to find new models to help media business viability. We have also helped establish the Media Freedom Coalition, jointly co-chaired with Canada, to defend media freedom. The Coalition, whose membership has expanded, has issued statements on situations of concern including Egypt and Belarus. We are supporting the UNESCO Global Media Defence Fund who are providing support to journalists working in challenging situations.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Chinese counterpart on the Human Rights Watch report into the use of the Integrated Joint Operations Platform to disproportionately target Uyghur Muslims.

We are aware of recent reports on the use of data by the Chinese authorities to target Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang. These reports add to the growing body of evidence of gross human rights violations perpetrated against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in the region. We have repeatedly condemned these abuses and the Foreign Secretary has raised our concerns with his Chinese counterpart on a number of occasions.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Nigerian counterpart on the operations of Boko Haram in Nigeria.

For over a decade, Boko Haram has caused immense suffering to communities in North East Nigeria. The UK Government is committed to helping Nigeria tackle the threat posed by the group, and other terrorist groups, in the region. I raised the conflict with the President's Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, on 29 June. I have also reiterated to Parliament the UK Government's condemnation of all attacks by terrorist groups in North East Nigeria, including Boko Haram. In November, Nick Dyer, UK Special Envoy on Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Affairs, met representatives of the Nigerian Government in Abuja and North East Nigeria to push for action on deteriorating food insecurity in the North East. The British High Commissioner in Abuja also regularly raises the conflict at senior levels within the Nigerian Government.

We will continue to provide a comprehensive package of security, humanitarian and stabilisation assistance to Nigeria to help tackle the threat and support affected communities.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Afghani counterpart on supporting freedom of the press in that country following the assassination of Malala Maiwand.

The UK Government is deeply concerned by the murder of Afghan journalist Malala Maiwand and her driver on 10 December. The Minister for South Asia publicly condemned the murder of Malala Maiwand and her driver, and noted the UK's condemnation of the murders. Her Majesty's Ambassador to Afghanistan also expressed her public condolences and urged an investigation.

Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. In 2019, the UK provided over £250,000 to projects focused on the safety of journalists, particularly female journalists, and improving access to information. The British Embassy in Kabul regularly raises media freedom with the Afghan government. The UK's International Ambassador for Human Rights, Rita French, discussed human rights issues including media freedom with the Afghan Human Rights Minister, Dr Sima Samar, on 17 November. We also regularly meet with Afghan journalists and media organisations to understand the challenges they face and how they can best be supported.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the accuracy of alleged reports from former detainees in Xinjiang detention camps that Muslim detainees were forcibly fed pork in violation of their religious beliefs.

We are aware of disturbing reports alleging that former detainees in Xinjiang were forcibly fed pork in violation of their religious beliefs. We are deeply concerned about restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in China, including reports that authorities are tightening control over how certain religions are practiced. The freedom to practise, change or share ones faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a human right that all people should enjoy. We continue to raise our concerns about the situation in Xinjiang, both directly with the Chinese authorities and at the UN alongside international partners.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the geopolitical situation in the South China Sea.

I expressed our concern at reports of militarisation, coercion and intimidation in the South China Sea in Parliament on 3 September. We call on all parties to refrain from activity likely to raise tensions, including land reclamation, construction and militarisation. We urge all parties to exercise restraint and behave responsibly in accordance with their international obligations. Our position is longstanding: we do not take sides on the competing sovereignty claims. Our commitment is to international law, particularly to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and to freedom of navigation and overflight.

Given the importance we attach to UNCLOS, on 3 September I set out in full our legal analysis on the South China Sea for the first time. On 16 September, we issued a joint Note Verbale with France and Germany to the UN's Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in response to assertions in Chinese Notes Verbale that we consider inconsistent with UNCLOS. Most recently, on 8 December, the UK made a national statement at the annual UN General Assembly debate on the Law of the Sea reiterating our legal position on the South China Sea. We?are?working?closely with allies and ASEAN partners to strengthen regional capacity on maritime law and security. This includes dialogues?on maritime law and Royal Navy training courses on maritime security.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle Ahmadi persecution in Indonesia.

In October 2018 the Minister of State for South Asia visited Jakarta in his capacity as the Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion and Belief (FORB). There he met representatives of the Ahmadi Muslim community to discuss minority rights, underlining the UK's close interest in their welfare and protection of their rights. HMG officials regularly discuss minority rights with senior members of all six official faiths in Indonesia and meet with leaders of the Ahmadi community, most recently in January this year.

Freedom of Religion and Belief is a core aspect of the Embassy's work under the Human Rights strand. In December 2019, the British Embassy ran a workshop on media freedom in Jakarta which included a discussion on how journalists can raise FORB issues to public attention. Embassy officials also regularly attend 'Friends of FORB' meetings with likeminded countries and organisations.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

We are concerned about the situation in Iran and the wider region following the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. The UK has repeatedly and consistently condemned extrajudicial killings whenever and wherever they take place and Iran is no exception. The assassination of Fakhrizadeh has not changed UK policies towards Iran, and so we continue to urge Iran to return to compliance with the JCPoA and take the important opportunity for a return to diplomacy that the incoming US Administration offers.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people residing in the British Overseas Territories are able to access a covid-19 vaccine.

The UK Government has been supporting the Overseas Territories throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling seven to establish local testing facilities, and ensuring none ran out of personal protective equipment, testing, and other medical supplies. UK Ministers have written to the leaders of the Overseas Territories, confirming that the UK Government will supply the Territories with a proportionate share of the vaccines that the UK procures, in line with the UK's enduring commitment to the people of the Overseas Territories. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, together with Public Health England, the Department of Health and Social Care, and the UK Vaccine Taskforce, are now coordinating plans to deploy vaccines to the Territories.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the UK-Egypt Association Agreement announced on 5 December 2020, what steps he plans to take to work with Egypt on human rights.

Egypt remains a human rights priority country for the UK. It is no secret the UK wants to see more political progress and better protection of human rights in Egypt. This includes implementation of the rights guaranteed by Egypt's constitution. These rights and freedoms are essential for Egypt's long-term stability. We regularly raise our human rights concerns with the Egyptian authorities, both privately and in forums such as the UN Human Rights Council. A recent example was the Foreign Secretary's call with his Egyptian counterpart on 19 November.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the reported destruction of religious shrines and mosques in Xinjiang province in China.

We are concerned by credible reports that mosques and other religious sites have been demolished in Xinjiang, evidence of which British diplomats have seen first-hand. On 25 September at the UN Human Rights Council, we raised our deep concerns about the human rights violations in Xinjiang, including severe restrictions on culture and religion, and called on the Chinese Government to allow unfettered access to Xinjiang. On 28 July, the Foreign Secretary raised our serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of the recent findings by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute showing 380 detention camps in Xinjiang in China.

The recent Australian Strategic Policy Institute report is further evidence that, despite China's claims to the contrary, internment camps continue to be used to extra-judicially detain Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities across the region. On 25 September at the UN Human Rights Council, we raised our deep concerns about the human rights violations in Xinjiang and called on the Chinese Government to end its policy of extra-judicial detention and to release all those who are arbitrarily detained.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Ethiopian counterpart on the recent ethnic-related violence in that country.

The UK is concerned by the ongoing violence in Ethiopia following the murder of Hachalu Hundessa on 29 June, and the widespread ethnically-driven violence that followed in Addis Ababa and the Oromia region. I visited Ethiopia from 27 - 29 July and was able to discuss recent events with the President, Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and the President of Oromia Region. I pushed for full and transparent investigations into the violence and that those detained are afforded due process and their cases heard promptly. I also expressed the need for more peaceful dialogue between different ethnic groups in Ethiopia and for space to be given for political debate.

The UK welcomes the efforts of the Government of Ethiopia to strengthen accountability. We have provided direct support to public consultations on the new civil society legislation and draft media proclamations. The UK is facilitating capacity building in Ethiopia to ensure that democratic institutions fulfil their constitutional mandate. For instance, we have supported the National Election Board of Ethiopia, contributing over £15 million of funding towards election preparations. Since 2016, the FCDO has provided over £30 million to support Ethiopia's electoral process, support engagement with citizens and support civil society organisations so that they can play an increasing role in monitoring human rights. We will track the situation, raise our concerns at the deaths of civilians and raise the importance of respect for human rights in meetings with the Government of Ethiopia and regional leaders.

30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support his Department has offered to the Ethiopian Government in response to the recent ethnic-related violence in that country.

The UK is concerned by the ongoing violence in Ethiopia following the murder of Hachalu Hundessa on 29 June, and the widespread ethnically-driven violence that followed in Addis Ababa and the Oromia region. I visited Ethiopia from 27 - 29 July and was able to discuss recent events with the President, Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and the President of Oromia Region. I pushed for full and transparent investigations into the violence and that those detained are afforded due process and their cases heard promptly. I also expressed the need for more peaceful dialogue between different ethnic groups in Ethiopia and for space to be given for political debate.

The UK welcomes the efforts of the Government of Ethiopia to strengthen accountability. We have provided direct support to public consultations on the new civil society legislation and draft media proclamations. The UK is facilitating capacity building in Ethiopia to ensure that democratic institutions fulfil their constitutional mandate. For instance, we have supported the National Election Board of Ethiopia, contributing over £15 million of funding towards election preparations. Since 2016, the FCDO has provided over £30 million to support Ethiopia's electoral process, support engagement with citizens and support civil society organisations so that they can play an increasing role in monitoring human rights. We will track the situation, raise our concerns at the deaths of civilians and raise the importance of respect for human rights in meetings with the Government of Ethiopia and regional leaders.

25th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what powers the Taxpayer Protection Task Force will have.

The Taxpayer Protection Taskforce is made up of 1,265 FTE officers of HMRC, will be in place for 2021/22 through to 2022/23, and will extend and expand the number of people HMRC have deployed on compliance activity since HMRC had powers to investigate claims.

Officers will have access to, and apply where appropriate, the normal enquiry, penalty and information powers of HMRC. These include legal powers to carry out civil investigations into suspected CJRS fraud, which were granted when the Finance Act received Royal Assent on 22 July 2020.

9th Mar 2021
What steps his Department is taking to increase funding for UK infrastructure.

The Government is committed to ensuring that businesses and infrastructure projects continue to have access to the finance they need.

Government investment in economic infrastructure will be £27 billion in 2021-22. The Spring Budget set out further details on the new UK Infrastructure Bank.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of trading platforms blocking retail investors from trading GME and AMC stocks while hedge funds have been permitted to continue to trade freely.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the UK’s financial markets conduct regulator and is responsible for protecting consumers, ensuring market integrity and promoting effective competition. As set out in the FCA’s statement of 29 January, broking firms are not obliged to offer trading facilities to clients and may withdraw or suspend services if it is necessary or prudent to do so. The FCA’s statement also said that they would take appropriate action wherever they see evidence of UK firms or individuals causing harm to UK consumers or markets.

The Government recognises that the pace and creativity of innovation in UK financial services creates new opportunities for businesses and consumers to participate in markets through technologies such as app-based platforms. However, investors should be aware that investing in securities comes with risks. The FCA’s statement of 29 January warned consumers that any losses that result from such investments are unlikely to be covered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he make an assessment of the potential merits of (a) deferring the re-introduction of Crown Preference for 12 months and (b) capping the amount of reserves which will go to cover Crown Preference to a maximum of £1 million.

The Government’s reforms to HMRC’s preferential creditor status do not restore full “Crown Preference”. The Government has taken a proportionate approach, applying changes only to taxes paid in good faith by employees and customers, but held temporarily by the business, including Pay as You Earn (PAYE) Income Tax and VAT. This balances the interests of taxpayers, the Exchequer and other creditors. These reforms are not expected to have a significant impact on financial institutions, the lending market or the wider economy.

Businesses have had ample time to prepare for the changes. These reforms were first announced in 2018, and implementation has already been delayed from April 2020 to December 2020. The tax businesses temporarily hold on behalf of their customers and staff is not business income. It is right that the reforms do not include a “cap”, but apply to all relevant tax debts held temporarily by the business.

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people are in possession of a firearms licence registered in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

All persons acquiring, or in possession of, a firearm or shotgun must hold a certificate issued by the chief officer of the police force area in which they reside unless they are otherwise exempt.

The Home Office publishes annual figures for each police force in England and Wales on the number of firearm and/or shotgun certificate holders. The latest figures on the number of firearms certificate holders is available from table 13 of the Firearm and Shotgun Certificates in England and Wales Statistics - Financial Year 2019/20publication.

Data for year ending March 2021 will be made available on 15 July 2021.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle county line drug gangs in West Yorkshire.

This Government is determined to crack down on the county lines gangs who are exploiting our children and have a devastating impact on our communities. That is why on 20 January the Government announced a further £40m dedicated investment for 2021/22 to tackle drugs supply and county lines and surge our activity against these ruthless gangs. This investment has allowed us to expand and build upon our successful County Lines Programme, established in November 2019.

Since it was launched, in November 2019, our County Lines Programme has already seen more than 780 lines closed, over 5,100 arrests, £2.9 million in cash and significant quantities of drugs seized, and more than 1,200 vulnerable people safeguarded.

The greatest number of lines originate from the areas covered by the Metropolitan Police Service, West Midlands Police, and Merseyside Police, yet we recognise county lines is a cross-border issue and are funding the National County Lines Coordination Centre (NCLCC) to co-ordinate the national law enforcement response and support local forces.

The most recent county lines ‘week of intensification’, which all police forces took part in also resulted in over 1,000 arrests, saw more than 250 weapons seized and over 1,000 individuals safeguarded. Last year forces across the UK also received support from the NCLCC, resulting in over 1100 arrests, 245 individuals safeguarded, and seizures of 154 weapons, £600k cash and significant quantities of drugs.

Between 2019 and 2022, £10.11 million has been invested into the West Yorkshire PCC to develop the West Yorkshire VRU. The VRU has brought together key partners to identify the local drivers of serious violence and agree a multi-agency response to them. Additionally, West Yorkshire Police have been allocated £8.22m, over three years, to support the police to take targeted action on serious violence. This investment supports West Yorkshire Police to work closely with the Regional Organised Crime Unit to monitor and map organised crime groups and urban street gangs who are involved in County Lines and Drug supply both within West Yorkshire and into other counties.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department are taking to tackle animal theft in (a) Wakefield, (b) West Yorkshire and (c) the UK.

The Home Office collects information from police forces in England on Wales on offences covered by the notifiable offence list. Whilst animal thefts are covered by the notifiable offence list it is not possible to separately identify these crimes from others in the wider offence category of theft offences.

The Government is ensuring police forces have sufficient resources to respond to the challenges they face. We have committed to recruit an extra 20,000 police officers by March 2023, with nearly 9,000 already in place. Furthermore, we are also investing in situational crime prevention through the Safer Streets Fund, to stop these crimes happening in the first place.

The Government recognises the distress pet theft causes and will consider the evidence and what more could be done to prevent these cruel crimes. That is why we launched the Pet Theft Taskforce on 8 May. Further information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/taskforce-launched-to-investigate-reported-rise-in-pet-thefts.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many animal thefts were reported to the Police in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire in 2020.

The Home Office collects information from police forces in England on Wales on offences covered by the notifiable offence list. Whilst animal thefts are covered by the notifiable offence list it is not possible to separately identify these crimes from others in the wider offence category of theft offences.

The Government is ensuring police forces have sufficient resources to respond to the challenges they face. We have committed to recruit an extra 20,000 police officers by March 2023, with nearly 9,000 already in place. Furthermore, we are also investing in situational crime prevention through the Safer Streets Fund, to stop these crimes happening in the first place.

The Government recognises the distress pet theft causes and will consider the evidence and what more could be done to prevent these cruel crimes. That is why we launched the Pet Theft Taskforce on 8 May. Further information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/taskforce-launched-to-investigate-reported-rise-in-pet-thefts.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to proscribe extremist groups in the UK.

The Terrorism Act 2000 enables a group to be proscribed if it is concerned in terrorism. This means an organisation can be proscribed if it commits or participates in acts of terrorism, prepares for terrorism, promotes or encourages terrorism (including the unlawful glorification of terrorism) or is otherwise concerned in terrorism. In addition, proscription must be a proportionate action to take. The Government continually keeps the list of proscribed organisations under review.

There is no separate regime for banning extremist groups unless they are also concerned in terrorism and satisfy the relevant criteria for proscription.

The Government keeps measures to protect our national security under constant review.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many serving police officers have tested positive for covid-19 since March 2020.

The Home Office do not hold this information. It would be for National Police Co-ordination Centre (NPoCC) or individual forces to provide this information if held.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle extremist propaganda online.

We know terrorists and extremists exploit a wide range of platforms to spread their views and to incite terrorist attacks. The Government has been clear there can be no safe spaces for terrorists to promote and share their extreme views online.

To tackle terrorism online, the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU), based in the Metropolitan Police, refers illegal terrorist content to tech companies for removal. Within the Home Office, we work closely with our international partners and engage with tech companies to discuss how platforms can best safeguard their users from terrorism, while also encouraging tech companies work together as one coordinated body through the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), to reduce the availability of terrorist content online.

On the 15th December the Government published the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation. This sets out the new expectations on companies to keep their users safe, including that companies must tackle illegal content on their platforms and protect children from harmful content and activity online. The major platforms will need to tackle legal but harmful content accessed by adults, through their terms and conditions.

The Online Safety Bill, which will give effect to the regulatory framework outlined in the Full Government Response, will be ready this year.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to encourage police officers to take-up their covid-19 vaccinations when eligible.

There are no plans to make the Covid-19 vaccine compulsory. The decision to do so is a personal one for each of us, including police officers. But we would encourage anyone offered a vaccine to accept it.

For Phase 1 of the vaccine roll-out, the Government has rightly prioritised the elderly, given the disproportionate impact of the virus by age range. The clinically vulnerable, and front-line Health and Social Care staff who care for them, are also being prioritised. Phase 1 also includes police officers and staff who fall into these categories.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice for Phase 2 of the vaccination programme sets out that the most effective way to minimise hospitalisations and deaths is to continue to prioritise people by age. This is because age is assessed to be the strongest factor linked to mortality, morbidity and hospitalisations, and because the speed of delivery is crucial, prioritising people by age enables us to operationally vaccinate more people, providing them with protection from Covid-19.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to increase the number of police officers recruited in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

We are increasing the number of police officers in England and Wales by 20,000 by the end of March 2023.

West Yorkshire Police was allocated 256 additional officers in the first year of the police uplift which covers the period to the end of March 2021. In 2020/21 the force received funding of £485m. As at 31 December 2020, West Yorkshire Police had recruited 390 additional officers.

As announced in the Police Settlement 2021/22, West Yorkshire Police has been allocated 251 additional officers for year two of the Police Uplift Programme. West Yorkshire Police will receive funding of up to £512.3m in 2021/22, an increase of up to £27.3m since 2020/21.

The deployment of these officers is an operational decision for the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 10 March 2021 to Question 163327, what the proportion of asylum seekers housed in the Wakefield constituency was in comparison to the population of the local authority as recorded in the 2011 census.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority area. These statistics can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support

Data is published on a quarterly basis, with the latest information published 25 February 2021. The next quarterly figures are due to be released in May 2021.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many recorded instances of enforcement action against users of mobility vehicles for breaking rules of their use there were in 2020.

The Home Office does not hold the information requested.

The Home Office collect and publish data on use of various police powers, including Fixed Penalty Notices for motoring offences. Data as of March 2020 are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-powers-and-procedures-england-and-wales-year-ending-31-march-2020

However, data specifically on enforcement actions against users of mobility vehicles are not available.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum seekers were placed into initial accommodation within Wakefield in 2020.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority area. These statistics can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support(opens in a new tab)

Data is published on a quarterly basis, with the latest information published 25 February 2021. The next quarterly figures are due to be released in May 2021.

The Home Office does not publish a breakdown of these statistics which disaggregates the number of asylum seekers accommodated in dispersal accommodation for the first time in each quarter in each of the last two years, by local authority. These figures are not available in a reportable format and to provide the information could only be done at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, on what basis her Department determines the number of asylum seekers housed within each parliamentary constituency.

Asylum seekers are housed across the UK under agreements made between national government and local authorities, rather than constituencies, that have been in place since the introduction of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

The amount of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority area is limited to 0.5% of the 2011 census population or, a ratio of 1:200 of supported asylum seekers to overall population of the area. The majority of local authorities who accommodate asylum seekers are not in close proximity to this limit. We would not normally go beyond that ratio without the agreement of the relevant local authority.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce drug usage in (a) West Yorkshire and (b) England.

Drugs devastate lives, ruin families and damage communities. Our approach is to prevent drug misuse in our communities and support people through treatment and recovery

The Home Office commissioned Dame Carol Black to lead a major independent Review of Drugs. The Review’s findings were published in February. The Review, building on existing Government strategies to combat drugs, serious violence and serious and organised crime, examined the harms that drugs cause and the best ways to prevent drug-taking. The Health and Social Care Secretary commissioned Dame Carol Black to lead a further review, focused on prevention, treatment and recovery in order to focus our efforts in those areas most effectively

Law enforcement partners are already cracking down on criminals who supply drugs, causing misery to families and communities. The National Crime Agency works with partners around the world to target crime groups that traffic drugs into the UK. A total of 183,068 drug seizures were made in England and Wales in 2019/20, a 20% increase compared with the previous year (153,136).

Individual local authorities are responsible for the design, commissioning and monitoring of locally tailored treatment and prevention systems in West Yorkshire. These systems do not operate in isolation and are coordinated in partnership with local stakeholders that include social care, probation, prisons, education and the police in line with the Government’s overall approach to this complex issue.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce violent crime in (a) West Yorkshire and (b) England.

The Government is committed to delivering on the people’s priorities by tackling violent crime. This means giving the police the resources and powers they need to make a difference. In January this year we announced the biggest funding increase in a decade for the police system and we are recruiting an additional 20,000 police officers over next three years including 6,000 additional officers by the end of financial year 2020/21. In the 18 Police Force areas worst affected by serious violence, we have invested a total of £176.5 million over two years (2019-21) to deliver a whole-systems response, including police surge funding and Violence Reduction Units.

£104.9 million has been invested in Police Surge funding to pay for a surge in police operational activity. West Yorkshire Police have been allocated £6,655,315. This has paid for additional capacity through overtime, allowing for increased patrols in greater numbers for longer periods of times, new equipment and technology, improved intelligence and targeting, and an enhanced investigative response.

The Government has invested £70m over two years (19/20 – 20/21) in establishing multi-agency Violence Reduction Units (VRUs). £6,740,000 of this was invested into the West Yorkshire PCC to develop the West Yorkshire VRU. VRUs bring together police, local government, health and education professionals, community leaders and other key partners to identify the drivers of serious violence and agree a multi-agency response. This funding has supported the development of strategic needs assessments to identify the local risks and drivers of serious violence, as well as a range of activity to respond to these drivers, such as improved data quality and sharing, and a range of interventions such as teachable moments (e.g. A&E hospital and custody navigators), an independent domestic violence advocacy service and mentoring in schools and alternative provision sites.

VRUs have distributed a further £2.9 million to hundreds of frontline charities working on violence prevention projects which support vulnerable children and young people. More than 300 charities will share in the financial assistance. The West Yorkshire VRU received £285,168 of this funding and is supporting 40 charities and have already reached 2865 children.

Since October 2018 we have also been continuing to deliver the ten-year £200m Youth Endowment Fund, to tackle the drivers behind serious youth violence. On 6 May 2020, the YEF launched a new £6.5 million COVID-19 grant round to support vulnerable young people, aged 10 to 14, at risk of youth violence. In total 16 grantees in Yorkshire & Humber are in receipt of funding from all grant rounds.

We have also announced new legislation which will aim to prevent and reduce serious violence by creating a new duty (and extending an existing duty) on public sector bodies to collaborate and plan with each other to prevent and reduce serious violence.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce burglaries in (a) West Yorkshire and (b) England.

On 1 October 2019, my Rt Hon Friend, the Home Secretary announced the £25m Safer Streets Fund. The fund supports communities in England and Wales that are disproportionately affected by acquisitive crimes, including burglary, to implement well evidenced crime prevention initiatives, such as street lighting and home security.

West Yorkshire PCC was successful in receiving £709,311 across two projects in Bradford (£549,375) and Leeds (£159,936). The funding will go towards improving the physical security of homes, improved street lighting, installation of CCTV cameras and crime prevention advice for residents.

The Government is clear that these crimes, when they take place, should be reported to the police so that they can be investigated appropriately. To help ensure the police have the resources they need to carry out these investigations, we are recruiting 20,000 officers by March 2023. Specifically, within West Yorkshire, they have been allocated an additional 256 officers in the first year of uplift. At 30 September 2020 the force is 308 officers into uplift against its baseline and has therefore already exceeded its year one allocation.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce cyber-crime in (a) West Yorkshire and (b) England.

Cyber security, including cyber crime, is a top priority threat to national security. This is why the National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-2021 is supported by £1.9billion of transformational investment.

Through the National Cyber Security Programme, we have invested over £250 million since 2010 to bolster the law enforcement response to the cyber crime threat. We have boosted the capabilities of the National Crime Agency’s National Cyber Crime Unit by increasing their ability to investigate the most serious cyber crime. And we are continuing to invest in the cyber teams in each of the Regional Organised Crime Units across England and Wales, to bolster the regional response.

In 2019 the Government launched specialist Cyber Crime Units in every local police force, in order to improve the local response, provide an effective investigative response and an improved victim experience. The Government also provides funding for the Cyber PROTECT police officers and staff in all policing regions and local forces, and Cyber Resilience Centres, which are now live in each region, providing cyber security advice and support to micro and small SMEs.

25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she is putting in place plans to reduce the number of migrants being placed in hotels within Wakefield constituency.

The current global pandemic has presented significant challenges when it comes to the provision of asylum accommodation. This has included the need to source sufficient accommodation to meet demand.

At the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Home Office paused ending support for people who had been granted asylum, or whose claim had been refused. This was to ensure that people were not made homeless and able to follow social distancing.

The Home Office has started cessations of support in a phased way which will reduce demand on the asylum system while prioritising the safety of those within the asylum system.

A comprehensive cessation plan has been established with input from Local Authorities, Other Government Departments and Stakeholders to reduce the number of people in hotels.

Work to explore further options to accommodate asylum seekers has included work with the Ministry of Defence to identify and to utilise MOD sites at short notice.

This accommodation is contingency accommodation, whilst pressures in the system are addressed and will be discontinued as soon as the Home Office is able to do so.

Our accommodation providers are working to maximise their procurement plans throughout the UK, but they can only do so with Local Authority agreement. It is our intention to move all individuals in contingency accommodation into suitable DA as soon as reasonably practical.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that adequate due diligence is taking place to ascertain the difference between economic migrants who have been working in the grey economy and those migrants with genuine claims of asylum.

All asylum decision-makers receive a five-week intensive training programme on considering asylum claims and must follow published Home Office policy guidance on assessing an individual’s credibility. Asylum Operations has an assurance process, which assesses the quality of decisions, interviews and the application of Home Office policy.

We ensure claimants are given every opportunity to disclose information relevant to their claim before a decision is taken, even where that information may be sensitive or difficult to disclose.

Protection is normally granted when a claimant establishes a well-founded fear of persecution under the 1951 Refugee Convention, for race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group or their particular circumstances engage our obligations under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which may result in an individual being granted Humanitarian Protection or Discretionary Leave.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information her Department holds on the number of people in temporary accommodation facilities who are (a) not British citizens and (b) do not have a permanent legal right to reside in the UK.

The United Kingdom has a statutory obligation to provide destitute asylum seekers with accommodation, transportation and cash/subsistence support whilst their application for asylum is being considered.

The number of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support

This information includes temporary accommodation.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2021 to Question 11704, how many of those members of the armed forces tried before a military court were (a) found not guilty and (b) found guilty of the charges they faced in each calendar year since 2016.

The detailed information requested to answer the hon. Member's questions will take time to collate, and I will write in due course.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2021 to Question 11704, how many of those members of the armed forces tried before a military court received a military custodial sentence in each calendar year since 2016.

The detailed information requested to answer the hon. Member's questions will take time to collate, and I will write in due course.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2021 to Question 11704, what proportion of those members of the armed forces tried before a military court were tried for (a) military only offences and (b) military and civilian offences in each calendar year since 2016.

The detailed information requested to answer the hon. Member's questions will take time to collate, and I will write in due course.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2021 to Question 11704, what proportion of those members of the armed forces tried before a military court were (a) officers and (b) enlisted personnel.

The detailed information requested to answer the hon. Member's questions will take time to collate, and I will write in due course.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2021 to Question 11704, how many members of the armed forces tried before a military court in each calendar year since 2016 were recorded as receiving independent legal advice separate from that provided by the armed forces.

The detailed information requested to answer the hon. Member's questions will take time to collate, and I will write in due course.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2021 to Question 11704, how many armed forces personnel tried before a military court were (a) regular personnel and (b) reservist personnel at the time of their trial.

The detailed information requested to answer the hon. Member's questions will take time to collate, and I will write in due course.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2021 to Question 11704, how many members of the armed forces were discharged from service as a result of their trial in each calendar year since 2016.

The detailed information requested to answer the hon. Member's questions will take time to collate, and I will write in due course.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many members of the armed forces have been tried by military courts in each year since 2016.

The military courts fulfil an important function in administering justice when Service personnel are alleged to have committed any of the service offences in the Armed Forces Act 2006, wherever in the world those offences are said to have occurred. They are a major contributor to the maintenance of discipline which underpins the operational effectiveness of the Armed Forces. Anyone convicted of an offence will be punished appropriately and that may include imprisonment, and dismissal from service.

The requested information on the number of Service personnel who have been tried by a military court is provided in the following table:

Year

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Number of individuals

436

400

414

500

372

Notes:

Figures for each year encompass all cases that concluded in that year i.e. if a case was opened in 2019 but concluded in 2020, the individual is recorded within the 2020 data.

Figure may include individuals who have been Court Martialled on more than one occasion. If an individual had more than one case but was either acquitted or sentenced on the same date, they are captured only once within the year of the result. However, if an individual had multiple cases that came to court in different years or after a previous case was closed, they will be recorded twice.

Figures also include ex-Service personnel who were serving at the time of the alleged or proven offence.

Court Martial results from the military court centres over the period January 2010 to December 2019 can be found at the following website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/court-martial-results-from-the-military-court-centres.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will publish a list of surplus military equipment which has been sold via the Defence Equipment Sales Authority in each of the last five years.

The Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA) handles a wide variety of equipment, from large platforms, such as warships, tanks and aircraft, to smaller assets, such as clothing and textiles, military spares, scrap metal and office/IT equipment. DESA processes, on average, in excess of 7,000 declarations each year. A declaration may cover a single item of military equipment or a list of thousands of smaller items. As such, a substantive response covering all individual items sold over the last five years cannot easily be provided.

The number of declarations and net income from the sale of surplus equipment over the last five financial years (FY) is as follows:

FY 2016-17

FY 2017-18

FY 2018-19

FY 2019-20

FY 2020-21

Total

Declarations

7,996

7,547

7,009

7,324

6,244

36,120

Net income £million ex-VAT

70.739

41.309

143.304

111.349

40.716

407.417

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how much revenue has been generated through the sale of surplus military equipment via the Defence Equipment Sales Authority in each of the last five years.

The Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA) handles a wide variety of equipment, from large platforms, such as warships, tanks and aircraft, to smaller assets, such as clothing and textiles, military spares, scrap metal and office/IT equipment. DESA processes, on average, in excess of 7,000 declarations each year. A declaration may cover a single item of military equipment or a list of thousands of smaller items. As such, a substantive response covering all individual items sold over the last five years cannot easily be provided.

The number of declarations and net income from the sale of surplus equipment over the last five financial years (FY) is as follows:

FY 2016-17

FY 2017-18

FY 2018-19

FY 2019-20

FY 2020-21

Total

Declarations

7,996

7,547

7,009

7,324

6,244

36,120

Net income £million ex-VAT

70.739

41.309

143.304

111.349

40.716

407.417

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to encourage employers to advertise the benefits of joining the armed forces reserves to their staff.

We work closely with employers to generate and maintain their support for the Reserve Forces. Employers can advertise the benefits of joining the Reserves to their employees if they wish, but we do not ask them to do so. Joining the Reserves cannot be a condition of employment, except where we have a contractual arrangement with a company to provide Sponsored Reserves to deliver a military capability.

Defence generates employer support for the Reserves through tailored engagement and clear communication of the benefits they can derive from being supportive. There is mutual benefit for employers and Defence when organisations are supportive of the employment of reservists. When Reservists are confident that their qualities are valued by employers, they are less likely to look for a new job with a more supportive employer.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent steps his Department has taken to encourage recruitment to the armed forces reserves from (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

The Armed Forces recruit nationally and do not operate a specific policy of increasing recruitment from particular geographic areas. Armed Forces Career Offices are spread across the UK with approximately a dozen across Yorkshire, including in Leeds and Bradford, and are complemented by dedicated call centres and online recruiting operations, ensuring that all communities have the same recruitment opportunities. During the pandemic, the Armed Forces have conducted COVID-secure outreach programmes and virtual careers events, supported by web-based information services and social media campaigns.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent steps his Department has taken to encourage recruitment to the regular armed forces from (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

The Armed Forces recruit nationally and do not operate a specific policy of increasing recruitment from particular geographic areas. Armed Forces Career Offices are spread across the UK with approximately a dozen across Yorkshire, including in Leeds and Bradford, and are complemented by dedicated call centres and online recruiting operations, ensuring that all communities have the same recruitment opportunities. During the pandemic, the Armed Forces have conducted COVID-secure outreach programmes and virtual careers events, supported by web-based information services and social media campaigns.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his Answer of 23 March 2021 to Question 169082, whether staff in the Royal Submarine Service who are deployed on submarines for a period of longer than three months are entitled to both doses of a covid-19 vaccine prior to deployment, regardless of which JCVI cohort they fall into.

Defence will ensure all Service Personnel are not disadvantaged in their access to the COVID-19 vaccine, both in the UK and overseas. If they cannot safely be vaccinated with both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in line with their age cohort whilst deployed, they will be vaccinated before leaving the UK.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to encourage businesses in (a) Wakefield constituency and (b) West Yorkshire to sign the Armed Forces Covenant.

Every Local Authority in Great Britain has signed the Armed Forces Covenant and over 6,500 organisations have also pledged support. To date, over 350 organisations hold the Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Standard for partnering with Defence and our network of Regional Employment Engagement Directors continue to promote the Covenant locally.

In West Yorkshire, 148 organisations have signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant, 11 of which are in Wakefield.

The Department is always ready to work with local stakeholders and leaders to further raise the profile of the Armed Forces Covenant and encourage its adoption.

15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many covid-19 vaccines have been delivered in the Eastern and Western Sovereign base areas of British Forces Cyprus.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and Defence are jointly ensuring that all entitled HMG personnel overseas receive an offer of a COVID-19 vaccine in line with JCVI guidance and national timelines, in location. Defence has delivered 1,600 vaccines to the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs). A delivery of second doses is scheduled for April. Planning is underway to provide vaccines for entitled Phase 2 individuals in the SBAs in line with UK roll-out.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that members of the British armed forces serving overseas will be able to receive a covid-19 vaccination as soon as they are eligible for that vaccination.

No Service Personnel will be disadvantaged by their Overseas Service. Vaccines will be made available during their deployments in line with JCVI priorities or they will be vaccinated before they deploy.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to encourage members of the armed forces to take-up their covid-19 vaccinations when eligible.

Defence's vaccination policy for all vaccines, including COVID-19, is voluntary and administered under the principles of informed consent. Defence is delivering a comprehensive communications programme directed by its medical and scientific experts, including Q&As and engagement events, to dispel myths and misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine. We continue to provide advice, both through the Chain of Command and Defence Medical Services, to address any specific issues or concerns that personnel may have.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that staff in the Royal Navy Submarine Service will be able to receive a covid-19 vaccination as soon as they are eligible for that vaccination.

Service personnel will not be disadvantaged by Service overseas. If they cannot safely be vaccinated in line with their age cohort whilst deployed, they will be vaccinated before leaving the UK.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that children educated at MoD operated schools overseas have had continuity of education in the event that they have returned to the UK since the start of the covid-19 pandemic.

There have been no mass evacuations or repatriations of Armed Forces families from any of our overseas bases where children are educated at MOD operated schools. Where families have returned to the UK on changes of assignment the normal process of maintaining continuity of education for children has been sustained, with the MOD continuing to work closely with the Department for Education (DfE) and devolved equivalents to ensure Armed Forces families are not disadvantaged in the schools admissions processes.

The MOD remains most grateful to the DfE and devolved equivalents for their continuing support of Armed Forces families under the Armed Forces Covenant, even in these challenging times.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what proportion of current armed forces personnel have been recruited from (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

The detailed information requested to answer the hon. Member's questions will take time to collate, and I will write in due course.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many service families and dependents of people in the armed forces live in Wakefield.

The detailed information requested to answer the hon. Member's questions will take time to collate, and I will write in due course.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many people on Full Time Reserve Service, home commitment and full commitment in all services have a home address of Wakefield.

The detailed information requested to answer the hon. Member's questions will take time to collate, and I will write in due course.