Imran Ahmad Khan Portrait

Imran Ahmad Khan

Conservative - Wakefield

8 APPG memberships (as of 21 Apr 2021)
Afghanistan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK (CANZUK), Foreign Affairs, International Freedom of Religion or Belief, Key Cities, Knife Crime and Violence Reduction, Pakistan, Waterways
153 Former APPG memberships
African Great Lakes Region, Agroecology for Sustainable Food and Farming, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Algeria, Allergy, Alternative Investment Management, Antisemitism, Apprenticeships, Archaeology, Archives and History, Armenia, Artificial Intelligence, Australia and New Zealand, Bangladesh, Beer, Belarus, 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, Sweden, Swimming, Tajikistan, Tamils, 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


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 28th April 2021
National Security and Investment Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 357 Conservative Aye votes vs 1 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 358 Noes - 269
Speeches
Monday 26th April 2021
Air Ambulance Funding

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Stringer. I thank the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East …

Written Answers
Thursday 29th April 2021
Africa and Asia: Literacy
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Tuesday 26th May 2020
6. Land and property portfolio: (i) value over £100,000 and/or (ii) giving rental income of over £10,000 a year
From 1 March 2020, a flat in London: (i) and (ii). (Registered 20 May 2020)

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Imran Ahmad Khan has voted in 260 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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
(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)
Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party)
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)
(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

Wakefield Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Wakefield signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

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

Football is a powerful tool of which allows a range of benefits such as employment, and other important aspects of life. Football can be associated with passion, emotion, excitement and dedication across the community. With Fans attending football games a range of economic benefits are there too.

Illegal immigrants are entering the UK in many different ways, including small boats from France which are not stopped by either French or British forces.


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


318 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
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)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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.

15th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to encourage civil servants to take-up their covid-19 vaccinations when eligible.

We are encouraging Civil Servants in the same way as we encourage all UK citizens to take up the offer of a vaccine. As a responsible employer, we continue to highlight the latest factual information on the vaccine and support employees in attending appointments for vaccinations.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
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
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
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
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
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)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding from the National Leisure Recovery Fund has been allocated to (a) Wakefield Council and (b) councils in West Yorkshire.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus. The National Leisure Recovery Fund sought to support eligible public sector leisure centres to reopen to the public, giving the sport and physical activity sector the best chance of recovery to a position of sustainable operation over the medium term.

A total of £100 million was available as a biddable fund to eligible local authorities in England, which was allocated in a single funding round. Eligible local authorities include: those in England who hold responsibility for the provision of leisure services, those who have outsourced their leisure provision to an external body to and those whose outsourced leisure arrangements have ended since 20 March 2020 and services are now delivered as an in-house function. This is in addition to the wider financial support provided to councils throughout the pandemic.

Leisure services for Wakefield Council are delivered in-house under the brand Aspire Health. Therefore, they were not eligible to apply for the National Leisure Recovery Fund and would have been able to access support through the Local Government Income Compensation Scheme.

Of the five local authorities in West Yorkshire, only Kirklees submitted an application to the National Leisure Recovery Fund. They were awarded a total of £1,175,523.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
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
Assistant Whip
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
Assistant Whip
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.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (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
Assistant Whip
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
Assistant Whip
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
Assistant Whip
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.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Assistant Whip
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.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Assistant Whip
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
Assistant Whip
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
Assistant Whip
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.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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/.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
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.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
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.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
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 (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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
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 (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.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions officials of his Department have had with representatives of local authorities in areas affected by Storm Christoph.

In response to Storm Christoph, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) activated the National Flood Response Centre (NFRC). This centre brings together government departments and agencies to ensure that central Government has a clear picture of the latest situation and facilitates swift decision making.

The NFRC ensured there was timely two-way flow of information between the national and local level. This was predominately through the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, who was in regular contact with local authorities and Local Resilience Forums, ensuring that (a) decisions made at the national level were based on accurate information from the regional and local level, and (b) that the local response had sufficient resources to support the response and recovery.

The Environment Agency, an arm's length body under Defra, operates in local areas and was represented at the NFRC and on the Local Resilience Forums, alongside emergency services and other flood resilience partners.

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)
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)
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 International Trade)
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 International Trade)
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 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 International Trade)
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 (Department for Transport)
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 (Department for Transport)
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 (Department for Transport)
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 (Department for Transport)
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 (Department for Transport)
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 (Department for Transport)
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 (Department for Transport)
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 (Department for Transport)
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)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in Wakefield constituency were (a) eligible for and (b) received Cold Weather Payments from 1 November 2020 to 4 December 2020.

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).

There have been no cold weather triggers in the period 1 November 2020 to 4 December 2020, resulting in 0 payments to eligible claimants in the Wakefield Constituency.

Guy Opperman
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 Work and Pensions)
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 Work and Pensions)
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 of Health and Social Care)
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 of Health and Social Care)
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 of Health and Social Care)
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 of Health and Social Care)
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 of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
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 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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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 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 of Health and Social Care)
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 of Health and Social Care)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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 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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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 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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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 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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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 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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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 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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
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 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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (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 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 (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 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 (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 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 (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 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 (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 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

James Duddridge
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 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.

James Duddridge
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 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.

James Duddridge
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 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.

James Duddridge
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 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.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (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 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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

James Duddridge
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 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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (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 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 (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 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 (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 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 (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 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 (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 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 (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 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.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (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 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 (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 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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (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 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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
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.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
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)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans are in place to communicate immigration reforms to potential asylum seekers in the most commonly spoken native languages of those seeking asylum.

We are finalising communication plans to ensure the proposed measures are appropriately communicated to the public, key stakeholders and those affected by the changes.

We are currently running an organised immigration crime deterrence campaign which directly speaks to migrants in their native languages. We are preparing the next phase of the campaign, including how it can reflect and support the New Plan for Immigration.

Chris Philp
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 (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 (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 (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 (Home Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 (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 (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 (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.

James Brokenshire
Minister of State (Home Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 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.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many people from Wakefield were recruited into the (a) British Army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force in 2020.

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 armed forces reservists in Wakefield have completed phase 2 training.

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 armed forces reservists have been recruited from Wakefield since January 2020.

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 armed forces reservists who live in Wakefield are not attached to any unit within 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.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many armed forces reservists live in Wakefield (a) in total and (b) by each branch of 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.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many cadet force adult instructors for each branch of the armed forces live in Wakefield.

The requested information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2021 to Question 134251 on Military Aid: Coronavirus, what tasks members of the armed forces deployed to the NHS headquarters in Skipton House that are not involved in the vaccine rollout effort are conducting.

There are now five Armed Forces personnel deployed to Skipton House not involved in vaccine rollout tasks. Four of these are working as MOD Liaison Officers to NHS England, primarily assisting NHS National Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response (EPRR) with Military Assistance to Civil Authority (MACA) requests. There is also one officer on a 12-month placement to NHS England, working alongside NHS England Strategic Leadership.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2021 to Question 134251 on Military Aid: Coronavirus, what specific tasks members of the armed forces deployed to the NHS headquarters in Skipton House to assist with the rollout of the vaccine are conducting.

Defence has further increased its support to Skipton House, with 28 Service personnel now deployed to assist with the rollout of the vaccine. 26 of these personnel are supporting primarily the NHS Vaccine Delivery programme through operational and logistical planning assistance, and two military officers are providing Chief of Staff support to enhance coordination of vaccine procurement for Her Majesty's Government.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many members of the armed forces are working at the NHS headquarters in Skipton House London (a) to assist with the rollout of the covid-19 vaccine and (b) in total.

The total number of Armed Forces personnel currently working at the NHS headquarters in Skipton House is 31. 27 of these are assisting with the rollout of the COVID 19 vaccine.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of recruitment per recruit to the armed forces.

The most recent single Service estimates for the cost of recruitment per successful recruit can be found in the table below. These figures represent the costs incurred from application to commencement of basic training

Service

Cost per recruit

Financial Year

Royal Navy

£13,407

2018-19

Army

£12,228

2018-19

Royal Air Force

£14,642

2019-20

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many Gurkhas are serving in the armed forces.

As at 1 October 2020, there were 3,740 Gurkhas serving in the Armed Forces. This is the latest available figure and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/quarterly-service-personnel-statistics-index

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many British armed forces personnel have been recruited from the British Overseas Territories in each of the last five years.

The requested information is provided in the following table:

Intake of UK Regulars, British Overseas Territory Citizens, for the last five Financial Years (FY)

FY

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

Intake

~

10

10

10

~

Notes:

  1. UK Regulars comprise Full time Service personnel, including Nursing Services, but excluding Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS) personnel, Gurkhas, mobilised Reservists, Military Provost Guard Service (MPGS), Locally Engaged Personnel (LEP), Non Regular Permanent Staff (NRPS), High Readiness Reserve (HRR) and Expeditionary Forces Institute (EFI) personnel. Figures include trained and untrained personnel.
  2. Nationality is as recorded on the Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) on intake. This does not filter for personnel with dual nationalities, or for personnel whose nationality has changed during the course of their service. British Overseas Territories Citizens include those from Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands.
  3. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10 in line with disclosure control policy. A figure of 5 or fewer is represented by '~'.
James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many members of the armed forces were dismissed for drug usage in 2020.

The misuse of drugs within the Armed Forces is considered unacceptable. It has always been the view of the Ministry of Defence that drug misuse threatens the efficiency and discipline of the Services, where individual responsibility and teamwork are essential to operate highly technical, expensive, and potentially lethal equipment. The Services campaign against drug misuse and have a comprehensive education programme to inform all personnel of the dangers and consequences of misusing drugs – including dismissal from service.

The requested information can be found in the table below:

Service

2020 drug usage dismissals1

Royal Navy

86

Army

424

Royal Air Force

33

Total

543

1 As of 9 December 2020

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that British armed forces personnel residing in the UK receive a covid-19 vaccine as quickly as possible.

Defence is working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and other Government Departments to ensure that Armed Forces personnel residing in the UK receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the earliest practicable opportunity. Defence is being guided by JCVI guidance, ensuring individuals most at risk from complications of COVID-19 are being offered the vaccine first.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that British armed forces personnel serving overseas will receive a covid-19 vaccination as quickly as possible.

Defence is working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and other Government Departments to ensure that Armed Forces personnel serving overseas receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the earliest practicable opportunity. Defence is being guided by JCVI guidance, ensuring individuals most at risk from complications of COVID-19 are being offered the vaccine first.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether people serving on Royal Navy submarines will be required to have a covid-19 vaccine before deployment once a covid-19 vaccine has been widely distributed.

The roll out of a vaccination programme is very welcome, but Defence policy for inoculating Service personnel has yet to be determined. The Ministry of Defence takes all necessary precautions to safeguard its people and assure operational availability.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of recent Russian Naval activity near British Territorial Waters on UK security.

In the week of 23 November, nine Russian naval vessels were observed in international waters around the UK. The presence of four surface ships, four support vessels and a submarine were tracked and observed by Royal Navy units including HMS Lancaster and HMS Northumberland. These ships were supported by Royal Air Force assets including F-35 jets, Typhoon and P8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.

All of these units were at readiness for homeland security tasks such as this and responded with professionalism and skill. The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force's response was coordinated with and supported by NATO allies who had ships and aircraft in the region.

The Russian naval presence had no impact on force generation for planned future naval activity.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many personnel from each branch of the armed forces are serving as part of the British Forces South Atlantic Islands.

There are 958 military personnel serving as part of British Forces South Atlantic Islands. This figure varies during the year due to individual posting plots and unit moves.

The breakdown for each service is:

RAF

576

Army

343

Royal Navy

39

Total

958

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department has plans in place to impose lockdowns on UK military bases overseas in the event of a surge in covid-19 cases in those areas.

We continue to monitor the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks in our overseas bases and host nations, and have plans in place to manage any outbreaks while prioritising the safety and welfare of our people and maintaining key Defence outputs.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans his Department has to impose lockdowns on UK military bases in the event of a surge in covid-19 cases in those areas.

We continuously monitor the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks in our UK military establishments and have plans in place to manage any outbreaks in line with any local measures, while prioritising the safety and welfare of our people and maintaining key Defence outputs.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many armed forces recruits there were from September 2015 to September 2020 by Parliamentary constituency.

The attached spreadsheets contain information detailing intake to the untrained Regular Armed Forces, by Parliamentary Constituency, 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2020. Information to cover the period April to September 2020 is not currently available.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to his Department's news story of 12 September 2020, Defence Secretary announces investment in strategic Omani port, what the budget headings are for the £23.8 million announced investment in the logistics hub at Duqm port.

The recent announcement of the UK investment will triple the size of the existing UK base at Duqm port. The £23.8 million investment is a commercial arrangement with the port and will provide the UK with a secure site for an expanded logistics hub.

Investment costs include the lease of the site; construction and installation of the necessary facilities; and project costs associated with delivering the work.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many personnel have left the armed forces from September 2015 to September 2020, by parliamentary constituency.

The information requested is shown in the table below:

Parliamentary Constituency

1 July 2015 - 30 June 2016

1 July 2016 - 30 June 2017

1 July 2017 - 30 June 2018

1 July 2018 - 30 June 2019

1 July 2019 - 30 June 2020

Total

16,080

14,980

14,860

14,880

14,310

Unknown*

8,260

480

470

470

520

Aberavon

-

-

~

-

-

Aberdeen North

10

10

10

~

10

Aldershot

190

420

440

340

270

Aldridge-Brownhills

-

~

-

-

-

Alyn and Deeside

10

~

~

10

~

Angus

40

80

70

70

60

Arfon

~

~

-

~

-

Argyll and Bute

120

230

300

320

290

Ashford

~

~

~

~

~

Ashton-under-Lyne

10

10

10

10

~

Aylesbury

100

250

260

270

290

Ayr

~

~

~

~

-

Banbury

20

60

80

90

60

Banff and Buchan

-

10

-

~

~

Barnsley Central

~

10

~

~

~

Barrow and Furness

-

~

~

10

~

Bath

~

10

10

~

~

Batley and Spen

~

-

~

-

-

Battersea

~

~

~

~

-

Bedford

10

~

~

-

~

Belfast East

20

~

10

10

10

Belfast North

-

~

~

~

-

Belfast South

10

10

~

10

10

Bermondsey and Old Southwark

~

10

~

~

~

Berwickshire

~

-

~

-

-

Berwick-upon-Tweed

20

30

30

40

40

Beverley and Holderness

20

40

70

80

40

Bexleyheath and Crayford

10

~

10

~

~

Birkenhead

10

~

~

~

10

Birmingham

50

60

70

70

80

Bishop Auckland

~

~

~

10

10

Blackburn

10

~

10

~

~

Blackpool South

~

-

~

-

-

Blaenau Gwent

~

~

-

~

~

Blyth Valley

10

~

~

10

10

Bolton South East

~

10

~

10

~

Bootle

~

~

~

~

~

Bournemouth East

~

~

-

~

-

Bournemouth West

~

-

-

~

~

Bracknell

20

60

50

50

70

Braintree

~

~

-

-

-

Brecon and Radnorshire

30

50

50

40

20

Brent North

~

~

~

~

~

Brentwood and Ongar

10

~

~

~

~

Bridgend

~

~

~

~

~

Brighton

10

10

~

10

~

Bristol North West

10

10

10

10

10

Bristol South

~

10

10

~

10

Bristol West

20

20

30

30

30

Broxtowe

90

180

130

120

100

Burton

~

~

~

-

-

Bury North

~

~

~

~

~

Bury St Edmunds

120

240

240

260

290

Caithness

~

-

-

~

~

Camborne and Redruth

-

~

~

~

~

Cambridge

~

10

~

~

~

Cannock Chase

~

~

~

10

10

Canterbury

10

10

10

10

~

Cardiff Central

40

20

20

20

20

Cardiff North

~

10

~

~

~

Cardiff South and Penarth

-

-

-

~

-

Carlisle

~

~

~

~

-

Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire

~

~

~

~

~

Central Ayrshire

10

10

10

~

10

Ceredigion

-

~

~

-

~

Channel Islands

-

~

~

~

~

Charnwood

-

~

-

-

-

Chatham and Aylesford

-

~

~

-

~

Chelmsford

~

10

10

~

~

Chelsea and Fulham

~

~

10

10

~

Cheltenham

10

20

30

20

30

Chesterfield

~

~

~

~

~

Chichester

30

80

60

80

60

Chippenham

20

60

30

50

40

Chipping Barnet

~

~

~

~

~

Chorley

~

10

~

~

~

Christchurch

-

-

-

~

~

Cities of London and Westminster

70

160

200

160

160

City of Chester

40

80

60

70

60

City of Durham

~

~

~

~

~

Clwyd West

10

~

10

~

~

Colchester

120

230

260

260

200

Corby

~

-

~

~

-

Coventry North West

~

~

~

~

~

Coventry South

10

10

~

10

10

Crawley

~

~

~

~

10

Croydon Central

10

10

~

~

~

Croydon North

~

~

~

~

~

Cumbernauld

~

~

~

~

~

Darlington

~

10

10

~

~

Derby North

~

10

10

~

~

Derby South

~

~

-

~

-

Devizes

510

1090

1040

1040

1000

Doncaster Central

10

10

10

10

10

Dudley North

~

~

~

~

~

Dumfries and Galloway

-

-

-

-

~

Dundee East

20

10

~

10

10

Dundee West

~

~

~

~

~

Dunfermline and West Fife

10

20

20

20

20

Ealing

~

~

~

~

-

Ealing Central and Acton

-

-

-

~

-

East Devon

160

260

350

310

580

East Hampshire

~

~

10

10

10

East Kilbride

~

~

~

~

~

East Surrey

-

-

-

~

-

East Yorkshire

~

~

~

-

-

Eastbourne

~

~

~

-

-

Edinburgh East

-

~

~

~

~

Edinburgh North and Leith

10

10

10

10

10

Edinburgh South

~

~

10

~

~

Edinburgh South West

40

120

120

120

100

Edinburgh West

~

~

40

40

20

Ellesmere Port and Neston

~

~

-

~

~

Epsom and Ewell

~

~

~

~

~

Exeter

20

20

20

20

10

Fareham

~

10

10

10

10

Feltham and Heston

30

50

60

40

20

Fermanagh and South Tyrone

-

~

~

~

~

Filton and Bradley Stoke

60

100

100

90

100

Folkestone and Hythe

~

10

10

~

~

Forest of Dean

30

50

80

70

40

Foyle

~

~

~

~

~

Fylde

30

80

60

60

30

Gainsborough

10

20

30

20

20

Garston and Halewood

~

10

~

~

~

Gateshead

10

20

~

10

10

Gedling

~

~

~

~

~

Glasgow Central

90

100

100

90

70

Glasgow East

10

10

10

~

~

Glasgow North

10

10

10

10

10

Glasgow North West

10

~

~

10

~

Glasgow South

~

10

~

~

~

Glasgow South West

10

10

10

10

10

Glenrothes

~

-

-

~

~

Gloucester

10

10

~

10

10

Gosport

70

160

200

180

150

Gower

~

~

~

~

-

Grantham and Stamford

20

20

20

30

30

Great Grimsby

10

~

~

~

10

Greenwich and Woolwich

50

70

90

90

110

Guildford

-

-

~

-

~

Hackney South and Shoreditch

10

10

10

10

10

Halton

-

~

-

~

~

Hammersmith

10

10

10

10

~

Hampstead and Kilburn

~

~

~

~

~

Harborough

~

~

~

~

~

Harrogate and Knaresborough

90

250

260

290

330

Hartlepool

~

~

~

-

~

Hendon

-

~

~

~

~

Henley

50

80

90

110

80

Hereford and South Herefordshire

~

~

-

~

-

Hertford and Stortford

~

~

-

-

~

Hexham

30

60

70

50

40

Hitchin and Harpenden

~

-

~

-

-

Holborn and St Pancras

20

40

30

40

20

Hornsey and Wood Green

~

10

~

~

~

Huddersfield

~

10

~

~

~

Ilford South

10

~

~

~

~

Inverness

30

60

60

70

50

Ipswich

10

10

~

~

10

Isle of Wight

~

-

-

-

-

Islington South and Finsbury

10

10

10

10

10

Jarrow

10

-

10

~

-

Kenilworth and Southam

~

10

10

10

10

Kingston and Surbiton

~

~

~

~

~

Kingston upon Hull North

~

~

~

~

-

Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle

20

20

10

10

10

Knowsley

~

10

10

10

10

Lagan Valley

30

100

110

120

90

Lanark and Hamilton East

~

~

-

~

~

Lancaster and Fleetwood

~

~

10

10

~

Leeds Central

20

20

20

30

10

Leeds North East

-

-

~

-

-

Leicester East

-

~

~

~

10

Leicester South

~

~

~

~

10

Lewisham East

~

10

20

10

10

Leyton and Wanstead

~

~

-

-

~

Lichfield

10

30

50

50

40

Lincoln

100

180

200

180

190

Linlithgow and East Falkirk

~

~

~

~

~

Liverpool

40

40

40

40

40

Livingston

10

~

~

10

10

Llanelli

-

~

-

-

-

Loughborough

~

-

10

~

~

Louth and Horncastle

40

150

130

140

140

Luton South

~

~

-

-

-

Maidenhead

-

~

-

-

-

Maidstone and The Weald

20

50

30

20

20

Manchester

20

20

20

20

20

Manchester Central

10

~

~

~

~

Mansfield

-

-

-

~

~

Meon Valley

10

30

30

30

30

Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney

-

~

~

~

~

Mid Bedfordshire

40

80

80

90

70

Mid Dorset and North Poole

-

-

~

-

-

Mid Norfolk

10

40

30

30

50

Middlesbrough

10

~

10

~

10

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland

~

~

~

~

~

Midlothian

30

70

60

60

40

Milton Keynes North

~

~

~

~

~

Milton Keynes South

~

10

10

10

~

Mitcham and Morden

~

~

~

~

~

Mole Valley

~

10

10

~

~

Monmouth

~

~

~

~

10

Moray

100

200

210

180

200

Motherwell and Wishaw

~

~

~

~

~

Na h-Eileanan an Iar

~

~

-

-

-

New Forest East

30

50

60

30

50

Newark

~

-

~

-

-

Newbury

20

20

30

30

30

Newcastle upon Tyne Central

10

20

20

20

20

Newcastle upon Tyne East

20

10

10

10

20

Newcastle-under-Lyme

~

~

-

-

-

Newport West

10

10

10

10

10

Normanton

~

~

~

~

~

North Antrim

-

-

~

~

-

North Cornwall

~

~

10

~

~

North Devon

40

80

90

100

70

North Dorset

50

90

70

70

50

North Down

40

70

50

20

20

North Durham

~

-

-

~

~

North East Derbyshire

~

-

-

-

-

North East Fife

40

60

60

80

70

North East Hampshire

60

110

120

100

100

North East Somerset

10

10

20

10

10

North Herefordshire

40

80

80

110

80

North Norfolk

~

~

-

-

-

North Shropshire

40

90

80

90

70

North Thanet

~

10

10

~

10

North West Cambridgeshire

70

120

130

150

140

North West Durham

~

-

-

-

-

North West Hampshire

50

90

90

90

90

North West Norfolk

10

10

20

20

10

North Wiltshire

80

180

180

190

140

Northampton South

~

10

~

10

~

Norwich North

~

~

10

~

~

Norwich South

-

-

-

~

-

Nottingham East

-

~

~

~

-

Nottingham North

10

10

10

10

10

Nottingham South

~

-

-

~

~

Orkney and Shetland

~

~

-

-

-

Oxford East

~

~

10

~

~

Paisley and Renfrewshire South

10

~

~

~

~

Penrith and The Border

~

10

10

10

~

Perth and North Perthshire

10

10

~

10

10

Peterborough

~

-

~

~

~

Plymouth

270

520

540

520

440

Pontypridd

~

~

~

~

~

Poole

30

60

60

60

60

Poplar and Limehouse

10

10

10

10

10

Portsmouth North

70

100

80

90

80

Portsmouth South

240

520

490

560

490

Preseli Pembrokeshire

20

40

30

30

30

Preston

10

10

~

~

~

Pudsey

~

10

10

10

~

Putney

20

10

20

10

10

Reading East

-

-

~

-

-

Reading West

~

~

10

10

10

Redcar

-

-

-

~

-

Redditch

~

~

10

~

~

Reigate

~

-

-

-

~

Richmond (Yorks)

610

1240

1120

1060

1230

Rochester and Strood

20

40

40

50

30

Rochford and Southend East

~

-

-

-

-

Romsey and Southampton North

20

30

40

30

30

Rotherham

~

~

~

~

~

Rugby

20

60

50

60

20

Rushcliffe

-

-

~

~

10

Rutherglen and Hamilton West

~

-

-

~

-

Rutland and Melton

80

190

160

190

120

Saffron Walden

40

70

50

70

70

Salford and Eccles

10

10

~

10

10

Salisbury

20

30

20

30

20

Scarborough and Whitby

~

-

-

-

-

Scunthorpe

~

10

~

~

10

Sedgefield

10

10

10

~

~

Sefton Central

~

~

~

~

~

Sevenoaks

-

~

-

-

~

Sheffield

20

10

10

10

10

Sheffield Central

~

~

~

~

-

Shrewsbury and Atcham

30

50

10

~

~

Skipton and Ripon

40

80

110

120

100

Sleaford and North Hykeham

80

140

120

130

120

South Antrim

20

40

40

50

30

South Cambridgeshire

~

~

~

~

10

South Dorset

30

70

80

90

70

South Down

-

~

-

-

~

South East Cambridgeshire

-

~

~

~

~

South East Cornwall

90

180

170

210

240

South Northamptonshire

-

~

-

-

-

South Shields

10

~

~

~

~

South Swindon

10

10

10

~

20

South West Devon

20

40

50

40

30

South West Hertfordshire

50

90

80

80

80

South West Norfolk

60

110

120

160

140

South West Surrey

~

~

~

~

~

South West Wiltshire

50

120

110

120

120

Southampton

30

20

20

10

20

St Austell and Newquay

10

10

30

20

20

St Helens South and Whiston

~

~

~

~

~

St Ives

60

110

130

100

110

Stafford

50

130

130

140

110

Stevenage

-

-

-

-

~

Stirling

30

50

30

10

10

Stockport

~

-

-

-

~

Stockton North

~

~

~

10

~

Stockton South

~

-

-

-

-

Stoke-on-Trent Central

~

~

~

~

~

Stoke-on-Trent North

~

-

-

-

-

Stoke-on-Trent South

10

10

~

~

~

Stourbridge

~

~

~

~

-

Strangford

~

~

~

~

~

Streatham

~

10

10

10

~

Stretford and Urmston

10

-

~

-

~

Stroud

-

-

~

-

-

Suffolk Coastal

20

40

30

40

40

Sunderland Central

~

10

~

10

10

Surrey Heath

50

90

80

70

70

Sutton Coldfield

-

~

-

-

-

Swansea East

10

~

~

~

~

Swansea West

~

~

10

~

~

Taunton Deane

30

80

60

80

60

Telford

10

10

10

10

~

Tewkesbury

20

60

60

50

40

The Cotswolds

30

30

40

30

20

The Wrekin

50

80

130

150

120

Thirsk and Malton

40

60

60

60

60

Tooting

~

~

~

~

~

Torbay

~

~

~

~

~

Torfaen

~

~

~

~

10

Totnes

10

20

20

30

30

Truro and Falmouth

~

~

-

~

~

Tunbridge Wells

~

~

~

-

~

Twickenham

~

~

~

~

~

Tynemouth

~

10

~

~

~

Upper Bann

~

~

~

~

~

Uxbridge and South Ruislip

30

70

70

80

70

Vale of Clwyd

~

-

-

-

-

Vale of Glamorgan

40

70

70

60

70

Vauxhall

~

-

~

10

~

Wakefield

10

10

~

20

~

Walsall South

~

~

~

~

~

Wantage

80

150

120

130

140

Warley

~

~

~

~

10

Warrington North

10

~

~

~

10

Waveney

-

-

-

~

-

Wells

-

-

-

~

-

West Bromwich East

~

~

~

~

~

West Dorset

~

10

~

~

-

West Dunbartonshire

~

10

-

~

~

West Ham

~

~

~

~

10

West Suffolk

-

-

-

~

-

Wigan

10

~

-

~

~

Winchester

70

160

130

150

210

Windsor

40

110

120

120

80

Witney

160

290

280

320

320

Woking

280

480

470

410

500

Wokingham

~

~

-

~

~

Wolverhampton North East

10

10

10

10

10

Worcester

~

~

~

~

~

Workington

~

~

~

~

~

Wrexham

~

10

~

-

~

Wycombe

~

~

~

~

~

Wyre and Preston North

40

120

100

80

80

Wyre Forest

-

-

-

-

~

Yeovil

170

280

280

310

250

Ynys Mon

10

10

20

20

20

York Central

20

70

50

60

50

York Outer

20

20

20

20

20

* Unknown include personnel who did not have a recorded instance of Parliamentary Constituency prior to leaving the Armed Forces.

Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10, with numbers ending in ‘5’ rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias. In order to protect personal information governed by Data Protection Legislation, numbers less than 5 have been supplemented with a tilde (~).

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate his Department has made of the number of home owners in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

The Department does not hold this information.

The English Housing Survey can provide estimates of housing tenure for each region of England and is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/english-housing-survey-2019-to-2020-headline-report. In 2019-20, 63% of households in Yorkshire and the Humber were owner occupied households.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether women recorded as staying in women-only shelters are counted towards the total homelessness figure for England.

Tackling homelessness and rough sleeping in all its forms is a key priority for this Government and we have taken unprecedented steps this year, working with local authorities and their partners to protect vulnerable rough sleepers during the pandemic. The ‘Everyone In’ campaign has supported over 37,000 people with over 11,000 in emergency accommodation and over 26,000 already moved on into longer-term accommodation.

We do not have a breakdown of the number of women recorded as staying in women-only shelters within the homelessness case level collection (H-CLIC) data in England.

At the Budget the Chancellor announced £4.2 million for MHCLG to trial ‘Respite Rooms’ across the country. The Respite Rooms programme will provide support to vulnerable homeless women affected by violence and abuse who need specialist support to enable them to better engage with, and be ready for, domestic abuse safe accommodation including refuge.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department plans to reopen applications for Pocket parks.

The Government recognises the value of parks and green spaces in providing vibrant and inclusive locations for communities to socialise, volunteer, work, and exercise. We have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic how important access to parks and green spaces are to local communities. We recognise that green spaces foster health, well-being, integration, and social engagement. There are no immediate plans to continue the Pocket Parks Scheme. However, as we move beyond the threat of COVID-19, we will explore how we can best support all urban parks and green spaces, taking into account the Government’s environmental, social, and health priorities.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with religious leaders on supporting uptake of the covid-19 vaccine among followers of their religion.

Alongside the Minister for Vaccines, MHCLG ministers have met regularly with faith leaders to discuss the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, address any concerns raised by leaders and encourage take up throughout religious communities. This has included discussion at the Places of Worship Taskforce and wider faith leader roundtables. We have also encouraged faith leaders to volunteer places of worship to become vaccine sites and support take up in their local community


My Department is also providing regular FAQ updates to faith leaders to be disseminated through their networks, including tackling the spread of disinformation on the vaccine.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many planning applications have been considered for calling in by his Department since the beginning of 2020.

As of early December, 404 cases have been or are currently under consideration for call in in 2020.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent steps his Department has taken to tackle antisemitism in (a) Wakefield constituency, (b) West Yorkshire and (c) England.

Antisemitism has absolutely no place in our society, which is why we are taking a strong lead in tackling it in all its forms. We became the first country to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism in 2016 and we work with the Cross-Government Working Group to Tackle Antisemitism which ensures we can respond quickly to the concerns of Jewish communities. We also provide funds to a number of projects that work across the country to tackle Antisemitism; for example we fund the Antisemitism Policy Trust to support their work to tackle online antisemitism?and help combat this growing area of concern.

This Government is also providing?£14 million?this?year, and provided over £65 million to date, for the Protective Security Grant to protect Jewish schools and community buildings.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent steps his Department has undertaken to tackle islamophobia in (a) Wakefield constituency, (b) West Yorkshire and (c) England.

Muslims in our country should be able to practice their faith in freedom. We have some of the strongest legislation in the world to tackle hate crime and, where groups incite racial hatred or are engaged in racially or religiously motivated criminal activity, we would expect them to be prosecuted. We have supported Tell MAMA?(Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks)?with?just over £2.8 million between 2016 and 2020 to monitor and combat anti-Muslim hatred. To remain live to the issues facing Muslim communities, we continue to support the work of the cross-Government Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group which provides valuable advice to Government on challenges faced by Britain’s Muslim communities and how to address those challenges. We have also established the Faith, Race and Hate Crime Grant Scheme will support established community groups and civil society organisations to run short projects that champion the government's commitment to building a diverse and tolerant society for all faiths and races. Up to £2 million is available for projects to boost shared values and tackle religiously and racially- motivated hate crime.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 20 April 2021 to Question 180635, if he will publish the information on how many prisoners serving a custodial sentence who were formerly members of the armed forces by prison.

The information requested is shown on the attached spreadsheets. These are broken down by offence group and prison service establishment.

The Ministry of Justice publishes a yearly snapshot which estimates the number of former service personnel in the prison population. This takes place in June each year.

Since 2015 all new prisoners coming into custody have been asked if they have a military background as part of the basic custody screening (BCS) interview. The attached data is therefore the percentage of sentenced prisoners within each offence group and prison for which we have a matched response to the BCS armed forces question. Those who entered prison prior to Jan 2015 (and are still in custody) will not have completed the BCS and so we will not have a matched response for these individuals.

Declaring one’s military background is not obligatory and there is anecdotal evidence that some offenders may be reluctant to disclose having served in the armed forces. The MoJ is focussed on increasing declaration rates amongst this important group.

We remain committed to ensuring that those who have served in the Armed Forces and who find themselves in the criminal justice system are able to access support, whether they are serving their sentence in custody or in the community. Through the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund, we have committed to support programmes worth £5.7 million targeted at former service personnel in the criminal justice system.

Alex Chalk
Assistant Whip
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 20 April 2021 to Question 180635, how many prisoners serving a custodial sentence who were formerly members of the armed forces were sentenced for (a) violent crime and (b) non-violent crime.

The information requested is shown on the attached spreadsheets. These are broken down by offence group and prison service establishment.

The Ministry of Justice publishes a yearly snapshot which estimates the number of former service personnel in the prison population. This takes place in June each year.

Since 2015 all new prisoners coming into custody have been asked if they have a military background as part of the basic custody screening (BCS) interview. The attached data is therefore the percentage of sentenced prisoners within each offence group and prison for which we have a matched response to the BCS armed forces question. Those who entered prison prior to Jan 2015 (and are still in custody) will not have completed the BCS and so we will not have a matched response for these individuals.

Declaring one’s military background is not obligatory and there is anecdotal evidence that some offenders may be reluctant to disclose having served in the armed forces. The MoJ is focussed on increasing declaration rates amongst this important group.

We remain committed to ensuring that those who have served in the Armed Forces and who find themselves in the criminal justice system are able to access support, whether they are serving their sentence in custody or in the community. Through the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund, we have committed to support programmes worth £5.7 million targeted at former service personnel in the criminal justice system.

Alex Chalk
Assistant Whip
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people currently serving a prison sentence were previously members of the armed forces.

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service records previous service in the Armed Forces as part of the reception process for newly received prisoners. Information on previous service does not distinguish between those who have served in the British Armed Forces or those of another nation. Those who choose to declare previous service may be referring to time spent with the UK forces or with those of another country.

As of 30 June 2020, there were 1,406 prisoners serving a custodial sentence in England and Wales who had declared former military service.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the backlog before the courts in West Yorkshire.

The courts in West Yorkshire have continued throughout the pandemic and list as many cases as possible whilst complying with HMCTS COVID-secure working arrangements.

This has been enabled by physical changes to courtrooms and jury facilities through the use of Plexiglass screens, which have been installed in magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court, and other significant physical changes to the dock and courtroom provision to enable large multi-handed trials to proceed.

The use of buildings has changed: the proactive management of public areas, provision of additional waiting areas in some busy buildings, and opening more magistrates’ courtrooms on Saturdays has further increased capacity. A Nightingale Court has additionally been opened in Cloth Hall Court, Leeds.

The way that cases are heard has also changed: using the Cloud Video Platform to enable certain cases to be heard remotely has helped limit the number who need to physically attend court and increased overall capacity.

Arrangements are also in place for flexible deployment of work between Bradford and Leeds Crown Courts, and listing some magistrates’ court work in nearby Skipton.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of staff in (a) prisons and (b) young offender institutions in West Yorkshire are employed by private contractors.

I can confirm that as of 16 March 2021 in prisons and young offender institutions within the West Yorkshire region (HMPs Leeds, New Hall, Wealstun, Wetherby and Wakefield), there was a total of c.2,100 directly employed staff, and approximately 700 non-directly employed employees.

Staff employed by private contractors mainly provide services in healthcare, education and facilities management. This information has been taken from individual local prison records and has not been verified centrally.

HM Prison and Probation Workforce statistics are published quarterly, and the latest publication can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/her-majestys-prison-and-probation-service-workforce-quarterly-december-2020. These only provide data for directly employed staff.

Alex Chalk
Assistant Whip
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners were segregated under Rule 45 of the Prison Rules for a period longer than three days in the last five years in (a) West Yorkshire and (b) England.

Establishments manage all offenders in segregation under the policy laid out in Prison Service Order 1700 -Segregation. This policy states that segregation should only be used as a last resort and those segregated should have their health, wellbeing and basic needs safeguarded. Dedicated segregation staff focus on helping prisoners manage their behaviour, address their problems and prepare them for return to normal location when it is safe and appropriate to do so.


Local records are maintained at each individual establishment, but HMPPS does not centrally hold regional (West Yorkshire) or national data (including timeframes) on the number of prisoners segregated under Rule 45.

Alex Chalk
Assistant Whip
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of assaults on prison staff in (a) young offenders institutions and (b) prisons were investigated by police forces external to the prison disciplinary system in (i) West Yorkshire and (ii) England in 2019.

Any prisoner who commits an act of violence whether that be against a fellow inmate or member of staff can expect to have action taken against them.

Currently, data is not held centrally on the number of assaults that are committed by prisoners against staff in young offender’s institutions or prisons that were investigated by Police in West Yorkshire and England. This is being reviewed with the aim to collate data from all establishments for all crimes committed in prison, whilst also creating guidance on how to appropriately refer crimes committed in prison to the police.

The ‘Crime in Prison Referral Agreement’ was created in May 2019 and sets out the agreement between Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The aim is to ensure that acts of criminality that occur in prison are appropriately addressed within the Criminal Justice System.

In line with the Crime in Prison Referral Agreement, assaults against members of staff will be referred to the police for investigation and consideration for prosecution where appropriate. Less serious assaults, are more appropriately dealt with by the prison disciplinary system.

The courts retain the discretion to decide whether sentences should be served concurrently or consecutively, based on the facts of the case. The Sentencing Council’s Totality guideline provides courts with guidance on whether sentences should be served concurrently or consecutively. Where the individual is serving a determinate sentence and commits another offence after the original sentence was imposed, the new sentence will generally be consecutive to the original sentence.

It was announced in March 2020 that anyone using coronavirus to threaten emergency workers would face serious criminal charges punishable by up to 12 months in prison under the Assaults on Emergency Workers Offences Act 2018. HMPPS has since issued guidance to support staff in referring such cases to the police.

Alex Chalk
Assistant Whip
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to his Department's press release, Judicial retirement age to rise to 75, published on 9 March 2021, how his Department plans to allocate the £1 million to increase diversity within the magistracy.

MoJ is investing in a recruitment and attraction programme to recruit more and more diverse magistrates. This will include the introduction of new IT that will enable better tracking of magistrate recruitment data, and outcomes, including by diversity data. We will also be investing in a targeted marketing strategy in 2021 directed at under-represented groups in local areas to boost magistrate recruitment.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to his Department's press release, Judicial retirement age to rise to 75, published on 9 March 2021, whether judicial office holders other than former magistrates between the ages of 70 and 75 will be entitled to re-enter the judiciary.

When the new mandatory retirement age (MRA) comes into force, there will be a transitional provision to enable retired magistrates to apply to return to the bench, subject to business need. We are currently updating our modelling to ascertain the impact of an increase to 75 on the supply of magistrates (both regionally and nationally) and on our recruitment requirements for 2021/22 and beyond.

Judicial office holders who are in office when the new mandatory retirement age comes into force will be able to continue sitting until 75. Judges below the High Court are already able to have their appointments extended, on an annual basis, up to the age of 75, where there is a business need. In addition, salaried judges can also be authorised to sit in retirement on an ad hoc basis up to the age of 75. We therefore do not intend to provide for transitional arrangements to allow for the reappointment of judges who have retired but are younger than the new MRA.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of former magistrates who will be entitled to re-enter the judiciary as a result of the change to magistrates' retirement age in (a) West Yorkshire and (b) England and Wales.

When the new mandatory retirement age (MRA) comes into force, there will be a transitional provision to enable retired magistrates to apply to return to the bench, subject to business need. We are currently updating our modelling to ascertain the impact of an increase to 75 on the supply of magistrates (both regionally and nationally) and on our recruitment requirements for 2021/22 and beyond.

Judicial office holders who are in office when the new mandatory retirement age comes into force will be able to continue sitting until 75. Judges below the High Court are already able to have their appointments extended, on an annual basis, up to the age of 75, where there is a business need. In addition, salaried judges can also be authorised to sit in retirement on an ad hoc basis up to the age of 75. We therefore do not intend to provide for transitional arrangements to allow for the reappointment of judges who have retired but are younger than the new MRA.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that appeals of benefit decisions can continue to be heard during the covid-19 lockdown announced on 5 January 2021.

Throughout the pandemic, appeals have continued to be decided on the papers, or heard using telephone and other remote technology. Additionally, HM Courts & Tribunals Service has introduced safety measures, so that face-to-face hearings can be held for any cases, which cannot be decided on the papers or heard remotely.

The decision as to how a hearing is conducted is a matter for the judge, who will determine how best to uphold the interests of justice.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how much revenue has been raised for the public purse through the sale of properties previously owned by his Department in Wakefield in the last five years.

Since 1 April 2016, the Ministry of Justice has received a clawback payment of £55,844 in respect of an historic sale of land and sold two properties generating capital receipts of £481,000.

A decision was taken, following a public consultation, to close Wakefield Magistrates’ Court in 2016. The reasons for that decision are a matter of public record. In 2017 the MoJ transferred the former Wakefield Magistrates’ Court to Homes England. Homes England sold the property on 16 August 2019 for £207,500.

Alex Chalk
Assistant Whip
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of magistrates in (a) Wakefield constituency, (b) West Yorkshire and (c) England.

Working with the magistracy through the Magistrates’ Recruitment and Attraction Steering Group, we are investing in a broad programme of work to recruit more, and more diverse, magistrates across England and Wales. We have also reviewed our planned future recruitment to make sure this is in line with the demands on the magistracy, particularly in managing our recovery in response to the pandemic.

Recommendations for the appointment of magistrates are made to the Lord Chief Justice by independent advisory committees. The North and West Yorkshire Recruitment Advisory Committee, which includes the Wakefield constituency, has received 78 applications to date in 2020.

Alex Chalk
Assistant Whip
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the cost per prisoner was of operating HMP Wakefield in (a) the 2019-20 financial year and (b) the 2020 financial year to date.

The cost per prisoner at HMP Wakefield in 2019/20 was £35,538 in direct unit costs and £52,402 in overall unit costs (this figure includes apportionment of overheads etc.). The direct cost per prisoner for 2020/21 on year to date is £21,094. The 2020/21 figure is to the end of October only.

We’ve invested in our prisons to make them safer and more effective at delivering the rehabilitation that will cut reoffending and crime.

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) routinely publishes direct and overall resource expenditure for each private and public sector prison in England and Wales on an annual basis after the end of each financial year. The information can be accessed in the Prison and Probation Performance Statistics pages for each relevant financial year on the website https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/prison-performance-statistics-2019-to-2020

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners had been diagnosed with covid-19 up to the end of September 2020.

Verified data on the number of staff and prisoners that have tested positive for COVID-19 is due to be published in November as part of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) national COVID-19 statistics on gov.uk. Prisoner data is published monthly. Staff data is published quarterly, the most recent data covers the period up to 31 July 2020.

For the purposes of this data, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. Much of the data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic has been done at pace, with recording practices evolving as we understand more about the requirements and conditions we are facing. In order to present the timeliest information, the data presented has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics. Data in relation to prisoners has been rounded to two significant figures.

For the purposes of prison officer data, this combines the reporting categories for i) operational grades 3-5 and ii) grades deemed as prison officer and above.

The number of prisoners recorded as being tested positive for covid-19 up to 30 September is 630. This number includes 10 cases recorded within the Youth Custody Service.

The number of prison officers recorded as being tested positive for COVID-19 up to 31 July 2020 is 635.

Five prisoners had tested positive at HMP Wakefield in the period up to 30 September.

Three prison officers had tested positive at HMP Wakefield in the period up to 31 July.

HMPPS does not own or centrally collate data on the number of prisoner operations that have been cancelled. This data is owned by the current Healthcare provider at HMP Wakefield - Care UK.

We have robust plans in place to keep prisoners, staff and the public safe, based on the latest Public Health England advice. We continue to monitor the situation across the estate, and should restrictions need to be re-imposed to maintain safety, we will not hesitate to do this. Prisons operate under a National Framework which sets out how restrictions are managed: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-national-framework-for-prison-regimes-and-services.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prison officers had been diagnosed with covid-19 up to the end of September 2020.

Verified data on the number of staff and prisoners that have tested positive for COVID-19 is due to be published in November as part of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) national COVID-19 statistics on gov.uk. Prisoner data is published monthly. Staff data is published quarterly, the most recent data covers the period up to 31 July 2020.

For the purposes of this data, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. Much of the data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic has been done at pace, with recording practices evolving as we understand more about the requirements and conditions we are facing. In order to present the timeliest information, the data presented has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics. Data in relation to prisoners has been rounded to two significant figures.

For the purposes of prison officer data, this combines the reporting categories for i) operational grades 3-5 and ii) grades deemed as prison officer and above.

The number of prisoners recorded as being tested positive for covid-19 up to 30 September is 630. This number includes 10 cases recorded within the Youth Custody Service.

The number of prison officers recorded as being tested positive for COVID-19 up to 31 July 2020 is 635.

Five prisoners had tested positive at HMP Wakefield in the period up to 30 September.

Three prison officers had tested positive at HMP Wakefield in the period up to 31 July.

HMPPS does not own or centrally collate data on the number of prisoner operations that have been cancelled. This data is owned by the current Healthcare provider at HMP Wakefield - Care UK.

We have robust plans in place to keep prisoners, staff and the public safe, based on the latest Public Health England advice. We continue to monitor the situation across the estate, and should restrictions need to be re-imposed to maintain safety, we will not hesitate to do this. Prisons operate under a National Framework which sets out how restrictions are managed: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-national-framework-for-prison-regimes-and-services.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners at HMP Wakefield have been diagnosed with covid-19 since March 2020.

Verified data on the number of staff and prisoners that have tested positive for COVID-19 is due to be published in November as part of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) national COVID-19 statistics on gov.uk. Prisoner data is published monthly. Staff data is published quarterly, the most recent data covers the period up to 31 July 2020.

For the purposes of this data, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. Much of the data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic has been done at pace, with recording practices evolving as we understand more about the requirements and conditions we are facing. In order to present the timeliest information, the data presented has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics. Data in relation to prisoners has been rounded to two significant figures.

For the purposes of prison officer data, this combines the reporting categories for i) operational grades 3-5 and ii) grades deemed as prison officer and above.

The number of prisoners recorded as being tested positive for covid-19 up to 30 September is 630. This number includes 10 cases recorded within the Youth Custody Service.

The number of prison officers recorded as being tested positive for COVID-19 up to 31 July 2020 is 635.

Five prisoners had tested positive at HMP Wakefield in the period up to 30 September.

Three prison officers had tested positive at HMP Wakefield in the period up to 31 July.

HMPPS does not own or centrally collate data on the number of prisoner operations that have been cancelled. This data is owned by the current Healthcare provider at HMP Wakefield - Care UK.

We have robust plans in place to keep prisoners, staff and the public safe, based on the latest Public Health England advice. We continue to monitor the situation across the estate, and should restrictions need to be re-imposed to maintain safety, we will not hesitate to do this. Prisons operate under a National Framework which sets out how restrictions are managed: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-national-framework-for-prison-regimes-and-services.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prison officers at HMP Wakefield have been diagnosed with covid-19 since March 2020.

Verified data on the number of staff and prisoners that have tested positive for COVID-19 is due to be published in November as part of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) national COVID-19 statistics on gov.uk. Prisoner data is published monthly. Staff data is published quarterly, the most recent data covers the period up to 31 July 2020.

For the purposes of this data, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. Much of the data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic has been done at pace, with recording practices evolving as we understand more about the requirements and conditions we are facing. In order to present the timeliest information, the data presented has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics. Data in relation to prisoners has been rounded to two significant figures.

For the purposes of prison officer data, this combines the reporting categories for i) operational grades 3-5 and ii) grades deemed as prison officer and above.

The number of prisoners recorded as being tested positive for covid-19 up to 30 September is 630. This number includes 10 cases recorded within the Youth Custody Service.

The number of prison officers recorded as being tested positive for COVID-19 up to 31 July 2020 is 635.

Five prisoners had tested positive at HMP Wakefield in the period up to 30 September.

Three prison officers had tested positive at HMP Wakefield in the period up to 31 July.

HMPPS does not own or centrally collate data on the number of prisoner operations that have been cancelled. This data is owned by the current Healthcare provider at HMP Wakefield - Care UK.

We have robust plans in place to keep prisoners, staff and the public safe, based on the latest Public Health England advice. We continue to monitor the situation across the estate, and should restrictions need to be re-imposed to maintain safety, we will not hesitate to do this. Prisons operate under a National Framework which sets out how restrictions are managed: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-national-framework-for-prison-regimes-and-services.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many operations for prisoners at HMP Wakefield have been cancelled since March 2020.

Verified data on the number of staff and prisoners that have tested positive for COVID-19 is due to be published in November as part of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) national COVID-19 statistics on gov.uk. Prisoner data is published monthly. Staff data is published quarterly, the most recent data covers the period up to 31 July 2020.

For the purposes of this data, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. Much of the data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic has been done at pace, with recording practices evolving as we understand more about the requirements and conditions we are facing. In order to present the timeliest information, the data presented has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics. Data in relation to prisoners has been rounded to two significant figures.

For the purposes of prison officer data, this combines the reporting categories for i) operational grades 3-5 and ii) grades deemed as prison officer and above.

The number of prisoners recorded as being tested positive for covid-19 up to 30 September is 630. This number includes 10 cases recorded within the Youth Custody Service.

The number of prison officers recorded as being tested positive for COVID-19 up to 31 July 2020 is 635.

Five prisoners had tested positive at HMP Wakefield in the period up to 30 September.

Three prison officers had tested positive at HMP Wakefield in the period up to 31 July.

HMPPS does not own or centrally collate data on the number of prisoner operations that have been cancelled. This data is owned by the current Healthcare provider at HMP Wakefield - Care UK.

We have robust plans in place to keep prisoners, staff and the public safe, based on the latest Public Health England advice. We continue to monitor the situation across the estate, and should restrictions need to be re-imposed to maintain safety, we will not hesitate to do this. Prisons operate under a National Framework which sets out how restrictions are managed: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-national-framework-for-prison-regimes-and-services.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)