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Written Question
Shipbuilding: Skilled Workers
18 Oct 2021

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the UK has access to an adequate supply of skilled labour to ensure that the UK shipbuilding enterprise can deliver the strategically important naval programmes necessary to ensure that the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary can fulfil their tasks.

Answered by Jeremy Quin

The Secretary of State for Defence is firmly committed to the UK's shipbuilding enterprise and is leading work across Government to deliver an innovative and competitive shipbuilding sector which supports jobs, skills and prosperity throughout the country. Further detail on how Government will develop a sustainable pipeline of skilled workers for the sector will be set out in the Refresh to the National Shipbuilding Strategy, to be published later this year.


Written Question
Frontier Workers: Defence and Infrastructure
13 Jul 2021

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to grant frontier worker status to people (a) presently working in the UK, (b) who can prove a previous employment history at a UK employer and (c) who will be working on strategically important projects in the UK defence and infrastructure sectors.

Answered by Kevin Foster

The Citizens’ Rights Agreements protect those EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who were frontier workers in the UK by the end of the transition period at 11pm on 31 December 2020 and who continue to be so.

The UK’s frontier worker permit scheme, which has been open to applications since 10 December 2020, allows those protected frontier workers to obtain a permit, free of charge, as evidence of their right to continue entering the UK as a frontier worker after 30 June 2021.

There is no deadline by which protected frontier workers must apply for a permit, though it has been mandatory for non-Irish frontier workers to hold a frontier worker permit to enter the UK for work from 1 July 2021.

Where an overseas worker is not protected by the Citizens’ Rights Agreements, the new points-based immigration system provides routes for skilled workers and specialist services suppliers. Such work visas are typically issued within three weeks, making the UK system one of the fastest visa services in the world.


Written Question
Gurkhas: Pensions
12 Jul 2021

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the pensions of Gurkha veterans are equivalent to those offered to other armed service personnel.

Answered by Leo Docherty

The Gurkha Pension Scheme closed to new applicants in 2007 and those serving from that date, or those who chose to transfer to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme, receive the same pension rates as all other armed forces service personnel.

For veterans who chose to remain on the Gurkha Pension Scheme it represents a very fair scheme ensuring that Gurkha veterans are provided with a good standard of living. For most Gurkha veterans the Gurkha Pension Scheme provides a pension at least as good, and in many cases better, than that given to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme members with identical periods of service.


Written Question
Veterans: Identity Cards
8 Jul 2021

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans his Department has to accelerate the verification process to enable eligible personnel to receive a Veterans' ID card.

Answered by Leo Docherty

A veteran does not require a recognition or ID card to prove their status and access veteran related services or discounts. There are a number of ways that Service can be verified, and the lack of a recognition or ID card should not act as a barrier.

The Government remains committed to developing an online digital verification tool, which will make it as easy as possible for veterans to verify their Service. We are working with colleagues across Government to find a solution that is secure and easy to use. A delivery date will be confirmed in due course, along with details of the next phase of the Veterans’ ID card roll-out. Closer to the launch date, information will be released at the following website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-veterans-id-cards-rolled-out-to-service-leavers


Written Question
Aerospace Industry: South West
21 Jun 2021

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the contribution to environmental sustainability of the aerospace industry in the South West of England.

Answered by Paul Scully

The South West of England is home to a large cluster of the UK’s leading aerospace businesses. Its contribution to environmental sustainability of the aerospace industry is therefore significant. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State recently launched a new Airbus wing technology centre (AIRTeC) as part of its Wing of Tomorrow programme. This centre and research undertaken by companies such as GKN and Rolls-Royce will keep the South West at the forefront of the global move towards cleaner aviation.

As part of my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Government is investing in future green aviation across the whole of the UK. in order to accelerate this work, we have created a Jet Zero Council which brings together stakeholders spanning airlines, airports, aerospace manufacturers, fuel suppliers, academia, and environmental groups.


Written Question
Iran: Guided Weapons
16 Jun 2021

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of Iran’s ballistic missile programme.

Answered by James Cleverly

Iran's ballistic missile programme is destabilising for the region and poses a threat to European security. UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which was unanimously adopted in the Security Council and underpins the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), calls on Iran not to undertake activities related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering a nuclear weapon. These UN ballistic missile restrictions remain in place until 2023. Alongside France and Germany (as E3), we have written repeatedly to the UN Secretary-General, most recently on 18 February, to bring attention to Iranian missile activity inconsistent with UNSCR 2231. We urge Iran to fully abide by UNSCR 2231 and all other relevant resolutions.


Written Question
Asylum: Applications
23 Apr 2021

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to reinstate face to face interviews for asylum and refugee applications.

Answered by Kevin Foster

We recommenced face to face substantive interviews on 21 September 2020.


Written Question
Armed Forces: Training
22 Apr 2021

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many service personnel are assigned to training appointments in the (a) Royal Navy, (b) British Army and (c) Royal Air Force.

Answered by James Heappey

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


Written Question
International Criminal Court: Jerusalem and Occupied Territories
20 Apr 2021

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what assessment he has made of the International Criminal Court’s determination that it has jurisdiction over East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza; and what assessment he has made of the potential legal implications of that determination for UK armed forces.

Answered by James Cleverly

As the Prime Minister said in his letter to the Conservative Friends of Israel, the UK is a strong supporter of the ICC and we respect the independence of the Court. In this instance we do not consider that the ICC has jurisdiction. We continue to closely follow the ICC's work and are looking at the implications of this decision.


Written Question
Veterans: Health Services
19 Apr 2021

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if his Department will hold discussions with the Northern Ireland Health Minister on ensuring that veterans in Northern Ireland receive urgent medical care, including accessing medical care in Great Britain, to reduce the time they have to wait for surgery.

Answered by Robin Walker

The Armed Forces Covenant makes clear that veterans should not be disadvantaged as a result of their service, including in the provision of healthcare.

Health is a devolved matter, within the competence of the Northern Ireland Executive. The NI Health Minister, Robin Swann, is therefore responsible for issues relating to the health of all citizens in Northern Ireland, including veterans.

The New Decade, New Approach deal committed to the establishment of a Veteran’s Commissioner in Northern Ireland and I recently met with the new Commissioner, Danny Kinahan. We are keen to support him in his important work.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and I will continue to engage with veterans’ support networks in Northern Ireland, the Office of Veterans’ Affairs and the NI Department of Health on matters pertaining to veterans’ welfare.


Written Question
Israel: Embassies
19 Apr 2021

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the validity of reports that an Iranian-affiliated group detonated an explosive device outside Israel’s embassy in New Delhi in January 2021.

Answered by James Cleverly

The UK Government works closely with international counterparts on security issues. This particular incident has not been raised by partners - but we work closely with both India and Israel on security issues.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Vaccination
18 Mar 2021

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to prioritise covid-19 vaccinations for the carers of terminally ill spouses.

Answered by Nadhim Zahawi

We recognise the vital role unpaid carers play in caring for vulnerable individuals. Unpaid carers are included in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s priority group six - all individuals aged 16 to 64 years old with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality. This also includes those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.


Written Question
Veterans: Housing
17 Mar 2021

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that veterans have equitable access to housing.

Answered by Eddie Hughes

Delivering on the Armed Forces Covenant, the Government has taken steps to ensure that serving personnel and veterans are not disadvantaged when seeking to access social housing


The law was changed in 2012 so that seriously injured, ill or disabled Service personnel, and former members of the Armed Forces, with urgent housing needs are always given ‘additional preference’ (high priority) for social housing. At the same time, regulations were introduced which ensure that serving personnel and those within 5 years of having left the forces cannot be disqualified from social housing because of a local connection or residency requirement


Both provisions also apply to seriously injured and disabled Reservists and bereaved spouses of Service personnel who are required to leave accommodation provided by the Ministry of Defence


In June 2020 we published new statutory guidance for local authorities to further improve access to social housing for members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and their families: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-access-to-social-housing-for-members-of-the-armed-forces . The guidance:

  • sets out how local authorities can identify applications from members of the Armed Forces community to ensure that they are considered appropriately
  • ensures that members of the Armed Forces and veterans suffering from mental ill health are given appropriate priority for social housing; and
  • makes clear that local authorities are expected to disapply any local connection requirement from divorced or separated spouses or civil partners of Service personnel who are required to move out of accommodation provided by the Ministry of Defence

We have also ensured that members of the Armed Forces have priority for government-funded shared ownership schemes. Service personnel retain their priority status for up to 24 months after service. If they die while in service, their priority can be transferred to their bereaved spouse or civil partner


In recognition of the unique nature of service to the Armed Forces, we have arranged that serving members, veterans within 5 years of leaving the services, divorced or separated spouses or civil partners of serving members, or the spouse or civil partner of a deceased member of the Armed Forces (if their death was wholly or partly caused by their service) shall not have to meet any local connection criteria in order to qualify for a First Home. This will give them the opportunity to settle in the community of their choosing


First Homes are the Government’s new home ownership scheme, designed to provide a sustained and ongoing supply of new homes sold to first-time buyers with a discount of at least 30% (in some areas, the discount could be as high as 50%). The discount will remain with the property each time it is sold and local authorities can apply additional criteria (such as a local connection test) to target specific groups with housing need.


Written Question
Veterans: Education
17 Mar 2021

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to enable veterans to study for educational and vocational qualifications.

Answered by Gillian Keegan

While there are no specific eligibility provisions for veterans within the Adult Education Budget, they do have the same rights to access educational and vocational qualifications as other individuals.

Residency eligibility criteria mean that an individual is required to have resided in England and have three-year ordinary residency in the UK and/or European Economic Area, depending on their nationality. Armed forces personnel and their family members posted outside the UK are classed as ordinarily resident in the UK and, where relevant, this may contribute towards the three years ordinary residency requirement, provided they are now residing in England and the learning is taking place in England.

Individuals who meet the residency eligibility criteria can access provision including fully funded courses in English and maths, for adults who need to improve their literacy and numeracy, fully funded first full Level 2 and/or Level 3 for learners aged 19 to 23 and fully funded specified digital skills qualifications for adults with no/low digital skills.

They will also be able to access a range of provision funded through the National Skills Fund:

  • We will invest £95 million from the National Skills Fund to support all adults to achieve their first full Level 3 qualification, which is equivalent to an advanced technical certificate or diploma, or two full A-Levels. Currently, adults between the ages of 19 to 23 are eligible for full funding for their first full Level 3. This offer will ensure that adults aged 24 and over are now able to access their first full, fully funded, Level 3 qualification.
  • We will target this Level 3 adult offer on sector subject areas that have strong outcomes at Level 3 linked to labour market need. The offer includes a range of qualifications that are valuable across the economy in multiple sectors, for example, digital skills, accountancy and business skills. This forms part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee and provides adults, including veterans, with an opportunity to gain these qualifications at any stage of their lives.
  • Complementing the Level 3 adult offer, Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. Skills Bootcamps will address the needs of adults aged 19 and over, providing them with opportunities to retrain, update or formalise their skills or acquire specialist skills.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Disease Control
15 Mar 2021

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to (a) make information on covid-19 published on Government websites accessible to people for whom English is not their first language and (b) broadcast information on covid-19 on the (i) Punjab Akaal Channel and (ii) other alternative language channels.

Answered by Penny Mordaunt

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 144853 on 1 February 2021.