Jamie Stone Portrait

Jamie Stone

Liberal Democrat - Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Defence)

(since October 2017)

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

(since September 2020)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland)
7th Feb 2019 - 6th Jan 2020
Scottish Affairs Committee
21st Oct 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland)
16th Jun 2017 - 12th Oct 2017


Department Event
Thursday 20th May 2021
09:30
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Oral questions - Main Chamber
20 May 2021, 9:30 a.m.
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Monday 24th May 2021
14:30
Ministry of Defence
Oral questions - Main Chamber
24 May 2021, 2:30 p.m.
Defence (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Thursday 1st July 2021
09:30
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Oral questions - Main Chamber
1 Jul 2021, 9:30 a.m.
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 28th April 2021
Fire Safety Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 11 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 256
Speeches
Thursday 29th April 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

I live near an Asda store. Many of the people who work there, who are friends of mine, would like …

Written Answers
Wednesday 28th April 2021
Football
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will facilitate a roundtable discussion with …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 23rd March 2021
Energy cost postcode lottery
That this House recognises that people pay more for their energy bills based on the region in which they live; …
Bills
Tuesday 25th February 2020
National Health Service Expenditure Bill 2019-21
A Bill to require expenditure on mental health services and on health services for veterans and members of the armed …
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 2nd March 2020
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: Satellite Applications Catapult Ltd
Address of donor: Electron Building, Fermi Avenue, Didcot OX11 0QR
Estimate of the …
EDM signed
Wednesday 21st April 2021
Access For All in rural areas
That this House recognises the enormous barriers that still exist at many railway stations across the country for people with …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 3rd March 2020
School Toilets (Access During Lessons) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to publish guidance for state-funded schools on allowing pupil access to toilets …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Jamie Stone has voted in 226 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Jamie Stone 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
Caroline Dinenage (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
(11 debate interactions)
Ben Wallace (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Defence
(9 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(8 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(29 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(20 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(16 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Jamie Stone's debates

Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross 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 Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross signature proportion
Petitions with most Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

If nurseries are shut down in view of Covid-19, the Government should set up an emergency fund to ensure their survival and ensure that parents are not charged the full fee by the nurseries to keep children's places.

I would like the government to review and increase the pay for healthcare workers to recognise the work that they do.

We would like the government to support and regard social care: financially, publicly and systematically on an equal par as NHS. We would like parliament to debate how to support social care during COVID-19 and beyond so that it automatically has the same access to operational and financial support.

The prospect of widespread cancellations of concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions due to COVID-19 threatens to cause huge financial hardship for Britain's creative community. We ask Parliament to provide a package of emergency financial and practical support during this unpredictable time.

To revoke the Immigration Health Surcharge increases for overseas NHS staff. The latest budget shows an increase of £220 a year for an overseas worker to live and work in the UK, at a time when the NHS, and UK economy, relies heavily on them.

The cash grants proposed by Government are only for businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Relief, or for particular sectors. Many small businesses fall outside these reliefs desperately need cash grants and support now.

For the UK government to provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry, who are suffering unforeseen financial challenges that could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of people employed in the sector.

After owning nurseries for 29 years I have never experienced such damaging times for the sector with rising costs not being met by the funding rates available. Business Rates are a large drain on the sector and can mean the difference between nurseries being able to stay open and having to close.

As we pass the COVID-19 Peak, the Government should: State where the Theatres and Arts fit in the Coronavrius recovery Roadmap, Create a tailor made financial support mechanism for the Arts sector & Clarify how Social Distancing will affect arts spaces like Theatres and Concert Venues.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak there are travel bans imposed by many countries, there is a disastrous potential impact on our Aviation Industry. Without the Government’s help there could be an unprecedented crisis, with thousands of jobs under threat.

Give NHS workers who are EU and other Nationals automatic UK citizenship if they stay and risk their own lives looking after the British people during the COVID crisis.

To extend the business rate relief to all dental practices and medical and aesthetics clinics and any small business that’s in healthcare

Zoos, aquariums, and similar organisations across the country carry out all sorts of conservation work, animal rescue, and public education. At the start of the season most rely on visitors (who now won't come) to cover annual costs, yet those costs do not stop while they are closed. They need help.


Latest EDMs signed by Jamie Stone

20th April 2021
Jamie Stone signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 21st April 2021

Access For All in rural areas

Tabled by: Tim Farron (Liberal Democrat - Westmorland and Lonsdale)
That this House recognises the enormous barriers that still exist at many railway stations across the country for people with mobility issues; welcomes the Department for Transport’s Access for All scheme to provide funding to make accessibility improvements to railway stations; acknowledges that the scheme’s criteria rewards stations with higher …
7 signatures
(Most recent: 28 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 3
Labour: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
19th April 2021
Jamie Stone signed this EDM on Wednesday 21st April 2021

Carbon emissions labelling

Tabled by: Daisy Cooper (Liberal Democrat - St Albans)
That this House notes with concern the lack of information available to consumers on the environmental impact of the goods and food products they buy; recognises the growing urgency of the climate emergency facing the planet as a result of carbon emissions; acknowledges that the public would welcome the opportunity …
21 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 9
Labour: 5
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Jamie Stone's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Jamie Stone, 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.


Jamie Stone has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Jamie Stone has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Jamie Stone


A Bill to require expenditure on mental health services and on health services for veterans and members of the armed forces to be identified separately in National Health Service expenditure plans and outturns; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 25th February 2020

133 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
1 Other Department Questions
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, on what date he has held discussions with the First Minister of Scotland; and if he will publish the minutes of discussions between his Office and First Minister's Office from 24 March to 6 July 2020.

I last spoke to the First Minister of Scotland on 26 June. My Rt Hon Friends the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Secretary of State for Scotland and I have had multiple discussions with the First Minister about Covid-19 and other matters.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that employers are maintaining a duty of care when deciding which of their employees to put on furlough during the covid-19 outbreak.

In relation to mental health and preventing work-related stress, we would encourage employers to talk to their employees to identify issues that may impact on their wellbeing and to jointly agree steps to mitigate them.

Employers have a duty of care when considering how decisions can impact on their employees’ health and wellbeing. Although placing employees on the CJRS remains a business decision, the Government has enabled employers to furlough staff in certain situations, such as the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable.

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, what steps his Department is able to take in response to reports of eligible employees being refused furlough by their employers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been designed to be a comprehensive, flexible and generous support for jobs and incomes. The guidance clearly sets out who is eligible for the scheme, and the Government encourages all businesses experiencing a reduction in business demand due to COVID make use of the scheme to protect jobs. Whether to place employees on the CJRS remains a business decision to be made by employers. When employers make decisions about which staff to furlough, equality and discrimination laws apply in the usual way.

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, what steps he is taking to ensure compliance with the guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for employees eligible for that scheme who have been refused furlough by their employer.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been designed to be a comprehensive, flexible and generous support for jobs and incomes. The guidance clearly sets out who is eligible for the scheme, and the Government encourages all businesses experiencing a reduction in business demand due to COVID make use of the scheme to protect jobs. Whether to place employees on the CJRS remains a business decision to be made by employers.

Should businesses opt against placing employees on the CJRS, it should be noted that employees retain all their usual employment rights

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, what steps he is taking to ensure that employers are not neglecting their duty of care and their responsibility to article 14 of the Human Rights Act 1998 when deciding which of their employees receive furlough during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a comprehensive, flexible and generous package of support for businesses. Any use of the scheme is a business decision to be made by employers.

Should businesses make use of the CJRS – or indeed choose not to use it – employees retain all their usual employment rights, including protection against discrimination of any form. All employers must honour all their legal obligations, and the Government will continue to use normal channels to ensure laws such as the Human Rights Act 1998 are respected.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department is being consulted as part of the Intellectual Property Office’s consultation into the UK’s future copyright exhaustion regime.

The Intellectual Property Office is an executive agency of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and is working closely with its parent department and other government departments with an interest in this area, to ensure they can feed into the process to develop the UK’s future exhaustion regime.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of an international copyright exhaustion framework on the ability of UK rightsholders to enforce those rights.

The Government is currently considering the UK’s future exhaustion of intellectual property rights regime. The Government will be consulting on the potential impact of different exhaustion of rights regimes in early 2021 and how they may affect IP rights holders.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential role of a national copyright exhaustion framework in underpinning the UK’s (a) publishing industry and (b) other creative exports.

The Government is currently considering the UK’s future exhaustion of intellectual property rights regime. The Government is also considering the role of different exhaustion regimes and the potential impact on different sectors such as the UK’s publishing industry.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much of the £160 million allocated to developing offshore wind he plans to spend on the coasts of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross; and whether he plans to tackle fuel poverty in the far north of Scotland with that funding.

One hundred and sixty million pounds will be made available to upgrade ports and infrastructure in the offshore wind sector. This will enable the sector to support jobs directly and indirectly by 2030 in ports, factories and wider supply chains, manufacturing the next-generation of offshore wind turbines and delivering clean energy to the UK.

No locations are confirmed at this stage. We are inviting landowners or developers of potential large-scale coastal manufacturing hubs to contact the department, by responding the request for information published on 6th October 2020 on the Gov.uk website by 30th October.

The purpose of the new funding is to enable development of supply chains.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Government has made of the effectiveness of the plans of the (a) French Government (b) German Government and (c) US Administration to support their domestic aerospace industries; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of increasing support for the aerospace industry in Sutherland.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 16 June 2020 to Question 58050. We continually assess the impact on global aerospace supply chains of other countries. My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a host of measures to help businesses through this period, including those in the aerospace sector, with £330 billion worth of Government support for businesses across the UK. The Government will continue to support all those affected by the crisis, in all parts of the UK.

We also co-fund aerospace research and development through the £3.9 billion Aerospace Technology Institute, as well as the £300 million Future Flight programme.

In addition, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has supported 8 million people, emergency loan schemes have awarded billions of pounds of support, and we have a world-leading export credit body that is expecting to support £3.5 billion of aviation exports over the next 18 months.

We will continue to support the UK aerospace industry to get back on its feet, and back into a position of growth, protecting high paid jobs across the length and breadth of the UK.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether accredited observer organisations will have access to the Blue Zone at COP26.

The engagement of observer organisations will be of fundamental value to COP26.

IGOs and NGOs are firstly required to register for observer status via the UNFCCC’s online registration system. Once observer status has been obtained, organisations can then register delegates to attend UNFCCC conferences and meetings. Accredited delegates will have access to the Blue Zone at COP26.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of plans in (a) France, (b) Germany and (c) the US to support their domestic aerospace industries.

We continually assess the impact on global aerospace supply chains of other countries.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a host of measures to help businesses through this period, including those in the aerospace sector, with £330 billion worth of Government-backed and guaranteed loans made available to support businesses across the UK. The Government will continue to support all those affected by the crisis.

We also co-fund aerospace research and development through the £3.9 billion Aerospace Technology Institute, as well as the £300 million Future Flight programme. In addition, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has supported 8 million people, various loan schemes have awarded billions of pounds of support, and we have a world-leading export credit body that is expecting to support £3.5 billion of aviation exports over the next 18 months. We continue to work closely with the UK’s aerospace sector to understand what more can be done.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2020
What progress he is making on the national space strategy; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of a national space innovation fund.

We have united departments across government to develop a UK Space Strategy, which will help the UK lead the way in this fast-growing sector and create thousands of jobs across the country. Our Space Strategy will support cutting-edge space science and technologies and foster world-leading British innovation.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will facilitate a roundtable discussion with sports broadcasters and football fan associations to discuss the European Super League proposals.

The Government has been vocal in its opposition to these proposals, which are not in the interests of the game, and I was glad to see the withdrawal of all English teams from the project.

This is the right result for football fans, clubs and communities across the country.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme will be extended or replaced at end of March 2021.

The government’s Project Gigabit announcement of 19 March 2021 confirmed that up to £210m will be made available for gigabit vouchers and up to £110m to support connections to public sector hubs from April 2021. This builds on the previous successful delivery under the Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to Ofcom's announcement, Ramping up the rollout of full-fibre broadband, published on 18 March 2021, how he plans to allocate the £1.5 billion put aside for investment in rural fibre coverage by 2025.

The government has set out its approach to ensuring delivery of fibre broadband in its publication of 19 March 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-new-5bn-project-gigabit. Further information on the proposed sequence of projects and funding allocations will be published in June 2021 and subsequent updates will be provided at three monthly intervals. The government has also confirmed that up to £210 million will be provided for broadband vouchers to help those with slow speeds and up to £110 million to provide connections to up to 7,000 rural GP surgeries, libraries and schools.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish specific details of locations to be used for the Shared Rural Network rollout; and what the timescale is for the deployment of that programme.

The Shared Rural Network programme will be delivered in two parts. The first phase will see the four Mobile Network Operators collectively invest over £530 million in a shared network of new and existing phone masts. This will help tackle partial not spots - areas where there is currently coverage from at least one, but not all operators. The second will see the government invest over £500 million to go even further to significantly reduce total not-spots - those hard-to-reach areas where there is currently no coverage from any operator.

The mobile operators have already commenced work on the first element of the programme which is funded by the industry and includes the 124 Scottish sites mentioned in your Parliamentary Question, and are on track to eliminate the majority of those partial not-spots by mid-2024.

Now that funding has been released for the total not-spot element of the programme, the government and the operators remain confident that combined coverage will be delivered to 95% of the UK by the end of 2025, with areas around the UK starting to see improvements to 4G coverage long before completion.

The exact site deployment plans will be managed by the operators themselves in order for them to best deliver the agreed coverage outcomes. Therefore, I am unable to provide any details on the precise location or number of new or upgraded masts that may be delivered as a result of the programme. However, I have personally encouraged operators to be transparent about their plans.

The programme is working closely with all three Devolved Administrations to ensure that infrastructure is shared wherever possible.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish details of the proposed site locations for the 124 mobile masts that will be erected under the Shared Rural Network Programme; what the timeframe is for confirming those site locations, and what support the Infralink programme will provide to securing those locations.

The Shared Rural Network programme will be delivered in two parts. The first phase will see the four Mobile Network Operators collectively invest over £530 million in a shared network of new and existing phone masts. This will help tackle partial not spots - areas where there is currently coverage from at least one, but not all operators. The second will see the government invest over £500 million to go even further to significantly reduce total not-spots - those hard-to-reach areas where there is currently no coverage from any operator.

The mobile operators have already commenced work on the first element of the programme which is funded by the industry and includes the 124 Scottish sites mentioned in your Parliamentary Question, and are on track to eliminate the majority of those partial not-spots by mid-2024.

Now that funding has been released for the total not-spot element of the programme, the government and the operators remain confident that combined coverage will be delivered to 95% of the UK by the end of 2025, with areas around the UK starting to see improvements to 4G coverage long before completion.

The exact site deployment plans will be managed by the operators themselves in order for them to best deliver the agreed coverage outcomes. Therefore, I am unable to provide any details on the precise location or number of new or upgraded masts that may be delivered as a result of the programme. However, I have personally encouraged operators to be transparent about their plans.

The programme is working closely with all three Devolved Administrations to ensure that infrastructure is shared wherever possible.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with organisations responsible for running festivals this year on insurance issues.

We are committed to continue working with the festival sector to understand the difficulties they face and help them access support through these challenging times and through recovery. We are aware of the concerns which have been raised by the festival sector about the challenge of securing indemnity cover for live events. My officials have been working closely with festival industry stakeholders to understand the challenges and to keep the situation under review. I also chair the Events and Entertainment Working Group where I discuss these issues directly with the festival industry.

Protecting public health is of vital importance to myself and the government. We are exploring all barriers to reopening, which include potential challenges around indemnity cover. Understandably, the bar for considering Government intervention is set extremely high, especially given the considerable extension to the furlough scheme and local business support.

Given the high costs involved in setting up a scheme we also need to make sure it is the most effective and appropriate use of funds at a time when we are looking at how best to support the sector in facing the wider challenges around recovery and renewal. As such, HM Treasury does not believe that now is the right time for an insurance intervention.

At the Budget the Chancellor will set out the next phase in our economic support package to reflect the steps set out in the Prime Minister’s roadmap to easing restrictions published last month, tailoring support for individuals and businesses to reflect the changing public health restrictions.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the level of reading habits among (a) adults and (b) children during the covid-19 outbreak.

DCMS has not undertaken an assessment of adults’ or children’s reading habits during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are aware the publishing industry has reported that, while sales of fiction and digital formats rose over the first six months of 2020, total book sales across the industry fell by 11% in that period.

The Government recognises the importance of English skills both in work and everyday life. Whilst we do not track the reading habits of adults, the Government does provide full funding for learners who do not have a level 2 qualification in English who need to improve their literacy skills.

The Government is also committed to continuing to raise literacy standards – ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding. Recognising the importance of reading during the disruption to education caused by Covid-19, a Reading Together Day was held on 16 July 2020 to celebrate the benefits of reading.

Understanding the impact of the Covid-19 disruption on students is a priority for the Government, and the Department for Education has commissioned an independent research and assessment agency to provide a baseline assessment of catch up needs for pupils in schools in England and monitor progress over the course of the year. The Department for Education will publish interim findings prior to the final research report being published in October 2021.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support World Book Day 2021.

DCMS will be marking World Book Day across social media channels. We are highlighting positive stories of the benefits of reading, and showcasing the work of the Reading Agency, which is working with public libraries across England to tackle loneliness and promote wellbeing and mental health, supported by £3.5m from DCMS.

Although libraries are closed for browsing, over two thirds of local authorities are offering click and collect services. Libraries Connected and The Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians have joined forces to support World Book Day and to encourage libraries to participate. The majority of library services will engage via social media, and four Library Services (Doncaster, Blackpool, Nottingham and Middlesbrough) are participating in targeted programmes in partnership with World Book Day and the National Literacy Trust focused on the Literacy Hubs to engage more children in reading.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a Government-backed insurance scheme for the live events industry.

We are aware of the concerns which have been raised about securing insurance for live events.

Understandably, the bar for considering Government intervention is set extremely high. Given the high costs involved in setting up a scheme we need to make sure it is the most effective use of funds at a time when we are looking at how best to support the sector.

The evidence of market failure must clearly demonstrate that such a scheme is the only barrier to staging events. At the moment, progress with the vaccine rollout and beating the virus is crucial in determining a timetable for staging events.

We are working closely with the sector to determine the appropriate and most effective response within the public health context.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will bring forward legislation to update the prominence regime for public service broadcasters.

We recognise the need to ensure that high quality public service content is made easily accessible to UK audiences. That is why the government asked Ofcom to undertake a review of this area through the Digital Economy Act 2017.

Ofcom published their Prominence recommendations to government in July 2019 and since then we have engaged with Ofcom and industry to fully understand the impact of Ofcom’s proposals. This work is ongoing and the government remains committed to act on Ofcom’s recommendations and to taking forward legislation as the legislative timetable allows.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what criterion must be met for his Department to accept market failure in DCMS sectors.

When appraising proposals for policies, programmes, and projects, DCMS relies on central government guidance on appraisal and evaluation, from the Treasury’s Green Book.

The Green Book is based upon the ideas of welfare economics and concerns the optimisation of social welfare. Much of its subject matter therefore concerns estimation of public, that is social, welfare values. These are values that economic markets are either unable to fully capture, or are unable to register at all. The various forms of shortfall in market welfare optimisation are characterised as “market failures.”

There is no single form of criterion to accept or address market failure. This will depend on the type of market failure, the evidence around its existence or severity, and the results of the Social Cost Benefit Analysis for potential interventions.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the revenue lost to the live performance industry as a result of covid-19 restrictions since March 2020.

I refer the honourable member to the Secretary of State’s answer to Written Question 135862 on 14th January.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he is making with the devolved Administrations to ensure that football fans can safely attend football matches as soon as possible.

On 23rd November, the Government announced that spectators in England will be able to attend stadia and sports venues in tiers 1 and 2, in limited numbers, from 2 December.

We will continue to work closely with a whole range of sporting bodies, including the football authorities, to understand the latest thinking that might allow further spectators to return. This includes inviting the new Sports Technology Innovation Working Group of sporting bodies and health experts to analyse new technologies which might support this.

The Government liaises regularly with the Devolved Administrations, however, as sport is a devolved matter, it is for them to decide on the return of spectators in their respective nations.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether Caithness, Sutherland, and Easter Ross constituency will be included in the UK and Scottish Government Broadband Voucher Scheme.

Eligibility for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS), including where the Scottish Government provides additional funding, is assessed at an individual premises level. Premises in Caithness, Sutherland, and Easter Ross are eligible for gigabit vouchers. Eligibility can be checked at: https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/.

In addition, where premises are not eligible for the GBVS, the Scottish Government’s Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme may provide support to help deliver a permanent broadband connection to properties where there is no roll-out of superfast broadband planned.Information on the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme, including eligibility, can be found at: https://www.scotlandsuperfast.com/how-can-i-get-it/voucher-scheme/.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps with the British Events Industry Coalition and other representative organisations on a code of conduct to help certify private events as covid-19 secure.

We continue to engage with a broad range of stakeholders - including via the Business Visits and Events Partnership, the Events & Entertainment Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel - to monitor the situation across the events sector. We encourage events representatives to continue sharing information with relevant sector bodies.

We have worked closely with stakeholders to develop Covid-19 Secure guidance for a range of events. Furthermore, the events pilots we carried out in September will ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help larger events reopen when it is safe to do so.

We will continue to work with the events industries to assess how we can best support their safe reopening.

We also recognise that the new national restrictions will have a significant impact on jobs and the economy, as well as on mental health and wellbeing. We’ve confirmed that there will be an extensive package of financial support in place, with the Job Retention Scheme extended until March 2021.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the insurance industry on creating a framework for the events industry to safeguard (a) customers and (b) people working in the events industry affected by 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 regularly engages with events stakeholders to assess the issues being faced and to develop means of offering support, including on the issue of insurance provision. The Government is also in continual dialogue with the insurance sector on its response to COVID-19.

We encourage businesses and suppliers to explore the Government’s support package, such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Job Retention Scheme.

We worked closely with stakeholders to develop Covid-19 Secure guidance for a range of events. Furthermore, the events pilots we carried out in September will help to ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help larger events reopen when it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has for (a) discussions and (b) other engagement with (i) the British Events Industry Coalition and (ii)other private events industry representatives.

We continue to engage with a broad range of stakeholders - including via the Business Visits and Events Partnership, the Events & Entertainment Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel - to monitor the situation across the events sector. We encourage events representatives to continue sharing information with relevant sector bodies.

We have worked closely with stakeholders to develop Covid-19 Secure guidance for a range of events. Furthermore, the events pilots we carried out in September will ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help larger events reopen when it is safe to do so.

We will continue to work with the events industries to assess how we can best support their safe reopening.

We also recognise that the new national restrictions will have a significant impact on jobs and the economy, as well as on mental health and wellbeing. We’ve confirmed that there will be an extensive package of financial support in place, with the Job Retention Scheme extended until March 2021.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of people over 75 who are registered blind and qualify for the 50 per cent discount of the television licence.

The BBC is responsible for the collection and enforcement of the licence fee and all of its concessions. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport therefore does not hold information on the number of people who claim, or are eligible for, the blind (severely sight impaired) TV licence concession.

Local authorities hold the register of those who are registered blind or severely sight impaired, and NHS Digital published a report in 2017 on the numbers of people registered. This report can be found here: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/registered-blind-and-partially-sighted-people/registered-blind-and-partially-sighted-people-england-2016-17.

The Government is deeply disappointed in the BBC’s decision to restrict the over 75s licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. The BBC must ensure that it supports those affected by its decision and must look at how it can use its substantial licence fee income to support older people and deliver for UK audiences of all ages.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of people over 75 who claim the 50 per cent discount of the television licence.

The BBC is responsible for the collection and enforcement of the licence fee and all of its concessions. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport therefore does not hold information on the number of people who claim, or are eligible for, the blind (severely sight impaired) TV licence concession.

Local authorities hold the register of those who are registered blind or severely sight impaired, and NHS Digital published a report in 2017 on the numbers of people registered. This report can be found here: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/registered-blind-and-partially-sighted-people/registered-blind-and-partially-sighted-people-england-2016-17.

The Government is deeply disappointed in the BBC’s decision to restrict the over 75s licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. The BBC must ensure that it supports those affected by its decision and must look at how it can use its substantial licence fee income to support older people and deliver for UK audiences of all ages.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on what date the Minister for Tourism, held discussions with his counterpart in the Scottish Government on specialized support for the tourism Industry; and if he will publish the minutes of discussions between the Government ministers and the Scottish Government on support for the tourism industry between 24 March and 18 June 2020.

The Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage holds regular discussions with his three counterparts in the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive. The dates on which such meetings have taken place since the start of the Coronavirus crisis are: 25th March, 8th April, 21st April, 7th May, 27th May, and 9th June.

There are no plans at present to publish the minutes of these discussions.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
13th Feb 2020
What steps he is taking to monitor the progress of the rollout of superfast broadband to rural areas.

Great progress has been made in the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency. Six years ago, just 4% of premises had access to superfast broadband; that figure is now 78%.

This Government has also provided Highlands Council with £4.2m to deliver full fibre networks to public sector sites in Inverness, Fort William, Wick and Thurso.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how the Ofsted inspection regime for the Army Foundation College differs from that used in civilian colleges of further education for the same age group.

This is a matter for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman. I have asked her to write to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Mar 2021
What steps he is taking to help make up for teaching time lost as a result of the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

The Government is committed to helping children and young people make up learning lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is why we have invested £1.7 billion to give early years, schools and colleges support to help pupils get back on track, including additional funding for tutoring, early language support and summer schools.

We have appointed Sir Kevan Collins as an Education Recovery Commissioner to advise on our recovery plan and academic and non-academic factors in supporting attainment will form a part of this work.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support reading for pleasure among children during the national covid-19 lockdown that has been in place since January 2021.

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards by ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding. The Department is aware that reading for pleasure brings a range of benefits, including reading attainment, writing ability, text comprehension and grammar, breadth of vocabulary, and pleasure in reading in later life.

In 2018, the Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme dedicated to improving the teaching of reading, particularly for disadvantaged children. Since its launch, the Government has provided a further £17 million in funding for this improvement programme, which focusses on systematic synthetic phonics, early language, and reading for pleasure. The programme has provided targeted support to several thousands of schools across England, and in the 2020-21 academic year, is providing intensive support to over 850 partner schools.

To provide support to schools in developing the ability to switch from classroom teaching to remote provision, the Department has made £4.84 million available to Oak National Academy to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to Year 11. Oak National Academy’s video lessons include coverage of literacy, reading for pleasure and English as appropriate from Early Years Foundation Stage up to Key Stage 4.

To support schools in making up for lost classroom time, the Government has announced a £1 billion catch-up package, including a universal catch-up premium worth £650 million. Our expectation is that this funding will be spent on the additional measures required to support children and young people to catch up after a period of disruption to their education. This can include support in reading through systematic synthetic phonics and reading for pleasure initiatives.

The catch-up package includes a £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. The programme comprises three elements: a tuition programme for five to 16 year olds, with tuition partners and academic mentors specialising in English available to schools; a 16 to 19 tuition fund, including support for small group tuition in English, and a targeted early language support programme for Reception aged children to support early literacy.

The Department is regularly conducting evidence reviews to understand the effect of COVID-19 on reading comprehension, as well as other subjects. As expected, published studies show that primary pupils faced considerable loss in overall reading comprehension, as well as other subjects, based on studies that assessed pupils in the autumn 2020 term, although there are some methodological limitations, which mean that the exact estimates are uncertain.

The Department has not yet published data on the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on reading for pleasure. Recognising the importance of reading during the disruption to education caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department held a Reading Together Day on 16 July 2020 to celebrate the benefits of reading. As part of this, we published 10 top tips to help parents support their children to read and this information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/10-top-tips-to-encourage-children-to-read.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve (a) reading for pleasure and (b) literacy levels among children.

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards by ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding. The Department is aware that reading for pleasure brings a range of benefits, including reading attainment, writing ability, text comprehension and grammar, breadth of vocabulary, and pleasure in reading in later life.

In 2018, the Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme dedicated to improving the teaching of reading, particularly for disadvantaged children. Since its launch, the Government has provided a further £17 million in funding for this improvement programme, which focusses on systematic synthetic phonics, early language, and reading for pleasure. The programme has provided targeted support to several thousands of schools across England, and in the 2020-21 academic year, is providing intensive support to over 850 partner schools.

To provide support to schools in developing the ability to switch from classroom teaching to remote provision, the Department has made £4.84 million available to Oak National Academy to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to Year 11. Oak National Academy’s video lessons include coverage of literacy, reading for pleasure and English as appropriate from Early Years Foundation Stage up to Key Stage 4.

To support schools in making up for lost classroom time, the Government has announced a £1 billion catch-up package, including a universal catch-up premium worth £650 million. Our expectation is that this funding will be spent on the additional measures required to support children and young people to catch up after a period of disruption to their education. This can include support in reading through systematic synthetic phonics and reading for pleasure initiatives.

The catch-up package includes a £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. The programme comprises three elements: a tuition programme for five to 16 year olds, with tuition partners and academic mentors specialising in English available to schools; a 16 to 19 tuition fund, including support for small group tuition in English, and a targeted early language support programme for Reception aged children to support early literacy.

The Department is regularly conducting evidence reviews to understand the effect of COVID-19 on reading comprehension, as well as other subjects. As expected, published studies show that primary pupils faced considerable loss in overall reading comprehension, as well as other subjects, based on studies that assessed pupils in the autumn 2020 term, although there are some methodological limitations, which mean that the exact estimates are uncertain.

The Department has not yet published data on the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on reading for pleasure. Recognising the importance of reading during the disruption to education caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department held a Reading Together Day on 16 July 2020 to celebrate the benefits of reading. As part of this, we published 10 top tips to help parents support their children to read and this information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/10-top-tips-to-encourage-children-to-read.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of covid-19 on children’s (a) reading for pleasure and (b) literacy levels.

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards by ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding. The Department is aware that reading for pleasure brings a range of benefits, including reading attainment, writing ability, text comprehension and grammar, breadth of vocabulary, and pleasure in reading in later life.

In 2018, the Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme dedicated to improving the teaching of reading, particularly for disadvantaged children. Since its launch, the Government has provided a further £17 million in funding for this improvement programme, which focusses on systematic synthetic phonics, early language, and reading for pleasure. The programme has provided targeted support to several thousands of schools across England, and in the 2020-21 academic year, is providing intensive support to over 850 partner schools.

To provide support to schools in developing the ability to switch from classroom teaching to remote provision, the Department has made £4.84 million available to Oak National Academy to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to Year 11. Oak National Academy’s video lessons include coverage of literacy, reading for pleasure and English as appropriate from Early Years Foundation Stage up to Key Stage 4.

To support schools in making up for lost classroom time, the Government has announced a £1 billion catch-up package, including a universal catch-up premium worth £650 million. Our expectation is that this funding will be spent on the additional measures required to support children and young people to catch up after a period of disruption to their education. This can include support in reading through systematic synthetic phonics and reading for pleasure initiatives.

The catch-up package includes a £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. The programme comprises three elements: a tuition programme for five to 16 year olds, with tuition partners and academic mentors specialising in English available to schools; a 16 to 19 tuition fund, including support for small group tuition in English, and a targeted early language support programme for Reception aged children to support early literacy.

The Department is regularly conducting evidence reviews to understand the effect of COVID-19 on reading comprehension, as well as other subjects. As expected, published studies show that primary pupils faced considerable loss in overall reading comprehension, as well as other subjects, based on studies that assessed pupils in the autumn 2020 term, although there are some methodological limitations, which mean that the exact estimates are uncertain.

The Department has not yet published data on the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on reading for pleasure. Recognising the importance of reading during the disruption to education caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department held a Reading Together Day on 16 July 2020 to celebrate the benefits of reading. As part of this, we published 10 top tips to help parents support their children to read and this information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/10-top-tips-to-encourage-children-to-read.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many primary and secondary school teachers have contracted covid-19 in the workplace.

The Department does not hold data on how many deaths there have been due to COVID-19 in the teaching profession, nor information on how many teachers have contracted COVID-19 in the workplace.

Current scientific evidence is that children are at very low risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and there is also no current evidence that staff are at higher risk of infection than those working in other sectors.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and pupils is always our priority. The Government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our registered nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities in this unprecedented situation, while mitigating the impact on education.

On 7 January the Department published guidance “Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak”, which sets out what all schools will need to do during the COVID-19 outbreak from January 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

The Department will continue to keep its plans under review and ensure our position is informed by the latest evidence.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if the Government will publish statistics on the number of teachers who have died of covid-19.

The Department does not hold data on how many deaths there have been due to COVID-19 in the teaching profession, nor information on how many teachers have contracted COVID-19 in the workplace.

Current scientific evidence is that children are at very low risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and there is also no current evidence that staff are at higher risk of infection than those working in other sectors.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and pupils is always our priority. The Government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our registered nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities in this unprecedented situation, while mitigating the impact on education.

On 7 January the Department published guidance “Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak”, which sets out what all schools will need to do during the COVID-19 outbreak from January 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

The Department will continue to keep its plans under review and ensure our position is informed by the latest evidence.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the data his Department holds on the rates of (a) sick leave and (b) absence of (i) primary and (ii) secondary school teachers from the workplace for the periods from (A) 1 September 2018 to 4 January 2019, (B) 1 September 2019 to 4 January 2020 and (C) 1 September 2020 to 4 January 2021.

The information requested is not available in the format requested.

For the 2018/19 academic year, the Department collects information on teacher sickness absence from all state funded schools via the School Workforce Census, held in November each year since 2010. Each census collects data for absence from the previous academic year. The latest data available cover the academic year September 2018 to August 2019.

Information on the number and rates of teacher sickness absence are published in the ‘School Workforce in England’ statistical publication at the following link: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

The table below shows teacher sickness absence data during the 2018/19 academic year in state funded schools in England:

Teacher sickness absence data[1][2]

2018/19

Average number of Days - all teachers

4.1

Average number of days taken

7.5

Percentage taking absence

54.0

Total Number of Days lost

2,133,253

Total teachers taking absence

284,146

For the 2019/20 academic year, to reduce burdens on schools during the COVID-19 outbreak, the return of absence data for the 2019/20 academic year was not required in the ongoing 2020 School Workforce Census. Schools will not be asked to submit 2020 census absence data retrospectively in future censuses.

For the 2020/21 academic year, the Department intends to publish detailed school workforce absence data?from 19 January 2021. This data will be included as part of the publication ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-?19) outbreak’.? The data shall be drawn from the educational setting status form, which was set up to help the government monitor the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on schools, nurseries and colleges, focus support more effectively and keep children safe.

The Department plans to return to collecting information on teacher sickness absence in the 2020/21 academic year from all state funded schools via the School Workforce Census, held in November 2021. This data shall be released, as per the usual timings, in the summer of 2022.

[1] The total teachers taking sickness absence and total days taken are estimates based on the schools that were able to make a full absence return. They are only available for England as a whole and not by region, local authority or school. For further details please see the methodology document.

[2] Before using this data, please check the methodology section for important information such as definitions, limitations and caveats. This is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/891b274b-8080-433d-897f-5e39f2082379.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether (a) primary and (b) secondary schools provide his Department with regular updates on covid-19 cases within their education facility.

Primary and secondary schools are required to supply daily COVID-19 attendance data to the Department for both pupils and staff. This information is collected on electronic forms and submitted to the Department through an online portal.

Schools provide the numbers of pupils unable to attend face to face education or undertake remote learning according to the categories below:

  • Suspected cases of COVID-19
  • Confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • Pupils who have been asked to remain at home due to potential contact with a case of COVID-19 within their setting
  • Pupils who have been asked to remain at home due to potential contact with a case of COVID-19 outside of their setting, including self isolation.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
5th May 2020
What assessment he has made of the adequacy of children’s access to (a) laptops, (b) a reliable internet connection and (c) other remote learning equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.

We want to do everything we can to support schools and families to continue children’s education while they are at home. We have committed over £100 million to boost remote education, including providing laptops, tablets and internet access for those who need it most.

On Friday 24 April, the Department wrote to local authorities, trusts and other relevant organisations overseeing schools and children’s social care outlining the process for requesting devices.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what data his Department has collected on the (a) quantity, (b) type and (c) harmful effects of plastic pollution in the UK’s marine environments.

The UK collects data on the quantity and type of marine litter in our waters including on seafloor litter, floating litter and beach litter, following methodologies agreed through the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) Convention’s monitoring and assessment programmes. Data is available through the Marine Online Assessment Tool: https://moat.cefas.co.uk/

We fund and conduct research to improve our understanding of the impacts of plastic pollution in the marine environment. This includes an evidence review published in February 2020 which covers the impacts of marine plastic pollution, including microplastics, on marine life. This can be accessed at:

http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&ProjectID=20339&FromSearch=Y&Publisher=1&SearchText=ME5436&SortString=ProjectCode&SortOrder=Asc&Paging=10#Description

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking to tackle the (a) trafficking and (b) exploitation of adolescent girls in humanitarian crises.

DFID is at the heart of the UK’s international efforts to meet Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.7 by taking immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking, as well as on other relevant SDGs covering human trafficking of women and girls and exploitation of children.

In DFID’s Strategic Vision on Gender Equality, we set out our ambition to do more to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls during emergencies, when the challenges and needs are particularly acute. Ending this violence is essential in making the world a fairer, more prosperous and safer place – something that is absolutely in our national interest. That’s why we have increased our resources and expanded our programmes to tackle violence against women and girls in more than 30 countries.

Since 2017 the Government has more than doubled UK aid spending to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking – committing just over £200 million to date.  This includes work to prevent the trafficking of adolescent girls. Examples of our current work to protect vulnerable children in protracted crises include:

- a £10 million Children on the Move Programme (in partnership with UNICEF) over the period 2017-2020 to protect up to 400,000 children at risk of violence and slavery in the Horn of Africa; and

- a £12 million UK Aid Connect Programme over the period 2018-2022 to address child labour in fragile and conflict affected states in Africa (such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)).

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much his Department has spent from the public purse to help prevent (a) trafficking and (b) exploitation of adolescent girls in humanitarian crises.

DFID is at the heart of the UK’s international efforts to meet Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.7 by taking immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking, as well as on other relevant SDGs covering human trafficking of women and girls and exploitation of children.

In DFID’s Strategic Vision on Gender Equality, we set out our ambition to do more to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls during emergencies, when the challenges and needs are particularly acute. Ending this violence is essential in making the world a fairer, more prosperous and safer place – something that is absolutely in our national interest. That’s why we have increased our resources and expanded our programmes to tackle violence against women and girls in more than 30 countries.

Since 2017 the Government has more than doubled UK aid spending to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking – committing just over £200 million to date.  This includes work to prevent the trafficking of adolescent girls. Examples of our current work to protect vulnerable children in protracted crises include:

- a £10 million Children on the Move Programme (in partnership with UNICEF) over the period 2017-2020 to protect up to 400,000 children at risk of violence and slavery in the Horn of Africa; and

- a £12 million UK Aid Connect Programme over the period 2018-2022 to address child labour in fragile and conflict affected states in Africa (such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)).

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had on food safety and standards with her US counterpart during the UK-US trade negotiations.

As part of negotiations with the United States, the Secretary of State remains in regular contact with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

From 5-15 May the UK and U.S. conducted the first round of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement. The second UK-US Free Trade Agreement negotiating round began on 15 June and will take place over two weeks.

The UK is clear that it will not compromise on its high standards of food safety and animal welfare. Our position was restated by the Secretary of State for International Trade and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in a letter to MPs on 6 June 2020.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much and what proportion of the plug-in vehicle grant has been allocated to Caithness, Sutherland, and Easter Ross.

The Department holds data on plug-in vehicle grants but this database does not provide the geographic breakdown required.

Up to the end of September 2020, an estimated £0.2m was provided to new plug-in car grant eligible models that were registered for the first time to an address in Caithness, Sutherland, and Easter Ross, which was 0.03% of the estimated total for the UK.

Note that the plug-in car grant provides a discount on the price of brand new low-emission vehicles through a grant the government gives to vehicle dealerships and manufacturers when consumers purchase an eligible vehicle model – the grant is therefore allocated based on consumer demand rather than through any geographic formula.

Grants for vehicles other than cars have been excluded here because we do not have an equivalent estimation method readily available.

The financial value has been estimated from car registration data by applying the amount of available grant for eligible models at the time of registration. This estimate does not mean that every car registered received the grant nor that other cars did not receive the grant before the end of September 2020 but had not registered the car yet.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Dec 2020
What assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring long-distance road transport companies using heavy vehicles to contribute towards the maintenance of rural roads.

The Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) Levy, paid by vehicles weighing over 12 tonnes for the use of any UK road since 2014, raised £204.4 million in 2019/20. The Levy is suspended for 12 months to 1 August 2021.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of suspending MOTs during the covid-10 outbreak.

As announced on 25 March 2020, the Government is introducing a six-month exemption for all light vehicles due for an MOT test from 30 March 2020 onwards to allow people to carry on travel to work where essential, or shop for necessities. The assessment is that this a proportionate step in the light of the public health challenges related to COVID-19 compared to the potential effects of not testing. It remains important for vehicles in use to be roadworthy at all times.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase the statutory minimum number of seats for disabled people required on public bus transport.

The Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR) require vehicles subject to them to incorporate at least four priority seats for disabled passengers, as well as a designated wheelchair space. Such facilities are now provided on 98% of buses across Great Britain, and are helping to make journeys easier for millions of people.

However, we know that the needs of disabled people and the nature of public transport evolves over time. The previous Government committed in its Inclusive Transport Strategy to review the efficacy of PSVAR. Its timing is driven by the need to reflect on the effectiveness of the Regulations in facilitating access to coaches, the last of which only became subject to the Regulations on the 1st January 2020, and to be informed by a planned cross-modal review of the reference wheelchair standard, which is yet to begin. Amongst other issues it will consider the extent to which existing requirements on the provision of priority seating and wheelchair spaces are sufficient to meet current and future demand.

25th Jan 2021
What recent assessment she has made of the potential effect of removing the £20 uplift to universal credit on recipients in each (a) region and (b) population demographic.

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until March 2021. As the Government has done throughout this pandemic, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context before making any decisions.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has commissioned research on the potential effect on the mental wellbeing of universal credit claimants of removing the work conditionality and sanctions regime.

We have not commissioned research on the potential mental wellbeing of universal credit claimants of removing the conditionality and sanctions regime. We engage with all of our claimants at a personal and individual level and are committed to tailoring support for specific individual needs, including agreeing realistic and structured steps to encourage claimants into or towards the labour market. These requirements are regularly reviewed to ensure that they remain appropriate for every claimant. Sanctions are only ever applied where someone fails to comply with these requirements without a good reason.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on the review of the benefits system for people nearing the end of their life.

On 11 July the Secretary of State announced an in depth evaluation of how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their life and those with severe conditions.

The Department understands how important it is to support those nearing the end of their life and is taking this work forward as a priority. We have made progress on all areas of this work, and will be engaging with clinicians and claimants over the coming months.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has plans to bring forward legislative proposals to (a) expedite access to benefits by terminally ill people and (b) ensure the sensitive handling of that process for those people.

The Department already has legislation in place to support people with a terminal illness access benefits. There are special rules for people who are terminally ill and claiming benefits. Claims are dealt with sensitively, without a face-to-face assessment, and are fast-tracked through the system.

On 11 July the Secretary of State announced an in depth evaluation of how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their life and those with severe conditions. The Department is taking this work forward as a priority and is seeking input from a range of stakeholders, including clinicians and those who have first-hand experience of the special rules, as well as others supporting people applying for benefit.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to reduce the five-week wait for universal credit.

No one has to wait five weeks for their first payment. New claim advances are available to support those in financial need until their first payment is made.

Claimants can access up to 100% of the total expected monthly award, which they can pay back over a period of up to 12 months. We have announced that from October 2021, the repayment period for these advances will be extended further, to 16 months.

Our Work Coaches gauge claimants’ financial needs from their first interview. As part of this, every claimant is offered an advance payment on application. Proposed repayments of the advance are explained, and all claimants are advised to request a level of advance which is manageable both now and when considering the repayments required.

Work Coaches can also refer claimants to more specialist support for personal budgeting and money guidance if required.

The Department has delivered a number of improvements to support claimants during their first assessment period, such as removing waiting days and paying those claimants moving from Housing Benefit onto Universal Credit a two week ‘transitional housing payment’. We are also introducing a two-week run on for eligible claimants of Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance from July 2020.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on the rollout of vaccinations for people aged over 80.

The National Health Service met its target of offering the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone in the top four priority cohorts, including those aged 70 years and over, on 14 February 2021.

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, how many people aged 70 years and over have received covid-19 vaccinations in the Caithness, Sutherland, and Easter Ross constituency.

The information is not held in the format requested as data for Scotland is published by local authority rather than constituency. Public Health Scotland’s data for the vaccine programme is available at the following link:

https://public.tableau.com/profile/phs.covid.19#!/vizhome/COVID-19DailyDashboard_15960160643010/Overview

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of developing an online and anonymous resource to enable people experiencing mental illness to find information on accessing appropriate services and support.

There are a number of existing resources that people can access online and anonymously for information on accessing appropriate mental health services and support. These include GOV.UK, the National Health Service website and Every Mind Matters.

In addition, many mental health charities offer online and anonymous advice on how to find support for mental health issues.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve access to affordable (a) meditation, (b) mindfulness classes, (c) yoga, (d) pilates and (e) hitt workouts to improve people's mental health.

The Government is absolutely committed to supporting everyone’s mental health and wellbeing throughout the winter period and beyond, and to ensuring that the right support is in place. The National Health Service has launched a major campaign as part of its ‘Help Us Help You’ campaign to encourage people who may be struggling with common mental health illnesses to come forward for help.

The NHS is also taking a holistic approach to supporting people’s health and wellbeing by expanding its social prescribing services. Social prescribing enables general practitioners to refer people to link workers who can work with them to access community groups and agencies for practical, emotional and social support. For example, the recently announced ukactive scheme will make free gym and leisure sessions available to the public via social prescribing services. National rollout will start from 1 April 2021.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to promote mental health services and counselling in increase the take-up of such services.

We continue to expand access to talking and psychological therapies through the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme. IAPT services are promoted through Every Mind Matters, an online platform which contains resources to help people look after their wellbeing and mental health and local services can be located through NHS.UK.

Data from 2019/20 shows that there were 1.69 million referrals to talking therapies in England and 1.17 million people started a course of treatment within this year. The NHS Long Term Plan commits to ensuring that a total of 1.9 million adults will be able to access IAPT services by 2023/24.

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, what plans his Department has to fund nationwide roll-out of medical drone technologies.

The NHS Long Term Plan is bringing new technologies into the National Health Service to improve patient care and save lives, and we continue to support testing of innovations such as convenient, faster technology to help frontline staff to give people world-leading treatment. This includes supporting NHS staff through the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme, run by the Accelerated Access Collaborative, to develop their own innovative ideas, for example exploring the potential use of autonomous drone delivery systems within healthcare.

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, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using medical drone technologies to deliver personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of our national effort to ensure critical personal protective equipment (PPE) is delivered to the frontline, we rolled out a PPE portal in collaboration with eBay, Clipper and Royal Mail through which primary and social care providers could access emergency PPE. The PPE Portal’s customers currently include general practitioner practices, optometrists, dentists, pharmacies, children’s social care homes and secure homes, children’s residential special schools, resident social care providers and domiciliary care providers. Over 191 million items of PPE have been delivered through the Portal.

Our PPE Strategy (published 28 September) commits us to start transitioning to a future model next year that is both resilient (able to respond to any demand surges related to COVID-19 or another pandemic threat) and proportionate. Key considerations for the model beyond March 2021 include addressing how best to distribute PPE.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons the Government has purchased £5 million worth of hydroxychloroquine before clinical trials have proved the effectiveness of that drug against covid-19.

The Department has procured supplies of hydroxychloroquine to support nationally prioritised United Kingdom clinical trials. In addition, the Department has been securing additional supplies of a number of medicines, including hydroxychloroquine, which would ensure sufficient stocks are available to be rapidly deployed for National Health Service patients should clinical trial evidence show it to be safe and effective to do so. The Department continues to review supply requirements as further clinical evidence becomes available.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of prohibiting gay and bisexual men from donating their plasma to a trial to provide treatment for covid-19.

No individual is excluded from giving blood, platelets or plasma based on sexual orientation. However, all men must wait three months after having sexual contact with another man before donating. This is based on expert advice from the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs.

The three-month deferral period is to reduce the risk of any very recently acquired infections not being detected on screening and further tests. For that reason, the current donor selection guidelines remain in place for the convalescent plasma donation programme.

The Equality Act 2010 states that blood services do not contravene anti-discrimination legislation by excluding people from donating blood as long as this exclusion or deferral is based on a reasonable and reliable assessment of risk to the public.

We recognise that people want to be considered as individuals as much as possible. Separately to the convalescent plasma trial, NHS Blood and Transplant are already working collaboratively with LGBT+ groups on blood donation, through the FAIR (For Assessment of Individualised Risk) steering group. The FAIR group is using an evidence-based approach to explore if a more individualised blood donation risk assessment can be safely and practically introduced, while ensuring the safe supply of blood to patients.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the cost of medical treatment provided by the NHS to foreign nationals was repaid by those nationals in each of the last five years.

The Department does not hold the requested information.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if the Government will commit to allocating long-term funding to the BBC World Service to enable that broadcaster to further extend its reach.

The FCDO strongly values the work of the BBC World Service in promoting our values globally through its independent and impartial broadcasting. It is an integral part of our soft power.

We have provided the World Service with over £378m over 5 years (2016-21) through the World2020 programme, in order to fund enhancements to existing language services and 12 new language services. The World Service now reaches a record breaking 351m people weekly, an over 40% increase since the programme began in 2016, demonstrating the impact of FCDO investment. Future funding for the World Service is being considered alongside other FCDO spending priorities at SR20 and will be announced in due course.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the contribution of the BBC World Service to extending UK soft power.

The FCDO strongly values the work of the BBC World Service in promoting our values globally through its independent and impartial broadcasting. It is an integral part of our soft power.

We have provided the World Service with over £378m over 5 years (2016-21) through the World2020 programme, in order to fund enhancements to existing language services and 12 new language services. The World Service now reaches a record breaking 351m people weekly, an over 40% increase since the programme began in 2016, demonstrating the impact of FCDO investment. Future funding for the World Service is being considered alongside other FCDO spending priorities at SR20 and will be announced in due course.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when he plans to announce his decision on the allocation of additional funding for the BBC World Service for the financial year 2021-22.

The FCDO strongly values the work of the BBC World Service in promoting our values globally through its independent and impartial broadcasting. It is an integral part of our soft power.

We have provided the World Service with over £378m over 5 years (2016-21) through the World2020 programme, in order to fund enhancements to existing language services and 12 new language services. The World Service now reaches a record breaking 351m people weekly, an over 40% increase since the programme began in 2016, demonstrating the impact of FCDO investment. Future funding for the World Service is being considered alongside other FCDO spending priorities at SR20 and will be announced in due course.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what progress he has made on the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

The Government is engaging widely on the Integrated Review, including with Parliament, the Devolved Administrations, international allies, think tanks and academics, and representatives of civil society. The Government has also completed a public Call for Evidence to help inform the Integrated Review and received a diverse range of over 450 submissions. The Integrated Review remains closely aligned with the Spending Review, to ensure that ambition, capabilities and budgets can be closely coordinated.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he plans to publish the report from the Intelligence and Security Committee on Russia.

​In line with his responsibilities in the Justice and Security Act 2013, the Prime Minister carefully considered and approved the report, and is content that its publication would not prejudice the functions of those bodies that safeguard our national security.

We acknowledge the public's interest in the publication of the report; however the report itself is the property of the independent Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC). As such it is not for the Government to publish it; it is for the ISC to lay it before Parliament. Once a new Committee has been established, it will be up to them to choose when they wish to publish it. The process to establish a new Committee has already begun.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
9th Mar 2021
If he will introduce a Government-backed insurance scheme for the live events industry.

On 22 February, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England, including an ambition to lift restrictions on large events in Step 4, subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme

Officials are considering the most appropriate way to support the events sector informed by the findings of the scientific programme in the Spring.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans his Department has to create a Government-backed insurance scheme to prevent the cancellation of festivals, live music and events in summer 2021.

On 22nd February, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England, including an ambition to lift restrictions on large events in Step 4, subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme.

Officials are considering the most appropriate way to support the events sector, informed by the findings of the scientific programme in the Spring.

We will continue to engage closely with insurers and the events sector to understand the barriers faced by the sector as we recover from the pandemic. Any changes would be communicated to the sector with suitable notice.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of whether the time taken to create a Government-backed insurance scheme for the live events industry will lead to the cancellation of live events in summer 2021.

On 22nd February, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England, including an ambition to lift restrictions on large events in Step 4, subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme.

Officials are considering the most appropriate way to support the events sector, informed by the findings of the scientific programme in the Spring.

We will continue to engage closely with insurers and the events sector to understand the barriers faced by the sector as we recover from the pandemic. Any changes would be communicated to the sector with suitable notice.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that the live events industry receives ample notice of the implementation of any Government-backed insurance scheme during the covid-19 outbreak due to long lead times inherent in the production of large live events.

On 22nd February, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England, including an ambition to lift restrictions on large events in Step 4, subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme.

Officials are considering the most appropriate way to support the events sector, informed by the findings of the scientific programme in the Spring.

We will continue to engage closely with insurers and the events sector to understand the barriers faced by the sector as we recover from the pandemic. Any changes would be communicated to the sector with suitable notice.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that people who have been refused furlough by their employer during the covid-19 outbreak have been issued with a P45.

It is for an employer to decide whether to offer furlough to their employees; employers are under no obligation to participate in the scheme.

Under the Income Tax (Pay As You Earn) Regulations 2003, employers must issue a P45 when an employee stops working for them.

If HMRC were made aware that a P45 had not been provided, HMRC may attempt to contact the employer. Consideration could also be given as to whether HMRC’s Employer Compliance staff should intervene to obtain the P45.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much money in furlough grant funding has been repaid by organisations to HMRC.

As of 3 November 2020, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) grants to the value of £382 million have been recorded as returned. This figure consists of £198 million in payments being repaid and £184 million in adjustments to existing claims.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with TUI on that company's position on furlough for its permanent part year employees.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

Ministers and officials from the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are in regular contact with airlines, airports and unions, and similarly the Department for Digital, Media, Sport and Culture are working with employers, delivery partners and industry groups to understand the impact that Covid-19 is having on sectors like tourism and its workers.

Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel

As we look forward, we welcome views from representatives and the Treasury will continue to monitor the impact of government support with regard to public services, businesses, individuals, and sectors, and to consider how best to support the economic recovery.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether people who were on a permanent part-year contract from 1 May to 31 October 2020 and did not receive a P45 at the end of that period are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme during winter 2020-21.

For claim periods starting on or after 1 November 2020, employers can claim for employees who were employed on 30 October 2020, as long as the employer has made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee. Employees can be on any type of employment contract. This includes full-time, part-time, agency, flexible or zero-hour contracts.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether employers who submitted an annual Full Payment Submission between 6 April 2019 up to 11:59 pm 23 September 2020 are eligible for the Job Support Scheme; and for what reason the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme does not allow employers to claim from 6 April 2019.

On 31 October 2020 the Prime Minister announced that the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was being extended, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.

On 29 May 2020 the Government announced that employers would be able to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to furlough employees flexibly from 1 July 2020. In order to enable the introduction of flexible furloughing, it was necessary to close the old scheme. As part of the 29 May announcement, the Government made clear that employers would have until 31 July 2020 to submit claims which covered periods running up to 30 June 2020.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what representations he has received from residents in (a) Wick and (b) other towns in cases where a bank branch has been proposed for closure at the same time as the proposed closure of the last post office in that area; and if he will make a statement.

Though I understand the disappointment felt in a community when a bank branch closes, these are ultimately commercial decisions in which the government does not seek to intervene.

We know that the retail financial landscape is changing, as more consumers and businesses opt for the convenience, security, and speed of digital payments and digital banking. Banking service providers need to balance customer interests, market competition, and other commercial factors when considering their strategy.

However, the government also firmly believes that the impact of branch closures should be understood, considered, and mitigated where possible so that all customers, wherever they live, continue to have access to over-the-counter banking services if they wish to use them. That is why the government supports the industry’s Access to Banking Standard which helps customers to understand the options they have locally to continue to access banking services, including specialist assistance for customers who need more help.

Alternative options include the Post Office, which allows 95% of business and 99% of personal banking customers to carry out their everyday banking at 11,500 Post Office branches across the UK. Over 90% of the national population live within one mile of their nearest post office branch, and over 99% within three miles. Almost 99% of the rural population also lives within 3 miles of their nearest post office branch. While there is no programme of post office closures, some unexpected closures can occur, often for reasons beyond the control of the Post Office. When this happens, the Post Office works hard to find alternative service providers so that services can be restored.

In September 2020, the FCA published guidance setting out their expectation of firms when they are deciding whether and how to reduce their physical branches or the number of free to use ATMs. Firms are expected to carefully consider the impact of a planned closure on their customers’ everyday banking and cash access needs, and other relevant branch services and consider possible alternative access arrangements. This will ensure the implementation of closure decisions is done in a way that treats customers fairly.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of companies that were not eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as a result of filing their annual PAYE report after the 19 March 2020.

It is not possible to provide an answer in the time available.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions (a) he and (b) his Ministers have had with Fergus Ewing MSP, the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, on arranging a 12-month financial support package for the tourism industry in response to the covid-19 outbreak; and what the outcomes of those discussions were.

Treasury Ministers and officials are in frequent discussion with the devolved administrations and meet with a wide range of stakeholders across sectors in all parts of the UK as part of ongoing policy development and implementation.

The UK Government will continue to work closely with the devolved administrations and is also working with employers, delivery partners and industry groups to understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on sectors like tourism. The Treasury will continue to monitor the impact of government support with regard to public services, businesses, individuals, and sectors.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions his Department has had with the Financial Conduct Authority and the Payment Systems Regulator on a minimum service guarantee for cash; and with reference to the March 2020 Budget whether he has a timeframe for bringing forward legislative proposals on protecting access to cash.

The Government recognises that cash remains extremely important to the daily lives of millions of people across the UK. The Government remains closely engaged with the financial regulators to monitor and assess risks around cash access and acceptance resulting from COVID-19. This includes working closely with industry to ensure access to cash.

At the March 2020 Budget, the Chancellor announced that the Government will bring forward legislation to protect access to cash in the longer-term. The Government is engaging with regulators – the Payment Systems Regulator, Financial Conduct Authority and Bank of England – and stakeholders across industry while designing legislation, to ensure the needs of cash users continue to be met. Further details on timing for legislation will be set out in due course.

Regarding face-to-face banking, the Government has been working closely with the financial regulators to ensure that banks, building societies, the Post Office and credit unions continue to maintain branch access for essential services while balancing the needs of their customers with the safety and welfare of staff. The vast majority of branches are open, though many are open for reduced hours.

Banks, building societies and credit unions are keeping their websites up to date and we would encourage customers, wherever possible, to use online services for their banking. If customers are not able to use online forms of banking, they may choose to use telephone banking rather than using a branch. The Government advises any customer who has questions or concerns about their banking to contact their provider.

Bank customers can also use the Post Office for essential banking services as an alternative to their branch and can continue to use ATMs or cash machines as normal for cash withdrawals and balance enquiries. Furthermore, several retail banks have in place solutions for vulnerable customers who may be self-isolating, including making payments through a trusted person.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to support people who require access to (a) offline and (b) face-to-face banking during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that cash remains extremely important to the daily lives of millions of people across the UK. The Government remains closely engaged with the financial regulators to monitor and assess risks around cash access and acceptance resulting from COVID-19. This includes working closely with industry to ensure access to cash.

At the March 2020 Budget, the Chancellor announced that the Government will bring forward legislation to protect access to cash in the longer-term. The Government is engaging with regulators – the Payment Systems Regulator, Financial Conduct Authority and Bank of England – and stakeholders across industry while designing legislation, to ensure the needs of cash users continue to be met. Further details on timing for legislation will be set out in due course.

Regarding face-to-face banking, the Government has been working closely with the financial regulators to ensure that banks, building societies, the Post Office and credit unions continue to maintain branch access for essential services while balancing the needs of their customers with the safety and welfare of staff. The vast majority of branches are open, though many are open for reduced hours.

Banks, building societies and credit unions are keeping their websites up to date and we would encourage customers, wherever possible, to use online services for their banking. If customers are not able to use online forms of banking, they may choose to use telephone banking rather than using a branch. The Government advises any customer who has questions or concerns about their banking to contact their provider.

Bank customers can also use the Post Office for essential banking services as an alternative to their branch and can continue to use ATMs or cash machines as normal for cash withdrawals and balance enquiries. Furthermore, several retail banks have in place solutions for vulnerable customers who may be self-isolating, including making payments through a trusted person.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the effect on access to cash in rural areas of bank branch closures during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the importance of cash to the daily lives of millions of people across the UK, particularly in rural areas.

Throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, the Government has been working closely with industry and regulators to ensure customers continue to have access to essential banking services, including access to cash, while balancing the needs of their customers with the safety and welfare of staff.

Customers can continue to use ATMs or cash machines as normal for cash withdrawals and balance enquiries. However, we would encourage customers, wherever possible, to use online services for their banking and to find the latest information. Bank customers can also use the Post Office for essential banking services as an alternative to a bank branch.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will meet with representatives of the high street banking sector to discuss access to cash in rural areas following Clydesdale Bank's decision to reverse planned branch closures.

The Government recognises the importance of cash to the daily lives of millions of people across the UK, particularly in rural areas.

In the context of COVID-19, banks, building societies, the Post Office and credit unions are working closely with the Treasury, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority to maintain branch access for essential services while balancing the needs of their customers with the safety and welfare of staff. Individual decisions on firms’ branch networks remain commercial decisions for the firms.

The Government is also working closely with the cash industry and regulators to ensure that the cash system continues to serve the needs of customers. Customers can continue to use ATMs or cash machines as normal for cash withdrawals and balance enquiries. The Financial Conduct Authority is working with regulated firms to ensure that they are providing clear information about alternative payment methods.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to exempt businesses from paying (a) national insurance, (b) VAT, (c) corporation tax and (d) business rates over the next three months.

The Government has announced an unprecedented package of support for businesses and individuals affected by Covid-19, and remains committed to doing whatever it takes to support the economy as necessary.

UK VAT registered businesses, including charities, can defer VAT payments due with their VAT returns between now and the end of June. No UK VAT registered business will have to make a VAT payment alongside their VAT return to HMRC in that period. They will have until the end of the financial year to repay.

The Government will also give all eligible retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months. The Government also extended the support available to individuals and businesses, including a package of government-backed and guaranteed loans, which make available an initial £330 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of GDP.

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31st of July 2020 will be deferred until the 31st of January 2021.

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employers (including charities) can put workers on temporary leave and the government will pay them cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500 a month, providing they keep the worker employed. They will receive the grant from HMRC, covering the cost of wages backdated to 1 March 2020.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be available for those unable to work because they are self-isolating in line with government advice; this is on top of the Prime Minister’s announcement that SSP will be payable from day 1 instead of day 4 for affected individuals. Support will be available through Universal Credit and Contributory Employment and Support Allowance for those not eligible for SSP.

HMRC have scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all taxpayers, including charities, who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities. Taxpayers can contact HMRC’s dedicated Covid-19 helpline to get practical help and advice on 0800 0159 559.

The Chancellor will continue to review and make further announcements as events unfold if required.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to implement a Highlands specific Region and Growth Deal to work alongside the Inverness and Highlands City Region Deal.

The UKG committed £53.1m to an Inverness and Highlands City Region Deal in March 2016 which covers the Highlands area. This is part of the £1.4bn the UK Government has announced for the funding of ten City and Growth Deals in Scotland. More recently, the Government has committed to provide 100% coverage of City and Growth Deals for Scotland.

The Scottish Government is accountable for City and Growth Deals funding in the usual way and in line with the fiscal framework. Audits will be undertaken by Audit Scotland and the National Audit Office in the usual way. Detailed accountability and working arrangements are currently being agreed between the UK Government and Scotland Government via a Memorandum of Understanding which will be published in due course.

Rishi Sunak
Chancellor of the Exchequer
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to Audit Scotland's report on Scotland's City Region and Growth Deals, published 16 January 2020, what steps his Department is taking to ensure (a) effective auditing of Scottish City Region Deals and (b) funding from the Inverness and Highlands City Region Deal benefits the whole region.

The UKG committed £53.1m to an Inverness and Highlands City Region Deal in March 2016 which covers the Highlands area. This is part of the £1.4bn the UK Government has announced for the funding of ten City and Growth Deals in Scotland. More recently, the Government has committed to provide 100% coverage of City and Growth Deals for Scotland.

The Scottish Government is accountable for City and Growth Deals funding in the usual way and in line with the fiscal framework. Audits will be undertaken by Audit Scotland and the National Audit Office in the usual way. Detailed accountability and working arrangements are currently being agreed between the UK Government and Scotland Government via a Memorandum of Understanding which will be published in due course.

Rishi Sunak
Chancellor of the Exchequer
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure the right to peaceful protest during the covid-19 lockdown.

The right to protest is the cornerstone of our democracy and the Government is absolutely committed to maintaining freedom of expression.

However, we are currently in a national lockdown as we continue to fight this deadly pandemic. We have a duty to reduce transmission and prevent more lives being lost which is why currently, outdoor gatherings of more than two are not permitted unless an exemption applies.

Government will keep the rules under review and amend as necessary to ensure they remain relevant and proportionate in line with easing the lockdown restrictions, and as we enter the next stages of the Roadmap.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effectiveness of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in increasing transparency of the future cobalt supply chain.

In 2020, the UK Government funded NGO PACT to conduct a series of workshops to review the prevalence of modern slavery in mines, and international commercial awareness of these issues. In FY 20/21, the UK has continued to fund programmes, including through PACT, to raise awareness of the risks of, and solutions to, modern slavery in supply chains for a range of minerals.

Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires certain businesses in all sectors, including the mining and electronics sectors, with a turnover of £36m or more to report annually on the steps they have taken to prevent modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.

The prevalence of modern slavery and complexity of global supply chains means that it is highly unlikely that any sector or company is immune from the risks of modern slavery. The Government therefore encourages businesses to take a targeted approach to preventing modern slavery based on where their risks are most salient and severe, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights. The annual reporting requirement contained in section 54 is also designed to encourage companies to demonstrate year on year progress in their actions to mitigate their modern slavery risks.

To increase transparency and accelerate progress to tackle modern slavery, the Government recently announced an ambitious package of changes to strengthen and future-proof section 54, including a requirement for organisations to report against specific topics, such as due diligence, the introduction of financial penalties for organisations which fail to meet their statutory obligation to publish a statement, and the creation of a Government modern slavery statement registry to make all statements available in one place.

The new Government modern slavery registry, which is due to launch early this year, will provide increased visibility of the action organisations are taking to prevent modern slavery and will empower investors, consumers and civil society to scrutinise how organisations are developing and improving their response over time.

These measures, including requiring organisations to publish their statement on the Government modern slavery registry, require primary legislation and will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to establish English Language and Life in the UK test centres in Caithness, Sutherland, and Easter Ross constituency.

There are no current plans to open either an English language test centre or a Life in the UK test centre in the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency.

A life in the UK test centre is planned to open in Inverness by 31 March 2021.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect on the financial and mental well-being of visa applicants of extensive travel to (a) complete the English Language and Life in the UK tests and (b) submit a visa application in person.

UKVI work hard to ensure that front-end immigration services are accessible to customers.

UKVI works closely with commercial partners both oversees and in the UK, to ensure that there is a sufficient geographical spread of English language and Life in the UK (UK only) testing and biometric enrolment locations to minimise the amount of travel required by customers by analysing where concentrations of demand are. Our footprints in respect to both services are kept under review and further locations opened where sufficient demand supports.

In addition, our commercial partners offer a range of optional added-value services which provide customers additional choice in how they access biometric enrolment services overseas or in the UK such as mobile enrolment at a location at their convenience.

Individuals applying in the UK who have higher needs, may be vulnerable, or whose circumstances may be complex are directed to the Home Office run Support Centres (SSC) where they receive support with their application.

SSC customers who are unable to pay the application fee may submit a fee waiver request. Customers who have been granted a fee waiver and who fit certain criteria may be eligible to apply for travel assistance to attend their closest SSC.

Within the UK, customers who cannot travel to enrol biometrics due to ill heath are directed to contact either UKVI (if routed to SSCs) or Sopra Steria Limited (if routed to the UKVCAS service which they run on behalf of UKVI) once they have completed their application and before booking an appointment. Information on how to do this is provided at the end of the online application form on Gov.uk.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to (a) ensure that Osime Brown is not deported from the UK and (b) is not detained pending a final decision on deportation; and what assessment she has made of the support he requires for his diagnosed health conditions pending this decision.

We only ever return those who we and, where applicable, the courts are satisfied do not need our protection and have no legal basis to remain in the UK.

Mr Brown was not detained but released on Immigration Bail at the end of his custodial sentence.

It would be inappropriate to comment further while legal proceedings are ongoing.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many EEA nationals that applied for permanent residence (a) applied for and (b) were granted British Citizenship.

The latest published information on decisions on applications for permanent residence documents by EEA nationals and their family members can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly ‘Immigration Statistics’ publication, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020.

Specifically, table ee_02_q ‘Issue and refusal of residence documentation (excluding EU Settlement Scheme) to EEA nationals and their family members, by country of nationality’ available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020/list-of-tables#european-economic-area-eea.

The latest published information on EU Settlement Scheme applications received and decided can be found in the Home Office’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme monthly statistics’ available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics-may-2020.

The total number of EUSS applications received up to 31 May 2020 was more than 3.6 million (3,612,400).

The latest published information on applications and decisions in respect of British citizenship can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly ‘Immigration Statistics’ publication, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020

Specifically, datasets Cit_D01 – Applications for British citizenship, by application type and nationality and Cit_D02 – Grants of British citizenship, by application type, nationality, sex and age available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020/list-of-tables#citizenship.

In order to ensure resident EEA nationals and their family members understand how and by when to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office has put in place a comprehensive communications and engagement plan, using all available channels to reach our audiences – such as marketing, presentations, email updates, toolkits and webinars.

The Home Office delivered a £4 million marketing campaign last year to encourage resident EEA nationals to apply and further campaign activity was undertaken earlier this year. Alongside this, we have also undertaken extensive engagement and outreach with stakeholder groups, including employers, local authorities and community organisations. No-one will be left behind, which is why we are working in partnership with representatives of vulnerable groups and other experts to make sure everyone knows what they need to do and has the right level of support.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that EEA nationals with permanent residence apply for (a) settled status or (b) British citizenship before 30 June 2021.

The latest published information on decisions on applications for permanent residence documents by EEA nationals and their family members can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly ‘Immigration Statistics’ publication, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020.

Specifically, table ee_02_q ‘Issue and refusal of residence documentation (excluding EU Settlement Scheme) to EEA nationals and their family members, by country of nationality’ available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020/list-of-tables#european-economic-area-eea.

The latest published information on EU Settlement Scheme applications received and decided can be found in the Home Office’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme monthly statistics’ available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics-may-2020.

The total number of EUSS applications received up to 31 May 2020 was more than 3.6 million (3,612,400).

The latest published information on applications and decisions in respect of British citizenship can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly ‘Immigration Statistics’ publication, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020

Specifically, datasets Cit_D01 – Applications for British citizenship, by application type and nationality and Cit_D02 – Grants of British citizenship, by application type, nationality, sex and age available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020/list-of-tables#citizenship.

In order to ensure resident EEA nationals and their family members understand how and by when to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office has put in place a comprehensive communications and engagement plan, using all available channels to reach our audiences – such as marketing, presentations, email updates, toolkits and webinars.

The Home Office delivered a £4 million marketing campaign last year to encourage resident EEA nationals to apply and further campaign activity was undertaken earlier this year. Alongside this, we have also undertaken extensive engagement and outreach with stakeholder groups, including employers, local authorities and community organisations. No-one will be left behind, which is why we are working in partnership with representatives of vulnerable groups and other experts to make sure everyone knows what they need to do and has the right level of support.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of EEA nationals that applied for permanent residence (a) applied for and (b) were granted settled status.

The latest published information on decisions on applications for permanent residence documents by EEA nationals and their family members can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly ‘Immigration Statistics’ publication, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020.

Specifically, table ee_02_q ‘Issue and refusal of residence documentation (excluding EU Settlement Scheme) to EEA nationals and their family members, by country of nationality’ available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020/list-of-tables#european-economic-area-eea.

The latest published information on EU Settlement Scheme applications received and decided can be found in the Home Office’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme monthly statistics’ available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics-may-2020.

The total number of EUSS applications received up to 31 May 2020 was more than 3.6 million (3,612,400).

The latest published information on applications and decisions in respect of British citizenship can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly ‘Immigration Statistics’ publication, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020

Specifically, datasets Cit_D01 – Applications for British citizenship, by application type and nationality and Cit_D02 – Grants of British citizenship, by application type, nationality, sex and age available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020/list-of-tables#citizenship.

In order to ensure resident EEA nationals and their family members understand how and by when to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office has put in place a comprehensive communications and engagement plan, using all available channels to reach our audiences – such as marketing, presentations, email updates, toolkits and webinars.

The Home Office delivered a £4 million marketing campaign last year to encourage resident EEA nationals to apply and further campaign activity was undertaken earlier this year. Alongside this, we have also undertaken extensive engagement and outreach with stakeholder groups, including employers, local authorities and community organisations. No-one will be left behind, which is why we are working in partnership with representatives of vulnerable groups and other experts to make sure everyone knows what they need to do and has the right level of support.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many EEA (a) nationals and (b) family members have permanent residence in the UK.

The latest published information on decisions on applications for permanent residence documents by EEA nationals and their family members can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly ‘Immigration Statistics’ publication, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020.

Specifically, table ee_02_q ‘Issue and refusal of residence documentation (excluding EU Settlement Scheme) to EEA nationals and their family members, by country of nationality’ available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020/list-of-tables#european-economic-area-eea.

The latest published information on EU Settlement Scheme applications received and decided can be found in the Home Office’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme monthly statistics’ available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics-may-2020.

The total number of EUSS applications received up to 31 May 2020 was more than 3.6 million (3,612,400).

The latest published information on applications and decisions in respect of British citizenship can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly ‘Immigration Statistics’ publication, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020

Specifically, datasets Cit_D01 – Applications for British citizenship, by application type and nationality and Cit_D02 – Grants of British citizenship, by application type, nationality, sex and age available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020/list-of-tables#citizenship.

In order to ensure resident EEA nationals and their family members understand how and by when to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office has put in place a comprehensive communications and engagement plan, using all available channels to reach our audiences – such as marketing, presentations, email updates, toolkits and webinars.

The Home Office delivered a £4 million marketing campaign last year to encourage resident EEA nationals to apply and further campaign activity was undertaken earlier this year. Alongside this, we have also undertaken extensive engagement and outreach with stakeholder groups, including employers, local authorities and community organisations. No-one will be left behind, which is why we are working in partnership with representatives of vulnerable groups and other experts to make sure everyone knows what they need to do and has the right level of support.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps the British Army is taking in response to the proposal made in the 2019 Junior Entry Review to create new terms of service aligning the minimum commitment lengths of recruits aged under 18 with those of recruits who join over the age of 18.

Following the publication of the Integrated Review, the Army is taking time to refine and test its designs, capabilities and structures. As the Army moves towards workforce balance, the implementation of bespoke Terms of Service for U18 entrants may be considered within the context of wider analysis on engagements and length of service.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to ensure that army recruits enlisted under the age of 18 do not have to serve for a longer minimum period than recruits enlisted as adults.

Army recruits enlisted before their 18th birthday have Discharge As Of Right (DAOR) conferred upon them by The Armed Forces Terms of Service Regs 2007. This enables them to leave the Army before the age of 18.

At 18, they are able to make an informed choice to serve for four years in the same manner as any other joiner who is 18 or over.

Under The Armed Forces Terms of Service Regulations 2007 (as amended), a soldier has the right to terminate their Regular service either four years from their date of enlistment, or four years from the point at which they turn 18, whichever is later.

This means that soldiers who enlist before the age of 18 may serve longer than their counterparts who join as adults, should they choose not to exercise their right to apply for discharge prior to reaching 18.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the affordability of his Department's commitment to buy 48 F-35b Lightning jet fighters by the end of 2025.

I refer the hon. Member to the Answer given in the House of Lords on 23 September 2020 by my right hon. Friend Baroness Goldie to Lord Campbell of Pittenweem to Question HL8176.

The UK's F-35B aircraft are procured using a 'Block Buy' approach through the US-led Joint Programme Office. The UK has ordered 35 aircraft to date, and procurement of the next 13 has already commenced, these will be delivered through the 'Block Buy 2' Programme (also referred to as Lot 15-17). This will take the UK to 48 F-35B aircraft. Further decisions on procurement beyond the 48 aircraft will follow the ongoing Integrated Review.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans his Department has to roll-out the deployment of military fighter pilots to fly drones to deliver (a) PPE and (b) covid-19 test results to support the NHS during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Ministry of Defence currently has no plans for the deployment or use of UK Armed Forces pilots for the purposes of flying drones to support the NHS.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the National Audit Office's report entitled Carrier Strike - Preparing for deployment, published in June 2020.

The NAO report, Carrier Strike - Preparing for Deployment, highlighted progress made and the Department remains on track to achieve a successful Carrier Strike Deployment in 2021.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many (a) civil and (b) criminal claims of abuse during interrogation in Iraq between 2003 and 2009 were subsequently made against the UK.

Since 2003, Her Majesty's Government has received around 1,000 damages claims and approximately 1,400 judicial review claims in connection with operations in Iraq. The claims received focus predominately on alleged unlawful detention but many incorporate allegations of mistreatment at the hands of British military personnel. In addition, the Iraq Historic Allegations Team received over 3,400 allegations of criminal conduct - most incorporating allegations of mistreatment - by UK Armed Forces in Iraq.

We are unable to say with certainty how many of these allegations of ill-treatment specifically related to interrogation, as this would require cross-referencing with individual files.

18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of the number of reported complaints of racist incidents in the Armed Forces between (a) 2015 - 2016, (b) 2016 - 2017, (c) 2017 - 2018, (d) 2018 - 2019, and (e) 2019 - to 17 June 2020.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) recognises that unacceptable behaviour, including racism, still occurs. MOD and the UK Armed Forces are committed to taking action to eradicate it and have a zero-tolerance approach. Defence, like many other organisations, does not yet represent society and it is essential that it does. We recognise that the pace of change needs to quicken; that is why we are renewing our levels of ambition at the highest levels in Defence as we work to fulfil the key objective in our 2018-2030 Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to eliminate discrimination and improve diversity throughout Defence. We continue to implement all the recommendations made by Air Chief Marshal Wigston in his 2019 review into inappropriate behaviour.

All allegations of illegal or unacceptable behaviour are taken extremely seriously and investigated thoroughly; Service personnel have a number of routes to raise the issue, either with the police, within the Chain of Command or with Diversity and Inclusion Advisers. MOD is working to prevent unacceptable behaviour from occurring in the first place and has also designed an Active Bystander training so that personnel have the skills to challenge unacceptable behaviour effectively when it does occur.

The requested information is not available in the format requested and an answer could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Allegations of racism are captured through various mechanisms, including internal and external disciplinary proceedings, the Service Complaints system, informal complaints and the Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey. Defence is working to improve its data capture of all unacceptable behaviour across the department.

The Service Complaints Ombudsman for the Armed Forces (SCOAF)'s annual report does not provide a full picture for ascertaining levels of racism in the Armed Forces. The Ombudsman's report deals with issues of overrepresentation by BAME complainants, but these complaints do not only concern racial discrimination. However, information from the single Services' annual statistical returns on Service Complaints to the SCOAF indicates that in 2019, five per cent of all bullying, harassment or discrimination Service Complaints concerned racial discrimination.

17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of repainting RAF Voyager.

The total forecast cost for completing the repaint of the RAF Voyager VIP aircraft (including related costs) is approximately £900,000. The project will be carried out by Marshall Aerospace Defence Group (MADG) in Cambridge.

The decision to repaint the VIP Voyager - and approval of a design that best projected Global Britain - was taken on a cross-Government basis, to be funded by the Ministry of Defence.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether it is Government policy that the (a) prohibition of torture is absolute and (b) obligation to prosecute torture is absolute.

The Government is committed to its obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT). There is an absolute prohibition of torture under international law. The UNCAT requires each State Party to ensure that all acts of torture are listed as offences under its criminal law, however the prosecution of any crime is never automatic. The statutory presumption in the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill does not act as a pardon, amnesty or statute of limitations. Prosecutors will continue to have discretion on whether to prosecute for criminal offences, including torture, taking into account factors such as sufficiency of evidence and public interest.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the circumstances are in which a prosecutor is able to exercise their discretion not to prosecute an offence of torture.

Prosecutors will continue to have discretion on whether to prosecute for criminal offences, including torture, on the basis of their assessment of the sufficiency of evidence and whether a prosecution would be in the public interest. The statutory presumption in the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill is compliant with the UN Convention Against Torture, as it is a rebuttable presumption which leaves a prosecutor with discretion to prosecute where they consider it appropriate to do so. It does not act as a pardon, amnesty or statute of limitations.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the criteria are for deeming a claim for damages in respect of the alleged conduct of British forces in overseas operations to be meritorious; and whether claims deemed to be ummeritorious are excluded from settlement.

When a claim is received it is investigated and considered on the basis of whether the Ministry of Defence has a legal liability to pay compensation and where there is such a liability, compensation is paid. This applies whatever the alleged circumstances leading to the claim.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the UK's status as a signatory to the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT), what his policy is on the prohibition against the limitation of criminal and civil proceedings in respect of torture, as set out in General Comment No 3 2012 UNCAT.

The limitation longstops in the Overseas Operations Bill do not compromise our compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture as individuals are able to bring claims for six years after the alleged torture (or within six years of being diagnosed with a psychological illness as a result of the alleged torture). The statutory presumption in the Bill is compliant with the UN Convention Against Torture as it is a rebuttable presumption which leaves a prosecutor with discretion to prosecute where they consider it appropriate to do so. It is not a statute of limitation or an immunity.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the evidence base is for the decision to issue the armed services with insect repellent containing Citriodiol as part of the enhanced force health protection measures during the covid-19 pandemic.

I will write to the hon. Member in response to his letter to the Defence Secretary on the same subject, and place a copy in Library of the House.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many times and at what cost to the public purse military aircraft were used for non-military purposes by companies with Government contracts in 2015.

We are only aware of military aircraft being used for the purposes of executing defence tasks.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many times and at what cost to the public purse military aircraft were used for non-military purposes by companies with Government contracts in 2016.

We are only aware of military aircraft being used for the purposes of executing defence tasks.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many times and at what cost to the public purse military aircraft were used for non-military purposes by companies with Government contracts in 2017.

We are only aware of military aircraft being used for the purposes of executing defence tasks.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many times and at what cost to the public purse military aircraft were used for non-military purposes by companies with Government contracts in 2018.

We are only aware of military aircraft being used for the purposes of executing defence tasks.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many times and at what cost to the public purse military aircraft were used for non-military purposes by companies with Government contracts in 2019.

We are only aware of military aircraft being used for the purposes of executing defence tasks.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish his Department's criteria for putting the Highlands local authority in tier 3 for the Levelling Up Fund.

The £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund will invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including regenerating town centres and high streets, upgrading local transport, and investing in cultural and heritage assets. It is open to all local areas and will be allocated competitively


As set out in the prospectus published at Budget, the index used for the Levelling Up Fund places areas into category one, two or three based on the local area’s need for economic recovery and growth, improved transport connectivity, and regeneration.

We have published further details of the methodology used to calculate the index of
places on GOV.UK.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the process is for local authorities to appeal the tier that they have been allocated for the Levelling Up Fund.

The £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund will invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including regenerating town centres and high streets, upgrading local transport, and investing in cultural and heritage assets. It is open to all local areas and will be allocated competitively


As set out in the prospectus published at Budget, the index used for the Levelling Up Fund places areas into category one, two or three based on the local area’s need for economic recovery and growth, improved transport connectivity, and regeneration.

We have published further details of the methodology used to calculate the index of
places on GOV.UK.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the treatment of autistic people in the criminal justice system.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is committed to meeting the needs of all vulnerable people who come into contact with the criminal justice system, including those with neurodivergent conditions such as autism. We understand the importance of working closely with partners across government to support this cohort.

That is why the Ministry of Justice have commissioned HMI Prisons and Probation, with support from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, to conduct an Independent Call for Evidence (CfE) on neurodiversity in the criminal justice system. The scope of the CfE includes requiring the police to provide a more holistic picture of a neurodivergent individual’s contact with the CJS. The review was launched on 18th December 2020, with findings planned to be published in Summer 2021.

The findings of this CfE will inform a national neurodiversity training toolkit for frontline staff in the Criminal Justice System that was announced in our Sentencing White Paper and we will work closely with the Home Office on next steps to support the needs of neurodivergent individuals that enter the CJS.

Furthermore, the Department of Health and Social Care are currently leading a refresh of the cross-government Autism Strategy, and the MoJ contribution to the strategy includes work to improve data capture on autism, and to increase – through training and awareness – the ability of prison and probation staff to better understand and support individuals with autism.

The MoJ is also working with officials across government, including the Home Office, as part of the Cabinet Office-led National Strategy for Disabled People. This represents an opportunity to develop cross-government wide policies to support people with disabilities, including autism.

Alex Chalk
Assistant Whip
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans his Department has to provide funding for social policies to (a) reduce crime and (b) improve rehabilitation of offenders.

In the year ending September 2019, 80% of offenders receiving a caution or conviction had at least one previous caution or conviction. Therefore, if we want to reduce crime then we must tackle reoffending.

The drivers of reoffending are complex, which the Criminal Justice System cannot address alone. That is why we are taking a renewed cross-government approach to tackle the drivers of reoffending across both custody and community.

We have already invested in a number of initiatives to enhance rehabilitation and reduce crime. Our £6 million accommodation pilot scheme in Leeds, Pentonville and Bristol operating since August 2019, has enrolled 323 individuals. In July we announced the Prison Leavers Project confirming £20 million of funding, aiming to support local leadership, identify innovative new ways to address reoffending and improve the social inclusion of those leaving prison.

We have also increased the probation budget by 17% this year to over £1.1 billion and will ensure the probation service continues to have the resources it needs to protect the public and reduce reoffending. Under the probation reform programme, the private and voluntary sector can still bid for a range of contracts for rehabilitation and resettlement support through the Dynamic Framework. We anticipate eventually spending over £100 million a year on these services.

Last year, we announced a £2.5 billion programme to reform the prison estate and provide 10,000 additional prison places. We will deliver four new prisons that boost rehabilitation and cut reoffending, providing improved security and additional training facilities to help offenders find employment on release. This forms a major part of our plans to transform the prison estate and create environments where offenders can be more effectively rehabilitated and turn their backs on crime.

An experimental statistical report showed that among those who committed an offence in the two years prior to engaging with treatment, 44% did not go on to reoffend in the two years following treatment (MoJ, PHE, 2017). Therefore, we support delivery of NHS England’s care after custody service, RECONNECT, for prison leavers with vulnerabilities, who would otherwise struggle to engage with community health services.

It is our ambition to go further and build on work that is already underway, focusing on improving accommodation, employment and substance misuse treatment outcomes for individuals that come into contact with the Criminal Justice System.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department makes of the effect of proposed social policies on the reduction of crime.

In the year ending September 2019, 80% of offenders receiving a caution or conviction had at least one previous caution or conviction. Therefore, if we want to reduce crime then we must tackle reoffending.

The drivers of reoffending are complex, which the Criminal Justice System cannot address alone. That is why we are taking a renewed cross-government approach to tackle the drivers of reoffending across both custody and community.

We have already invested in a number of initiatives to enhance rehabilitation and reduce crime. Our £6 million accommodation pilot scheme in Leeds, Pentonville and Bristol operating since August 2019, has enrolled 323 individuals. In July we announced the Prison Leavers Project confirming £20 million of funding, aiming to support local leadership, identify innovative new ways to address reoffending and improve the social inclusion of those leaving prison.

We have also increased the probation budget by 17% this year to over £1.1 billion and will ensure the probation service continues to have the resources it needs to protect the public and reduce reoffending. Under the probation reform programme, the private and voluntary sector can still bid for a range of contracts for rehabilitation and resettlement support through the Dynamic Framework. We anticipate eventually spending over £100 million a year on these services.

Last year, we announced a £2.5 billion programme to reform the prison estate and provide 10,000 additional prison places. We will deliver four new prisons that boost rehabilitation and cut reoffending, providing improved security and additional training facilities to help offenders find employment on release. This forms a major part of our plans to transform the prison estate and create environments where offenders can be more effectively rehabilitated and turn their backs on crime.

An experimental statistical report showed that among those who committed an offence in the two years prior to engaging with treatment, 44% did not go on to reoffend in the two years following treatment (MoJ, PHE, 2017). Therefore, we support delivery of NHS England’s care after custody service, RECONNECT, for prison leavers with vulnerabilities, who would otherwise struggle to engage with community health services.

It is our ambition to go further and build on work that is already underway, focusing on improving accommodation, employment and substance misuse treatment outcomes for individuals that come into contact with the Criminal Justice System.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
10th Mar 2021
What steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to ensure the adequacy of telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas of Scotland.

The Scottish economy continues to gain hugely from the UK Government’s ambitious investments in data connectivity.

I want to see every area of Scotland, including the constituency of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, be able to take full advantage of the digital technology available.

Iain Stewart
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment he has made of effect of the UK Internal Market Bill on teaching standards in Scotland in the event that the provisions of that Bill demand that the General Teaching Council for Scotland give full registration to teachers irrespective of their qualification status.

Teaching standards across the UK are very important to the Government and under the provisions of the UK Internal Market Bill, relevant authorities in each of the devolved administrations will still be able to set standards and control who can teach in them as they do now. The Bill provides that if a relevant authority decides that recognising teaching qualifications from other parts of the UK automatically is not appropriate, it can put in place an alternative recognition process in accordance with clause 24 to check qualifications and experience.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland