John Spellar Portrait

John Spellar

Labour - Warley

First elected: 9th April 1992


Firearms Bill
8th Mar 2023 - 15th Mar 2023
Offenders (Day of Release from Detention) Bill
1st Feb 2023 - 8th Feb 2023
Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill
18th Jan 2023 - 25th Jan 2023
Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Bill
15th Dec 2021 - 5th Jan 2022
Defence Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Defence Sub-Committee
12th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committees on Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee)
10th Feb 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Committees on Arms Export Controls
10th Feb 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Defence Committee
6th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Defence Sub-Committee
8th Sep 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
8th Oct 2010 - 18th Sep 2015
Administration Committee
22nd Nov 2010 - 1st Jul 2013
Committee of Selection
21st Jun 2010 - 13th Oct 2010
Comptroller (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
5th Oct 2008 - 6th May 2010
Finance and Services Committee
9th Feb 2009 - 6th May 2010
Conventions (Joint Committee)
17th May 2006 - 31st Oct 2006
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
13th Jun 2003 - 10th May 2005
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
29th May 2002 - 13th Jun 2003
Minister of State (Department of Transport, Local Government and Regions) (Transport)
8th Jun 2001 - 29th May 2002
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
29th Jul 1999 - 8th Jun 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
6th May 1997 - 28th Jul 1999
Shadow Spokesperson (Defence)
1st Jun 1995 - 1st Jun 1997
Shadow Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)
1st Jun 1994 - 1st Jun 1995
Opposition Whip (Commons)
1st Jun 1992 - 1st Jun 1994
Energy
21st Jan 1983 - 9th Jun 1983


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 19th March 2024
14:00
Defence Sub-Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Developing AI capacity and expertise in UK Defence
19 Mar 2024, 2 p.m. View calendar
Scheduled Event
Friday 22nd March 2024
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Puppy Import (Prohibition) Bill: Second Reading
View calendar
Scheduled Event
Friday 22nd March 2024
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
British Goods (Public Sector Purchasing Duty) Bill: Second Reading
View calendar
Scheduled Event
Friday 22nd March 2024
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Consumer Pricing Bill: Second Reading
View calendar
Scheduled Event
Friday 22nd March 2024
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Broadcasting (Listed Sporting Events) Bill: Second Reading
View calendar
Scheduled Event
Friday 22nd March 2024
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Employment (Application Requirements) Bill: Second Reading
View calendar
Scheduled Event
Friday 22nd March 2024
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Public Sector Website Impersonation Bill: Second Reading
View calendar
Scheduled Event
Friday 22nd March 2024
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Armenian Genocide (Recognition) Bill: Second Reading
View calendar
Scheduled Event
Friday 22nd March 2024
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
House of Lords (Hereditary Peers (Abolition of By-Elections)) (No. 2) Bill: Second Reading
View calendar
Scheduled Event
Friday 22nd March 2024
09:30
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
22 Mar 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill: Second Reading
View calendar
Department Event
Monday 25th March 2024
14:30
Ministry of Defence
Oral questions - Main Chamber
25 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Defence (including Topical Questions)
Save to Calendar
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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 31st January 2024
Business without Debate
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 124 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 265 Noes - 185
Speeches
Thursday 22nd February 2024
Ukraine
The Defence Secretary was certainly in full Duracell bunny mode today, but it is clear that Britain and this Government …
Written Answers
Friday 9th February 2024
Fishing Catches: Import Controls
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many (a) documentary checks on, (b) physical …
Early Day Motions
Thursday 10th February 2022
Cholangiocarcinoma Awareness Month (No. 2)
That this House notes that February is Cholangiocarcinoma Awareness Month and 12 February is World Cholangiocarcinoma day; commends AMMF the …
Bills
Monday 11th December 2023
Armenian Genocide (Recognition) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to require Her Majesty’s Government to formally recognise the Armenian genocide of 1915–16.
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
8. Miscellaneous
From 12 July 2023, Secretary of the British American Parliamentary Group. This is an unpaid role.
EDM signed
Monday 19th February 2024
Jagtar Singh Johal
That this House notes that Jagtar Singh Johal, a Sikh activist and resident of Dumbarton, will be marking his 37th …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 9th November 2021
Recognition of Armenian Genocide Bill 2021-22
A Bill to require Her Majesty's Government formally to recognise the Armenian genocide of 1915–23; and for connected purposes.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, John Spellar has voted in 641 divisions, and 2 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
John Spellar voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 21 Labour No votes vs 176 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
2 Sep 2020 - Recall of MPs (Change of Party Affiliation) - View Vote Context
John Spellar voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Labour No votes vs 7 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 55 Noes - 52
View All John Spellar 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
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
(37 debate interactions)
Ben Wallace (Conservative)
(29 debate interactions)
Jeremy Quin (Conservative)
(24 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Ministry of Defence
(74 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(62 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(61 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Parliamentary Constituencies Act 2020
(7,287 words contributed)
Finance Act 2020
(816 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all John Spellar's debates

Warley 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).

Petition Debates Contributed

We want the Government to commit to not signing any international treaty on pandemic prevention and preparedness established by the World Health Organization (WHO), unless this is approved through a public referendum.

The Government should prohibit the sale, use and manufacture of free-running snares under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, putting them in the same category as self-locking snares, which are already illegal.

Reverse the plan to withdraw funding for most applied general qualifications such as BTECs and guarantee they will continue to play a major role in the qualifications landscape. Students should not be forced to choose between studying A levels or T levels from the age of 16.

We ask Parliament to repeal the High Speed Rail Bills, 2016 and 2019, as MPs voted on misleading environmental, financial and timetable information provided by the Dept of Transport and HS2 Ltd. It fails to address the conditions of the Paris Accord and costs have risen from £56bn to over £100bn.

We want the Government to commit to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/immunity passport to the British public. Such passports could be used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine, which would be unacceptable.

Being the first to close and still no clue as to when we can open, this seasonal industry is losing its summer profits that allows them to get through the first quarter of next year.

Even if we are allowed to open in December, 1 months profit won't be enough to keep us open in 2021. We need help

The UK hospitality industry. Responsible for around 3m jobs, generating £130bn in activity, resulting in £38bn in taxation. Yet, unlike the Arts or Sports, we do not have a dedicated Minister.

We are asking that a Minister for Hospitality be created for the current, and successive governments.


Latest EDMs signed by John Spellar

7th February 2024
John Spellar signed this EDM on Monday 19th February 2024

Jagtar Singh Johal

Tabled by: Martin Docherty-Hughes (Scottish National Party - West Dunbartonshire)
That this House notes that Jagtar Singh Johal, a Sikh activist and resident of Dumbarton, will be marking his 37th birthday on 9 February, his sixth in arbitrary detention in India since being abducted from the street during his honeymoon by unidentified assailants who turned out to be undercover police …
36 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 13
Labour: 9
Liberal Democrat: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Alba Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
13th December 2023
John Spellar signed this EDM on Monday 8th January 2024

Girlguiding UK and the British Overseas Territories and military bases

Tabled by: Judith Cummins (Labour - Bradford South)
That this House expresses its concern and disappointment in Girlguiding UK’s withdrawal of support in the British Overseas Territories and on military bases and the closure and sale of all their outdoor activity centres in the UK; notes this will have a detrimental impact on young women and communities within …
29 signatures
(Most recent: 25 Jan 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 9
Conservative: 7
Scottish National Party: 4
Democratic Unionist Party: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Liberal Democrat: 2
View All John Spellar's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by John Spellar, 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.


John Spellar has not been granted any Urgent Questions

John Spellar has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

28 Bills introduced by John Spellar


Parallel Parliament Note:

The proposals laid down in this bill were enacted through changes to the National Policy Planning Framework. See here for more information.

A Bill to require specified planning controls in relation to developments likely to be affected by existing noise sources; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 10th January 2018
(Read Debate)

A Bill to prohibit the import of young puppies; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 20th October 2023

A Bill to create the offence of impersonating a public sector website for the purpose of collecting payment or personal data; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 20th October 2023

A Bill to amend the House of Lords Act 1999 so as to abolish the system of by-elections for hereditary peers.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 20th October 2023

A Bill to regulate the use of minimum qualification or experience requirements in job applications; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 20th October 2023

A Bill to prohibit the practice of offering preferential pricing to new customers compared to existing customers; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 20th October 2023

A Bill to expand the list of sporting events that must be made available for broadcast by free-to-air television channels; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 20th October 2023

A Bill to place a duty on public bodies to have a presumption in favour of purchasing goods of British origin in purchasing decisions; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 20th October 2023

A Bill to require Her Majesty’s Government to formally recognise the Armenian genocide of 1915-16.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 20th October 2023

A Bill to prohibit the import of young puppies; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to regulate the use of minimum qualification or experience requirements in job applications; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to create an offence of impersonating a public sector website for the purpose of collecting payment or personal data; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to prohibit the import of wild animal specimens derived from trophy hunting; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to amend the House of Lords Act 1999 so as to abolish the system of by-elections for hereditary peers.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to prohibit the practice of offering preferential pricing to new customers compared to existing customers; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to expand the list of sporting events that must be made available for broadcast by free-to-air television channels; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to place a duty on public bodies to have a presumption in favour of purchasing goods of British origin in purchasing decisions; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to require Her Majesty's Government to formally recognise the Armenian genocide of 1915-16.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to make provision prohibiting the import of hunting trophies into Great Britain.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 6th December 2023
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 22nd March 2024
Order Paper number: 1
(Certain to be Debated)

A Bill to amend the House of Lords Act 1999 so as to abolish the system of by-elections for hereditary peers.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 11th December 2023
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 22nd March 2024

A Bill to require Her Majesty’s Government to formally recognise the Armenian genocide of 1915–16.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 11th December 2023
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 22nd March 2024
Order Paper number: 10
(Unlikely to be Debated - would require unanimous consent to progress)

A Bill to create the offence of impersonating a public sector website for the purpose of collecting payment or personal data; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 11th December 2023
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 22nd March 2024
Order Paper number: 9
(Unlikely to be Debated - would require unanimous consent to progress)

A Bill to regulate the use of minimum qualification or experience requirements in job applications; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 11th December 2023
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 22nd March 2024
Order Paper number: 8
(Unlikely to be Debated - would require unanimous consent to progress)

A Bill to expand the list of sporting events that must be must available for broadcast by free-to-air television channels; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 11th December 2023
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 22nd March 2024
Order Paper number: 7
(Unlikely to be Debated - would require unanimous consent to progress)

A Bill to prohibit the practice of offering preferential pricing to new customers compared to existing customers; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 11th December 2023
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 22nd March 2024
Order Paper number: 6
(Unlikely to be Debated - would require unanimous consent to progress)

A Bill to prohibit the import of young puppies; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 11th December 2023
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 22nd March 2024
Order Paper number: 3
(Likely to be Debated)

A Bill to place a duty on public bodies to have a presumption in favour of purchasing goods of British origin in purchasing decisions; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 11th December 2023
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 22nd March 2024
Order Paper number: 5
(Possibly be Debated)

A Bill to prohibit the import of wild animal specimens from trophy hunting; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 29th June 2022

499 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
19 Other Department Questions
21st Nov 2023
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, what assessment the Commission has made of the adequacy of the telephony system on the parliamentary estate.

The telephone system on the parliamentary estate is the subject of a transformative programme called the Voice Programme, and a new telephony system is due to be implemented in 2024. Modernisation of the telephony system to full Voice Over Internet Protocol is also required in preparation for the decommissioning of the analogue service provided through the Public Switched Network.

16th Oct 2023
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how many staff are employed by IPSA; and how many and what proportion of those staff were working in the office at least (a) two and (b) three days a week in the last 12 months.

As of today, IPSA has 101 employees. IPSA is unable to provide data on how many staff were working in the office at least (a) two and (b) three days a week in the last twelve months, as this information is not recorded.

25th Apr 2023
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the Commission is taking steps to enable retiring or defeated hon. Members to legally transfer their casework files to their successors.

Individual Members of Parliament (MPs) are data controllers and therefore are subject to the Data Protection Act 2018.

For the processing of non-sensitive personal data in relation to casework, Members can usually rely on the implied consent of a constituent.

There are additional protections for processing “special category” data because of its sensitivity. This type of data includes information revealing a person’s racial origin, ethnic origin, health details, sexual orientation, and political and philosophical beliefs.

For MPs, paragraphs 23 and 24 of Schedule 1 of the 2018 Act have two main functions that apply when a constituent has contacted them:

  • Paragraph 23 sets out when a Member of Parliament (or someone acting with their authority) can process certain “special category” data about an individual, in the course of the Member’s “functions as a representative” (e.g. constituency casework), without having to establish explicit consent.
  • Paragraph 24 allows, but does not require, others (e.g. agencies or organisations) who are contacted by Members to disclose special category personal data to them where this is necessary to help with their functions, without having to obtain the explicit consent of the individual concerned.


Whilst provisions have been made within the Act that recognise the key role Members have in supporting constituents, the legislation also ensures the continued right of an individual over their own data. This will therefore continue to mean that individuals should have the right to decide on whether their data is transferred to a members’ successor following a General Election.

As the House is not responsible for personal data processed by MPs (constituents' data, staff data, etc.) this is not a matter for the Commission. However, the Commission is aware that the issue has been raised by the Chair of the Administration Committee, and the House Administration will continue to raise with others the challenges of dealing with casework data as well as support the processes as far as possible.

20th Mar 2023
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many temporary or agency workers were working for the House of Commons on 20 March 2023.

On 20 March 2023 the number of temporary and agency workers working for the House of Commons was 205.

17th Mar 2023
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the Commission is taking steps to increase the availability of beverages produced in the UK on the Parliamentary estate.

The catering service, alongside the Parliamentary procurement team, is working to increase availability of UK products. It sells regional products, promoting where availability allows and collaborating with suppliers. As an example, in the last year we have introduced a range of craft UK gins. I shall write to the hon. Member with more information.

16th Jan 2023
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, what steps the Commission is taking to help ensure reliable Polycom telephone connectivity on the Parliamentary Estate.

The Parliamentary Digital Service is taking steps to improve and enhance the user experience of parliamentary voice services.

A new Voice Programme commenced in June 2022 to help establish a reliable and resilient service in a way that supports current and future user needs. This is expected to include procurement of a new streamlined solution with a less complex support model. In addition, tactical solutions will be provided to address repeat issues experienced by specific users, including with handsets, to help ensure continuity of service until a stable long-term option is implemented.

Resolution speed of major telephony incidents will continue to depend on third parties until the existing telephony infrastructure is replaced. PDS will continue to strengthen third party relationships to mitigate the risk of protracted disruption.

26th Oct 2022
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what consideration has been given to moving IPSA's headquarters out of Central London.

Before moving to its current location in March 2019, IPSA consided sites in Milton Keynes and Croydon, as well as Stratford and Canary Wharf. At that time, before the Covid-19 pandemic, a central London presence was deemed best placed to offer support to MPs and enable employees working from the office to attend meetings in Parliament at short notice. Going forward, IPSA will once again approach its future needs in a careful and considered way to ensure that its premises are conductive to offering a high-quality service to MPs and their staff, in addition to delivering good value for money for the taxpayer.

26th Oct 2022
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, pursuant to his answer of 24 October to Question 6697 on Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what the average daily attendance of staff at IPSA London Office was in each of the last 12 months.

Average attendance at the London office has been monitered carefully be IPSA and is calculated by working days in the calender month (and is only based on current office-based staffing numbers (66)). This does not, however, include a number of IPSA people based on home-base contracts who make regular journeys into the office, particularly when based a short distance from the London region. It should be noted at the outset too that the discovery and surge of the Omicron variant, which necessitated public health advice to work from home, will have had an impact on the data from at least last Autumn 2021 to Spring 2022. For nearly the entire time period requested in the question, a significant number of desks were unavailable for use in the IPSA office to maintain appropiate social distancing in the context of IPSA's office layout. As only 32 of the possible 81 desks were available for use from 201 to the end of September 2022, this further materially reduced capacity within and attendance at the office. Noting the desks available and the number of staff available on office-based contracts, the general figures are below:

  • October 2021: 9% (This should be read as the average office-based contract employee spendin 9% of their working month in the office in October 2021 and so on for the following months). This constituted 18% of available desks.
  • November 2021: 9%. This constituted 20% of available desks.
  • December 2021: 7%. This constituted 15% of available desks.
  • January 2022: 5%. This constituted 9% of available desks.
  • February 2022: 8%. This constituted 17% of available desks.
  • March 2022: 7%. This constituted 14% of available desks.
  • April 2022: 8%. This constituted 16% of available desks.
  • May 2022: 8%. This constituted 16% of available desks.
  • June 2022: 6%. This constituted 13% of available desks.
  • July 2022: 7%. This constituted 14% of available desks.
  • August 2022: 6%. This constituted 13% of available desks.
  • September 2022: 7%. This constituted 14% of available desks.
  • October 2022: now that all the desks are available for use, the desk booking system upon which the data above is based is no longer operative, so this figure cannot be produced.

Like many organisations in the publice sector, IPSA recognised many benefits for its people and performance in continuing with a hybrid approach to work despite a lifting of formal coronavirus restrictions and other government public health advice. IPSA functions, such as payroll accuracy and the speed of reimbursement, have not been adversely impacted by such a model, and IPSA has instead been able to build a more inclusive and diverse workforce based accross the U.K. by bringing forward plans to create a more representative, hybrid, and flexibe organisation to reflect the nations, regions and constituencies MPs serve. The geographical spread of IPSA staff, new hybrid approach to working, and importance of value for money for the public purse will be central considerations for IPSA when it explores the locations and size of any office premises (in London or elsewhere) which it may require in future to continue to discharge its statutory duties efficiently, cost-effectively, and transparently.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, what steps the House authorities are taking to reduce (a) temperature settings on the estate and (b) energy use via other means.

(a) Where possible Parliament follows Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) guidelines for temperature standards in offices to ensure a comfortable working environment. When rooms have temperature controls for the user, there is a small threshold of which temperature can be raised or lowered to ensure rooms are not over cooled/heated.

There are many differing levels of temperature control across the parliamentary estate, with some areas having no temperature control at all.

We review the setpoints for heating and cooling regularly.

(b) Parliamentary authorities take energy efficiency very seriously as part of its commitment to reducing its environmental impacts. Parliament has reduced its electricity consumption by 16.8% and gas consumption by 25.3% since 2008/09.

The Building Management System has been upgraded recently to enable better control of the building services, such as resetting manual temperature changes every night to a CIBSE recommended setpoint.

The Environmental Sustainability Team monitor and report performance energy and water use monthly, and report annually in the sustainability section of the Commission Annual Report.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, pursuant to Named Day Question 33681 on Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority: Written Questions tabled by the hon. Member for Warley on 11 July 2022 for written answer on 14 July 2022, when he plans to answer Question 6697 tabled by the hon. Member for Warley on 23 May 2022.

The delay in providing responses to Questions 6697, 33681, 42245 and 45520 was due to an administrative error in the Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

11th Jul 2022
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, when a response will be received to Question 6697 tabled by the hon. Member for Warley on 23 May 2022.

The delay in providing responses to Questions 6697, 33681, 42245 and 45520 was due to an administrative error in the Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

23rd May 2022
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what the annual (a) rent and (b) other charges are for the IPSA premises at 85 Strand, London; how many staff are employed at that premises; and if he will make an estimate of how many and what proportion of those staff have worked from those offices in the last 12 months.

IPSA incurred costs of 508k on rent, rates, and service charges in the 2020-21 financial year. In 2021-22, this figure was 367k. IPSA currently has 97 contracted employees, of which 68% (66) are on office-based contracts and (32%) 31 are on home-based contracts. The difficult times brought about by the pandemic brought forward IPSA’s plans to create a more representative national organisation which better reflects the nations, regions, and constituencies our MPs serve. Recruiting staff from across the UK without the necessity of living within commuting distance of central London has delivered a more inclusive and diverse workforce, well-positioned to deliver services locally without the need for lengthy travel from London. Of the 66 employees on office-based contracts, all 66 have worked at some point in the past 12 months at the premises. The data for all 97 staff members, regardless of their contract type, also indicates that 100% of employees have worked from the premises at some point over the last 12 months.

The delay in providing a response to this Question was due to an administrative error in the Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what recent discussions the Government has had with Chinese counterparts on he construction of new coal plants in preparation for COP26.

We have made the global energy transition from coal to clean power a priority of our COP26 Presidency. I raised this issue most recently during my visit to China on 6 and 7 September with Vice Premier Han Zheng, Chinese Special Envoy for Climate Change Minister Xie Zhenhua and the Head of China’s National Energy Administration, Minister Zhang Jianhua. Additionally, the British Embassy in Beijing regularly engage with their Chinese counterparts on this issue. The Foreign Secretary has also discussed the importance of ambitious action to tackle climate change with his counterpart, State Councillor Wang Yi.

We will continue to engage with China to provide further details on how it will implement President Xi’s commitment at the US Leaders’ Summit on 22 April 2021 to reduce domestic coal consumption. Internationally, we are also working with China, as well as other financiers of international coal, through our COP26 energy transition campaign in collaborating to make renewables more attractive than coal power for all countries. Together with the G7, we have committed to rapidly accelerate the transition away from unabated coal capacity to an overwhelmingly decarbonised power system in the 2030s; and to end new direct government support for unabated international coal power generation by the end of 2021.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how many IPSA staff are normally based at their office in the Strand.

IPSA staff are currently working remotely, in accordance with government Covid-19 guidelines. During 2019 - 20 there was an average of 83 full-time equivalent staff working for IPSA, based in 85 Strand.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how much IPSA spent on rent for its premises in the Strand in London in 2020-21.

IPSA incurred costs in 2019 - 20 of £524K on rent, rates and service charges. The equivalent figure for 2020 - 21 will be published after the end of the financial year in IPSA's 2020 - 21 annual report and accounts.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, for what reason the Commons authorities are buying German rather than British wash basin taps.

The Public Contract Regulations 2015 are UK law and in general they prohibit contracting authorities from specifying the country of manufacture or origin when purchasing goods. This has not changed now that the Brexit transition period has ended.


The wash basin taps in question were supplied through British companies including Dart Valley Systems. This particular supplier has a Swiss parent company (Franke) which operates globally.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what the salary will be for members of the Independent Experts Panel.

Members of the Independent Expert Panel will be paid, monthly in arrears, a fee of £350 (excluding VAT) for each half-day spent by the Panel member in the provision of their services.

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, when is it proposed to reintroduce cash payment at outlets in the House of Commons.

The reintroduction of cash payments in catering outlets will be reviewed by the Catering Service Management team in accordance with any changes to industry guidance provided by the Government. The current guidance encourages contactless payments, where possible, which the House is adopting as part of its measures to manage the risk of COVID transmission on the Parliamentary Estate.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what guidance has been issued to (a) Ministers and (b) officials on the retention of (i) social media and (ii) other content on phones provided to them for official use.

Departments set guidance on the retention and disposal of information, for both their ministers and officials, based on the requirements of the Public Records Act 1958.

In order to support Departments, the Cabinet Office has previously published Guidance on the Management of Private Office Papers and Guidance to departments on use of private emails. In addition, a revised Code of Practice on Records Management, issued under Section 46 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, was laid on 15 July 2021 by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment has he made of the (a) efficiency and (b) effectiveness of UK Security Vetting.

UK Security Vetting is subject to an agreed set of Key Performance Indicator (KPI) measures which are monitored by the government at ministerial level and by the customers serviced by UKSV.

In relation to the effectiveness of UK Security Vetting, National Security Vetting is conducted and security clearances provided by UK Security Vetting in line with a robust set of Personnel Security Controls and Security Policy Framework as set out by the Cabinet Office and adhered to across government and by industry partners. Work is ongoing within the Government Security Group to improve and modernise the effectiveness of vetting overall, in line with the Government’s wider modernisation agenda and to keep pace with the threats faced by the UK today.

23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he will reply to the correspondence of 12 August 2021 from the hon. Member for Warley on Mr Zaman.

The Rt Hon Member wrote to Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), which is independent of the Cabinet Office. I understand that the PHSO did receive the Rt Hon Member’s letter of 12 August 2021, and will respond shortly.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether COBRA has met since 16 September 2021 to discuss fuel supply shortages.

As a matter of policy, the government does not comment on COBR meetings.

With respect to the fuel crisis more generally, the Government acted swiftly to respond to the rapid increase in demand for fuel (observed from 24 September 2021) which caused shortages at forecourts around the UK. Regular ministerial and senior officials' meetings were convened, both before and after the peak in demand. These meetings were all supported by data feeds collated by departments that informed Government of consumer demand, forecourt stock levels, fuel delivery capabilities and other key metrics.

The government has tried and tested plans in place to manage fuel supply. The Government implemented a range of timely measures to resolve the situation, including deployment of military drivers to staff the Reserve Tanker Fleet, the activation of the Downstream Oil Protocol, the relaxation of drivers’ hours regulations and the roll out of short-term visas so that haulier firms could source trained drivers from overseas.

14th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many serving civil servants are also employed by or on behalf of another employer.

On 23 April, the Cabinet Secretary wrote to the Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the management of outside interests in the Civil Service. The Committee published this letter on 26 April. It can be found here:

https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/5623/documents/55584/default/

The Cabinet Secretary’s letter sets out a series of steps to improve processes. This programme of work will also take account of any recommendations that emerge from Nigel Boardman’s review.

The Civil Service Management Code sets out, at paragraph 4.3.4, the requirement that civil servants must seek permission before accepting any outside employment which might affect their work either directly or indirectly. The applicable principles are those set out in the Business Appointment Rules. The Civil Service Management Code is published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/civil-servants-terms-and-conditions .

Where the civil servant is a member of the departmental board any outside employment, as well as other relevant interests will be published as part of the Annual Report and Accounts or other transparency publication.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Cabinet Secretary was consulted on the financing of the recent refurbishment of No. 10 Downing St.

The Downing Street complex is a working building, as well as containing two Ministerial residences. As has been the case under successive administrations, refurbishments and maintenance are made periodically.

Works to the Downing Street estate are overseen by the Cabinet Office. It is not the practice of successive administrations to comment on which officials have been consulted or advised on matters.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to remove websites from search engines that appear to be from Government departments but are companies charging a fee.

Further to the answer to PQ59372 on 22 June 2020, Government Departments have a number of processes in place to ensure users seeking information from Government Departments, including on search engines, are not diverted to fee-charging and misleading websites.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

The end of the Transition Period provides an historic opportunity to overhaul our outdated public procurement regime. Cabinet Office undertook an extensive programme of stakeholder engagement during 2019 to identify where improvements could be made and the recently published Green Paper Transforming Government Procurement shapes those findings into concrete proposals.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if his Department will urgently co-ordinate advice on the management of services and parades on Remembrance Sunday to assist local councils, the police, the Royal British Legion and other service and uniformed organisations in organising covid-safe events.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the organisation of the Census.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Please note that the UK Statistics Authority is responsible for delivering the Census in England and Wales. The National Records for Scotland and the Scottish Government are responsible for the Scottish Census, and NISRA cover the Census in Northern Ireland.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to allow weddings and civil partnership ceremonies to recommence.

The Government understands the huge significance of weddings. We recognise that because weddings have not been able to take place in recent months this has caused difficulty and distress for many people. As set out in the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, published in May, the Government has been examining how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups better to facilitate small weddings. We have worked closely with faith leaders and local government on how best to achieve this. The Prime Minister announced on 23 June that wedding and civil partnership ceremonies will be able to take place in England from 4 July. People should avoid having a large ceremony, and should invite no more than thirty family and friends. Venues should ensure they are COVID-19 secure.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to prevent individuals seeking information from Government Departments being diverted to fee-charging websites.

Government Departments have processes in place to ensure users seeking information from Government Departments are not diverted to fee-charging or misleading websites.

We work to ensure that government information and services are correctly listed and rank highly in search engine results so that they are easy for people to find and identify as government information and services.

We also challenge sites that pay for prominent positioning in search returns, by reporting them to the relevant search provider.

If fee-charging websites are operating outside of legal boundaries, we will pursue site owners through trading standards bodies or legal challenge.

GOV.UK is the government's website and online brand. We take steps to ensure people can rely on it as a trusted source for information.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason the Threats, Hazards, Resilience and Contingency Committee was disbanded.

The body referred to in the Hon. Members' questions was one of a number of sub-Committees of the National Security Council. Since July 2019, the National Security Council itself now consider matters relating to national security, foreign policy, defence, international relations and development, resilience, energy and resource security. This includes oversight of the National Security Risk Assessment. This administrative measure simply reflected a wider consolidation of Cabinet Committee sub-Committees.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential contribution of natural hydrogen to the UK's energy supply.

The UK aims to support multiple production routes in order to meet the Government's ambition to have up to 10GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030.

The Government is not aware of evidence to suggest natural hydrogen will make a significant contribution to the UK’s hydrogen production ambitions. However, the Government welcomes efforts from other countries that support the production and use of low carbon hydrogen and is working with international partners on issues including natural hydrogen.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether (a) his Department and (b) Ofgem were consulted before the advice was issued by the National Leadership Magistrate to magistrates regarding warrants to force fit prepayment meters.

The decision to suspend the fitting of prepayment meter warrants was made by the senior presiding judge for England and Wales, who is a member of the judiciary and acts independently from Government.

The Department and Ofgem have had discussions about prepayment meter warrants with the Ministry of Justice and will continue to do so.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what support his Department provides for the development of British based nuclear (a) small and (b) advanced modular reactors.

The Government has committed up to £385m to an Advanced Nuclear Fund. Of this, £210m has been awarded to support development of the Rolls Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design, potentially capable of deployment in the UK in the early 2030s. The Rolls-Royce SMR entered the Generic Design Assessment process in March becoming the first SMR to begin UK nuclear regulation. The Advanced Nuclear Fund also supports AMRs. Phase B of the open AMR R&D competition launched in December 2022 to provide up to £55 million to fund up to two different projects to develop detailed FEED+ studies.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she plans to take steps increase the UK’s fill and finish manufacturing capacity.

Fill-finish capacity is crucial to the UK’s health resilience. Since the pandemic the government has invested over £395 million to scale up our manufacturing capabilities, including a partnership with Wockhardt to successfully fill-finish the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Last year the Government launched the Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund to support a wide range of life sciences manufacturing investments, such as the £151 million project by Pharmaron that includes expansion of their fill-finish capabilities.

There has also been significant recent private investment, such as Thermo Fisher Scientific’s £70 million expansion to provide sterile formulation and fill-finish for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, pursuant to the Answer of 26 January to Question 133539 on Copyright, whether her Department has concluded its stakeholder engagement on implementation options for copyright protection from text and data mining.

As announced at Spring Budget on 15 March 2023, the Government will work with creative industries and AI developers to develop a code of practice on text and data mining licensing by the Summer. This engagement is currently underway.

26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the consultation on copyright protection from text and data mining will be concluded; and when she will decide on the steps the Government will take in response to that consultation.

The Government commenced a period of stakeholder engagement on implementation options for its proposals for text and data mining in December 2022. The Government aims to conclude this engagement in early 2023 and a decision on next steps will subsequently be taken.

19th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of global (a) demand and (b) supply of small modular nuclear reactors.

Global SMR Demand

In 2014, The National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) estimated the size of the potential global Small Modular Reactor (SMR) market to be significant. This was calculated at approximately 65-85GW and valued at £250-£400bn by 2035. These findings were published as part of the NNL Feasibility Study on SMRs.

Global SMR Supply

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitors the global supply of advanced reactor systems. The IAEA’s Advanced Rector Information System identifies that there are more than 80 different advanced reactor designs under development in 18 countries.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the nuclear power industry in employment in the next five years.

The Nuclear Skills Strategy Group (NSSG), which the Department is a member of, estimated that the UK nuclear workforce (which includes the workforce needed for Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C but no further new build projects) would be approximately seventy thousand in five years’ time. This assessment is included in the Nuclear Workforce Assessment 2021. Officials will be working with the Group to update the Assessment later this year.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential role of nuclear power in decarbonising the supply of electricity.

The Government recognises the important role that nuclear has to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. This is reflected in the British Energy Security Strategy, published in April 2022, which sets out Government’s ambition to deploy up to 24 Giga Watts of nuclear power by 2050.

The Department is considering the findings of the independent review of net zero, published on 13th January 2023, which reaffirmed many of the proposals set out in the British Energy Security Strategy for nuclear power.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress his Department has made on the programme for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors.

Small Modular Reactors could have an important role to play in the UK energy system in the transition to net zero by 2050 and in support of energy security.

The Government has awarded £210m to support development of the Rolls Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design. The Rolls-Royce SMR entered the Generic Design Assessment process in March becoming the first SMR to begin UK nuclear regulation.

As outlined in the British Energy Security Strategy, the Government intends to initiate a selection process in 2023 for the next nuclear projects, including SMRs.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the (a) adequacy of the capacity margins for electricity generation and (b) potential impact of those margins on the (i) operation and (ii) stability of the National Grid.

National Grid Electricity System Operator (NGESO) ensures there is adequate capacity available to meet peak demand in a range of scenarios, including by evaluating the amount of capacity needed to meet future demand. This assessment informs targets for annual Capacity Market auctions, which have already secured the majority of Great Britain’s capacity needs out to 2025/26.

NGESO is responsible for balancing electricity supply and demand in real time, as well as for managing the operation and stability of the system. The Government is confident that NGESO has the tools needed to operate the electricity system reliably.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
18th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what data his Department hold on the number of trained insulation installers in the UK.

The Department does not hold data on the total number of trained insulation installers in the wider supply chain. According to the records held by TrustMark, there are 763 TrustMark registered and PAS 2030:2019 certified insulation installer businesses as of 20th October 2022. In total there are 1,941 TrustMark registered businesses that meet the requirements to participate in government retrofit schemes.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much gas is currently in storage in the UK; and what percentage the gas stored represents the total annual gas usage.

The UK has a working gas storage capacity of 1.5bcm (billion cubic meters). This is equivalent to around 2% of typical total annual gas demand. Based on the Aggregate Gas Storage Inventory (AGSI) figures, as of Tuesday 11 October, GB storage is 100% full.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department made of the cost of (a) repairing and (b) maintaining the Rough Gas Storage Field in 2017.

Centrica closed Rough in June 2017 for commercial reasons. This was not a decision for BEIS or Government ministers.

At the time, external analysis produced by Cambridge Economic Policy Associates (CEPA) found that the closure of Rough had limited to no impact on security of supply or the price of gas.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 20 September 2022 to Question 45708 on Commodity Markets: Fossil Fuels, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of financial speculation on the underlying price of crude oil and natural gas in global markets.

The responsibility for the integrity of trading in oil and gas derivatives falls under the remit of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which regulates the financial services industry in the UK, including commodity trading venues.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of a reduction in hydro-based electricity exports from Norway on the availability and price of electricity imported via interconnectors.

The Government works closely with Ofgem, National Grid Electricity System Operator and other key industry organisations to monitor gas and electricity supply and prepare for winter.

Interconnectors are one source of a diverse range of energy supplies. The Government is monitoring the situation with Norwegian reservoirs and understands Norway is securing strategic reserves of water in its reservoirs to guarantee long-term security of energy supply.

The UK and Norway have a bilateral treaty on electricity interconnection and this puts obligations on both nations to ensure the North Sea Link interconnector is operated in a market-based, transparent and non-discriminatory manner.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) effectiveness of the Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism and (b) potential merits of introducing such a mechanism in the UK.

The Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism contains measures for a potential gas supply shortfall that are specific to Australia’s position as a Liquified Natural Gas exporter. The United Kingdom does not produce Liquified Natural Gas, therefore such measures would not be appropriate here.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of financial speculation on the volatility of the gas and oil commodity markets.

As internationally traded commodities, oil and gas prices are primarily driven by the underlying price in the global market of crude oil and natural gas. These are also influenced by exchange rates and a range of other supply and demand factors, including stock levels, logistics and distribution costs and seasonal demand variations. The reopening of the global economy following the pandemic and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine have also contributed to increased pressure on oil and gas markets.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the appropriate level of spare electrical generating capacity to ensure continuity of supply over the winter.

The Government has already procured the capacity needed to allow the Electricity System Operator (ESO) to meet peak demand in a range of scenarios this winter. This included procuring the maximum capacity possible (almost 5GW) in the recent year-ahead Capacity Market auction.

The Government has taken further steps to reinforce our energy security by extending certain coal plants’ operations to provide additional generation if needed.

The Government works closely with the ESO to continually monitor electricity supply and demand. The ESO will publish its annual Winter Outlook in the autumn, which will provide a detailed assessment of the capacity available this winter.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much electricity has been imported in each of the last five years; and what proportion of final demand those imports represented.

Data on the supply and consumption of electricity is available in Energy Trends table 5.2, with more detailed information on imports, exports and transfers available in table 5.6: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/electricity-section-5-energy-trends.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of people currently employed in manufacturing supply chains for (a) internal combustion engines and (b) zero-emission vehicle technologies in the UK; and what steps he is taking to help transition those people in internal combustion supply chains to zero-emission manufacturing roles.

In 2021, the automotive manufacturing sector accounted for 155,000 direct jobs and estimated to support an additional 346,000 indirect jobs elsewhere in the economy. ONS Employee Jobs data does not separately report employment by propulsion-type of car manufactured.

The Government continues to support the automotive workforce reskilling for electrification as part of the up to £1bn commitment to build EV supply chains.

The Government will continue to support the collaboration between universities and the automotive industry to deliver cutting edge R&D research. The Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) supports R&D and capital investments across strategically important parts of the electric vehicle supply chain.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to encourage investment into the manufacturing of hydrogen internal combustion engines in the UK.

It is likely that there will be a range of zero emission technologies adopted in the future. The UK is well-placed to be a leader in hydrogen and electric powered transportation.

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) is directed at late-stage R&D to develop important technologies in the transition to zero-emission transport. Hydrogen, including as a fuel for ICE applications, is an important contributor to reducing CO2 and other harmful emissions and is within the scope the APC. Information about open funding competitions can be found at: https://apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk/competition/search.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether anonymous foreign owners will be required to register their identities on the UK property register as well as the Register of Overseas Entities.

Created under the powers of the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act, the Register of Overseas Entities will require overseas companies owning or buying property in the UK to give information about those with more than 25% ownership or control of their company to Companies House.

The Register will require the name, date of birth and nationality of the beneficial owner to be submitted, as well as their usual residential address, a service address, details on the basis of on which grounds they are a beneficial owner, and if the person is part of the UK Sanctions List.

The Register will be publicly accessible online, allowing anyone scrutinising data held by the UK’s land registries to quickly seek relevant further information from the Register of Overseas Entities.

20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what (a) financial and (b) personnel resources will be allocated to the Register of Overseas Entities.

Companies House will operate the Register of Overseas Entities. Companies House will be receiving £63million announced at the Spending Review in order to implement its transformation programme which includes implementing the Register of Overseas Entities. Work is already underway to implement the Register.

19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of market speculation on oil and gas prices.

Fuel and gas prices are primarily driven by the underlying price in the global market of crude oil and natural gas. These are also influenced by exchange rates and a range of other supply and demand factors, including stock levels, logistics and distribution costs and seasonal demand variations.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of market speculation on rising food and oil and gas prices.

Increases in international food commodity prices have been driven by a range of factors recently. The Government views the price changes to food have been caused primarily by market fundamentals rather than speculation on futures markets.

Fuel and gas prices are primarily driven by the underlying price in the global wholesale market of crude oil and natural gas. These are also influenced by exchange rates and a range of other supply and demand factors, including stock levels, logistics and distribution costs and seasonal demand variations.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will hold discussions with (a) P&O Ferries representatives, (b) P&O Ferries workers and (c) trade unions to inform an assessment of the appropriateness of dismissal of staff of P&O Ferries without statutory consultation.

P&O Ferries has conducted itself in an appalling manner. There are clear requirements around both consultation and notification when making collective redundancies. The Government has demanded answers from the company as to why they think they are above these rules. We have received a response to my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State’s letter to P&O Ferries, and we are reviewing their explanations. The Secretary of State has also written to the Insolvency Service asking them to consider what scope there is for further action.

28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help strengthen and secure vaccine production in the UK.

The Vaccine Taskforce (VTF) continues to work to strengthen UK resilience for the COVID-19 response and potential future health emergencies. The VTF has invested over £380 million to secure and scale up the UK’s vaccine manufacturing capabilities to respond to the pandemic and is actively engaging with market participants to seek to further strengthen our domestic capabilities and capacity in vaccines.

In the Autumn Budget, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a further £354 million for UK life sciences manufacturing. This includes funding to increase the UK’s health emergency responsiveness and capability in vaccine production. Areas of focus will include mRNA capability following the success of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, and investments which will strengthen the resilience of the UK’s vaccine supply chains.

4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much has been spent to date on the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre at Harwell as of 4 January 2022, what estimate his Department has made of the total cost of establishing that Centre; and when he expects that Centre to open.

The Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) has been granted £206m of Government funding to date to support the delivery of the facility, including grants since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to increase vaccine manufacturing capacity. As a private company, questions regarding VMIC’s facility opening date should be directed towards VMIC.

2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, where the new orders for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be produced.

In line with existing MHRA approved production procedures, we expect these doses to come from various European countries.

20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the shortfall from energy companies in paying for the insulating homes programme as at 20 September 2021.

The Energy Company Obligation applies to energy suppliers with domestic customer accounts exceeding 150,000.

We expect the very large majority of the overall obligation to be met, with some suppliers potentially exceeding their targets by 31 March 2022.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the amount of money that is outstanding from energy companies for renewable obligation certificates as at 20 September 2021.

Ofgem, the administrators of the Renewables Obligation scheme, are monitoring the amount of money outstanding from electricity suppliers and are actively engaging with suppliers who are due to make payments.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps is he taking to encourage the purchase of fleets of e-vans from British manufacturers.

The Government has provided over £100m in funding through the Plug-in Van Grant (PIVG) since its launch in 2012, supporting the purchase of over 15,000 ultra-low emission vans and trucks, the majority of which are zero emission vehicles. Demand for zero emission vans rose substantially in 2020, with increased interest from commercial fleets, and we expect this trend to continue as more models are brought to market and supply increases.

More widely, the Government welcomes action to accelerate the development of British made electric vehicles and an announcement from the Electric Vehicle Fleet Accelerator Group, made up of seven major UK companies who have pledged to buy 70,000 British made electric vans by 2030. As part of the 10 Point Plan for a green industrial revolution, nearly £500 million of funding for the Automotive Transformation Fund will be made available in the next four years to invest in capital and R&D projects to build an internationally competitive electric vehicle supply chain. This funding is the first part of the up to £1 billion committed by the Government to ensure that the UK takes advantage of this once in a generation opportunity.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent progress his Department has made of the development of small modular nuclear reactors.

In the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced an up to £385 million Advanced Nuclear Fund to invest in the next generation of nuclear technologies. The Advanced Nuclear Fund includes up to £215 million to develop a domestic Small Modular Reactors (SMR) design and up to £170 million for an Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs) research and development programme, with an aim to build an AMR demonstrator by the early 2030s.

We are also committed to supporting the wider UK nuclear energy sector to help deliver advanced nuclear technologies to market.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the compatibility of existing smart meters with hydrogen gas supply.

The Government has published the first ever UK Hydrogen Strategy, alongside key policy detail to lay the foundations for a hydrogen economy. The Department is also working with industry to assess the feasibility, costs and benefits of using 100% hydrogen for heating, to enable strategic decisions in 2026 on the role of hydrogen in decarbonising heating.

In the meantime, the HyDeploy industry consortium, at the Government-funded Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND), is working to develop the safety case for blending of hydrogen and methane together in the gas network at hydrogen concentrations of up to 20%. Part of this activity includes working with smart meter manufacturers to develop and trial a software configuration to allow accurate metering of such blends without meter replacement.

Furthermore, the £25m Government-funded Hy4Heat programme is currently supporting the development of prototype commercial, industrial and domestic appliance models including smart hydrogen meters for 100% hydrogen.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the main supply chain constraints are on the expansion of covid-19 vaccine production in the UK.

The Government has been monitoring the requirements across the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain from supplier through to patient for some time. There are clear supply chain plans in place for both the supply and onward deployment of all vaccine candidates. This includes materials, manufacturing, transport, storage and distribution. The Vaccines Taskforce has conducted supply chain risk assessments and is working with the vaccine suppliers to understand the optimal logistics and timings.

We have successfully met our target of offering a first vaccine dose to every person within priority groups 1-9, three days before our 15 April target. Our target is to offer a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to all adults aged 18 and over by 19 July, two weeks earlier than planned.

27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to his Answer of 27 May 2021 to Question 3795 on Electric Vehicles: Vans, what steps his Department is taking to maximise the manufacture of electric vans in the UK.

The Government is continuing its longstanding programme of support to ensure that the UK automotive sector remains at the forefront of technological developments. The Government and Industry have jointly committed almost £1.5 billion through the Advanced Propulsion Centre and Faraday Battery Challenge to support the research, development, and manufacture of zero and low-emission technologies.

The Government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) offers a comprehensive package of support to enable the take up of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) including vans. This will see nearly £1.5bn of support invested over the period 2015-2021. Demand for ultra-low emission vans is increasing, with an increase of more than 70% in 2020 (5,863 new plug in van grant (PIVG) eligible vans registered), compared to 2019 (3,389).

In that time, ultra-low emission vans have risen from 1.0% to 2.1% of the new van market in the UK. Uptake has been boosted by 11 new models eligible for PIVG coming to market in 2020, including nine vans in the most popular large van segment.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with industry on ensuring maximum production of electric vans in the UK.

The Government regularly engages with manufacturers and manufacturing trade associations on opportunities to support the growth and competitiveness of manufacturing sectors in the UK.

The Government consulted last year on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans. We sought views on the phase out date, the definition of what should be phased out, barriers to achieving the proposals, the impact of the ambitions on different sectors of industry and society, and what measures were required by government and others to achieve the earlier phase out date.

As part of my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s ten point plan published in November 2020, we announced that we would phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. On 10 March, the Government published the full written outcome of the consultation including stakeholder views and the Government’s response. These ambitions will be supported by an accompanying package of £2.8 billion, with up to £1 billion to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains, £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure and £582 million for plug in vehicle grants.

Between 2030 and 2035, any new cars and vans sold that emit from the tailpipe must have significant zero emission capability. This will be defined through consultation in the coming months.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the fairness of the level of charges by insolvency firms on (a) business and (b) the public purse.

Insolvency legislation provides that the remuneration and expenses of insolvency officeholders are subject to the approval of creditors, and to the overall control of the court. Creditors have the power to challenge remuneration by application to court.

Statutory objectives introduced in 2015 require insolvency regulators to ensure that Insolvency Practitioners provide high quality services, at a cost to the recipient which is fair and reasonable. A response to the Government’s call for evidence on insolvency regulation, which sought views on the impact and effectiveness of the objectives, will be published later in the year.

13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many companies are registered in (a) Sandwell and (b) the West Midlands.

Please find below the number of companies and Limited Liability Partnerships for (a) Sandwell and (b) West Midlands as at Friday 14 May 2021:

Sandwell: 18,691 active companies registered;

West Midlands: 377,299 active companies registered.

13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, , pursuant to the Answer of 23 April 2021 to Question 180920 on Unite: Annual Reports, for what reason it was not feasible for the Certification Officer to publish the annual return for Unite from 18 December 2020 to early March 2021.

I refer the Rt. Hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 29th April 2021 to Question 187136.

13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the UK's CO2 emissions were in (a) in total and (b) per capita in (i) 1990 and (ii) 2019.

Over the last three decades, the UK has achieved record clean growth and has met its world-leading climate change commitments. The UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions were 809 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent (MtCO2e) in 1990 and decreased by 44% to 455Mt by 2019. Specifically for CO2, the figures were 608Mt in 1990 and 365Mt in 2019 – a 40% fall.

At the same time, the UK’s population grew by 16% between 1990 and 2019. This implies an approximate fall of over 50% in territorial greenhouse gas emissions per person, from 14.1tCO2e to 6.8tCO2e per person. Carbon dioxide emissions per capita fell from 10.6Mt per person to 5.5Mt.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the UK CO2 emissions were in (a) in total and (b) per capita in (i) 1990 and (ii) 2019.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Rt. Hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 23 April 2021 to Question 180920 on Unite: Annual Reports, for what reason it was not feasible for the Certification Officer to publish the annual return for Unite between 18 December 2020 and early March 2021.

It was not feasible for the Certification Officer to publish the annual return for Unite between 18 December 2020 and early March 2021 due to staff absence. Throughout this period, copies of the annual return were made available for public inspection on application to her office.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many companies are registered in (a) Sandwell and (b) the West Midlands.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Rt. Hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 10 March 2021, what reasons the Certification Officer has provided for the length of time taken between receiving the 2019 annual return for Unite on 18 December 2020 and publishing that return in March 2021.

The Certification Officer published the Unite annual return as soon as it was feasible to do so. There is no statutory requirement for the Certification Officer to publish annual returns within a particular period.

14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason did the Certification Office not publish page 36 of the Unite 2019 return regarding compensation for key management personnel as referenced in Note 4 on page 14 of the notes to the consolidated accounts.

Page 36 of the notes to the consolidated accounts for year ending 31 December 2019 was not provided to the Certification Officer by Unite. There is no statutory requirement for Unite to supply the Certification Officer with a complete set of notes to the consolidated accounts.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 4 March 2021 to Question 160530, on what date the 2019 return for Unite was received by the Certification Office.

The Certification Officer received the 2019 annual return for Unite on 18 December 2020. This annual return has now been published on GOV.UK by the Certification Officer.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to his Answer of 25 February 2020 to Question 156255 on Certification Officer, whether the Labour Market Director in his Department made an assessment of the effect of non-publication of the 2019 accounts of Unite the Union on the Certification Office website on compliance with section 32 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1992.

Section 32 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 places an obligation on trade unions to submit an annual return to the Certification Officer, and requires the Certification Officer to keep that annual return available for public inspection. Unite the Union have provided the Certification Officer with an annual return. This annual return will be published on the Certification Officer website in due course. A copy of that return is available to members of the public on application to the Certification Officer.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect on Asian wedding businesses of the limit on the number of guests permitted weddings until 21 June 2021.

BEIS officials and I meet regularly with the industry-led Weddings Taskforce established to represent all parts of the Weddings sector [in England], including Asian wedding businesses, to hear their feedback about the impact of the restrictions on them and the business support available. On 22 February, the Prime Minister published the Government’s ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’. The roadmap is a step-by-step plan to ease restrictions in England cautiously, starting with education. Across the four steps, the roadmap sets out the sequencing and indicative timing for easing restrictions, including those on the wedding sector.

Over the course of the pandemic the Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support to businesses, which we keep under regular review.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on the economy of limiting the number of guests at weddings until 21 June 2021.

BEIS officials and I meet regularly with the industry-led Weddings Taskforce established to represent all parts of the Weddings sector [in England], to understand the impact of the pandemic on jobs and businesses. On 22 February, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister published the Government’s ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’. The roadmap is a step-by-step plan to ease restrictions in England cautiously, starting with education. Across the four steps, the roadmap sets out the sequencing and indicative timing for easing restrictions, including those on the wedding sector.

Over the course of the pandemic the Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support to businesses, which we keep under regular review.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the efficiency and effectiveness of the Certification Office.

The Certification Officer is the independent statutory office holder responsible for regulating trade unions and employers’ associations.

The Certification Officer lays a report before Parliament annually. The most recent report was laid in July 2020. The Certification Officer also publishes an annual operational plan, the most recent of which was published in June 2020. These documents provide insight to the effectiveness of the operations of the Certification Officer. Furthermore, the Labour Market Director within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy reviews the Certification Officer’s performance annually.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of (a) the number of firms in the UK that produce heat pumps and (b) the output of those companies in number of units produced in 2019.

In December 2020, the Department published analysis of the heat pump manufacturing supply chain (available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/heat-pump-manufacturing-supply-chain-research-project). This research indicates that there are currently five companies manufacturing heat pumps in the UK. In 2019, these manufacturers produced over 10,000 heat pump units for the domestic market and there are a growing number of exports into Europe. The majority of these units are air source heat pumps, predominantly manufactured by Mitsubishi, and a smaller proportion are ground source heat pumps, predominantly manufactured by Kensa. The research also shows that there are significant opportunities for the UK supply chain to grow, as we increase deployment of heat pumps over the next decade.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the number of skilled heat pump installers in the UK.

Industry figures suggest that there are currently (February 2021) over 1,000 Microgeneration Certificate Scheme (MCS) registered companies that install air, water, or ground-source heat pumps in the UK. We expect this number to increase considerably over the forthcoming years in response to growing market demand.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many doses of covid-19 vaccine were produced for the UK on 13 January 2021.

Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic and vaccine supplies are part of our critical national infrastructure. Vaccines are a precious resource in very high demand across the world; therefore, for security reasons, it is not possible to provide detail about the size of our supplies and exact detail about future deliveries.

The Government has invested over £300 million in scaling up the UK’s manufacturing capabilities, which includes investments in Wockhardt where the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is filled and finished. We continue to plan to meet our target of vaccinating all four priority groups, as identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, by the middle of February.

14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the daily vaccine manufacturing capacity is in the UK.

Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic and vaccine supplies are part of our critical national infrastructure. Vaccines are a precious resource in very high demand across the world; therefore, for security reasons, it is not possible to provide detail about the size of our supplies and exact detail about future deliveries.

The Government has invested over £300 million in scaling up the UK’s manufacturing capabilities, which includes investments in Wockhardt where the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is filled and finished. We continue to plan to meet our target of vaccinating all four priority groups, as identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, by the middle of February.

14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what is the current daily vaccine vial filling capacity in the UK; and what was the output in the week beginning 11 January.

Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic and vaccine supplies are part of our critical national infrastructure. Vaccines are a precious resource in very high demand across the world; therefore, for security reasons, it is not possible to provide detail about the size of our supplies and exact detail about future deliveries.

The Government has invested over £300 million in scaling up the UK’s manufacturing capabilities, which includes investments in Wockhardt where the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is filled and finished. We continue to plan to meet our target of vaccinating all four priority groups, as identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, by the middle of February.

14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many vaccine vial filling plants are operating in the UK; and are the plants operating at (a) weekends and (b) on continuous shift patterns.

The Government has invested over £300 million in scaling up the UK’s manufacturing capabilities, which includes investments in Wockhardt where the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is filled and finished.

Questions regarding operational matters are for the companies themselves and we continue to plan to meet our target of vaccinating all four priority groups, as identified by the Joint Committee on Immunisation and Vaccination, by the middle of February.

14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many doses of covid vaccine are awaiting testing; and what is the current time taken between a batch of vaccine arriving at the testing facility and being forwarded to the vial filling plant.

Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic and vaccine supplies are part of our critical national infrastructure. Vaccines are a precious resource in very high demand across the world; therefore, for security reasons, it is not possible to provide detail about the size of our supplies and exact detail about future deliveries.

The Government has invested over £300 million in scaling up the UK’s manufacturing capabilities, which includes investments in Wockhardt where the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is filled and finished. We continue to plan to meet our target of vaccinating all four priority groups, as identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, by the middle of February.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the existing weekly capacity for vaccine production is in the UK.

The UK has a strong manufacturing basis in vaccines and life sciences, with a range of sites around the country.

Through the Vaccine Taskforce, the Government has entered commercial arrangements with a number of these sites to manufacture and fill-finish COVID-19 vaccines. The Government has also invested over £230 million in expanding the UK’s vaccine manufacturing base, through several investments, such as the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre and Cell and Gene Manufacturing and Innovation Centre.

14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress his Department is making with industry on developing the production of hydrogen by electrolysis.

My Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister’s recent Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution set out that the Government, working with industry, is aiming for 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity in the UK by 2030. In support of this we have also announced a £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund for capital co-investment in new low carbon hydrogen production, to bring forward a combination of CCUS-enabled ‘blue’ hydrogen and electrolytic ‘green’ hydrogen projects. Both production methods – and other innovative techniques – will be needed to deliver hydrogen demand expected by 2050. Further details on hydrogen business models and a revenue mechanism to stimulate private sector investment in both green and blue hydrogen will be brought forward in 2021.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the UK's role is in the production consortium on green hydrogen.

We welcome the formation of groups such as the UK Green Hydrogen Catapult, which sees a number of partners coming together to support development of green hydrogen.

In the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and subsequent Energy White Paper, we have set out an ambitious package to grow the UK hydrogen economy. This includes £240m out to 2025 for capital co-investment in new low carbon hydrogen production, intended to support a combination of commercial-scale CCUS-enabled ‘blue’ hydrogen and smaller scale electrolytic ‘green’ hydrogen projects. Both these production methods – and other innovative techniques – will be needed to deliver UK hydrogen demand expected by 2050. Working with industry, we are aiming for 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030.

We are already supporting a range of innovative hydrogen projects across the value chain, including the ITM Power Gigafactory being built in Sheffield. When complete this will be the largest electrolyser manufacturing facility in the world and would be able to support the scaling up of electrolytic ‘green’ hydrogen.

9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for security and stability of the National Grid of the need to issue System Warnings on 4 and 5 November 2020.

National Grid Electricity System Operator (NGESO) is responsible for ensuring security of supply on a day-to-day basis and possesses a range of tools to keep the system in balance. As a result of tight margins on the electricity system - driven by weather conditions, availability of generators and demand levels - NGESO issued Electricity Margin Notices (EMNs) on 3 and 4 November 2020 to ask for more generation to be brought onto the system to provide a larger cushion of surplus capacity. EMNs are part of NGESO’s standard procedure for balancing supply and demand, and both notices were cancelled after sufficient generation became available. The system worked as designed.

The forecast electricity margin for this winter is healthy, at 4.8GW or 8.3% additional generation. We remain confident that NGESO is well-equipped to ensure electricity security in a wide range of circumstances this winter, all of which meet the Government’s Reliability Standard.

In future we expect GB’s energy mix to continue to diversify, including greater levels of offshore wind, storage, Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) and nuclear, as well as more interconnection to Europe and wider access to the electricity market. NGESO has plans in place to transform the operation of the electricity system so that it is ready for zero-carbon operation in 2025.

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that remote digital workers are being paid the National Minimum Wage.

Anyone who is deemed to be a “worker” is entitled to be paid at least the relevant National Minimum or Living Wage rate. This applies to all workers, including remote digital workers, who work, or ordinarily work, in the UK.

We are clear that everyone who is entitled to the National Minimum or Living Wage should receive it and we will take action where employers have been found to be in breach of the law.

This Government continues to invest heavily in minimum wage compliance and enforcement, more than doubling the budget to £27.5 million for 2020/21, up from £13.2 million in 2015/16.

Any worker who feels that they have been underpaid can contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) helpline for confidential, impartial and free advice on 0300 123 1100 or at www.acas.org.uk. HM Revenue and Customs, which is responsible for enforcing minimum wage legislation, will consider every complaint it receives.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to ensure that UK steel is at the heart of the Government’s post-covid-19 outbreak rebuild and recovery strategy.

In his speech of 30 June, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister made clear that as we recover from COVID-19, we must build back better, greener, and faster, ensuring that our economy is cleaner, more sustainable, and more resilient. This applies to all sectors of the economy, including those which are currently seen as difficult to decarbonise, such as steel.

The Government is supporting the steel sector throughout this difficult period, as well as providing the £250 million Clean Steel Fund, which will help UK steel producers to reduce emissions in line with our target to reach net zero emissions by 2050. This is complemented by the £315 million Industrial Energy Transformation fund to help energy intensive industries, such as steel, transition away from carbon-intensive energy sources.

The Department publishes a pipeline, identifying future steel requirements for all public infrastructure and construction projects annually. An update of this pipeline will be published shortly. We have also introduced steel-specific procurement guidance that requires Government Departments and public bodies to consider social and environmental factors when procuring steel.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what discussions the Government has had with representatives of the meat industry on safety in that sector; for what reasons there is a heightened risk to workers in the meat industry of covid-19; and what steps the Government is taking to protect workers in that sector.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has convened a cross-Government taskforce, and all partners are working collaboratively in that group.

The Health and Safety Executive, who are also a member of the Taskforce, are responsible for the health and safety of workers.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to her Answer of 9 June 2020 to Question 57083, if he will place in the Library the selection criteria for the decision on where to locate the vaccines manufacture and Innovation centre.

As per the Hon. Member’s request, I will be placing a copy of the document on the selection criteria for the Vaccines Manufacture and Innovation Centre (VMIC) in the Libraries of the House.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 23 June 2020 to Question 59368, how much has been spent on funding the purchase of British made (a) electric bicycles and (b) scooters.

We do not hold records of how much has been spent on funding the purchase of British made electric bicycles and scooters.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support the production of (a) electric bicycles and (b) scooters.

Through Made Smarter, the UK’s national industrial digitalisation programme, the Government is investing up to £167 million to help manufacturers to adopt and innovate in industrial digital technologies that will increase productivity and competitiveness across the sector. We have also invested £350 million in seven High Value Manufacturing Catapult centres across the UK, which are supporting manufacturers to bring new technologies to market, and we will be investing an additional £600 million by the end of 2023.

As part of the Future of Transport Grand Challenge we are working with the Department for Transport to help ensure firms, like e-bike and scooter manufacturers, have access to the right supply of talented labour and the right business support, including access to finance.

The Department for Transport is also working to create a flexible regulatory framework for micro mobility vehicles. Through funding to support the uptake of e-bikes and e-cargo bikes, we are helping to create domestic demand, which is essential to growing the UK’s e-bike manufacturing base.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 9 June to Question 53292 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, what weight was given to consideration of the potential effect on the (a) prosperity agenda and (b) regional balance in the selection criteria for the decision on where to locate the Vaccines Manufacture and Innovation Centre.

The selection criteria for the location of the Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre is listed on the competition brief and the selection was made on that basis. This includes the ability to work with centres of excellence across the country and to help deliver on the goals of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department's Business Recovery Roundtables will include trades union representation.

Starting the week commencing 8th June, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will chair the first meetings of new business-led ‘recovery roundtables’.

The Department is engaging with a diversity of stakeholders to ensure we elicit the broadest possible range of views on the UK’s economic recovery and continues to engage extensively with Trade unions on its response to Covid-19. I continue to hold weekly meetings with the Trade Unions where they are able to feed into the recovery roundtable process and a dedicated meeting to discuss economic recovery is being organised. Stakeholders can also send written contributions by 17th of June, a process which is open to everyone including the Trade Unions.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to encourage the manufacture of e-bikes in the UK.

We want the UK to be the best place to start and grow a business and to be a world leader in the way people, goods, and services move. As part of our planning for the future UK economy, we will be policies that will move us towards a stronger, fairer, greener economy that builds on UK strengths, such as science and entrepreneurship.

We have invested £350 million in the seven High Value Manufacturing Catapult centres across the UK, which are supporting manufacturers to bring new technologies to market, and we will be investing an additional £600 million by the end of 2023.

As part of the Future of Transport Grand Challenge, we are working with the Department for Transport to ensure firms, including e-bike manufacturers, have access to the right supply of talented labour and the right business support, including access to finance. The Department for Transport is also working to create a flexible regulatory framework for micromobility vehicles and, through funding to support the uptake of e-bikes and e-cargo bikes, is helping us to create domestic demand, which is essential to growing the UK e-bike manufacturing base.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons Oxford is the location for the new vaccine production facility; and whether other areas of the country were considered for the location of that facility.

The competition for the Vaccines Manufacture and Innovation Centre (VMIC) took place in 2018 as part of Wave 1 of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Medicines Manufacturing portfolio. This was an open competition call, with no limit on the number of bids. The selection criteria were defined in the competition brief and the selection was made on that basis. Two sites were shortlisted, the site in Oxfordshire and a site in the North East of England.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the level of electricity exported from renewable sources in the UK to Europe via the interconnector.

We do not hold that information as it is not possible to identify the original generation source for electricity exported via interconnectors connecting to other European countries. However, in terms of electricity generated in the UK in 2019, 37.4 per cent came from renewable sources, which was the highest level achieved to date. Total electricity exports from the UK in 2019 were 3.4 TWh.

Source: Section 5 – UK electricity generation, trade and consumption, October to December 2019

5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions the Government has had with Rolls Royce on (a) worker safety, (b) job protections, (c) financial assistance from the Government and (d) manufacturing of personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government regularly speaks with Rolls-Royce and has worked closely with the company in response to COVID-19. The company has set out the steps it has taken, consistent with the Government’s guidance, on worker safety; job protections utilising the Job Retention Scheme; developing and donating Personal Protective Equipment; and manufacturing ventilators.

We have discussed with Rolls-Royce the various Government business support schemes available to the company and its suppliers. Rolls-Royce has also been part of the Department’s regular engagements with the wider aerospace sector about business support during the COVID-19 outbreak.

5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to support the manufacturing sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

Manufacturing is a critical part of our economy and the Government is engaging with industry to ensure that we can support our manufacturing sectors during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many businesses across the aerospace, chemical, automotive, steel, aluminium, pharmaceutical, packaging, and other sectors are playing a direct role in combatting COVID-19. These businesses are producing the materials and equipment necessary, as well as enabling the services that we need to fight the spread of the virus and keep the country running.

We have put in place an unprecedented package of Government support to help with business continuity and to give manufacturers and their suppliers the support they. These measures include:

  • £330 billion worth of Government-backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses across the UK.
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to help small and medium-sized businesses to access vital financial support.
  • Our new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) to allow more firms to benefit from Government-backed support.
  • The Bounce Back Loans scheme for small businesses, which complements the CBILS and CLBILS schemes.
  • Deferring VAT payments for firms to the next quarter, until the end of June, which represents a £30 billion injection into the economy.
  • Our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, where small and large employers will be eligible to apply for a Government grant of 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month. This is backdated to 1 March 2020 and available for at least three months.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department was consulted by Royal Mail prior to its suspension of letter deliveries on Saturdays during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Universal Service Obligation is set out in the Postal Services Act 2011. Ministers have no role in temporary changes to the service level.

Under section 33 of the Postal Services Act 2011, it is for Royal Mail and Ofcom to manage temporary changes to the service level, such as in an emergency.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of the paper industry on increasing the use of UK-sourced recycled paper.

The Department regularly meets with representatives of the UK paper industry to discuss issues such as the volume of UK-sourced recycled paper being exported overseas. In 2018, packaging and other recovered papers amounted to nearly 8 million tonnes, of which over 3 million tonnes was consumed by UK mills and nearly 5 million tonnes of material exported for use in other countries.[1]

Our primary aim is to process more waste domestically, including recycled paper. In the Resources and Waste Strategy for England, we committed to exploring options to ensure fair competition for all reprocessors, which will help stimulate private investment in the UK’s reprocessing and recycling infrastructure.

[1] As highlighted by the Confederation of Paper Industries’ report on the economic value of the UK paper-based industries.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the oral contribution of the former Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of 11 June 2019, Official Report, column 523, when the Faraday Battery Challenge plans to report on battery degradation.

The Government’s £274 million Faraday Battery Challenge aims to extend battery pack life to be equivalent to the life of a car by 2035. Industry and academic partners are working on research and development projects to explore factors affecting degradation; they regularly publish scientific papers on their findings.

An £11 million “Extending Battery Life” project, funded by the Faraday Institution, has published more than 15 scientific papers on understanding battery degradation mechanisms and is moving into solving them. Their Multi-Scale Modelling project is also looking at battery degradation and modelling tools to improve battery design. In addition to these large projects, two of the three Faraday industry sprints also relate to battery degradation and will deliver within 6 to 14 months.

26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government plans to review support for the creative industries in the context of the proposed text and data mining copyright exception for artificial intelligence.

The Government has heard a range of reactions to the text and data mining (TDM) proposal, including concerns raised by rights holders. The Minister for Intellectual Property welcomed the additional evidence and the Government has now launched a period of stakeholder engagement on implementation options, taking into account the evidence received.

We are confident that together we can design a balanced approach which supports the Government’s ambitions on AI innovation without critically undermining value for rights holders. In parallel, we are also working with industry to develop the Creative Industries Sector Vision to set out our ambitions for the sector. We will publish this in the coming months.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with phone companies on increasing cooperation between (a) phone companies and (b) public authorities to counter mobile phone fraud.

Law enforcement partners have stepped up their efforts to tackle this type of crime, arresting over a hundred criminals involved in some of the most despicable types of fraud and taking down thousands of phone numbers as well as fake websites and email addresses.

The DCMS and Home Office are working closely with telecommunications providers, regulators and consumer groups to protect the public from crimes such as mobile phone fraud. As part of this work, we are developing a voluntary charter of the actions telecoms companies will take to prevent fraud.

The Government is also exploring a range of measures aimed at tackling the criminal abuse of mobile telecommunications across a range of different crime types including fraud.

  • We are encouraging the public to forward suspicious text messages to 7726 (which is free of charge) and continue to encourage anyone who has been targeted by a scam to report it to Action Fraud.

  • We have supported the National Trading Standards Scams Team to roll out call blocking devices to vulnerable people, to protect some of the most vulnerable in society from nuisance calls and scams.

  • The Government has banned cold calls from personal injury firms and pensions providers unless the consumer has explicitly agreed to be contacted. It has introduced director liability for nuisance calls.

  • The Government will take further action through our Fraud Action Plan, an ambitious approach grounded in prevention, education, effective enforcement and regulatory reforms.

  • The Government has launched a dedicated web page on protecting individuals and businesses from COVID-19 related fraud, with easy-to-follow tips and a list of places you can get help and advice if you think you are being scammed.

18th Mar 2021
What steps he is taking to support the reopening of sport, hospitality and leisure venues during the covid-19 outbreak.

In the last twelve months, billions in funding has been provided to support the hospitality and arts, entertainment and recreation sectors through a combination of grants, loans, and business rate relief. The Culture Recovery Fund and Sports Recovery packages have provided close to £2.5 billion in sector specific support.

The Events Research programme, starting in April, comprises a series of scientific pilots conducted across a range of settings to explore how reopening can be facilitated safely.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to include financial promotions in the Online Safety Bill.

The new online safety legislation will focus on ensuring that people are protected from harmful content and behaviour online, with a particular emphasis on protecting children.

The legislation will not focus on harmful financial promotions, as this issue will be most effectively tackled by other mechanisms.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to reply to the letter of 5 October 2020 from the hon. Member for Warley, co-signed with Lord Mann, on behalf of the all-party Parliamentary jazz appreciation group.

A response was sent out on 14 December.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to negotiate a reciprocal arrangement with the EU that allows musicians from the UK to work in the EU.

The Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians and other creative professionals. We acknowledge that there will be some additional processes for those in creative industries working across the EU now that the transition period has come to an end. However, our agreement with the EU contains Transparency and Procedural Facilitation measures that will help ensure visa processes are as prompt and smooth as possible.

During our negotiations with the EU, the UK proposed measures, reflecting the views of the music industry itself, that would have allowed musicians to travel and perform in the UK and the EU more easily, without needing work-permits. Specifically, we proposed to capture the work done by musicians, artists and entertainers, and their accompanying staff through the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors.

In practice this would have delivered an outcome that is closer to the UK’s approach to incoming musicians, artists and entertainers from non-visa national countries, such as EU Member States and the US, who can come to perform in the UK without requiring a visa. Unfortunately, these proposals were repeatedly rejected by the EU.

The EU did not propose and wouldn’t accept a tailored deal for musicians, artists and their support staff to tour across the EU and UK.

Going forward, we will continue our close dialogue with the creative and cultural sectors to ensure that they have the support they need to thrive.The Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians and other creative professionals, and has engaged extensively with the creative industries and arts sector since the announcement of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement to ensure they are aware of the new requirements.

Oliver Dowden
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with Nokia on production capacity in the UK for the roll-out of 5G.

DCMS, as the lead department for digital infrastructure, has regular discussions with Ericsson about many aspects of 5G roll out.

14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with Ericsson on production capacity in the UK for the roll-out of 5G.

DCMS, as the lead department for digital infrastructure, has regular discussions with Ericsson about many aspects of 5G roll out.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the casino industry on its proposal to withdraw the sale of alcohol from casino venues to avoid the closure of those venues under the tier system of covid-19 restrictions.

Officials from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are in regular contact with the Betting and Gaming Council and individual casino operators to discuss the impact of coronavirus restrictions on their businesses. Discussions are ongoing and have included consideration of potential measures to reduce risk, such as the withdrawal of alcohol sales, that may help local leaders and government in their assessment of venues that can safely remain open.

The Chancellor announced on 9 October that the government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) would be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions. Under the scheme, the Government will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries. Grants under the Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme, also increased to up to £3,000 per month for businesses required to close in local lockdowns.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the financial effect of the tier system of covid-19 restrictions on the horse racing industry.

Horse Racing behind closed doors continues to operate throughout the UK in line with government guidance and British Horseracing Authority (BHA) protocols.

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has indicated that 1,565 Licensed Betting Offices (LBOs) are closed as part of the Tier 3 restrictions affecting the Liverpool City Region, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire and Warrington. The BGC have estimated a loss of nearly £2.7million per month to the horse racing industry in media rights (payable to broadcast races) and levy income, based on the current amounts generated in levy and media payments.

The government will continue to work with the sector to understand the issues faced by organisations facing the most challenging circumstances

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the collection of data on UK individuals and others by Chinese firm Zhenhua Data.

The Information Commissioner's Office is aware of the reports regarding Zhenhua Data Technology and is making enquiries with the company. Organisations must comply with our legal system and regulatory frameworks. The GDPR and UK’s Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA18) impose strict obligations on organisations to ensure that UK citizens’ data is processed safely and securely. Organisations which fail to comply may be investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office and where appropriate subject to enforcement action, including fines. If relevant the ICO may contact international partners through their cooperation mechanism.

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals and advice on the conduct of parades and services on Remembrance Sunday.

DCMS is only responsible for organising and delivering the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph on Whitehall on 8 November.

We have taken advice from Public Health England on the appropriate controls and mitigations to ensure safe social distancing and we will continually review the situation seeking advice from health experts and making necessary changes where and when required.


Those organising local Remembrance Sunday events across the UK should follow the guidance on outdoor events prepared and issued by the Events Industry Forum, with input from DCMS and in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive. This guidance can be found here. The Local Government Association has also issued guidance for local authorities about outdoor events here.

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the progress of the roll-out of full fibre digital infrastructure in Warley constituency in the last 12 months.

Good progress has been made in the Warley constituency over the past 12 months; as of September 2020, full fibre coverage stands at 31%, which is up from 0.5% in September 2019. This is above the UK figure of 16%.

Additionally, as of September 2020 86% of premises in Warley have access to gigabit-capable connectivity. In the same month last year, that figure stood at just 0.5%. UK gigabit-capable coverage stands at 26%.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 lockdown on sales of National Lottery tickets.

Camelot releases sales information under a timetable and format agreed with its regulator, the Gambling Commission. Data on sales is published on the Camelot website three months in arrears. This can be found at: http://www.camelotgroup.co.uk/about-us/reporting

The March 2020 sales data was published alongside Camelot's 2019/20 year-end sales announcement on 2nd June, in which they announced record yearly sales for the National Lottery.

National Lottery ticket sales during March totalled £687.1 million. Sales were down £36.4 million versus the equivalent period last year. Retail sales in particular were impacted towards the end of March and into April as a result of the lockdown measures. However, after a sharp initial fall in sales in the early stages of the lockdown they are now recovering to close to normal levels.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to his oral Answer of 4 June 2020, Official Report, column 992 on Covid-19: Sporting Sector, what the timetable is for the re-opening of the betting and gaming industry as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

This week the Prime Minister will outline next steps for a number of sectors, which are expected to take effect from 15 June, subject to the latest scientific and medical advice. Further announcements about remaining sectors of the economy will follow in due course.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 15 January 2024 to Question 7744 on Engineering and Nuclear Physics: Higher Education, what estimate she has made of the number and proportion of the (a) undergraduate and (b) postgraduate students who were enrolled in Nuclear and Particle Physics in the 2021-22 academic year that were international students.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), now part of JISC, collects and publishes data on student enrolments across all UK higher education providers. This includes data on full person equivalents (FPE) enrolled in different subject areas, categorised using the higher education coding of subjects (HECoS) system. Counts of enrolments in each HECoS group are published in Table 52 of HESA’s Student Data, available at: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/table-52.

Enrolments in ‘Nuclear and Particle Physics’ are recorded under HECoS code 101077, and can be filtered to give counts by level of study and domicile.

For more information on HECoS see: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/support/documentation/hecos.


Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information her Department holds on (a) which universities offer courses in nuclear (i) physics and (ii) engineering and (b) how many (A) undergraduate and (B) graduate students are on such courses.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), now part of Jisc, collects and publishes data on student enrolments and qualifications obtained at UK higher education providers. This includes data on full person equivalents (FPE) enrolled in different subject areas, categorised using the Higher Education Coding of Subjects (HECoS) system. Further information on the HECoS system is available at: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/support/documentation/hecos.

This data has been used to approximate which providers offered courses including elements of the HECoS subjects ‘Nuclear Engineering’ (HECoS code 100172) and ‘Nuclear and Particle Physics’ (HECoS code 101077) in the 2021/22 academic year, and how many FPEs were enrolled in each of these subjects. This information has been provided as an attachment.

For an up-to-date view of available undergraduate courses, including nuclear studies, please visit: https://discoveruni.gov.uk/.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many vets graduated in the 2019-20 academic year; and how many veterinary students commenced courses in the 2020-21 academic year.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects and publishes data on students enrolled in higher education (HE) in the UK. Latest statistics refer to the 2019/20 academic year.

Data on students obtaining qualifications at UK HE providers are available by subject of study and level of qualification obtained in the 2019/20 academic year in Table 50 of HESA’s ‘Higher Education Student Data’ pages, available here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/table-50.

In the 2019/20 academic year, there were 2,290 full-person-equivalent[1] undergraduate and postgraduate qualifiers in veterinary sciences at UK HE providers.

Data covering students entering courses in the 2020/21 academic year will be published by HESA in January 2022. The latest available statistics on students entering courses by subject studied can be found in Table 52: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/table-52.

In the 2019/20 academic year, there were 2,990 full-person-equivalent1 undergraduate and postgraduate entrants to veterinary sciences at UK HE providers.

[1] Counts are on the basis of full-person-equivalents. Where a student is studying more than one subject, they are apportioned between the subjects that make up their course. Refers to “05 Veterinary sciences” under the Common Aggregation Hierarchy of subjects: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/support/documentation/hecos/cah-about.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Warley dated 17 November regarding Mr Asghar.

I can confirm that a response has been sent to the letter dated 17 November 2020, from the right hon. Member for Warley.

15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to the correspondence of 16 June 2020 from the hon. Member for Warley on his constituent Angela Turner.

I can confirm that a response has been sent to the letter dated 16 June, from the right hon. Member for Warley.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to introduce flexibility in the use of Apprenticeship Levy funds to help mitigate the effects of the covid-19 outbreak on current and potential construction apprentices.

The apprenticeship levy is an important part of our apprenticeship reforms, supporting employers of all sizes to make a long-term, sustainable investment in training. We recognise that employers at the moment face increased challenges with hiring new apprentices so we have announced a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. Details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-treasury. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year.

In light of the challenges presented by COVID-19, we have introduced a range of flexibilities so that apprentices and employers can continue with their apprenticeships. These include encouraging remote learning, as well as allowing furloughed apprentices to continue their apprenticeships and undertake end point assessments.

Employers are at the heart of our reforms to apprenticeships, designing high-quality standards that deliver the skills that they need, and allowing them to spend the levy on the apprenticeships training that matters for them. Employers in the construction sector have developed 86 standards which are approved for delivery. These include Groundworker at level 2 and Building Services Design Technician at level 3. A further 12 are in development.

We are working with the construction sector to encourage the take up of apprenticeships to ensure businesses can restart and recover as quickly as possible.

We remain committed to looking at how to improve the working of the apprenticeship levy, to support large and small employers in meeting the long-term skills needs of the economy.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure Apprenticeship Levy funds can be used to support (a) current and (b) future construction apprentices after the covid-19 outbreak.

Apprenticeships will be key to our recovery, especially for young people. We are looking at ensuring that we support employers, especially small businesses, to take on new apprentices this year and will provide further details in due course. The apprenticeship levy is an important part of our apprenticeship reforms, supporting employers of all sizes to make a long-term, sustainable investment in training. We will ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year.

We recognise that employers, at the moment, face increased challenges with hiring new apprentices and so we will introduce a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. Details can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-treasury.

We are developing a campaign plan to underpin our work on supporting the recovery and getting redundant apprentices back to work. As part of this campaign we will be working with all the largest construction businesses to ensure they can restart and recover as quickly as possible. This will include encouraging the sector to take on redundant apprentices from other employers both inside and outside of construction.

In light of the challenges presented by COVID-19, we have extended the transition of non-levy paying employers onto the apprenticeship service from 1 November 2020 to 1 April 2021. Under the new system, smaller employers will have more control over the funding they use to create new apprenticeship opportunities and can reserve funds before choosing the provider that best meets their needs. Levy-paying employers can transfer up to 25% of the annual value of funds in their apprenticeship service accounts to other employers. Employers can continue to recruit and train apprentices. They already have 24 months in which to spend their funds before these expire.

We want apprentices and employers to continue with their apprenticeships and have introduced a range of flexibilities to make this easier, while maintaining the quality of apprenticeships. Flexibilities include encouraging remote delivery of training and allowing changes to end point assessment, as well as introducing additional flexibility to allow furloughed apprentices to continue their apprenticeships and undertake end point assessments.

Employers are developing new apprenticeships standards, allowing them to spend the levy on the apprenticeships training that matters for them. There are now 86 construction standards that have been designed by employers across a range of levels to meet employer demand to date and a further 12 construction standards that are currently in development.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase the number of apprentice places in the construction industry.

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and in supporting employers in all sectors, to access the skilled workforce that they need to recover and grow, following COVID-19 outbreak. We will ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year and will provide further details in due course.

The construction industry will be key in supporting the country’s economic recovery and the Prime Minister recently announced a £5 billion Capital Investment Plan to accelerate infrastructure projects. We are working with the sector to encourage take up of new apprentices and continue to work with employers including Persimmons Homes and Balfour Beatty through our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network to promote best practice in recruiting and supporting apprentices from diverse backgrounds and under-represented groups including Black Asian Minority Ethnic and women.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure greater diversity and improve gender and BAME equality amongst construction apprentices.

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and in supporting employers in all sectors, to access the skilled workforce that they need to recover and grow, following COVID-19 outbreak. We will ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year and will provide further details in due course.

The construction industry will be key in supporting the country’s economic recovery and the Prime Minister recently announced a £5 billion Capital Investment Plan to accelerate infrastructure projects. We are working with the sector to encourage take up of new apprentices and continue to work with employers including Persimmons Homes and Balfour Beatty through our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network to promote best practice in recruiting and supporting apprentices from diverse backgrounds and under-represented groups including Black Asian Minority Ethnic and women.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to reply to the letter of 1 May 2020 from the right hon. Member for Warley on funding to apprenticeship training providers.

I can confirm that the letter, dated 1 May 2020, from the right hon. Member for Warley has been responded to. A response was sent via email to the right hon. Member on 23 June 2020.

24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent progress the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing Action Alliance has made; and what representations the UK has made at the Alliance since the Our Ocean conference in Panama in March 2023.

The UK Government is a founder member of the IUU Action Alliance, and as its current chair and secretariat the UK works closely with its partners globally to ensure the Alliance’s long-term success. The Alliance now contains 11 members with 9 supporters, with an ambitious work programme agreed by its members.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many (a) documentary checks on, (b) physical checks on, (c) foreign supplier verification checks on and (d) rejections of consignments imported with a catch certificate validated by China were undertaken under the Sea Fishing (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing) Order 2009 in 2023.

This information is not held centrally by the Government.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help protect stocks of sand eels in English North Sea waters.

Defra is presently preparing its response to the public consultation on the future management of sandeels in English waters of the North Sea. I am grateful to everyone who responded. A summary of responses is here: Summary of responses - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). I will announce my decision shortly.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she is taking steps through the World Trade Organisation to help restrict the size of the Chinese distant water fleet and its impact on fish stocks.

WTO Members reached a landmark agreement at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference to prohibit the most harmful fisheries subsidies contributing to Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported fishing, the fishing of overfished stocks, and fishing on the high seas. Members also committed to continue negotiations on prohibiting subsidies contributing to overfishing and overcapacity. The agreement will help improve the health of global fish stocks and the sustainable blue economy. This is also the first WTO agreement specifically addressing environmental sustainability, hopefully setting a precedent for future agreements of this kind. All members, including China, are now in the process of ratifying the agreement.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of consolidation in the veterinary sector on veterinary costs for pet owners.

Defra considers the establishing and an agreement of fees to be a private agreement between the vet and the client. If unsatisfied the client can take their custom elsewhere; thus setting the market in which the veterinary business has to compete. The Competition and Markets Authority is the UK's principal competition authority, responsible among other things for enforcing the law against anti-competitive practices, and investigating mergers that could reduce competition.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help remove obstacles to the growth of the edible insect industry in the UK.

The Government recognises the role the alternative protein sector could have in contributing to UK growth. As stated in the Government's Food Strategy, through funding we will support progress on a wide range of issues, including alternative proteins. We will also work with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to develop dedicated guidance materials for approval of new alternative protein products while reviewing our novel food regulations. This will ensure they are transparent for innovators and investors, whilst maintaining world-leading consumer safety standards.

In addition, the FSA is aiming to introduce a legislative fix this year to permit edible insect sellers to continue to sell several species while they submit applications for authorisation under the novel food regulations. Novel foods normally require pre-market authorisation but the FSA plans to fix transitional arrangements from the EU retained law to allow necessary time to demonstrate the safety of these products. There are very few restrictions required on the use of insects as feed.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his Department's policy is on cloud seeding to encourage rainfall during drought conditions.

Cloud seeding is not appropriate for managing droughts in England due to the weather patterns we receive. This makes it difficult to predict where the resulting rain will fall. There is a risk that the rain falls not in this country and could cause issues for neighbouring countries where rain is not needed. Cloud seeding is used in other countries around the world, but they generally have larger land masses and more stable weather patterns. There are also concerns relating to pollution that could be caused from the compounds used to create 'seed particles', depending on the nature of the particle used and the volume required to form an effective amount of rainfall.

20th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the sustainability of plankton levels in the North Atlantic.

As a contracting party to OSPAR, the regional seas convention covering the North-East Atlantic, the UK contributes to the assessment of plankton in the North-East Atlantic. Although the sustainability of plankton has not been specifically addressed by research at the North Atlantic scale, abundance and diversity of plankton in the North Atlantic is. These assessments indicate that there is variability in the plankton community, which is in accordance with the published scientific literature on plankton dynamics.

19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of market speculation on grain prices.

Increases in international food commodity prices have been driven by a range of factors, including rising energy prices, increased demand, and trade disruption. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has impacted the ability of Ukraine to produce and export key agricultural commodities. This suggests that the main driver of the observed price changes is due to Ukraine’s inability to export. Previous assessments by Government economists have suggested there are good reasons to be sceptical that speculation in futures markets has been a significant cause of food price spikes. The department continues to monitor market developments closely alongside international partners like the Agricultural Market Information System.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of market speculation on food prices.

Increases in international food commodity prices have been driven by a range of factors, including rising energy prices, increased demand, and trade disruption. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has impacted the ability of Ukraine to produce and export key agricultural commodities. This suggests that the main driver of the observed price changes is due to Ukraine’s inability to export. Previous assessments by Government economists have suggested there are good reasons to be sceptical that speculation in futures markets has been a significant cause of food price spikes. The department continues to monitor market developments closely alongside international partners like the Agricultural Market Information System.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his department has made of the potential merits of a revival of the whale population on (a) the international marine environment and (b) carbon capture.

The UK Government plays a leading role championing the conservation and welfare of all cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) both in the UK and internationally. We fully recognise the importance of whale populations to the marine ecosystem, and the vital role they play to sequester carbon.

We play an active role in the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and are Vice Chair of the IWC’s Conservation Committee. The Conservation Committee considers a wide range of cetacean conservation issues, which includes increasing our understanding of their important role in ecosystem functioning and climate change.

Research into the carbon capture potential from whales is ongoing within the scientific community and we anticipate some of this research to be reported on at the IWC’s Scientific Committee meeting in May this year. Defra officials and UK scientists will attend this meeting which will help improve our understanding of the importance of cetaceans in carbon sequestration.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support his Department is providing to countries affected by illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The UK is committed to tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing globally. IUU fishing continues to be one of the most serious threats to ocean ecosystems, sustainable fisheries and the exploitation of protected and vulnerable marine species.

The UK has launched a £500 million Blue Planet Fund that will support developing countries to protect the marine environment and reduce poverty. The Fund is managed by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Financed from the UK Official Development Assistance Budget, the Fund will help eligible countries reduce poverty, protect and sustainably manage their marine resources and address human-generated threats across four key themes: sustainable seafood, biodiversity, climate change, and marine pollution. Tackling IUU fishing has been identified as one of the priority outcomes of the Blue Planet Fund.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 5 March 2021 to Question 157953, how many people were (a) charged with and (b) convicted of puppy smuggling last year.

Defra does not hold data on the number of individuals charged with and convicted of puppy smuggling related offences. Local authorities are the enforcement and prosecution body for puppy smuggling related offences. In 2020, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) was notified of two prosecutions by local authorities under the following legislation: The Welfare of Animals (Transport)(England) Order 2006, The Animal Health Act 1981, The Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and Other Mammals) Order 1974 and The Trade in Animals and Related Products Regulations 2011. However, local authorities are not required to notify Defra or APHA of prosecutions related to puppy smuggling and so this figure may not represent the total number of cases. We suspect the low number of prosecutions reported for 2020 was a result of courts being closed and cases delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will introduce measures to restrict the age at which puppies can be imported to at least 14 weeks.

Defra takes the issue of puppy smuggling and other illegal importations of pets seriously. It is an abhorrent trade which causes suffering to these animals and puts the health of pets and people in the UK at risk.

As per our pet travel and commercial importation requirements, the minimum age a cat, dog or ferret can be vaccinated against rabies is 12 weeks old, followed by a 21 day wait when travelling from an EU Member State or another 'listed' third country. This means that the minimum age a cat, dog or ferret can enter GB from an EU Member State or another listed third country is 15 weeks old.

At present, there has been no substantive change to the pet travel requirements for pets entering Great Britain (GB) from the EU.

Now the Transition Period has ended, we have the opportunity to manage our own pet travel and commercial importation rules. We are actively listening to the concerns of stakeholders and the Government is considering options to strengthen our efforts to tackle puppy smuggling. These options will take into consideration the results from our latest disease risk assessments for GB and recommendations of stakeholders such as the British Veterinary Association and Dogs Trust, and recent parliamentary work from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his Department's policy is on gene editing.

Defra’s view is that gene-edited organisms should not be regulated as genetically modified organisms if the end product could have been produced naturally, or by traditional breeding methods. Such gene-edited organisms would not contain DNA from other species. Defra is currently consulting on a proposal to amend the definition of a genetically modified organism as it applies in England.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what diplomatic steps his Department is taking (a) separately and (b) with countries in the Asia-Pacific region to help maintain fish stocks in that region.

The UK is taking action on a number of international fisheries issues alongside our international counterparts including from the Asia-Pacific region. These include, but are not limited to, playing a leading role in the global fight to prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, and engaging proactively in the work of Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, to which many Asia-Pacific countries are also party, to ensure more sustainable management of high seas fisheries and maintain stocks in those waters. We are also participating actively in UN fora such as the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Committee on Fisheries, and advocating for the elimination of incentives and harmful subsidies for fisheries that are detrimental to the conservation of marine biodiversity in the ongoing negotiations at the World Trade Organization, and in the context of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the welfare standards for the production of chicken in (a) Poland, (b) the Netherlands and (c) the UK.

As members of the European Union, Poland and the Netherlands will need to comply with the European regulations concerning animal welfare standards, including Council Directive 2007/43/EC which lays down minimum rules for the protection of chickens kept for meat production. As we leave the EU, we are committed to maintaining our position as one of the world leaders in animal welfare and want to improve and build upon that record, working in partnership with farmers to support healthier, higher welfare animals.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what laboratory capacity his Department and it's Agencies have provided to NHS Test and Trace.

Defra’s agencies have significant laboratory capacity and expertise that have been repurposed and provided to NHS Test and Trace.

Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) temporarily supplied staff and equipment to the Lighthouse laboratories and has a contract with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to test up to 2000 samples per day. APHA also has a contractually based involvement in a research project called Safe & Certain (DHSC-funded project), coordinated by University of Southampton, which involves direct testing on saliva samples. APHA participated in Phase 1 of the project (July/August 2020) and is now embarking on Phase 2 involving testing of up to 60,000 samples over the next month.

The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Science (Cefas) provided four key pieces of Polymerase Chain Reaction testing equipment to the UK’s mass diagnostics facility in Northern Ireland, and personal protective equipment to NHS facilities in the Dorset region. Cefas has registered details of its remaining capacity through DHSC’s online portal.

The Environment Agency has been working with core Defra and the Joint Biosecurity Centre to trial the use of waste water testing for Covid-19 RNA, to help identify increases in Covid-19 prevalence at population level and help target testing capacity.

Fera Science Ltd provided critical testing equipment to the Lighthouse laboratory in Glasgow.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the value was of imported chicken to the UK in 2019; and what the top five countries were for imported chicken to this country in that year.

According to the latest HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics, UK imports of chicken in 2019 were worth £1.1 billion.

The top five countries importing chicken into the UK in 2019 were as follows:

  1. Netherlands £470 million
  2. Poland £250 million
  3. Germany £80 million
  4. Irish Republic £80 million
  5. Belgium £50 million
Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of level of risk of a hose-pipe ban in summer 2020; and what his policy is on new reservoir provision.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Government has a range of policies in place to mitigate the impacts of drought:

  • The Environment Agency, which has responsibility for managing water resources and protecting the environment, chairs the National Drought Group (NDG). The NDG consists of representatives from regulators such as Public Health England (PHE), the agricultural sector and water companies. This group ensures that all sectors work together and take action to manage any impacts of dry weather and drought.

  • Water companies have the legal duty to supply adequate quantities of wholesome water. To fulfil their duties, water companies maintain statutory drought plans, which set out the short-term actions they will take should a drought develop. Water companies’ drought plans are published on their websites.

The Government is committed to a ‘twin track approach’ of managing water demand, including leakage reduction, and increasing supply, including the development of reservoirs.

Water companies have the statutory duty to develop and maintain efficient and economical systems of water service provision which will provide security of supply for customers. Statutory water resources management plans show how companies will meet this duty and manage water supply and demand for at least the next 25 years.

The National Framework for water resources brings together industry, regulators and Government to improve water company planning of water supplies. This includes investigating and developing new supplies such as reservoirs, supported by a £469 million fund for the development of strategic supplies.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps is his Department is taking with its international counterparts to prevent over-fishing in the world's oceans by distant water fishing fleets.

The UK is taking firm action on this issue alongside our international counterparts across a wide range of fronts. These include, but are not limited to, playing a leading role in the global fight to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and engaging proactively in the work of Regional Fisheries Management Organisations to ensure more sustainable management of high seas fisheries. We are also advocating for the elimination of incentives and subsidies for fisheries that are detrimental to the conservation of marine biodiversity in the current negotiations at the World Trade Organisation and in the context of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his Department's Food is GREAT campaign, what discussions he has had with his Cabinet colleagues on ensuring that (a) Government departments and (b) other public bodies prioritise British produce in their purchases.

Defra is having conversations across Government with regard to food procurement policy, and how we can highlight the importance of buying domestic food. We will build on this engagement and review how the public sector, including hospitals, schools and prisons, can benefit from sourcing British produce. At the end of the Transition Period, there will be further scope to prioritise British produce in the public sector.

The UK's growing reputation for quality food and drink, with high standards of food safety, animal welfare and sustainability is an excellent platform to increase demand for our products still further. Defra's Food is GREAT campaign leverages this growing reputation and helps businesses to succeed in overseas markets by ensuring global recognition of UK excellence in food and drink, whilst encouraging our food and drink companies to export more.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the English Tree Strategy consultation, what discussions officials in his Department have had with officials from the Department of Transport on trees along railway lines.

Defra has been working closely with other departments, including the Department for Transport (DfT), to develop the England Tree Strategy consultation.

The consultation will consider the role that all trees and woodland can play in delivering the 25 Year Environment Plan. In this way it echoes and aligns with DfT’s work to establish a clear position with Network Rail on the role of rail infrastructure in supporting the delivery of the 25 Year Environment Plan. Network Rail is responsible for 20,000km of track and around 6.3 million trees with the potential to support biodiversity around the country. DfT has therefore asked Network Rail to achieve no net loss in biodiversity on its existing lineside estate by 2024 and to achieve biodiversity net gain on each route by 2040.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what steps his Department is taking to enable the early resumption of angling.

Every citizen must stay alert to protect the NHS and save lives. From Wednesday 13 May, angling can resume in England, as long as participants are with their household or on their own and follow social distancing guidance.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the prevalence pet microchip databases on dog owners.

Under The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 all microchip databases are required to meet strict requirements, including having their records linked to each other to enable anyone searching for a microchip entry to know to which database it is registered. Any database found not to be complying with the 2015 Regulation faces a fine of up to £2,500 and having their ability to operate as a microchip database removed. There are currently thirteen compliant databases.

The 2015 Regulations are currently subject to a Post Implementation Review. As part of the review we will look at what effect the prevalence of microchip databases is having on dog owners.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the enforcement of the Pet Travel Scheme in 2019.

The Government takes the welfare of animals seriously, and that is why we have committed to cracking down on the abhorrent trade of puppy smuggling. We are currently considering the most effective approach to achieve this.

All pet animals entering Great Britain on approved routes under the EU Pet Travel Scheme undergo documentary and identity checks. The checks are performed by ferry, train or airline carriers or agents acting on their behalf. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) undertakes random checks of the pet animals travelling to ensure the carriers are performing checks to the required standard. The APHA also carries out quality assurance checks to ensure that the standard of performance of the carrier and approved checker is maintained.

The APHA continues to work collaboratively with Border Force and other operational partners at ports, airports and inland, sharing intelligence to enforce the Pet Travel Scheme, disrupt illegal imports and seize non-compliant animals. The numbers of dogs quarantined after being illegally landed in Great Britain between 2016 and 2018 stands at 1,344. This includes those that were imported under the EU Pet Travel Scheme, as well as those imported commercially under the Balai Directive.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much funding was allocated from (a) the UK Government public purse and (b) other countries to the World Health Organisation in 2019.

The UK is the third biggest donor to the WHO, giving £120 million per annum on average. We do not routinely keep data on funding allocated by other countries. The World Health Organization holds this information.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to the Answer of 8 July 2019 to Question 272116, if he will place a copy in the Library of the inception report which formed the basis of the independent review of Palestinian Authority textbooks.

The UK commissioned the Georg Eckert Institute to produce an inception report. I can confirm that we will place a copy of this inception report in the Library and I will write to the Right Honourable member once this has been done.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what support his Department is providing to countries in the Middle East and North Africa to (a) counter plagues of locusts and to (b) support populations affected by them.

DFID provides approximately £17 million per annum in core funding to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), a strategic objective of which is to “increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises” such as locusts. In 2018, UK core funding to the FAO supported the Desert Locust Information System, which provides an early warning information system for countries including in the Middle East and North Africa.

DFID also funds a range of programmes that work to improve the monitoring of and response to pests more generally. These include the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux International (CABI) Plantwise and Action on Invasives programmes, the development and testing of biopesticides by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, and new work under development with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to strengthen pest and disease surveillance, forecasting and the coordination and capacity of plant health organisations.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what her Department's policy is on Government engagement with the EU-US Trade and Technology Council.

The EU-US Trade and Technology Council is a bilateral forum between EU and US. We are monitoring this forum and tracking developments. We continue to engage with both the EU and the US on these important issues.

At the recent UK-US Trade Dialogue in Aberdeen, we agreed to take forward further work on a number of priority areas, including digital trade.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment her Department has made of the level of compliance by China of its World Trade Organisation obligations.

The UK statement at China’s World Trade Organization Trade Policy Review in October 2021 sets out the Department’s position on China’s level of compliance.

We recognise China’s progress but have called on China to fully meet the commitments set out in its Accession Protocol. We have concerns about lack of transparency in various areas, including subsidies and state-owned enterprises, and practices which distort markets.

The statement can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/wto-trade-policy-review-of-china-uk-statement.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many cases have been taken against the UK under investor-state dispute settlement provisions and what the outcome was of those cases.

The United Kingdom has never had an investor-state dispute settlement case against her that proceeded to arbitration.

The United Kingdom has more than 90 Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) in force with countries across the world. HM Government has made clear that our investment policy will continue to protect the United Kingdom’s right to regulate in the public interest.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the UK's policy is on the future of the World Trade Organisation.

The UK believes a strong, rules based, multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at its core, is in the best interests of all nations. The UK is working to strengthen and reform the WTO, so it can continue to deliver?a?free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent framework for trade between countries. This will play an important role?in resolving the economic effects of the global pandemic.

We are engaging closely with the WTO Secretariat and the wider Membership to achieve an early resumption of the WTO’s regular work. Our priorities are making progress on updating the WTO rulebook, in particular in the areas of digital, services and the environment, and to improve transparency.

We continue to support a fully-functioning dispute settlement system with an appeal function and remain committed to finding a permanent resolution to the impasse of the Appellate Body.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department has taken to implement the Plan for Drivers published on 2 October 2023.

Work is underway for each of the 30 measures in “The Plan for Drivers”, with many expected to be completed by summer 2024.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the reliability of the signalling system on the Elizabeth Line.

Transport in London is devolved to the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL). The Department has regular discussions with TfL on a range of issues, however, the operation and management of the Elizabeth Line is a matter solely for them.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an estimate of the number of (a) vacancies for HGV drivers, (b) HGV drivers undergoing training and (c) HGV drivers expected to retire from the industry in the next five years.

It is not possible to estimate the total number of HGV drivers currently undergoing training. This is because some haulage companies have in-house training programmes and private sector training companies also train new drivers. The Government has also invested in training for new drivers for example, £34m to train up to 11,000 HGV drivers through Skills Bootcamps and the LGV Driver and Urban Driver Apprenticeships which receive funding of up to £8,000 and £5,000 respectively. In the financial year FY21-22 there were 4,740 learner starts in HGV Skills Bootcamps and 3,247 LGV Driver and Urban Driver Apprenticeship starts.

The Office for National Statistics Annual Population Survey estimated in the year April 2022 to March 2023 34% of HGV drivers were aged 56 or older. However, it is not possible to estimate how many drivers will retire in the next 5 years as HGV drivers that continue to meet the licensing requirements, including the driver medicals, can continue to drive beyond the state pension age.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
23rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many passengers travelled on the (a) East and (b) West Coast Main Lines in (i) first and (ii) standard class in (A) 2019 and (B) 2022.

The Office for Road and Rail (ORR) are responsible for collecting and publishing national statistics on rail passenger journeys. The ORR do not disaggregate between first and standard class for this dataset.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the impact of changing work patterns since the covid-19 outbreak on long-term demand for inter-city business rail travel.

The Department is developing a number of scenarios for future rail demand as a new normal emerges post-covid-19. The Department is building a robust evidence base to support industry in designing rail timetables that are demand-led and built with flexibility in mind.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of savings to the public purse from the abolition of paper vehicle tax discs since their removal in 2014.

In the first full financial year 2015-16 the actual saving to the public purse from the abolition of the paper vehicle licence was £8.9 million. In the financial year 2016-17 the actual saving was £8.5 million. This saving was anticipated to be a recurring annual figure.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Jet Zero Council includes representatives of trades unions.

The British Airline Pilots Association receives regular updates and engagement as a result of its associate membership of the Jet Zero Council. If other trade unions are interested in associate membership, the Department encourages them to contact the Jet Zero Council secretariat via JetZeroCouncilSecretariat@dft.gov.uk.

6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many applications for vehicle details by private car parking companies were received by the DVLA in 2022.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency received 36,252,255 applications for registered keeper details in 2022, of which, 10,605,732 were from private parking companies.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many new net zero emission buses were funded by his Department in the last five years; what the power source was for those buses; and how many and what proportion of those buses were manufactured in the UK.

We have committed to funding 4,000 zero emission buses (ZEBs) this Parliament. Across the UK an estimated 3,250 ZEBs have been funded so far.

Between financial years 2018-19 to 2022-23 the Department for Transport has provided funding for 2,594 zero emission buses. The number of buses ordered and delivered may change following the outcome of procurement processes undertaken by local transport authorities or bus operators.

Table 1 below presents the number of zero emission buses funded between financial years 2018-19 to 2022-23.

Number of Zero Emission Buses

Number of Battery Electric Buses

Number of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses

2018-19

76

33

43

2019-20

27

27

0

2020-21

556

556

0

2021-22

1298

1154

144

2022-23

100

100

0

TCF 2018-19 to 2022-23*

46

46

0

London 2020-21 to 2022-23**

491

491

0

Total

2594

2417

177

*46 zero emission busses were funded through the Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) between financial years 2018-19 to 2022-23.

**491 zero emission buses were introduced in London in financial years 2020-21 to 2022-23 as a result of Department for Transport funding to Transport for London.

Table 2 provides information, where available, on the bus manufacturer of these zero emission buses.

Bus Manufacturer

Number of Zero Emission Buses

Percentage of Zero Emission Buses

Alexander Dennis Ltd

436

17%

Wrightbus

188

7%

Switch Mobility

26

1%

Volvo

6

0%

Supplied by Pelican Bus & Coach UK and manufactured by Yutong

221

9%

Supplied by Harris Group and manufactured by Higer

3

0%

Information not held by the Department

491

19%

Bus manufacturer subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator

1223

47%

Total

2594

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
6th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the appropriateness of the matter in which the private parking industry is using its access to DVLA records.

The law allows the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to release vehicle keeper details to third parties in certain limited circumstances, subject to appropriate safeguards. This includes the release of information to help manage parking on private land.

To ensure motorists are treated fairly, the DVLA will only provide information to private parking companies that are members of an appropriate accredited trade association and adhere to an enforceable code of practice. The DVLA audits external data users to ensure information is requested and used appropriately.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
5th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 5 September 2022 to Question 40733, on Petrol: Ethanol, what is the current percentage of biofuels that are (a) waste-derived and (b) crop-based.

The feedstock used to produce biofuel rewarded under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) is reported by suppliers and published quarterly on gov.uk.

The latest full year’s verified data indicates that in 2020, seventy-seven percent of biofuels were derived from wastes and residues and twenty-three per cent were crop-based.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
20th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the current world food shortages, if he will reassess the requirement for ethanol content in petrol.

We regularly review measures promoting low carbon fuels to ensure that they deliver cost effective carbon reductions. Under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, we promote waste-derived biofuels and reduce the volume of crop-based biofuels that can count towards supplier targets.

20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many new buses and coaches were registered last year (a) in total and (b) by system of propulsion.

The numbers of buses and coaches1 registered for the first time in the United Kingdom by propulsion / fuel type is given in the following table.

Year

Petrol

Diesel

Gas2

Battery Electric

Other3

TOTAL

2021(to end-September only)

52

3,053

1

236

52

3,394

Source: DfT / DVLA

1 Based on DVLA body type for buses and coaches, which also includes minibuses. The DVLA body type does not necessarily relate to how vehicles are used.

2 Includes gas, gas bi-fuel, petrol/gas and diesel/gas.

3 Includes hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, new fuel technologies, fuel cells and steam.

18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made contact with the Government of UAE regarding the recent actions of Dubai Ports-owned P&O.

The Secretary of State has not as yet made contact with the Government of the UAE in relation to the recent actions of P&O. However, both myself and the Secretary of State have been in contact with P&O Ferries.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has held discussions with the Government of Cyprus on the recent actions of P&O Ferries.

The Secretary of State has not as yet held discussions with the Government of Cyprus in relation to the recent actions of P&O Ferries. However, both myself and the Secretary of State have been in contact with P&O Ferries.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress has been made on funding orders for hydrogen-fuelled buses.

The Department remains committed to supporting the roll out of zero emission buses (ZEBs) and is providing over £525m funding over this parliament.

The Government’s approach to the delivery of the ZEBs will be technology neutral. The £270m Zero Emission Bus Regional Area scheme is due to announce winners from the standard process in Spring 2022, having announced winners from the fast track process in October 2021. Local areas were able to apply for funding for both battery electric buses and hydrogen fuel cell buses depending on which technology is best suited to their local areas.

The Government has supported the introduction of hydrogen buses through the previous Low and Ultra Low Emission Bus funding schemes. Through these schemes, Government provided over £4.8m to a joint bid between Birmingham City Council and Transport for London for 40 hydrogen double decker buses. In addition, Government provided over £4.3m to Brighton and Hove Buses for a further 20 hydrogen buses.

Funding from other funding schemes, such as the Transforming Cities Fund and City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements, can also be used by local areas to support the introduction of ZEBs. 20 hydrogen buses are being supported in the Liverpool City Region through funding from the Transforming Cities Fund.

The Government will also increase the rate at which the Bus Service Operators Grant can be claimed for ZEBs to 22p per km, further incentivising and supporting the uptake of battery electric buses and hydrogen fuel cell buses.

4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve roadside facilities for HGV drivers.

The Government recognises the need to ensure hauliers have access to appropriate services and facilities.

We will be investing £32.5 million in roadside facilities for HGV drivers on the road.

The Department continues to engage with key stakeholders to encourage the development of more safe, secure, and high-quality lorry parking to improve driver welfare.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department made of the effect of (a) crew numbers and (b) working hours at P&O ferries on crew and passenger safety.

The Department has not made an assessment of the effects of crew numbers and working hours on P&O Ferries operations. P&O have no UK-flagged vessels and operate on international routes. Their vessels are primarily subject to the laws of the country in which they are registered but are inspected by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as UK Port State Authority to ensure compliance with relevant safety standards and regulations.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his Department's regulations are for GB stickers and vehicle licence plates for travel abroad; and if he will publish the impact assessment that preceded the recent change of that designation from from GB to UK.

We have made no changes to the regulations on number plates which continue to allow motorists of vehicles registered in Great Britain to display:

UNITED KINGDOM, United Kingdom or UK

GREAT BRITAIN, Great Britain or GB

ENGLAND, England, ENG or Eng

SCOTLAND, Scotland, SCO or Sco

CYMRU, Cymru, CYM or Cym

WALES or Wales

All options remain available to motorists. A UK sticker or identifier is only needed for those travelling abroad.

As there were no changes to regulations, an Impact Assessment has not been prepared.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment has he made of the proportionality of the level of fines issued to people driving in low traffic neighbourhoods.

The Department has not made any such assessment. ‘Low-traffic neighbourhoods’ have been around for many years but have only recently become known by this name. It describes a collection of measures designed to remove rat-running traffic from streets. The key feature is generally a road closure, which prevents through motor traffic from accessing the road but permits cycling and walking. Access is maintained for residents and their visitors and for essential services.

Closures may be implemented using existing standard traffic management measures such as signed access restrictions to through motor traffic. These are enforceable in the same way and with the same penalties as when used on any other part of the road network.

20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking on untaxed vehicles without a statutory off road notification which are parked on private land.

The DVLA operates a comprehensive package of measures to tackle vehicle excise duty evasion. These range from reminder letters, penalties and court prosecutions through to the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras, wheelclamping and the removal of unlicensed vehicles.

It is an offence to keep an unlicensed and/or uninsured vehicle. During the initial stages of the pandemic, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) took a pragmatic approach to enforcement action. This ensured that those impacted by the pandemic were not further disadvantaged and that a vehicle that might have been needed in an emergency was not immobilised or removed. However, the onus remains with the registered keeper of a vehicle to ensure that their legal obligations are fulfilled and that vehicles are licensed on time and covered by an appropriate insurance policy.

Unlicensed vehicles kept in certain off-road areas can be subject to enforcement action. These locations include, but are not limited to, public house car parks, private and municipal car parks, retail car parks, housing association roads, unadopted/privately maintained roads and common land. However, enforcement action cannot be taken against unlicensed vehicles being kept on land associated with a dwelling, for example a driveway.

20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on enforcement action against (a) untaxed and (b) uninsured vehicles.

The DVLA operates a comprehensive package of measures to tackle vehicle excise duty evasion. These range from reminder letters, penalties and court prosecutions through to the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras, wheelclamping and the removal of unlicensed vehicles.

It is an offence to keep an unlicensed and/or uninsured vehicle. During the initial stages of the pandemic, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) took a pragmatic approach to enforcement action. This ensured that those impacted by the pandemic were not further disadvantaged and that a vehicle that might have been needed in an emergency was not immobilised or removed. However, the onus remains with the registered keeper of a vehicle to ensure that their legal obligations are fulfilled and that vehicles are licensed on time and covered by an appropriate insurance policy.

Unlicensed vehicles kept in certain off-road areas can be subject to enforcement action. These locations include, but are not limited to, public house car parks, private and municipal car parks, retail car parks, housing association roads, unadopted/privately maintained roads and common land. However, enforcement action cannot be taken against unlicensed vehicles being kept on land associated with a dwelling, for example a driveway.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of access to toilets for taxi, bus, van delivery, lorry and other professional drivers.

The government recognises the hard work and commitment from transport workers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and expects them to have easy and safe access to toilets and hand washing facilities to support their health and wellbeing whilst carrying out their important work, which supports the economy.

All motorway service stations in England are open to Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers and critical workers, providing takeaway food only, toilet facilities and fuel. Operators of Motorway Service Areas (MSAs) have also been given an exemption, along with other transport hubs, to have their seating within the concourse still available throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, because they offer a safe place for HGV drivers and other critical workers to stop and rest.

In addition, the Department for Transport has published a joint letter with the Health and Safety Executive on gov.uk, reminding businesses of their legal obligation to provide toilet and handwashing facilities to drivers visiting their premises to deliver or collect goods as part of their work. The joint letter with the Health and Safety Executive is available to download and print, via the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/ attachment_data/file/887867/dft-hse-letter-drivers-facilities.pdf

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to integrate artificial intelligence into traffic light systems.

The operation of traffic signal systems and the employment of new technologies is a matter for individual highway authorities and the traffic equipment supplier community. However, the Department is working with the Cabinet Office GovTech Challenge programme to fund public / private consortia to undertake trials of the use of artificial intelligence in the management of congestion, and these trials are developing various forms of artificial intelligence to enhance existing urban traffic control services.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of changes to (a) volumes and (b) patterns of (i) intercity and (ii) commuter rail travel as the UK emerges from the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department continues to actively work to understand the impact of coronavirus on rail demand, including close working with industry. As part of this we are ensuring that we use a range of rail demand scenarios based on a series of factors that could drive rail demand over the short and long term to influence decisions. These scenarios consider the impact of Coronavirus on levels of passenger demand, including on commuting and long-distance travel.

Given the considerable uncertainty that the pandemic has caused, these scenarios cannot be used as forecasts. However, they do reflect some of the possible impacts of the pandemic on future rail demand.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) (i) age profile and (ii) adequacy of the supply of skilled workers and (b) potential merits of policies to maintain a skilled workforce in the rail industry.

My Department is aware of analysis from the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) indicating that a significant proportion of the rail industry workforce is aged over 50. Some of this analysis was included as part of the Williams Rail Review evidence collation and published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-rail-sector-in-numbers.

We are considering this and other issues affecting the supply of skilled workers over the next decade, and will set out details in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the renewable transport fuel obligation to include existing renewable capacity.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) has been successful in promoting a market for a broad range of low carbon fuels. Low carbon fuels eligible for reward under the RTFO include renewable hydrogen made using renewable energy from existing production capacity. We plan to consult on potential changes to the RTFO scheme later this year. This will include proposals on how renewable hydrogen can be further supported, whilst respecting the principle of not diverting renewable energy away from existing uses and causing additional greenhouse gas emissions. The consultation will be accompanied by a cost benefit analysis.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the reasons for (a) congestion and (b) delays at Felixstowe docks.

The last quarter of 2020 saw an unprecedented global demand surge for container freight, with shipping lines and ports worldwide handling volumes in excess of usual peak capacities and duration.

This is not an issue unique to Felixstowe, or UK ports, but is being experienced at many locations internationally.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what financial and other support his Department is providing for the roll-out of hydrogen powered buses; and how many of those buses have been (a) ordered and (b) delivered.

The Government has supported the use of a range of low carbon bus technologies, including hydrogen buses and supporting infrastructure, through funds including the Low Emission and Ultra-Low Emission Bus Schemes.

As set out in the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and the Spending Review 2020 the Government will invest £120 million in 2021-22 to start the delivery of the 4,000 zero emission buses announced by the Prime Minister in February. The Department is considering all funding mechanisms, and the role that all technologies can play, in delivering these ZEBs and the infrastructure needed to support them. Further details on how funding will be distributed will be announced in due course.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to support Taiwan's membership of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The UK believes that the people of Taiwan have a valuable contribution to make on issues of global concern. We therefore support Taiwanese participation in International Organisations, where there is precedent for their involvement and where there is no pre-requisite of nationhood for participation. This includes meetings of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his Department's policy is on the use of (a) food and (b) animal feed crops for the production of renewable diesel.

The Government recognises that some crop derived biofuels can lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions due to indirect land use change factors, and concerns regarding the potential for increases in food prices as land and crops are diverted to fuel rather than food production.

Given these concerns the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), a certificate trading scheme which promotes a market for sustainable renewable fuels, limits the contribution crop based biofuels can make towards a suppliers obligation (both bioethanol and biodiesel). This sliding cap on crop based biofuels decreases from 4% in 2020 to 2% in 2032. The RTFO provides additional support for low carbon fuels that do not compete with food and save significant greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels. Biofuels made from wastes and residues receive twice number of tradeable certificates than would be rewarded for the supply of biofuels made from crops.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason the DVLA notified local authorities on 30 March 2020 that all enforcement action undertaken on vehicles under devolved powers was to stop; and when he plans to reintroduce that action.

During the height of the pandemic, The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency adopted a pragmatic approach to vehicle excise duty enforcement, including the pausing of local authority devolved powers. This approach ensured that those impacted by the pandemic were not further disadvantaged and that a vehicle that may have been needed in an emergency was not immobilised or removed.

DVLA enforcement activity has now recommenced. The onus remains with the registered keeper of a vehicle to ensure that their legal obligations are fulfilled and that vehicles are licensed on time.

11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 7 September to Question 77508 on Motor Vehicles: Excise Duties, how many paper driving licence applications were waiting to be processed on 7 September 2020.

The number of paper driving licence applications waiting to be processed fluctuates on a daily basis as licences are issued and new applications received. On 7 September, there were 109,940 paper driving licence applications sent directly to the DVLA, awaiting processing.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of road closures introduced under emergency provisions during the covid-19 outbreak on local congestion; and how much funding has been provided to local authorities for those closures.

In May, the Government announced £2 billion of new funding for cycling and walking. £225 million is being made available to local authorities in 2020-21 via the Emergency Active Travel Fund to invest in new cycling and walking infrastructure, including road closures where appropriate.

Local authorities are free to make their own decisions about the streets under their care, provided they take account of the relevant legislation. They are responsible for ensuring that their actions are within the law and are accountable to local people for their decisions and their performance. Local councillors are responsible for ensuring that local decisions about street infrastructure take account of the needs and opinions of local people.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with trade unions representing workers in the aviation sector on the effect of changing quarantine regulations on employment in that sector.

Government recognises that international travel corridors provide a vital lifeline for UK travel operators and for those whose jobs rely on the travel industry, as well as of the impacts from removing a country or territory from the exemption for self-isolation requirement for arrivals due to the continued risk from Covid-19.

The Department for Transport is leading engagement across the transport sector to implement and communicate any changes for self-isolation requirement to operators and passengers. Unions remain part of the Department’s regular engagement on all matters currently impacting the sector.

1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he last held meetings with representatives of trade unions representing transport workers.

The Secretary of State met representatives from RMT on 26th June. Junior Ministers from the Department are in regular contact with representatives from the trade unions.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of potential trends in the level of future rail passenger numbers on (a) suburban commuter and (b) intercity routes.

Passenger journeys fell sharply in March, and remained at 5% of last year’s levels for most of April and May. They have since recovered to about 30% of last year’s journey levels for most of August.

Our priority remains the safety of staff and passengers. We work with rail operators to ensure passengers have the confidence to return to the railway, and continue to take all necessary measures to make rail travel safe.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimates his Department has made of changes in the level of local air pollution as a result of traffic jams caused by road closures put in place in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

During lockdown, short term behaviour changes saw nitrogen dioxide pollution at the roadside almost halved as a result of reduced emissions from traffic, with much smaller reductions observed for particulate matters in urban areas.

As we recover from Covid 19, we remain committed to our ambitious aims to make long term improvements to air quality and support zero emission forms of travel.

In the current climate, the Government has strongly encouraged local authorities to prioritise support for walking and cycling with measures that include pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling and widened pavements. The Department for Transport has issued guidance for local authorities on reallocating road space in response to the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure that these new measures are implemented in a way that meets local needs.

1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his Answer of 21 July 2020 to Question 72801 on Official Cars: Production, how many Ford Mondeo hybrid cars there are in the Government Car Service fleet.

There are 21 Ford Mondeo hybrid cars in the Government Car Service (GCS) fleet. These are due for replacement with Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV’s) within the next 18 months.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, on which days in (a) July and (b) August 2020 he was physically present in his office in Great Minster House.

Based on my diary for the period, I was present in Great Minster House on the 1st, 15th and 21st July. I was also present at the Houses of Parliament on 2nd, 6th, 14th and 20th July.

I was in self-isolation following my return from Spain from 29th July to 12th August.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Defence
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he had the (a) Home Secretary and (b) Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government prior to his announcement on changes to the statutory taxi and private hire vehicle standards on 21 July 2020.

The Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards were subject to extensive engagement, consultation and agreement across government.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the backlog is for applications for (a) new and (b) renewal of vehicle licences; and what steps he is taking to tackle that backlog.

The quickest and easiest way to renew a driving licence or to pay vehicle excise duty is to use the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online services. These have continued to work well throughout the pandemic and there is no backlog for applications made online. The DVLA has processed more than 36 million online driver and vehicle transactions since March, including issuing nearly two million driving licences.

The number of paper driving licence applications waiting to be processed fluctuates on a daily basis as licences are issued and new applications received. There are no backlogs of vehicle licence applications.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the backlog is for applications for (a) new and (b) renewal of driving licences; and what steps he is taking to tackle that backlog.

The quickest and easiest way to renew a driving licence or to pay vehicle excise duty is to use the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online services. These have continued to work well throughout the pandemic and there is no backlog for applications made online. The DVLA has processed more than 36 million online driver and vehicle transactions since March, including issuing nearly two million driving licences.

The number of paper driving licence applications waiting to be processed fluctuates on a daily basis as licences are issued and new applications received. There are no backlogs of vehicle licence applications.

20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that emergency powers granted to local authorities during the covid-19 outbreak are not being used to avoid local consultation and opposition on matters relating to transport.

It is for local authorities to ensure that any changes they propose to make to road layouts are delivered in line with relevant consultation and noticing requirements.

The changes made in the emergency legislation which came into force on 22 May did not change the existing requirements for noticing for Traffic Regulation Orders. Local authorities are still required to give 7 days’ notice of proposed temporary changes, to allow time for local residents or businesses to send in any comments or objections.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 3 July 2020 to Question 64070 on Jet Zero Council, whether he plans to publish the membership of the Jet Zero Council before the summer recess.

It is our intention to publish draft membership and terms of reference of the Jet Zero Council before summer recess.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the airline industry on increases in air fares to Pakistan following the restrictions placed on Pakistan International Airlines.

Air fares are a matter for individual airlines to determine; we have had no discussions with the airline industry about air fares to Pakistan. We are monitoring the situation following the suspension of Pakistan International Airlines’ services, on safety grounds, which must remain a priority. We wish to ensure on-going air connectivity between the UK and Pakistan.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, where the Government's fleet vehicles are produced; and whether they are made using UK steel.

Information on all Government fleets is not held centrally and this response is for the Government Car Service fleet which operates as a division of the Department for Transport. The attached table indicates the material that the car bodies are manufactured from, also indicating if UK steel has been used.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 23 June 2020 to Question 59367 on the Jet Zero Council, whether the Council membership will include trades union representatives of the workers in that industry.

As I noted on 23 June, we are engaging with stakeholders regarding membership of the Jet Zero Council. We will of course want to engage with a range of key stakeholders as part of this work, including trade union representatives.

Full details and the Council’s Terms of Reference will be announced shortly.

16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the projected costs for the Thames Gateway Bridge were; and what recent estimate he has made of the cost of the new Thames Tunnel.

As you may be aware, transport in London is devolved. Proposals for river crossings or tunnels in London are the responsibility of the Mayor.

16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department has taken to facilitate maritime crew changes during the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK has not placed restrictions on the transit and transfer of seafarers. I have previously written to UN organisations asking for an international solution to this issue, confirming the UK’s position on crew changes, and also urged other countries to allow crew changes to take place. The UK has also exempted seafarers from the quarantine requirements

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 12 June 2020 to Question 53999 on Motor Vehicles: Excise Duties, what the value has been of savings to (a) the public purse and (b) businesses from the abolition of the paper vehicle licence in each year since 2014.

In the first full financial year 2015-16 the actual saving to the public purse from the abolition of the paper vehicle licence was £8.9 million. In the financial year 2016-17 the actual saving was £8.5 million. This saving was anticipated to be a recurring annual figure.

There was an estimated administrative cost saving of around £7.5m each year for vehicle business activities.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, who the members of the Jet Zero Council will be.

The Government is working on the details of the Jet Zero Council and will look to engage with stakeholders shortly to agree the Council membership, drawing as broadly as possible across airlines, airports, aerospace manufacturers, fuel suppliers, and environmental groups.

Further details and the Council’s Terms of Reference will be announced in due course.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many requests for vehicle data were made to the DVLA in the last year for which figures are available; and how many companies (a) had access and (b) were denied access to that data.

In 2019, the Driver and Vehicle Agency received 25,569,164 requests for vehicle keeper data. Electronic requests were made by 942 organisations, which include local authorities, private parking companies, insurance companies and finance companies. It is not possible to provide a breakdown of those who request data making a paper application. 25 companies were denied access to vehicle data.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on (a) airports and (b) their associated industries in the (i) East and (ii) West Midlands.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation sector as a result of COVID-19, and has been engaging regularly with airports throughout all regions of the UK, including the East and West Midlands, to understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on their operational and financial positions. This engagement is ongoing.

It is of vital importance that key sectors such as aviation are protected, and this means not just airports, but also the wider supply chain, including ground handlers and associated industries, who keep the sector running. We are working closely with the sector to support it to ensure there is sufficient capacity to protect global travel routes, continue repatriation, freight and maintain vital connectivity.

Businesses across the aviation industry, including airports, ground handlers and companies in their supply chains, are able to draw on the unprecedented package of economic measures we have put in place during this time.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 27 May 202 to Question 48265 on Motor Vehicles: Excise Duties, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reintroducing paper licence discs.

The abolition of the paper vehicle tax disc has delivered significant savings for the taxpayer and businesses since its removal in 2014.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the police and other enforcement authorities use data from the DVLA’s vehicle register to confirm that vehicle excise duty has been paid. Over £6 billion is collected annually. The Government has no plans to reinstate the paper vehicle tax disc.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the number and proportion of vehicles that were untaxed in each of the last ten years.

The Department for Transport carries out a survey, which since 2011 has taken place every two years, which estimates the rate of vehicle excise duty evasion among vehicles seen on UK roads. The attached table shows the estimated number and proportion of untaxed vehicles in each survey since 2010.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on long term rail passenger demand of the covid-19 outbreak on (a) suburban (b) inter-city rail, (c) light rail and (d) underground systems.

This crisis will have a long-lasting impact on our society – but it is too early to predict what that may mean in practice. There are a number of factors that will determine the demand for these modes of transport, including when lockdown restrictions are lifted, the nature of social distancing guidelines put in place going forward, and how people’s attitudes towards travel may have changed.

In the short term, we are working to ensure essential services are still running, and goods and passengers can get where they are needed most

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of vehicles evading road tax and the consequent loss of revenue for the last year for which figures are available.

The most recent roadside survey, published in November 2019, estimated that 1.6% of vehicles in UK traffic were unlicensed. This represents a very high compliance rate of 98.4% and is a statistically significant reduction in unlicensed vehicles since 2017. The maximum level of potential revenue loss was estimated to be £94 million over the course of one year. However, enforcement activities against unlicensed vehicles accounted for around £90 million in fines and penalties being reported by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency during 2018/19.

4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that new electric buses funded from the public purse will be built in the UK.

On 10 February, the Prime Minister announced £5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links for every region outside London. This included a commitment to at least 4,000 new zero emission buses to make greener travel the convenient option, driving forward the UK’s progress on its net zero ambitions. Further details about how that will be achieved are being developed alongside the national bus strategy, which we expect to publish later this year.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his Departments policy is on the maximum desirable length of roadworks on motorways.

When designing its road works, Highways England uses the guidance provided in the Department for Transport published Traffic Signs Manual: Chapter 8. This recommends that road works are limited to a maximum of 6km (around 3 and ¾ miles), although the adoption of longer lengths of road works is permissible providing they do not create unacceptable impacts. Where longer lengths of road works are adopted, site specific risk assessments are required to identify the safe maximum length. Limiting all road works to a maximum length would increase both costs and duration of some works due to the activities undertaken.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Defence
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many staff at Highways England received a salary of more than £100,000 in the last financial year.

Highways England employed 61 staff on a base salary of £100,000 or more in 2018-19 . I have committed in the House to addressing this issue.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Defence
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to reduce barriers to older workers seeking to re-enter the workforce.

The Government is making a number of interventions to address this issue. The government is providing over 20m over the next three years for an enhanced offer for people aged 50 and over to remain in and return to work.

Eligible older job seekers on Universal Credit will receive more intensive, tailored support, on top of the support that work coaches offer all claimants.

Full-time 50+ Champions are now in every JCP district across GB, to upskill Work Coaches in supporting over 50s return to work.

We are also expanding delivery of the Mid-Life MOT, which supports those in their 40s, 50s and 60s to take stock of their finances, skills and health. As part of the expansion the Mid-Life MOTs will be delivered online, in the private sector and in Job Centres.

The introduction of this package of support illustrates the Government’s recognition of the different situations, transitions and barriers currently faced by the over 50s in the labour market. We continue to work in addition with Andy Briggs the Older worker Champion.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of classifying long covid as a condition eligible for Personal Independence Payments.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is intended to act as a contribution towards the extra costs that arise from needs related to a long-term health condition or disability. It is assessed on the basis of functional needs not a diagnosis or condition. The needs arising from long Covid are assessed in the same way as for all other health conditions or disabilities.

From March 2021 we amended PIP statistical classifications to include the category “Coronavirus COVID-19”. Data on the PIP caseload by a range of factors, including main disabling condition, can be extracted from Stat-Xplore (Stat-Xplore - Log in (dwp.gov.uk)) . Information on how to use Stat-Xplore can be found at Getting Started (dwp.gov.uk).

20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the overall outturn spending on housing benefit was in the latest year for which figures are available.

In 2020/21 the spending on Housing Benefit was £17.3bn. This includes Housing Benefit within Welfare Cap, Housing Benefit outside Welfare Cap and Housing Benefit funded by Local Authorities. Figures were published after the Autumn Budget 2021 and they are available here:

Benefit expenditure and caseload tables 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will reconsider the policy of including French tropical islands in the calculation of French winter temperatures for the purposes of winter fuel payments.

Winter fuel payments were introduced in winter 1997/98 and has been honoured by successive Governments. There are no plans to review this policy.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to promote the employment of older workers.

The government is committed to supporting older workers to remain in and return to work, where they make an important contribution to the economy as well as achieving improved personal health, wellbeing and financial outcomes.

The Government’s Business Champion for Older Workers spearheads the Government’s work to support and encourage employers in England to retain, hire and re-train older workers by highlighting the benefits of multigenerational workforces and helping employers overcome any practical barriers or concerns.

We also work closely with employer organisations representing Small and Medium Enterprises including Local Enterprise Partnerships and Employers for Carers, to highlight the benefits of employing older workers.

To support those who become unemployed, our 50 Plus Champions (formally Older Claimant Champions) network provides dedicated support to Work Coaches across all 37 Jobcentre Plus districts to raise the profile of over 50s claimants and share best practice, encouraging the full use of suitable Plan for Jobs initiatives.

To help people plan for employment in later life, we launched a Mid-life MOT in 2019, encouraging those in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s to consider aspects of their wealth, work and wellbeing. This helps them to make informed decisions about future income provision and longer-term employment prospects, supporting individuals to stay in work for longer and to achieve the later life that they want.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect on levels of employment among older people of employers requiring non-job specific qualifications.

The vast majority, almost 90% of 50-64 year olds do possess qualifications, It is important that employers look at the experience that people have learnt over their careers, and the true value that they are able to bring to that company.

The Government is working to ensure that all employers understand the value of a workforce of all ages, engaging with them to reap the many benefits of recruiting and employing older workers and the values of a multigenerational workforce via Andy Briggs, the Business Champion for Older Workers, influencing employers both strategically and in terms of practical advice.

Where beneficial, older workers can get help from Jobcentre Plus to convert their current qualifications into more modern certifications if appropriate. Jobcentre Plus is also working alongside DWP’s National Employers Service Team to develop links with employers and challenge perceptions of older claimants

The Government is committed to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to upskill, including through the lifetime skills guarantee.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the Child Maintenance Service plans to restart action against people who are avoiding payments.

Paying parents are still expected to pay child maintenance throughout the pandemic period. We know the vast majority of parents take their responsibilities extremely seriously and will do whatever is needed to ensure their children are supported.

Where payments have been missed we have asked parents to report the changes via the self-service portal.

In order to ensure that receiving parents do not lose out in the long run, we have started to update cases with notified changes. Where payments have been missed the Service is taking action to re-establish compliance and collect any unpaid amounts that may have accrued.

No one will get away with giving false information. Those found to be abusing the system can be subjected to the full extent of our enforcement powers and the Child Maintenance Service will pursue these, where appropriate.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th May 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, when the contract for running the Commons Remote Voting system was awarded to Civica Election Services; and whether the contract was subject to open competition.

The Commons Remote Voting system is being developed and implemented entirely by existing Parliamentary Digital Service resource. No contract has been awarded for this work. A contract was awarded on 22 April to Civica Election Services to run an online ballot for the Chairs of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee and the Committee on Standards. An open competition was not required as the expected final value is below the £10,000 threshold at which the Parliamentary Procurement Rules require multiple quotes to be sought.

24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information her Department holds on the number of students studying dentistry in universities in England and Wales in the 2023-24 academic year.

The Office for Students (OfS) collects and publishes data on the intakes to dentistry degrees in England and Wales. Initial figures from the OfS suggest that, in the 2023/24 academic year, 805 students began dentistry degrees in England, and 70 students began dentistry degrees in Wales. The Department does not hold further information on the overall number of students studying dentistry at universities in England and Wales in the 2023/24 academic year.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department made of the potential prevalence of RAAC in buildings (a) owned and (b) occupied by (i) NHS and (ii) other departmental staff.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department’s paper A review of the Vaccine Taskforce, published on 29 August 2023, what funds the Office for Life Sciences has to invest in additional vaccine production capacity in the UK in order to achieve the onshoring programme objective set for the Vaccines Taskforce.

Through the Vaccine Taskforce, over £405 million was invested in the United Kingdom’s vaccine manufacturing capabilities across several modalities, to ensure a robust response to COVID-19 and future health emergencies. In December 2022 the Government signed a ten-year strategic partnership with Moderna which will have the capacity to produce up to 250 million cutting-edge mRNA vaccines per year onshore in the event of a pandemic. In May this year, the Government announced a Biomanufacturing Fund, worth up to £38 million, to incentivise investment in commercial-scale vaccines and biotherapeutics manufacturing.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to A review of the Vaccine Taskforce, published by his Department on 29 August 2023, what additional vaccine production capacity, of any type, has been secured as a result of the investments made (a) by the Vaccine Taskforce and (b) subsequently by the Office for Life Sciences, as described in the report.

Through the Vaccine Taskforce, over £405 million was invested in the United Kingdom’s vaccine manufacturing capabilities across several modalities, to ensure a robust response to COVID-19 and future health emergencies. In December 2022 the Government signed a ten-year strategic partnership with Moderna which will have the capacity to produce up to 250 million cutting-edge mRNA vaccines per year onshore in the event of a pandemic. In May this year, the Government announced a Biomanufacturing Fund, worth up to £38 million, to incentivise investment in commercial-scale vaccines and biotherapeutics manufacturing.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the HPV vaccination rate.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme is delivered in different locations to maximise access and make getting vaccinated easier. This includes school-based delivery, with alternative sites set up for those not in mainstream education, or for those who missed their initial offer. HPV vaccinations are also offered to men who have sex with men aged up to and including 45-year-olds, through Specialist Sexual Health Services and/or HIV clinics. General practices (GPs) also offer HPV catch-up vaccinations for anyone eligible, until their 25th birthday.

Additionally, the Department, NHS England and the UK Health Security Agency deliver communication campaigns across GPs and universities to encourage people to get vaccinated. It is vitally important that everyone takes up the vaccinations to which they are entitled, for themselves, their families and wider society. Anyone unsure about their eligibility or vaccination status should contact their GP for advice.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
20th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of staffing levels at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency on (a) the time taken by the agency to conduct clinical studies and (b) patient access to clinical studies in each of the last three years.

The average response time for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to issue its initial written opinion following assessment of a clinical trial authorisation application in each of the last three years was 22.83 days for the financial year 2020/21; 27.45 days for the financial year 2021/22; and 45.94 days for the financial year 2022/23.

The extended timeline for financial year 2022/23 is the result of increased demand to process applications and respond to queries, in response to which the MHRA is increasing resources and improving processes in this area. Vacancies within the Clinical Trials Unit of the MHRA have been filled, including key leadership posts. The MHRA has also recruited seven new clinical trials assessors over the last 12 months and is currently prioritising their training. Moreover, the MHRA is supplementing new assessor capacity with an additional fixed-term resource of appropriately experienced and qualified specialists to support the training and supervision of new staff. The MHRA does not monitor patient access to clinical trials.

20th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of (a) staffing and (b) funding for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in the context of the agency’s new responsibilities under the Windsor Framework.

As part of the Spring Budget, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will receive £10 million of additional funding for the next two years. This is to support it to accelerate routes for bringing innovative medical products developed in the United Kingdom onto the market, as well as to support the establishment of an international recognition framework, allowing the MHRA to capitalise on the expertise and decision making of trusted regulatory partners. The Government is committed to supporting the MHRA to meet its statutory obligations.

20th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the numbers of patients participating in clinical trials; and what steps his Department plans to take to increase participation amongst diverse patient groups.

Recruitment of new participants into studies is an important measure of research activity taking place in the United Kingdom. This financial year, on average over 70,000 people are recruited per month.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has published a strategy to promote diversity and inclusion in research and clinical trials. The NIHR also published its first randomised controlled trials data report, showing that trial participant diversity is consistent with the 2011 census population.

The Government has appointed Lord James O’Shaughnessy to conduct an independent review into the UK commercial clinical trials landscape. His review will help us to find new ways to conduct commercial clinical trials that will speed up diagnosis, enhance treatment and enable the National Health Service to deliver world-class care.

14th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 10 March 2023 on Question 158778, for what reason the service specification for the school aged flu immunisation programme is not published; and if he will consider the potential merits of publishing this information.

The School Aged Immunisation Service (SAIS) specification covers all school age immunisations, including flu. It is a template for NHS England regional commissioners to commission SAIS providers that evolves in line with latest policy advice, for example, the addition of flu cohorts. Contracts are held between NHS England regions and SAIS providers and are varied to best meet local need. It is on these grounds NHS England does not publish the specification. This is in contrast to the general practitioner and community pharmacy flu service specifications, which are published as they are part of a national contract. However, each year the annual flu letter is published by the UK Health Security Agency and outlines which groups are eligible for a free vaccine as part of the National Health Service programme, including children.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2023 to Question 151418 on Influenza: Vaccination, for what reason the disclosure of the quantity of flu vaccinations is considered commercially sensitive.

The volume of flu vaccines procured by UK Health Security Agency test is commercially sensitive as it could potentially be used to determine the cost per unit of vaccines. The release of this information would therefore be detrimental in future negotiations with individual suppliers.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the impact on (a) uptake of vaccinations among eligible cohorts and (b) number of childhood influenza cases over the 2021-22 flu season in the context of the vaccine delivery completion deadline for the Childhood Influenza Vaccination Programme for 2021-22 moving from 15 December 2021 to the end of January 2022.

Overall low levels of influenza activity were seen in 2021 to 2022, with late season activity peaking in week 12 and week 14 of 2022, weeks beginning 20 March and 3 April, when hospital and critical care admissions peaked but at lower levels than seen in previous seasons. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) weekly surveillance reports is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-flu-and-covid-19-surveillance-reports-2021-to-2022-season

The UKHSA monthly influenza vaccine uptake data shows that the majority of children were vaccinated by end of December 2021 available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/statistics/seasonal-flu-vaccine-uptake-in-children-of-school-age-monthly-data-2021-to-2022

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the paper by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation, entitled Advice on influenza vaccines for 2023-24, published on 30 November 2022, whether it is his policy to take steps in line with the advice of the Joint Committee that flu vaccinations for secondary school children should be routine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation published advice on 30 November 2022 regarding the 2023/24 seasonal flu vaccination programme. The Government is considering this advice and details about which cohorts will be offered a free seasonal flu vaccine in England in 2023/24, and which vaccines they will be offered, will be set out in due course.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether NHS England plans to publish the service specification for childhood influenza vaccination as part of School Aged Immunisation Service activity for 2023-24.

Ahead of each flu season NHS England confirms the requirements for the seasonal flu programme with all relevant contracted providers. The service specification for the school aged flu immunisation programme is not published in the public domain.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
30th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that new ambulances are manufactured in the UK.

No such steps are being taken by the Department. The procurement of ambulances is an operational matter for the National Health Service.

12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 12 January 2023 to Question 117444 on Medicine: Education, for what reason his Department does not monitor the number of medical students currently training in the UK.

The Department monitors a number of points across the medical training pipeline for England. This includes, the numbers of applicants, acceptances and entrants. The Department also monitors those entering foundation training in the National Health Service following completion of medical degrees through statistics drawn from the Electronic Staff Record and published by NHS Digital.

However, there is not a single indicator that shows how many medical students are studying in the United Kingdom across all years and all medical schools at a given point in time. To obtain such information it would require each medical school across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to take on a significant and more detailed reporting burden. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own arrangements for managing their education and training pipelines.

However, the following table shows medical courses applicants, acceptances in England and entrants in the UK from 2011 to 2022.

Academic year

Unique applicants to undergraduate medical courses in England

Acceptances to undergraduate medical courses in England

Entrants to undergraduate medical courses in the United Kingdom

2011

21,825

6,090

N/A

2012

21,060

6,225

7,810

2013

21,430

5,915

7,560

2014

21,965

6,085

7,640

2015

19,820

6,095

7,515

2016

19,545

6,185

7,560

2017

18,520

6,175

7,765

2018

19,870

6,720

8,615

2019

21,585

7,660

9,450

2020

22,665

8,385

10,460

2021

27,460

8,610

10,540

2022

N/A

N/A

10,655

Source:

University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) end of cycle 2021 and Office for Students Medical Dental Students Survey (2012-2022), Office for Students

Note:

  1. The Office for Students (OfS), who report to Parliament through the Department of Education, publishes the number of entrants to undergraduate medical courses for the UK on an annual basis.
  2. 2022 entrants are based on initial figures and are likely to change.
9th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of firms providing agency labour to the NHS on (a) the amount of profit generated by those agencies, (b) trends in the level of health staff leaving NHS employment and joining those agencies and (c) dependence of the NHS on agency labour.

The Department does not collect data on the amount of profit generated by agencies supplying staff to the National Health Service nor the number of health staff leaving NHS employment to work for agencies. Data on agency staff is held by the employing agency and is not shared with NHS England. NHS England holds data for agency shifts in the NHS, including hours worked and cost.

The deployment of a temporary workforce is an important element of efficiently running the NHS, allowing the NHS to meet demand fluctuations without the need to increase capacity above that which would be required on a sustained basis. Staff can be drawn from internal staff banks or external agencies.

Our policy is to reduce the use of agency staff and to prioritise the use of in-house staff banks over agency use.  The introduction of the Agency Rules in 2016 helped to reduce agency spend by around £1.2 billion, from a peak of £3.6 billion in 2015/16 to £2.4 billion at the end of 2020/21. Total agency spend as a percentage of total wage bill decreased from 7.9% in 2015/16 to 3.7% in 2020/21. Reducing the use of agency staff must be balanced with providing safe care to patients. Trusts are able to use temporary staffing to respond to situations where they do not have sufficient staff numbers. NHS England has re-established measures in September 2022 to control agency expenditure, including a system agency expenditure limit.

6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many medical students are studying in the UK.

The information requested is not held centrally.

6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, where flu vaccines in use by the NHS during winter 2022-23 were manufactured.

The information requested is not collected centrally. Adult flu vaccines are purchased locally by individual general practitioner practices and community pharmacies.

Children’s flu vaccines are manufactured by AstraZeneca. The manufacture of the AstraZeneca UK Ltd Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV) Fluenz Tetra, takes place across the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many prescriptions for cannabis-based medicines have been issued since those prescriptions became legal.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is unable to provide the number of National Health Service prescription items for unlicensed cannabis-based medicines dispensed in the community in England. This information is being withheld in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), due to the number of items attributed to fewer than five patients and the elevated risk of potential patient identifiable information.

However, the following table shows NHS and private prescribing data for the number of items prescribed for licensed and unlicensed cannabis based medicines dispensed in the community in England.

Type of prescribing

Time period

Number of items

NHS prescribing licensed medicines

November 2018 to October 2022

11,976

Private prescribing licensed medicines

November 2018 to October 2022

140

Private prescribing unlicensed medicines

November 2018 to July 2022

89,239

6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help reduce the cost of the charge to the NHS for antibiotics.

The Government relies on competition to drive down prices of generic medicines such as antibiotics. This has led to some of the lowest prices in Europe. Freedom of pricing enables supplies to put prices up quickly to ensure we maintain continuity of supply despite increasing prices within the global market. In secondary care, tendering for antibiotics on a frequent basis ensures best value and supply resilience is optimised.

No supplier should use the current situation as an opportunity to exploit the National Health Service. Where companies are found to be abusing their dominant position by charging excessive and unfair prices, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) can take action against businesses and individuals engaged in anti-competitive conduct. The CMA is working to establish the facts of what is currently happening in the antibiotic market. They stand ready to take action if there is evidence of anti-competitive behaviour that breaks the law.

26th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to his answer of 22 September 2022 to Question 45706 on Fungi: Infectious Diseases, and with reference to the World Health Organisation's fungal priority pathogens list to guide research, development and public health action of 25 October, if he will make his policy to increase funding for research in this area.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is supporting the ‘UK 5-year action plan for antimicrobial resistance 2019 to 2024’, which commits to undertake research on antifungal resistance. In the last five years, the NIHR has invested more than £6 million in research into fungal infection and anti-microbial resistance is a priority for future research. However, it is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions. The Department works with other Government departments and funding agencies as well as the World Health Organization on the approach to antifungal resistance.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of the provision of local retention initiatives in the Black Country Integrated Care System area.

No specific assessment has been made. However, the NHS People Plan sets out a range of actions to improve staff retention through strengthening measures to address health and wellbeing, equality and diversity, culture and leadership and flexible working. NHS England also support systems to develop tailored health and wellbeing offers to meet the needs of the local workforce. This includes the mental health hubs in each integrated care system (ICS) and occupational health services which are being supported through the Growing Occupational Health and Wellbeing programme.

The Black Country ICS is implementing national retention initiatives in addition to a dedicated pensions portal and collaboration with organisations such as Timewise to support flexible working within clinical areas. Targeted assessments of the general practitioner workforce are made and reported via a monthly partnership board.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding was allocated to Black Country integrated care system to support GP retention in 2022-23; and how much was spent in 2021-22.

The Black Country Integrated Care System received £711,000 in 2021/22 for local general practitioner retention initiatives and new to practice fellowships. Its indicative allocation for 2022/23 is £1.176 million, which includes funding for retention initiatives and fellowships.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to improve GP retention in the Black Country ICS area.

We are working with NHS England, Health Education England and the profession to increase the general practice workforce in England, including in the Black Country Integrated Care System area. This includes measures to improve recruitment, address the reasons why doctors leave the profession and encourage them to return to practice.

The updated GP Contract Framework announced a number of new schemes, alongside continued support for existing recruitment and retention schemes for the general practice workforce. This includes the GP Retention Scheme, the GP Retention Fund, the National GP Induction and Refresher, the Locum Support Scheme, the New to Partnership Payment and the Supporting Mentors Scheme.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many GPs who had been previously working in Black Country Integrated Care System area have left the profession over the last three years.

This information is not collected in the format requested.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential risks posed by treatment resistant fungal infections.

Misuse and overuse of antimicrobials, such as fungal agents, is a factor in the development of drug-resistant pathogens. NHS England’s national pharmacy and prescribing clinical lead is supported by seven regional antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) leads. These AMS leads collaborate with regional National Health Service stakeholders and partner organisations, including infection prevention and control, patient safety, diagnostics and sepsis teams, the Department, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Health Education England and the Care Quality Commission, to contribute to multi-professional endeavours to mitigate the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

NHS England’s AMR diagnostics team advise that high-level research has been undertaken to understand the need for optimal fungal diagnostics and resistance testing. This has highlighted opportunities for improvement in data collection regarding the use of diagnostics, surveillance and consistent access to diagnostics.

The UKHSA reports on antifungal resistance against systemic antifungals utilised in the treatment of candidaemia, in the English Surveillance Programme for Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance report. Resistance to the key antifungals, amphotericin B, caspofungin and fluconazole, appears to have been decreasing in all Candida species. Fluconazole resistance decreased from 8.2% of Candida blood isolates tested in 2016 to 3.2% in 2020. Resistance to amphotericin B and caspofungin decreased slightly from 2016 to 2020, by 1.3% to 1.1%, and 3.4% to 3.3% respectively.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an estimate of the number of (a) patients admitted to hospital and (b) patients receiving medical treatment following a fungal infection in each of the last 3 years.

This information is not held in the format requested. However, the following table shows the number of person IDs with a primary diagnosis of fungal infection and finished admission episodes (FAEs) and finished consultant episodes (FCEs) where a main procedure took place in 2019/20 and 2020/21 in English National Health Service hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector.

Year

Number of person IDs with a primary diagnosis

Number of person IDs with a primary diagnosis with a procedure

2019/20

7,638

5,483

2020/21

5,224

3,674

Source: NHS Digital

Notes:

  1. Person IDs. The Master Person Service (MPS) person identifier. This is a unique identifier for each individual patient, generated via the MPS. This identifier replaces the HESID field and allows an individual’s care to be tracked across years and continuous periods to be identified.
  2. Primary Diagnosis. The primary diagnosis is the first of up to 20 (14 from 2002/03 to 2006/07 and seven prior to 2002/03) diagnosis fields in the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data set and provides the main reason why the patient was admitted to hospital.
  3. ICD-10 coding and description. The following ICD-10 codes are indexed under the term ‘fungal infection’:

- B49.X Unspecified mycosis

- B20.5 HIV disease resulting in other mycoses

- B35.0 Tinea barbae and tinea capitis

- B35.1 Tinea unguium

- B35.2 Tinea manuum

- B35.3 Tinea pedis

- B35.6 Tinea cruris

- B36.9 Superficial mycosis, unspecified

- B48.7 Opportunistic mycoses

Research indicates that fungal infections are also known as mycosis, therefore the ICD-10 block B35-B49 Mycoses may be pertinent and has also been included in the data. It should be noted that there may be other codes within the ICD-10 classification which maybe applicable to the condition.

  1. A FAE is the first period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. FAEs are counted against the year or month in which the admission episode finishes. Admissions do not represent the number of patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the period.
  2. A FCE is a continuous period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. FCEs are counted against the year in which it ends. Figures do not represent the number of different patients, as a person may have more than one episode of care within the same stay in hospital or in different stays in the same year.
  3. Main procedure. The first recorded procedure or intervention in each episode, usually the most resource intensive procedure or intervention performed during the episode. It is appropriate to use main procedure when looking at admission details, for example, time waited, while a more complete count of episodes with a particular procedure is obtained by looking at the main and the secondary procedures. It should be noted that some patients are treated for a fungal infection condition during an outpatient appointment. However, diagnoses are extremely seldom recorded in outpatient records, therefore it is not possible to provide useful data from the outpatient data set.
  4. HES figures are available from 1989/90 onwards. Changes to the figures over time should be interpreted in the context of improvements in data quality and coverage particularly in earlier years, improvements in coverage of independent sector activity (particularly from 2006-07) and changes in NHS practice. For example, apparent reductions in activity may be due to a number of procedures which may now be undertaken in outpatient settings and so no longer include in admitted patient HES data. Conversely, apparent increases in activity may be due to improved recording of diagnosis or procedure information.

Data is also held on total systemic antifungal prescribing in NHS hospital trusts recorded as defined daily doses (DDDs) per 1,000 admissions per day in 2020. The total consumption of antifungals in NHS acute trusts in 2020 was 0.63 DDDs per 1,000 admissions per day. This is a 21% increase in the rate of prescribing from 2019. The collection of the NHS England’s antifungal commissioning for quality and innovation data was interrupted by COVID-19.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the current level of funding for research into fungal infections is; and what the projected budget for such research is for the next five years.

The Department’s National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including fungal infection research. However, it is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. In the last five years, the NIHR has invested more than £6 million in research into fungal infection.

14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the report by Panorama that Operose Health have used less qualified staff to consult with patients without supervision.

Physician associates (PAs) are not a substitute for a general practitioner. The use of PAs in primary care is detailed in the Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service, which describes the role and the tasks a PA funded by the Additional Role Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) would be expected to undertake. It also references the expectation of the supervision of PAs. NHS England and NHS Improvement have committed to review the ARRS by the end of 2023.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what was the cost of personal protective equipment purchased by the NHS in 2021; and how much and what proportion of that equipment was manufactured in the UK.

The vast majority of personal protective equipment was supplied under contracts agreed in 2020, with deliveries into 2021 and 2022. Payments authorised in 2021 show a total of 1.36 billion items at a purchase price of £795 million. Of those, 846 million items or 62% were supplied by United Kingdom manufacturers at a purchase price of £704 million.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to prevent imports of medical goods and personal protective equipment produced by forced labour.

The Department published its Modern Slavery statement in October 2021 which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-health-and-social-care/about/modern-slavery-statement

Contracts are normally placed in line with Departmental terms and conditions which include clauses requiring Good Industry Practice to ensure that there is no slavery or human trafficking in supply chains. Suppliers appointed to NHS Supply Chain framework contracts, which provide the majority of medical goods and services to the National Health Service, must comply with the Labour Standards Assurance System or they can be removed from consideration for future procurement.

The Department was aware that the direct, urgent sourcing and purchasing of personal protective equipment in 2020 involved higher risks in ethical and business practices and had a number of mitigations in place. The Department of Health and Social Care engaged with NHS Supply Chain, the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office regarding modern slavery concerns in awarding contracts. Additional training and guidance was distributed to strengthen buying professionals’ knowledge of modern slavery risks specific to the pandemic.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on 11 November 2020, Official Report, column 1022, regarding the production of PPE in the UK, what was the percentage of PPE produced in the UK in the most recent month for which figures are available.

This information is not available in the format requested. However, of 36.4 billion items ordered by 6 December 2021, 3.9 billion were ordered from United Kingdom manufacturers.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Warley dated 13 May 2021 on Mr Ahmed and test and trace.

We replied to the hon. Member on 9 August 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure adequate standards of (a) food, (b) cleanliness and (c) safety in covid-19 quarantine hotels.

Hotels providing managed quarantine facilities can meet the vast majority of dietary requirements and must provide guests with three meals a day. Enhanced cleaning regimes take place throughout the hotel and guests are provided with their own cleaning equipment for their rooms. The Department has ensured that vulnerable people in quarantine hotels are signposted to the appropriate support and safeguarding procedures are followed where appropriate. All hotels have a security presence and access to an onsite medic 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Department engages with hotels and service providers on a regular basis to monitor the quality and effectiveness of the services provided.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the value is of personal protective equipment purchased by the NHS in 2021 to date; and how much of that equipment was manufactured in the UK.

In financial year 2021/22, the total spend on personal protective equipment (PPE) to date is £330.5million. Of this, spend on PPE manufactured in the United Kingdom totals £96.2M.

The Department created the dedicated UK Make programme to increase domestic production. UK Make contracted with manufacturers in the UK able to mobilise and produce PPE for the frontline. However, not all UK-based manufacturers which provided PPE to healthcare settings were part of this programme.

The PPE programme raised contracts with 31 UK manufacturers and those contracts were all contracted by July 2020. We continue to receive goods purchased under those contracts and by 1 December 2020 inbound supply of UK manufactured PPE was sufficient to meet 82% of demand for PPE over the peak pandemic period of December to February, across all items except gloves.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what value of personal protective equipment the NHS has purchased in 2021 to date; and how much of that equipment was manufactured in the UK.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer named day Question 154739 tabled on 15 February 2021 by the hon. Member for Warley.

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

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

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18 March 2021 to Question 166312 on Syringes, what proportion of the syringes procured were produced in the UK.

None of the combined needles and syringes associated with COVID-19 vaccine administration procured by Public Health England were produced in the United Kingdom.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that there are (a) adequate and (b) secure supplies of syringes to the NHS.

The number of needles and syringes procured by Public Health England (PHE) for use with COVID-19 vaccine was consistent with administering two doses of vaccine to the United Kingdom population with an allowance for wastage. Subsequently there has been a further increase with additional vaccine availability. PHE is now procuring additional 250 million syringes associated with possible future COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he taking to encourage the production of high grade personal protective masks in the UK.

In April 2020, Lord Deighton was appointed to spearhead Make UK and increase manufacturing of personal protective equipment (PPE) from United Kingdom-based companies.

We have established UK manufacturing across all product categories except gloves and body bags, establishing our domestic supply base in a way that will build resilience in UK supply chains in the future. We now have four Make UK providers manufacturing FFP3 facemasks in the UK.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department was consulted before the takeover of Operose by Centene corporation.

The ownership of organisations independent of the National Health Service is not a matter for the Department.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's policy is on the takeover of General Practice surgeries by overseas companies.

General practitioner practices in England are commissioned by clinical commissioning groups, through delegated responsibility from NHS England and NHS Improvement to provide primary medical services under either a General Medical Services contract, a Personal Medical Services agreement or an Alternative Provider Medical Services contract. Legislation sets out which individuals and companies are eligible to hold these contracts.

Eligibility varies slightly between contract type but there is no distinction in the eligibility criteria between companies registered in the United Kingdom and those registered overseas.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what restrictions he will put on support to the care sector to ensure it does not benefit (a) companies located in tax havens and (b) people who have loaded companies with excessive debt or extracted excessive dividends.

Funding provided for adult social care to support the pandemic response has conditions attached to ensure they are used for their intended purpose, including reporting on use. If the Department finds evidence of grants being misused, we will recover the funding in accordance with those conditions.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason a volunteer covid-19 vaccinator is required to have two A-levels.

There is no specific requirement for a volunteer COVID-19 vaccinator to have two A-levels. Prospective volunteer COVID-19 vaccinators will have a competency assessment to ensure they can safely administer vaccines to patients under the clinical supervision of an experienced health care professional, and they will undergo relevant clinical training and supervision, put together by NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many doses of influenza vaccine his Department purchased in (a) 2019 and (b) 2020.

The Department has procured over eight million additional doses of seasonal flu vaccine this season, so that we can increase uptake in existing groups and extend the programme to all those over 50 years and household contacts of those who are on the National Health Service Shielding Patient list.

In 2019, the Department centrally procured 400,000 flu vaccines, in addition to those ordered locally by general practitioners and pharmacies, to provide security to vaccine supply chains.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to issue guidance on vaping in public places.

There are no current plans to issue further guidance on vaping in public places.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many nurses are on the temporary register created by the Nursing and Midwifery Council; and how many of those nurses have been employed to date.

As of 4 January 2021, there are 11,983 nurses on the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s COVID-19 emergency register. Data on the numbers of those on the temporary register who are employed is not collected centrally.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what research his Department has undertaken to enable the early detection of superspreaders of covid-19.

The Department commissions research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

The NIHR and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have partnered to fund a comprehensive programme of research on COVID-19 to understand, prevent, treat and manage COVID-19. As part of this, there is no specific research commissioned on early detection of super spreaders of COVID-19.

The NIHR and UKRI are, however, funding relevant work looking at the transmission and epidemiology of the disease such as the Virus Watch study which is looking at household transmission; and the TraCK study looking at transmission between children, and between children and adults.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason what (a) Birmingham and (b) Sandwell are excluded from the first wave of covid-19 vaccinations.

Initially there was a complex and difficult logistical challenge to deliver from the manufacturers Pfizer and it was important that hospital hubs were fully prepared with the appropriate plans in place to administer that vaccine. The first phase of delivery went to 50 hospital hubs across the United Kingdom, which is just one part of the range of vaccination services which will cover the entire country.

Due in part to the recent authorisation of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, this capacity has now increased. Alongside University Hospitals Birmingham, 29 other hospital hubs in the region are administering vaccinations, as well as 148 local vaccination services across the Midlands, including 20 in Birmingham and Solihull. Millennium Point in Birmingham also began administering vaccines on 11 January 2021 meaning a greater proportion of the at-risk population in the Midlands will have access to the vaccines.

23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) advice and (b) evidence informed his decision to propose a 10 pm curfew on hospitality venues.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies highlighted that alcohol consumption may increase risk of non-compliance with social distancing and that gatherings in hospitality are higher risk of transmission. This was highlighted also in Public Health England’s Weekly Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) surveillance report which stated 13% of positive COVID-19 cases reported eating out in the time before symptom onset, when there is a high risk of transmission. The report is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/923668/Weekly_COVID19_Surveillance_Report_week_40.pdf

2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's updated estimate is of the number of daily new covid-19 cases during the peak week in March 2020.

The following table shows the estimated number of new COVID-19 infections each day between 20 March and 26 March 2020, which is considered to be the peak of the epidemic in England.

Estimated number of COVID-19 cases between 20 March and 26 March 2020 in England, shown in thousands

Date

Upper Confidence Interval

Median

Lower Confidence Interval

20 March 2020

292

219

180

21 March 2020

361

272

223

22 March 2020

443

335

275

23 March 2020

542

412

338

24 March 2020

399

305

252

25 March 2020

205

153

124

26 March 2020

233

176

144

Notes:

  1. Source: Latest Report on Nowcasting and Forecasting – 12 October 2020, available to view at the following link:

https://www.mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk/tackling-covid-19/nowcasting-and-forecasting-of-covid-19/

  1. Note that modelled estimates of daily incidence are liable to change as data accrue.
Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which hospital laboratories in the West Midlands have been commissioned by NHS Test and Trace to process covid-19 samples.

Processing of COVID-19 samples has taken place in laboratories belonging to the following National Health Service trusts in the West Midlands:

- Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust;

- Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust;

- Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust;

- The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust;

- The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust;

- University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust;

- University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust;

- Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust;

- Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust; and

- Wye Valley NHS Trust.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which university and college laboratories in the West Midlands have been commissioned by NHS Test and Trace to process covid-19 samples.

In the West Midlands, the University of Birmingham has joined the effort in increasing capacity to over 500,000 tests a day.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of supplies of reagents for covid-19 testing; and what steps he is taking to secure supplies of those reagents.

Thanks to our world-leading scientists and clinicians, we have now been able to fast-track a new biological reagent to help the United Kingdom and countries across the globe carry out even more tests and develop ever more accurate ways of diagnosing the virus.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps is he taking to ensure adequate refrigeration capacity for a vaccination programme to tackle covid-19.

National preparations for storage of COVID-19 vaccines at the required temperatures are being made by Public Health England to support a national COVID-19 vaccination programme. This includes both the central storage of vaccines and distribution capability across the United Kingdom to the National Health Service.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to ensure that appropriate freezer and refrigeration capacity is in place to maintain the required cold-chain for COVID-19 vaccination deployment across England. NHS England and NHS Improvement are using the latest available COVID-19 vaccination characteristic and supply information to model the required capacity and working with suppliers to secure additional freezer and fridge as needed. NHS England and NHS Improvement have taken early steps, and are continuing to work to secure these resources, recognising the likely global competing demand for items.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many cases of acute respiratory infections which resulted in at least one positive test for covid-19 there were in the most recent week for which figures are available; and what proportion of those cases occurred in (a) care homes, (b) the workplace, (c) education settings and (d) pubs and food outlets.

Public Health England publishes the number of acute respiratory infections reported each week in the national COVID-19 surveillance reports.

729 new incidents of acute respiratory infection were reported in week 37 (Week commencing 7 August 2020).

Of these, 313 incidents were from care homes where 228 had at least one linked case that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2; 110 incidents were from workplace settings where 92 had at least one linked case that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2; 193 incidents were from educational settings where 110 had at least one linked case that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2; 34 incidents were from food outlet/restaurant settings where 25 had at least one linked case that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2; four incidents were from prisons where three had at least one linked case that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2; 18 incidents were from hospitals where 13 had at least one linked case that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2; and 57 incidents were from other settings where 39 had at least one linked case that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

The most recent weekly COVID-19 surveillance report can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-covid-19-surveillance-reports

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the correspondence of 17 June 2020 from the hon. Member for Warley on his constituent Sally Taylor.

The Department replied to the Rt hon. Member’s letter on 23 September 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much laboratory testing capacity in industry he has secured for covid-19 testing.

Testing capacity is published on GOV.UK but is not broken down by sector. On 4 November 2020, testing capacity was 521,016.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what laboratory capacity in universities and colleges he has secured for covid-19 testing.

We do not publish data on individual laboratory capacities. We have six Lighthouse Laboratories operating with a range of partners across the United Kingdom at Milton Keynes, Alderley Park, Glasgow, Cambridge, Newport and Charnwood. We have additional Lighthouse Laboratories in Newcastle, Brant’s Bridge and Plymouth opening over the coming months.

In addition to the growing Lighthouse Laboratory network, there are partnership agreements with the public, private and academic sectors. This includes Antrim Laboratory in Northern Ireland, and partner laboratories at Birmingham University, Imperial College London, Queen Mary University of London, Kings Health Partners and a partnership between Health Services Laboratories and University College London.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much his Department has budgeted for the 2020-21 flu vaccination campaign; how many doses have been ordered; and from (a) which companies and (b) where the vaccines will be produced.

Public Health England’s media spend for the 2020 - 2021 influenza vaccination campaign budget is £4.15 million. The Department has agreed to procure 7.65 million additional doses of seasonal flu vaccine to date and continues to work with suppliers to increase the size of this additional stock. This is in addition to the stock that general practitioners and pharmacists have ordered directly from manufacturers for the adult programme.

The contracts for the additional vaccine are with Aventis Pharma Limited (T/A Sanofi), Mylan UK Healthcare Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline UK Ltd and Seqirus UK Ltd.

Production of the vaccine will include a number of processes. Some aspects include processing in the United Kingdom and some overseas.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps is his Department taking to prevent the NHS being overcharged for off-patent drugs.

The costs of branded medicines, whether they have patents on them or not, are controlled by the 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access and the statutory scheme for branded medicines.

For unbranded generic medicines the Department relies on competition to keep prices down. This has led to some of the lowest prices in Europe and allows prices to react to the market. In an international market this ensures that when demand is high and supply is low, prices in the United Kingdom can increase to help secure the availability of medicines for UK patients. Concerns about potential drug pricing abuses are a matter for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Where it has concern about the price of a generic medicines, the Department asks the CMA to investigate that price. The CMA has several ongoing investigations into excessive prices of generic medicines.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to incentivise companies to use their manufacturing facilities to produce personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with 8 manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks. Details of this work can be found at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons there is a shortage of contraceptive drugs; what steps his Department is taking to tackle that shortage; and what lessons his Department has learnt to prevent a shortage of contraceptive drugs in the future.

We are aware of manufacturing problems affecting supply of a limited number of contraceptive preparations. Most contraceptive medicines and products remain available, including alternatives to those experiencing supply issues.

We have been working closely with affected suppliers of contraceptive medicines to maintain overall supply to patients and have provided regular updates about the supply issues and management advice to the National Health Service.

We understand the importance of maintaining access to contraceptives medicines to people in this country and are working with all relevant stakeholders to resolve the supply issues as soon as possible. We will continue to monitor the supply situation closely and to work with all suppliers to put contingency measures in place to ensure a continued supply of these products.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the agreement between Somaliland and Ethiopia to provide port access.

The FCDO noted the 1 January 2024 announcement of a Memorandum of Understanding between Ethiopia and Somaliland, which suggests that Ethiopia will recognise Somaliland's independence in return for the lease of territory along its coastline. The UK is clear that we respect Somalia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Our position on Somaliland remains unchanged: alongside our international partners we do not recognise Somaliland as an independent state. We believe the settlement of Somaliland's status is for Somalia and Somaliland to resolve, through a consultative process. We are engaging all countries involved to call for calm and encourage dialogue.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
28th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, pursuant to the Answer of 23 November 2023 to Question 1785 on Jagtar Singh Johal, whether the Minister of State for South Asia and the Indian External Affairs Minister discussed when the Indian authorities plan to decide whether to charge or release Jagtar Singh Johal.

Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, has raised Jagtar Singh Johal's case with the Government of India on numerous occasions. He did so most recently on 13 November with the Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. Lord Ahmad raised our concerns about Mr Johal's case, including the length of his detention and the need for a resolution. The UK Government will continue to raise our concerns about Mr Johal's case with the Government of India.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had discussions with his Canadian counterparts on the potential implications for (a) the UK and (b) its Sikh residents of the statement by the Canadian Government on the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

The Prime Minster spoke to Prime Minister Trudeau on 6 October about the serious allegations raised in the Canadian Parliament and the Foreign Secretary is in regular contact with his Canadian counterpart. All countries should respect sovereignty and the rule of law. It is important Canada's investigation runs its course, with the perpetrators brought to justice. We have raised this matter with the Government of India and we encourage them to cooperate fully with the investigation.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when his Department last made representations to the government of India on the case of Jagtar Singh Johal.

The UK Government has consistently raised issues about Mr Johal's case with the Government of India on over 100 occasions, including allegations of torture and his right to a fair trial. Mr Johal's case was raised most recently by the Foreign Secretary with the Indian External Affairs Minister, Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, in Delhi on 1 March. Consular staff visit Mr Johal regularly to check on his welfare and did so most recently on 7 March. Consular staff also continue to attend relevant court hearings in an observer capacity, most recently on 10 March.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the need to apply Magnitsky sanctions against Salar Abnoush.

The UK has over 200 sanctions designations in place against Iran in relation to human rights, nuclear proliferation and terrorism. On 10 October, the UK used the dedicated Iran Human Rights sanctions regime to designate the so-called Morality Police, two of its leaders and five others for serious human rights violations. This brings the total to 85 individuals and two entities sanctioned under that regime. It is longstanding practice not to speculate on future sanctions designations, as to do so could reduce the impact of the designations. A full list is available on the UK Sanctions List.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-sanctions-on-iran-relating-to-human-rights

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential threat to regional stability posed by the time being taken to reach agreement on the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

We welcome the resumption of talks between the Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt to work towards a peaceful resolution. We continue to urge all parties involved to come to an agreement and to avoid taking any unilateral action. The whole region has a shared interest in the peaceful utilization of its natural resources.

We note the recent talks held on the 4-5 April hosted by African Union (AU) Chairperson President Tshisekedi did not reach a conclusion and urge all parties to redouble efforts to reach an agreement, via the AU-led process.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when his Department plans to respond to the letters of 3 February 2021 and 13 August 2020 from the hon. Member for Warley on the report into the content of Palestinian Authority school textbooks.

A response was sent on 15 April 2021.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with new US Administration on advancing trade union rights in international fora and agreements.

The UK Government supports the promotion of the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) fundamental principles and rights at work in Free Trade Agreements, which includes freedom of association, and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining. We continue to be active members of the ILO, and maintain our own high levels of employment rights. To date, the UK Government has not raised the issue of Trade Union rights in international fora with the new US Administration.

7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his international partners on the imposition of new sanctions on Belarussian officials.

The UK has been at the forefront of international efforts to impose sanctions in response to the human rights violations and fraudulent election in Belarus. With Canada, we imposed sanctions against Lukashenko and his inner circle on 29 September.

The UK welcomed the announcement by the EU and the US on 2 October of further sanctions on Belarus. EU sanctions will continue to apply to the UK during the Transition Period and we will carry over the EU Belarus sanctions regime as an autonomous UK sanctions regime at the end of the Transition Period. We encourage our global partners to join the UK, Canada and US in sanctioning the leadership responsible for the ongoing crisis in Belarus.

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans his Department has made to support (a) effective refrigeration capacity and (b) refrigerated transport to enable other countries to operate effective vaccine programmes against covid-19.

The UK is committed to supporting rapid and equitable access to safe and effective vaccines. A multilateral response is needed to deliver effective vaccines at the speed and global scale needed to end the pandemic. FCDO is working with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF, and the World Health Organisation to ensure that countries have support to plan and prepare for vaccine introduction, including potential refrigeration needs for supply chains. These will be dependent on the characteristics of any successful COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The UK is leading international efforts to mobilise funding to support vaccine procurement and delivery for low and middle-income countries, including through a commitment of £48 million to the Gavi-managed COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC).

2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 27 May 2020 to Question 48267 on Trade Unions: Coronavirus, what specific steps his Department has taken to monitor abuse of trade union rights worldwide; and what steps he has taken to help tackle that abuse.

I refer the Honourable Member to my answer of 27 May to Question 48267. The UK Government remains committed to standing up for human rights and supports all efforts by the UN to minimise long-term damage to global economies, societies, politics and freedoms.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what his policy is on the return to the UK of people with leave to remain in the UK.

Our objective remains to bring home British travellers who want to return to the UK, as soon as possible. From the outset, our priority for the charter flight programme has been getting British travellers home. But after we launched the charter flight programme, it became clear that there were people with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) who normally reside in the UK and wanted to get back, particularly in India and Pakistan. Where possible, we are working to help vulnerable UK residents with ILR provided that they have lived in the UK within the last year. This is beyond the scope of our standard consular assistance, where such assistance is usually just for British nationals, but these are exceptional times.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, for what reason the House procured mouse mats made in Italy for distribution to Members; and whether UK manufacturers were invited to tender for that contract.

The Digital Service requested the procurement of 2000 cyber-security mouse mats in late February/early March. These were posted to Members along with an information booklet on working safely from home. Efforts have been made to make the procurement of such merchandise more sustainable and ‘locally’ produced wherever possible. Over the course of the cyber security campaigns, the majority of our budget has gone towards UK-based procurement.

The cyber-security mouse mats were procured under Lot 2 Promotional category of the Print Framework FWK1120. A mini tender took place within the Promotional category for this job and was awarded to the supplier which best met the customer’s requirements. All our awarded promotional suppliers under this Lot are UK based but they can subcontract under the terms and conditions using verified and trusted sub-contractors. Their subcontractors are not limited to being just UK based and the materials and items can be imported substrates or manufactured abroad at its entirety. Our Promotional suppliers use and have a mix of both UK and overseas subcontractors. Under the terms of the UK Procurement Regulations 2015, it is of course unlawful to discriminate positively in favour of UK suppliers.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help the Overseas Territories maintain access to education during the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK Government is firmly committed to supporting the Overseas Territories (OTs) in dealing with Covid-19. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development are leading a cross Whitehall effort, working closely with the Governments of the permanently inhabited Overseas Territories, and the Minister for the Overseas Territories and Sustainable Development is in regular contact with the political leaders and Governors of the Territories to ensure support meets the individual needs of each OT.

Education is, constitutionally, the responsibility of the locally elected Territory Governments, but the UK Government is committed to supporting the Territories to handle the impact of the pandemic, including maintaining access to education.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support the Government of Montserrat on maintaining access to education during the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK Government is firmly committed to supporting Montserrat and all of the Overseas Territories (OTs) in dealing with Covid-19. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development are leading a cross Whitehall effort, working closely with the Governments of the permanently inhabited Overseas Territories, and the Minister for the Overseas Territories and Sustainable Development is in regular contact with the political leaders and Governors of the Territories to ensure support meets the individual needs of each OT.

Education is, constitutionally, the responsibility of the locally elected Territory Governments, but the UK Government is committed to supporting the Territories to handle the impact of the pandemic, including maintaining access to education. On Montserrat, all schools have been closed until 9th June and DFID has assisted the Government of Montserrat to ensure children from vulnerable backgrounds, particularly those undertaking examinations, are able to access remote learning services

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 20 May 2020 to Question 47178 on Caribbean: Coronavirus, when the next flight is scheduled to repatriate people from Jamaica to the UK as a result of the covid-19 pandemic; and whether people with leave to remain in the UK will be able to board that flight.

The welfare of British nationals remains our top priority, and we remain committed to ensuring that British travellers around the globe are able to return home. The UK Government is working closely with airlines, local authorities and governments in the Caribbean region to help British travellers return to the UK as part of the plan announced by the Foreign Secretary on 30 March - with up to £75 million available for special charter flights from priority countries, focused on helping the most vulnerable travellers. Prior to 7 May the British High Commission in Kingston assisted over 4000 British travellers and their dependants to return home on commercial flights. A special Government charter flight returned over 200 people to the UK on 7 May.

We are aware that there are still British travellers remaining overseas in the Caribbean region, including Jamaica. Our effort is focused on supporting their return as quickly and safely as possible. We are therefore operating a further special charter flight from Jamaica to the UK, departing Kingston on 3 June and a final flight on 8 June. Details of how to book are available on our Travel Advice for Jamaica. We are seeking to help vulnerable people with ILR wherever possible, provided that they have lived in the UK within the last year.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to monitor abuse of trade union rights during the worldwide economic downturn.

The UK is aware of and concerned by reports of measures taken by some countries in response to the Coronavirus outbreak that may unduly restrict human rights or have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable or marginalised groups. All States must ensure they respect their human rights obligations in responding to Coronavirus. Through our international engagement, we have made clear that any actions taken which may restrict certain human rights, for example freedom of assembly or association, must be lawful, non-discriminatory, targeted, time-limited, and subject to regular review to ensure they remain strictly necessary as a response to Coronavirus. The UK Government remains committed to standing up for human rights and supports all efforts by the UN to minimise long-term damage to global economies, societies, politics and freedoms.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many people (a) applied for and (b) were given a seat on the special flight from Kingston, Jamaica to London on 7 May 2020 organised in response to the covid-19 pandemic; what estimate he has made of the number of people still seeking to return to the UK from that country; and what steps are being taken to facilitate the return of people to the UK from that country.

Over 200 people travelled on the special flight out of Jamaica on 8 May. It is difficult to be precise on the number of people who register for flights because there have been instances of multiple registrations by the same individual, people not reporting their return to the UK via other means, and long term residents registering for flights even though they were not eligible. Limited indirect commercial flights are currently the only options available in Jamaica for travel to the UK. The Government remains focused on supporting the remaining British travellers in Jamaica. We continue to look at ways to assist British travellers who wish to return to the UK, so that we can support them to get home as quickly and safely as possible. Prior to 7 May, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office assisted over 4,000 people who were short term visitors to Jamaica to return home to the UK on commercial flights.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many people are registered with his Department as awaiting repatriation from the West Indies as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The welfare of British nationals remains our top priority, and we remain committed to ensuring that British travellers around the globe are able to return home. The UK Government is working closely with airlines, local authorities and governments in the Caribbean region to help British travellers return to the UK as part of the plan announced by the Foreign Secretary on 30 March - with up to £75 million available for special charter flights from priority countries, focused on helping the most vulnerable travellers. Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff have worked round the clock to bring back more than 300 people from Jamaica and Guyana on charter flights on 8 May. We have supported over 11,000 people to return home from the Caribbean via commercial means, and Post's priority remains to continue providing advice and assistance to British nationals in-country.

We are aware that there are British travellers remaining overseas in the Caribbean region and our effort is focused on supporting their return as quickly and safely as possible. British travellers wishing to return to the UK have been actively encouraged to register with their nearest High Commission or Embassy as well as to check travel advice for updates regularly. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice. It is difficult to be precise about the numbers because there have been instances of multiple registrations by the same individual, people not reporting their return to the UK via other means, and British Nationals resident overseas registering for flights even though many were not eligible.

6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when his Department last made representations to the Indian Government on the case of Jagtar Singh Johal.

We regularly make representations on Mr Johal's case to the Government of India. On 29 April, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State for South Asia, raised Mr Johal's case with the Indian High Commissioner to the UK. On 30 April, the Minister also wrote to the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs regarding Mr Johal's case.

29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many charter flights have been arranged by his Department to deal with repatriation to the UK to date; how many passengers have been carried; and which companies have provided the aircraft and crew for those flights.

As of 30 April, we have brought back more than 21,000 people on 102 flights organised by the Foreign Office from 21 different countries and territories. We have worked with the following airlines to provide these flights: British Airways, Biman, Cathay Pacific, EgyptAir, LATAM, PAL, Qatar Airways, Titan, TUI, Virgin Atlantic, Viva, Vueling.

We are aware that there are tens of thousands of British nationals remaining overseas and our effort is focused on supporting their return as quickly and safely as possible. We will continue to work to bring British nationals back to the UK where commercial options do not exist, focusing on the most vulnerable. We are still working through future plans, identifying where needs are greatest, and where charter flights will have the greatest impact on vulnerable British nationals overseas.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, for what reason his Department has not used RAF Voyager aircraft to repatriate British nationals during the covid-19 outbreak.

At the start of April, an RAF Voyager, returning from the Falklands as part of the South Atlantic Airbridge, repatriated a number of British nationals who had been stranded in Senegal. They were picked up whilst the aircraft was refuelled in West Africa.

The Royal Air Force remain on standby to support where necessary. The Ministry of Defence has already returned 131 British nationals on 11 flights from seven countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine, Kenya and Afghanistan; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is thankful for this support.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of using (a) RAF Voyager aircraft and (b) civil-registered aircraft from the non-core Voyager fleet to repatriate British nationals during the covid-19 outbreak.

At the start of April, an RAF Voyager, returning from the Falklands as part of the South Atlantic Airbridge, repatriated a number of British nationals who had been stranded in Senegal. They were picked up whilst the aircraft was refuelled in West Africa.

The Royal Air Force remain on standby to support where necessary. The Ministry of Defence has already returned 131 British nationals on 11 flights from seven countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine, Kenya and Afghanistan; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is thankful for this support.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department requested military assistance for the civil authorities to increase capacity for flights repatriating British nationals during the covid-19 outbreak.

At the start of April, an RAF Voyager, returning from the Falklands as part of the South Atlantic Airbridge, repatriated a number of British nationals who had been stranded in Senegal. They were picked up whilst the aircraft was refuelled in West Africa.

The Royal Air Force remain on standby to support where necessary. The Ministry of Defence has already returned 131 British nationals on 11 flights from seven countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine, Kenya and Afghanistan; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is thankful for this support.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many people are registered with his Department for flights to the UK from India; and how many of those people are in Punjab.

Before our repatriation programme, around 20,000 people in India told us they wished to return to the UK. To date we have returned over 10,000 people to the UK from India on FCO chartered flights. This includes, as of 29 April, over 2,750 passengers who have returned home from Punjab. An additional 13 flights are due to run between 2 May and 11 May, servicing those locations with the highest numbers of British nationals remaining in India. The UK Government has arranged a fifth round of special charter flights from 5 May to 11 May. We anticipate that all eligible British travellers on our waiting list in Punjab who can and wish to return to the UK will be repatriated by the end of our repatriation programme.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many people are registered with his Department for flights to the UK from Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is a priority for the UK Government. We have been working closely with the Government of Bangladesh and airlines to ensure British Nationals (BN) can return home from Bangladesh. The UK Government delivered an initial set of four special charter flights from Bangladesh to the UK to bring home British travellers and their direct dependents. These flights ran from Dhaka to London, with the first landing in the UK on 21 April and the last on Sunday 26 April. Domestic transfers were also arranged between Sylhet and Dhaka. Following high demand, the UK Government organised a second round of five direct charter flights from 29 April to 7 May, from Dhaka to London. Four of these flights will be accompanied by a domestic transfer flight from Sylhet to Dhaka. As of 4 May over 1,200 British Nationals have returned from Bangladesh. Our High Commission in Dhaka is providing consular assistance to those who need it, including the most vulnerable. We are advising BN who are unable to depart Bangladesh to follow the advice of local authorities, find accommodation that is suitable for their needs, and keep in regular contact with family and friends at home. For further updates, the British High Commissioner has been regularly providing information on social media (@UKinBangladesh and @RCDicksonUK) about what we are doing to help BN. They should also subscribe to the UK's travel advice updates for Bangladesh to receive the latest information on flights.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with the Taiwanese authorities on lessons learned from their handling of the covid-19 pandemic.

Through our office in Taipei, the British Government has been in regular contact with the Taiwanese health authorities around all aspects of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. We will continue to learn from and share good practice with Taiwan, as we aim to do with all those who have been affected by this pandemic. In line with our longstanding policy, we believe Taiwan has a meaningful role to play in combatting global threats like COVID-19.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many people are registered with his Department for flights back to the UK from Pakistan.

Pakistan is a priority for the UK Government. We have been working closely with the Government of Pakistan and airlines to ensure British Nationals can return home from Pakistan. The UK Government has announced two rounds of special charter flights from Pakistan to bring home British travellers and their direct dependents, operated by Qatar Airways. The first round of flights were between 21 and 27 April, including seven from Islamabad and three from Lahore, to London Heathrow and Manchester. Following high demand for these flights, there will be a second round of nine direct charter flights from 30 April, including one from Karachi.

We cannot provide an accurate figure for those currently registered for HMG charter flights because many passengers have registered more than once, have already returned by commercial flights or no longer want to return to the UK.

5th Jan 2024
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking with the Financial Conduct Authority to help ensure funeral fund providers have sufficient resources to meet their obligations.

In January 2021 the government legislated to bring all pre-paid funeral plan providers and intermediaries within the Financial Conduct Authority’s regulatory remit.

The FCA has extensive experience of both conduct and prudential regulation. As part of its regulation of the sector, the FCA have introduced requirements that ensure that funeral plan providers have sufficient funds to fulfil the funeral plan contracts they have entered into.

This includes rules that require funeral plan providers to:

  • place sufficient funds to provide any agreed upon funeral in a trust or insurance arrangements;

  • have systems and controls in place to ensure the adequacy of those trust and insurance arrangements and to ensure that pricing does not lead to insufficient sums being available to provide the agreed upon funeral; and

  • consider the risk of inflation and volatility of trust assets when assessing the sums needed to provide for the funeral.
Bim Afolami
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if his Department will make an assessment of the level of potential (a) inefficiencies and (b) inequalities in credit scoring systems.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently published an interim report on its Credit Information Market Study, which looks at how the credit information sector is working and how it could be improved. This includes consideration of the purpose, quality and accessibility of credit information. It can be found at: https://www.fca.org.uk/publications/market-studies/ms19-1-credit-information-market-study.

The Treasury is engaging with the FCA, as well as industry and consumer groups, on the emerging findings of the Market Study.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has made an assessment of potential trends in the level of discrimination of people from ethnic minority backgrounds in the provision of insurance.

Under the Equality Act 2010 insurers cannot use ethnicity as a risk factor when determining the price of insurance. Insurers must treat customers fairly under the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) rules and the FCA has powers to act against firms that fail to comply.

The Treasury met with insurance companies following the Citizens Advice report on the ‘ethnicity penalty’ published in March 2022 and will continue to engage with the insurance industry and the regulator on this important issue.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the underlying causes of concerns relating to liability driven investment funds in the pensions industry in 2022; and what lessons his Department has learned about the operation of these funds during this period.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) regulates pension schemes, and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates UK-based asset managers that manage LDI funds which are often used by pension schemes. The Government welcomes the recent work of the UK regulators to require that LDI funds hold higher levels of resilience, following volatility in gilt markets in 2022. This work has also been welcomed, as a first step, by the Bank of England’s independent Financial Policy Committee (FPC), which is responsible for identifying and addressing systemic risks to improve UK financial stability. The FPC’s December 2022 Financial Stability Report (FSR), and its assessment of the vulnerabilities associated with LDI funds, was an important milestone in the ongoing lessons learned process.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)