Kieran Mullan Portrait

Kieran Mullan

Conservative - Crewe and Nantwich

First elected: 12th December 2019


Seafarers' Wages Bill [HL]
11th Jan 2023 - 17th Jan 2023
Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill
6th Dec 2022 - 7th Dec 2022
Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill
10th Oct 2022 - 18th Oct 2022
Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill [HL]
19th Jan 2022 - 27th Jan 2022
Approved Premises (Substance Testing) Bill
8th Dec 2021 - 15th Dec 2021
Procedure Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 9th Mar 2020


Scheduled Event
Wednesday 28th February 2024
16:00
Westminster Hall debate - Westminster Hall
28 Feb 2024, 4 p.m.
Rebuild of Leighton Hospital
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Department Event
Tuesday 26th March 2024
11:30
Ministry of Justice
Oral questions - Main Chamber
26 Mar 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Justice (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 279 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 226 Noes - 287
Speeches
Friday 26th January 2024
High Streets (Designation, Review and Improvement Plan) Bill
We must recognise the jobs and investment that retail parks sometimes create, but there is no doubt that they lack …
Written Answers
Tuesday 19th December 2023
Broadband: Rural Areas
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to improve rural …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 20th March 2023
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: IGas Energy plc
Address of donor: Welton Gathering Centre, Barfield Lane off Wragby Road, Sudbrooke, Lincoln LN2 …
EDM signed
Wednesday 21st February 2024
No confidence in the Speaker
That this House has no confidence in Mr Speaker.
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 25th October 2022
NHS Prescriptions (Drug Tariff Labelling) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to require community pharmacies and other providers of NHS-funded prescriptions to show, on the patient label, the prevailing …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Kieran Mullan has voted in 858 divisions, and 4 times against the majority of their Party.

22 Mar 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Kieran Mullan voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 29 Conservative Aye votes vs 318 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 300 Noes - 318
9 Feb 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Kieran Mullan voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 31 Conservative No votes vs 318 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 318 Noes - 303
27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Kieran Mullan voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 77 Conservative No votes vs 222 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
6 Jun 2023 - Committee on Standards - View Vote Context
Kieran Mullan voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 28 Conservative Aye votes vs 32 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 185 Noes - 40
View All Kieran Mullan 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
Steve Barclay (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(12 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(12 debate interactions)
Rishi Sunak (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(11 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(39 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(32 debate contributions)
Department for Transport
(25 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(21 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Kieran Mullan's debates

Crewe and Nantwich Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Crewe and Nantwich signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

Ensure any ban fully includes trans people and all forms of conversion therapy.

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.

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

We propose to amend the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to make pet theft a specific offence, distinct from that of inanimate objects; and in sentencing, the courts must consider the fear, alarm or distress to the pet and owners and not monetary value.

Pet Theft Reform 2020: Revise the sentencing guidelines in the Theft Act 1968 to reclassify pet theft as a specific crime. Ensure that monetary value is irrelevant for the categorisation of dog and cat theft crime for sentencing purposes. Recognise pet theft as a category 2 offence or above.

The UK Government plans to introduce “Magnitsky law”, a law which targets people who commit gross human rights violations. Through this law or alternative means, this petition urges the UK Government to impose sanctions on China for their human rights violations on the Uyghur people.

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

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

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

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


Latest EDMs signed by Kieran Mullan

21st February 2024
Kieran Mullan signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 21st February 2024

No confidence in the Speaker

Tabled by: William Wragg (Conservative - Hazel Grove)
That this House has no confidence in Mr Speaker.
70 signatures
(Most recent: 23 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 40
Scottish National Party: 29
Independent: 1
11th July 2022
Kieran Mullan signed this EDM on Monday 11th July 2022

Maximum temperature in the workplace

Tabled by: Ian Mearns (Labour - Gateshead)
That this House notes that recent surveys of workplace health and safety representatives show that high temperatures are one of their top concerns; regrets that workers in the UK have no guaranteed legal safeguards from working in uncomfortable high temperatures, and that the consequences of this range from dizziness, tiredness, …
56 signatures
(Most recent: 10 Jul 2023)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 35
Scottish National Party: 9
Independent: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Liberal Democrat: 2
Conservative: 1
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
View All Kieran Mullan's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Kieran Mullan, 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.


Kieran Mullan has not been granted any Urgent Questions

2 Adjournment Debates led by Kieran Mullan

Thursday 8th June 2023
Tuesday 17th May 2022

Kieran Mullan has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


278 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
7 Other Department Questions
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps her Department is taking to improve support for people who have undergone conversion therapy.

The Government has launched a support service open to all victims and those at risk of conversion practices regardless of their background or circumstances. We have committed up to £360,000 over three years to this service, which includes a helpline, instant messaging service, and website to enable people to get the support they need.

More widely, the Government remains committed to protecting everyone from these practices. We are carefully considering the responses to the public consultation which closed earlier this year and will respond in due course.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the role of geothermal energy in delivering the UK's COP26 commitments.

Geothermal energy has a role to play as part of a diversified energy mix and last year, I visited a geothermal facility connected with the Eden Project, which is receiving demonstrator funding from the government.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps her Department is taking to bring forward legislative proposals to end conversion therapy.

The Government is currently consulting on our proposals to legislate for a ban on conversion therapy. The question is how, not whether, we will ban conversion therapy. The consultation runs until Friday 10 December and I would encourage anyone with an interest to respond.

The consultation responses will be used to further refine the Government’s policy proposals on banning conversion therapy and inform the process of developing legislation. We will analyse the responses to the consultation and respond in the new year. We will prepare a Bill for Spring 2022, to be introduced as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the hon. Member for City of Chester, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what steps the Electoral Commission is taking to maintain public trust and confidence in the electoral system.

The interests of the public, and particularly their trust and confidence in the democratic process, are central to the work of the Commission.

It supports electoral administrators to deliver high quality electoral registration and administration services to voters, and by providing detailed guidance to ensure they can undertake their responsibilities. It also provides direct information to voters - such as on voter registration and on preventing voter fraud - to support them in participating with confidence in the democratic process.

It oversees the regulation of political finance and compliance with Parliament's rules. This includes; supporting parties and campaigners to understand and comply with the rules; and taking proportionate enforcement action where breeches occur; and providing voters with transparency over the money spent and recieved by campaigners and parties.

The Commission's research shows that there are high levels of public confidence that elections in the UK are well-run.

8th Jun 2021
To ask the hon. Member for City of Chester, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission has made of the adequacy of parliamentary scrutiny of the Electoral Commission.

The Electoral Commission is directly accountable to the UK's parliaments, and scrutiny of its work is an essential part of giving assurance to parliamentarians and to the public about how it undertakes its duties.

It reports to the UK Parliament through the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which has a statatory duty to review the Commission's financial estimates and plans, and oversees the appointments of Electoral Commissioners. Parliamentary select committees, most notably the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, also pay an important role in scrutinising the work of the Commission.

The Commission is also accountable to the Scottish Parliament through the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body, and the Sennedd through the Llywydd's Committee.

20th May 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps her Department is taking to bring forward legislative proposals to end conversion therapy.

We have set out in the Queen’s Speech our intention to ban conversion therapy. This government is committed to ensuring people in this country are free to live their lives, judged on the basis of their character and talents alone. Ahead of bringing forward legislative action, we will launch a public consultation. We will also be putting new support in place for victims of conversion therapy.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
18th Sep 2023
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment she has made of the contribution of the Government Legal Department to levelling up in the North West.

Government Legal Department (GLD) lawyers are engaged in helping to shape and deliver the legislation required to support levelling up, including the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill and supporting the implementation of the Levelling Up Fund and Town Partnerships.

The GLD is actively growing its presence in the North West. The Attorney and I were delighted to open the new GLD office in Manchester earlier this month.

In addition to recruiting qualified lawyers and other professionals into the Manchester office, GLD are committed to offering traineeships and legal apprenticeships there as the office grows. To support this, they are undertaking targeted outreach activity in the region to help raise the profile of the GLD and highlight opportunities to join at all stages of a legal career.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to ensure that revised Guidelines on Disclosure will result in improved performance across the criminal justice system.

Effective disclosure is a vital part of the criminal justice process and inseparable from the right to a fair trial.

I am currently undertaking the first Annual Review of Disclosure to assess how my revised Disclosure Guidelines, instituted in January 2021, are operating. The Solicitor General and I have been meeting with key disclosure stakeholders from a range of geographic areas and professions to hear feedback on the Guidelines.

Regular monitoring ensures all those involved in disclosure across the criminal justice system are working together and prioritising a cross-system approach. It also allows me to support efficient disclosure practice at the front-line.

I am committed to making the disclosure process an efficient and effective one, and I see the Guidelines as a practical document which can offer principled, clear and useful guidance to all those involved in disclosure.

27th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the CPS in handling cases where the defendant has a mental health condition or disorder.

The CPS has made a number of recent improvements in its handling of cases involving defendants with a mental health condition or disorder, which has included new and refreshed training for prosecutors, and better information sharing with other criminal justice agencies.

Every CPS Area also has at least one single point of contact (SPOC) for mental health, who provide advice and support prosecutors in making decisions on complex cases involving mental health issues.

In addition, the CPS is also developing a mental health flag for its case management system, which will help to identify those with mental health needs and ensure that their cases get the specialist attention they require.

This good work was recognised in a Criminal Justice Joint Inspection report published in November 2021.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the steps taken by the CPS to offer apprenticeship opportunities to young people.

The CPS has a strong record of outreach programmes to engage young people in its work, and to promote career opportunities, including through apprenticeships.

The CPS has over 470 apprentices currently enrolled or waiting to be enrolled onto programmes across England and Wales, with 261 having started their qualification in the last 12 months.

The CPS has also consistently met the Cabinet Office apprenticeship target, which aims to ensure apprentices represent 2.3% of the workforce. At the end of December 2021, apprentices comprised 4.1% of the CPS workforce.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Government Legal Department.

Within an ever-evolving and challenging context – which has included continuing to support the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the negotiation of new international agreements, COP26, the Northern Ireland Protocol, the challenges around energy supply to name a few – GLD continues to provide first class legal services across Whitehall.

Despite these pressures, GLD have continued to meet all three of the key performance measures they have agreed with HMT, reflecting their continued commitment to high professional standards and providing an excellent service to clients. Last year:

  • 96.2% of GLD’s clients rated their services “good” or “excellent” in GLD’s annual client satisfaction survey; and
  • GLD’s litigators again successfully retained their Lexcel Accreditation – the Law Society Practice Mark – an annual achievement since 2006.
  • GLD is on track to recover the full operating cost of chargeable services to their clients.

Moreover, GLD’s performed well against the eight challenging priorities set out in their Business Plan 2021-22.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment she has made of the performance of the CPS in Cheshire East constituency.

Recent performance data shows that the conviction rate for CPS Mersey-Cheshire in the Cheshire Police Force Area is above with national average, with 87.1% of prosecutions resulting in a conviction.

As part of their ongoing Area Inspection Programme, Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) are currently conducting an inspection on the performance of CPS Mersey-Cheshire and will publish the report on the Area in the coming months.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to increase apprenticeship opportunities within the Civil Service.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the House on the 27 October:

“As announced in the civil service apprenticeships strategy, we are committed to 5% of total civil service headcount being apprentices by 2025. Some 47,490 apprentices have been recruited since April 2016, with 78% of those being outside London. We will provide entry and progression routes within a range of careers and professions for new and existing staff.”

9th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the Veterans' Strategy Action Plan: 2022 to 2024.

The development of the Veterans Strategy Action Plan 2022-24 was launched at a Cabinet meeting in Summer 2021, and Ministers have engaged with Cabinet colleagues over the course of the process. Ministers regularly discuss veterans issues including through the Ministerial Covenant and Veterans Board, which is co-chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

The Veterans’ Strategy Action Plan 2022-2024 contains over 60 commitments worth over £70m from a range of government departments, all contributing to the Government’s mission to make the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran by 2028. We continue to monitor progress against delivering the Action Plan commitments and will do so until the end of the Action Plan period in 2024.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking through the GREAT campaign to promote the UK overseas.

The GREAT campaign promotes the best of the UK worldwide and has been used in over 145 countries to drive employment, growth and influence. GREAT delivers via five primary campaigns:

  • Overall UK Perceptions, led by the Cabinet Office and delivered with the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (GREAT Challenge Fund). This campaign uses our soft power assets to grow UK influence and promote UK values by positioning the UK as a place of opportunity. It promotes UK culture, the UK’s science and sustainability credentials, creativity and design, LGBTQ+ rights and much more. It also supports events including the Queen’s Jubilee, the Commonwealth Games and Unboxed.

  • Tourism, delivered by VisitBritain. This campaign attracts international visitors to the UK, helping to support 3.2 million jobs and grow the UK’s position as one of the most visited countries on earth.

  • Trade and Investment, delivered by the Department for International Trade. This campaign drives investment and export promotion. It also promotes UK food and drink such as Welsh lamb, Scotch whisky, Northern Irish gin, and Scottish salmon through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

  • Study, delivered by the British Council. The Study UK campaign promotes UK universities to the world and encourages international students to study in the UK.

  • Live/work, this campaign attracts the best and brightest in science, research and technology to live and work in the UK. It supports the UK government's ambition to secure the UK’s status as a science and tech superpower by 2030 including the Government commitment to increase R&D expenditure to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

9th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to protect public services from the risk of hostile cyber threats.

Our new National Cyber Strategy, launched in December 2021(by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, HCWS484), sets out how we will ensure that the UK continues to be a leading, responsible and democratic cyber power, able to protect and promote our interests in the rapidly evolving online world. This includes our approach to making the UK more resilient to cyber attacks and countering cyber threats. The strategy is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-cyber-strategy-2022/national-cyber-security-strategy-2022

A core component of our National Cyber Strategy is to further strengthen the cyber security of government and public services. The Government Cyber Security Strategy, launched in January 2022, will ensure that core government functions are resilient to cyber attack. This will be supported by an enhanced assurance regime to raise standards and a new Government Cyber Coordination Centre enabling departments to defend as one.The Government Cyber Security Strategy is available at the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1049825/government-cyber-security-strategy.pdf

The delivery of both the National and Government strategies is supported by £2.6 billion of investment over three years.

9th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to strengthen the UK’s cyber resilience.

Our new National Cyber Strategy, launched in December 2021(by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, HCWS484), sets out how we will ensure that the UK continues to be a leading, responsible and democratic cyber power, able to protect and promote our interests in the rapidly evolving online world. This includes our approach to making the UK more resilient to cyber attacks and countering cyber threats. The strategy is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-cyber-strategy-2022/national-cyber-security-strategy-2022

A core component of our National Cyber Strategy is to further strengthen the cyber security of government and public services. The Government Cyber Security Strategy, launched in January 2022, will ensure that core government functions are resilient to cyber attack. This will be supported by an enhanced assurance regime to raise standards and a new Government Cyber Coordination Centre enabling departments to defend as one.The Government Cyber Security Strategy is available at the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1049825/government-cyber-security-strategy.pdf

The delivery of both the National and Government strategies is supported by £2.6 billion of investment over three years.

5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department is taking to reduce red tape for businesses.

The Government is committed to reducing burdens on business and consumers by reforming regulations where appropriate to make sure they are best suited to the UK and to help grow the economy. We have made a series of regulatory reform announcements as part of our Smarter Regulation programme, including reforms to wine retained EU Law (REUL), product safety regulations and drip pricing.

As part of this, we have already reformed or revoked over 1000 pieces of REUL. In addition to the list of around 600 coming in the Bill, the Financial Services and Markets Bill and the Procurement Bill will repeal around 500 pieces of REUL. This means more than 2,000 revocations and reforms are already completed or under way.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
23rd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State what steps his Department is taking to encourage households to redeem vouchers for the Energy Bill Support Scheme.

The Department worked with stakeholders throughout the Scheme to ensure every effort was made to reach all eligible households. A voucher day campaign was launched at the end of May that included articles in national and regional newspapers, posters in major train stations and TV and radio interviews with Ministers across the country to increase the voucher redemption rate.

As of 1 June, 98% of vouchers since EBSS launched in October had been delivered to eligible customers and 85% of these had been redeemed. Vouchers needed to be redeemed by 30 June, when the Scheme closed.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to improve rural connectivity.

The Government is committed to improve digital connectivity in rural areas. Project Gigabit is the Government’s £5 billion programme to deliver gigabit-capable broadband to rural and hard-to-reach communities across the UK. Alongside suppliers’ commercial rollout plans, our target is to achieve 85% gigabit coverage of the UK by 2025, and then nationwide coverage by 2030. Over 79% of UK premises can now access gigabit-capable broadband, which represents significant progress since January 2019, when coverage was just 6%.

We now have 16 contracts in place, and combined with our procurements running across the country, we have made over £2 billion of funding available to support the deployment of gigabit-capable broadband to over 1.1 million premises in hard-to-reach areas across the UK.

Support is also available for homes and businesses in some rural areas through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. Over 108,00 vouchers have been used to connect rural homes and businesses with fast, reliable broadband.

For very hard to reach premises, in April 2023, the Government announced a capital grants scheme to provide up to 35,000 premises with help to access Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite equipment to improve their connectivity. More information on this scheme will be announced in the new year.

To improve 4G coverage in rural areas, the government is working with the UK’s four mobile network operators (EE, Three, VMO2 and Vodafone) to deliver the Shared Rural Network. This agreement will see the Government and industry jointly invest over £1 billion to increase outdoor 4G mobile coverage across the UK to 95% by the end of 2025. The programme targets areas of the country with partial or no 4G coverage, and will significantly improve mobile coverage for an extra 280,000 premises and 16,000km of roads. 4G coverage across the UK is approaching 93%, which is up from 91% when the Shared Rural Network deal was signed in March 2020.

Alongside the Shared Rural Network, the Government’s Wireless Infrastructure Strategy, published in April 2023, set out further steps to improve connectivity across the UK, including a new ambition for nationwide coverage of standalone 5G in all populated areas by 2030.

Finally, Simon Fell MP has been appointed as the Government’s Rural Connectivity Champion. His role will be to ensure that rural communities and businesses can access and adopt the connectivity that they need.

14th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what recent progress her Department has made on strengthening the life sciences sector.

Recent progress to strengthen the life sciences sector includes a raft of new initiatives and funding announced at the Autumn Statement. These include £520 million for life sciences manufacturing; £51 million for Our Future Health; the launch of a Rare Therapies Launch Pad; and £10 million of investment in a Centre of Excellence in Oligonucleotide Manufacturing Innovation. Additionally, the government has recently published the full response to the Commercial Clinical Trials Review. These announcements build on the £650 million growth package announced in May and reaffirm the government’s commitment to supporting a thriving life sciences sector.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps she is taking to improve mobile coverage in rural areas.

In March 2020, we agreed a deal with the UK’s mobile network operators to deliver the Shared Rural Network programme. This agreement will see the government and industry jointly invest over £1 billion to extend 4G mobile coverage to 95% of UK landmass by the end of 2025. The programme is already delivering coverage improvements across the UK. 4G geographic coverage is approaching 93%, which is up from 91% when the Shared Rural Network agreement was signed.

In April 2023 we published the UK Wireless Infrastructure Strategy which set a new ambition of nationwide coverage of higher quality standalone 5G to all populated areas by 2030. It also emphasised our unwavering commitment to extending 4G coverage to 95% of the UK’s landmass and set out a 10-point plan to support rural connectivity, including the appointment of a Government Rural Connectivity Champion. Simon Fell MP was appointed to the role in June.

25th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking with his Cabinet colleagues to support businesses with energy prices.

The Government recognises the challenges that businesses are facing and is committed to helping ensure they are able to thrive. The Energy Bill Relief Scheme provides a discount on the wholesale element of gas and electricity bills to ensure that all eligible businesses that receive their energy from licensed suppliers, are protected from high energy costs over the winter period. The new Energy Bill Discount Scheme, will run from April until March 2024, and continue to provide a discount to eligible businesses.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
24th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help support households with their energy bills.

In order to support households with energy bills, the Government has set up the Energy Bills Support Scheme which is delivering a £400 non-repayable government discount this winter.

The Energy Price Guarantee reduces the amount a household is charged per unit of gas or electricity, to an annual equivalent of around £2,500 for a typical household in Great Britain from 1 October 2022 to end of March 2023.

For households that use alternative fuels such as biomass, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or heating oil, the Alternative Fuel Payment scheme will deliver an additional £200.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
29th Nov 2022
If he will make an assessment of the potential contribution of onshore UK critical mineral supply chains to the levelling up agenda.

A secure supply of critical minerals is fundamental to supporting almost all other UK manufacturing industries – such as automotive, aerospace, defence, energy and electronics. Without a reliable supply of critical minerals, the health of these industries, and the communities in which they operate would be adversely affected.

The Critical Minerals Strategy sets out the Government’s ambition to increase domestic capabilities in critical mineral supply chain, which has the potential to create well-paid jobs and boost productivity, particularly in areas such as Cornwall, Merseyside and Yorkshire.

22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps his Department has taken to help support off-grid consumers with their energy bills.

The Alternative Fuel Payment scheme will provide a one-off payment to UK (GB and NI) households that use alternative fuels for heating, such as heating oil or LPG, instead of mains gas. This will ensure that those who do not benefit from the Energy Price Guarantee for fuel they use to heat their homes receive support for the cost of the fuel they do use.

£400 of EBSS Alternative Funding will be made available for those who do not have a direct contract with an electricity supplier or an electricity meter and will therefore not receive the Energy Bills Support Scheme directly.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that support for energy bills is available to rural households that are not on the gas and electricity grids.

The Alternative Fuel Payment scheme will provide a one-off payment to UK (GB and NI) households that use alternative fuels for heating, such as heating oil or LPG, instead of mains gas. This will ensure that those who do not benefit from the Energy Price Guarantee for fuel they use to heat their homes receive support for the cost of the fuel they do use.

£400 of EBSS Alternative Funding will be made available for those who do not have a direct contract with an electricity supplier or an electricity meter and will therefore not receive the Energy Bills Support Scheme directly.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to replace the non-domestic renewal heat incentive scheme; and when he will publish those plans.

From April to July 2020, the Department consulted on “Future support for low carbon heat”, setting out proposals for future schemes to follow the closure of the Renewable Heat Incentive. A government response to this consultation will be published later this year.

The Government is also planning to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course, which will set out the immediate actions we will take to reduce emissions from buildings.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential of geothermal energy to contribute to the UK's net zero target.

The most promising use of geothermal energy in the UK is for low temperature applications such as district heating schemes. We have been providing support to the deployment of district heat networks from geothermal through the Heat Networks Delivery Unit (HNDU) and the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP).

The £270m Green Network Heat fund is still at an early stage of scheme development, and we will be issuing a consultation response in due course.

The Government has also funded the £31m UK Geoenergy Observatories which will provide a world class infrastructure for a wide range of geoenergy related research including geothermal.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to (a) enforce and (b) ensure businesses' compliance with the requirements of Regulation 28 of The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2015.

If Companies House are made aware of a company whose trading disclosures do not comply with Companies Act requirements, they will contact the company concerned to clarify the position. If necessary, they will advise the company that it is committing an offence and request that it updates any non-compliant information.

The primary aim is to seek compliance. If the company refuses to comply, Companies House will consider taking prosecution action as a last resort.

17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress is being made on the development of a covid-19 vaccine.

The Government is leading efforts to find and manufacture a vaccine, working with industry and experts, both here in the UK and internationally to ensure we are in the best position possible to support the discovery, manufacture and mass-deployment of a successful vaccine should a candidate prove successful. A number of agreements to procure millions of doses of vaccines have been made, ensuring the greatest possible chance of securing access to a safe and effective vaccine. The UK has now secured access to 6 different candidates, across 4 different vaccines types, including University of Oxford’s vaccine being developed with AstraZeneca and agreements with BioNTech/Pfizer alliance, Valneva, Novavax, Janssen and GSK/Sanofi Pasteur.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government plans to extend the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund to cover businesses that predominantly supply services to the retail, hospitality and leisure sector.

Businesses are eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund if they are based in England with a property that has a rateable value of up to £51,000 and is wholly or mainly being used for the purposes of retail, hospitality and/or leisure. The Government is also providing an unprecedented package of wider support to businesses across the economy in response to the current coronavirus outbreak.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that new homes have access to gigabit broadband.

It is a government priority to ensure that new build homes are future-proofed and are ready for gigabit-capable connections. Working closely with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, we have developed proposals to require developers to install into new homes the physical infrastructure necessary and to work with network operators to provide a gigabit-capable connection.

The measures will give more people access to fast, reliable and resilient broadband connections and reduce the need for costly and disruptive work to retrospectively install them in homes. A statutory technical consultation on these proposals is underway and closes on 28 February 2022 in advance of legislation being brought forward.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has for the future of the Life Chances Fund.

The Life Chances Fund was established as a nine-year fund running from 2016 up until 2025; the government remains committed to delivering the Fund within this timeframe. It is expected to support over 48,000 people to achieve improved life outcomes across the country.

DCMS will continue to share insights and learnings from the Life Chances Fund across government, in order to support the commissioning of future programmes and services, based on evidence and data.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential overall cost effectiveness of social outcomes contracting to Government.

The Life Chances Fund (LCF) is a fund specifically designed to test the use of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs), also known as social outcomes contracts. The evaluation supporting the LCF has been designed to provide an answer to the question of cost effectiveness. It seeks to determine the comparative cost benefits of using SIBs compared to other commissioning routes.

The evaluation findings are due in 2025, following the completion of LCF funding.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the recovery of the tourism industry.

We recognise the severe impact of COVID-19 on tourism and have published the Tourism Recovery Plan to help the sector recover back to pre-pandemic levels and build back better for the future. The plan aims to recover domestic tourism to pre pandemic levels by 2022 and international tourism by 2023; both at least a year faster than independent forecasts predict.

The British Tourist Authority (BTA) will deliver a £10 million consumer promotion with the National Lottery to support the domestic tourist industry. In addition, the Government and VisitBritain will develop a new domestic rail tourism product, similar to the Britrail Pass for international visitors, working with the Rail Delivery Group.

The Government has allocated at least £19 million to domestic and international marketing activity, with a £5.5 million domestic campaign already underway. The Government will work with VisitBritain to welcome back international visitors as soon as it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to improve digital infrastructure and connectivity in rural areas.

The government is committed to delivering lightning-fast, reliable broadband to everyone in the UK. ‘Project Gigabit’ is ambitious, challenging and central to how we build back better. Our plan - to stimulate investment, bust barriers and drive competition - is working. We are on track for one of the fastest rollouts in Europe and for 60% of all households to have access to gigabit speeds by the end of the year. It is a huge leap forward from 2019, when it was 9%.

We are backing Project Gigabit with £5 billion so hard to reach communities are not left out - starting to level up now, not waiting for the end of the commercial rollout, and building on the half a half a million rural homes and businesses already connected through our support.

As part of Project Gigabit we are funding up to £210 million worth of vouchers over the next three years to help with the costs of installing gigabit to people’s doorsteps and up to £110 million to connect up to 7,000 rural public buildings such as GP surgeries, libraries and schools. All premises not covered through these measures or expected to be addressed by commercial coverage will be in scope for new Project Gigabit contracts.

Premises which can’t access a decent broadband connection remain eligible for the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO). The broadband USO was launched in March 2020 and gives every eligible premises the legal right to request a decent, affordable broadband connection, providing download speeds of at least 10 Mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps.

Furthermore, on 9 March last year, the government agreed a £1 billion deal with the Mobile Network Operators to deliver the Shared Rural Network. This will see the operators collectively increase 4G mobile phone coverage throughout the UK to 95% by the end of the programme, underpinned by legally binding coverage commitments. The programme will level up the country by improving mobile coverage for an extra 280,000 premises and 16,000km of roads with areas around the UK starting to see improvements to 4G coverage long before the programme completes.

On 29 June we announced the next step of the Shared Rural Network so people who live and work in rural areas will be able to see how 4G coverage will increase through this world leading programme.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the support provided to the culture and arts sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

I know the cultural and arts sectors have been hugely impacted by Covid, with the effects felt across individual business and organisations, as well as staff, freelancers and supply chains. That is why last year the government announced the unprecedented £1.57 billion support package for the culture sector. To date, over £1.2 billion has been allocated from this fund, reaching over 5000 individual organisations and sites.

In the 2021 Budget, the Chancellor announced an additional £300 million to support theatres, museums and other cultural organisations in England through the Culture Recovery Fund. This extra funding, together with other cultural support such as funding for our national museums, means that our total support package for culture during the pandemic is now approaching £2 billion. These are unprecedented sums and this is the largest one-off investment in UK culture.

The arts and culture sector has also been eligible to access pan economic Government COVID-19 support throughout the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes various Government-backed loans, business grants, reduction in VAT and the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes. Organisations in this sector were also able to access the discretionary Local Restrictions Support Grant and Additional Restrictions Grant which provided Local Authorities with funds to support businesses who met the eligibility criteria. And, earlier this year the Chancellor also announced one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring and eviction protection has been extended for businesses most in need.

7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress her Department has made with Cabinet colleagues on rolling out the Family Hubs programme.

On 9 February 2023, the government announced a number of updates which demonstrate positive progress in delivering the manifesto commitment to champion family hubs and their continued commitment to ensure every baby has the best start in life. The announcement included:

  • Publication of a progress report on delivering the government’s Best Start for Life vision, written in consultation with Dame Andrea Leadsom MP in her capacity as the government’s early years adviser. This can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-best-start-for-life-a-vision-for-the-1001-critical-days.
  • The extension of Dame Andrea Leadsom’s term as the government’s early years adviser.
  • Confirmation that all 75 eligible local authorities have successfully signed up to the £300 million Family Hubs and Start for Life programme.
  • The names of local authorities which have been successful in their bid to become trailblazers, leading the way on ambitious programme delivery and supporting other areas with their expertise.
  • Publication of guidance for local authorities on publishing ‘Start for Life Offers’ and setting up Parent and Carer Panels, both form part of the Family Hubs and Start for Life Programme.
  • The names of the final five local authorities enrolled on the £12 million Family Hubs Transformation Fund, building on the seven local authorities that were announced in May 2022.

An additional £28 million has also been made available to the 75 local authorities to improve children's home learning environments, helping them to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/thousands-of-families-to-benefit-from-local-support-in-rollout-of-family-hubs.

Thousands of parents and carers across England will be able to access local, co-ordinated support and advice in raising a family, through the 75 upper tier local authorities that have received investment from the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme.

The 75 upper tier local authorities who are eligible for this Family Hubs and Start for Life funding were announced on 2 April 2022. The Programme Guide and sign up process was launched in August 2022 and all 75 local authorities have now signed up to the programme. We are now working with local authorities on their delivery plans.

Local authorities will be expected to open family hubs in the first half of 2023 and meet programme expectations by the end of March 2025.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to improve education outcomes for care leavers.

This government is committed to ensuring that all care leavers are supported to succeed in education and achieve positive outcomes.

On 2 February, the department published ‘Stable Homes, Built on Love’, our strategy for the reform of children’s social care. The strategy sets out the department’s plans to improve the education, employment, and training outcomes of children in care and care leavers. This includes, from 2027, a year-on-year narrowing of the gap in care leaver higher education participation rates compared to the general population.

The department will do this by increasing the support available in both higher and further education including the expansion of the Virtual School Head role to include care leavers up to 25 years old, the introduction of a gold standard accreditation scheme for higher education and further education institutions supporting care leavers, and further £24 million in pupil premium plus style between 2023 and 2025.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to protect freedom of speech on university campuses.

The government believes that freedom of speech and academic freedom are fundamental pillars of our higher education system, and that protecting these principles should be a priority for universities.

That is why we have introduced the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill, which passed its 2nd reading in the House of Commons on 12 July 2021 and was debated by the Public Bill Committee in September 2021. The Bill will strengthen existing freedom of speech duties and directly address gaps within the existing law. This includes the fact there is no clear way of enforcing the current law when a higher education provider breaches it as well as applying the duties directly to students’ unions and constituent colleges. The changes will introduce clear consequences for breaches of the new duties and ensure that these principles are upheld.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to promote lifelong learning and skills development.

It is a priority for this government to ensure that everyone can access the skills they need to have the career they want, wherever they live and whatever their stage in life. Just last week, we launched the Skills for Life campaign, which will promote skills offers among adults, such as Free Courses for Jobs, Skills Bootcamps and apprenticeships.

This is in addition to our wider support for adults to get the skills they need. Whether through the Adult Education Budget or delivering on the promise of a Lifelong Loan Entitlement under my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee, which, from 2025, will enable flexible and modular study across higher and further education.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support young people into high quality jobs.

The department has introduced a range of skills reforms and published the ‘Skills for Jobs’ white paper in January 2021, which sets out our blueprint to reform post-16 education and training to support young people to get the skills they need to succeed throughout their lives, wherever they live in the country.

It is focused on giving people the skills they need now, and in the future, in a way that suits them. We are investing £3.8 billion in further education and skills to ensure people can access high-quality training and education that leads to good jobs, addresses current and future skills gaps, boosts productivity and supports levelling up.

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced on 27 October 2021 that we are investing an extra £1.6 billion for 16-19 education in 2024-25 compared with the 2021-22 financial year. This means an investment of up to £615 million in the 2022-23 financial year and is much needed support for our excellent further education sector.

This follows the extra £691 million allocated in the previous two years and the specific funding made available to help recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak, including the 16-19 Tuition Fund which will make available £400 million over four years (2020-21 academic year until 2023-24 academic year).

This investment will support our aim to ensure that every young person has access to an excellent education, and providers can make better decisions around what courses they offer and focus on delivering the skills needed for a thriving and productive economy and society, with a particular emphasis on levelling up.

We are introducing T Levels, boosting access to high quality technical education for thousands of 16–19 year olds. Young people are now benefitting from these pioneering new qualifications, designed by employers to ensure students get the skills they need for great jobs.

We are supporting the largest-ever expansion of traineeships, providing funding for up to 72,000 places over the next three years. We are introducing more occupational traineeships, which are aligned to apprenticeship standards and will significantly increase the opportunities for young people to progress into apprenticeships or other employment.

Funding for apprenticeships in England will grow to £2.7 billion by the 2024-25 financial year to support more apprenticeships in employers of all sizes. We are encouraging more young people to consider apprenticeships through our Apprenticeship Support & Knowledge programme which provides resources and interventions to help better educate young people about apprenticeships

In January we launched our ‘Get the Jump’ campaign to help young people aged 14-19 to understand their education and training choices, how they compare and where they can lead. Further information can be found here: https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/explore-your-education-and-training-choices.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to upgrade further education colleges.

We have committed £1.5 billion between 2020 and 2026, through the further education (FE) Capital Transformation Programme, to upgrade FE colleges. This programme seeks to tackle poor condition in the FE college estate so that FE colleges are excellent places for young people and adults to learn.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on increasing covid-19 vaccination uptake among school pupils.

Vaccines are the best way we can protect ourselves and keep children and young people in face-to-face education. On 22 December, the government accepted advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation that a primary course of vaccination should be offered to children aged 5 to 11 years old who are in a clinical risk group, or who are a household contact of someone (of any age) who is immunosuppressed. On 24 January, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced that the department will distribute a total of £8 million in funding to NHS England to support secondary schools with the vitally important in-school vaccination programme for young people. This comes as over 50% of 12 to 15-year-olds, over 1.5 million people, have now had at least one dose of the vaccine.

To accelerate the COVID-19 programme in schools, the NHS has bolstered the in-school offer to make it more efficient and increase the scale and pace of delivery, as well as target communications to parents, young people and the public to improve uptake and increase overall confidence in the programme.

To ensure even more young people can get the vaccine as quickly as possible, the national booking service is open for vaccination bookings for young people. This service is available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/.

To support schools, and based on feedback we gathered, we have published a new ‘how to’ guide which is available here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1cT6adcSVsLer0kvcSuI4QcBYdlmdgb5x. This includes useful information and resources for schools, including a template letter that can be used to communicate with parents. The COVID-19 vaccination guidance and leaflets for parents, children and young people are being translated by Public Health England. The accessible versions include braille and British Sign Language, as well as web and print versions in 27 languages.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to implement the recommendations of the Early Years Healthy Development Review.

At the Budget, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a £300 million to transform ‘Start for Life’ and family help services in half of the council areas across England.

This will fund a network of Family Hubs and specific support, within those Hubs, for parent-infant mental health, breastfeeding services and parenting programmes. In addition, we will be asking all 75 local areas to publish their 'Start for Life' offer and providing funding for trials of innovative workforce models in a smaller number of areas.

Family hubs are a way of joining up locally to improve access to services, the connections between families, professionals, services and providers, and putting relationships at the heart of family help.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the National Tutoring Programme.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) aims to deliver up to 2 million courses this year, and up to 90 million tuition hours by the 2024/25 academic year across the programme’s three pillars.

Details of the NTP’s performance so far this year was published on 11 January. This estimated just over 300,000 tuition courses had been started since September. This is almost exactly the number of courses delivered in the whole of the previous academic year.

Independent evaluations are being conducted for both year one and year two of the NTP. We expect results from the year one overarching evaluation to be published in summer 2022. This will include insights into how the NTP has been implemented and the extent to which the programme is having an impact on pupil progress.

The year two evaluation will again focus on pupil progress and will also look into school and teacher impacts and reasons for non-participation. Interim findings from the year two evaluation will be shared with the department during the evaluation to help inform decision-making. Findings will be published in 2023.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that pupils can learn safely in education settings.

Protecting face-to-face education is our top priority. There is a package of measures and support in place to help reduce transmission and retain face-to-face teaching as much as possible.

All education and childcare staff, and students of secondary school age and above should continue to test twice a week a home, 3 to 4 days apart with lateral flow device test kits. Testing remains voluntary but is strongly encouraged. As of 19 January, over 109.5 million tests (including household bubble and support bubble tests) have been completed in all education providers, including higher education.

All eligible staff and students aged 12 and over are encouraged to take up the offer of the vaccine, including boosters, where eligible. On 22 December 2021, the government accepted advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation that a primary course of vaccination should be offered to children aged 5 to 11 years old who are in a clinical risk group, or who are a household contact of someone (of any age) who is immunosuppressed. On 24 January, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced that the government will distribute a total of £8 million in funding to NHS England to support secondary schools with the vitally important in-school vaccination programme for young people.

In addition to over 353,000 CO2 monitors already delivered to education providers, we are also making a total of up to 9,000 air cleaning units available for poorly ventilated teaching spaces in state-funded education providers, where quick fixes to improve ventilation are not possible.

We no longer recommend that face coverings are worn in classrooms, teaching spaces or when moving around the premises outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas. Directors of public health may temporarily, and exceptionally, advise individual providers experiencing outbreaks to use face coverings in either communal areas or classrooms, as part of their responsibilities in outbreak management. The contingency framework provides more information on the principles of managing local outbreaks of COVID-19 in education and childcare providers. This framework is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-restrictions-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to provide schools and pupils with access to covid-19 lateral flow tests.

Educational providers can continue to place orders for test kits via the dedicated online ordering channel and should call 119 if they require further advice or support. Orders placed by 5pm each Tuesday will be delivered the following week. 119 can also be contacted for further advice and support.

If an emergency replenishment is required, that will be processed and can take up to 48 hours for schools to receive. Schools will be given an expectation as to when they can receive their delivery

Schools and further education providers use a different supply route to get their lateral flow tests. The department continues to work with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to ensure education providers are able to receive adequate supplies of test kits.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support disadvantaged pupils over this academic year.

In financial year 2022-23, the National Funding Formula (NFF) will allocate £6.7 billion, 17% of all funding allocated by the NFF, through additional needs factors, including deprivation. That includes an increase of £225 million, or 6.7%, in the amount distributed through deprivation factors.

In addition, in financial year 2022-23 schools will receive a supplementary grant, which will provide significant further funding for deprivation: £85 for each primary pupil and £124 for each secondary pupil who have been eligible for free school meals at any point in the last six years (FSM6). Schools’ individual allocations from the supplementary grant will be finalised in the coming months.

On top of this core funding, pupil premium funding rates are increasing by 2.7% in financial year 2022-23, to £1,385 for each FSM6 primary pupil and £985 for each FSM6 secondary pupil. This means that the per pupil funding rate will be the highest, in cash terms since the introduction of the pupil premium in 2011. Total pupil premium funding will increase to over £2.6 billion in 2022-23, from £2.5 billion this year.

We are also supporting disadvantaged pupils this academic year through our investment in education recovery. Overall direct investment announced for education recovery is almost £5 billion, including an additional £1.8 billion of funding announced in the recent Spending Review to support young people to catch up on education lost. Recovery premium funding will be based on the same disadvantage eligibility criteria as the pupil premium. During the 2021/22 academic year mainstream schools will attract a total of £145 for each eligible pupil.

1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to record school absence as a result of covid-19 isolation requirements.

The Educational Setting Status Form (EdSet form) collects information daily from schools and colleges, including on attendance and closures during the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes how many pupils or students are absent due to COVID-19 related reasons, including a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

On 30 November, the government introduced targeted measures to prevent the spread of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant, including the requirement for all contacts of a suspected or confirmed Omicron case to self-isolate, regardless of their age or vaccination status, details of which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection#what-has-changed.

In line with these changes, the list of COVID-19 related reasons for absence will be updated in the EdSet form on 7 December 2021 to include ‘Required to remain at home or isolate in line with government guidance.’ Pupils or students required to self-isolate after coming into contact with a suspected or confirmed Omicron case should be recorded under this category.

Where a pupil has tested positive for COVID-19 schools should record this in their attendance register as Code I (illness). Where a pupil does not attend because their travel to, or attendance at, school would be contrary to guidance relating to the incidence or transmission of COVID-19 from the UK Health Security Agency or the Department of Health and Social Care, they will be recorded as Code X in the register (not attending in circumstances related to COVID-19).

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of social outcomes contracts in supporting looked-after children.

A number of local authorities have used social impact bonds (SIBs) to try to secure improved outcomes for children and young people in the children’s social care system. A research report published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport provides an overview of seven projects and is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/life-chances-fund-social-impact-bonds-in-childrens-social-care.

In addition, in 2018, as part of the government’s commitment to supporting care leavers to make the transition from being looked after to independence, the Department for Education funded three payment by results projects, to assess whether SIBs can help local authorities to improve education, employment and training outcomes for care leavers. Projects were established in three areas: Apollo (Sheffield), Aspire (South East London) and Reboot West (West of England) and started operating in October 2018. Ecorys UK were appointed in December 2018 to undertake an evaluation to assess the effectiveness, impact and value for money of the three projects. The evaluation is ongoing and is currently scheduled for completion in March 2022. The final report will be published in due course.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to support the return of domestic overnight educational residential trips for schools during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department continues to work with representatives of the tour industry, devolved administrations, trade unions and other government departments on the issue of educational trips.

The guidance for full school opening enables schools to resume educational day visits, but continues to advise against overnight educational residential visits. This advice will remain under review and will be updated in line with guidance from Public Health England, the Cabinet Office and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress he has made on delivering future farming schemes.

On 2 December 2021, we published a document called Sustainable Farming Incentive – how the scheme will work in 2022. On 6 January 2022, we published more information on Local Nature Recovery, Landscape Recovery, and the expected outcomes of the three schemes. On the same day, we announced that we have reviewed Countryside Stewardship revenue payment rates. We will be increasing payment rates for the majority of revenue options, to reflect changes in agricultural market rates since payment rates were set in 2013.

These new documents build on the information we published in the Agricultural Transition Plan: June 2021 progress update, and provide the next level of detail necessary for farmers to make the right decisions for themselves and their businesses.

We are also offering a range of interventions to help farmers improve their productivity in a sustainable way, support them as we move through the transition, create a thriving agricultural sector, and reward farmers for actions that benefit the environment.

For example, £10.7 million of funding has been awarded through the Future Farming Resilience Fund, to provide business support to farmers and land managers to help them navigate the changes during the early years of the agricultural transition period. This support will help farmers by providing the information and tools required to plan with confidence on the best way forward for their business. The support will be available, free of charge, from onwards and any farmer or land manager currently in receipt of BPS is eligible to apply.

Defra also launched the new Farming Investment Fund, which will offer funding for equipment, technology, and infrastructure that improves farm productivity and benefits the environment. There is also the Farming Innovation Programme, which encouraged groups of farmers, growers, businesses and researchers to get involved in collaborative research and development.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle livestock worrying.

The Government takes the issue of livestock worrying very seriously, recognising the distress this can cause farmers and animals, as well as the financial implications.

In England and Wales, new measures to crack down on livestock worrying are being brought in through the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which was introduced in Parliament on 8 June 2021.

The new measures will enhance the enforcement mechanisms available to the police and expand the scope of livestock species and locations covered by the law. Improved powers will enable the police to respond to livestock worrying incidents more effectively – making it easier for them to collect evidence and, in the most serious cases, seize and detain dogs to reduce the risk of further incidents. The scope of livestock species covered by the legislation will be extended to include animals such as llamas, emus, enclosed deer and donkeys. New locations will include roads and paths, as long as the livestock have not strayed into a road.

All reported instances of livestock worrying should be taken seriously, investigated and, where appropriate, taken through the courts and met with tough sentences. The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill includes a range of ancillary orders available to the court following conviction, such as control, disqualification and destruction orders. These orders are aimed at targeting and reducing reoffending.

Guidance is available to educate owners about handling their dogs responsibly in the vicinity of livestock, in order to prevent the occurrence of attacks or chasing. Natural England recently published a refreshed version of the Countryside Code, which highlights that it is best practice to keep dogs on a lead around livestock. The Code also makes specific reference to keeping dogs in sight and under control to make sure they stay away from livestock, wildlife, horses and other people unless invited. Moreover, the Code helpfully sets out certain legal requirements, encouraging visitors to always check local signs as there are locations where you must keep your dog on a lead around livestock for all or part of the year.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure a greater share of the UK-EU catch limits for the UK fleet in 2023.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) gives the UK a greater share of fishing quota, equal to 25% of the value of the average annual EU catch from UK waters. This will be phased in over five years from 2021, meaning the UK share will continue to increase, year on year, until 2026. The Marine Management Organisation has published analysis of the share gains for the UK under the TCA.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure adequate labour supply for farming businesses.

Defra continues to work closely with industry and other Government departments to understand labour supply and demand, including both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements, and to ensure there is a long-term strategy for the food and farming workforce.

The Government has announced that the seasonal worker visa route will be extended to 2024 to allow overseas workers to come to the UK for up to six months to harvest both edible and ornamental crops. 30,000 visas will be available. This will be kept under review with the potential to increase by 10,000 if necessary.

While acknowledging the sector’s reliance on foreign workers, the UK is committed to becoming a high-skilled, high-wage economy and the Government has been clear that more must be done to attract UK workers through offering training, career options, wage increases and to invest in increased automation technology.

Defra’s Review of Automation in Horticulture will be published shortly and will inform a range of policy decisions regarding automation and seasonal labour from 2022 onwards.

In addition, food and farming businesses can continue to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status. Over 5.5 million EU citizens and their families have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Defra is also working with industry and the Department for Work and Pensions to raise awareness of career opportunities within the food and farming sectors among UK workers.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle fly-tipping.

We are taking firm action to tackle fly-tipping. Our proposals on electronic waste tracking will replace outdated paper forms with a robust online system. Our proposed reforms to licencing for waste carriers and brokers will allow us to clamp down hard on rogue waste operations and make it easier than ever to detect unlicensed operators. These build on enhanced enforcement powers in last year’s Environment Act, and on £350,000 of Defra grant funding for local council projects to tackle areas of persistent fly-tipping. I am resolved to do all we can to relentlessly increase the pressure on fly-tippers and other waste criminals, until we end their blight on our streets and countryside.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to safeguard England’s protected landscapes.

Our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are more important than ever for the nation’s health and wellbeing, as well as nature recovery and climate action.

The Government response to the Landscapes Review was published on Saturday 15 January and sets out measures to safeguard protected landscapes. The response is accompanied by a consultation that will run for 12 weeks until Saturday 09 April. For more information please see the official Government response page which also links to the consultation: Landscapes review (National Parks and AONBs): government response - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to create new woodlands.

The Government has committed to bring tree planting rates across the UK up to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this parliament. The England Trees Action Plan set out how we intend to at least treble woodland creation in England over the same period to contribute to this, and we will continue to work with the Devolved Administrations to deliver a UK-wide step change in tree planting and establishment.

The Plan is supported by £500 million from the Nature for Climate Fund. Furthermore, in the recently published Net Zero Strategy, we announced we will boost the Nature for Climate Fund with a further £124 million of new money, ensuring total spend of more than £750 million by 2025 on peat restoration, woodland creation and management.

The England Trees Action Plan sets out 90 measures to reach our tree planting targets. Since publishing the Plan, we have launched the ground-breaking England Woodland Creation Offer, which will pay land managers to plant the right trees in the right places; supported the existing network of Community Forests across the country, and launched three new Community Forests, in Cumbria, Devon and the North-East; and launched the Woodlands for Water partnership, which will use tree planting to reduce pollution in hundreds of miles of rivers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure the protection of the marine environment.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for York Central on 2 November 2021, PQ UIN 68367.

The UK is a global leader in protecting the seas, ocean and marine life, and we will continue to work with partners domestically and overseas to help achieve a healthy and resilient ocean.

From penguin colonies to marine turtles, the UK Overseas Territories are home to globally significant biodiversity. Last year the Blue Belt programme exceeded its target of protecting and enhancing over four million km2 of marine environment around five UK Overseas Territories. This means that at least 60% of the entire UK marine estate, including around the UK mainland and Overseas Territories, has been designated within MPAs.

We continue to push for strong multilateral action, including through the Convention on Biological Diversity, leading global efforts to champion the target to protect at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030, now supported by over 100 countries.

Under the UK's Presidency, COP26 agreed to give a more prominent role to the ocean in global climate change discussions. Protecting and restoring the ocean is essential in our response to climate change and the UK will continue to work to strengthen ocean-climate action through the UNFCCC framework.

The UK also supports the start of negotiations on a new global agreement to tackle plastic pollution and co-sponsored an ambitious resolution proposed by Peru and Rwanda to start negotiations at the continuation of the 5th session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) in 2022.

To help support this ambition, the Prime Minister launched a £500 million Blue Planet Fund at the G7 summit in June 2021, financed from the UK Official Development Assistance budget. The Blue Planet Fund will help developing countries protect their marine resources from key human generated threats including climate change, marine pollution, overfishing and habitat loss, in order to reduce poverty.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to improve water quality.

Restoring water quality is a Government priority. We will shortly be setting new legally binding targets for water under the Environment Act to provide a strong mechanism for driving long-term environmental improvements.

This Government is the first to take action to tackle the historic infrastructure issue of sewage overflows, with new duties through the Environment Act on the water industry to reduce the harm they cause. Water company investment in environmental improvements has been scaled up to £7.1 billion over the period 2020-25. Through the next Price Review (PR24) we are using the strategic policy statement to Ofwat, the economic regulator, to make the environment a top priority.

We have doubled investment in the Catchment Sensitive Farming programme creating a new annual budget of £30 million, which means that 100% of England’s farmers will be able to access advice. The new Environmental Land Management schemes will also play a major role in rewarding farmers for actions that improve water quality. Funding will also be made available for farmers to improve their slurry infrastructure from autumn 2022. We have also made extra budget available to the EA for 50 extra inspectors to be recruited in this financial year to visit farms posing a risk of water pollution.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to create and improve protected landscapes.

Natural England, as the statutory advisor to the Government on landscapes, announced an ambitious programme to create and improve protected areas across England on 24 June 2021.

As part of this programme Natural England has started consideration of two new Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in the Yorkshire Wolds and Cheshire Sandstone Ridge. Consideration of extending the Surrey Hills and Chilterns AONBs is also underway.

Natural England will also undertake an England-wide assessment to identify conservation and enhancement needs across England, including any remaining places suitable for National Park or AONB designation and those places where alternative forms of action will be more appropriate and are wanted by local communities.

On 24 June, the Secretary of State laid a Written Ministerial Statement on the Government's response to the Landscapes Review, setting out our support for the independent Landscapes Review's recommendations to improve nature recovery and public access, and bring the family of protected landscapes closer together.

The new Farming in Protected Landscapes programme will provide additional investment to allow farmers and other land managers to work in partnership with National Park Authorities and AONB teams to improve public access, and deliver bigger and better outcomes for the environment, for people and for places. Our future Local Nature Recovery scheme, part of the future agriculture policy, will also support nature's recovery in our protected landscapes and beyond.

These actions will help deliver on the Government's commitment to protect 30% of land in the UK by 2030 for nature.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help tackle livestock worrying.

New measures to crack down on livestock worrying are to be introduced in England and Wales through the Kept Animals Bill, introduced to Parliament on 8 June.

We will enhance enforcement mechanisms available to the police and expand the scope of livestock species and locations covered by the law. Improved powers will enable the police to respond to livestock worrying incidents more effectively – making it easier for them to collect evidence and, in the most serious cases, seize and detain dogs to reduce the risk of further incidents.

The scope of livestock species covered by the legislation will be extended to include animals such as llamas, emus, enclosed deer and donkeys. New locations will include roads and paths, as long as the livestock have not strayed onto a road.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help increase tree planting.

We are committed to increasing tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this parliament. We published our ambitious England Trees Action Plan on the 18 May, which sets out our plans to at least treble tree planting rates in England in support of this, using more than £500 million from the Nature for Climate Fund.

The Plan sets out a range of new incentives which will provide significant support for 2021/22 planting season and beyond. This includes the recently launched £15.9 million England Woodland Creation offer for landowners, land managers and public bodies to apply for support to create new woodland, using traditional methods of tree establishment as well as natural colonisation, agroforestry, and riparian plating. We’ve also extended our Urban Tree Challenge Fund, delivering trees in areas of low tree cover and social deprivation, and have launched a new £2.7 million Local Authority Treescape Fund, aimed at establishing more trees in non-woodland settings such as riverbanks or hedgerows. We have also committed £25 million for our Woodland Creation Partnerships, which includes support for the development of the newly created Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest.

For the last planting season (2020/21) we kick-started tree planting efforts through a number of initiatives including, £12.1 million investment in expanding England's ten Community Forests; £1.4 million of planting along rivers through the Environment Agency; and support from the £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund for a range of charity projects to protect and plant trees. These initiatives contributed to the planting of 13,410 hectares across the UK in 2020/21, of which 2180ha were planted in England.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase tree planting.

We are committed to increasing tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this parliament. We published our ambitious England Trees Action Plan on 18 May which sets out our plans to at least treble tree planting rates in England as a key contribution to that 30,000ha UK commitment – this represents an unprecedented increase in woodland creation in England, supported by £500 million from the Nature for Climate Fund.

The England Trees Action Plan sets out a framework for a range of new incentive which will be launched through the course of this year, providing significant support for 2021/22 planting season. This includes launching a new £15.9 million England Woodland Creation Offer where landowners, land managers and public bodies can apply for support to create new woodland to boost more traditional methods of tree establishment as well as natural colonisation, agroforestry, and riparian plating. We’ve also extended our Urban Tree Challenge Fund, delivering trees in areas of low tree cover and social deprivation, and have launched a new £2.7 million Local Authority Treescape Fund, aimed at establishing more trees in non-woodland settings such as riverbanks or hedgerows.

For the last planting season (2020/21) we kick-started tree planting efforts through a number of initiatives including, £12.1 million investment in expanding England's ten Community Forests; £1.4 million of planting along rivers through the Environment Agency; Support from the £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund for a range of charity projects to protect and plant trees.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase animal welfare standards.

The importance of a secure food supply chain founded upon high-welfare farming, to conserving and protecting wild animals, animal welfare has never been more important.

On 12 May, Defra published the Action Plan for Animal Welfare setting out the Government's plans on animal welfare for this Parliament and beyond. The document provides a high-level overview of more than 40 policy reforms we intend to tackle covering farm animals, pets, sporting animals and wild animals.

Now we have left the EU and our transition period has ended we have the opportunity to go further than ever in protecting our animals. In areas that were previously under the jurisdiction of EU law we can now more freely make our own reforms and fulfil our manifesto commitments on animal welfare.

To enact these plans the Government has an ambitious programme of legislation. We have taken our first steps with the introduction of the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill and the introduction of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill. We intend to legislate further in an Animals Abroad Bill. Secondary legislation on many of the policy areas set out in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare will also be introduced in the coming months. Non-legislative work will be progressed in parallel. Where we have committed to gather further evidence ahead of introducing any changes we will work closely with stakeholders and the public on this.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to protect native species and wildlife in England.

Towards our ambition to protect our native species and address biodiversity loss in England, we will be amending the Environment Bill to require an additional target for species abundance for 2030, aiming to halt the decline in nature. The Bill also introduces a range of ambitious measures including, for example, mandatory biodiversity net gain in the planning system. Furthermore, we will publish a Green Paper later in 2021, setting out how our protections framework might better deliver this and our wider domestic ambitions.

We are also looking to the action needed on the ground and continuing to work with stakeholders to determine the specific actions that will be paid for by our new schemes that will reward environmental land management. We are launching at least 10 long-term Landscape Recovery projects between 2022 and 2024 to restore wilder landscapes through long-term land use change and support the establishment of a Nature Recovery Network. Additionally, the Nature Recovery Network Delivery Partnership is currently bringing together representatives from over 400 organisations to drive forward the restoration of protected sites and landscapes and help create or restore at least 500,000 hectares of new wildlife-rich habitat across England.

The £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund has also kick-started a pipeline of nature-based projects to restore nature, tackle climate change and connect people with the natural environment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase recycling rates.

In 2019, the Government published our Resources and Waste Strategy, which included our commitment to a target of 65% of municipal waste to be recycled by 2035. To help us achieve this target, we have committed to introducing major reforms to the waste sector: Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging (EPR), a deposit return scheme for drinks containers (DRS); and consistency in household and business recycling collections.

We published consultations for these measures in 2019. Following support for the proposals in the consultations, the Environment Bill sets out the primary legislation to establish these reforms. We published second consultations on these reforms in 2021, which provide further detail on the policies consulted on previously, including implementation timelines for the introduction of these new measures. The consultation on consistency in household and business recycling is still open and closes on 4 July 2021: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/consistency-in-household-and-business-recycling/

Collectively, these reforms will help to increase the quantity and quality of material recycled. They will also help to increase participation in recycling by reducing confusion over what can be recycled and making it easier to recycle both at home and away from home.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to protect peatlands.

We are committed to protecting and restoring our vulnerable peatlands in England, helping us to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and protecting valuable habitats and the biodiversity therein.

We recently published our England Peat Action Plan which sets out further measures to restore, protect and manage England's peatlands. These measures include our commitment to publish a consultation this year on banning the sale of peat and peat containing products in the amateur sector by the end of this parliament. We are addressing the degradation of lowland peat and launched the new Lowland Agricultural Peat Task Force in January 2021, which will develop recommendations to extend the useable life of our agricultural peat soils.

We are also ramping up current levels of peatland restoration through the Nature for Climate Fund, which will provide funding for the restoration of at least 35,000 hectares of peatland by 2025. We will set a target for peatland restoration as part of the forthcoming Net Zero Strategy which will be consistent with our obligations to meet Carbon Budget 6. The Heather and Grass etc. Burning (England) Regulations 2021 came into force on 1 May 2021, banning the burning, without a licence, of specified vegetation on protected blanket bog habitats.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage greater international environmental conservation.

This Government is seizing the opportunities of our G7 and COP26 Presidencies to drive international action on the environment. We have negotiated a historic 2030 Nature Compact committing to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, agreed by Leaders at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, and G7 Climate and Environment Ministers' agreed an ambitious communique with over 120 commitments. The UK is also committed to playing a leading role in developing an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted at CBD COP15 and to secure ambitious environmental commitments at UNFCCC COP26.

The UK also played a leading role in developing the Leaders' Pledge for Nature which I am pleased to report that 89 world leaders have now signed. Furthermore, 80 countries now support an international target to protect at least 30 per cent of the world’s ocean by 2030 through membership of the UK-led Global Ocean Alliance or the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, which the UK co-chairs with Costa Rica and France.

We are leading by example. We have committed to spend at least £3bn of International Climate Finance on nature over the next five years and launched the £500m Blue Planet Fund. Domestically, we are introducing a world-leading legally-binding target for species abundance by 2030 in the Environment Bill, aiming to halt the decline of nature.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to create new woodlands.

We are committed to increasing tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this parliament. We published our ambitious England Trees Action Plan on the 18th May which sets out our plans to at least treble tree planting rates in England as a key contribution to that 30,000ha UK commitment – this represents an unprecedented increase in woodland creation in England, supported by £500 million from the Nature for Climate Fund.

The England Trees Action Plan sets out a framework for a range of new incentive which will be launched through the course of this year, providing significant support for 2021/22 planting season. This includes launching a new £15.9 million England Woodland Creation Offer where Landowners, land managers and public bodies can apply for support to create new woodland to boost more traditional methods of tree establishment as well as natural colonisation, agroforestry, and riparian plating. We’ve also extended our Urban Tree Challenge Fund, delivering trees in areas of low tree cover and social deprivation, and have launched a new £2.7 million Local Authority Treescape Fund, aimed at establishing more trees in non-woodland settings such as riverbanks or hedgerows.

As well as opening new and improved national grants, we are also supporting a number of Woodland Creation Partnerships, bringing local stakeholders together to help deliver sustainably designed woodland which can improve connectivity of priority habitats and provide enhanced natural capital value. This includes delivering a new programme of planting through England’s Community Forests, called Trees for Climate, which will deliver 6,000 hectares of new woodland by 2025. Three newly created Community Forests will join England’s existing ten Community Forests to deliver the Trees for Climate programme from 2021-22 onwards.

For the last planting season (2020/21) we kick-started tree planting efforts through a number of initiatives including, £12.1 million investment in expanding England's ten Community Forests; £1.4 million of planting along rivers through the Environment Agency; Support from the £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund for a range of charity projects to protect and plant trees.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support farmers.

The Government’s Agricultural Transition Plan sets out how we will maintain the same level of investment for farmers in England, which is £2.4 billion a year across this parliament. We will reinvest money saved by reducing Direct Payments into improved and new environment schemes and schemes which will help farmers get their businesses ready for the transition. These will include grants to invest in productivity measures, support to new entrants, supporting farmer-led innovation and improving farm resilience.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce the use of plastics.

The Government's 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. We are making great strides to tackle plastic pollution across the country. In December 2018 we published the Resources and Waste Strategy, which sets out how we want to achieve this and move towards a circular economy and keep resources in the system for as long as possible. In October 2020, we introduced measures to restrict the supply of plastic straws, plastic drink stirrers, and plastic-stemmed cotton buds. The single-use carrier bag charge, which has led to a 95% reduction in the use of single-use carrier bags by the main supermarkets, has been increased to 10p and extended to all retailers to encourage customers to bring their own bags to carry shopping and reduce the volumes of single-use plastic being used. At Budget 2020 the Chancellor announced the tax on plastic packaging of £200 per tonne for plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content, effective from April 2022.

Our Environment Bill will enable us to significantly change the way that we manage our waste and take forward a number of the proposals from the Resources and Waste Strategy. The Bill will include powers to create Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes; introduce Deposit Return Schemes (DRS); establish greater consistency in the recycling system; better control the export of plastic waste; and give us the power to set new charges for other single-use plastic items. Our consultations on an EPR scheme for packaging and a DRS for drinks containers closed on 4 June and our consultation on our proposals for consistency in the recycling system in England is open for responses until July. More details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/environment/waste-and-recycling

The Government has put together a package of over £100 million for research and innovation to tackle the issues that arise from plastic waste. £38 million was set aside through the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund, the last funding competition of which opened in June 2020. The Resource Action Fund included £10 million specifically to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter. The Government has also announced £60 million of funding through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, alongside a £150 million investment from industry, towards the development of smart, sustainable plastic packaging (SSPP), which will aim to make the UK a world leader in sustainable packaging for consumer products. Two SSPP funding opportunities have been open for bids in 2021: the SSPP Demonstrator Round 2 and the SSPP business-led research and development competition.

Science estimates that the annual plastic flow into the ocean will triple between 2016 and 2040. Due to the scale of the marine litter challenge the UK believes it is time to negotiate a new global agreement on marine litter and microplastics at the United Nations Environment Assembly. A new global agreement would build upon the important work we are doing to tackle marine litter both domestically and internationally and support our commitments to eliminate plastic entering the ocean.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce emissions caused by agriculture sector.

The Prime Minister has been clear that tackling climate change is a priority for this Government. Since 1990, emissions from agriculture have reduced by 13%. Today, agriculture accounts for around 10% of the UK's total GHG emissions. Achieving the net zero target is key for the Government, and we are developing a range of measures to address it through the Agriculture Act, our future farming policy, the 25 Year Environment Plan, and our response to Henry Dimbleby's Independent Review of the food system and national food strategy review. All of these are aimed at enabling farmers to optimise sustainable food production, reduce emissions from agriculture and allow consumer choices to drive those changes.

We are also introducing three schemes that reward environmental benefits: The Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery. Together, these schemes are intended to provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and our commitment to Net Zero emissions by 2050, while supporting our rural economy. Through these schemes, farmers and other land managers may enter into agreements to be paid for delivering public goods, including adaptation to and mitigation of climate change.

The Clean Growth Strategy and 25 Year Environment Plan both set out a range of specific commitments to further reduce emissions from agriculture, including through environmental land management, strengthening biosecurity and control of endemic diseases in livestock, and encouraging use of low emissions fertilisers.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support the fishing industry.

The Government is committed to supporting the fishing industry and ensuring a prosperous and sustainable seafood sector. Now that we have left the EU we will use our Fisheries Act to deliver bespoke fisheries management for the benefit of the whole of the UK.

Earlier this year we delivered a funding package of up to £23 million, which was used to deliver temporary support schemes to seafood businesses affected by COVID-19 and new trading conditions. This was used to deliver the Seafood Disruption Support Scheme, which paid seafood businesses a proportion of export losses experienced in January, and the Seafood Response Fund, which paid three months of average fixed costs to fishing and shellfish aquaculture businesses.

£32.7 million has been made available to support the seafood sector this financial year, which meets the Government’s manifesto commitment to maintain funding for the sector. Part of this funding will be used to deliver funding schemes in each of the four administrations of the UK. In England, the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme will support the long-term sustainable growth of the seafood sector and will initially focus on helping businesses adapt to new conditions and opportunities arising from leaving the EU, as well as supporting the on-going recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.

The Government has gone even further than its manifesto commitment with the Prime Minister’s announcement that an additional £100 million will be made available across the UK for transformative seafood projects that will rejuvenate the industry and our coastal communities. It will be used to invest in: modernising and expanding infrastructure; the science and data needed to ensure a sustainable sector; and the training required to ensure the workforce has the capacity, skills and expertise required for a thriving and prosperous industry. More detail on this funding will be made available in due course.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to protect the oceans.

The UK is a global leader on marine protection. Leading the Global Ocean Alliance and as Ocean Co-Chair of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, the UK is championing a target under the Convention on Biological Diversity to protect at least 30% of the global ocean as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures by 2030 ('the 30by30 target'). Under UK leadership, 80 countries have now committed to support the adoption of this target at CBD COP15.

Domestically, we have built a comprehensive network of MPAs and are focusing on making sure they are protected properly. 98 MPAs in inshore waters already have management measures in place to protect sensitive features from bottom towed fishing gears and the Marine Management Organisation has embarked on a three-year programme of work to manage impacts from fishing activity in all English offshore MPAs. The Government has also launched plans to increase protections for England's waters through a pilot scheme to designate marine sites in England as Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs). HPMAs will take a 'whole site approach', conserving all species and habitats within their boundary to maximize protection of marine habitats and species. The Government recognises that the strict protections implied by HPMAs will cause some concerns with other sea users and intends to liaise closely with them throughout the process, including the fishing industry.

The UK also supports the conclusion of negotiations on an ambitious new implementing Agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction ('BBNJ Agreement') as soon as possible. Areas beyond national jurisdiction cover more than 60% of the global ocean, and so this Agreement includes provisions that allow for the establishment of MPAs in these areas, a key mechanism to deliver the '30by30' target.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to increase trade with Australia.

The UK recently signed a Free Trade Agreement with Australia on 16th December 2021. The deal is expected to increase trade with Australia by 53% in the long run. The UK and Australia have committed to removing tariffs on a vast array of popular products which can now be more easily traded between the two countries including eliminating tariffs on 100% of UK exports. This deal is tailored to British strengths providing benefits for our world-class services industry, unprecedented new opportunities for UK professionals to work in Australia and trading digitally.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress her Department has made on trade negotiations with Canada.

I refer the Hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich to the answer given by my Hon. Friend, the Minister for International Trade, on 25 November, UIN: 79336.

Work continues on developing the British negotiating mandate, and we look forward to formally commencing talks this year. On 13 December 2021 HM Government of Canada notified its Parliament of intentions to begin negotiations with the UK, triggering a 90-day notification period which, we are advised, must be completed before negotiations can commence for Canada.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to boost British exports.

The Department for International Trade announced a refreshed Export Strategy, Made in UK, Sold to the World on 17 November at the UK’s first International Trade Week. This business-centred 12-Point Plan is designed to transform our support for exporters, encourage them to ‘sell to the world’ and accelerate our race to £1 trillion exports per year.

The Made in the UK, Sold to the World campaign will boost demand for UK exports internationally. Supported by the Export Support Service (ESS), the UK Export Academy, UK Export Finance, our International Trade Advisers and global networks, UK businesses will be supported at every stage in their export journey.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made on securing a free trade agreement with Australia.

The Australian Minister for Trade, Dan Tehan, visited the UK on 22nd – 23rd April to meet my Rt hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and me face-to-face, for the first time since his appointment in December. Over the course of two days of intensive discussions, the UK and Australia reached consensus on most elements of a comprehensive free trade agreement, including ambitious provisions on services, innovation and mobility. Australia is set to liberalise tariffs on UK goods, from sparkling wine, to cars, to pottery.

Both countries are confident that the remaining issues will be resolved, and are now working to agree the outstanding elements with the aim of reaching agreement in principle later this month.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made towards a free trade agreement with the US.

The Government has had five rounds of negotiations so far. Almost all chapter areas are now in the advanced stages of talks, and a significant proportion of legal text has been agreed across multiple chapters.

The US is currently reviewing the progress made in the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), so far, following the appointment of the United States Trade Representative, Katherine Tai. The Government has been engaging constructively on the way the FTA can align with both countries’ commitments to Building Back Better.

An ambitious UK-US FTA can support transatlantic collaboration rebuilding from Covid-19, promoting sustainable and clean growth and women’s economic empowerment, while setting global standards in digital trade and protecting intellectual property.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of a free trade agreement with Australia on Crewe and Nantwich constituency.

The Department’s economic analysis, published on 17 June 2020, seeks to identify the potential scale of the long-term additional benefit to the UK from having a deal with Australia. This analysis suggested the North West could be one of the regions expected to benefit most from a UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Clothing is one of the North West’s top goods exports to Australia, and this increased from 2019 to 2020. Liberalisation of tariffs on clothing (currently up to 5%) and reducing other non-tariff barriers to trade should further benefit this industry.

Likewise, another of the North West’s top exports to Australia, automotives, could also benefit from the removal of tariffs (currently up to 5% on road vehicles) and other non-tariff barriers to trade.

Following the conclusion of negotiations, a full impact assessment will be published prior to implementation.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to promote professional business services in free trade agreements.

The UK is a world leader in professional and business services. In 2019, the UK exported £63 billion of professional and business services (PBS), with a trade surplus of £34 billion.

To support the success of this important and diverse sector, the Department for International Trade is seeking ambitious commitments in its free trade agreements (FTAs) on cross-border trade in services, investment, mobility, and digital trade, which will reduce trade barriers, and provide certainty and transparency for UK professional and business service suppliers.

The Government is also using FTAs to foster regulatory dialogue and collaboration across all PBS sectors. This can help reduce administration and costs for UK professionals and firms seeking to supply services overseas.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent steps he has taken to help increase the number of people working in the HGV sector.

The Government has put in place 32 specific measures to deal with the shortage of HGV drivers. These include funding for apprenticeships, 11,000 places on Skills Bootcamp training backed by £34 million, increasing the supply of vocational driving tests, prioritising vocational driving licence applications, and investing £32.5 million in roadside facilities for HGV drivers. These are listed on gov.uk.

Our measures are working. The number of available HGV driving tests has increased by 90% compared to pre-pandemic levels and currently stands at 3,200 tests per week. Test capacity now exceeds demand and the provision of vocational tests is not a barrier to people becoming HGV drivers. Despite the increase in vocational driving licence applications and licence renewals, there are no delays in processing and all new applications are being processed within five working days, unless further medical checks are required. Recent assessments by industry bodies such as Logistics UK suggest that the shortfall in drivers has started to reduce.

27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support the aviation sector.

Since the start of the pandemic, we estimate that the air transport sector (airlines, airport and related services) will have benefitted from around £8bn of government support.

On 24 January we announced that we will reduce travel restrictions from 11 February, ensuring a more proportionate system in place for passengers. From 4am on 11 February eligible fully vaccinated arrivals will no longer have to undertake a post-arrival Lateral Flow test. Self-isolation and day 8 tests will also be removed for arrivals who are not recognised as fully vaccinated.

We are also currently developing a strategic framework for aviation which will set out our ambitions for the sector over the next 10 years. This will be published in due course.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to restore previously closed rail lines.

In January 2020 the Government pledged £500 million for the Restoring Your Railway programme to deliver on our manifesto commitment to start reopening lines and stations to reconnect smaller communities, regenerate local economies and improve access to jobs, homes and education. We reopened the Dartmoor Line in November, the first line to be reinstated under the programme, and are supporting over 45 schemes at different stages of development with funding and advice.

27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support disabled passengers on public transport.

The Department is committed to ensuring disabled passengers have the same access to transport as everyone else. We are working to deliver accessibility improvements across all modes of transport, as set out in the 2018 Inclusive Transport Strategy, 2021 National Disability Strategy and the 2021 Williams-Shapps Rail Review.

Recent initiatives include:

  • Launching the rail Passenger Assist app
  • Revising guidance documents on tactile paving and inclusive mobility
  • Providing funding for a range of initiatives such as Changing Places Toilets and improving accessibility at lifeline ports
  • Partnering with disability charity Scope to develop a Disabled Passenger Charter for buses, coaches, rail, taxis and private hire vehicles.

We also ran the #World of Difference element of the ‘Its Everyone’s Journey’ public awareness campaign to support disabled passengers using public transport, including those with non-visible conditions. We also continue to engage with key stakeholders through the Inclusive Transport Stakeholder Group, the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee and Disability Ambassadors for Transport.

27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent steps he has taken to support the launch of rockets and satellites from the UK.

My Department has put in place a new regulatory framework and spaceflight regulator to enable the licensing of spaceflight activities from the UK.

The Government also published its National Space Strategy on 27 September 2021 and has awarded £40 million of grants to kick start the establishment of vertical and horizontal launch capability from the UK.

27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent progress he has made on supporting the roll out of electric vehicles.

Industry statistics suggest that over 750,000 plug-in vehicles have been sold in the UK since 2010, and over one in six cars sold in 2021 had a plug. Charging infrastructure has also been increasing. Government and industry have supported the installation of over 28,000 publicly available charging devices including more than 5,100 rapid devices – one of the largest networks in Europe. The Government has supported the installation of nearly a quarter of a million chargepoints in homes and workplaces.

Building on the £1.9 billion from Spending Review 2020, the Government has committed an additional £620 million to support the transition to electric vehicles (EV).  The additional funding will support the rollout of charging infrastructure, with a particular focus on local on street residential charging, and targeted plug-in vehicle grants.

Alongside funding, we are also introducing the new regulations to support the transition. Legislation laid in December 2021 will require all new residential and non-residential buildings with associated parking in England to have a chargepoint installed at the point of construction. Later this year we intend to regulate to improve the consumer experience at public chargepoints. Helping consumers locate the right chargepoints for their needs; making it easier to pay; ensuring charging infrastructure is reliable; and pricing is transparent. We will also be consulting on the introduction of a zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate - setting targets for a percentage of manufacturers' new car and van sales to be zero emission each year from 2024.

Our soon to be published EV Infrastructure Strategy will set out the vision and action plan for charging infrastructure rollout needed to achieve the 2030/35 phase out successfully and to accelerate the transition to a zero-emission fleet.

27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve the condition of roads in England.

As announced in October’s Spending Review, during this Parliament the Government is investing over £5 billion in highways maintenance, outside London and combined authorities receiving City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements. This is enough to fill in millions of potholes, repair dozens of bridges, and resurface roads up and down the country.

Allocations for individual highway authorities for the next three years will be made shortly.

27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve motorway safety in England.

Safety is National Highways’ top priority as highway authority on the Strategic Road Network (SRN), which comprises our motorways and principal A-roads. It addresses safety issues through public information campaigns and infrastructure solutions where necessary. Where safety critical defects are identified on the SRN, they are made safe within 24 hours. Permanent repairs are carried out according to the severity of the defect, often within 28 days. National Highways will continue to review the condition of the SRN to ensure that future improvements works are prioritised according to need.

Additionally, earlier this year National Highways launched its largest ever campaign to help drivers feel safer on our country’s motorways. Its main message informs drivers that if you breakdown, ‘Go Left’. Further information can be accessed here: https://nationalhighways.co.uk/road-safety/breakdowns/.

27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of the recommendations of the Union Connectivity Review.

The Government is grateful to Sir Peter Hendy for his Union Connectivity Review. We are considering his recommendations carefully, working with the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive to identify the solutions that work best for the people of the UK. We will publish our response as swiftly as possible.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to implement the policies set out in the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail.

The Government is committed to delivering passenger benefits as quickly as possible, including the introduction of new flexible season tickets, auditing accessibility of stations, a 30-year strategy for the rail industry, and replacing franchising.

This is the biggest change to the railways in three decades and transformation on this scale will not happen overnight. Government is setting up a Rail Transformation Programme within the Department for Transport and working with the rail sector to ensure a common understanding of our vision for the railway, working collectively with the sector to design how this major project will be delivered. The Government will make further announcements on next steps in relation to implementation in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the uptake of electric vehicles.

The Government had already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market and remove barriers to zero emission vehicle (ZEV) ownership. We are now going further and faster to decarbonise transport by phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emission at the tailpipe. Alongside these new phase out dates we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and motorists to make the switch. To underpin our ambitious phase out dates, this year we will publish a delivery plan, an electric vehicle infrastructure strategy and Green Paper on Co2 emission from transport.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to promote the use of E10 fuel in vehicles.

On 25th February, we published the Government response to the consultation paper “Introducing E10 petrol”. The Government response confirmed our intention to introduce E10 petrol in September. In advance of the introduction, we launched a public information campaign on 7th June. The campaign will make drivers aware of the changes we are making and how E10 will play a part in helping reduce carbon emissions.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve transport connections in the north of England.

Since 2010, over £29 billion has been invested in transport infrastructure in the North to unlock the economic potential of the Northern Powerhouse.

In addition, we are committing over £22bn to fund HS2 Phases One, 2a and 2b Western Leg to deliver North-South connectivity, of great benefit to the Hon. Member’s constituency, and £75m for developing Northern Powerhouse Rail in 2021/22. This comes on top of the billions we expect to spend on improving the Transpennine route between Manchester, Leeds and York, and the £12bn invested in roads in the North over the last 5 years.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve transport connections in rural areas.

The Government recognises the importance of transport for rural areas and is committed to improving access to services that provide vital connectivity. To improve current bus services, or restore lost services where needed, the Government has paid an extra £30 million to local authorities in 2020/21, local authorities have been able to use this to retain or restore services affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Additionally, in March 2021 we awarded funding to 17 pilot projects through the £20m Rural Mobility Fund scheme to trial innovative, demand-responsive solutions to transport challenges that rural and suburban areas often face. Demand responsive transport has the potential to transform the local transport offer in areas where demand is more dispersed, and the distances involved make it more challenging to maintain or provide services which meet residents’ diverse needs.

The Government wants to ensure that the needs of rural transport users are given equal consideration to those in urban areas. We are committed to improving the connectivity of isolated rural communities and those with infrequent and unreliable services.

In 2019, we published the ‘Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy’, setting out our approach to maximising the benefits and managing the risks of new technology in urban areas. We now want to explore the challenges and opportunities for rural areas. Transport innovation has the potential to revolutionise travel within our towns, villages and more remote areas; making it easier for people to access jobs, education or healthcare. It could also provide a boost to rural communities, where people without cars often miss out on opportunities. We are determined to seize these benefits as we begin to explore how future transport solutions and interventions can tackle rural mobility issues, improve connectivity and accessibility, increase low carbon travel options and deliver more integrated transport services.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the uptake of cycling and walking.

On 28 July 2020 the Prime Minister launched ambitious plans to boost cycling and walking, with the ambition that half of all journeys in towns and cities are cycled or walked by 2030. This includes a £2 billion package of funding for active travel over 5 years, the largest ever boost for cycling and walking.

The first £250 million of the £2 billion was allocated in 2020/21, with much of this going to local authorities enabling them quickly to deliver safe walking and cycling routes in their area. The Department’s latest Road Traffic Estimates for Great Britain suggest that the amount of cycling was 46% higher in 2020 than in 2019, with around 5 billion miles cycled. This is the highest level of cycling on the public highway since the 1960s.

The Government is providing over a quarter of a billion pounds for walking and cycling this financial year, and will be making a further announcement shortly on all it is doing to support this important agenda.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve the condition of England’s roads.

In addition to investing £1.7 billion in 21/22 into local roads plus an unprecedented £27 billion into the strategic road network through to 2025, the Department is working towards the creation of a common data standard for the monitoring of road condition. This will aim to drive innovation and flexibility in monitoring local roads and enable authorities to target defects in their networks more quickly. Further information, including a Departmental position paper, will be published shortly.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress his Department has made in introducing flexible rail season tickets.

As announced on 20 May alongside the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, the Government is introducing new flexible season tickets across England this year, with the new tickets going on-sale on 21 June, and becoming available for use on 28 June. A new season ticket calculator is available for passengers to check the best value option for their travel plan.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve cross-UK transport links.

Sir Peter Hendy is carrying out the independent Union Connectivity Review, which will report later this year.

12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to support the realisation of the Crewe Hub vision.

Crewe is a vital railway asset and a strategically important location on the rail network, but as the existing infrastructure is complex, the solution has to be right for the arrival of HS2. In March 2018, the Secretary of State confirmed the Government’s support for the Crewe Hub vision, and announced that plans for HS2 Phase 2a will include 400m platforms at Crewe station to allow for the splitting and joining of HS2 services. In addition, a more efficient design is proposed for the platform on the Manchester independent lines and a change to the design of the southern connection to the HS2 lines.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to include the connection to the high speed line north of Crewe in plans for HS2 Phase 2b.

Crewe is already a hub on the existing rail network and following a consultation in 2016, the Government confirmed its vision for a ‘Crewe Hub’, with up to 5 to 7 HS2 trains stopping per hour.​ Fully realising the Crewe Hub vision will require a junction north of Crewe back to the HS2 Phase 2b mainline and the design is being developed as part of the Northern Powerhouse Rail Strategic Outline Business Case.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that Crewe station will be ready for the arrival of Phase 2a of HS2.

Crewe is a vital railway asset and a strategically important location on the rail network, but as the existing infrastructure is complex, the solution has to be right for the arrival of HS2. In March 2018, the Secretary of State confirmed the Government’s support for the Crewe Hub vision, and announced that plans for HS2 Phase 2a will include 400m platforms at Crewe station to allow for the splitting and joining of HS2 services. In addition, a more efficient design is proposed for the platform on the Manchester independent lines and a change to the design of the southern connection to the HS2 lines.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department holds on the number of responses (a) HS2 Ltd received to its consultation on HS2 Phase 2a and (b) received for other HS2 public consultations.

There were 499 responses received to the consultation on Phase 2a that closed on 26 February, 2021. For three recent consultations on HS2, there were 326 (Phase 2b Western Leg Design Refinement Consultation 2 2020), 1,307 (Phase 2b Design Refinement Consultation 2019) and 27 responses (Phase 2a Additional Provision 2 Environmental Statement and Supplementary Environmental Statement 2019). This information is made available online once the consultation responses are published.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress his Department has made in establishing the Restart, Recovery and Engagement unit; and what plans he has for the (a) work objectives of that unit and (b) engagement of that unit with the aviation industry.

In response to Covid-19, the Department for Transport established its Aviation Restart, Recovery, and Engagement Unit at the beginning of the pandemic. The objectives of the unit are to support the restart of the sector, enable its safe recovery post Covid-19, and the Unit has engaged with industry throughout this process.

As part of the Aviation Restart, Recovery, and Engagement Unit, the Department established the Expert Steering Group to engage and consult with the sector regularly. This Group has supported work done to date including the development of the aviation sector health measures guidance and implementation of the International Travel Corridors. In addition, Ministers and officials continue to meet with Airlines, Airports, Ground Handling companies and industry bodies frequently throughout the crisis.

The Government has now also launched the Global Travel Taskforce, which is considering:

  • How a domestic testing regime for international arrivals could be implemented to boost safe travel to and from the UK and allow UK residents to travel with confidence;
  • What steps we can take to facilitate global business and tourist travel, including through bilateral agreements and multilateral forums by exploring with key international partners issues such as global common standards, testing models, “bubbles”, measures around enforcement, exemptions and other border management measures;
  • What steps we can take to increase consumer confidence, ensure existing measures are being properly adhered to and restart international travel safely.

The Global Travel Taskforce is also engaging with the sector on these points.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the timeframe is for construction work on High Speed Two Phase 2a (West Midlands - Crewe) to commence.

The Phase 2a Bill is currently in the House of Lords with petition hearings restarting before the Lords Select Committee next week. Parliamentary time allowing, we hope it will receive Royal Assent before the end of the year. Royal Assent of the Bill will allow construction of Phase 2a to begin. We expect the construction of Phase 2a to align with the timing of Phase One.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of High Speed Two construction sites are in operation as at 13 July 2020.

229 sites out of a possible 244 sites are open, meaning that 94% of sites that could be open are open. All Construction sites for Main Works Civils on the Phase One route are open. A small number of enabling works construction sites remain closed/paused, primarily due to work requiring access to residents’ homes.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 on the timeframe for the construction of High Speed Two.

High Speed Two Ltd continue to monitor the impacts of Covid-19 on construction. 94% of sites are open on Phase One and work is continuing in line with Public Health England Guidelines. As part of our twice-yearly reports to Parliament on the status of the project, we will consider the impacts of COVID-19 once the pandemic’s wider effect on the economy becomes clearer.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to help unemployed young people into work.

The Department of Work and Pensions Youth Offer provides individually tailored Work Coach support to young people aged 16 to 24 who are claiming Universal Credit. This support includes the Youth Employment Programme, Youth Employability Coaches for young people with additional barriers to finding work, and Youth Hubs across Great Britain.

Previously, the Youth Offer was only available for those searching for work. As of the 25 September 2023, this been expanded to include to include additional young people on Universal Credit not currently searching for work, including young parents and carers.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to encourage people who are economically inactive due to long-term sickness and disability into work.

The Government delivers an extensive programme of initiatives to support disabled people and those with health conditions, including those with long-term sickness, to start, stay, and succeed in work.

These initiatives include: the Work and Health Programme, Access to Work grants, Disability Confident, a digital information service for employers, Disability Employment Advisers in Jobcentres, Employment Advice in NHS Talking Therapies and Individual Placement and Support in Primary Care.

Building on existing provision and the £2 billion investment announced at the Spring Budget, we announced a new package of support in Autumn Statement 2023 to: double the number of places on the Universal Support employment programme, launch WorkWell in approximately 15 pilot areas to provide light touch work and health support, explore new ways of providing individuals receiving a fit note with timely access to support, and establish an expert group to advise on a voluntary national baseline for Occupational Health provision.

Alongside this, the Health and Disability White Paper announced plans to abolish the WCA. This reform will ensure those who are able to can progress in or towards work, without the worry of being reassessed and losing their benefits, giving claimants confidence they will receive support, for as long as it is needed, regardless of whether they are working.

Ahead of the White Paper reform, we have announced changes to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) from 2025, that will continue to protect those with the most severe conditions while ensuring those that can work are supported in doing so. Alongside this, a new ‘Chance to Work Guarantee’, will effectively abolish the WCA for most existing claimants who have already been assessed and are not expected to look for or prepare for work. This will remove the fear of reassessments and give people the confidence to try work, while providing continuity of service for vulnerable claimants.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to support the long-term unemployed into work.

The Government recently announced further steps to stem flows into long term unemployment and inactivity through the Back to Work Plan.

As part of the Plan, the Restart Scheme will be extended for two years, and eligibility will be expanded to those who have been on Universal Credit in the IWS regime for more than 6 months rather than 9 months (as is the case currently). Restart provides customers with up to 12 months of intensive, tailored employment support.

The expansion of the Restart Scheme means that people will be able to benefit from the support offered by Restart earlier in their customer journey. The extended Restart Scheme will provide support for around 500,000 UC customers in the IWS regime.

The Back to Work Plan also set out that UC customers who remain unemployed after support from the Jobcentre and from the 12-month Restart scheme will take part in a claimant review point. This is a new process where a Work Coach will thoroughly review why the customer remains out of work, and what barriers continue to persist. Work Coaches will update Claimant Commitments to reflect what further support is needed to break this cycle of long-term unemployment, considering individual circumstances. Customers will be required to accept a job, undertake time-limited work experience or other intensive support.

From late 2024, these pathways will be tested on a small scale for claimants completing Restart without earnings.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to encourage people to increase their pension contributions.

This government is clear about the importance of pension saving so that individuals can plan for the retirement they want. We recognise the current minimum contribution rates for automatic enrolment (AE) are unlikely to give all individuals the retirement to which they aspire. That is why we are committed to implementing the 2017 Review measures.

Expanding AE to younger people and helping all eligible workers save from the first pound of earnings will boost overall saving levels, once fully implemented, by an extra £2 billion a year in pension contributions.

Following the successful passage of the Pensions (Extension of Automatic Enrolment) (No. 2) Act 2023, supported by government, we have committed to consult on the detailed implementation of AE expansion and will do so at the earliest opportunity and report to Parliament before using the powers in the Act.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to expand Automatic Enrolment.

This government is clear about the importance of pension saving so that individuals can plan for the retirement they want. We recognise the current minimum contribution rates for automatic enrolment (AE) are unlikely to give all individuals the retirement to which they aspire. That is why we are committed to implementing the 2017 Review measures.

Expanding AE to younger people and helping all eligible workers save from the first pound of earnings will boost overall saving levels, once fully implemented, by an extra £2 billion a year in pension contributions.

Following the successful passage of the Pensions (Extension of Automatic Enrolment) (No. 2) Act 2023, supported by government, we have committed to consult on the detailed implementation of AE expansion and will do so at the earliest opportunity and report to Parliament before using the powers in the Act.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce the level of economic inactivity among people of working age.

The UK labour market has record employment and close to record low unemployment, however we want to see even more people fulfil their potential, we are supporting employers to get the required skills for their workforce, and ensuring the economy continues to grow.

The Spring Budget set out a significant, wide-ranging package of DWP measures that represent an investment of £3.5bn over 5 years to boost workforce participation. These measures will help to break down the barriers stopping people moving into work and progressing in it. This includes investment to support disabled people and those with long-term health conditions, parents, over-50s, unemployed people and people on Universal Credit and working fewer than full-time hours.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to help support people aged over 50 into work.

The Government is committed to delivering a comprehensive package of support to help over 50s to remain and return to work.

Eligible older jobseekers on Universal Credit will receive more intensive, tailored support during the first nine months of their claim. This will give work coaches more time to spend with older job seekers who have recently become unemployed and give extra support to help tackle barriers or difficulties in finding work.

37 new full-time 50PLUS Champion are now in every Jobcentre Plus district across GB, to support and upskill Work Coaches to deliver success for older claimants, including by raising awareness of the importance of supporting older job seekers.

The Mid-life MOT is being offered to workers in their 40s and 50s to review and take stock of their finances, skills and health. This enables them to better prepare for their retirement and build financial resilience. They will be delivered to people in work in the private sector in three pilot areas, to eligible customers in the Jobcentres claiming Universal Credit and digitally. As part of the Spring Budget, the Chancellor announced even more 50+ customers on Universal Credit will be able to take part in the Mid-life MOT sessions in the Jobcentre. The digital Mid-life MOT will also be expanded and improved.

Alongside this enhanced offer, for those who became unemployed, Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches have the flexibility to offer all claimants, a comprehensive menu of help, such as through Restart, Sector-Based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPs), the Flexible Support Fund, Mentoring circles, and 50+ job fairs, whilst also being supported by the 50 PLUS Champions.

We will introduce Returnerships, a new offer promoting existing skills interventions to the over-50s, focussing on flexibility and previous experience to reduce training length.

DWP also engages with employers to encourage positive attitudes towards older workers and the benefits of a multi-generational work force, and the adoption of suitable work practices to increase the retention, retraining and recruitment of older workers. DWP and The Business Champion for Older Workers, Andy Briggs, engage with employers to promote the benefits of older workers to business.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department has taken to remove barriers to women returning to work after giving birth.

Lots of women want to work after having children. Universal Credit is designed to ensure that women get the flexible support they need to return to work. All claimants, including women returning to work after giving birth, are set requirements that take into account their circumstances and capability, including caring responsibilities.

For claimants with children aged two to four, support has also been adjusted so that these claimants are able to attend refresher training courses for up to a year, where it will improve their chance of returning to a previous occupation.

Additionally, where a claimant is caring for a pre-school age child, additional safeguards apply, as such, any work-related expectations are limited. Those expected to search for work can limit the time they can spend travelling to and from work. Lead carers are given longer to attend an interview or take up work so they can arrange childcare.

The Department is aware that for some UC claimants childcare costs can present a challenge for parents returning to work. To support parents when returning to work, eligible UC claimants can claim back up to 85% of their registered childcare costs each month regardless of the number of hours they work.

This is up to the maximum amount of £646.35 per month for one child and £1,108.04 per month for two or more children. From Summer 2023, the Department will increase the generosity of the UC childcare costs ‘caps’ (maximum amounts) - allowing parents to claim back over £300 more for one child or over £500 for two or more children of their childcare costs per month.  This will increase the caps to £950.92 for one child and £1,630.15 for two or more children. For families with two or more children, this could be worth over £19,500 a year.

By September 2025, eligible working parents of children aged 9 months to when they start school will be able to get 30 hours of free childcare in England.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress his Department has made on supporting disabled people into work.

In 2017, the Government set a goal to see a million more disabled people in employment between 2017 and 2027. Between Q1 2017 and Q1 2022, the number of disabled people in employment increased by 1.3m – meaning the goal was met after only five years. Our goal to reduce the disability employment gap remains. We will continue to galvanise action across, and outside of, Government to ensure we are ambitious about the employment of disabled people, and supporting them to start, stay and succeed in work.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help improve disabled people’s lives.

The Disability Action Plan (DAP) will set out the action the Government will take in 2023 and 2024 to improve disabled people’s lives. It will contribute to this Government’s commitment to create a society that works for everyone, where all can participate fully and be included in society.

The DAP will set out how we will go further, taking concerted action across Government to improve disabled people’s lives.

We are also appointing a new cohort of Ministerial Disability Champions (MDCs), who will be accountable for their department’s contribution to the development and delivery of the DAP and will also act as a personal lead committed to championing disabled people within their department.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to encourage more Universal Credit claimants to move into work.

Universal Credit is designed to make work pay. The Government wants people to see their income increase when they start working.

The Department has comprehensive support in place to help UC claimants start, stay and succeed in work, including face-to-face time with work coaches and support with the cost of childcare. In addition, there is targeted support for young people, people aged 50+, disabled people and people with a health condition.

Claimants on work-related benefits are generally expected to undertake certain activities in return for financial support through the benefit system. These requirements help the claimant prepare for, look for and move into work and are tailored to their individual capability and circumstances.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to incentivise people to return to the labour market.

The is Government is committed to helping people find a job, progress in work and thrive in the labour market, whoever they are and wherever they live.

Universal Credit has been designed to make work pay and we have comprehensive support in place to help DWP claimants start, stay and succeed in work, including face-to-face time with work coaches and interview assistance. In addition, there is targeted support for groups we know are more likely to be inactive, such as those aged 50+ and disabled people and people with a health condition.

DWP is leading work across government to look in detail at the issue of workforce participation. As only about half of the people who are economically inactive are on a DWP benefit, we are working with other government departments and stakeholders to gather insight and develop new ideas to tackle this issue.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to reduce benefit fraud.

Our Fraud Plan, Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System, published on 19 May 2022, sets out our approach and explains how the additional investment is allowing us to recruit 1,400 more staff into our counter-fraud teams, establish a new 2,000-strong team dedicated to reviewing 2 million existing Universal Credit (UC) claims and develop enhanced data analytics as a means of preventing and detecting fraud and error. More information on our Fraud Plan can be found here:

Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Government is investing £1.4billion of funding over the next three years in order to combat fraud and error, which includes a further £613 million to facilitate a number of new initiatives, which collectively will stop an estimated £2.0 billion of loss in fraud and error over the next three years. An additional £280m to help prevent abuse of the system and drive forward UC case checks was announced in the recent Autumn Statement.

This builds on the existing work DWP have done to address overpayments, with savings from the correction and prevention of fraud and error totalling £2 billion last year.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the Government's progress in increasing the number of disabled people in work.

According to the latest figures from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) on working age (16-64) employment, there were 4.9 million disabled people in employment in the UK in Q3 2022. This is an increase of 240,000 on the year and an overall increase of 2.0 million since the same quarter in 2013.

The Government set a goal to see a million more disabled people in employment between 2017 and 2027.

Figures released for Q1 2022 showed that between Q1 2017 and Q1 2022 the number of disabled people in employment increased by 1.3 million – meaning the goal was met after only five years.

Estimations suggest that the rise in the total number of disabled people in employment between 2013 and 2021 has been driven by several factors. These include: an increase in disability prevalence (50%), a strong labour market (20%), internal factors such as Government policy (25%), and an increase in the size of the working population (5%).

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the potential impact of the Government’s cost of living payments on (a) disabled people and (b) pensioners.

We published an Impact Analysis on the Social Security (Additional Payments) Bill which includes impacts of the Cost of Living Payments on disabled people and pensioners.

Full details of the Impact Analysis can be found here.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps his Department has taken to help improve the support available for jobseekers.

The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for getting people into work and making work pay. We do this through our core Jobcentre offer which provides a range of options to those seeking employment, including face-to-face time with work coaches and interview assistance. We also have support programmes targeted towards specific cohorts, such as young people or people with disabilities.

In his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer reaffirmed this government’s commitment to raising the Administrative Earnings Threshold from January 2023. This will bring more claimants into scope for intensive work coach support, helping those who are either not in work or are working but are in low pay.

The Restart scheme gives jobseekers intensive support to find work in their local area. First referrals were in July 2021, with an initial focus on those who had been on UC in the IWS regime for between 12 and 18 months. The scheme was expanded to UC claimants who have been unemployed for 9 months (January 2022) and to claimants who are in receipt of Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance for 9 months (April 2022). By April 2022, 226,785 claimants have started on the scheme.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the potential impact of increasing the benefit cap in line with inflation on people who receive benefits.

The benefit cap levels will be increased from April 2023 in line with CPI in the year to September 2022 (10.1%). This is the same uprating measure that will be applied to benefits and the State Pension and ensures that capped households will see an increase in their benefit income following annual uprating. There were around 130,000 capped households in May 2022 (the latest available statistics). Around 30,000 households will be taken out of the cap entirely and around 60,000 other households (who would have become capped in the absence of an increase in the levels) will not become capped. The average for all these households will be around £29 extra benefit a week.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have been auto-enrolled in workplace pensions in Crewe and Nantwich constituency since 2012.

Since 2012, 13,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension and 1,720 employers have declared compliance in the Crewe and Nantwich constituency.

This data is published by The Pensions Regulator each month:
https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/document-library/research-and-analysis/data-requests

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking following COP26 to help ensure that pension funds contribute to delivering net zero.

Building on our existing climate governance and disclosure requirements, the Department consulted (from 21 October 2021 to 6 Jan 2022) on measures requiring schemes to set out how their investments are aligned with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global average temperature increases to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels. We have also consulted on guidance for trustees to strengthen stewardship and voting practices which will be key to ensuring high-carbon assets transition to net zero.

We are also working across government to develop a Sustainability Disclosure Requirements regime which will create a framework for the disclosure of pension scheme’s net zero transition plans and will also help tackle ‘greenwashing’.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on her consultation on Disability Workforce Reporting.

The consultation on disability workforce reporting for large employers, which is being led by the Disability Unit based in the Cabinet Office, was launched on 16 December 2021 and will close on 25 March 2022. The consultation is available at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/disability-workforce-reporting

1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her priorities are for the next six months of the National Disability Strategy.

The National Disability Strategy (NDS), published in July 2021, sets out a wide range of tangible actions that will impact across the everyday lives of disabled people. From housing to transport, education to leisure and justice, to challenging the unhelpful perceptions of others. Delivery of the policies in the strategy is progressing well.

For example, DfE has invested over £8 billion in 2021/2022 on children and young people with complex needs, improving outcomes for disabled children. DWP is piloting an Adjustments Passport supporting disabled people in the transition to employment, and BEIS launched an online advice hub offering accessible information and advice on employment rights for disabled people.

Priorities over the next 6 months will be to continue to deliver on the commitments in the NDS and reporting on progress as we have previously committed to do.

In addition, this government is supporting the successful delivery of the British Sign Language Private Members Bill through the House of Commons and Lords to ​​recognise British Sign Language (BSL) as a language of Great Britain, with ultimately the objective of increasing access to BSL interpretation.

Alongside recognising British Sign Language as a language of Great Britain, we will:

  • establish a non-statutory advisory board of British Sign Language users to advise the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on BSL guidance
  • examine how to increase the number of British Sign Language interpreters
  • review the Access to Work scheme, which funds workplace adjustments, to ensure users of British Sign Language receive the support they need

I am committed to delivering the government’s aim to address the challenges faced by disabled people so that we continue to build back better, and fairer, for disabled people.

1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to support disabled people into the workforce.

A range of DWP initiatives are supporting disabled people and people with health conditions to start, stay and succeed in employment. These include the Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, the Work and Health Programme, Disability Confident and support in partnership with the health system, including Employment Advisers in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services.

Last year we published three major documents: Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper; the response to the Health is Everyone’s Business consultation on minimising the risk of ill-health related job loss; and the National Disability Strategy. These together form our holistic approach and vision for supporting disabled people and people with health conditions to live independent lives.

1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to tackle fraudulent activity by people seeking to exploit the benefits system.

The Department takes fraud against the benefits system very seriously and has taken huge steps to reduce and minimise fraud and error during the last 18 months, at a time when the Department processed an additional 3 million new Universal Credit claims as part of our response to the pandemic.

This has seen us:

  • Expand our Integrated Risk and Intelligence Service, which coordinates the detection of, and response to, fraud risk from organised crime groups seeking to exploit the benefit system.

  • Invest £44m into the Integrated Risk and Intelligence Service to expand the pre-payment ‘risking’ techniques and maintain the new Enhanced Checking Service for high risk claims.

  • Revisit over 900,000 high risk claims paid during the early period of Covid-19, generating approximately £400m in savings.

  • We secured an additional £613m, which will enable a targeted review of Universal Credit claims and lead to even greater investment in advanced analytics and our Serious and Organised Crime team.
David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to increase collection rates of child maintenance payments.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) take rigorous action to collect maintenance, combining robust negotiation activity with the highly effective use of its extensive range of Enforcement Powers. This approach is driven by the Payment Compliance strategy increasing CMG compliance influencing activities to tackle non-paying cases and challenge non-compliant behaviours.

CMS have worked in partnership with Courts and Enforcement Agents following the restrictions on Enforcement activity during the initial phase of the pandemic in 2020 to quickly return to normal operating practice.

During the quarter ending September 2021 £47.4 million was paid through the Collect & Pay service compared to the quarter ending December 2019 where £44.1 million was paid before the impact of the pandemic took effect. (Source – National Tables – table five ‘Money Due and Paid each quarter’ January 2015 to September 2021).

There has been a consistent downward trend in the proportion of unpaid maintenance as a proportion of maintenance arranged since 2017, falling from 12.5% in 2017 to 8.5% in September 2021 (Source – National Tables - table six ‘ how much maintenance CMS has arranged March 2015 to September 20).

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department provides to young jobseekers.

The Plan for Jobs provides a comprehensive package of support for young people, including the Youth Offer and Kickstart.

The Kickstart scheme is dedicated to helping 16 to 24-year olds at risk of long-term unemployment develop their skills and experience through fully funded six-month jobs. As of January, over 130,000 Kickstart jobs have been started by young people.

We are extending the DWP Youth Offer to 2025 and have expanded eligibility to include 16 and 17-year olds, in addition to 18 to 24-year olds, who are claiming Universal Credit and searching for work. The Youth Offer currently provides intensive work search support through the Youth Employment Programme, specialised Youth Employment Coaches for young people with additional barriers to work, and over 160 Youth Hubs across England, Scotland and Wales.

DWP is delivering a comprehensive package of support for young people in collaboration with the Department for Education and National Careers Service in England, the devolved administrations, and other partners.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress is being made by the work of Armed Forces Champions in jobcentres.

DWP’s network of 50 Armed Forces Champions and 11 Group Leads provide vital support to veterans and other members of the armed forces community, including providing additional help to get veterans in to work. Since the new model was introduced in April 2021 it has been well received by stakeholders.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to support progression out of low pay.

From April 2022 onwards, the Government will be enhancing its support to working claimants across Great Britain. Approximately 1.7 million working Universal Credit claimants across every Jobcentre, will be able to access Work Coach support to address any skills or wider barriers to progression. We will also appoint specialist Progression Champions who will make connections between employers, local authorities, and skills providers.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps work coaches are taking to get people who have been out of work for an extended period back into work.

DWP offers significant support to unemployed people across Great Britain to access employment opportunities through our network of Jobcentres. Our Work Coaches engage with claimants on the basis of their individual need to provide support on finding a job, help with retraining or skills advice, job applications and access to the new vacancies, as well as signposting to our Jobhelp website.

Through our Plan for Jobs, the Department is providing broad ranging support for all jobseekers. Currently, support includes the Kickstart Scheme, Sector Based Work Academy Programmes (SWAP), Job Entry Targeted Support and Restart. The Restart Scheme supports individuals who have been unemployed for at least 9 months and through regular, personalised support, providers work with participants to identify the best way to support them into sustained employment.

In addition, the Work and Heath Programme, and Intensive Personalised Employment Support, is available to support to support disabled people and people with long term health conditions, to enter and stay in work.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking help people who lost their jobs during the covid-19 outbreak back into work.

The Department for Work and Pensions is committed to supporting everyone who has been affected by the unprecedented impact of COVID-19. We want everyone who is able to work to find a job, progress in work and thrive in the labour market.

Throughout the pandemic the UK Government has provided over £400 billion to support the economy, including funding for the Plan for Jobs. The Kickstart scheme to date has provided over 130,000 young people with Kickstart jobs, with many of these securing permanent employment. Alongside this, the Restart Scheme offers a fresh start to those who have been unemployed for over 9 months. The scheme breaks down employment barriers that could potentially prevent jobseekers from finding work.

Way to Work is a new concerted national drive to help half a million people currently out of work into jobs by the end of June 2022, supporting them to take their next step to building a more secure and prosperous future. While we have more people on company payrolls than before the pandemic, latest figures show there are around 1.2 million vacancies across the economy, including many in key sectors.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Plan For Jobs in supporting people into work.

Throughout the pandemic the UK Government has provided historic levels of support to the economy – a total of over £400 billion. This includes key DWP Plan for Jobs programmes such as Restart and Kickstart alongside other measures to boost work searches, skills and apprenticeships. In addition, the Government supported people to remain in work through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Plan for Jobs has:

  • Helped over 130,000 young people have started Kickstart placements.
  • We have over 160 Youth Hubs across Great Britain to support young people.
  • Over 127,000 Sector-based Work Academy Programmes have been started.
  • Restart is helping to support claimants who have been out of work for longer periods.
  • Job Finding Support provided new one-to-one online support to the recently unemployed.
  • Job Entry Targeted Support helped provide applicants with support related to CV writing, interview skills and job search advice.

DWP is monitoring and evaluating the Kickstart scheme throughout and after its implementation and will continue to evaluate the longer-term outcomes for Kickstart participants after they have completed their six-month jobs. Our Kickstart evaluation includes large scale surveys to capture the views and experiences of Kickstart participants and of employers and gateway organisations. The evaluation is considering how experiences and outcomes from the scheme vary and examine how participants’ and employers’ characteristics, local context and local approaches to delivery affect experiences. Qualitative case-studies will provide a detailed understanding of how different aspects of the scheme interact and we will draw on available data and insights. We will publish the findings of the evaluation once complete.

A comprehensive, multi-strand evaluation will be undertaken to provide a robust and timely analysis of Restart delivery and impact. It will be split into four strands: targeted qualitative research during the implementation phase; a longitudinal cohort survey and qualitative research; provider research, including locally-focused case studies and finally an impact assessment including cost-benefit analysis the evaluation will assess overall programme impact and participant outcomes, as well as providing evidence on wider participant experience.

An evaluation of how DWP’s plan for jobs policies worked together is being undertaken. This will include case studies of different areas and their delivery of plan for jobs policies, and a tracking survey of a sample of plan for jobs participants and non-participants. This research will run through 2022 into 2023.

DWP have also recently launched 'Way to Work’, a concerted drive across the UK to help half a million people currently out of work into jobs in the next five months. We will be bringing employers into jobcentres and matching them up with claimants. This is good news for employers who need to fill vacancies and for our claimants.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the progress of the Kickstart Scheme.

As of the 31st January 2022, over 130,000 Kickstart jobs have been started by young people and over 235,000 jobs have been made available for young people to apply to through the scheme.

The Department for Work and Pensions will be monitoring and evaluating the Kickstart scheme throughout and after its implementation and will continue to evaluate the longer-term outcomes for Kickstart participants after they have completed their six-month jobs.

Jobs made available and starts quoted here include some unfunded Kickstart jobs.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system, which has been developed quickly.

The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people applied for undergraduate pre-registration midwifery courses in each year since 2015.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) publish data on the number of applicants to midwifery courses in England. The number of applicants between 2018-19 and 2021-22 are shown in the table below.

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

Applicants

8,140

8,750

11,040

10,340

Source: UCAS end of cycle 2022, published at the following link:

https://www.ucas.com/data-and-analysis/undergraduate-statistics-and-reports/ucas-undergraduate-sector-level-end-cycle-data-resources-2022

Published UCAS data only covers the period from 2018-19 onwards.

18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many students applied for (a) nursing and (b) midwifery undergraduate courses in the latest period for which data is available.

46,565 students applied for nursing courses and 10,340 students applied for midwifery courses at the end of the 2022 application cycle, according to data published by The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate his Department has made of the adequacy of the number of scans and health checks completed by the NHS.

Diagnostic checks, including scans, are a key part of many elective care pathways. The Department’s ambition is that 95% of patients needing a diagnostic check receive it within six weeks by March 2025. According to data published in November 2022, approximately 73% are receiving a check within six weeks. Community Diagnostic Centres have delivered more than 2.7 million additional checks as of December 2022.

Delivery of the NHS Health Check programme, which is commissioned by local Government, was largely suspended between April 2020 and February 2022 due to the pandemic and in line with national guidance from NHS England. Data shows most local authorities have made positive steps to recover the service, reaching 81% of pre-pandemic activity between July and September 2022.

18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to increase the speed of hospital discharges.

On 9 January 2023, the Government committed a further £200 million to fund short-term National Health Service step-down care packages. Integrated care boards, working closely with local authorities, will use this to purchase places in care homes and other settings, such as hospices, as well as to help fund wrap-around primary and community health services to support patients’ recovery. NHS England expect that this will allow an additional 2,500 – 3,000 patients to be discharged from hospital into other care settings, freeing up much needed acute beds and clinical capacity.

The Government has also provided an extra £50 million in capital funding to expand ambulance hubs and hospital discharge lounges to help improve the flow of patients through hospitals and the speed of hospital discharges. This complements and builds on the £500 million adult social care discharge fund announced in September 2022, which can be used to fund a much wider range of measures to support discharge, including domiciliary care packages and measures to boost workforce capacity.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the supply of lateral flow and PCR covid-19 tests.

In December 2021, we delivered approximately 280 million lateral flow device (LFD) tests and we have since procured new stocks and increased delivery capacity. We expect to deliver 90 million LFD tests a week across the United Kingdom, including East Yorkshire and County Durham, including seven million a day through GOV.UK. In England, this includes approximately 12 million tests a week through pharmacies.

For polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, we increased capacity before Christmas and developed a network which processed over four million tests by 10 January 2022. We expect that there is currently sufficient capacity to process PCR tests.

12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support the discharge of patients from hospital during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have provided £3.3 billion to the National Health Service to facilitate timely hospital discharges during the pandemic, including £478 million for winter 2021/22. We have established a national discharge taskforce and systems are also using non-acute beds locally, including in hospices, community beds and the independent sector. To recruit and retain staff to support the discharge of patients, we are providing £462.5 million via local authorities for care providers to increase existing care support.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to maximise NHS capacity and help increase the NHS’s resilience during the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service is ensuring that all medically fit patients are discharged to increase bed capacity, using non-acute beds in local systems and the independent sector, and expanding the use of ‘virtual wards’ to care for patients safely at home. Nightingale hubs are also under construction to deliver up to an additional 4,000 beds, should they be needed.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce covid-19 hospital admissions.

Measures including the mandatory use of face masks in most public indoor venues, the requirement to display the NHS COVID Pass in specific settings and advice to work from home where possible, will help to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant and pressure on the National Health Service. The booster vaccination campaign continues which will provide additional protection against hospitalisations, especially amongst older and more vulnerable populations. We are also increasing capacity in the NHS, deploying antiviral and monoclonal antibody treatments and providing free lateral flow device tests to 100,000 critical workers.

12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the progress of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

As of 12 January 2022, over 83% of those aged 12 years old and over in the United Kingdom have received two doses of the vaccine, with over 90% having received one dose. Over 36 million people in the UK have received a booster or third primary dose, with every eligible adult in England aged 18 years old and over offered a booster vaccination by the target of 31 December 2021.

12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help protect the most clinically vulnerable from covid-19.

The shielding programme ended on 15 September 2021. People previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to follow general guidance, while considering additional precautions to reduce the risk of infection. On 24 December 2021, updated public health advice was issued, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

In addition, updated public health advice was issued for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19. This is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk

NHS England and NHS Improvement have written to general practices and hospital trusts in England to raise awareness of this new guidance.

12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the capacity of the UK’s covid-19 testing infrastructure in comparison to other countries.

No specific assessment has been made as robust data on international capacity is not held.

11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress his Department has made on developing surgical hubs across England.

Following successful pilots in London, the National Health Service is launching surgical hubs across the country. There are currently 44 stand-alone hubs operating in England.

We are providing a further £1.5 billion for elective recovery and reconfiguration, which includes funding for developing surgical hubs. This is in addition to £500 million provided in September 2021. Surgical hubs will be developed in existing hospital settings and plan to provide 29 types of operations.

The Getting It Right First Time programme, in collaboration with NHS England and NHS Improvement, is providing guidance to systems and regions on how to use hubs effectively, to standardise pathways and adopt best surgical practice.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the role of national clinical audits in improving patient care.

No assessment has been made.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will prioritise cardiovascular care in the Government’s forthcoming delivery plan on tackling the elective surgery backlog.

The elective recovery plan, due to be published before the end of this year, will set out the Government’s long-term ambitions for recovery. Prioritisation of services will continue on the basis of clinical need, followed by the length of waiting time.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of social outcomes contracts in supporting people with long-term health conditions.

Whilst no formal assessment has been made, NHS England and Improvement has been promoting the idea of outcomes-based commissioning of clinical services for some years, while acknowledging the difficulty of defining and measuring achievement of outcomes in a healthcare context. The National Tariff Payment System for secondary and tertiary care services has been encouraging commissioners and providers to incentivise achievement of long-term outcomes and management of long-term conditions by moving away from a purely episodic approach to a blended payment approach for services.

The Long Term Plan also commits to expanding personal health budgets up to 200 000 people by 2023/2024 giving people greater choice and control over how care is planned and delivered. Personal health budgets enable individual commissioning of care to meet identified health needs based on the individuals own identified health and wellbeing outcomes.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure carers have access to breaks from their caring responsibilities.

The Care Act 2014 introduced rights for carers, which means they now have legal rights to an assessment of, and support for, their needs where eligible.

We are working with local authorities, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure, the safe resumption of day services and other forms of respite care. We have also provided funding through the £1.4 billion Infection Control Fund which has been used to support the reopening of day and respite services and worked with Social Care Institute of Excellence to publish guidance on safe re-opening.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the recommendation of the Royal College of Surgeons of England’s report of 28 May 2021 entitled New Deal for Surgery, if the Government will maintain its £1 billion annual financial support for the Elective Recovery Fund in England for at least a further five years.

The next Spending Review will set out the Government’s plans for health and social care spending in future years.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the 14-day right to return and refund contained within the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 applies to privately-purchased covid-19 tests.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel and Operator Liability) (England) Regulations 2021 does not disapply any existing consumer protection rights.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve women’s health outcomes.

The Government has announced the first women’s health strategy for England to improve the health and wellbeing of women. To ensure the strategy reflects what women identify as priorities, the Government launched a call for evidence on 8 March until 13 June. The evidence gathered through the call for evidence will inform the priorities, content and actions for the strategy. We will respond to the call for evidence after the summer and we aim to publish the strategy later this year.

24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reform mental health treatment.

We are committed to our ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan to expand and transform mental health services in England. We are investing an additional £2.3 billion a year in mental health services by 2023-24, so that two million more people will be able to access mental health support. We are introducing new models of care which will give 370,000 adults with serious mental illness greater choice and control over their care and treatment, supporting them to live well in their communities.

We have published the Mental Health Recovery Action Plan, with a one-off targeted investment of £500 million, part of which will be used to accelerate key commitments in the NHS Long Term Plan. The Government published its white paper on Reforming the Mental Health Act on 13 January, to give people greater control over their treatment and receive the dignity and respect they deserve. Legislation will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows.

24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the role of genomic sequencing in tackling the covid-19 outbreak.

Public Health England (PHE) analyses COVID-19 genomic data together with epidemiological data to derive information on mutation, variants and transmission.

This analysis is fed into health protection activities such as local outbreak management, detection and characterisation of novel variants permitting more accurate predictions of the trajectory of the pandemic, output into policy including the border risk assessment and the roadmap tests and the vaccination programme. In addition, PHE’s data and analysis contribute to international control activities.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that more people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease can access dietetic support.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) quality standard on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) sets out that those with IBD, and their family members and carers if appropriate, should have access to multi-disciplinary teams, including dietitians. Clinicians are advised to take NICE quality standards into account when planning patient care. The quality standard is available at the following link:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs81

The number of allied health professionals working in a dietetics care setting in National Health Service trusts and clinical commissioning groups has increased by 5.3% between February 2020 and February 2021.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) help tackle obesity and (b) encourage people to live healthier lives.

We published ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ in July 2020. The strategy demonstrates an overarching campaign to reduce obesity, takes forward actions from previous chapters of the childhood obesity plan and sets out measures to get the nation fit and healthy, protect against COVID-19 and protect the National Health Service.

In July 2020, Public Health England launched the Better Health Campaign which promotes evidence-based tools and advice to help people look after their mental and physical health. The campaign shows adults the simple steps they can take to eat more healthily, increase their physical activity, care for their mental wellbeing and quit smoking. Change4Life and Start4Life programmes support families to eat well and move more with resources to motivate and encourage behaviour change including simple healthy eating messages, recipes and more.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he is making on procuring saliva tests to detect covid-19.

We are working with a number of United Kingdom suppliers to increase production capability for lateral flow devices (LFDs). We expect to increase the proportion of UK-produced self-test LFDs by the summer, while saliva tests remain at a trial stage.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he is making on increasing the proportion of lateral flow covid-19 tests being used that are UK-made.

We are working with a number of United Kingdom suppliers to increase production capability for lateral flow devices (LFDs). We expect to increase the proportion of UK-produced self-test LFDs by the summer, while saliva tests remain at a trial stage.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he is making on procuring saliva tests to detect covid-19.

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)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he is making on increasing the proportion of lateral flow tests being used that are UK-made.

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)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle eating disorders; and what plans his Department has to implement service improvements.

We remain committed to providing treatment based on an evidence-based model and to delivering the waiting time standard of 95% of children with an eating disorder to receive treatment within one week for urgent cases and within four weeks for routine cases. Since 2016, extra funding is being provided for children and young people's community eating disorder services every year, to continue to enhance the development of more than 70 new or improved community eating disorder teams covering the whole of the country


In addition, under the NHS Long Term Plan, by 2023/24, we will invest almost £1 billion extra per year in community mental health care for adults with severe mental illness, such as eating disorders. A four-week waiting standard for adult community mental health services, including eating disorder services, is being piloted and considered as part of the clinically led review of National Health Service access standards. Further information on the definition of a potential standard will be shared in 2021/22


We have also announced that in 2021/22 the NHS will receive around an additional £500 million, which will support people with a variety of mental health conditions, including eating disorders. As part of this £79 million of this extra funding will be used to significantly expand children’s mental health services, including allowing 2,000 more children and young people to access eating disorder services and £58 million will be invested to bring forward the expansion of integrated primary and secondary care for adults with severe mental illness, including eating disorders.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to increase the affordability of incontinence items.

Clinical commissioning groups are responsible for the commissioning of continence services.

Individuals who have bladder or bowel continence problems should seek help from their general practitioner and a referral to specialist bladder and bowel continence services for assessment and treatment. These specialist services aim to help patients regain continence, improve quality of life and to reduce reliance on products. Incontinence appliances such as catheters and stoma items are provided by prescription, although absorbent incontinence products are not. For those people who require incontinence products, eligibility and numbers of products which are provided free of charge are decisions for individual trusts.

Individuals who apply for Personal Independent Payments (PIPs) or Attendance Allowance should list bladder and bowel continence problems as this will be taken into consideration when allocating payments to help with the cost of products.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether latex-free flu vaccines are available; how many have been distributed to (a) GP surgeries and (b) pharmacies in winter 2020; and whether latex-free covid-19 vaccines will be available.

Information contained in the patient information leaflets for flu vaccines suggests none of the vaccines for the 2020/21 flu vaccination programme include latex as an ingredient in the vaccine.

The Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19, which began to be deployed on 8 December has no latex within the vaccine product. Its packaging is also free of latex. The vaccine comes in a clear vial (type I glass) with a synthetic rubber (bromobutyl) stopper and a flip-off plastic cap with aluminium seal. Information about the product specifications of future vaccines, should others be deployed, will be available on the Medicines Healthcare products and Regulatory Authority website.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 2 November 2020 to Question 110283, whether egg-free influenza vaccines are being made available to GP practices.

General practitioners (GPs) are responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults, with deliveries phased through the season. The Department has procured additional doses of seasonal flu vaccine, including stocks of egg-free cell-based quadrivalent influenza vaccine, to ensure more flu vaccines are available this winter. GPs who have exhausted their own supply are now able to order more flu vaccines from this central stock and is already being delivered across the country.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to categorise unpaid carers as a priority group when the covid-19 vaccine is rolled out.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise Government on which vaccine(s) the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The committee, in their interim advice, have advised that the vaccine first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 years old and health and social workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors in the initial phase. The prioritisation could change substantially if the first available vaccines were not considered suitable for, or effective in, older adults.

The JCVI and the JCVI sub-committee are currently reviewing evidence on clinical risk factors associated with serious disease and mortality from COVID-19. Following a review of the evidence, the Committee will develop advice on risk groups for any future COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that NHS patients do not experience significant delays in getting treatment during the covid-19 lockdown.

Throughout the pandemic, patients have been encouraged to come forward for the treatment that they require. National Health Service providers are working hard to continue the recovery of services alongside preparations for winter and dealing with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic by making full use of available capacity both in the NHS and in contracted independent hospitals.

To support the NHS, the Prime Minister announced £3 billion of extra funding, ensuring the retention of Nightingale hospital surge capacity and continued access to independent hospitals capacity to help meet patient demand. Should a patient’s planned care be disrupted by COVID-19, trusts, working with general practitioner practices, have been asked to ensure that they provide clear communication to patients about how they will be looked after, and who to contact in the event that their clinical circumstances change.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people who require an egg-free flu vaccine are able to access one.

It is the responsibility of general practitioners and community pharmacists to order the seasonal flu vaccine for the adult programme directly from suppliers.

Public Health England have provided guidance for healthcare practitioners: Inactivated influenza vaccine 2020 to 2021, which is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/inactivated-influenza-vaccine-information-for-healthcare-practitioners

This provides advice on when the egg-free cell-based quadrivalent influenza vaccine should be offered.

If an individual has concerns about egg allergies, they should speak to a health professional.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) improve rates of early diagnosis of neurofibromatosis type 1 and (b) raise public awareness of that condition.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have commissioned a national specialised service to address the healthcare needs of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) patients with rare complications that cause major health problems, called complex-NF1. There are two centres responsible for the diagnosis and long-term care of patients with complex NF1, which are based at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

These centres also provide education with the National Health Service to raise and maintain awareness of NF1 and are expected to form a relationship with local health and social care providers to help optimise any care for complex NF1 patients provided locally.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress the Government has made on abolishing hospital car parking charges for disabled people.

The Government is committed to ending unfair hospital car parking charges by making parking free for those in greatest need, including disabled people, with rollout having commenced in some trusts from April and in others on a rolling basis throughout the course of this year, subject to the constraints imposed by the pandemic.

These new requirements are being mandated through the NHS Standard Contract, to make car parking more consistent across England. The 2020/21 contract asked the National Health Service in England to do all it can to implement them from April 2020 and requires it to do so from January 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to help improve food security around the world.

Sustainable food security remains a priority of our humanitarian and development work and is a key objective or our International Development Strategy.

The UK is working with our international partners to address the underlying causes of food insecurity; promote robust food systems in low-income countries and support life-saving action in famine risk areas.

We are also taking action to enhance the coherence of the international response, including through a focus on the poorest and most vulnerable. Further detail is set out in the Government's recent response to the International Development Committee's inquiry into food security. [https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5803/cmselect/cmintdev/767/report.html]

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent diplomatic steps he has taken to support peace and stability across Africa.

The Foreign Secretary recently engaged on these issues with President Ruto and CS Mutua in Kenya, Prime Minister Abiy in Ethiopia, and FM Pandor during the South African State Visit. He raised the conflict in DRC with President Tshisekedi and Rwandan FM Biruta and exchanged views with President Hassan Sheikh on Somali security and stability. At the Münster G7 meeting, he underlined the importance of G7 partners supporting African-led solutions. The majority of FCDO ODA in Sub-Saharan Africa is spent in Fragile and Conflict Affected States. The UK contribution to UN Peacekeeping Missions in Africa was £227.5m FY 2021/2.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of sanctions on the Russian economy.

Sanctions imposed by the UK and its international partners are having deep and damaging consequences for Putin's ability to wage war. The UK alone has sanctioned more than 1,200 individuals and 120 entities and our restrictions on the Russian Central Bank have immobilised £275 billion, worth over 60% of Russia's foreign reserves. Russia is in recession and is expected to remain there next year. It will be Russia's longest recession for over 25 years. According to IMF forecasts, Russia's GDP will be 11% smaller in 2026 vs pre-invasion forecasts and won't return to its pre-invasion level until 2027 at the earliest.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support the human rights of people in Bahrain.

Bahrain is a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office human rights priority country. The UK provides technical and practical assistance to the Government of Bahrain, helping to underpin human rights and other reforms in the Kingdom. Any training provided by or on behalf of the UK government complies with our domestic and international human rights obligations and is kept under regular review. We regularly raise human rights issues and individual cases with senior members of the Government of Bahrain, and continue to raise specific cases with senior interlocutors, as well as with the independent human rights oversight bodies.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of Hong Kong's National Security Law on the freedoms and rights of people in that country.

The UK Government is deeply concerned about the situation in Hong Kong and the erosion of rights and freedoms and the high degree of autonomy enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration. It is crystal clear that the powers under the National Security Law are being used as a tool to curtail freedoms and punish dissent, rather than keep public order.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the political situation in Myanmar.

The UK is clear in its condemnation of the coup and the appalling violence by the military, which has left over 900 people dead. We are deeply concerned at the worsening political, Covid and humanitarian crisis in Myanmar. The military continues to imprison opposition figures, journalists and foreign nationals and they have maintained their brutal crackdown on dissent. The UK is calling for a peaceful and inclusive resolution to the crisis. We continue to call publicly for a return to democracy and the release of all those in arbitrary detention, including democratically elected politicians, journalists, civil society and foreign nationals. We are using all levers available to us to achieve this end, this includes sanctions and working to prevent the flow of arms to Myanmar.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support the distribution of covid-19 vaccines throughout the world.

The UK has championed since the beginning of the pandemic the importance of rapid, equitable access to safe and effective vaccines. We are among the largest donors to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), committing £548 million which leveraged through match funding $1 billion from other donors in 2020. This support to COVAX has been critical to it distributing COVID-19 vaccines to over 135 countries and economies, with its aim to provide up to 1.8 billion doses to low- and middle-income countries by early 2022. The UK has also committed to share 100 million vaccine doses by June 2022, 80% of which will go to COVAX to provide further support for countries in need.

The UK's investment in the research and development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has been a key contribution to the global vaccination effort. So far over 500 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed worldwide at non-profit prices, with two-thirds of these going to low- and middle- income countries.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure tackling poverty and inequality is a focus of his Department.

Poverty reduction is the central purpose of the UK's development assistance, which is set out in law through the International Development Act 2002. The UK is committed to the global fight against poverty and to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The Integrated Review renews our commitment to the UK as a force for good in the world. We outline that we will maintain a liberal approach to economic development, creating greater opportunities for all.

To achieve the FCDO's goal of reaching the poorest our development assistance is prioritising getting more girls into school, providing urgent humanitarian support to those who need it most, supporting sustainable and inclusive social protection and tackling global threats like climate change, COVID recovery and other international health priorities. In alignment with the UK Equality Act (2010) and the Gender Equality Act (2014), the FCDO will continue to champion equality to create a fairer, safer and more prosperous world.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the political situation in the Crimea.

Seven years on from Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, we continue to make clear to Moscow that Crimea is, and will remain part of Ukraine. Russia must withdraw forces and end illegitimate control.

Under UK leadership, G7 Foreign Ministers issued statements on 18 March, to mark the seventh anniversary of Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, and on 12 April, calling for de-escalation following Russia's build-up of military forces in Crimea and near the Ukrainian border. The Foreign Secretary has raised these matters directly with his counterparts, including on 17 June with Russian FM Lavrov.

We remain deeply concerned about ongoing human rights abuses experienced by minorities in Crimea, including Crimean Tatars. We have contributed nearly £700,000 this financial year to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission, which monitors and documents human rights abuses in Crimea. We will continue to call for international monitoring missions to have access to Crimea, currently denied by Russia.

We welcome and support Ukraine's proposal to establish an International Crimean Platform. We are exploring what role we can play.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that girls receive 12 years of quality education throughout the world.

Standing up for the right of every girl to 12 years of quality education is a priority for the UK Government. Between 2015 and 2020, the UK supported over 15 million children in gaining a decent education, of which 8 million were girls. 2021 is a year of UK leadership on the world stage. We have used our Presidency of the G7 to press for coordinated action on girls' education. In May, we secured G7 support for two, new ambitious global targets of getting 40 million more girls in school, and 20 million more girls reading by age 10 by 2026. We also agreed a declaration that prioritised girls' education in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and outlined the collective action that the G7 will take in helping achieve these global targets.

On 28-29 July, along with Kenya, the UK will host the Global Education Summit to raise vital funds for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). At the G7 Leaders' Summit, the Prime Minister secured a landmark commitment from the G7 to provide at least $2.7 billion to the Global Partnership for Education. This includes £430 million from the UK, which is an uplift of 15% from our current position as top bilateral donor, and our largest ever pledge to the GPE.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to promote international co-operation on tackling climate change.

We are taking four key goals to governments across the world in order to secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach. For our mitigation goal, countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reduction targets. For our adaptation goal, we are helping countries to adapt to protect communities and natural habitats. To increase climate finance, we are urging developed countries to deliver on their promise to raise at least $100 billion in climate finance per year, and we have committed to doubling our International Climate Finance to £11.6 billion over the next 5 years. Collaboration is our fourth goal, for which reaching agreement in the negotiations is our formal responsibility as the Presidency of COP26. Doing so will help deliver on our other three goals and demonstrate that the world is moving to a resilient, net zero economy.

In April, the UK hosted the first Ministerial meeting of the Forest, Agricultural Commodity and Trade Dialogue, under which 24 countries endorsed a joint statement of principles to work together to secure sustainable agricultural commodity production and protection of forests. The UK is also working to accelerate a transition to more sustainable land use practices through the COP26 Sustainable Agriculture Campaign, supporting action to align agricultural policies and support with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement targets.

8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to support political opposition in Belarus.

The Government has increased financial support to civil society organisations and independent media to support the environment for inclusive political dialogue in Belarus.

The UK's support for opposition groups in Belarus is focused on supporting the democratic rights of the people of Belarus, including through an inclusive national dialogue to end the current crisis. The Foreign Secretary discussed the political situation in Belarus with the opposition leader in exile, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, on 2 June. Mrs Tikhanovskaya has praised the UK's actions on Belarus to date and discussed what further measures the UK might take. The Foreign Secretary looked forward to meeting Mrs Tikhanovskaya in the UK as soon as it was possible for her to visit.

8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the political situation in Ethiopia.

We remain concerned by the political situation in Ethiopia due to the impact of the continued fighting in the Tigray region and ethnic and political tensions and violence elsewhere in Ethiopia. I have a long-standing concern about the deterioration of political freedoms in Ethiopia, and I raised the delay to elections with President Sahle-Work during the 17 May Sudan Conference in Paris. On 14 April, the British Ambassador met, alongside Ambassadors and representatives from other Embassies in Addis Ababa, the Deputy Prime Minister and Attorney General and pressed concerns about the narrow political and civic space and arrests of candidates. This builds on discussions the Foreign Secretary had with Prime Minister Abiy during his visit to Ethiopia on 22 January this year, which also included the situation in Tigray.

I joined a meeting of development ministers from key donor nations, including USAid Administrator Samantha Power, on 9 June to further discuss the situation in Tigray. We agreed that the humanitarian situation is of grave concern, and that enhanced support is needed. The UK will allocate a further £16.7 million to respond to the crisis, bringing our total spend on Tigray to £47.7 million since November 2020. Whilst we scale-up our response, it is clear that the humanitarian crisis will not end whilst the conflict continues. We must see an end to fighting and the withdrawal of Eritrean forces.

8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of China's National Security Law on the people of Hong Kong.

We have seen three clear breaches of the Joint Declaration in the last year, and therefore now consider China to be in a state of ongoing non-compliance with the Joint Declaration. As the Foreign Secretary wrote in the foreword of the most recent Six-monthly Report on Hong Kong covering the period of July - December 2020, the National Security Law has been used to drastically curtail the space for the expression of alternative political views and deter freedom of expression and legitimate political debate.

27th Nov 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish an estimate of the potential impact of borrowing an additional 1% of gross domestic product on interest rates.

Responsible decisions on borrowing are a key pillar of government support to the MPC in its action to bring inflation down to the 2% target. The external evidence suggests that for every extra 1% of GDP of borrowing (£25 billion), we could potentially be pushing up interest rates by as much as half a per cent. And there are reasons to believe that in current conditions it could be higher than that. Treasury modelling suggests that in the current economic conditions the impact might be between 0.5 and 1.25 per cent, without taking into account any supply-side impacts on the economy.

More detail on the methodology can be found here : Further detail on HMT analysis of borrowing and interest rates - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Bim Afolami
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what fiscal steps he is taking to support the growth of the life sciences sector.

Life sciences is one of the government’s priority growth sectors. In May, the Chancellor announced a bold new policy package backed by over £650m funding, reaffirming the government’s commitment to supporting a thriving life sciences industry.

This follows a number of initiatives announced at Spring Budget that will support the sector, including £10m extra funding for our medicines regulator the MHRA, full expensing of capital expenditure and reforms to R&D tax credits.

Gareth Davies
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what fiscal steps he is taking to support businesses with energy prices.

The Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) provides all eligible businesses and other non-domestic energy users with a discount on high energy bills for 12 months from 1 April 2023 until 31 March 2024. It also provides businesses in sectors with particularly high levels of energy use and trade intensity with a higher level of support.

This follows the unprecedented package of support for non-domestic users last winter provided through the Energy Bill Relief Scheme.

Gareth Davies
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress he has made on reducing the level of national debt.

Reducing national debt is one the Prime Minister’s five priorities, which is reflected in the Government’s fiscal rules. In its March forecast, the independent Office for Budget Responsibility confirmed that the Government is on track to deliver this, with underlying debt falling as a percentage of GDP in 2027-28. To ensure fiscal sustainability, the Government has taken difficult but necessary decisions to ensure that debt is falling.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
8th Feb 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the conclusions of the report by Oxford Economics entitled Assessing the impact of tax-free shopping in the UK, published in November 2022.

Following the initial withdrawal of VAT-free shopping in November 2020, the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) published their assessment of the withdrawal of the schemes. Their assessment showed that withdrawing the scheme would raise a significant amount of revenue and have a limited behavioural effect on decisions to visit, or spend, in the UK


The Treasury has reviewed the Oxford Economics report and remains confident in the OBR’s analysis


In particular, the findings of the Oxford Economics report are underpinned by an assumption that introducing VAT-free shopping will generate an additional 1.6 million visitors to the UK.

We do not recognise these figures. The OBR, using a higher than usual price elasticity of demand to account for VAT-free shopping being targeted at luxury goods, put this figure at 20,000-30,000 for non-EU visitors, which would imply a figure of 60,000-80,000 of total visitors (EU and non-EU). That is about 5% of the report’s 1.6 million estimate. Reflecting this difference in estimates of additional visitors could lead to their report overstating the potential extra revenue by around £1 billion.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
24th Jan 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Government’s business rates policy in supporting small and medium-sized businesses.

Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) is available to businesses with a single property with a rateable value below £15,000. Properties under £12,000 receive 100 per cent relief, and there is tapered support available to properties valued up to £15,000.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities publishes statistics annually (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-non-domestic-rates-collected-by-councils) which show that over a third of properties in England (700,000) already pay no business rates at all as a result of 100 per cent SBRR, with an additional 51,000 in the taper.

The eligibility criteria for SBRR ensures that it effectively targets the smallest businesses where help is needed most and provides good balance between support and cost to the Exchequer.

At Autumn Statement 2022, the Government announced a package of changes and tax cuts worth £13.6 billion over the next five years. This includes new measures to reduce the burden of business rates on firms, including a freeze in the multiplier for 2023-24, extended relief for high street businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector, an exchequer funded transitional relief scheme, and targeted support for small businesses.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to manage the public finances effectively.

The government is committed to ensuring that the public finances are managed effectively and that we are delivering value for taxpayers' money across government spending.

At the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021, the Chancellor confirmed new fiscal rules which will ensure that the public finances are on a stable footing in the years to come. The Office for Budget Responsibility confirm we are on track to get debt falling by 2024-25 and meet all our fiscal rules.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support public services.

The Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021 confirmed the largest real-terms increase in overall departmental spending for any Parliament this century. This record level of investment will be targeted where it will deliver improved outcomes and value for money for the taxpayer.

The government is investing in the public services people rely on, to ensure they are fit for the future and to drive up standards across the country.

HM Treasury has also taken further action to drive out low value or inefficient spend, to ensure that government continues to deliver the best value services to the public. Following the efficiency and savings review last year, Spending Review 2021 confirmed savings of 5% against day-to-day central departments budgets in 2024-25. Departmental savings will be reinvested into the government’s priorities.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress his Department has made in levelling up all regions of the UK.

The Government published its Levelling Up White Paper earlier this month. It sets out our missions as part of a decade long plan to see the potential of every corner of the United Kingdom fulfilled.

It builds on the funding allocated at the Spending Review, for example boosting investment in skills training with a total of £3.8 billion in skills by 2024-25, transforming local transport networks with £5.7 billion investment in five-year consolidated transport settlements for eight city regions in England, including Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region, and supporting local infrastructure through the first round of the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, which saw 12 places in the North West receive £232 million in funding.

It also provides further detail on the £2.6 billion UK Shared Prosperity Fund, helping people to access new opportunities in places in need.

31st Jan 2022
Pay
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to increase wages and support the lowest-income households.

The National Living Wage is increasing by 6.6% to £9.50 an hour for workers aged 23 and over in April 2022, which will benefit more than 2 million workers. This means an increase of over £1,000 to the annual earnings of a full-time worker on the National Living Wage and keeps us on track to our target to end low pay by 2024-25.

We have taken further decisive action to make work pay by cutting the Universal Credit taper rate from 63p to 55p and increasing Universal Credit work allowances by £500 per annum. Taken together, this is a tax cut worth around £1,000 a year for around two million low paid households.

The Government recently announced the ‘Way to Work’ campaign to get 500,000 jobseekers into jobs by the end of June. We know work is the best way for people to get on, to improve their lives and support their families because people on benefits are at least £6,000 better off in full time work.

Through the Plan for Jobs, the Government is also investing £99m in a new In Work Progression offer from April 2022, which will mean more people in work on Universal Credit will be able to access individualised Work Coach support to help them progress and increase their earnings.

The Government is also committed to helping low-income families with the cost of living, including providing £500m for a Household Support Fund to help vulnerable households with costs for essentials such as food, clothing and utilities over the Winter.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress his Department has made on supporting young people into high-skilled jobs.

The Treasury continues to work to support young people into high-skilled jobs.

Spending Review 2021 delivered the biggest long-term settlement for post-16 education in England since 2015. It delivered on the government’s commitment to invest an additional £500m per annum (£2.5bn total) in adult skills through the National Skills Fund, including continuing to offer free Level 3 courses for adults aged 19 and over in high value subjects, quadrupling the current annual scale of skills bootcamps, and delivering 24,000 traineeships for 16-24-year-olds a year.

These actions will help young people access high-quality training suitable to their needs and career goals.

For 16-19 education, Spending Review 2021 doubles the investment we made through Spending Reviews 2019 and 2020, giving young people more money for the high value subjects that matter most for their future careers. In addition, we have invested further in T Levels, which offer young people the opportunity to experience a mix of classroom learning and on-the-job training via an industry placement.

Apprenticeships are the government’s premier in-work training offer, providing learners of all ages and at all stages of their careers the opportunity to learn new skills, retrain or upskill. In academic year 2020/21, almost 50% of apprenticeship starts were by under 25s. Spending Review 2021 announced the first increase to apprenticeship funding since 2019, with funding rising to £2.7bn by 2024-25.

In addition to this Government’s support for post-16 education and apprenticeships, over 122,000 Kickstart jobs have been started by young people across Great Britain. Kickstart gives young people the chance to build their confidence and skills in the workplace, and to gain experience that will improve their chances of finding long-term, sustainable work. As well as Kickstart, DWP’s Youth Offer provides a guaranteed foundation of support to young people on Universal Credit in the Intensive Work Search group, ensuring they can access the right support, education or training to support their work and career ambitions.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support the financial services sector’s competitiveness.

In his Mansion House statement last July, the Chancellor set out the Government’s vision for an open, competitive, green, and technologically advanced financial services sector.

A sweeping set of reforms to sharpen the UK’s competitive advantage in financial services is already underway. In November, the Government published the second consultation in its Future Regulatory Framework Review. This provides a once in a generation opportunity to ensure that, having left the EU, the UK establishes a coherent, agile, and internationally respected approach to financial services regulation that is right for the UK.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to help the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors recover from the covid-19 outbreak.

In December, Government announced a £1bn package of support for businesses impacted by the Omicron variant. This included grants worth up to £6,000 for businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors.

These measures are just the latest action we have taken to safeguard businesses and jobs and are in addition to:

  • business rates relief meaning that the majority of businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will see a 75% reduction in their business rates bill across the entire financial year and a new 50% capped business rates relief next financial year;
  • a 12.5% reduced rate of VAT for hospitality and tourism;
  • access to finance for SMEs through the Recovery Loan Scheme to June; and
  • Bounce Back Loan repayment flexibility, with borrowers having the option to take a 6 month repayment holiday, three 6 month interest only periods or extend their loan to 10 years, which almost halves the monthly payment.

Thanks to the Government’s decisive action to implement balanced and proportionate measures in response to the Omicron variant, Cabinet has decided to return to Plan A in England. This means the economy will get back to operating freely and businesses can recover more quickly.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to encourage businesses to invest.

Under the super-deduction, from April 2021 until the end of March 2023, companies can claim a 130% capital allowance on qualifying plant and machinery investments. It is the biggest two-year business tax cut in modern British history.

At Budget, the Government announced that the temporary £1 million Annual Investment Allowance level would be extended until the end of March 2023.

These measures provide more upfront support to help businesses across the UK invest and grow.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to encourage regional growth across the UK.

The Government published its Levelling Up White Paper earlier this month. It sets out our missions as part of a decade long plan to see the potential of every corner of the United Kingdom fulfilled.

It builds on the funding allocated at the Spending Review, for example boosting investment in skills training with a total of £3.8 billion in skills by 2024-25, transforming local transport networks with £5.7 billion investment in five-year consolidated transport settlements for eight city regions in England, including Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region, and supporting local infrastructure through the first round of the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, which saw 12 places in the North West receive £232 million in funding.

It also provides further detail on the £2.6 billion UK Shared Prosperity Fund, helping people to access new opportunities in places in need.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress his Department has made on supporting people to upskill and change career paths.

The Treasury is working to support people to upskill and change career paths.

At the Spending Review, young people and adults benefitted from the biggest long-term settlement for post-16 education in England since 2015. The government is investing a total over the Parliament of £3.8bn in skills by 2024-25, equivalent to a cash increase of 42% (26% in real terms) compared to 2019-20.

Spending Review 2021 delivered on the government’s commitment to invest an additional £500m per annum (£2.5bn total) in adult skills through the National Skills Fund, including continuing to offer free Level 3 courses for adults aged over 19 in high value subjects. This substantially boosts retraining opportunities for adults and will level up basic skills.

We are also quadrupling the current annual scale of skills bootcamps over the SR period. Employers work with providers to deliver short courses to develop occupational skills, with participants guaranteed a job interview on completion. Bootcamps offer an opportunity for all adults to reskill and change career paths.

SR21 also announced ‘Multiply’ – the Government’s new programme to level up adult numeracy. £560m across the SR period will give people the opportunity to develop their numeracy skills, funded from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Local areas will be allocated funding to deliver interventions from a menu of options including: delivering flexible Functional Skills courses to fit around adults’ lives; supporting adult to build their confidence with numbers; working with employers to deliver innovative workplace-based numeracy programmes. Getting numeracy skills is one of the most valuable things we can do to help people get on: getting Level 2 numeracy increases wages by an average of 14% after seven years, compared to 4% for Level 2 literacy.

Apprenticeships are the government’s premier in-work training offer, providing learners of all ages and at all stages of their careers the opportunity to learn new skills, retrain or upskill. There are over 640 high-quality apprenticeship standards available at levels 2 (GCSE equivalent) to 7 (Master’s degree equivalent), including in ‘in demand’ sectors such as logistics, digital, and health and social care, allowing learners to both build on existing learning and explore new career directions. Higher-level apprenticeships can be an important stepping-stone to achieving these aims. Spending Review 2021 announced the first increase to apprenticeship funding since 2019, with funding rising to £2.7bn by 2024-25.

27th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what impact the net zero review has had on his Department's policies.

As outlined in the Net Zero Review final report, HM Treasury is building its governance, capabilities, and processes to support our transition to net zero. That includes developing our analytical capability for assessing and reporting on our net zero transition and the impact of policies and projects. For instance, there is an ongoing process of building macroeconomic modelling capability. As set out in Annex C of the Net Zero Review, some activities involved in this work are complete while the majority are ongoing.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support the financial services sector following the end of the transition period.

The Chancellor set out the Government’s strategy on financial services to the House in November, a vision of a sector that is more open; more technologically advanced; and a world-leader in the use of green finance, serving the communities and citizens of this country.

Since then we have passed a Financial Services Act to begin the necessary reforms to our framework, and agreed text with the EU for a regulatory cooperation forum paving the way for a more stable relationship.

In addition, we have set out our response to Ron Kalifa’s review of UK Fintech to ensure we continue to build on our existing strengths as a world leader in financial technology. We’ve also set out how we will take forward each of the recommendations in Lord Hill’s recent Listings Review that were addressed to the Treasury, and shared our plans to consult on reforms to the wider capital markets regime this summer, with the aim of supporting competitiveness, whilst ensuring the UK maintains high regulatory standards.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to encourage employers to take on more apprentices.

We are encouraging employers of all sizes to hire new apprentices through our employer hiring incentives. Employers who hire a new apprentice of any age until 30th September will receive £3,000 per apprentice. These payments build on the scheme originally launched as part of the Plan for Jobs: between 1st August 2020 and 4th May 2021, nearly 53,000 payments have been claimed by employers.

We are also continuing to improve the apprenticeships system for employers by: introducing more flexible training options, such as the front-loading of training and accelerated apprenticeships; making the transfer of unspent Levy funds to SMEs easier through the introduction of a new pledge function and employer matching service in August 2021; and supporting apprenticeships in industries with flexible working patterns, including through the launch of a £7m fund in July 2021 to help qualifying employers set up and expand the flexi-job apprenticeship scheme. These improvements will help put employers more firmly in the driving seat, enabling them to utilise apprenticeships in ways that suit their business needs and encouraging them to take on more apprentices.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with his G7 counterparts on prioritising environmental issues in the global economic recovery from the covid-19 pandemic.

The Chancellor met his G7 Finance Minister counterparts for the first in-person Finance Track meeting in two years on 4-5 June 2021. Climate and environmental issues have been at the heart of the Chancellor’s discussions with his G7 counterparts, paving the way to a truly green global economic recovery.

As a result result, G7 Finance Ministers have commited to a multi-year effort to meet our net zero commitments and environmental objectives in a way that is positive for jobs, growth, competitiveness and fairness; and to properly embed climate change and biodiversity loss considerations into economic and financial decision-making.

As part of this joint effort, the Chancellor secured G7 commitment to move towards mandatory climate disclosures just six months after the UK was the first country to commit to do so. This will help to ensure the global financial system plays its part in the transition to net zero.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress he has made with his G7 counterparts on establishing a global minimum corporation tax rate.

OECD proposals to update the international tax framework have been under negotiation for a number of years and the UK has an established record of being at the forefront of these talks.

The package being developed by the OECD includes two pillars; a change in the allocation of taxing rights over business profit, and a global minimum tax. That is something the UK strongly supports; the UK’s consistent position has been that it matters where tax is paid as well as the rate at which it is paid.

On 5 June the G7 finance ministers, meeting in London as part of the UK’s G7 Presidency, confirmed their commitment to a solution containing both pillars. The Government is delighted the G7 has come together to back the proposals developed by the OECD to reform the international tax framework.

Reaching final agreement on a two-pillar solution with the G20 and 139 members of the OECD Inclusive Framework would be a major multilateral achievement that introduces stability into the international tax landscape.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure multinational companies pay tax in the countries they operate in.

OECD proposals to update the international tax framework have been under negotiation for a number of years and the UK has an established record of being at the forefront of these talks.

The package being developed by the OECD includes two pillars; a change in the allocation of taxing rights over business profit, and a global minimum tax. That is something the UK strongly supports; the UK’s consistent position has been that it matters where tax is paid as well as the rate at which it is paid.

On 5 June the G7 finance ministers, meeting in London as part of the UK’s G7 Presidency, confirmed their commitment to a solution containing both pillars. The Government is delighted the G7 has come together to back the proposals developed by the OECD to reform the international tax framework.

Reaching final agreement on a two-pillar solution with the G20 and 139 members of the OECD Inclusive Framework would be a major multilateral achievement that introduces stability into the international tax landscape.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of furloughed employees during the covid-19 outbreak moving back into work.

Between the end of January and end of April 2021, 1.5 million left the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The most recent ONS Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) estimates the number of employees furloughed continued to decline to approximately 1.7 million in late May, the lowest level reported by the Survey since June 2020. At the same time, the number of payrolled employees has increased for six consecutive months.

The CJRS is therefore striking the right balance between supporting the economy as it opens up, continuing to provide support and protect incomes, and ensuring incentives are in place to get people back to work as demand returns.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to encourage home ownership.

The Government is committed to helping people own their own home and has introduced a range of measures to help first time buyers, including those announced at Budget 2021.

The mortgage guarantee scheme announced at Budget 2021 and launched on 19 April 2021 is increasing the availability of mortgages for credit-worthy households who only have a 5 percent deposit, helping them realise their dream of homeownership. The scheme follows on from the successful 2013 Help to Buy: Mortgage Guarantee Scheme, and as of 8 June there are 192 mortgage products available for buyers with a 5% deposit, compared to only 5 in February 2021.

At Budget 2015, the Government announced the Help to Buy: ISA to support people saving up for their first home. Savers who opened an account before December 2019 are eligible to claim for a government bonus of up to £3000 towards the purchase of their first home. Since it launched in 2015, 508,492 bonuses have been paid through the scheme supporting 386,728 property completions across the UK.

Similarly, the Lifetime ISA (LISA) allows those under 40 to save either towards buying a home or for the long term. Like the Help to Buy: ISA, the Government provides a 25% bonus month on month, meaning that people who save the maximum will receive a £1,000 bonus each year. First-time buyers saving into a LISA can use their tax-free savings, including the government bonus, to buy a home up to the value of £450,000 anywhere in the UK, at any point after the account has been open for 12 months.

The nil rate band for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) has been temporarily increased to £500,000 and will reduce to £250,000 from 1 July 2021. However, from 1 July 2021, first time buyers purchasing properties up to £500,000 in value will get an additional relief, meaning they will pay no Stamp Duty on the first £300,000 and then only pay Stamp Duty at a rate of 5% on the remaining amount.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to incentivise businesses to invest in new equipment or infrastructure.

Stimulating business investment will be key for our economic recovery.

Under the super-deduction we announced at Budget 2021, for every pound a company invests in qualifying plant and machinery, their taxes are cut by up to 25p.

We have also just launched the new UK Infrastructure Bank, which will partner with the private sector and local government, supporting more than £40bn of infrastructure investment overall.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending the business rates holiday granted for nurseries beyond March 2021.

This year the Government has provided an unprecedented business rates holiday for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties, and nurseries, due to the direct adverse effects of COVID-19, worth over £10 billion. In the 2020 Spending Review, the Government committed further support to businesses by freezing the business rates multiplier for 2021-22.

The Government recognises the important contribution that nurseries and childminders are making to the national response to COVID-19. In the Spending Review we announced that we’re providing £44 million next year to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers. This is on top of the additional £66m increase confirmed in Spending Round 2019.

In order to ensure that any decisions best meet the evolving challenges presented by COVID-19, the government will outline plans for 2021-22 reliefs in early 2021.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to tackle disruption caused by protests on motorways.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, contains measures which will improve the police's ability to deal with these disruptive protests.

The maximum penalty for wilful obstruction of the highway will be raised from a level 3 fine (currently £1,000) to an unlimited fine and/or six-months’ imprisonment. This will ensure offenders receive proportionate sentences for the disruption they cause.

We are also clarifying that this offence can still be committed if the free passage along the highway has already been obstructed by other protesters. This is to address the defence exploited by some who claim that they are not guilty of the offence if they join a protest on a highway after the police have closed it to ensure the safety of other protesters already obstructing it.

However, we are disappointed that the House of Lords did not back other measures which would have helped to further reduce this disruption caused by a selfish minority of protesters.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to attract international workers with science, technology, maths, and engineering qualifications to the UK.

Attracting international talent is a key component of our global points-based immigration system. We have a very generous immigration offer, which enables talented scientists, academics and creatives to come to the UK through several different routes, including Global Talent, Skilled Worker, Creative and Temporary Worker Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) routes.

The new Points-Based System is working well, attracting skills the UK needs, as demonstrated by the latest Immigration Statistics for yearend September 2021 with issuance of work visas across all routes is up on both 2020 and 2019 (pre-pandemic).

Since its launch in 2020 the Global Talent route has seen a significant increase in applicants compared to the predecessor route, despite the impact on international travel caused by the pandemic. The number of visas granted on this route has continued to grow from 422 between its launch in February 2020 to year end September 2020, to 1,709 applicants for the year ending September 2021.

A new High Potential route will launch later this year, to further enhance our excellent offer to talented individuals with qualifications in sectors such as science, technology, maths and engineering.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to support applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme.

The EU Settlement Scheme opened to the public on 30 March 2019 and the deadline for the scheme for those resident in the UK by the end of the transition period was 30 June 2021. However, there is scope to make a late application based on reasonable grounds for missing the deadline. The scheme also remains open to applications for those wishing to apply as Joining Family Members or who want to apply for settled status after having been granted pre-settled status.

The Home Office remains committed to ensuring those who are eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme can apply, including those who are vulnerable or need extra support. £25 million of funding has been awarded to a network of now 72 charities and local authorities across the UK, to ensure important information and assistance gets through to those who are hardest to reach, and no one is left behind. These organisations have helped more than 405k vulnerable people to apply to the EUSS already.

The Home Office has delivered a comprehensive range of communications activity, at a cost of £8m, to increase awareness of the EUSS, engaging extensively with a wide range of stakeholder organisations and other government departments, to provide the materials they need to communicate about the Settlement Scheme.

This includes toolkits, assets and information translated into 26 EEA languages, and Welsh, for local authorities, community groups, employers, and the Grant Funded Network, who work closely with vulnerable, hard to reach audiences to provide application support.

Guidance on how to apply and details of the support available to applicants (as it has been throughout the pandemic), is available through the EU Settlement Resolution Centre (SRC), which is open seven days a week to provide assistance over the telephone and by email. The SRC also provides a direct line for organisations working with vulnerable groups. In specific cases the SRC has the capacity to transfer customers to Assisted Digital for more bespoke support.

Further information can also be found at www.gov.uk/help-eu-settlement-scheme.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to reduce crime through the Safer Streets Fund.

We are delivering on the people’s priorities to cut crime and make our communities safe. The Safer Streets Fund enables Police and Crime Commissioners and Local Authorities across England and Wales to support interventions, including improved CCTV and streetlighting in areas experiencing high rates of neighbourhood crimes, such as burglary.

In total, £70 million has been invested; the first round worth £25 million and the second worth £20 million focused on preventing neighbourhood crimes, whilst third £25 million round, announced following the tragic death of Sarah Everard, aims to increase the safety of public spaces for all, with a particular focus on helping combat violence against women and girls.

As part of the October 2021 Budget, it was announced that £50 million per each for each of the three years of the Spending Review will be dedicated to the Safer Streets Fund, helping it continue its vital crime prevention role. Details of future rounds of funding will be announced in due course.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment her Department has made of the progress of its Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy.

Action we have taken since publishing our cross-Government Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy in June 2021 includes:

  • appointing transport champions to help make public transport safer for women;
  • awarded £30m to help make our streets safer through the ‘Safer Streets Fund’ and ‘Safety of Women at Night’ fund;
  • launched a pilot of ‘StreetSafe’ to enable the public to anonymously report areas where they feel unsafe; and
  • provided additional funding for specialist support services such as the Revenge Porn Helpline.

We are continuing to work with Departments across Government to drive progress in implementing the Strategy and are also working closely with Maggie Blyth who has been appointed as the National Policing Lead for VAWG to improve the policing response to these crimes.

In the coming months, we will also publish a complementary Strategy on tackling Domestic Abuse.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress her Department has made on increasing the number of women police officers in England and Wales.

We are increasing the number of police officers in England and Wales by 20,000, by March 2023. I am pleased to say excellent progress is being made in delivering against this target. As a result of their hard work and commitment police forces in England and Wales have recruited 11,053 additional officers, as at 30 September 2021. This is 55% of the 20,000 officer target.

We are also attracting a broad range of people into policing from all communities and backgrounds, including more women. I’m pleased to see that forces are seizing the opportunity of the uplift to make forces more representative of their communities.

Published data Police Officer uplift statistics - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) show that as at 30 September 2021 there were 47,425 female officers (headcount) in total, representing 33.9% of officers in England and Wales. This is the highest number of female officers than ever before. Since April 2020, more than four in ten new recruits (42%) were female, an increase on 37% the year before.

The next set of quarterly statistics, showing progress to 31 December 2021,will be published on Wednesday 26 January 2022.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress the Government has made on the recruitment of 20,000 additional police officers by 2023.

We are increasing the number of police officers in England and Wales by 20,000, by March 2023. I am pleased to say excellent progress is being made in delivering against this target. As a result of their hard work and commitment police forces in England and Wales have recruited 11,053 additional officers, as at 30 September 2021. This is 55% of the 20,000 officer target.

We are also attracting a broad range of people into policing from all communities and backgrounds, including more women. I’m pleased to see that forces are seizing the opportunity of the uplift to make forces more representative of their communities.

Published data Police Officer uplift statistics - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) show that as at 30 September 2021 there were 47,425 female officers (headcount) in total, representing 33.9% of officers in England and Wales. This is the highest number of female officers than ever before. Since April 2020, more than four in ten new recruits (42%) were female, an increase on 37% the year before.

The next set of quarterly statistics, showing progress to 31 December 2021,will be published on Wednesday 26 January 2022.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce knife crime.

Tackling knife crime is a priority and the Government is determined to crack down on the scourge of violence devastating our communities.

We are supporting the police every step of the way in this effort. We have given them more powers and resources to go after criminals and take knives and other dangerous weapons off our streets, including through the recruitment of 20,000 additional officers and increasing police funding.

The Government has made £130.5m available this year to tackle serious violence, including murder and knife crime. This includes: £35.5m for Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) which bring together local partners to deliver a range of early intervention and prevention programmes and tackle the drivers of violence in the 18 areas worst affected by serious violence; £30m to support the police to take targeted action in parts of England and Wales most affected by serious violence through the Grip programme, which uses data to identify violence hotspots and target operational activity in those areas; and £20m for new early intervention programmes that will help stop young people from being drawn into violence, including cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy, as well as specialist support in crisis moments such as when a person is admitted to A&E with a knife injury.

We have also invested £200m over 10 years for the Youth Endowment Fund, which is funding projects to support children and young people at risk of violence and exploitation and to steer them away from crime.

We acknowledge there is more to do which is why we are bringing forward the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill so the law-abiding majority can be confident they are safe. The Bill includes: Serious Violence Reduction Orders, which will give the police the power to stop and search adults already convicted of knife or offensive weapons offences; the Serious Violence Duty, which will require authorities and bodies delivering public services to collaborate to prevent and reduce serious violence in their areas; and offensive weapons homicide reviews which will be introduced to improve the national and local understanding of causes, patterns, victims and perpetrators of violence and homicide.

We have also prohibited certain particularly dangerous types of knife through the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 and have introduced the offence of possessing specified offensive weapons in private. The Act also introduced Knife Crime Prevention Orders which will provide the police with a vital means to steer those most at risk away from serious violence. On 5 July 2021 we introduced a pilot for KCPOs across the Metropolitan Police area.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle online fraud.

Frauds that are committed online are pernicious crimes. They can cause terrible financial and emotional harm to victims. The Government has been working with partners in the public and private sectors to keep the public safe and bring these fraudsters to justice.

DCMS are leading ground-breaking work on the Online Safety Bill. The Bill will require regulated companies to take action to tackle user-generated fraud on their platforms. This will impact some of the most harmful online fraud types such as investment and romance scams. The Joint Committee recently published their report on the Bill and we are scrutinising this closely to make sure we comprehensively address their recommendations. DCMS are also leading work through the Online Advertising Programme that will consider, amongst other things, the role online advertising plays in enabling online fraud.

We have also been working closely alongside the National Cyber Security Centre who launched their Suspicious Email Reporting Service last year. This has already led to over 8.1 million reports received and the removal of over 67,000 scams and 124,000 harmful websites, since its inception in April 2020.

However, Government and the public sector cannot tackle online fraud alone. That is why, on the 21 October 2021, the Joint Fraud Taskforce was relaunched under my [Security Minister] chairmanship. The JFT brings together leaders from across the Government, private sector, regulators, law enforcement and victim groups to encourage collaboration to keep the public safe from these crimes. Alongside the relaunch, we published voluntary agreement with the retail banking, telecommunications and accountancy sectors outlining innovative measures to reduce fraud facilitated through these industries (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/joint-fraud-taskforce). The Online Fraud Steering Group (OFSG) is a public-private group focused on reducing the threat from online fraud in the UK. It reports into the Joint Fraud Taskforce and is co-chaired by the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC), UK Finance and techUK.

We continue to encourage the public to report fraud to Action fraud and to forward any suspicious emails to report@phishing.gov.uk and suspicious texts to 7726, free of charge.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle knife crime.

Tackling knife crime is a priority and the Government is determined to crack down on the scourge of violence devastating our communities.

We identified a clear need for new primary legislation to respond to public concerns and provide the police with the powers they need. As such, under the provisions of the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 we have prohibited the possession of a range of particularly dangerous knives and offensive weapons, and we are introducing further measures to tackle crime involving bladed items. These include stopping bladed items being sent to residential addresses after they are bought online, unless the seller has arrangements in place with the delivery company to ensure that the product would not be delivered into the hands of a person under 18.

Under the same Act we introduced Knife Crime Prevention Orders (KCPO). These preventative orders enable the courts to place positive requirements as well as restrictive measures on individuals to help the police steer those most at risk away from serious violence.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill includes a duty on public sector bodies to take a joined-up approach to addressing serious violence; the requirement for local agencies to review the circumstances when an adult homicide takes place involving an offensive weapon; and Serious Violence Reduction Orders, which give the police the power to stop and search known knife and offensive weapons carriers.

We have also committed £130.5m to tackle serious violence including knife crime and homicide in 21/22. This includes funding for targeted policing in serious violence hotspots, as well as our network of Violence Reduction Units, which draw together partners in 18 areas worst affected by serious violence in England and Wales to deliver coordinated action to tackle violence at its root.

In addition, we have invested £200m over 10 years for the Youth Endowment Fund, which is funding projects to support children and young people at risk of violence and exploitation and to steer them away from crime.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle fraud and economic crime.

The recently published Economic Crime Plan Statement of Progress sets out a Forward Delivery Plan with commitments on tackling fraud and economic crime for 2021-22. This includes the development of a Fraud Action Plan, the relaunching of the Joint Fraud Taskforce and the piloting of dedicated fraud investigation teams.

As part of the Police Uplift Programme to recruit an additional 20,000 officers by 2023, we have prioritised more investigators in the City of London Police to fulfil their role as a world class fraud specialist force. We have also channelled additional officer resource into the Regional Organised Crime Unit network to work on a host of serious and organised crime threats including fraud.

We have also been working closely alongside the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) who launched their Suspicious Email Reporting Service last year. This has already led to extremely positive results. It has already seen high levels of success and, as of the end of February, the total number of reports received stand at more than 5,000,000 with the removal of more than 36,000 scams and 71,000 URLs.

We are encouraging the public to forward suspicious emails to report@phishing.gov.uk and to forward suspicious text messages to 7726 (which is free of charge). Any reports of fraud, including coronavirus related, should be made to Action Fraud. This information is being used by law enforcement partners, alongside crime reports to identify, disrupt and stop fraudsters.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to remove foreign national offenders from the UK.

The Government is clear foreign nationals who abuse our hospitality by committing crimes should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them.

Any foreign national who is convicted of a crime and given a prison sentence is considered for deportation at the earliest opportunity and since January 2019 we have removed 7,985.

For non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals, deportation will be pursued where it is conducive to the public good including where a person receives a custodial sentence of 12 months or more, commits an offence that caused serious harm or is a persistent offender. European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens, and their family members, who are protected by the EU Withdrawal Agreement Act 2020 are considered for deportation on public policy and public security grounds where it concerns conduct (including any criminal convictions relating to it) committed on or before 31 December 2020.

Our New Plan for Immigration will make it easier to deport foreign criminals with no right to be in the UK and keep our citizens safe.

The Home Office publishes data on the number of Foreign National Offenders (FNOs) returned from the UK in each quarter in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly release’. The latest data, published on 27th May 2021, can be found in tables Ret_02 and Ret_02q of the returns summary tables. The latest data relate to the calendar year 2020.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle knife crime.

The Government is determined to crack down on the scourge of violence devastating our communities, and tackling violent crime, including knife crime, is a priority.

Violent crime can have devastating and long-lasting impacts on victims, families and communities. This is why the Home Office has invested over £136.5 million over three years (19/20 – 21/22) to support the police to take targeted action in the 18 areas in England and Wales most affected by serious violence; £105.5m, over three years, in Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) to tackle the root causes of violence; £200m over ten years in the Youth Endowment Fund for early intervention and prevention; and this year we announced an additional investment of up to £23 million for new early intervention programmes that will help stop young people from being drawn into violence.

Across England and Wales, we are recruiting 20,000 additional police officers and increasing the amount of funding available to the policing system for 2021/22 by up to £636 million, totalling £15.8 billion. 8,771 additional police officers have been recruited as part of the Police Uplift Programme at 31 March this year, all working to keep our communities safe.

We also continue to strengthen the law on knife crime and serious violence. The Offensive Weapons Act 2019 introduced Knife Crime Prevention Orders (KCPO). These preventative orders enable the courts to place positive intervention requirements as well as other measures including prohibition to carry a knife on individuals to help the police steer those most at risk away from serious violence and to set them on a more positive path.

In March the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill was introduced. The bill includes a duty on public sector bodies to take a joined-up approach to addressing serious violence; the requirement for local agencies to review the circumstances when an adult homicide takes place involving an offensive weapon; and Serious Violence Reduction Orders, which give the police the power to stop and search known knife and offensive weapons carriers.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce levels of violent crime.

The Government is determined to crack down on the scourge of violence devastating our communities, and tackling violent crime, including knife crime, is a priority.

Violent crime can have devastating and long-lasting impacts on victims, families and communities. This is why the Home Office has invested over £136.5 million over three years (19/20 – 21/22) to support the police to take targeted action in the 18 areas in England and Wales most affected by serious violence; £105.5m, over three years, in Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) to tackle the root causes of violence; £200m over ten years in the Youth Endowment Fund for early intervention and prevention; and this year we announced an additional investment of up to £23 million for new early intervention programmes that will help stop young people from being drawn into violence.

Across England and Wales, we are recruiting 20,000 additional police officers and increasing the amount of funding available to the policing system for 2021/22 by up to £636 million, totalling £15.8 billion. 8,771 additional police officers have been recruited as part of the Police Uplift Programme at 31 March this year, all working to keep our communities safe.

We also continue to strengthen the law on knife crime and serious violence. The Offensive Weapons Act 2019 introduced Knife Crime Prevention Orders (KCPO). These preventative orders enable the courts to place positive intervention requirements as well as other measures including prohibition to carry a knife on individuals to help the police steer those most at risk away from serious violence and to set them on a more positive path.

In March the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill was introduced. The bill includes a duty on public sector bodies to take a joined-up approach to addressing serious violence; the requirement for local agencies to review the circumstances when an adult homicide takes place involving an offensive weapon; and Serious Violence Reduction Orders, which give the police the power to stop and search known knife and offensive weapons carriers.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking with the Secretary of State for Justice to support victims of domestic abuse.

This government is committed to tackling domestic abuse, which is why we recently passed the landmark Domestic Abuse Act, to support and protect all victims of domestic abuse. Alongside this, this year we will publish a domestic abuse strategy that will go beyond the implementation of the Act to help transform our response to domestic abuse; to prevent offending, protect victims and ensure they have the support they need.

We know that victims of domestic abuse may feel particularly vulnerable at this time, which is why last year the Government launched our #YouAreNotAlone awareness raising campaign to signpost support available. The campaign has reached over 30 million UK adults and has been seen by over 130 million followers on social media.

In January, we also launched the ‘Ask for ANI’ Codeword scheme to enable domestic abuse victims to seek victim focussed support, including engagement with specialist victim support services and the police as necessary. Over 5,000 pharmacies across the nation are now participating in the scheme, and the scheme has been used by over 60 victims and survivors.

We have provided unprecedented new funding to victim support services to ensure that they have the capacity to provide support to victims and adapt their operational capacity in light of the impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic. To that end we have awarded £27 million in additional funds to support domestic abuse services last financial year alone, comprising £25 million from the government’s £76 million in emergency funding for the most vulnerable in society, and an extra £2 million from the Home Office in April 2021 to bolster the capacity of domestic abuse organisations affected by the pandemic.

In November 2020 the Ministry of Justice announced a further £11 million towards a range of services offering practical and emotional help – allowing domestic abuse and specialist rape organisations to recruit more staff, adapt to remote counselling methods during the pandemic and keep helplines open for longer.

In 2021-22, the Ministry of Justice will provide just under £151m for victim and witness support services. This includes an extra £51m to increase support for rape and domestic abuse victims, building on the emergency funding from this financial year to help domestic abuse and sexual violence services meet Covid-driven demand. Of this funding, £27 million will go to creating more than 700 new posts for Independent Sexual Violence and Independent Domestic Abuse Advisers helping us to meet demand for support from victims.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle violence against women and girls.

This government is committed to tackling domestic abuse, which is why we recently passed the landmark Domestic Abuse Act, to support and protect all victims of domestic abuse. Alongside this, this year we will publish a domestic abuse strategy that will go beyond the implementation of the Act to help transform our response to domestic abuse; to prevent offending, protect victims and ensure they have the support they need.

We know that victims of domestic abuse may feel particularly vulnerable at this time, which is why last year the Government launched our #YouAreNotAlone awareness raising campaign to signpost support available. The campaign has reached over 30 million UK adults and has been seen by over 130 million followers on social media.

In January, we also launched the ‘Ask for ANI’ Codeword scheme to enable domestic abuse victims to seek victim focussed support, including engagement with specialist victim support services and the police as necessary. Over 5,000 pharmacies across the nation are now participating in the scheme, and the scheme has been used by over 60 victims and survivors.

We have provided unprecedented new funding to victim support services to ensure that they have the capacity to provide support to victims and adapt their operational capacity in light of the impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic. To that end we have awarded £27 million in additional funds to support domestic abuse services last financial year alone, comprising £25 million from the government’s £76 million in emergency funding for the most vulnerable in society, and an extra £2 million from the Home Office in April 2021 to bolster the capacity of domestic abuse organisations affected by the pandemic.

In November 2020 the Ministry of Justice announced a further £11 million towards a range of services offering practical and emotional help – allowing domestic abuse and specialist rape organisations to recruit more staff, adapt to remote counselling methods during the pandemic and keep helplines open for longer.

In 2021-22, the Ministry of Justice will provide just under £151m for victim and witness support services. This includes an extra £51m to increase support for rape and domestic abuse victims, building on the emergency funding from this financial year to help domestic abuse and sexual violence services meet Covid-driven demand. Of this funding, £27 million will go to creating more than 700 new posts for Independent Sexual Violence and Independent Domestic Abuse Advisers helping us to meet demand for support from victims.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to support innovative defence technology.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 22 September 2023 to Question 199358.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to support defence jobs.

The most recent estimate shows that MOD investment supports 209,000 jobs in industries across the UK.

We continue to support UK businesses through research and development, exports and supply chains.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent progress he has made on the Global Combat Air Programme.

On 14 December 2023, the Secretary of State met with his Japanese and Italian counterparts in Tokyo to sign the GCAP Treaty, signifying a landmark milestone in the Global Combat Air Programme.

This Treaty will establish the GCAP International Government Organisation (GIGO), which will work to support timely programme delivery and an in-service date of 2035. The GIGO, to be located in the UK, will be responsible for delivering vital military capability, strengthening each country’s combat air industrial capability, and achieving value for money.

A transcript for the statement made on 18 December 2023 by the Defence Secretary on the Global Combat Air Programme Treaty can be found here - https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2023-12-18/debates/774DA45D-51D9-42C7-A050-5C5C9F5CADCD/GlobalCombatAirProgrammeTreaty

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to support British shipbuilding.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to him on 14 December 2022 to Question 104345.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to develop innovative defence technology.

The Ministry of Defence works closely with UK industry and academia, including Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME), to identify and invest in innovative technologies that address our most pressing capability challenges as well as publishing our future priorities to incentivise investment.

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) finds and funds exploitable ideas to support UK Defence and Security quickly and effectively. In the last financial year, DASA allocated over £30 million across more than 150 projects, of which 64% were with SMEs.

Through the Defence Innovation Fund we have invested over £200 million of our commitment to spend around £800 million over a ten-year period.

Over the four years of this Spending Review, Defence will invest over £6.6 billion in Research and Development, supporting the development of battle-winning defence technology as a response to the accelerating pace of technological change.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to strengthen defence relationships with Japan.

The UK-Japan relationship is the closest it has been for decades. The Integrated review was warmly welcomed in Japan; our Indo-Pacific tilt provided reassurance that we would continue to play an active role on the international stage post-Brexit. Carrier Strike Group21 and the deployment of HMS TAMAR and SPEY have reinforced this view.

The major recent announcements on the Global Combat air Programme (GCAP) and Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) at the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023 reinforce the UK's position as Japan's closest European security partner. GCAP will see us harnessing the technological and industrial strengths of all three countries for this once in a generation opportunity, which will sustain and future proof our cutting-edge Combat Air Sectors.

Once ratified by both countries in the coming months, the RAA will set out terms and conditions for UK and Japanese personnel undertaking activity in one another's countries. We will use the RAA to plan and deliver longer term, larger scale and more complex joint defence activity with Japan.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to support British shipbuilding.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 9 June 2022 to Question 10012 to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton South West (Stuart Anderson).

Since then, we have launched the third round of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, committing £60 million. This is the largest ever government R&D investment into the UK commercial maritime sector. This is part of Department for Transport's £206 million investment in a UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions, which will match-fund private investment in the commercialisation of clean maritime technologies.

The National Shipbuilding Office (NSO) which was created to drive the National Shipbuilding Strategy Refresh, has now been established as an Office of Department. It continues to engage with colleagues across Government and industry to promote growth across the entire UK shipbuilding sector.

For example, the UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce, led by the Department for Education, meets monthly to look at how we can ensure the UK's shipbuilding industry has a skilled workforce for the future. Working with representatives from across the shipbuilding industry, the NSO also leads on the Shipbuilding Enterprise for Growth which aims to tackle barriers to growth, boost exports and grow high-value skilled jobs across the UK shipbuilding enterprise.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to develop innovative defence technology.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 12 December 2022 to Question 902724.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department has taken to strengthen security and defence cooperation with Australia.

As a partner of 50 years in the Five Power Defence Arrangements and fellow Five Eyes country, Australia is an indispensable friend in the Indo-Pacific.

The Defence Secretary recently returned from a UK-Australia ministerial dialogue where he agreed concrete steps to deepen strategic defence cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, enabled by additional deployments and facilitated by an enhanced British Defence Staff in Canberra. Alongside these, AUKUS is a further demonstration of our commitment to Australia, and to Indo-Pacific security more widely.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to support NATO allies in Eastern Europe.

The UK continues to actively support its Allies on NATO's Eastern flank. On 10 February the Prime Minister announced a further uplift of UK Defence support to Eastern Allies, including doubling the number of UK troops in Estonia, deploying more RAF aircraft to Southern Europe, and deploying HMS Trent and a Type 45 Destroyer to the Eastern Mediterranean. A further 1,000 UK troops have been placed at readiness to support a humanitarian response in the region should one be required. This builds on a previous announcement to deploy up to 350 Royal Marines to Poland. The UK's commitment to European security is immovable and unconditional. We will continue to strengthen our collective deterrence and defence, whilst also pursuing opportunities for dialogue and de-escalation.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department’s performance in delivering value from the defence estate.

The value of the Defence Estate is in enabling our Armed Forces to live, work, train and deploy, to deliver military capability as outlined in the Defence Plan. While the Department can obtain financial value from the estate by allowing third party use where appropriate where assets are not required long term for Ministry of Defence use we dispose of surplus sites in line with Treasury value for money requirements.

9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to help support defence jobs across the UK.

The Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) most recent estimate, based on MOD expenditure data in conjunction with data from the Office of National Statistics, shows over 200,000 jobs across the UK are supported as either a direct or indirect result of MOD expenditure with UK industry and commerce.

Continued high and focussed investment into defence, together with the changes we are making as part of the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy, will contribute to further economic growth and prosperity, including jobs, across the Union.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of regularly testing members of the Armed Forces for covid-19 to support them returning to their families between deployments.

We take the wellbeing of our personnel and their families extremely seriously, and have put in place enhanced COVID-19 secure measures in our establishments to limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission. In addition, we are looking at what further testing could be implemented following the UK Government's recent announcement to roll out asymptomatic testing for key workers and those unable to work from home.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
28th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to protect and enhance green spaces.

The Government is committed to protecting and enhancing the Green Belt.

The Levelling Up Parks Fund also made available £9 million for local authorities in areas which rate highly on the Index of Multiple Deprivation, to create or significantly refurbish green spaces.

28th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to end rough sleeping.

Last year we published our cross-government strategy 'Ending Rough Sleeping for Good', setting out how we are investing £2 billion over three years to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

This includes up to £500 million in funding through the Rough Sleeping Initiative 2022-25 to local authorities across England which includes a range of support, including outreach, accommodation, mental health and substance misuse support, immigration advice and help to find employment or training.

Rough sleeping levels are 35% lower in 2022 compared to the peak in 2017 and 28% lower than they were in 2019 before the pandemic. We remain steadfastly committed to our goal to end rough sleeping and we will continue to work with local authorities and partners, the voluntary and community sector and private sector to end it for good.

Felicity Buchan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans his Department has for leasehold reform.

I refer the Hon Member to my answer to Question UIN 191122 on 4 July 2023.

15th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent steps his Department has taken to help ensure that local authorities have sufficient resources to deliver local services.

The Local Government Finance Settlement for 2023/24 makes available up to an additional £5 billion to councils. This is an increase in local authority funding for 2023/24 of 9% in cash terms compared to 2022/23.

We will continue to work with local authorities to understand both the challenges and opportunities they have, along with the level of taxpayer subsidy which can be provided, in the future.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to support town centres and high streets.

This Government is fully committed to supporting the businesses and communities that make our high streets and town centres successful as the nation responds to the impacts of COVID-19. Our comprehensive package of around £400 billion of support has helped to safeguard jobs, businesses and public services in every region and nation of the UK. This package includes business grants, the coronavirus loan schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as well as deferral of income tax payments.  In addition, on 21 December 2021 the Chancellor announced further support of over £700 million in grant support for businesses most impacted by the Omicron variant, as part of an overall package of £1 billion to support businesses across the UK


This business support builds upon a major package of investment to level up opportunity and prosperity across all areas of the country. This includes the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, the £220 million UK-wide Community Renewal Fund and the £3.6 billion Towns Fund, which includes support for 101 Town Deals and 72 Future High Streets Fund projects


Beyond this, we are providing support to local leadership with the High Streets Task Force. Over five years this is providing hands-on support to local areas to develop data-driven innovative strategies and to connect local areas to relevant experts. We will be announcing a further tranche of local authorities to receive in-person expert support from the Task Force in due course


We need a modernised and agile planning system - one which benefits communities and creates places in which people can take real pride. That is why we have introduced reforms to the use class system to enable more flexible use of existing buildings. Additionally, Government recently introduced a new permitted development right which will allow more premises to change from a commercial, business or service use to residential use, so that much needed new homes can be created


Reviving our high streets and town centres is essential to this Government's commitments to level up the country. Levelling up is a transformative agenda and the Department's priority is to produce a Levelling Up White Paper which matches our ambition, building on existing action we are already taking across Government and setting out a new policy regime that will drive change for years to come. The White Paper will be published shortly.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to strengthen the Union.

The UK Government is committed to delivering for citizens across the UK. The Autumn Budget was a budget for the whole of the United Kingdom, including first allocations of levelling up funds UK-wide. This spending review also provided the largest annual block grants for Devolved Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in real terms, of any spending review settlement since 1998.

We are committed to working collaboratively with the Devolved Governments to deliver in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our response to Covid-19 has shown we are at our strongest when we work and come together as one United Kingdom. We will continue to work together across the UK as we recover from the pandemic.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that new homes in England are energy efficient.

The Government remains committed to meeting its target of net zero emissions by 2050 and recognises the important contribution that the energy efficiency of buildings has to make in meeting it.

From 2025, the Future Homes Standard will ensure that new homes produce at least 75% fewer CO2 emissions compared to those built to the 2013 standards. No further energy efficiency retrofit work will be necessary to enable them to become zero-carbon over time as the electricity grid continues to decarbonise.

In December 2021 we introduced an uplift in energy efficiency standards that delivers a meaningful reduction in carbon emissions and provides a stepping-stone to the Future Homes Standard. Once the uplift comes into force, in June 2022, new homes will be expected to produce around 30% fewer CO2 emissions compared to the previous 2013 standards.

The uplift marks an important step on our journey towards a cleaner, greener built environment and it supports us in our target to reduce the UK's carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to support coastal communities.

We have continued to make significant progress in supporting coastal communities in a number of areas, demonstrated by the Coastal Communities Fund now having supported 359 projects, totalling over £229 million since 2012, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities across the country including in coastal areas.

Further to this, our coastal areas have already benefited from over £600 million through successful bids into Town Deals and the Future High Streets Fund. Of the 101 towns receiving a Town Deal, 22 of them are coastal towns.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of social outcomes contracts in supporting people who are homeless.

MHCLG has supported and delivered three social outcome contracts for people who are homeless and assessed the effectiveness of these.

The first was the London Homelessness Social Impact Bond (SIB) (2012-15) which encouraged innovative approaches to support entrenched to 830 rough sleepers in London. The impact evaluation of the programme compared results for the intervention group with those of a well-matched comparison group. One of the key findings was that the programme had significantly reduced rough sleeping over a two-year period. After two years, the mean number of rough sleeping contacts was 9.2 for the intervention group, compared to 13.9 for the comparison group. It is estimated that this resulted in around 3,900 rough sleeping episodes being avoided over two years as a result of the intervention. The evaluation also found that the individuals supported by the intervention were significantly more likely than the comparison group to completely desist from sleeping rough, enter long-term accommodation and, among non-UK nationals, have a confirmed reconnection.

The second was the 3-year Fair Chance Fund (Jan 2015 - Dec 2017) SIB which supported 1,910 homeless young people (18-24 years old) to improve accommodation, education, and employment outcomes.

From October 2017 to March 2021, the department also funded a £11.2 million rough sleeping SIB, targeting the most entrenched rough sleepers with multiple complex needs. Our data shows that around 1,700 deeply entrenched rough sleepers have been supported through this programme. MHCLG has worked with local authorities to produce reports to illustrate learning and key lessons.

MHCLG have assessed the learning from these programmes which has developed our understanding of interventions and support services that work for the most vulnerable people who sleep rough. This will continue to be considered in future delivery programmes, and any SIB programmes which the department undertakes.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress his Department has made in establishing freeports in England.

The Government is actively working with the eight successful Freeport locations announced at Budget to support delivery of the policy. Subject to confirming their governance arrangements and business case approval, the first are planned to open for business in late 2021.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to create a fairer private rented sector.

As the recent Queen’s Speech set out, the Government has committed to bringing in a Better Deal for Renters to deliver a fairer and more effective rental market that works for both tenants and landlords


We will bring forward proposals to reform tenancy law to abolish Section 21 evictions and improve security for tenants in the private rented sector, as well as strengthening repossession grounds for landlords when they have valid grounds. Proposals for a new ‘lifetime’ deposit model will also be outlined, to ease the burden on tenants when moving from one tenancy to the next. We are also committed to raising standards in privately rented accommodation, and driving out rogue landlords, including by ensuring all tenants have a right to redress, and ensuring well targeted, effective enforcement that drives out criminal landlords


A White Paper detailing this reform package will be brought forward in the Autumn, informed by engagement with stakeholders across the sector to ensure our reforms deliver change that works for all.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to support the re-opening of high-streets as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

In March we announced a new £56 million Welcome Back Fund (WBF) to support a safe and successful reopening of our high streets and seaside resorts, giving people the reassurance that they can shop and socialise in a COVID-secure way as restrictions ease.

The WBF expands on the £50 million Reopening High Streets Safely Fund (RHSSF) announced in May 2020, doubling local authority funding allocations and significantly increasing the scope of eligible activity to give people safer options to reunite with friends and family.

This funding builds on the comprehensive £385 billion package of support to help businesses that have been affected by COVID-19 including Business Grants and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This is in addition to longer-term, structural funding to support our high streets and town centres such as the £3.6 billion Towns Fund and £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to protect green spaces.

The National Planning Policy Framework acknowledges the importance of green and open space and makes clear that where new development is proposed an appropriate amount of public space should be provided. It is also set out that existing open space should not be built on unless there is evidence to demonstrate that it is no longer required, or it will be replaced by equivalent or better provision at a suitable location.

The Framework also sets out how both local and neighbourhood plans allow communities to identify and protect green areas which they consider to be of particular importance, by formally designating these as Local Green Space.

In addition, the National Model Design Code, which we have recently consulted on, sets out proposals for how nature and green spaces should be woven into the fabric of our villages, towns and cities, providing benefits in terms of health and wellbeing, biodiversity, climate and flood mitigation.

16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he has plans to bring forward legislative proposals on sentencing for people found guilty of the murder of a child.

The Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill, currently before Parliament, will make essential reforms to sentencing legislation to ensure that criminals face punishments which fit their crimes.

The PCSC Bill has added the murder of a child involving a substantial degree of premeditation to the list of examples where a whole life order is normally the appropriate starting point. The Bill is expected to gain Royal Assent shortly.

The PCSC Bill also includes provisions to increase the maximum penalties for child cruelty offences including causing or allowing the death of a child or vulnerable adult. A consequence of increasing the maximum penalty for that offence from 14 years to life imprisonment is that offenders sentenced to 7 years or more will spend two thirds of the sentence, rather than half, in custody. If the judge determines that the offender is dangerous and the circumstances of the offence are sufficiently serious, a life sentence for that offence will be mandatory.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to reform the sentencing system.

This government is serious about fighting crime, protecting the public and creating a criminal justice system that people have confidence in. Delivering on our manifesto promises, we are committed to introducing tougher sentencing for the worst offenders and to preventing automatic early release for serious crimes. But we must also give offenders a fair start on the road to rehabilitation, and we are introducing tougher, more effective community sentences which address the causes of offending.

On the 9th March the government introduced the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (PCSC Bill). This legislation will bring forward the new, smarter approach to sentencing set out in the Sentencing White Paper published in September 2020.

The PCSC Bill includes measures to ensure that serious sexual and violent offenders spend as much of their sentence behind bars as possible in order to reflect the severity of their crimes. It will end automatic halfway release from prison for an additional cohort of serious sexual and violent offenders, and make a Whole Life Order the starting point for the premeditated murder of a child. It will also double the maximum penalty for assaulting an emergency worker.

However, protecting the public is not just about better use of custody. The PCSC Bill will make community sentences more effective by extending the use of electronic monitoring, enabling the piloting of a problem-solving approach for certain community orders, and simplifying the Out of Court disposal framework.

Work is also underway on the non-legislative reforms set out in the Sentencing White Paper, which aim to tackle the underlying cause of criminal behaviour and improve the rehabilitation of offenders in the community.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how the changes proposed in the White Paper, A Smarter Approach to Sentencing, published September 2020, will effect those convicted of sexual offenses against children.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the worst offenders are kept behind bars to protect the public, and that the safety of our children is paramount when sentencing sex offenders.

We have already legislated to end automatic halfway release for offenders who have committed a specified sexual offence, including child sexual offences, for which the maximum penalty is life and who receive a sentence of 7 years or more. Such offenders now have to serve two-thirds of their sentence in prison before being released to serve the final part of their sentence on licence and under supervision in the community.

We are going further in the sentencing White Paper, A Smarter Approach to Sentencing, to ensure that serious offenders spend more time in prison, to properly reflect the gravity of their crimes. We are proposing to legislate to extend the requirement to serve two-thirds of the sentence to other sexual offenders who receive sentences of between 4 and 7 years. Also under our proposals, offenders who commit serious sexual assaults against children and receive a Sentence for Offenders of Particular Concern (SOPC), will be required to serve two-thirds of their sentence, instead of the current half, before they can come before the Parole Board for consideration for release.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)