Laurence Robertson Portrait

Laurence Robertson

Conservative - Tewkesbury

First elected: 1st May 1997


Select Committees
Panel of Chairs (since January 2020)
Panel of Chairs
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Liaison Committee (Commons)
10th Sep 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
18th Jun 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Liaison Committee (Commons)
19th Jul 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
10th Jun 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Shadow Minister (Northern Ireland)
10th May 2005 - 6th May 2010
Shadow Minister (Treasury)
30th Oct 2003 - 10th May 2005
Shadow Minister (Trade and Industry)
1st Jun 2003 - 30th Oct 2003
Opposition Whip (Commons)
1st Jun 2001 - 1st Jun 2003
European Scrutiny Committee
26th Jul 1999 - 23rd May 2002
Education & Skills
16th Jul 2001 - 12th Nov 2001
Social Security
22nd Nov 1999 - 11th May 2001
Consolidation etc. Bills (Joint Committee)
28th Jul 1997 - 11th May 2001
Environmental Audit Committee
12th Nov 1997 - 18th Jan 2000


Oral Question
Monday 26th February 2024
14:30
Home Office
Topical Question No. 4
If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
Save to Calendar
Oral Question
Wednesday 28th February 2024
11:30
Northern Ireland Office
Oral Question No. 4
What steps his Department is taking to help grow the Northern Ireland economy.
Save to Calendar
Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 277 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 44 Noes - 285
Speeches
Monday 19th February 2024
Oral Answers to Questions
11. What assessment he has made of trends in levels of employment in the defence manufacturing sector in the next …
Written Answers
Wednesday 21st February 2024
No title given
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to promote careers for young people in …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 6th December 2023
Pensions (Special Rules for End of Life) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to change the period of life expectancy relevant to certain pension rules.
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: The Jockey Club
Address of donor: 75 High Holborn, London WC1V 6LS
Amount of donation or nature …
EDM signed
Wednesday 1st February 2023
Exiting the European Union
That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, praying that the Official Controls (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2023 (S.I., 2023, …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 30th November 2022
Roadworks (Regulation) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to make provision about the regulation of roadworks; and for connected purposes.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Laurence Robertson has voted in 790 divisions, and 8 times against the majority of their Party.

27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Laurence Robertson 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
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Laurence Robertson voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 97 Conservative No votes vs 224 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 126
22 Jun 2022 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Laurence Robertson voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 61 Conservative No votes vs 106 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 70
18 Oct 2022 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Laurence Robertson voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 103 Conservative No votes vs 113 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 297 Noes - 110
7 Mar 2023 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Laurence Robertson voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 107 Conservative Aye votes vs 109 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 116 Noes - 299
16 Jan 2024 - Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - View Vote Context
Laurence Robertson voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 57 Conservative Aye votes vs 262 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 58 Noes - 525
16 Jan 2024 - Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - View Vote Context
Laurence Robertson voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 58 Conservative Aye votes vs 262 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 68 Noes - 529
17 Jan 2024 - Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - View Vote Context
Laurence Robertson voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 59 Conservative Aye votes vs 266 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 65 Noes - 536
View All Laurence Robertson 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
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(15 debate interactions)
Nigel Huddleston (Conservative)
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
(13 debate interactions)
Michael Gove (Conservative)
Minister for Intergovernmental Relations
(11 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(25 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(23 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Laurence Robertson's debates

Tewkesbury 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 Tewkesbury signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

The Government must introduce legislation to abolish greyhound racing, via managed shutdown of activities, and ensure welfare of redundant dogs through a levy on the industry. In 2019 Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) data confirmed 4970 injuries & 710 deaths (14 per week).

Air pollution kills 64,000 people in the UK every year, yet the Government provides annual fossil fuel subsidies of £10.5 billion, according to the European Commission. To meet UK climate targets, the Government must end this practice and introduce charges on producers of greenhouse gas emissions.

The government should allow BTEC students to achieve teacher predicted grades rather than being forced into a system that is unethically downgrading thousands of students grades.

Schools can be a breeding ground for the spread of coronavirus. Children are mingling at schools and returning to families who are potentially vulnerable, keeping rates high.

It's only been since schools opened that infection rates have been high in Kent, and keeping them open may keep it high.

Cancel all standardise testing for year 11 and year 12 students in 2021. By replacing tests with smaller amounts of course work and teacher assessment, students would have a fair chance at achieving their target grades and it would relieve stress for teachers and students.

Please don’t send students back until we know we have had the priority groups vaccinated such as the elderly, the extremely clinically vulnerable, and those with underlying health conditions.

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.


Latest EDMs signed by Laurence Robertson

1st February 2023
Laurence Robertson signed this EDM on Wednesday 1st February 2023

Exiting the European Union

Tabled by: Jeffrey M Donaldson (Democratic Unionist Party - Lagan Valley)
That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, praying that the Official Controls (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2023 (S.I., 2023, No. 17), dated 11 January 2023, a copy of which was laid before this House on 12 January 2023, be annulled.
20 signatures
(Most recent: 7 Feb 2023)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 12
Democratic Unionist Party: 8
1st February 2023
Laurence Robertson signed this EDM on Wednesday 1st February 2023

Exiting the European Union (No. 2)

Tabled by: Jeffrey M Donaldson (Democratic Unionist Party - Lagan Valley)
TThat this House calls upon the Government to withdraw the Official Controls (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2023 (S.I., 2023, No. 17) because they are injurious to the integrity of the UK Internal Market in circumstances where the Northern Ireland Protocol has not been replaced by new arrangements that respect and protect …
19 signatures
(Most recent: 7 Feb 2023)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 11
Democratic Unionist Party: 8
View All Laurence Robertson's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Laurence Robertson, 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.


1 Urgent Question tabled by Laurence Robertson

Monday 14th June 2021

Laurence Robertson has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Laurence Robertson


A Bill to change the period of life expectancy relevant to certain pension rules.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 2nd February 2024
(Read Debate)

343 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
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what methodology his Department uses when calculating excess deaths.

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

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many excess deaths there have been in (a) England and (b) UK in each of the last ten years.

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

23rd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps she is taking to increase trade with African countries.

The Department is actively expanding trade with Africa through 9 agreements across 18 nations, offering preferential access to UK markets. The Department’s recently launched Developing Countries Trading Scheme, effective in 65 countries, including 37 in Africa, simplifies rules and lowers tariffs to boost exports and stimulate growth. In Spring, the Prime Minister will host the second UK-African Investment Summit in London, fostering modern partnerships in trade and investment. Bilaterally, the Department is also working to enhance market access across the continent, solidifying our commitment to mutually beneficial economic ties with African nations.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the viability of businesses in the hospitality sector, in the context of (a) the rates of VAT applicable to them and (b) increases in the cost of (i) living and (ii) energy; and if she will make a statement.

My Department regularly engages with businesses in the hospitality sector and is actively working with Hospitality Sector Council to support businesses with the costs they face.

The Government introduced a temporary reduced rate of VAT for hospitality on 15 July 2020 to support businesses that were severely affected by COVID-19. This relief ended on 31 March 2022. At the Autumn Statement 2022 the Chancellor brought forward a package of changes to business rates worth £13.6bn to businesses over the next 5 years.

This is in addition to the Energy Bills Relief Scheme, which discounted businesses’ energy bills until 31 March 2023, and the new Energy Bills Discount Scheme.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will hold discussions with Ofgem on the potential merits of allowing businesses to renegotiate their energy contracts with suppliers; and if he will make a statement.

Contract negotiations are a matter for businesses and their energy suppliers. Businesses should contact their supplier to discuss renegotiations. The Government is providing support to businesses through the Energy Bill Discount Scheme until April 2024. Ministers from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and the Department for Business and Trade met recently with non-domestic suppliers, Ofgem and industry representatives to discuss what more could be done to support customers who may have fixed in at higher prices in Autumn 2022. The Government is working with Ofgem on this matter and the on-going non-domestic market review.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what additional support with fuel payments is available for people with Parkinson's Disease; and if he will make a statement.

The Autumn Statement set out a commitment to work with consumer groups and industry to consider the best approach to consumer protection from April 2024.

At present there is no specific support for people with Parkinson’s. In addition to the Energy Price Guarantee and Energy Bills Support Scheme, for 2023/24, households on eligible means-tested benefits will get up to £900 in Cost of Living payments. A payment of £150 will be made available to individuals in receipt of eligible disability benefits.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of using the gas network to carry green hydrogen; and if he will make a statement.

National Grid and the Gas Distribution Networks are assessing the viability and potential costs of using the natural gas transmission and distribution networks to transport 100% hydrogen and early results from this work are promising.

The Government is also planning to take a strategic policy decision in 2023 on whether to seek to enable the blending of hydrogen in the existing gas distribution network. Further details will be provided this year including through the government response to the consultation on hydrogen transport and storage infrastructure, which the Government aims to publish in Q2 2023.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the conversion of excess energy into green hydrogen by electrolysis; and if he will make a statement.

Hydrogen could provide flexible low carbon generation capacity as the Government integrates more renewables into its energy system. At least half the Government’s ambition for up to 10GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 will come from electrolytic hydrogen. The Government’s first electrolytic hydrogen allocation round opened last year, with shortlisted projects announced shortly and contracts awarded later this year. The Government aims to run annual allocation rounds for electrolytic hydrogen, moving to price competitive allocation by 2025 subject to legislation and market conditions. This could enable up to 1GW of green hydrogen production in construction or operational by 2025.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help increase the use of solar panels on roofs; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is supporting the installation of rooftop solar photovoltaic panels through provision of fiscal incentives for business, removal of VAT for residential accommodation, availability of grants under several energy efficiency schemes and the right to be paid for any electricity exported to the grid under the Smart Export Guarantee. The Government is also exploring options to facilitate low cost finance from retail lenders for solar installations.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what powers exist for local authorities to restrict the use of fireworks; and if he will make a statement.

The Government recognises that people want to enjoy fireworks while reducing the risks and disturbances to individuals, animals and property. The majority of individuals who use fireworks do so in a responsible and safe manner.

Enforcement powers exist for local authorities to take action when fireworks are unsafe, sold illegally or misused. Local authorities and the police also have powers to tackle anti-social behaviour caused by the misuse of fireworks. It is for local areas to decide how best to deploy these powers, based on their specific circumstances.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the potential impact of changes to the Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing Access rebate on (a) foreign direct investment into UK research and development, (b) employment levels and (c) the size of the life sciences industry.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 10th January 2023 to Question 113163.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of changes to the Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing Access (VPAS) rebate on (a) foreign direct investment into UK R&D and (b) employment levels and footprint of the UK life sciences industry.

The Government is working to better understand the impacts the operation of the current Voluntary Scheme on investments and the footprint of the UK life sciences industry. We are therefore in direct conversations with companies to understand these impacts. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is in close discussions with the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department responsible for the Voluntary Scheme, about the business environment for life sciences and its impact on investment.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of the level of investment into the national grid that will be required to ensure there will be sufficient infrastructure in place to cater for the charging of electric vehicles after 2035; and if he will make a statement.

In August 2022, the Government and Ofgem jointly published the Electricity Networks Strategic Framework, setting out a vision for the transformation of the electricity network to ensure it enables a clean, secure and low-cost energy system. The Framework included analysis suggesting that the network could require an additional £100-£240bn of investment to meet net zero and could support 50,000-130,000 jobs and contribute £4-11bn to the economy by 2050. Network regulation, including ensuring sufficient investment to meet demand from electric vehicles in both rural and urban areas, is a matter for Ofgem.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate his Department has made of the additional electricity generation that will be required following the ban on petrol and diesel cars in 2035; and if he will make a statement.

Figure 3.2 of the Energy White Paper[1]shows indicative demands from electric vehicles for 2035 and 2050 that align with the ban on petrol and diesel vehicles in 2035.

Annex O of the Energy and Emission Projections[2]provides indicative scenarios to show how the power sector might evolve to meet this additional demand.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-white-paper-powering-our-net-zero-future

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-and-emissions-projections-net-zero-strategy-baseline-partial-interim-update-december-2021

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of domestic consumers' energy bills are made up of green taxes on average; and if he will make a statement.

Environmental and social policy costs currently represent 8% of the average dual fuel bill. A full breakdown of these costs was published by Ofgem in April and is available at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/energy-data-and-research/data-portal.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy or Industrial Strategy, what the total amount of revenue collected in green taxes placed on domestic energy bills has been in each of the years for which those taxes have been levied.

This information is available from the Office for Budget Responsibility: https://obr.uk/efo/economic-and-fiscal-outlook-march-2022/.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of space based solar power; and if he will make a statement.

The Government recognises that space based solar power has the potential to contribute significantly to our Net Zero ambition. Because of this, BEIS has recently commissioned an independent assessment and report that calculates both benefits and cost of developing space based solar power. The report was published on 27th September 2021 and is available on the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/space-based-solar-power-de-risking-the-pathway-to-net-zero.

7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to allow companies to adopt policies to abide by Wates Review principles, rather than impose a public interest entities system; and if he will make a statement.

The Wates Principles provide a way to complying with corporate governance reporting requirement on large private companies in the Companies (Miscellaneous Reporting) Regulations 2018. Reporting started from January 2020. The Government and the Financial Reporting Council are in the process of evaluating its effectiveness, including use of the Wates Principles.

The Government’s White Paper ‘Restoring trust in audit and corporate governance’ set out proposals to introduce a wider definition of ‘public interest entity’ to ensure that large businesses of all types which are of public importance are subject to appropriate regulation. The Government is currently considering responses and will respond in due course.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he plans to take to encourage more clinical trials of vaccines in the UK; and if he will make a statement.

The UK has an existing national clinical trial infrastructure, which has enabled a rapid rollout of new clinical trials, such as that for the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Novavax, Janssen, and Valneva vaccines. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) provides support and critical infrastructure for clinical trials, making the UK well-suited to facilitate clinical trials that are essential to the development of any vaccine.

The Government launched an NHS service in July 2020 to enable people across the UK to sign up to participate in COVID-19 vaccine trials. The NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry, developed in partnership with NHS Digital, has helped to facilitate the rapid recruitment of large numbers of people into trials. As of 2 March 2021, over 453,000 individuals have signed up to the vaccine registry.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is planning to take to help increase the turnover of hospitality businesses once the covid-19 restrictions begin to be lifted; and if he will make a statement.

Over the course of the pandemic, the Government has worked closely with the hospitality sector to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses and has responded with a substantial package of business support. We keep all restrictions under constant review.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the extent to which utility companies have responsibility to replace worn-out cut-out fuses in domestic properties; and if he will make a statement.

Fuses and the fuse box (consumer unit) are the responsibility of the property owner, but some customers may have included maintenance of the consumer unit as part of a contract for the supply of electricity, or as a separate contract.

The regional Distribution Network Operator is responsible for maintenance of the main cut-out fuse (usually a 60, 80 or 100 amp fuse).

1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of the UK remaining on British Summer Time to help (a) people's health and wellbeing and (b) limit the spread of covid-19.

The Government believes that the current daylight-saving arrangements represent the optimal use of the available daylight across the UK.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with national suppliers and wholesalers on encouraging them to provide (a) reduced minimum orders, (b) priority deliveries and (c) small and more frequent deliveries to rural and isolated community shops; and if he will make a statement.

We recognise the vital role played by Community shops in our rural communities, acting as hubs for local people and having a positive impact on the communities they serve.

We are working across Government as well as with industry to ensure the needs of the sector are addressed. Ministers and officials have regular engagement with a large number of businesses and representative organisations across all sectors. Ministers have hosted a series of calls in recent weeks, where they have had the opportunity chance to speak to and directly hear from a wide range of organisations and businesses.

Decisions taken regarding contractual relationships are best taken by individual suppliers and wholesalers who know their operations and customer demand in far greater detail than Government can.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what compensation he plans to make available to small businesses for loss of revenue as a result of covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is closely monitoring developments in relation to potential economic impacts on the UK economy, including on individuals, businesses, supply chains, and for consumers.

On 17 March, the Government announced a major new package of loans and guarantees. Any good business in financial difficulty that needs access to cash to pay their rent, the salaries of their employees, pay suppliers, or purchase stock, will be able to access a Government-backed loan on attractive terms, with no cap on lending capacity. The Government will make an initial £330 billion of guarantees available – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP.

The Government also announced £20 billion of business rates support and grant funding to help the most-affected firms to manage their cashflow through this period by:

  • giving all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months
  • increasing grants to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief from £3,000 to £10,000
  • providing further £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000

At last week’s Budget, the Government also provided £30 billion of support to the economy to deal with the crisis by investing in public services, increasing support for vulnerable people and providing business with tax reliefs and loans.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what compensation he plans to make available to small businesses for loss of revenue as a result of government-imposed restrictions in relation to covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is closely monitoring developments in relation to potential economic impacts on the UK economy, including on individuals, businesses, supply chains, and for consumers.

On 17 March, the Government announced a major new package of loans and guarantees. Any good business in financial difficulty that needs access to cash to pay their rent, the salaries of their employees, pay suppliers, or purchase stock, will be able to access a Government-backed loan on attractive terms, with no cap on lending capacity. The Government will make an initial £330 billion of guarantees available – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP.

The Government also announced £20 billion of business rates support and grant funding to help the most-affected firms to manage their cashflow through this period by:

  • giving all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months
  • increasing grants to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief from £3,000 to £10,000
  • providing further £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000

At last week’s Budget, the Government also provided £30 billion of support to the economy to deal with the crisis by investing in public services, increasing support for vulnerable people and providing business with tax reliefs and loans.

12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of capacity of the UK manufacturing sector to produce electric heavy goods vehicles.

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), showed the UK manufactured 78,270 commercial vehicles in 2019; 18,420 of these were Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) manufactured by Leyland Trucks.

Alongside industry, we have committed approximately £1 billion over 10 years up until 2023. With this funding, the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) will research, develop, and commercialise the next generation of low carbon technologies to keep the UK at the cutting edge of low carbon automotive innovations.

The Government continues to work alongside industry to unlock the significant opportunity to support the electrification of the HGV sector through the Faraday Battery Challenge and Driving the Electric Revolution.

11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on providing compensation to people with petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles ahead of the ban on the sale of new versions of those vehicles in 2035; and if he will make a statement.

My rt. hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced on the 4th February that we are consulting on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans to 2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible, as well as including hybrids for the first time. We are consulting on the Committee on Climate Change recommendation that any new vehicles sold after the phase out date must be zero emission at the tailpipe. The proposals relate to new cars and vans - owners of existing petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans will still be able to use these vehicles and buy and sell them on the used market. The purpose of the consultation is to inform our understanding of what the measures will need to be will need to be to enable the transition and minimise the impacts on businesses and consumers across the UK, building on the significant demand and supply side measures already in place.

11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps she is taking to increase the amount of electricity generated from hydro sources; and if he will make a statement.

The Government acknowledges the valuable contribution of hydropower to the UK energy mix over many decades, including at times when other renewables do not generate.

Hydropower accounts for almost 2% of total electricity generation in the UK. Studies in Scotland, England and Wales indicate that there is a maximum remaining technical potential of around 1.5GW for small-scale hydro across these countries, with the majority in Scotland. Economic and environmental constraints mean that in practice the viable remaining resource is less than 1GW or 1% of total electricity generation capacity.

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for what reason stadia with seating are allowed greater spectator capacities under covid-19 restrictions than those without; and if he will make a statement.

The government recognises the importance of spectators to competitive sport and remains committed to working towards their full return to stadiums as soon as it is safe to do so.

Step 3 of the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ has permitted fans to return to both indoor and outdoor elite sporting events, albeit under capacity caps. from 17 May.

Only the largest seated stadia (16,000+) are able to benefit from the provision for higher capacities - where crowds can be safely dispersed around a large stadium area, and social distancing maintained at all times. The maximum attendance for these events is 10,000 people or 25% of seated capacity, whichever is lower.

It is important to note that the requirement that social distancing is maintained applies to all venues in Step 3, and events organisers are encouraged in guidance to ensure that crowds remain seated throughout performances and events.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing a Government-backed insurance scheme to musical festivals that may have to cancel events planned for summer 2021 as a result of the covid-19 oubreak; and if he will make a statement.

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

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

The evidence of market failure must clearly demonstrate that such a scheme is the only barrier to staging events. At the moment, progress with the vaccine rollout and beating the virus is crucial in achieving the next stages for large events as set out in the roadmap.

We are working closely with the sector to determine the appropriate and most effective response within the public health context. We will continue to engage with HMT on this matter.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to increase opportunities for cycling in the countryside; and if he will make a statement.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus. That’s why we have made sure that people can exercise throughout the national and local tiered restrictions including cycling.

Last month Sport England published its new strategy Uniting the Movement which sets out their 10 year vision to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity. A key part of the strategy is creating and protecting the places and spaces that make it easier for people to be active including encouraging walking and cycling.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether people living in sheltered accommodation are entitled to television licence fee concessions in the event that there are (a) one and (b) two rooms within their building which are used for overnight accommodation lasting for no more than 28 days; and if he will make a statement.

The concession available for a TV Licence for those in eligible residential care - known as the ‘accommodation for residential care concession’ - is set out in the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004.

Paragraph 3(5)(g) of Part 2 of Schedule 4 to the Regulations provides that a group of specially provided dwellings which is eligible for the concession will remain eligible even if one of the dwellings within the group is used for overnight accommodation, for no longer than 28 nights in any consecutive period, for any member of the family of any eligible person who lives in that group of dwellings.

There is no provision in the Regulations for a situation in which two of the dwellings within the group are used for overnight accommodation.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to consider the Gambling Commission’s consultation and call for evidence on Remote Customer Interaction as part of the Government's wider review of the Gambling Act 2005; and if he will make a statement.

The Gambling Commission requires operators to monitor play and to intervene where players may be at risk of harm. Its consultation and call for evidence on Remote Customer Interaction is considering whether further requirements are needed for how operators identify and interact with customers who may be at risk.

The Commission will be led by the evidence it receives in deciding its next steps, and its findings may also inform its advice to government on the Review of the Gambling Act 2005. Following a one month extension to allow extra evidence to be submitted, the deadline for submissions is now 9 February.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with Public Health England on the reasons for not allowing casinos to reopen as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased; and if he will make a statement.

DCMS officials are in regular contact with Public Health England and the casino sector to discuss the protections that are needed to allow casinos to reopen safely. This includes arranging a visit for public health representatives to assess the measures which are in place. I have spoken with representatives of the sector about the impacts of closure, and the government is working to ensure casinos can open as soon as the medical and scientific advice is that it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the safety measures planned to be introduced by casinos to protect customers during the covid-19 outbreak; and what the timescale is for allowing casinos to be reopened.

DCMS officials are in regular contact with Public Health England and the casino sector to discuss the protections that are needed to allow casinos to reopen safely. This includes arranging a visit for public health representatives to assess the measures which are in place. I have spoken with representatives of the sector about the impacts of closure, and the government is working to ensure casinos can open as soon as the medical and scientific advice is that it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the financial effect of the lockdown restrictions due to the covid-19 outbreak on casinos; and if he will make a statement.

DCMS officials are in regular contact with Public Health England and the casino sector to discuss the protections that are needed to allow casinos to reopen safely. This includes arranging a visit for public health representatives to assess the measures which are in place. I have spoken with representatives of the sector about the impacts of closure, and the government is working to ensure casinos can open as soon as the medical and scientific advice is that it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will visit a casino to observe the safety measures being put in place to counter the spread of covid-19.

DCMS officials are in regular contact with Public Health England and the casino sector to discuss the protections that are needed to allow casinos to reopen safely. This includes arranging a visit for public health representatives to assess the measures which are in place. I have spoken with representatives of the sector about the impacts of closure, and the government is working to ensure casinos can open as soon as the medical and scientific advice is that it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to promote careers for young people in science and technology industries.

High-quality careers guidance is key to helping young people to find out about and consider a wide range of future options, including careers in the science and technology industries.

The department funds The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) to support schools and colleges to deliver high-quality careers programmes in line with the government’s careers framework, the Gatsby Benchmarks of Good Career Guidance. The benchmarks include an expectation that secondary schools and colleges should provide at least one meaningful interaction with employers per student per year, with a particular focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) employers. The benchmarks also state that all teachers should link curriculum learning with careers. For example, STEM subject teachers should highlight the relevance of STEM subjects for a wide range of career pathways.

CEC connects business and sector bodies with schools and colleges through a national network of Careers Hubs. Almost 400 Cornerstone Employers provide local leadership to increase opportunities for meaningful employer encounters and workplace experiences. Over 4,000 Enterprise Advisers provide support to schools and colleges in Careers Hubs to help develop their employer engagement plans, including ensuring that STEM encounters are built into careers programmes. Examples of STEM employers funded by the CEC to deliver encounters with young people include Engineering UK, Greenpower Trust and Manufacturing UK.

The STEM Ambassadors programme is a nationwide network of 30,000 volunteers, representing over 7,000 employers, who engage with young people to increase their interest in STEM subjects and to raise awareness of the range of careers that STEM qualifications offer. The department is a partner signatory to the Tomorrow's Engineers Code. Through the code, the department aims to work with the engineering sector to improve the quality, targeting and reach of engineering inspiration activities.

The CEC’s STEM careers webpage includes resources for schools and colleges, as well as information for employers, and is available at: https://www.stem.org.uk/secondary/careers. This includes a STEM toolkit for careers leaders. My Learning My Future resources support teachers to link careers to the curriculum and include several STEM subjects, such as science, biology, physics, chemistry, geography, design technology, computer science/IT, maths. The resources available can be viewed at: https://resources.careersandenterprise.co.uk/my-learning-my-future.

Young people can also access information on a range of digital tools and resources through the National Careers Service website, which is available at: https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/explore-careers. More than 800 profiles include jobs like microbiologist, nuclear engineer and web developer within the science and technology sectors.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the level of school attendance by (a) pupils who receive free school meals and (b) other pupils.

Improving attendance remains a priority for the Department. The Department is implementing a comprehensive attendance strategy, to ensure that absence is minimised and rates are returned to pre pandemic levels as soon as possible.

Absence data from the School Census is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/pupil-absence-in-schools-in-england.

Data showing the overall absence rate in England and Gloucestershire in the combined autumn and spring terms from 2018/19 to 2022/23 is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/8e7082d1-d935-476b-48d8-08dbdfb23d99.

Data showing the overall absence rates for pupils with Free School Meals and those not eligible is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/26b94e77-f63c-4287-48d9-08dbdfb23d99.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the level of school attendance in (a) England and (b) Gloucestershire.

Improving attendance remains a priority for the Department. The Department is implementing a comprehensive attendance strategy, to ensure that absence is minimised and rates are returned to pre pandemic levels as soon as possible.

Absence data from the School Census is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/pupil-absence-in-schools-in-england.

Data showing the overall absence rate in England and Gloucestershire in the combined autumn and spring terms from 2018/19 to 2022/23 is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/8e7082d1-d935-476b-48d8-08dbdfb23d99.

Data showing the overall absence rates for pupils with Free School Meals and those not eligible is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/26b94e77-f63c-4287-48d9-08dbdfb23d99.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to help schools improve the (a) recruitment and (b) retention of teachers.

There are now over 468,000 full time equivalent (FTE) teachers in state funded schools in England, which is an increase of 27,000 (6%) since 2010. This makes it the highest number of FTE of teachers since the School Workforce Census began in 2010.

The Department has put in place a range of measures, including bursaries worth £28,000 tax free and scholarships worth £30,000 tax free, to encourage talented trainees to key subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and computing. The Initial Teacher Training financial incentives package for the 2024/25 recruitment cycle, which incentivises candidates to take teacher training in hard to recruit subjects, is worth up to £196 million, which is an increase of 15 million on the last cycle.

Teacher retention is key to ensuring effective teacher supply and quality. To support retention, the Department is funding a Levelling Up Premium worth up to £3,000 after tax for mathematics, physics, chemistry and computing teachers in the first five years of their careers who choose to work in disadvantaged schools, including in Education Investment Areas. For 2024/25 and 2025/26, the Department will be providing around £100 million each year to double the rates of the Levelling Up Premium to up to £6,000 after tax.

On 13 July, the Department announced that it is accepting the School Teachers Review Body’s recommendations for the 2023/24 pay award for teachers and leaders. This means that teachers and leaders in maintained schools received a pay award of 6.5%, which is the highest pay award for teachers in over 30 years. This delivers the Government’s manifesto commitment for school teachers in all regions of the country to have a starting salary of at least £30,000.

The Department has also launched a new and updated suite of National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) for teachers and school leaders at all levels, designed for those who want to develop expertise in high quality teaching practice to those leading multiple schools across trusts. Four leadership NPQs are available to help boost leaders’ existing knowledge and confidence as they progress into more senior roles. This includes an NPQ in Headship (NPQH), Executive Leadership (NPQEL), Senior Leadership (NPQSL) and Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL). An Early Headship Coaching offer (EHCO) is also available to professionals who are new to the role of headship.

The qualifications are part of a wider set of teacher development reforms. These qualifications sit alongside the support, training and development which is available through the entirety of a teacher’s career.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made for her policies of difficulties experienced by schools in attracting teachers to take up leadership roles.

There are now over 468,000 full time equivalent (FTE) teachers in state funded schools in England, which is an increase of 27,000 (6%) since 2010. This makes it the highest number of FTE of teachers since the School Workforce Census began in 2010.

The Department has put in place a range of measures, including bursaries worth £28,000 tax free and scholarships worth £30,000 tax free, to encourage talented trainees to key subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and computing. The Initial Teacher Training financial incentives package for the 2024/25 recruitment cycle, which incentivises candidates to take teacher training in hard to recruit subjects, is worth up to £196 million, which is an increase of 15 million on the last cycle.

Teacher retention is key to ensuring effective teacher supply and quality. To support retention, the Department is funding a Levelling Up Premium worth up to £3,000 after tax for mathematics, physics, chemistry and computing teachers in the first five years of their careers who choose to work in disadvantaged schools, including in Education Investment Areas. For 2024/25 and 2025/26, the Department will be providing around £100 million each year to double the rates of the Levelling Up Premium to up to £6,000 after tax.

On 13 July, the Department announced that it is accepting the School Teachers Review Body’s recommendations for the 2023/24 pay award for teachers and leaders. This means that teachers and leaders in maintained schools received a pay award of 6.5%, which is the highest pay award for teachers in over 30 years. This delivers the Government’s manifesto commitment for school teachers in all regions of the country to have a starting salary of at least £30,000.

The Department has also launched a new and updated suite of National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) for teachers and school leaders at all levels, designed for those who want to develop expertise in high quality teaching practice to those leading multiple schools across trusts. Four leadership NPQs are available to help boost leaders’ existing knowledge and confidence as they progress into more senior roles. This includes an NPQ in Headship (NPQH), Executive Leadership (NPQEL), Senior Leadership (NPQSL) and Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL). An Early Headship Coaching offer (EHCO) is also available to professionals who are new to the role of headship.

The qualifications are part of a wider set of teacher development reforms. These qualifications sit alongside the support, training and development which is available through the entirety of a teacher’s career.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department are taking to reduce the number of EHCP applications going to appeal; and if she will make a statement.

Most Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan needs assessments and reviews are concluded without parents/carers appealing to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Tribunal. Nationally, in 2022, only 2.3% of all appealable decisions subsequently resulted in an appeal to the SEND Tribunal.

However, the department knows that the system needs to work better for parents. In the SEND and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan, published in March 2023, the department set out ambitious plans to establish a single national system that delivers for every child and young person with SEND and in AP so that they enjoy their childhood, achieve good outcomes, and are well prepared for adulthood and employment.

The department will give families greater confidence that their child will be able to fulfil their potential through improved mainstream provision in their local school through setting national standards for early and accurate identification of need, and timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will include clarifying the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings and who is responsible for securing the support.

For those children and young people who require an EHC plan, the department will improve the quality of plans. We will also improve the experience of getting a plan by creating a standard national EHC plan template, backed by standardising the use of local multi-agency panels to provide local authorities with holistic advice from education, health and care partners on whether to proceed to full EHC Plan assessment. The department also plans to digitise EHC plans, to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy in the system. In combination, this will deliver a more nationally consistent EHC plan system, and help restore parental confidence.

Where there are disputes, the department has committed to explore, test, and evaluate approaches for strengthening mediation between parents/carers and local authorities to help resolve disputes earlier before cases go to Tribunal.

The department continues to provide support and challenge to individual local authorities, through our team of professional SEND advisers, and are looking to include data on appeals as part of national and local inclusion dashboards to support the monitoring of performance across areas and drive improvements.

Taken together, our proposals should help meet the needs of children and young people sooner and reduce the number of EHC Plan applications going to appeal.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to increase the number of training providers in (a) Gloucestershire and (b) the UK; and if she will make a statement.

The quality and integrity of education and training provision is of paramount importance therefore we have stringent entry criteria for all of the department’s skills programmes to ensure training providers are capable and experienced. The department will take opportunities to streamline processes where we can, but the department will not compromise on the need to ensure learners and employers receive high quality education and training. Devolved Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority decide how to make best use of the Adult Education Budget (AEB) to meet the needs of their areas and decide which providers to contract with to deliver AEB-funded learning, and the processes used to select these providers.

The department frequently provides training providers with opportunities to access funding. Earlier this year, for instance, the department issued an invitation to tender for the delivery of adult education and training to learners aged 19 and over in non-devolved areas of England, including Gloucestershire.

Where there is a gap in provision in a specific location, due to poor quality of existing provision or an identified additional need for a particular type of provision, and this cannot be met by existing providers, the department will seek to bring in a new training provider that meets our robust standards. We are not aware of any specific gaps in provision in Gloucestershire that cannot be met by existing providers.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to streamline the process of becoming a training provider; and if she will make a statement.

The quality and integrity of education and training provision is of paramount importance therefore we have stringent entry criteria for all of the department’s skills programmes to ensure training providers are capable and experienced. The department will take opportunities to streamline processes where we can, but the department will not compromise on the need to ensure learners and employers receive high quality education and training. Devolved Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority decide how to make best use of the Adult Education Budget (AEB) to meet the needs of their areas and decide which providers to contract with to deliver AEB-funded learning, and the processes used to select these providers.

The department frequently provides training providers with opportunities to access funding. Earlier this year, for instance, the department issued an invitation to tender for the delivery of adult education and training to learners aged 19 and over in non-devolved areas of England, including Gloucestershire.

Where there is a gap in provision in a specific location, due to poor quality of existing provision or an identified additional need for a particular type of provision, and this cannot be met by existing providers, the department will seek to bring in a new training provider that meets our robust standards. We are not aware of any specific gaps in provision in Gloucestershire that cannot be met by existing providers.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she is taking steps to help increase awareness of school schemes that facilitate parents purchasing uniforms from other parents; and if she will make a statement.

In November 2021, the Department published statutory guidance to ensure that the cost of school uniform is reasonable and secures best value for money for parents. Schools and their governing boards must have regard to this guidance when developing and implementing their school and trust uniform policies. It is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/cost-of-school-uniforms.

The guidance states that schools should ensure that second hand uniform is available for parents to acquire, and to make these arrangements clear on their website.

The Department has sought to raise parental awareness of this requirement through the Education Hub, which can be found at: https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2022/09/01/back-to-school-week-school-uniform-what-you-need-to-know/.

24th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when project delivery at the Milestone School in Tewkesbury under the school rebuilding programme will commence; and if she will make a statement.

The 239 schools that were announced in December 2022 as part of the School Rebuilding Programme, including The Milestone School, will enter delivery at a rate of approximately 50 per year, over a five-year period, from 2023.

The Department is currently undertaking due diligence on these schools prior to scheduling them, with schools prioritised for delivery according to the condition need of their buildings, readiness to proceed, and efficiency of delivery. The Department plans to write to all Responsible Bodies before the end of January 2023 to update on timescales and set out next steps.

24th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what criteria are being used to determine when project delivery will begin for schools as part of the school rebuilding programme; and if she will make a statement.

The 239 schools that were announced in December 2022 as part of the School Rebuilding Programme, including The Milestone School, will enter delivery at a rate of approximately 50 per year, over a five-year period, from 2023.

The Department is currently undertaking due diligence on these schools prior to scheduling them, with schools prioritised for delivery according to the condition need of their buildings, readiness to proceed, and efficiency of delivery. The Department plans to write to all Responsible Bodies before the end of January 2023 to update on timescales and set out next steps.

24th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what percentage of schools teach Domestic Science; and if she will make a statement.

The subject of domestic science is not a part of the current curriculum. Aspects of the subject have been incorporated into the food technology part of the design and technology curriculum, and the healthy lifestyles topic within the personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum.

Information on the school workforce in England, including the number of subject teachers in state-funded secondary schools, is collected as part of the annual School Workforce Census each November. Information is published in the ‘School Workforce in England’ statistical publication at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

As of November 2021, of the 2,915 state-funded secondary schools that supplied data on the subjects taught by teachers, there were 1,472 schools that reported at least one teacher teaching food technology within the design and technology curriculum at Key Stages 3, 4 and 5. This equates to 51% of schools that supplied data.

There were 1,961 schools that reported at least one teacher teaching PSHE at Key Stages 3, 4 and 5. This equates to 67% of schools that supplied data.

There were 2,347 schools that reported at least one teacher teaching either food technology as part of the design and technology curriculum and/or PSHE at Key Stages 3, 4 and 5. This equates to 81% of schools that supplied data.

Subject teachers are any teacher timetabled to teach the subject for any period in a typical week in November and do not necessarily have a specific post-A level qualification. This timetabling does not cover an entire year of teaching. If there are variations in timetabling across the year, this is not covered in the data available to the Department.

17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what her planned timetable is for starting work on schools that have been selected for the School Rebuilding Programme; and if she will make a statement.

161 of the 400 projects selected for the School Rebuilding Programme are in delivery. Buildings at the most advanced projects will be completed early this year. The schools announced in December 2022 will enter delivery at a rate of approximately 50 per year, over a five-year period from 2023.

The Department is currently undertaking due diligence on these schools. The Department will be writing to all Responsible Bodies with an update on timescales this month.

6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to help encourage the take up of T-levels by schools; and if she will make a statement.

Over 200 schools are either already offering T Levels, or plan to start delivery over the next two years. The department wants as many young people as possible to benefit from T Levels and are working with the Careers and Enterprise Company, Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge programme, academy trusts and other representative bodies to ensure that schools are aware of these high-quality technical education courses. Resources have been developed for teachers and careers advisers to help them understand T Levels, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/t-levels-resources-for-teachers-and-careers-advisers. The department has also strengthened Provider Access Legislation to specify that schools must provide at least six encounters with providers of technical education and apprenticeships for all pupils during school years 8-13, helping learners to understand and take up technical education options, such as T Levels.

There is extensive support available for providers. The department has made over £400 million capital funding available for high quality facilities and equipment, invested £240 million over the past 4 years to help providers prepare to deliver high quality placements, and invested £23 million since 2019 to help upskill the workforce. The department has published the process for registering to deliver T Levels from 2024. Information about how to register can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-register-to-deliver-t-levels-from-2024-to-2025-academic-year.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
17th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to increase the number of school places available for pupils with special educational needs; and if she will make a statement.

The department is investing £2.6 billion between 2022 and 2025 to support local authorities to deliver new places and improve existing provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) or who require alternative provision (AP). This represents a significant, transformational investment in new high needs provision. This funding will support local authorities to deliver new places in mainstream and special schools, as well as other specialist settings, and will also be used to improve the suitability and accessibility of existing buildings.

As part of this commitment, in March 2022 the department announced High Needs Provision Capital Allocations amounting to over £1.4 billion of new investment, focused on the 2023/24 and 2024/25 academic years. It is ultimately up to local authorities to determine how to best prioritise their funding to address their local priorities.

The £2.6 billion capital investment in high needs provision announced in October 2021 will also help to deliver up to 60 new special and alternative provision free schools. This is in addition to the 48 special free schools already in the pipeline and 90 special free schools already opened.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
17th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment she has made of the number of children with special educational needs who do not attend school; and if she will make a statement.

Between 6 October and 4 November 2022, the department requested that local authorities aggregate data on electively home educated children and children missing education. This is to improve our understanding of these cohorts, including the number of these children who are on Education, Health and Care plans or who require special educational needs (SEN) support. This data is currently being analysed and will be published in due course. The department wants to give all children and young people, including those with SEN, the opportunity to thrive, with access to the right support in the right place and at the right time, to fulfil their potential and lead happy, healthy and productive adult lives.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
17th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will increase the amount of funding paid to mainstream schools for each pupil they have with special educational needs; and if she will make a statement.

Children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are supported in mainstream schools from the allocations of funding mainstream schools receive for all their pupils. These allocations are calculated under funding formulae that reflect the characteristics of the pupils in the school, including those with SEND.

Core schools' funding is £4 billion higher this year than last year. The additional funding announced in the 2022 Autumn Statement means it will rise by another £3.5 billion, on top of that, next year. Taken together, that means a 15% increase in funding in two years. The department will set out plans for the allocation of the additional £2 billion of funding shortly.

This extra funding, on top of significant increases already announced, demonstrates that schools are a key priority for the government, especially in the context of wider fiscal challenges.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
17th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment she has made of the attendance record of pupils with special educational needs; and if she will make a statement.

The overall absence rate for pupils with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan was 12.1% for the 2021/22 autumn and spring terms. For those with special education need (SEN) support, the overall absence rate was 9.7% for the 2021/22 autumn and spring terms, compared to 6.8% for pupils with no identified SEN. A further breakdown of the autumn and spring term attendance statistics for 2021/22 can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/pupil-absence-in-schools-in-england-autumn-and-spring-terms.

Looking forward, the department has a comprehensive attendance strategy that has been implemented since the beginning of this academic year, to ensure that absence is minimised. The department recognises attendance improvement does not happen in isolation and we are making significant investment in the special education needs and disabilities (SEND) system.

Annual statistics on the absence of pupils with SEN are available on Explore Education Statistics, which can be found at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/pupil-absence-in-schools-in-england.

The table found here provides absence rates by SEN provision from 2018/19 and 2020/21: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/dbdff1dd-64aa-4742-6e80-08dac7adbea1.

Data for 2019/20 is not available due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the adequacy of the school teaching of home cooking; and if he will make a statement.

Cooking and nutrition are part of the national curriculum for design and technology (D&T). This was introduced as part of the 2014 D&T curriculum and is compulsory for key stages 1 to 3, or ages 5 to 14. Schools are required to teach children how to cook, with an emphasis on savoury dishes, and how to apply the principles of healthy eating and nutrition. This means children are equipped with the knowledge and skills to prepare a range of nutritious dishes that will stand them in good stead in their adult lives.

The department also introduced a food preparation and nutrition GCSE in September 2016. This allows students to develop their skills further in practical cooking, as well as helping them to understand and apply the principles of food science and healthy eating when preparing and cooking food.

The Levelling Up White Paper confirmed the department’s dedication to food education, including a commitment to launch a school cooking revolution. The department is developing curriculum support to ensure young people leave school knowing how to cook at least six savoury recipes that will support healthy lifestyles.

13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to promote apprenticeships in the digital, culture, media and sport sectors to help support the Government’s agenda of levelling up across the UK.

We are committed to supporting more employers in all sectors, including digital, culture, media, and sport, to use apprenticeships to develop the skilled workforces they need, and to supporting more people, from all backgrounds, to benefit from the high-quality training that apprenticeships offer.

In August, we launched a new £7 million flexi-job apprenticeship fund to support the greater use of apprenticeships in sectors, such as the creative industries, where flexible working practices are commonplace, including short periods of project-based employment. Flexi-job apprenticeships will enable apprentices to move between different host employers in a given sector or region as they complete the training requirements for their apprenticeship.

In addition, we are making it easier for large employers to transfer levy funds to support new starts in small businesses or in a certain sector or region. On 13 September, we launched a new online service to allow levy paying employers to advertise funding pledges, enabling a much wider range of businesses to browse and apply for available funds. It is brilliant to see that employers have already begun to take advantage of this opportunity, including Amazon who have made a pledge on the new service of £50,000 to support apprenticeships in the creative industries.

We are also working closely with Screenskills who are piloting a flexi-job apprenticeship training model funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with the support of Netflix and Warner Bros. The pilot is funding 20 apprentices in Production Assistant and Production Accountant roles and aims to widen participation in the film sector.

To further help employers offer new apprenticeships, employers can claim £3,000 for each apprentice they take on as a new employee until 30 September, under the government’s Plan for Jobs.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase the awareness among school pupils of mental health issues; and if he will make a statement.

The government is committed to promoting and supporting the mental health of children and young people.

Since September 2020, all pupils and students in state-funded schools are being taught about mental health as part of compulsory relationship, sex and health education. We are providing support for teaching that covers all of the key teaching requirements and prioritised the production of the training module covering mental wellbeing, so that it was available before the end of the summer term last year. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-mental-wellbeing and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health.

The government is also providing information and advice directly to children, young people and families. Public Health England have produced guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people's mental health and wellbeing and adapted its Every Mind Matters and Rise Above platforms in the context of the outbreak. Further information can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/?WT.tsrc=Search&WT.mc_id=Brand&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIuKSHjPr97gIVCbDtCh2XSwvcEAAYASAAEgKgJfD_BwE and https://riseabove.org.uk/.

We know that the COVID-19 outbreak is having an effect on the mental wellbeing of children and young people. Our Wellbeing for Education Return programme, backed by £8 million, has trained local experts to provide additional advice and resources for schools and further education providers to help support pupil and student, parent and carer, and staff wellbeing, resilience and recovery in light of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown. It will give staff the confidence to support pupils and students, their parents, carers and their own colleagues, and know how and where to access appropriate specialist support where needed. Additional information can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/supporting-pupils-wellbeing.

The department is convening a Mental Health in Education Action Group, to look at the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people and staff in nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities. It will consider how to support mental wellbeing while children and young people are being taught remotely, as they return to education settings and with transitions between education settings in September 2021.

The government remains committed to long term improvements to support children and young people’s mental health, set out in the government’s response to its green paper and NHS Long Term Plan. This includes rolling out new Mental Health Support Teams to work with a fifth to a quarter of schools and colleges across the country by academic year 2023/24, offering training for a senior mental health lead in every state school in the country, and Link Programme training for all schools and colleges to help frontline health and education professionals work together effectively.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will continue to pay providers of early years education for children who are not able to attend; and if he will make a statement.

On 17 December 2020 the Government announced a return to funding early years settings for the spring term on the basis of attendance, as measured by the January 2021 census. The Early Years census count is still going ahead as expected and the census guidance is unchanged. To support local authorities, we have issued some technical advice on how that guidance can be applied this year.

In summary, children who are ill or self-isolating can be counted, as can those whose parents have temporarily withdrawn their children from open nurseries and childminders out of caution, and so long as the parent/guardian has not altered their parental declaration relating to expected hours with the provider.

Children should not be counted in the census where a setting has closed or restricted attendance, unless as a result of situations as set out in the supporting technical advice eg. staff sickness, COVID-19 isolation, staff shielding.

We stay in regular contact with the early years sector and have heard from them already on this subject. We will be closely monitoring both parental take-up of places and the capacity and responses of providers.

18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will enable apprenticeship levy costs to be temporarily used to fund existing staff wages in addition to training during the time restrictions imposed due to the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

We are developing guidance in partnership with the sector to support all parts of the apprenticeship system in response to the Covid-19 outbreak which is consistent with advice issued by Public Heath England. The specifics on this will follow as soon as possible.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
30th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has taken steps to help ensure that the Grain Passport Scheme is carried out digitally.

The digitisation of the grain passport in the arable supply chain is an industry led initiative run through the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board led Digital Passport Leadership Group.

The group are currently consulting on delivery of the digitisation of the passport. Following this, the Group will review the responses and decide on a way forward.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he is taking steps to increase the information provided by food labelling.

As the Secretary of State discussed in his speech at the Oxford Farming conference, we think there is an opportunity to improve transparency for consumers and ensure fairness for producers, so consumers can be fully confident about what they’re buying. We therefore intend to launch a rapid consultation on clearer labelling.

The consultation will explore options for improving method of production labelling and country-of-origin labelling.

It will explore how we can better highlight imports that do not meet UK welfare standards, and, in terms of country-of-origin labelling, look at improving how and where origin information is displayed - including for minimally processed meat, such as bacon and ham - and what products should be in scope.

The exact details of the consultation will be published in due course.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice for (a) farmers and (b) others impacted.

The Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) sets out how designated retailers should manage their relationship with suppliers and was intended to protect food and drink suppliers to major supermarkets from being treated unfairly. It is enforced by the Grocery Code Adjudicator (GCA), and the most recent review published in July 2023 found the GCA to be an effective regulator.

However, most farmers do not supply supermarkets directly and so they are not covered by the GSCOP. As a result, powers were introduced in the Agriculture Act 2020 to enable the introduction of statutory codes of contractual practice to protect farmers. Since then we have been undertaking supply chain fairness reviews into different sectors of farming to understand the specific issues that farmers face.

Using these powers, we will be introducing new regulations on contractual standards for the dairy sector. We plan to introduce these into to Parliament before the Easter Recess. We expect to introduce regulations relating to the pork sector later in 2024. Two new supply chain fairness reviews were announced at the UK Farm to Fork summit on 16 May 2023, into the egg and fresh produce supply chains. We will analyse the responses and provide a summary of the findings and set out next steps.

This issue was also discussed in a parliamentary debate that took place on 22 January in which Government set out its plans for supporting farmers.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme on the competitiveness of British farmers relative to food producers overseas.

While Red Tractor is not a Government scheme, we recognise how important it is to work closely with industry, which is why the Food Standards Agency has an earned recognition relationship with Red Tractor. We will continue to work with industry bodies on the vital role they play in helping farmers do the right thing – giving communication and advice as well as upholding standards.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase protections for farmers who sell produce to supermarkets.

The Government has already launched a review to increase fairness in the fresh produce supply chain in December 2023, building on what we have already got underway to improve transparency and contracts in the pork and dairy markets and the. Following this, we will analyse the responses and consider the need for providing additional protections for farmers at risk of unfair practices.

This review seeks to understand issues relating to fairness in the supply chain across the whole of the UK. If responses indicate there are contractual issues that we believe we should seek to address, the powers in the Agriculture Act apply to the whole of the UK. If regulations are developed, we will engage widely with stakeholders, including the devolved administrations, to ensure that legislation works for all parts of the UK and incorporate special provision for differing circumstances, if necessary.

A parliamentary debate is scheduled for 22 January to debate reforming the grocery supply code of practice to better protect farmers where the issues you’ve raised will be discussed.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to encourage food growth in the horticulture sector.

An innovative, productive, and competitive agricultural sector is one of HM Government's key priorities, it is crucial to the resilience of our food system as well as an important part of our wider economy, and we are committed to supporting it.

At last month’s Farm to Fork Summit we announced a wide range of measures to support the horticulture sector, including a replacement Fruit & Vegetables Aid Scheme for England from 2026, expanding the scheme to ensure that more growers, including those involved in Controlled Environment Horticulture such as glasshouses, are able to benefit. This improved scheme will play a vital role in our farming reforms and help increase domestic horticulture production. Also announced was a review of the horticulture supply chain to help ensure farmers are paid a fair price for their produce.

Defra regularly engages with the horticulture industry to understand what support they need to continue to produce great food. Our discussions with industry representatives, help inform future policy development and help us understand what support the sector needs to help it thrive.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has taken recent steps to reduce litter caused by the recreational use of nitrous oxide canisters; and if she will make a statement.

It is an offence to drop litter, and in recent years we have bolstered councils' powers to take enforcement action by almost doubling the upper fixed penalty limit for littering to £150. Furthermore, The Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 introduced powers, such as Public Space Protection Orders, which the police and local councils can use to prevent people from taking intoxicating substances, such as nitrous oxide, in specified areas.

In September 2021, the Government asked the independent statutory advisory body, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), to provide advice on whether nitrous oxide should be controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The ACMD is independent of Government and can provide a broad range of recommendations, including advice on regulatory or legislative changes. The Government will consider the ACMD advice carefully before deciding how to proceed.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she plans to take steps to extend the right to roam to (a) woodlands, (b) watersides and (c) more downland; and if she will make a statement.

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 provides for a right to roam across open access land, giving the public a right of access to most areas of mountain, moor, heath, down, registered common land and coastal margin. We have no plans to change this. England has a fantastic network of footpaths and the public has the ‘right to roam’ over many areas of wild, open countryside


We are working to complete the England Coast Path which, at around 2,700 miles, will be the longest waymarked and maintained coast walking route in the world. Over 2,000 miles have now been approved as England Coast Path, with nearly 800 miles already open. It will also create 250,000 hectares of new open access land within the coastal margin. We will also be creating a new National Trail across the North of England


We do not plan to mandate that new woodlands have public access or introduce a right to roam across all woodlands. In the England Trees Action Plan, we committed to the provision of safe and appropriate public access in as many woodlands as possible through a suite of measures from updating Forestry Commission guidance through to plans to encourage improvements to the quality and permanency of existing access. This will include how we might support greater access for all abilities. We will also encourage more access provision through our woodland creation grants. We recently amended the England Woodland Creation Offer to offer a higher incentive for the provision of access to new woodlands, and made more applicants eligible to apply for funding for access.

We recognise that when open access land was originally mapped and new rights over it introduced in 2004-5, not all downland was mapped satisfactorily. We have already announced our intention to carry out a review of those maps, and work has begun to plan for this review. As part of the review, we will aim to improve our mapping of the downland landform, which is likely to mean that more areas of downland are identified and will become subject to access rights.

11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what her Department's policy is on the importing of (a) fur and fur products, (b) foie gras and (c) hunting trophies; and if she will make a statement.

The Action Plan for Animal Welfare outlined our intention to explore potential action on the import of animal fur. We have since conducted a Call for Evidence on the fur sector along with other forms of engagement with interested parties. We are continuing to build our evidence base on the fur sector.

The production of foie gras by force feeding is banned in the UK as it is incompatible with our domestic legislation. We are committed to building a clear evidence base to inform any potential future decisions relating to imports.

HM Government has pledged to ban the imports of hunting trophies from thousands of species. We are committed to a ban that is among the strongest in the world and leads the way in protecting endangered animals. We are supporting the Private Member’s Bill led by the hon. Member for Crawley that will deliver this.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will consult with people who operate boarding facilities for cats and dogs on the proposed changes to licencing conditions; and if he will make a statement.

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 introduced an updated licensing system in England for specified activities including the provision of boarding for cats and dogs.

The supporting guidance for the Regulations is statutory and aims to improve consistency in interpretation and application of the licensing regime across England. Defra has not made any changes to the 2018 Regulations or brought in new legislation.

This means that the minimum welfare conditions that all operators must meet remain the same and all licences granted or renewed before the 01 February 2022 are valid for their stated licence length.

We are always seeking to learn from implementation and make improvements where necessary. The 2018 Regulations are due to be reviewed five years after they came into force and so, this will be an appropriate time to re-examine the standards, the associated guidance and consider any changes.  We will be working with partners, including local authorities and stakeholder sector groups, while we undertake this review.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to ensure that businesses effected by the proposed changes to Conditions for Boarding for cats or dogs licence (England) are notified in advance of their introduction; and if he will make a statement.

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 introduced an updated licensing system in England for specified activities including the provision of boarding for cats and dogs.

The supporting guidance for the Regulations is statutory and aims to improve consistency in interpretation and application of the licensing regime across England. Defra has not made any changes to the 2018 Regulations or brought in new legislation.

This means that the minimum welfare conditions that all operators must meet remain the same and all licences granted or renewed before the 01 February 2022 are valid for their stated licence length.

We are always seeking to learn from implementation and make improvements where necessary. The 2018 Regulations are due to be reviewed five years after they came into force and so, this will be an appropriate time to re-examine the standards, the associated guidance and consider any changes.  We will be working with partners, including local authorities and stakeholder sector groups, while we undertake this review.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will suspend incremental reductions in Basic Payment Scheme for 2022 and 2023 as a result of potential uncertainly and higher cost of production across all sectors.

We will not change the profile of Direct Payments reductions.

Area based subsidy gave half the farming budget to 10% of landowners. The Basic Payment Scheme did not support food production and did nothing to stop the decline in nature. We must seize the opportunity to establish a different system of rewards and incentives in agriculture. I am pleased that we are supporting farmers with the choices that they make for their own holdings.

Last month we announced steps to assist farmers with the availability of fertilisers for the coming growing season, to help address uncertainty amongst growers and keep costs down for farmers.

The planned changes to the use of urea fertiliser will be delayed by at least a year, helping farmers manage costs and giving them more time to adapt to pressures on the supply of ammonium nitrate fertilisers. We are also encouraging farmers to make use of organic fertilisers. Farmers will be further supported by new slurry storage grants introduced this year.

Alongside this, we have published further details of the early rollout of Sustainable Farming Incentive. The scheme will help farmers move towards more sustainable farming practices over time; supporting farmers to build the health and fertility of their soil, and to reduce soil erosion which are essential for food production, helping to bolster food security and the longer-term resilience of the sector.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will officially define food production as a Public Good; and if he will make a statement.

Supporting domestic food production is a priority for the Government.

The Agriculture Act 2020 includes powers to enable the Government to support farmers to invest in long-term food security by investing in the foundations of food production: healthy soil; water; and biodiverse ecosystems. Through the legal powers in the Act, the Government is also providing funding to farmers to be more productive and improve the health and welfare of their animals.

In providing this financial assistance, the Act requires the Secretary of State to have regard to the need to encourage the production of food by producers in England and its production by them in an environmentally sustainable way.

Recognising the importance of food production and security of supply, in the Agriculture Act 2020, the Government made a commitment to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. The first UK Food Security Report was published in December 2021. This report provides a crucial evidence base for ongoing policy work, including around the Food Strategy.

Last month, the Government set out a package of measures to support farmers respond to some of the secondary impacts we are seeing due to the Russian Invasion of Ukraine.

In the coming weeks, the Food Strategy White Paper will set out the Government's ambition for the food system: to support exceptional British food and drink producers, and to protect and enhance the nation's health and the natural environment for generations to come.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will prioritise environmental land management scheme funding for the Sustainable Farming Initiative in order to attract more farmers to the scheme; and if he will make a statement.

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

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential cost to businesses of the increase in the glass re-melt targets; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 27 January 2022, PQ UIN 113064.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the impact on businesses of the increase in price of Packaging Recycling Notes; and if he will make a statement.

I understand the challenges the increase in glass re-melt Packaging Recovery pose for some businesses. We have had discussions with industry and regulators to understand the reasons for the increase and to understand their implications. As the UK operates a market-based system, price fluctuations are expected when there are supply issues – with the increased value motivating more activity by operators, and consequently increased reprocessing. This in turn makes it easier to meet recycling targets and so prices will be driven back down, which was the situation at the end of 2021.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he will take to (a) make epidemiological assessments and (b) measure bTB levels before the Government decides culling permits for new badger culls; and what levels of disease will be reached before decisions on permits are made.

As set out in the Government response to Professor Sir Charles Godfray’s review of the bTB strategy[1] [2], the next step of the strategy involves phasing out badger culling to focus on the wider rollout of badger vaccination. In the Government’s response to the January 2021 consultation[3], we stated that no new intensive cull licences will be issued after 2022 and new supplementary badger culling licences have been limited to a maximum of two years.

However, culling would remain an option where epidemiological assessment indicates that it is needed. We are still developing the policy to licence badger culling under these exceptional circumstances. Once developed, we intend to consult on the Government’s proposals.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-strategy-for-achieving-bovine-tuberculosis-free-status-for-england-2018-review

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-strategy-for-achieving-bovine-tuberculosis-free-status-for-england-2018-review-government-response

[3] https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/bovine-tuberculosis-proposals-to-help-eradicate-disease-in-england

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will carry out further consultations with farmers and the NFU, as well as the waste industry, before introducing Rule 1 of the Farming Rules for Water; and if he will make a statement.

The Farming Rules for Water, introduced in 2018, aim to underpin the standards of a world leading farming sector whilst protecting our water environment from diffuse agricultural pollution to deliver the government’s ambitious environmental commitments. As part of this, Rule 1 was also introduced in 2018.

We have already been in discussions with farming stakeholders, the NFU and water companies regarding providing further clarification on how the Farming Rules for Water apply to them. We will have further such conversations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish further clarifications of the assistance that farmers will receive from the Rural Payments Agency before such changes are implemented; and if he will make a statement.

I am happy to say that on 2 December this year , we published a document called Sustainable Farming Incentive – how the scheme will work in 2022.

The new document builds on the information we published about the scheme in the Agricultural Transition Plan: June 2021 progress update. It includes a wealth of information – including detail on eligibility, applications, payments, the Annual Health and Welfare Review and more. It also provides even more information on the standards that will be available from 2022, and how we intend to expand the scheme until the full offer is available in 2025.

This document provides the next level of detail necessary for farmers to make the right decisions for them and their business.

We will be releasing more information on the Local Nature Recovery scheme and Landscape Recovery soon.

Farmers can keep up to date on the latest information about changes to farming, including on Landscape Recovery applications and guidance, by signing up to the Defra e-alert, and subscribing to our Future Farming blog.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to set a maximum bottle size of 700ml in the event that a deposit return scheme is introduced; and if he will make a statement.

Government undertook a second consultation on a deposit return scheme (DRS) earlier this year and we are currently analysing the responses to that consultation. The government response to the second consultation will include a final decision on the container size to be included in the scheme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to co-ordinate the introduction of a deposit return scheme and an extended producer responsibility; and if he will make a statement.

We have consulted on implementing a deposit return scheme (DRS) alongside a consultation on the extended producer responsibility (EPR) reforms to the packaging producer responsibility system – we are currently analysing responses to these consultations. As we finalise policy in both areas, we will ensure that we consider how these reforms work together well so they are as effective as possible.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to ensure that all wines sent from Great Britain to Northern Ireland are (a) treated as not at risk, (b) exempt from VI-1 certificates, (c) exempt from EU and Northern Ireland labelling requirements and (d) exempt from import declarations; and if he will make a statement.

The Government set out in our 21 July Command Paper The Northern Ireland Protocol – the way forward, proposals to find a new balance in the operation of the Protocol. To provide space for potential further discussions, and to give certainty and stability to businesses while any such discussions proceed, my Rt Hon Friend the Northern Ireland Secretary said in his most recent Statement that the Government had announced the previous day that we would continue to operate the Protocol on the current basis.

For the time being, this means that movements of wine from Great Britain to Northern Ireland must be accompanied by a simplified VI-1 certificate as outlined in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and meet the labelling standards required by the EU. Wine that is moved within the UK is not subject to tariffs.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will remove the requirement for imported wines to carry VI-1 certificates; and if he will make a statement.

On 25 July, the Government announced its intention to remove the requirement of VI-1 certification for all wine imports entering Great Britain. The removal of this barrier will cut unnecessary red tape for importers from both the EU and Rest of the World. This is great news for businesses and consumers, who will now see a significant trade burden lifted, which will ultimately lead to a reduction in the cost of wine. Industry analysis suggests that on average VI-1 certificates add 10p to every bottle of imported wine; British wine consumers can expect to save up to £130 million each year.

We are taking the necessary steps to begin the implementation process. On 9 September, we launched the consultation process for the removal for businesses who are directly impacted by the change. Once we have completed the consultation, we will then look to ensure that the necessary legislation is put in place as soon as possible.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department provides grants to help towards the recovery of a person's home following flooding; and if he will make a statement.

Following severe weather with significant impacts across multiple local authorities the Government can deploy the Flood Recovery Framework (Framework). Run by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), there are several Government schemes available for people whose properties have been flooded.

The Framework includes:

o Community Recovery Grant: Eligible local authorities will receive funding equivalent to £500 per flooded household.

o Business Recovery Grant: Eligible local authorities will receive £2,500 per eligible small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) which have suffered severe impacts from the floods that cannot be recovered from insurance.

o Council Tax Discount: The Government will reimburse eligible local authorities for the cost of providing residents with 100% council tax relief for a minimum of three months.

o Business Rates Relief: The Government will reimburse eligible local authorities for the cost of providing a minimum of three months of 100% relief from business rates, or longer if the business is unable to resume trading.

In addition, Defra may implement the Property Flood Resilience (PFR) Repair Scheme in exceptional circumstances. This provides flood-hit homes and businesses in eligible district and unitary authorities, to receive a contribution of up to £5,000 towards making properties more resilient against future flooding.

Both the Framework and PFR Repair Scheme were activated following severe flooding in November 2019 and February 2020. Tewkesbury is eligible for both the Framework and PFR Repair Scheme for both events.

With localised flooding incidents local authorities are expected to have contingency arrangements in place to respond and support the recovery from within their existing budgets. They have discretionary powers to fund grants, loans or other payments for home improvements. This can include funding for PFR measures.

The Government has doubled the amount it invests in the flood and coastal defence programme in England to £5.2 billion over six years. This will better protect a further 336,000 properties including homes and non-residential properties such as schools and hospitals. On 1 February 2021, Defra published a Call for Evidence which included looking at potential changes to the funding formula to provide further benefit to frequently flooded communities. It also explored ways to increase the uptake of PFR measures to enable householders and businesses to better prepare for flooding. The Call for Evidence closed in March and the Government is currently considering the responses received.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to increase the number of bridleways; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is a great supporter of the health and wellbeing benefits that access to the countryside can bring. As articulated in the 25 Year Environment Plan, public access to the countryside provides a huge range of benefits, including improving physical and mental health and supporting local communities and economies.

The Government is supporting and enhancing access to the countryside in several ways, for example by completing the England Coast Path, supporting our network of National Trails, ensuring that rights of way are recorded and protected, as well as developing ways to support access through financial provisions in the Agriculture Act for environmental land management. Our new schemes will make a significant contribution to the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan, including beauty, heritage and engagement with the environment. Public access is a key way that people can engage with the environment and so supporting greater and more varied access is an important aspect of achieving this goal.

We are looking at ways in which our new agri-environment schemes could fund the creation of new paths, such as footpaths and bridleways, providing greater and safe access for cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians. Working in close collaboration with stakeholders we are exploring the best ways of making further enhancements to our wonderful access network.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what grants are available to people to carry out work in their homes to protect them from flooding; and if he will make a statement.

Flooding has a devastating impact on communities, businesses and individuals, both in terms of physical damage and impacts on health, including mental health. The government closely monitors the impact on affected areas. With localised flooding incidents, local authorities are expected to have well established contingency arrangements in place and to be able to respond and support their local communities from within existing budgets.

Property measures that resist flood water, such as floor doors, which can reduce both the probability and damage from flooding, are eligible for Defra flood risk grant in aid. This eligibility is restricted to those properties that are at a very significant risk of flooding and that will move to a lower risk band as a result of the intervention. The Government has today published a Call for Evidence to explore potential changes for the future of the flood defence programme focusing on how we can strengthen our assessment of local circumstances. This includes looking at changes to how our flood defence investment programme can further benefit frequently flooded communities, and also exploring ways to increase the uptake of Property Flood Resilience measures

Local Councils also have discretionary powers to fund grants, loans or other payments for home improvements. This can include funding for Property Flood Resilience (PFR) measures. When opportunities for renewal, replacement or refurbishment arise for a property at flood risk; owners should consider integrating PFR measures that increase the 'flood recoverability' of the building. Following severe weather with significant impacts across multiple local authorities, the Government is able to deploy the Flood Recovery Framework.

During the unprecedented flooding in November 2019 and the storms which followed in winter 2019/2020, government announced PFR repair grants of up to £5,000 to help eligible properties affected by floods (homes, charities and businesses) become more flood resilient. The repair grants apply to those affected in district or unitary authorities that have 25 or more severely flooded properties.

The PFR repair grants are administered by eligible local authorities, with Defra reimbursing local authorities for grants paid for eligible properties. The most recent figures show that 47 district or unitary councils with over 7000 properties are eligible in England for the November 2019 and February 2020 PFR repair schemes. This includes 235 in the county of Gloucestershire, with 156 of these in Tewkesbury.

Local authorities on the November scheme now have until 31 December 2021 to recover their costs whilst local authorities on the February scheme have until 1 July 2022.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of (a) river dredging and (b) de-silting of minor waterways on reducing the incidence of flooding; and if he will make a statement.

The Environment Agency (EA) refers to dredging as the removal of accumulated material in a river. It is often done to maintain channel conveyance and ensure water can flow freely. Dredging also includes ‘de-silting’ which removes material like gravel or soil washed into rivers, as well as rocks and plant life.

To protect people and properties from flooding the EA prioritises activities that achieve the greatest benefit. Dredging and clearing channels are important parts of the EA’s maintenance regime when they improve the channel’s ability to carry increased river flows and manage flood risk. Over each of the past three years the EA has spent between £45 million and £55 million per year on channel maintenance, and between £5 million and £11 million of that is spent on dredging.

In 2010, the EA carried out a comprehensive series of trials to review and update the understanding of the benefits and effectiveness of dredging. It showed dredging can reduce flood risk, but its effectiveness and value-for-money varies significantly depending on location. Historic records and modelling also show that dredging in some locations can increase erosion and flood risk for communities downstream.

Since then, further studies such as the Thames bathymetry review have validated the results of the 2010 trials. In many cases, rivers naturally and quickly return to their pre-dredged state. Therefore any flood risk benefits are so short lived that the work cannot be economically justified.

The Somerset Rivers Authority and internal drainage boards (IDBs) have trialled alternative methods for dredging. These included both cutter suction and water injection dredging, and a full-scale 5 km trial using water injection dredging on the River Parrett. The trials demonstrated some potential to reduce costs of dredging in tidal rivers. The Environment Agency uses the results of such trials and studies to decide where and how dredging will be effective, on a case-by-case basis.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to speed up payments due to farmers under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme; and if he will make a statement.

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has introduced a series of measures to simplify the guidance for Countryside Stewardship (CS) and make it easier to apply for the scheme. As of 24 April 2020, the RPA has issued full payments of £34 million to just over 56% of eligible CS 2019 annual revenue claims in comparison to 2018 where no full payments had been made. In recognition of the disruption caused by Coronavirus (Covid-19) we announced on 28 April that we will issue bridging payments, in May, for eligible 2019 CS annual revenue and Environmental Stewardship claims who have not received a full payment in order to help rural businesses with their cash-flow at this challenging time.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to publish details of the Farm Flood Recovery Scheme; and how farmers will be able to apply for support from that scheme; and if he will make a statement.

We announced on 20 March that the existing £4 million Farming Recovery Fund would be extended to cover the impacts of storms Ciara and Dennis and the further flooding that occurred in late February 2020. The available funding was increased by £6 million to help those who were most affected by these floods. Farmers in the eligible areas will be able to access up to £25,000 as a single contribution to cover their uninsurable losses. The funding will help with the re-cultivation or re-seeding of arable and grassland and the restoration of features such as field gates and fencing. As part of the announcement, we also confirmed a relaxation of the crop diversification requirements known as the three crop rule for 2020, to help any farmers who may have difficulty complying with the rule this year.

Defra has been working with the Rural Payments Agency to develop a new way to apply for the funding. We are now planning to launch a new application process that uses an online portal. Use of the portal will already be familiar to the many thousands of farmers who applied to the Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme, and is recognised as being an easily accessible and fast route to access funding. This portal can be accessed via GOV.UK from late May and we will publicise its availability.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support he is providing to farmers to compensate for (a) the loss of product sales and (b) lower market prices as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is aware that coronavirus represents a very significant challenge to daily life and to every part of the economy. We are working closely alongside the farming industry to ensure that we understand and manage the impacts to farming and the food supply chain.

Defra’s Food Chain Emergency Liaison Group is meeting regularly to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the food and farming sectors across the UK and what actions are needed to support the sector. This group includes the NFU, other industry stakeholders and the devolved administrations.

The Government is providing £330 billion of guarantees so any business needing cash can access a low-cost, Government-backed loan. If demand is greater than the initial £330 billion, then more capacity will be provided. This includes extension to the COVID-19 Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) as well as a new lending facility for larger firms.

The Government’s CBILS scheme is available to the farming sector and farm businesses are being encouraged to access the loans that are available from this scheme. Defra has held urgent discussions with the major banks to ensure they understand that farmers are eligible for this scheme and communications are being prepared to increase awareness across the industry.

The UK Agricultural Market Monitoring Group has increased the frequency of its meetings. Its aim is to monitor UK agricultural markets and provide forewarning of market movements. During the coronavirus outbreak this is allowing Defra and the Devolved Administrations to share the latest stakeholder information and to prepare the evidence base for a possible range of interventions needed in specific markets or specific geographical regions.

The Secretary of State remains in regular contact with representatives of the farming industry and will continue to engage with them on these important issues. We will continue to monitor the situation and to work closely with the farming sector and to respond to emerging issues as they arise.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support he is providing to farmers to compensate for the loss of milk sales as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Defra is working closely with the dairy industry to manage the impact of Covid-19. Though demand for milk and some dairy products has increased in supermarkets, farmers supplying milk to processors that sell into the food service sector have seen a significant reduction in demand.

Between 5 and 10% of total milk production goes to the service trade and there is therefore a small proportion of milk production that currently has no home. The vast majority of Britain’s dairy farmers continue to supply their contracts at the usual price. In order to support affected farmers, we have eased some elements of competition law to make it easier for processors to come together to maximise production, processing and storage efficiency and ensure as much product as possible can be processed into high quality dairy products.

We have asked the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (which supports the interests of dairy farmers) and Dairy UK (which represents the processors) to work with farmers and processors to ensure that the industry can benefit from these easements. We stand ready to support them throughout this pandemic. This approach will allow the market for milk to adjust to the change in demand for milk while allowing production to be restored when shops, restaurants and pubs are able to open again.

The Government took a number of early emergency steps to support dairy farmers and the wider sector. These included designating employees in the food sector as key workers and temporarily relaxing the normal rules on drivers’ hours, enabling the sector to keep supply chains running, including deliveries from farm gate to processors.

The Government’s Covid-19 Business Interruption Loans scheme is available to the dairy industry. Defra has held urgent discussions with the major banks to ensure they understand that farmers, milk buyers and milk processors are eligible for this scheme and communications are being prepared to increase awareness across the dairy industry.

We will continue to engage closely with representatives from all parts of the dairy supply chain to support the sector throughout this challenging period.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure the planting of additional trees to reduce the risk of flooding; and if he will make a statement.

This Government has committed to increase planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares of trees per year by 2025. This will be supported in England by our £640 million Nature for Climate Fund, announced at the spring budget.

Additionally, we will soon consult on our English Tree Strategy. The consultation will seek feedback on policies to increase tree and woodland cover, including riparian planting along rivers and on hillsides. Planting trees can contribute to a wider catchment-based approach to flood alleviation, slowing the flow of water. The right tree in the right place can also improve water quality, biodiversity, air quality, and soil health.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make payments to farmers to use fields to soak up water at times of flood risk; and if he will make a statement.

There are many measures the Government can use to mitigate the risk of flooding and coastal erosion in England, especially when considered across an entire catchment. These include building and maintaining traditional defence schemes and using more natural processes, commonly known as natural flood management.

These natural processes, where appropriately designed and situated, play an important role by slowing the flow of flood water as it moves downstream. These processes can include tree planting, leaky debris dams and peatland restoration on upper slopes, flood washlands and river re-connection mid-catchment and management and creation of coastal marsh and sand dune systems in coastal areas.

Floodplains, and many washlands provide a natural and expected space to receive excess water when watercourses are subject to flood conditions. Outside of flood conditions these lands can provide opportunities for food production and/or useful spaces for wildlife and recreation.

However, there are additional spaces, including farmland, where intervention is needed to store flood water temporarily away from watercourses, when it will help to protect a community or critical infrastructure further downstream. Under the Water Resources Act 1991, Risk Management Authorities, including the Environment Agency, may, where appropriate, make payments to the landowner to allow for such land to be used as part of a scheme to create an area of temporary flood storage. The Environment Agency already has around 500 such arrangements with landowners around England.

Furthermore there is also a funding mechanism through Countryside Stewardship grants to encourage making space for water. This grant aims to help water flow in a winding course across floodplains, flooding temporarily to restore river and wetland habitats. It will also reduce the risk of high energy flows and soil erosion, and allow water to drain freely back into the river channel.

Finally, the new Environmental Land Management scheme will roll out from late 2024. The scheme will incentivise the reduction in and protection from environmental hazards. To deliver this public good it could pay farmers and other land managers for land management practices that can help reduce the impacts of, and enhance resilience to, flooding, for example incentivising temporary flood storage areas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Environment Agency on the merits of dredging rivers; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Bosworth on 3 March 2020, PQ UIN 20056.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to review the funding arrangements of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities; and if he will make a statement.

Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities are primarily funded from local authorities under powers under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. In recognition that IFCAs were carrying out new functions, Defra has been providing them with £3million per year in New Burdens funding since their creation. The future of this funding will be considered alongside departmental budgetary requirements in the forthcoming Spending Review.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing regulations on animal welfare standards for (a) animal sanctuaries and (b) re-homing organisations; and if he will make a statement.

The Government greatly appreciates the valuable work that responsible animal sanctuaries and rehoming organisations do in caring for animals. Evidence provided by respondents to the consultation on banning commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens, reflected concerns about profit-driven activity and variations in welfare standards across the sector. The Government is committed to fully understanding the views of rescue and rehoming organisations themselves, and the possible impacts of introducing regulations to the sector and is currently engaging with the sector on assessing these issues. Any proposals to bring forward regulations on animal welfare standards for the sector will be subject to full public consultation.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 29 October 2019 to Question 4960 on Dogs: Animal Welfare, when the research on responsible dog ownership her Department has commissioned from Middlesex University will be completed; and if he will make a statement.

The Defra funded research being carried out by Middlesex University on responsible dog ownership will be published in due course.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to ban (a) hand held, remote electric dog collars, (b) dog bark induced electric collars and (c) electric perimeter fencing for the control of dogs; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to banning the use of hand-held remote controlled electronic dog collars and will lay the necessary legislation for such a ban as soon as Parliamentary time allows. The ban will not include dog bark induced collars or collars that work in connection with perimeter fencing.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment she has made of the food security situation in Ethiopia; and if she will make a statement.

The worsening food security situation in Ethiopia is a significant concern. Ethiopia faces the triple threat of drought and floods, the worst desert locust outbreak in generations, and Covid-19. The UN and GoE estimate that 15 million people will be in need of humanitarian food assistance in the coming months and over 4 million children and mothers will face acute malnutrition as the full impacts of the triple-threat crisis materialise. The UK is a committed partner to the Government of Ethiopia and is supporting food and nutrition responses for the most vulnerable people. The UK recently announced £17 million for the East Africa desert locust response, bringing our total contribution up to £25 million.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will allocate additional funding to the World Food Programme to enable it to increase assistance to East African countries; and if she will make a statement.

We are deeply concerned about the food security situation in East Africa, where nearly 25 million people are at crisis levels of food insecurity. Existing humanitarian need will be exacerbated by climate change, the desert locust outbreak and the impact of Covid-19.

The UK is working across East Africa to provide life-saving assistance, cash transfers where markets are still functioning, and tools and seeds to build a longer-term ability to respond to shocks. We are working through both our country programming and multilateral responses, which includes through the World Food Programme (WFP). In 2019, DFID has provided almost USD 700million to support WFP's operations. In 2020, our contribution so far is USD 254million (this includes a USD 19million contribution to WFP's global services in response to Covid-19).

4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what restrictions the Government has put in place in relation to arms sales to Saudi Arabia; and if he will make a statement.

All arms sales are subject to export licensing. The Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, last updated in a Written Ministerial Statement on 25 March 2014, remains the policy for assessing all licence applications.

Work to develop a revised assessment process enabling my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade to re-take the licensing decisions remitted to her by the Court of Appeal’s judgment of 20 June 2019, has advanced steadily and significantly since the judgment. An announcement will be made once the Secretary of State is in a position to re-take these decisions.

Until such time as these decisions are retaken, or a successful appeal against the judgment is concluded, the Government is under an obligation not to grant any new licences to export items to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the conflict in Yemen.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had recent discussions with National Highways on the minimum length of road allowable between two motorway junctions; and if he will make a statement.

I have not held any discussions with National Highways on the matter the Hon Member raises but I can assure him that National Highways follow the relevant standard for spacing and layouts of motorway junctions. Any departures from standard are considered on a case by case basis and the reasons will be unique to each location.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
16th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to help develop a UK Sustainable Aviation Fuel industry; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is driving the demand for sustainable aviation fuel in the UK by mandating its use from 2025, with at least 10 per cent of jet fuel to be from sustainable sources by 2030 and is seeking to develop a SAF industry in the UK. The Government is supporting production plants with funding but recognises that there are barriers to investment.

In April, the Government published an independent evaluation by Phillip New on developing a UK sustainable aviation fuel industry. In response to the report’s recommendations, the Government has committed to work in partnership with industry on options to increase future revenue certainty of UK SAF plants and on actions for stabilising the UK feedstock market. If required, following that work, the Department for Transport will consult on policy options in the summer.

16th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will introduce an industry-funded price support mechanism to help secure private investment in UK sustainable aviation fuel plants; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is driving the demand for sustainable aviation fuel in the UK by mandating its use from 2025, with at least 10 per cent of jet fuel to be from sustainable sources by 2030 and is seeking to develop a SAF industry in the UK. The Government is supporting production plants with funding but recognises that there are barriers to investment.

In April, the Government published an independent evaluation by Phillip New on developing a UK sustainable aviation fuel industry. In response to the report’s recommendations, the Government has committed to work in partnership with industry on options to increase future revenue certainty of UK SAF plants and on actions for stabilising the UK feedstock market. If required, following that work, the Department for Transport will consult on policy options in the summer.

16th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to maximise the benefits of the CAP1616 process in delivering airspace modernisation; and if he will make a statement.

The airspace modernisation programme is a critical national infrastructure project that aims to deliver quicker, quieter and cleaner journeys for the benefit of those who use and are affected by UK airspace. Modernisation is long overdue and is critical to ensure that UK airspace is fit for purpose in the future.

All proposals to alter flightpath arrangements must follow the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) airspace change process (CAP1616). The CAA has recently consulted on CAP1616 seeking views on various options designed to simplify its structure, make the process clearer and easier to understand, and ensure it can be proportionate and tailored to each airspace change proposal. The consultation ended on 19 March 2023 with the updates to CAP1616 expected to be in place by the end of this year.

The outputs of this consultation will allow the CAA to unlock the full benefits of the CAP1616 process and it will make a written statement on its website on this in due course.

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on increasing approved business travel mileage rates, in the context of rising fuel costs; and if he will make a statement.

The government keeps approved business travel mileage rates under review.

17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve road safety for cyclists; and if he will make a statement.

The Government takes very seriously the safety of cyclists and other vulnerable road users and is committed to reducing the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on England’s roads. In July 2020 the Prime Minister launched ambitious plans to encourage cycling and walking. This includes a £2 billion package of funding for active travel over 5 years, which is the largest ever boost for cycling and walking, and will deliver transformational change and improve safety for people cycling.

In the 2018 Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy Safety Review, Government committed to review The Highway Code to improve safety for cyclists. A consultation on the proposed changes to The Highway Code closed in October 2020, with nearly 21,000 replies received, and the Government response to the consultation was published in July 2021. Given the feedback received, we will be seeking to introduce all the proposed changes which will significantly improve road safety for those most at risk when using the road.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support he is offering to the civil aviation industry while covid-19 public health restrictions on international travel remain in place; and if he will make a statement.

The Government recognises the challenging circumstances facing the aviation industry because of Covid-19 and firms experiencing difficulties have been able to draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor. In total, we estimate that by the end of September 2021 the air transport sector (airlines, airports and related services) will have benefited from around £7bn of Government support since the start of the pandemic. This includes support through loan guarantees, support for exporters, the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Department for Transport works closely with HM Treasury on matters related to aviation. We continue to take a flexible approach and keep all impacts and policies under review.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to provide approved routes for riders of motorised scooters to make pavements safer for pedestrians; and if he will make a statement.

Motorised scooters may refer to either e-scooters or electric mobility scooters and/or powered wheelchairs which are classified as invalid carriages. Trials of rental e-scooters are currently being run by the Department to assess their safety and wider impacts.

For the e-scooter trials, it is a requirement for all operators involved in the trials to provide training to users. This takes place in various forms: apps; training videos; face-to-face training. It is illegal to use any e-scooter in spaces which are set aside for use by pedestrians and horse-riders, this includes the pavement. E-scooters used in trial areas can be used on cycle paths and tracks. We have asked operators in trial areas to develop more robust geo-fencing to tackle pavement riding and other anti-social behaviour. Outside of the trials, e-scooters remain illegal to use, unless ridden on private land with the permission of the landowner.

The Department has published an information sheet for mobility scooter users including where they can be used and how the Highway Code applies to them. It is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/mobility-scooters-and-powered-wheelchairs-on-the-road-some-guidance-for-users.

There are no plans to provide approved routes for either type of vehicle. Local authorities are responsible for running the trials and are able to control how the trials run in their areas, it is for them to determine if they wish to implement approved routes.

14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that riders of motorised scooters are aware of their safety responsibilities on pavements; and if he will make a statement.

Motorised scooters may refer to either e-scooters or electric mobility scooters and/or powered wheelchairs which are classified as invalid carriages. Trials of rental e-scooters are currently being run by the Department to assess their safety and wider impacts.

For the e-scooter trials, it is a requirement for all operators involved in the trials to provide training to users. This takes place in various forms: apps; training videos; face-to-face training. It is illegal to use any e-scooter in spaces which are set aside for use by pedestrians and horse-riders, this includes the pavement. E-scooters used in trial areas can be used on cycle paths and tracks. We have asked operators in trial areas to develop more robust geo-fencing to tackle pavement riding and other anti-social behaviour. Outside of the trials, e-scooters remain illegal to use, unless ridden on private land with the permission of the landowner.

The Department has published an information sheet for mobility scooter users including where they can be used and how the Highway Code applies to them. It is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/mobility-scooters-and-powered-wheelchairs-on-the-road-some-guidance-for-users.

There are no plans to provide approved routes for either type of vehicle. Local authorities are responsible for running the trials and are able to control how the trials run in their areas, it is for them to determine if they wish to implement approved routes.

14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce the time taken by DVLA staff to answer telephone calls from the public; and if he will make a statement.

Throughout the pandemic the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s contact centre has actively managed its operation and flexed the services for customers in line with the available resources. To help respond to more enquiries, remote working has been increased with staff handling email, webchat, social media and telephone customer contacts. The DVLA has also procured the use of an additional building to increase the number of staff able to take calls.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to help cyclists to become more safety conscious when using the roads; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed by the end of this Parliament to providing cycle training to all children and to all adults who want it. The training will include a strong safety focus, which will give more people the knowledge and skills to cycle confidently and safely on the roads. The Department is already providing £18 million funding for Bikeability training for children and families in 2021/22: funding for cycle training in future years will be a matter for the Spending Review. The Department is also updating The Highway Code to improve safety for cyclists, and this will include strengthened advice on how to cycle safely.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of requiring the Rail Delivery Group to extend the period of use of railcards in response to the travelling time lost as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Department recognises that railcard holders have been unable to use their cards whilst travel restrictions are in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and railcard holders have not been able to benefit to the fullest extent over recent months. However, many passengers are able to recover the cost of their railcard in a single trip over the period of validity of their railcard. Having carefully considered the situation, we currently have no plans to require the Rail Delivery Group to extend the period of use of railcards.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to encourage passengers to safely use the railways as covid-19 restrictions are eased; and if he will make a statement.

Our priority remains the safety of staff and passengers. Rail operators are working hard to ensure passengers can travel safely, in line with Public Health England advice. Measures taken thus far include regular station speaker announcements, the installation of clear floor markings and the provision of extra staff to manage passenger flows and provide guidance. As of 15 June, we have also made face coverings compulsory on public transport, to minimise the chances of the virus being spread by asymptomatic patients.

In order to support a safe, green recovery and new working patterns, the department is also working with industry to explore already available options for flexible commuters, such as carnets, and what steps could be taken quickly to make these as useful and convenient for passengers as possible.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with train operating companies on the potential merits of offering incentives for passengers to safely return to using the railways as covid-19 restrictions are eased; and if he will make a statement.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 17th July and as we now understand the epidemiology of the virus better and can control it through targeted, local action, we are extending our plan to lift the remaining national restrictive measures. Our priority remains the safety of staff and passengers. Rail operators are making sure passengers have the confidence to return to the railway, and continue to take all necessary measures to make rail travel safe. These include the installation of clear floor markings and the provision of extra staff to manage passenger flows and provide guidance. On 15 June, we made face coverings compulsory on public transport, to prevent the transmission of the virus by asymptomatic patients.

In order to support a safe, green recovery and new working patterns, the department is also working with industry to explore already available options for flexible commuters, such as carnets, and what steps could be taken quickly to make these as useful and convenient for passengers as possible.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of permitting a twelve month extension to MOT tests for heavy goods vehicles in cases where it can be shown to be safe to do so; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is aware of calls from some sectors of the road haulage industry to issue Certificates of Temporary Exemption for periods of up to 12 months, in order to mitigate operational issues. These views are being actively considered at present. Consequent to passage of the Business and Planning Bill, regulations will be made relating to this issue in coming weeks.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has in place to enable commercial vehicles to undergo MOT testing; and if he will make a statement.

The restart of heavy vehicle testing at scale was announced on 19 June to take effect from 4 July. Testing will initially be on a voluntary basis and Certificates of Temporary Exemption will still be available to manage the backlog of tests.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support his Department is providing to Network Rail on new open access rail applications such as those on the Great Western Main Line to operate between London, Bristol and South Wales.

The Department responded to Network Rail’s consultation on the latest open access application on the Great Western Main Line. The matter remains under consideration by Network Rail and the independent Office of Rail and Road.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his oral contribution of 12 May 2020, Official Report, column 176, what guidance he has provided to Network Rail on supporting new open-access rail applications.

It is Network Rail’s responsibility to carry out a rigorous and robust assessment of the capacity and performance impacts on the network of each new open access application. The Department engages with Network Rail, as appropriate, on each new open access application.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) existing and (b) proposed open access rail operations; and if he will make a statement.

The independent Office of Rail and Road (ORR) is responsible for determining access to the track for open access operators. However. we acknowledge that open access operators can play a contributory role improving rail services for passengers in circumstances where it delivers new and innovative services.

The DfT, as the competent franchising authority, have to balance the benefits of new open access operators with the impact on the value for money of taxpayers’ significant investment in the railway. We are aware that some open access operators have paused operations due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and hope to see them return to the network as soon as possible.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support he plans to provide to new open access rail proposals on the Great Western Mainline.

The independent Office of Rail and Road (ORR) is responsible for determining access to the track for open access operators. However, we acknowledge that open access operators can play a contributory role improving rail services for passengers in circumstances where it delivers new and innovative services.

The DfT, as the competent franchising authority, have to balance the benefits of new open access operators with the impact on the value for money of taxpayers’ in the railway.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to support Network Rail to identify available rail capacity on the Great Western Mainline for new open access rail services between London, Bristol and South Wales.

The Department responded to Network Rail’s consultation on the latest open access application submitted on the Great Western Main Line. The matter remains under consideration by Network Rail and the independent Office of Rail and Road.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to expand bus services in rural areas; and if he will make a statement.

The bus market outside London is deregulated and decisions regarding service provision are primarily a commercial matter for bus operators. Local authorities are free to make their own decisions about the areas under their care, provided they take account of the relevant legislation.

Local councils are encouraged to utilise the tools in the Bus Services Act 2017, to help improve rural bus services and increase passenger numbers.

The Government provides £43 million of the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) directly to local authorities so that they can subsidise socially necessary bus services. As part of the 2018-19 local government finance settlement, the Government responded to a number of councils’ concerns over rural services funding by increasing the Rural Services Delivery Grant to £81 million. The 2019-20 settlement increased the Grant to the same level.

The additional £5 billion announced by the Prime Minister will boost bus services by including higher frequency services, new priority schemes to make routes more efficient, more affordable, simpler, fares and at least 4,000 new Zero Emission Buses.

This is on top of the £220 million Better Deal for Bus Users package announced by the Government on 30 September to transform bus services across the country. This includes funds for £20 million to support demand responsive services in rural and suburban areas, which local authorities can bid for.

This package contains a further £30 million of funding to improve current services and restore lost services.

11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will consider the potential merits of providing support with essential living costs for people who have no recourse to public funds; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ27675.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the accuracy of decisions on the right to (a) Employment Support Allowance; (b) Universal Credit Limited Capability for Work and (c) Personal Independence Payments for people with disabilities; and if he will make a statement.

The department is committed to making the right decision as early as possible in the claims process. At each stage of the decision-making process, all material evidence is carefully considered to help ensure that the decision made is as accurate as possible. Of the 4.7 million PIP initial decisions made from April 2013 to June 2022, 4% have been overturned at appeal. Similarly, of the 3.3 million ESA WCA decisions completed for claims with start dates between October 2013 and March 2022, 2% have been overturned at appeal. Similar information on the accuracy of Universal Credit WCA decisions is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason there is a difference in the age of a dependent child between the (a) Child Maintenance Service and (b) Student Loans Company; and if she will make a statement.

For Child Maintenance purposes a qualifying child must be aged under 16 or under 20 and in full-time, non-advanced education or approved training. This definition aligns with eligibility for Child Benefit for consistency.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that a means test on the income of both parties is taken into account when determining the levels of child maintenance payments; and if she will make a statement.

Child maintenance liabilities are calculated based on the taxable income and assets of the paying parent and represent an amount of money that is broadly commensurate with the amount a paying parent would spend on the child if they were still living with them, irrespective of the receiving parent’s income or assets as they are the child’s primary carer.

Applying a means test to both parents would result in complexity in the calculation process which would delay getting money to children.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the total cost of universal credit has been to the Exchequer in each of the last five years; and what the cost per annum is of the £20 per week uplift.

Extending the £20 increase by 12 months would cost over £6 billion per year, roughly equivalent to adding 1p on the basic rate of income tax and an additional 3p increase in fuel duty.

Actual and forecast Universal Credit expenditure are published in the Benefit Expenditure and Caseload Tables and can be found in, Table 1a and Table 1b, at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/953118/outturn-and-forecast-autumn-budget-2020-revised.xlsx

The Department for Work and Pensions estimates the temporary Universal Credit £20 uplift, in 2020/2021, cost around £5bn and estimates the six month extension in 2021 cost around £2.2bn in Great Britain, which can be found here: Economic and fiscal outlook - March 2021 - Office for Budget Responsibility (obr.uk) - Welfare spending, 3.79 to 3.83 on pages 133 to 134.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether she is taking steps to ensure that NHS equipment which is in good condition is recycled for use by other patients.

As set out in the Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service report, published in October 2020, the National Health Service is committed to reducing its environmental impact, including by increasing the reuse and recycling of medical equipment. This commitment is then applied locally, taking into account local priorities, through local Green Plans.

NHS England also collaborates with NHS Supply Chain to increase availability of reusable products and supports local NHS organisations through the publication of guidance and resources to help with implementing changes.

As an example, the NHS has set out ambitions to expand existing walking aid refurbishment schemes. Arrangements for the return and reuse of walking aids are managed locally, to be adapted to the local context, and a number of NHS trusts already have local return and reuse schemes with over 200 return sites now featured on the Recycle Now website, and is available at the following link:

https://www.recyclenow.com/recycle-an-item/walking-aids

NHS England is supporting local NHS organisations to increase walking aid return rates. This includes: providing guidance to trusts on setting up or enhancing reuse schemes and planning communication activities; providing visual material to help communicate locally about the schemes in a consistent way; and directly supporting trusts with their pilot schemes.

Regarding further equipment types, improving resource efficiency forms a key part of the Government’s Medical Technology Strategy, published in February 2023, where we are working with industry, the health and care sector, and academic partners to improve the extent to which we reuse, remanufacture, and recycle many different medical equipment types.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to recruit more midwives into the NHS.

As of November 2023, there are 23,396 full-time equivalent midwives working in National Health Service trusts and other core NHS organisations in England. This is 3,647, or 18.5%, more than in 2010.

The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, sets out the steps the NHS and its partners need to take to deliver an NHS workforce that meets the changing needs of the population over the next 15 years. The plan sets out the expectation that we will increase midwifery training places by 13% to 4,269 places a year for students starting this academic year. We expect that 5% of midwifery placements will be delivered through apprenticeships by 2028.

Additionally, in March 2023 NHS England published its three-year delivery plan for maternity and neonatal services. The plan sets out a target for trusts to have in place the appropriate number of posts required and to fill those roles by 2027/28. To support this, the Government has invested an additional £165 million a year to improve maternity and neonatal care, which will rise to £186 million a year this year.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions she has had with representatives of GP practices on the level of workload of GP surgeries.

Department Ministers regularly meet with general practice (GP) stakeholders to discuss a broad range of topics. The Delivery plan for recovering access to primary care, published by NHS England in May 2023, set out actions on how bureaucracy and workload can be cut by improving the interface between primary and secondary care. This includes cutting unnecessary burdens on GPs through the Bureaucracy Busting Concordat, published in August 2022, and streamlining the Investment and Impact Fund from 36 to five indicators from 2023/24.  The expanded primary care teams funded through the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme add extra clinical capacity, helping to reduce the burden on GPs.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an estimate of the number of school-age children who have been waiting for an autism diagnosis for longer than six months; and if she will make an assessment with the Secretary of State for Education of the potential impact of delays in autism diagnoses on secondary school examinations.

Data on the number of school-age children who have been waiting for an autism diagnosis for longer than six months is not held centrally. The autism assessment waiting times data published on 14 September 2023 showed that the number of people aged between zero and 17 years old with an open referral for suspected autism was 84,054 in June 2023. The data also showed that, in June 2023, 6.7% of patients, or 4,581, aged between zero and 17 years old with an open suspected autism referral in the month, that has been open for at least 13 weeks, received a first appointment in 13 weeks or less. Data on the number of children and young people in this dataset is expected to be an underestimate. The subsequent waiting times publication is 14 December 2023.

Whilst we have no plans to make an assessment on the potential impact of delays in autism diagnoses on examinations in secondary schools, we recognise the importance of early identification of neurodiverse conditions, such as autism, so that an individual’s needs can be identified sooner, and support put in place earlier in life, including the support that autistic children should receive.

The Department of Health and Social Care is working closely with the Department for Education to ensure that children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND), including autistic children, receive the right support, in the right place, at the right time. We are doing this through working together to implement the SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan, which was published on 2 March 2023.

On 22 November 2023, we announced the Partnerships for Inclusion of Neurodiversity in Schools programme. This new programme, backed by £13 million of investment, is a partnership between the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Education and NHS England, and will bring together integrated care boards (ICBs), local authorities, and schools, working in partnership with parents and carers to support schools to better meet the needs of neurodiverse children, including autistic children and those who are undiagnosed or awaiting an assessment.

In relation to examinations, access arrangements can be agreed with exam boards for candidates with specific needs, including special educational needs and disabilities, to help them access assessments to show what they know and can do without affecting the integrity of the assessment.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
30th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to ensure that NICE clinical guidelines on Brain tumours (primary) and brain metastases in over 16s reflects the latest data from clinical trials on (a) diagnosis and (b) management of patients.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for developing authoritative, evidence-based guidelines for the National Health Service on best practice based on an assessment of clinical and cost effectiveness. NICE keeps its guidelines under review and uses the best available evidence to develop its recommendations. Its surveillance programme proactively explores whether there is any new evidence to contradict, reinforce or clarify its guideline recommendations.

NICE’s guideline on brain tumours and brain metastases in people aged 16 years old or over was most recently updated in 2021 and makes recommendations on the management of grade IV gliomas. The NHS is expected to take NICE guidelines fully into account in ensuring that services meet the needs of their local populations.

In May 2018, the Government announced £40 million for brain tumour research as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, through the National Institute for Health and Care Research. This includes funding for glioblastoma research.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to help ensure that brain tumour patients have access to whole genome sequencing; and what estimate she has made of the proportion of patients who are diagnosed each year having the whole genome of their tumours sequenced.

Genomic testing for patients with a suspected brain tumour, including glioblastoma, is included in the National Genomic Test Directory. This testing can be delivered using a range of technologies, including whole genome sequencing (WGS) or Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology (large cancer gene panels) to ensure that a patient receives the most appropriate genomic testing depending on their individual circumstances. Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria outlined in the National Genomic Test Directory will be able to access this genomic testing offer.

Patients with a suspected brain tumour, including glioblastoma, receive standard of care testing via an NGS cancer panel for this clinical indication. In total, between April 2021 and September 2023, over 179,500 NGS panel tests have been performed, for all cancer clinical indications.

Since the WGS service was launched for paediatric patients in November 2020 and adult patients in April 2022, in addition to standard of care testing, as of 1 December 2023, 533 patients have received WGS because of a suspected brain tumour.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether she (a) is and (b) plans to take steps to help increase the median survival rate for people with glioblastoma.

The Government is committed to improving the survival rates for all cancers. The Department and NHS England are working on implementing interventions to diagnose cancer early, when often there are more curative treatment options, is associated with better survival.

To find and diagnosed all cancers earlier, NHS England is streamlining cancer pathways to support diagnosis within 28 days by implementing non-symptom specific pathways for patients who present with non-specific symptoms that can indicate several cancers, as well as implementing timed cancer pathways.

Since 2019, cancer alliances have been developing new dedicated urgent diagnostic pathways for these patients so that every cancer patient with concerning, but non-specific symptoms, gets the right tests at the right time in as few visits as possible.

In May 2018, the Government announced £40 million for brain tumour research as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). This includes research into glioblastoma. NIHR has funded four projects into glioblastoma research since financial year 2018, with a combined total funding value of £2.7 million.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to prevent outbreaks of pseudomonas in hospitals; and if he will make a statement.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) advises in preventing outbreak of infections such as pseudomonas in hospitals to the Department, National Health Service national, regional, and local teams, including commissioners and providers. This is done through collecting and publishing data and supporting in development and updating of Infection Prevention Control (IPC) guidance, as well as providing independent IPC, decontamination, and epidemiology expertise. This also includes provision of subject matter and health protection experts such as Consultants in Public Health Medicine who can assist healthcare providers in the control of protracted and difficult outbreaks and can offer peer support visits, and specialist and reference microbiology services accessible to all healthcare providers in the United Kingdom.

UKHSA runs surveillance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bloodstream infections and publishes case numbers by trust and onset setting, monthly, quarterly, and annually. UKHSA also produces a quarterly epidemiological commentary which presents trends in Gram-negative bacteraemia (including P. aeruginosa) over time.

UKHSA publishes data on Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteraemia on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. This includes epidemiological commentaries, which explain the data and put the results in context. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/mrsa-mssa-and-e-coli-bacteraemia-and-c-difficile-infection-annual-epidemiological-commentary/annual-epidemiological-commentary-gram-negative-mrsa-mssa-bacteraemia-and-c-difficile-infections-up-to-and-including-financial-year-2021-to-2022

The following table shows the number of hospital onset cases of P. aeruginosa since mandatory surveillance began in 2017/18.

Financial year

All reported cases

Hospital onset cases

2017/2018

4,308

1,626

2018/2019

4,186

1,518

2019/2020

4,345

1,581

2020/2021

4,291

1,670

2021/2022

4,334

1,626

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of people who have contracted Pseudomonas whilst staying in hospital in each of the last 10 years for which data is available.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) advises in preventing outbreak of infections such as pseudomonas in hospitals to the Department, National Health Service national, regional, and local teams, including commissioners and providers. This is done through collecting and publishing data and supporting in development and updating of Infection Prevention Control (IPC) guidance, as well as providing independent IPC, decontamination, and epidemiology expertise. This also includes provision of subject matter and health protection experts such as Consultants in Public Health Medicine who can assist healthcare providers in the control of protracted and difficult outbreaks and can offer peer support visits, and specialist and reference microbiology services accessible to all healthcare providers in the United Kingdom.

UKHSA runs surveillance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bloodstream infections and publishes case numbers by trust and onset setting, monthly, quarterly, and annually. UKHSA also produces a quarterly epidemiological commentary which presents trends in Gram-negative bacteraemia (including P. aeruginosa) over time.

UKHSA publishes data on Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteraemia on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. This includes epidemiological commentaries, which explain the data and put the results in context. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/mrsa-mssa-and-e-coli-bacteraemia-and-c-difficile-infection-annual-epidemiological-commentary/annual-epidemiological-commentary-gram-negative-mrsa-mssa-bacteraemia-and-c-difficile-infections-up-to-and-including-financial-year-2021-to-2022

The following table shows the number of hospital onset cases of P. aeruginosa since mandatory surveillance began in 2017/18.

Financial year

All reported cases

Hospital onset cases

2017/2018

4,308

1,626

2018/2019

4,186

1,518

2019/2020

4,345

1,581

2020/2021

4,291

1,670

2021/2022

4,334

1,626

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of people who have died as a result of asthma in (a) England and (b) Gloucestershire, in each of the last ten years for which figures are available.

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities publishes the Interactive Health Atlas of Lung conditions in England profile that includes asthma metrics and compares local areas within England. The profile includes the mortality rate from asthma.

The following table shows the number of deaths for the last 10 years.

Year

Gloucestershire CCG

England

2011

8

982

2012

8

1,054

2013

8

1,037

2014

8

1,045

2015

12

1,221

2016

13

1,169

2017

9

1,236

2018

12

1,333

2019

13

1,202

2020

10

1,261

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of people with asthma in (a) England and (b) Gloucestershire; and what assessment he has made of trends in the number of people with asthma in (i) England and (ii) Gloucestershire; and if he will make a statement.

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities publishes the Interactive Health Atlas of Lung conditions in England profile that includes asthma metrics and compares local areas within England. The profile includes the prevalence of asthma, as collected by the Quality Outcomes Framework, NHS Digital.

The main findings for NHS Gloucestershire CCG and England were in 2021/22 there were 46,646 people recorded with asthma in Gloucestershire, 7.3% of the population. In England there were 3,745,077 people recorded with asthma, 6.5% of the population. The percentage of people with asthma in Gloucestershire was higher than for England as a whole. The definition of the asthma registers changed in 2020/21 and earlier years data is not directly comparable. Longer trends cannot be calculated.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of guidance on asthma care; and if he will make a statement.

Action on chronic respiratory diseases is crucial as they are the third biggest contributor to Years of Life Lost in England. The Major Conditions Strategy will cover treatment and prevention for chronic respiratory diseases, including asthma. The Strategy will set out a strong and coherent policy agenda that sets out a shift to integrated, whole-person care, building on measures that we have already taken forward through the NHS Long Term Plan. Interventions set out in the Strategy will aim to alleviate pressure on the health system, as well as support the Government’s objective to increase healthy life expectancy and reduce ill-health related labour market inactivity.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help reduce the number of fatalities caused by asthma; and if he will make a statement.

Action on chronic respiratory diseases is crucial as they are the third biggest contributor to Years of Life Lost in England. The Major Conditions Strategy will cover treatment and prevention for chronic respiratory diseases, including asthma. The Strategy will set out a strong and coherent policy agenda that sets out a shift to integrated, whole-person care, building on measures that we have already taken forward through the NHS Long Term Plan. Interventions set out in the Strategy will aim to alleviate pressure on the health system, as well as support the Government’s objective to increase healthy life expectancy and reduce ill-health related labour market inactivity.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve care for people suffering from asthma; and if he will make a statement.

Action on chronic respiratory diseases is crucial as they are the third biggest contributor to Years of Life Lost in England. The Major Conditions Strategy will cover treatment and prevention for chronic respiratory diseases, including asthma. The Strategy will set out a strong and coherent policy agenda that sets out a shift to integrated, whole-person care, building on measures that we have already taken forward through the NHS Long Term Plan. Interventions set out in the Strategy will aim to alleviate pressure on the health system, as well as support the Government’s objective to increase healthy life expectancy and reduce ill-health related labour market inactivity.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the cost to the public purse of providing free prescriptions to people aged between 60 and 66 in each of the last five years.

There are no plans to make an assessment. The Department published an impact assessment in 2021 on increasing the upper age exemption for prescription charges. The impact assessment estimated that charging people aged 60 to 65 years old for prescriptions would return an additional £226 million a year. More information on this is available at the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/996781/impact-assessment-upper-age-prescription-exemption.pdf

22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department are taking to reduce waiting times for young people waiting for an (a) Autism and (b) ADHD diagnosis; and if he will make a statement.

This specific assessment has not been made. We expect integrated care boards to have due regard to relevant best practice guidelines when commissioning autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) services for children and young people.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends a maximum waiting time of 13 weeks between a referral for an autism assessment and a first appointment. While we want every area to meet NICE guidance, we recognise that this is not happening everywhere. NHS England publish quarterly data on how many people are waiting for an autism assessment, and for how long, by local area. The data provides useful information to support local areas to identify and manage local demand.

We are investing £2.5 million in 2022/2023 to test and embed improved autism diagnostic pathways. NHS England will publish in due course a national framework to support partners in local areas to commission and deliver autism assessment services for children, young people and adults. The aim of the framework is to improve access to and the quality of these assessment processes, reduce the time that people wait for an assessment, as well as improving consistency of support for people while they wait for an autism assessment or after they are diagnosed, including mental health and peer support.

With regard to ADHD, while NICE does not recommend a maximum waiting time standard from referral for an assessment of ADHD to the point of diagnosis, a diagnosis of ADHD should be made as soon as possible. In a recent Westminster Hall debate on 1 February 2023, I committed to look at how we can improve data on ADHD assessment waiting times, to help improve access to ADHD assessments in a timely way and in line with the NICE guideline on ADHD.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department are taking to improve access to specialist services for children with (a) Autism and (b) ADHD; and if he will make a statement.

This specific assessment has not been made. We expect integrated care boards to have due regard to relevant best practice guidelines when commissioning autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) services for children and young people.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends a maximum waiting time of 13 weeks between a referral for an autism assessment and a first appointment. While we want every area to meet NICE guidance, we recognise that this is not happening everywhere. NHS England publish quarterly data on how many people are waiting for an autism assessment, and for how long, by local area. The data provides useful information to support local areas to identify and manage local demand.

We are investing £2.5 million in 2022/2023 to test and embed improved autism diagnostic pathways. NHS England will publish in due course a national framework to support partners in local areas to commission and deliver autism assessment services for children, young people and adults. The aim of the framework is to improve access to and the quality of these assessment processes, reduce the time that people wait for an assessment, as well as improving consistency of support for people while they wait for an autism assessment or after they are diagnosed, including mental health and peer support.

With regard to ADHD, while NICE does not recommend a maximum waiting time standard from referral for an assessment of ADHD to the point of diagnosis, a diagnosis of ADHD should be made as soon as possible. In a recent Westminster Hall debate on 1 February 2023, I committed to look at how we can improve data on ADHD assessment waiting times, to help improve access to ADHD assessments in a timely way and in line with the NICE guideline on ADHD.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessments he has made of the potential merits of implementing the Neurodiversity Pathway for Autism and ADHD for people aged between 0 and 18; and if he will make a statement.

This specific assessment has not been made. We expect integrated care boards to have due regard to relevant best practice guidelines when commissioning autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) services for children and young people.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends a maximum waiting time of 13 weeks between a referral for an autism assessment and a first appointment. While we want every area to meet NICE guidance, we recognise that this is not happening everywhere. NHS England publish quarterly data on how many people are waiting for an autism assessment, and for how long, by local area. The data provides useful information to support local areas to identify and manage local demand.

We are investing £2.5 million in 2022/2023 to test and embed improved autism diagnostic pathways. NHS England will publish in due course a national framework to support partners in local areas to commission and deliver autism assessment services for children, young people and adults. The aim of the framework is to improve access to and the quality of these assessment processes, reduce the time that people wait for an assessment, as well as improving consistency of support for people while they wait for an autism assessment or after they are diagnosed, including mental health and peer support.

With regard to ADHD, while NICE does not recommend a maximum waiting time standard from referral for an assessment of ADHD to the point of diagnosis, a diagnosis of ADHD should be made as soon as possible. In a recent Westminster Hall debate on 1 February 2023, I committed to look at how we can improve data on ADHD assessment waiting times, to help improve access to ADHD assessments in a timely way and in line with the NICE guideline on ADHD.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to provide cancer vaccines to patients through the NHS; and if he will make a statement.

The Life Sciences Vision’s Healthcare Mission on Cancer will support the development of new immunological interventions for cancer. In partnership with Genomics England, NHS England is developing plans for a Cancer Vaccine Launch Pad, which will help determine which cancer patients might be eligible for cancer vaccine trials. The Launch Pad will aim to support trials into vaccines across multiple types of cancer, with trials starting as early as autumn 2023.

The Government is also working closely with the life sciences sector to bring innovative cancer therapies to National Health Service patients. In January, a partnership was announced with BioNTech which will accelerate clinical trials of personalised mRNA therapies, like cancer vaccines.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) increase awareness of and (b) improve access to the Cancer Drugs Fund; and if he will make a statement.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) appraises all newly licensed medicines and since 2016, has been able to recommend drugs for use within the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) where there is too much uncertainty to be able to recommend routine funding. For those drugs that receive this recommendation, the fund supports patient access while further real-world evidence is collected that informs a final recommendation by NICE on routine commissioning.

The CDF has helped many thousands of National Health Service patients to benefit from promising new medicines that would otherwise not be available to them. As of February 2023, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has made 52 CDF recommendations, 24 of which have had guidance updated following a period of managed access, with 92% recommended for routine funding.

The Innovative Medicines Fund, launched in June 2022, builds on the successful Cancer Drugs Fund model and will support patient access to the most promising new medicines for all patients, not just those with cancer, faster than ever before.

28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing Optune on the NHS for the treatment of brain cancer; and if he will make a statement.

In the guidelines on primary brain tumours and brain metastases in adults published in July 2018, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that tumour-treating fields, such as Optune, should not be offered as part of management of a newly diagnosed grade IV glioma or as part of management of recurrent high-grade glioma.

These recommendations are based on an assessment of the available evidence on clinical and cost effectiveness.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the accuracy of the prostate-specific antigen testing programmes; and if he will make a statement.

No recent assessment has been made. In October 2022, the National Health Service published a ‘Best Practice Timed Pathway’ for suspected prostate cancer. This sets out guidance on the use of mpMRI prior to biopsy to improve the detection accuracy of clinically significant cancer and reduce the risk of unnecessary biopsy.

In the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline on suspected cancer, NICE made a research recommendation on the diagnostic accuracy of prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing. A number of recommendations in the guideline on prostate cancer refer to PSA levels.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish the Autism strategy implementation plan for the 2022-23 financial year.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the Rt hon. Member for South Swindon on the 3 February 2023 to Question 135349.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to implement an autism dashboard that would show the number of people waiting for an Autism diagnosis; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England publish the Autism Diagnostic Waiting Times Statistics, including an interactive dashboard, that shows the number of people waiting for an autism assessment. The NHS England Learning Disability and Autism programme team are working to support data quality improvements engaging with regional colleagues and system providers.

Based on the latest available data in the Mental Health Data Set, published in December 2022, the total number of people with an open referral for an autism assessment was 125,109 in July 2022. Of these patients, 105,622 patients have been waiting for at least 13 weeks.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he last held discussions with representatives of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on the level of delayed discharges in that Trust; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State has not held discussions with representatives of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on the level of delayed discharges in that trust. Minister Caulfield met with the Chief Executive Officer and Chair of Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board on 20 December 2022 and discussed a range of subjects including delayed discharge.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the relationship between the Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing Access and the delivery of the Life Sciences Vision; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given on 9 January 2023 to Question 113161, 113162, 113178.

10th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference para 1.11 of the 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access - Chapters and Glossary, published December 2018, whether he has made an assessment of that schemes progress against its objectives; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given on 9 January 2023 to Question 113161, 113162, 113178.

10th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential impact of changes to the Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing Access rebate on (a) investment in clinical trials and (b) the UK's market for launching innovative treatments.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given on 9 January 2023 to Question 113161, 113162, 113178.

19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential relationship between the Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing Access and the delivery of the ambitions set out in the Life Sciences Vision; and if he will make a statement.

No specific assessment has been made. However, the Government remains committed to working with the pharmaceutical industry to deliver on the commitments made in the Life Sciences Vision and to ensure that the Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access is seen as part of a holistic environment for Life Sciences.

19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the extent to which the Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing Access (VPAS) has met its objectives as laid out in the scheme documentation of supporting the life sciences industry across the UK and future innovation; and if will make a statement.

The Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access (VPAS) has met the objectives laid out in the scheme documentation, as discussed at the mid-scheme review held in September 2021.

The minutes of the review are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2019-voluntary-scheme-for-branded-medicines-pricing-and-access-operational-review-and-mid-scheme-review-minutes-28-september-2021/28-september-2021-minutes

19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of changes to the Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing Access (VPAS) rebate on (a) clinical trials investment in the UK and (b) the prioritisation of the UK as a launch market for innovative treatments.

The impact of higher payment percentages in both the Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access (VPAS), and the Statutory Scheme on research and development investment, on the prioritisation of the United Kingdom as launch market for innovative treatment was considered as part of a consultation process in 2022 to update the statutory scheme to control the costs of branded health service medicines. It is also being considered in a current consultation.

Full details of the current consultation are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposed-update-to-the-2023-statutory-scheme-to-control-the-costs-of-branded-health-service-medicines

Full details of the earlier 2022 consultation are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/update-to-the-statutory-scheme-to-control-the-costs-of-branded-health-service-medicines

19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the average time children under 11 wait for a completed assessment with the Autism Assessment Service (a) nationally and (b) in Gloucestershire; and if he will make a statement.

There are no current plans to make a specific assessment.

However, the Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS) shows that in the year from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 in England, the median waiting time for patients aged under 11 years old, with an open referral for suspected autism to receive a first contact appointment was 251 days. We are unable to provide the average waiting time for Gloucestershire in this period as there were less than five open referrals.

NHS England South West is working closely with regional integrated care boards (ICBs) and NHS England National team to improve the data collection of autism diagnosis waits. In addition, NHS England South West continues to work with regional ICBs to support the improvement of autism diagnosis and waiting times for children, young people and adults supported with a regional investment of £1.68 million over three years.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the NHS will only fund many immunotherapy treatments for a maximum of two years; and if he will make a statement.

The clinical trials for many immunotherapy treatments licensed and recommended for use in the National Health Service in England were based on uninterrupted treatment for a maximum of two years. There is insufficient evidence to show that continued treatment beyond two years provides additional clinical benefit. This aligns with evidence submitted to the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) by the pharmaceutical company and the cost-effectiveness of treatment beyond this timescale is not known.

When developing clinical treatment criteria, NHS England considers the evidence base on which products are licensed and approved for use, in addition to with the considerations of NICE’s appraisal committee.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will allow immunotherapy to be funded indefinitely where it is found to have a beneficial effect on patients; and if he will make a statement.

The clinical trials for many immunotherapy treatments licensed and recommended for use in the National Health Service in England were based on uninterrupted treatment for a maximum of two years. There is insufficient evidence to show that continued treatment beyond two years provides additional clinical benefit. This aligns with evidence submitted to the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) by the pharmaceutical company and the cost-effectiveness of treatment beyond this timescale is not known.

When developing clinical treatment criteria, NHS England considers the evidence base on which products are licensed and approved for use, in addition to with the considerations of NICE’s appraisal committee.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made with Cabinet colleagues of the potential merits of increasing the number of medicine places available at universities; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has funded an additional 1,500 undergraduate medical school places each year for domestic students in England - a 25% increase over three years. This expansion was completed in September 2020 and has delivered five new medical schools in England.

There are currently record numbers of medical students in training.

The Government has commissioned NHS England to develop a long-term plan for the NHS workforce and this will include independently-verified forecasts for the number of doctors, nurses and other professionals needed in five, ten and 15 years’ time.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make it her policy to work with Cabinet colleagues to require disability signage to include an upright stick figure on signage to raise awareness of hidden disabilities; and if she will make a statement.

We have no current plans to do so. In 2019/20 the Cabinet Office’s Disability Unit, the British Standards Institute and other stakeholders considered the development of a new non-visible disability sign. However, agreement was not reached at that time and there are no current plans for further development.

Under the Equality Act 2010, certain organisations, such as those providing health and social care for disabled people, must make reasonable adjustments to remove barriers which may be experienced by disabled people, including in relation to signage.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending eligibility to make claims for the deceased' s loss and suffering to affected people other than the executor in cases of medical negligence.

The Administration of Estates Act 1925 provides that claims on behalf of the estate of a deceased person may be made by their personal representative, such as the executor of a will and grants of probate provide the legal standing to conduct litigation on behalf of the estate. Claims may also be made by certain dependants of the deceased person either under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 for damages, loss of income or service dependency, or the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934, also for damages.

22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to help ensure that families with children who suffer from severe allergies to certain medicines can access affordable alternatives; and if she will make a statement.

Prescriptions dispensed to children under 16 years old are free of charge. The prescription of any medicine is a clinical decision, informed by the medicine’s summary of product characteristics, made with individual patients. Prescribing clinicians should always satisfy themselves that the medicines they consider appropriate for patients can be safely prescribed. This prescribing decision should be discussed and agreed with the patient, their families and/or carers.

22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether she is taking steps to increase the number of care home staff in (a) England and (b) Gloucestershire; and if she will make a statement.

Local authorities are responsible for ensuring there is sufficient workforce capacity to meet the care needs of the local population. The Government continues to support local authorities and providers to address workforce pressures. On 22 September, we announced an additional £500 million for social care this winter to facilitate the safe discharge of patients and recruit and retain care workers.

22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether she is taking steps to reduce the incidence of delayed discharge of patients from acute hospitals in (a) England and (b) Gloucestershire; and if she will make a statement.

The Government has announced a £500 million Adult Social Care Discharge Fund to accelerate the safe discharge of patients from hospital. Further details of the fund will be available in due course, including local allocations. In addition, NHS England is implementing the ‘100-day discharge challenge’ to reassert best practice through 10 priority activities in all hospitals.

The One Gloucestershire Integrated Care System has placed additional staff in the hospital to home teams and provided additional beds and services in acute and community hospitals. It has been supported by the local authority, which has based social workers in the emergency department and on wards to prevent unnecessary admissions and ensure effective and informed discharge planning. A dedicated team working with people who have a length of stay over 21 days has also been established.

22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether she is taking steps to increase the number of care home staff specialising in caring for patients with dementia in (a) England and (b) Gloucestershire; and if she will make a statement.

In addition to existing investment in learning and development to support progression for care workers, we are developing a national knowledge and skills framework for the care workforce in England, including Gloucestershire. This will set out the knowledge and skills required for roles within the sector, including those specialising in caring for people with dementia and will supplement existing resources, such as the Dementia Training Standards Framework.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Chief Executives of NHS Trusts on the availability of (a) grommet and (b) adenoid operations for children; and if he will make a statement.

There have been no specific discussions. Integrated care boards are responsible for commissioning such services locally. The decision whether to offer these treatments in each case is a clinical decision agreed between the patient and clinician.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve access to NHS Dental Care Services (a) in general and (b) for families with children; and if he will make a statement.

Dental patients are not registered to a particular practice outside a course of treatment. A practice can accept a patient for a course of treatment and there are no geographical restrictions on which dental practice a patient may attend. An additional £50 million for National Health Service dentistry was provided for the final quarter of 2021/22 to provide urgent care to patients. The appointments were targeted to patients in most need of urgent dental treatment, including vulnerable groups and families with children.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have asked practices to deliver 100% of contracted units of dental activity and 100% of units of orthodontic activity to safely improve access for patients, including children and vulnerable patients. As well as general dental services, specialist community dental services which treat particularly vulnerable people, including children, have also benefited from additional funding. The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with stakeholders, including the British Dental Association, on improvements to the NHS dental system. This aims to increase patient access, reduce health inequalities and make the NHS a more attractive place to work for dentists.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential health impact of the PSTN switch-off on people suffering from Electro-Hypersensitivity; and if he will make a statement.

No specific assessment has been made. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) advises that international guidelines on limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields should be complied with to ensure there are no consequences for public health. Research has been conducted to investigate whether certain people are particularly sensitive to exposures to electromagnetic fields from mobile phones, leading to symptoms which affect their health.

The UKHSA advises that electromagnetic fields below recommended guideline levels do not cause symptoms and cannot be detected by individuals, even those who consider themselves more susceptible to electromagnetic fields. This advice is based on reviews of scientific evidence, including a review undertaken by the independent expert Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation published in 2012. The UKHSA will continue to monitor the evidence as it emerges.

13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help speed up the process of applying for GHIC cards; and if he will make a statement.

The Department monitors the process for applying for the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHICs) and works with the NHS Business Services Authority to plan and manage high levels of demand. Under its service level agreement, once approved, the NHS Business Services Authority aims to issue GHIC applications within 10 working days. From 1 to 26 May 2022, 99.9% of cards were fully processed within 10 working days of the decision and 95.8% of cards were processed on the same day.

As of 14 June 2022, the NHS Business Services Authority received 3,572 GHIC and European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) applications where the automatic residency check had not been met and a manual process was required. Once satisfactory evidence is provided to the NHS Business Services Authority, all cards are issued within five days. For those on a temporary visit to the European Union or Switzerland who require necessary healthcare treatment and do not have a GHIC, these travellers can apply to the NHS Business Services Authority for a Provisional Replacement Certificate. This Certificate provides the same coverage as a GHIC.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his policy is on the safety of locking exit doors in Acute Mental Health Hospitals in order to ensure the safety of people who are resident there; and if he will make a statement.

Where a patient is detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 or deprived of their liberty under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for care and treatment, there is a legal basis where providers of acute mental health care can restrict the person from leaving the ward to protect them from harm or from causing harm to others. This may include a locked door policy. However, Section 132 of the Mental Health Act sets out the duty to provide clear information to the patient about their detention status on a regular basis and this should include discussions with them about the locked door policy.

Providers of acute mental health care have a duty of care towards everyone in receipt of their service. If an informal patient wishes to leave and the nursing staff feel this is unsafe based on their current presentation, Section 5(2) of the Mental Health Act can be employed to temporarily prevent the person leaving whilst an urgent assessment is arranged.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of patients who remain in hospital and who are medically fit for discharge; and if he will make a statement.

The Department has 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 cross-Government discharge taskforce with the National Health Service and local government to identify long-term, sustainable changes to reduce delayed discharges.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of patients in acute hospitals in England who are medically fit for discharge; and if he will make a statement.

On 20 March 2022, the most recent data available, there were 12,235 patients or 14.72% remaining in hospital who were medically fit for discharge.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his policy that £50m for targeted MND research will be awarded in full to the scientific programme set out in the submission by MND charities to the 2021 Spending Review.

This funding can be accessed through applications to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The NIHR and UKRI rely on researchers submitting high-quality applications to access funding. All applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the estimated cost of providing free lateral flow tests following the Government's lifting of general covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement.

We are currently undertaking an assessment of these costs.

23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 November 2021 to Question 62570, what assessment he has made of the progress of the Renal Services Transformation Programme against its aim of all units providing home therapies to at least 20 per cent of patients.

There has been no further assessment of progress on the percentage of patients receiving home therapies at each unit since November 2021. Reporting on patients receiving home therapies at each unit providing home therapy is undertaken via the Renal Registry Annual Data collection. Data is received in the summer following the year of the collection period.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of rising fuel prices on the gas and energy bills of people receiving dialysis treatment at home.

No assessment has been made. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is responsible for monitoring the energy market in the United Kingdom to ensure it meets the need of all consumers, including those receiving medical treatment at home.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the annual cost to the NHS per patient for (a) in-centre haemodialysis, (b) home haemodialysis, and (c) home peritoneal dialysis.

The average annual cost per patient for in-centre haemodialysis, home haemodialysis and home peritoneal dialysis in England is shown in the following table.

In-centre haemodialysis (three cycles per week)

£24,726

Home haemodialysis (three to four cycles per week)

£25,116

Home peritoneal dialysis (six cycles per week)

£21,216

Notes:

  1. All costs will be indicative, as Market Forces Factor (MFF), transport costs, planned outpatient review and non-elective care will differ between patients and provider contracts.
  2. It should be noted that reference costs represent the average cost per patient of delivering therapies in England, not the annual cost, as this is how the tariff is set. We have provided the average cost per patient for different types of haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis as this data is held.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help reduce the time it takes for people suffering from cancer to receive essential medical appointments; and if he will make a statement.

The Department and the National Health Service (NHS) have published the Delivery Plan for Tackling the COVID-19 Backlog of Elective Care. This plan sets out a clear vision for how the NHS will recover and expand elective services over the next three years.

To support elective recovery the Government plans to spend more than £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25, this is in addition to the £2 billion Elective Recovery Fund and £700 million Targeted Investment Fund already made available to systems this year to help drive up and protect elective activity.

The ambitions for patients are supported with a clear plan to deliver £9 million additional treatments and diagnostic procedures over the next three years and around 30% more elective activity by 2024/25 than before the pandemic.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the number of care home staff; and if he will make a statement.

We are assisting adult social care providers to recruit care staff such as those in care homes, including through the £462.5 million Workforce Recruitment and Retention Funds, which also supported existing care workers through the winter. In addition, we have expanded the Health and Care Visa to include care workers, care assistants and home carers for a 12-month period and these roles have been added to the Shortage Occupations List.

The latest phase of national recruitment campaign between November and March 2022 aimed to shift perceptions of the adult social care sector and was delivered in partnership with the sector through TV, radio and digital advertising. The recent ‘People at the Heart of Care’ white paper announced that we will invest at least £500 million to develop and support the workforce over the next three years.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the number of places available in care homes; and if he will make a statement.

Local authorities are best placed to understand and plan the care and support needs of their local population. Under the Care Act 2014, local authorities are required to shape their local markets, to ensure a diverse range of high quality, sustainable, person-centred care and support services are available to meet the needs of the local population.

The number of overall care home beds has remained broadly constant over the last 10 years from 460,664 beds in 2010 to 457,516 in February 2022. The number of home care agencies in England has increased since 2010. There are over 5,000 more home care agencies now, from 5,780 in 2010 to 11,106 in February 2022. This reflects the growing trend towards caring for people in their own homes, enabling people to live independently, within their community, for as long as possible.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department provides to people with disabilities who are unable to self-administer covid-19 lateral flow tests; and if he will make a statement.

We provide a range of testing instructions in accessible formats and we are procuring lateral flow device (LFD) test kits which are easier to administer, based on feedback from users. Those who are unable to self-administer nine LFD tests unaided can access guidance from a trained operative at asymptomatic test sites located in many towns and cities. Following a successful pilot conducted with a diverse set of visually-impaired volunteers, an expanded 119 Be My Eyes service will be available from the end of January 2022, helping to support people to self-test independently and accurately using a LFD test kit.

25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to ask Integrated Care Systems (ICS) to include chronic kidney disease in their ICS plans; and if he will make a statement.

There are currently no plans to ask integrated care systems to specifically include chronic kidney disease in their plans. However, both integrated care board and integrated care partnerships’ plans and strategies should consider the health needs of the population they serve, which can include care for chronic kidney disease.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the minimum and maximum prevalent rate of provision of home dialysis is across renal centres in England; and what assessment he has made of the causes of variation in home provision between areas.

All renal units in England are achieving 10% or more compliance in providing home therapies. The highest rate of home dialysis supported by a single renal unit is 34%.

Whilst no formal assessment of this variation has been made, home therapies for dialysis remain a priority within the Renal Services Transformation Programme with the aim of all units providing home therapies to at least 20% of patients. NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to work to ensure all units meet this standard.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that Integrated Care Systems support renal centres to meet the recommendation set out within the GIRFT Programme National Specialty Report for Renal Medicine to achieve a minimum prevalent rate of home dialysis of 20% within 12 months of that report’s publication.

Of the 51 renal units within England, 16 units are supporting 20% or more of their patients to receive dialysis treatment at home. A further 16 units are providing home therapies to between 15% and 19% of their patients.

There are currently no plans to ask Integrated Care Systems to specifically include chronic kidney disease in their plans. However, both Integrated Care Boards’ and Integrated Care Partnerships’ plans and strategies should consider the health needs of the population they serve, including people with chronic kidney disease.

NHS England and Improvement has recently implemented 11 regional clinical networks to work closely with Integrated Care Systems to support the achievement of a minimum prevalent rate of home dialysis of 20 per cent, as outlined by the Renal Services Transformation Programme and the recently published Getting it Right First Time (GiRFT) report.

The GiRFT report makes an important recommendation that a key enabler of the dialysis programme will be the recruitment and training of a competent renal services workforce and so each of the networks will formulate a workforce plan to ensure delivery of the various standards.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many renal dialysis services in England support 20 per cent or more of their patients to receive dialysis treatment at home; and how he plans to ensure that renal services will be incorporated into Integrated Care Service plans.

Of the 51 renal units within England, 16 units are supporting 20% or more of their patients to receive dialysis treatment at home. A further 16 units are providing home therapies to between 15% and 19% of their patients.

There are currently no plans to ask Integrated Care Systems to specifically include chronic kidney disease in their plans. However, both Integrated Care Boards’ and Integrated Care Partnerships’ plans and strategies should consider the health needs of the population they serve, including people with chronic kidney disease.

NHS England and Improvement has recently implemented 11 regional clinical networks to work closely with Integrated Care Systems to support the achievement of a minimum prevalent rate of home dialysis of 20 per cent, as outlined by the Renal Services Transformation Programme and the recently published Getting it Right First Time (GiRFT) report.

The GiRFT report makes an important recommendation that a key enabler of the dialysis programme will be the recruitment and training of a competent renal services workforce and so each of the networks will formulate a workforce plan to ensure delivery of the various standards.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has for increasing the availability of independent prescribers in community pharmacy settings; and if he will make a statement.

The General Pharmaceutical Council published new standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists in January 2021. The implementation of these standards will transform the education and training of pharmacists, so they are able to play a much greater role in providing clinical care to patients and the public. This will ensure that there is a supply of pharmacists qualified to independently prescribe.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason table service is currently required in pubs.

The Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies have advised that ‘the disinhibitory effects of alcohol are likely to exacerbate difficulties with social distancing’. As a result, we are requiring table service for a range of venues that serve alcohol, including pubs, to reduce the likelihood of individuals attending these premises coming into close contact and reduce the transmission risk.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to promote the Nursery Milk Scheme to eligible recipients to increase uptake of that scheme.

The Nursery Milk Scheme is operated by the Nursery Milk Reimbursement Unit on behalf of the Department. The scheme is promoted through the Nursery Milk website at the following link:

https://www.nurserymilk.co.uk/

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the level of funding allocated to providers of dialysis (a) in a clinical setting and (b) at home.

NHS England and NHS Improvement commission specialist services for patients requiring renal dialysis using renal dialysis tariffs. Renal dialysis tariffs take into account the different types of dialysis used and where dialysis occurs, such as in renal units and at home. Funding decisions for these specialised services are made in line with local priorities and in the context of the interim funding regime in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of patients who will require dialysis in each of the next five years.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have launched a Renal Services Transformation Programme that includes improving renal dialysis services as a major theme and will involve consideration of future demand for dialysis services over the next three years. There are approximately 28,000 people currently receiving dialysis in England and the programme will include the modelling of different scenarios taking into account demographics, disease prevalence and other factors that will impact future demand.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people in each clinical commissioning group have received dialysis treatment in (a) a clinical setting and (b) at home in each of the last five years.

NHS Digital has advised that information on dialysis treatment outside a clinical setting is not held. A table showing a count of episodes and patients receiving kidney dialysis, by clinical commissioning group from 2016-17 to 2019-20 is attached. Data for 2020-21 is not currently available.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to use powers under the Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021 to improve the regulation of clinical trials; and if he will make a statement.

Work is ongoing to develop proposals for the regulation of clinical trials, including using powers under the Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021. We plan to consult on these proposals later this year, in advance of bringing forward legislation.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria the National Institute for Health Research used to select the sites for the National Patient Recruitment Centres; and what steps his Department plans to take to (a) evaluate the effectiveness of those centres and (b) publish that information.

The designation of individual Patient Recruitment Centres (PRC) was undertaken following an open competition in which applications were assessed by an independent panel against the following criteria:

- A proven track record in the delivery of late-phase commercial research;

- Demonstration of excellence in corporate governance and financial control;

- A proven culture of patient-focused research;

- Demonstration of a strategic commitment to the delivery of late-phase commercial research;

- The development of commercial sustainability and a proven track record of effective cross-sector partnership working;

- An understanding of the importance to United Kingdom Plc competitiveness of fair, consistent and timely contracting and costing;

- Systems and processes to support excellence in information governance and data management; and

- Systems and processes to support excellence in contract management.

Each PRC has a contract with defined contractual management arrangements in place through the National Institute of Health Research. This includes a post-contract review on progress against objectives and to evaluate benefits achieved and identify any lessons learned.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he will take to encourage cooperation in commercial clinical research on the development of vaccines; and if he will make a statement.

The Departmental funded National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) research infrastructure provides the expertise and facilities needed for first-class research to be undertaken within the health and care system that researchers can access as part of the clinical development process. All NIHR research infrastructure actively supports collaboration with the life sciences industry, charities and other funders, enabling the development of new treatments, technologies, diagnostics and interventions to prevent disease, including vaccines.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the equipment available to eradicate (a) pseudomonas and (b) legionella type bacteria in water systems in health care environments; and if he will make a statement.

The Healthcare Safety Investigations Branch (HSIB) is studying the safety of oxygen systems in relation to COVID-19 but NHS England and NHS Improvement are not aware of any current safety incidents related to Pseudomonas or Legionella type bacteria. Each healthcare provider is expected to have a water safety policy and plan, covering both Legionella and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is monitored by their water safety group. This group should include infection prevention and control subject matter experts as part of its membership.

These water safety policies and plans will specify the requirements for the design, installation and commissioning of equipment and water testing which includes a risk stratification for clinical areas based upon national guidance. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hot-and-cold-water-supply-storage-and-distribution-systems-for-healthcare-premises

This draws together and updates the previous guidance and includes recommendations for the safe management of water systems and how to manage and minimise the risks to health from various aspects including those presented by Pseudomonas and Legionella bacteria.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to prevent pseudomonas from occurring in health care environments; and if he will make a statement.

The Healthcare Safety Investigations Branch (HSIB) is studying the safety of oxygen systems in relation to COVID-19 but NHS England and NHS Improvement are not aware of any current safety incidents related to Pseudomonas or Legionella type bacteria. Each healthcare provider is expected to have a water safety policy and plan, covering both Legionella and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is monitored by their water safety group. This group should include infection prevention and control subject matter experts as part of its membership.

These water safety policies and plans will specify the requirements for the design, installation and commissioning of equipment and water testing which includes a risk stratification for clinical areas based upon national guidance. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hot-and-cold-water-supply-storage-and-distribution-systems-for-healthcare-premises

This draws together and updates the previous guidance and includes recommendations for the safe management of water systems and how to manage and minimise the risks to health from various aspects including those presented by Pseudomonas and Legionella bacteria.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress he has made on improving mental health services; what plans he has for making further such improvements; and if he will make a statement.

During the pandemic, we have seen a shift to remote delivery of talking therapies delivered by the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme. Remote delivery has ensured that people can continue to access help from the safety of their own home and access IAPT services from anywhere in England. For those with severe needs or in crisis, all National Health Service mental health providers have established 24 hours a day, seven days a week urgent mental health helplines


We are increasing investment in community mental health care for adults year-on-year, up to almost £1 billion extra by 2023/24. To improve eating disorder services, we recently announced additional early intervention services for young people aged 16-25 years old, to be rolled out in 18 sites across the country. We remain committed to the ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan to expand and transform mental health services in England and to investing an additional £2.3 billion a year in mental health services by 2023/24.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the availability of mental health support for children and young people in Gloucestershire; and if he will make a statement.

No such assessment has been made. Clinical commissioning groups are responsible for the planning and commissioning of healthcare services for their local population, including children and young people.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of placing food processing staff in same priority group for the covid-19 vaccine as those aged 65 to 69 years old; and if he will make a statement.

Food processing staff who are eligible for a vaccine, because of their age or clinical factors, will be prioritised for a vaccine in phase one. Prioritisation decisions for the second phase of delivery are subject to the surveillance and monitoring of data and information from phase one, as well as further input from independent scientific experts such as the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. Phase two will focus on further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to promote the use of clear face masks to improve communication; and if he will make a statement.

In the second half of 2020, the Department procured 250,000 transparent face masks from ClearMask. These masks were piloted in health and social care settings and feedback from users was assessed. Following this pilot, we will be running a broader assessment of products from a range of manufactures to inform future procurement. We are clear that we want to deliver sufficient volumes of good quality, clinically secure transparent masks to the relevant clinical and care specialisms that need them.

In non-clinical settings, transparent face coverings have been suggested by some stakeholders as a helpful way to enable communication for those who rely on lip reading. We are not currently promoting transparent face coverings due to a lack of scientific evidence of their effectiveness. The Government will be guided by the scientific evidence emerging in this area.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will prioritise food processing staff for the covid-19 vaccine; and if he will make a statement.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that the priority for the current COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems.

The Government will set out plans for phase two of the vaccination programme in due course, based on further advice from the JCVI. Phase two of the roll-out may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will prioritise teachers in special schools for the covid-19 vaccine.

We have no plans to prioritise teachers and key workers by their occupation.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s interim advice for phase two of the vaccination programme sets out the most effective way to minimise hospitalisations and deaths is to continue to prioritise people by age.

If teachers or key workers are captured in phase one or two due to their age or clinical need they will be vaccinated accordingly.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that NHS Trusts make use of independent sector facilities to provide community covid-19 vaccinations in Gloucestershire.

We are grateful for the offers from businesses up and down the country, including supermarkets and sporting arenas, to use their venues as vaccination centres. NHS England and NHS Improvement have been working to identify partners and work with those whose facilities have been identified as suitable. NHS England and NHS Improvement are ensuring that all offers are appropriately considered, alongside local leaders, including from local authorities, to understand potential partnerships that build on the existing network.

We have many partnerships already in place. Seven large scale vaccination centres opened on 11 January, a further ten opened on 18 January and over 30 opened on 25 January. The centres offer an alternative to general practice and hospital services and can each deliver thousands of vaccinations every week. The initial sites were chosen from those ready to vaccinate large numbers of people quickly to give a geographical spread covering as many people as possible.

Currently, in England, 96% of the population is within 10 miles of a vaccine service and by the end of January, everyone will live within 10 miles of a vaccination service. In a small number of highly rural areas, the vaccination centre will be a mobile unit. Regularly updated data on the locations of hospital hubs and local vaccination services is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/hospital-hubs-and-local-vaccination-services/

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of covid-19 test results which are lost; what steps he is taking to reduce that number; and if he will make a statement.

NHS Test and Trace is successfully protecting the nation from COVID-19 by breaking chains of transmission through testing, contact tracing, and outbreak management.

There are no recorded clinical incidents of data loss through the digital testing process. There are a number of reasons why a result may appear lost, including tests being returned without a barcode, where the registration process (which links samples to an individual) hasn’t been completed or is entered inaccurately making it impossible to reconcile the test to a subject.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing free vaccinations against influenza in advance of winter 2020 to anyone who requests one; and if he will make a statement.

The flu vaccination programme will be a critical part of preparing the United Kingdom for winter. On 14 May we published the Annual Flu letter 2020/21, available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/885281/The_national_flu_immunisation_programme_2020_to_2021.pdf

This indicated the main groups who are eligible for free flu vaccination.

We are planning for the flu season well in advance and further details will be published soon.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to shorten the diagnostic pathway for ovarian cancer; and if he will make a statement.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out an ambition that, by 2028, the proportion of cancers diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 will rise from around half to three-quarters

of cancer patients.

Other key actions to increase an early diagnosis of ovarian cancer are:

- roll out of faster diagnosis standard will ensure that patients who are referred for the investigation of suspected cancer find out within 28 days if they do or do not have a cancer diagnosis;

- new Rapid Diagnostic Centres will bring together diagnostic equipment and expertise to streamline diagnostic services for cancer;

- campaigns to raise greater awareness of the symptoms of cancer; and

- lowering the threshold for referral by general practitioners (GPs).

As the National Health Service responds to COVID-19, we are encouraging anybody with symptoms that could be indicative of cancer to continue to contact their GP. GPs will continue to refer so that patients can be managed appropriately, and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with Cancer Alliances to ensure diagnostic services are available to carry out the necessary investigations.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will extend the list of people categorised as vulnerable in respect of the covid-19 outbreak to include newborn babies; and if he will make a statement.

The over 70s, women who are pregnant and adults who are eligible for the flu jab may be at increased risk from COVID-19 and have been advised to be particularly stringent in following stay at home measures.

We keep the list of categories which make someone clinically extremely vulnerable under constant clinical review. General practitioners (GPs) and hospital clinicians also have the discretion to add individual patients to the list based on careful, clinical assessments of each individual’s needs. This will require expert clinical judgement on a patient-by-patient basis. GPs and hospital specialists have been provided with guidance to support these decisions.

There are currently no plans to extend the list of people categorised as vulnerable to include newborn babies as there is no evidence that babies are any more susceptible to, or have worse outcomes from contracting COVID-19.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will prioritise the testing of medical staff and their families during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Testing is a crucial part of the United Kingdom’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and we are working on multiple fronts to deliver additional testing capacity into the system.

We are working hard to ensure we can adequately test for and respond to COVID-19. As part of this, we are ensuring we prioritise testing of the most acutely ill and vulnerable patients in hospitals.

As additional testing capacity becomes available, the next priority group will be National Health Service staff and other key workers.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent advice he has issued to GP surgeries on restricting patients' access as a result of covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

The latest guidance for general practitioners (GPs) is being updated on NHS England and NHS Improvement website at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/preparedness-letters-for-general-practice/

The full utilisation of technology such as online triage is important.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) doctors and (b) nurses have been employed in hospitals in each of the last 20 years for which figures are available.

NHS Digital publishes Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS) workforce statistics. These include staff working in hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), but not staff working in primary care, general practitioner surgeries, local authorities or other providers.

Due to changes in the data collection and processing methodology, it is not possible to compare data prior to September 2009. Data from 2009 onwards relate to the HCHS workforce directly employed in National Health Service trusts and CCGs who are paid for activity. Data from 2000 to 2008 will include some staff not receiving pay for activity and some staff employed by NHS support organisations and central bodies.

The following table shows the number of doctors and nurses and health visitors in NHS trusts and CCGs as at September for each year specified, full time equivalent.

Doctors

Nurses and health visitors

2000

62,094

229,588

2001

64,055

238,647

2002

68,260

250,648

2003

72,260

260,149

2004

78,462

268,704

2005

82,568

276,086

2006

85,975

277,387

2007

87,533

275,211

2008

91,586

281,021

The following table shows the number of doctors and nurses and health visitors in NHS trusts and CCGs as at November 2019, the latest available data and at September for each year specified, full time equivalent.

Doctors

Nurses and health visitors

2009

95,410

278,470

2010

97,130

279,883

2011

98,389

277,047

2012

99,529

271,407

2013

101,137

274,627

2014

103,330

278,981

2015

104,498

281,474

2016

106,131

284,288

2017

109,002

283,853

2018

111,247

285,674

2019

116,416

292,934

November 2019

117,382

297,449

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many GPs have been contracted to the NHS in each of the last 20 years for which figures are available.

The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) doctors working in general practice in England in each year since September 2015 presented in the following table. Data is not included prior to 2015 as improvements were made to the methodology for recording all staff working in general practice and data prior to this is not comparable.

FTE

September 2015

September 2016

September 2017

September 2018

September 2019

All general practitioners (GPs)

34,429

35,229

34,653

34,534

34,862

Source: NHS Digital

Notes:

1. Data as at 30 September 2019.

2. Figures shown do not include GPs working in prisons, army bases, educational establishments, specialist care centres including drug rehabilitation centres, walk-in centres and other alternative settings.

3. Each period, figures contain estimates, for practices that did not provide fully valid General Medical Practice GP records.

4. FTE refers to the proportion of full time contracted hours that the post holder is contracted to work. 1 would indicate they work a full set of hours (37.5), 0.5 that they worked half time. In Registrars' contracts 1 FTE = 40 hours. To ensure consistency, these FTEs have been converted to the standard wMDS measure of 1 FTE = 37.5 hours in the table.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of asking people to wear gloves in order to stop the spreading of viruses.

The Government is considering all options to tackle COVID-19 and continues to be guided by the science. Public Health England’s (PHE) advice on how to minimise the spread of viruses focuses on hand hygiene and the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ advice for coughs and sneezes. Recent campaign materials are available to view at the following link:

https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/101-coronavirus-/resources

PHE has issued the following guidance on COVID-19: infection prevention and control guidance. This recommends the use of Personal Protective Equipment, including disposable gloves by healthcare professionals or facilities that may be involved in the investigation or management and care of possible COVID-19 patients. The guidance can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-wn-cov-infection-prevention-and-control-guidance#PPE

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the food security situation in East Africa.

The food security context across East Africa is perilous. More than 1 million people will benefit from UK-funded humanitarian programmes in East Africa this year with the UK providing £143 million to relief agencies.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made a recent assessment of trends in the level of food security in East Africa.

Humanitarian needs and food insecurity are rising across East Africa. The UN estimates that almost 72 million people will require humanitarian aid in 2023 due to a combination of pressures including ongoing drought, flooding and conflict. Of this number, almost 48 million people currently face "severe" levels of food insecurity. This financial year the UK will allocate at least £156 million in humanitarian support across the region; UK funding will benefit millions of people.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much aid his Department has provided to Ethiopia in each of the last five years.

The official source of data on UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) is Statistics on International Development. The table below shows (in £ thousands) FCDO's and Other Government Departments/other contributors' net bilateral ODA provided for the benefit of Ethiopia from 2017-2021 (the latest year for which data has been published). The UK also spends ODA in the form of unearmarked contributions to multilateral organisations and there is bilateral spend to programmes which benefit multiple countries or regions. Some of this may benefit Ethiopia but it is not possible to provide a specific breakdown.

Table 1: Volume of FCDO and other Government departments' net bilateral ODA provided for the benefit of Ethiopia (2017-2021)

Thousands (£)

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office

322,686

297,628

295,505

249,478

118,049

Other Government Departments/ other contributors

3,445

3,713

3,741

4,409

1,741

Total UK Net ODA

326,131

301,341

299,246

253,887

119,790

Source: Statistics for International Development https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-on-international-development

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the food security situation in East Africa.

Over 68 million people across the region need humanitarian aid of whom more than 51 million people face severe food insecurity including in Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Kenya and Uganda.

The UK is committed to spending £156m on humanitarian aid in the region this financial year. UK funded humanitarian programmes are making a difference and saving lives.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
20th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, which Minister is responsible for negotiations with the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The Foreign Secretary is responsible for negotiations with the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol - working closely with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Minister for Europe and Ministers across other departments where relevant.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when he or his predecessors last discussed the provision of compensation to UK-based victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA terrorism with his Libyan counterpart; and if he will make a statement.

The UK Government reiterates its sympathy for UK victims of Qadhafi-sponsored IRA terrorism and for all victims of the Troubles. The then Minister for the Middle East and North Africa set out the Government's position on compensation for UK victims of Qadhafi-sponsored IRA terrorism in a Written Ministerial Statement made on 23 March 2021. The responsibility for providing compensation specifically for the actions of the Qadhafi regime lies with the Libyan State. The Government has repeatedly urged the Libyan authorities, including at the highest levels of the Libyan government, to engage with UK victims and their representatives, and to address their claims for compensation.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase the flow of UK funding to (a) Ethiopia and (b) other countries currently experiencing severe hunger crises; and if he will make a statement.

In FY 2022/23, the UK aims to provide approximately £156 million in humanitarian aid across East Africa. Our support is providing millions of people with essential services and supplies including food, water, and healthcare.

On 21 September, the Minister for Development Vicky Ford MP announced a package of assistance for Somalia, to alleviate the impact of drought and address the risk of famine. This brings the UK's total support to Somalia since 1 April 2022 to £52.8 million covering humanitarian, protection, health and nutrition support.

Ministers are currently reviewing a business case for a new humanitarian and resilience building programme in Ethiopia. We will announce plans for providing further support in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what channels he intends to use to disburse new (a) humanitarian, (b) food security and (c) livelihoods funding to Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement.

Ministers are currently reviewing a business case for a new humanitarian and resilience building programme in Ethiopia. We will announce plans for providing further support in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure the approval of new business cases to provide humanitarian and food security support in Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement.

Ministers are currently reviewing a business case for a new humanitarian and resilience building programme in Ethiopia. We will announce plans for providing further support in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the food security situation in East Africa.

Across East Africa over 68 million people require humanitarian aid due to a combination of pressures including an unprecedented fourth consecutive season of failed rains, conflict (including the impacts of Russia's invasion of Ukraine), COVID-19 and flooding. Of this number, over 51 million people face severe food insecurity, of which 700,000 are facing famine-like conditions in South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia. In the Horn of Africa, as a result of the drought, an estimated 26 million people are forecast to face severe levels of food insecurity by February 2023. Recent data from the Bay region in Somalia projects that in the absence of timely, scaled-up, multi-sectoral assistance, famine is likely to occur between October to December this year. Across the Horn of Africa an unprecedented fourth consecutive season of failed rains is causing a region-wide crisis. Meteorological agencies forecast warnings of further failed rains between October and December this year, which risk deepening the already critical humanitarian situation. Severe humanitarian needs will persist into 2023.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans he has to publish the Shawcross Report into Libyan-sponsored IRA terrorism in the UK; and if he will make a statement.

The UK Government reiterates its sympathy for UK victims of Qadhafi-sponsored IRA terrorism and indeed for all victims of the Troubles. The Government set out its position on Mr Shawcross's report on compensation for UK victims of Qadhafi-sponsored IRA terrorism in a Written Ministerial Statement made on 23 March 2021. Mr Shawcross's report was commissioned as an internal scoping report, to provide internal advice to Ministers. Its content is based on private, confidential conversations and information shared on this basis. The responsibility for providing compensation specifically for the actions of the Qadhafi regime lies with the Libyan State. The Government has repeatedly urged the Libyan authorities, including at the highest levels of the Libyan government, to engage with UK victims and their representatives, and to address their claims for compensation.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

The UK is actively monitoring the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen. We fully support the UN Special Envoy, Hans Grundberg, and urge the parties to engage constructively with the efforts he is leading towards peace, including by implementing the truce and the associated confidence building measures. The UK shares the UN assessment of the humanitarian situation published in the 2022 Yemen Humanitarian Needs Overview. We meet regularly with our partners in Yemen to evaluate the situation and have conducted several visits to Yemen to assess the humanitarian situation in the last 12 months. The UK has played a leading role in responding to the humanitarian crisis, committing over £1 billion in aid since the conflict began. We will spend at least £88 million in UK aid over the course of this financial year 2022/23.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with the government of Ethiopia on the recent reported arrest of journalists in that country; and if she will make a statement.

We are concerned by restrictions to media freedom in Ethiopia, including the arrest of many journalists. The UK has consistently called for an end to infringements on media freedom - journalists must have the right to report freely. I raised the issue of large-scale detentions in Ethiopia with Minister for Justice Gedion on 20 January and plan to write to Justice Minister Gedion regarding arrests of journalists and the recent expulsion of a British journalist. The British Embassy in Addis Ababa tweeted on 18 May urging the Government of Ethiopia to protect and uphold media freedom.

25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the humanitarian situation in Tigray.

The humanitarian situation in Tigray is grave. An estimated 5.2 million people require life-saving aid including 400,000 people who are experiencing catastrophic famine conditions. The UK welcomes the resumption of overland humanitarian delivery to Tigray on 1 April. However, aid delivery remains insufficient and there is an urgent requirement for sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access. Since 1 April approximately 875 humanitarian trucks have reached Tigray including a convoy of 163 trucks which arrived in Mekelle on 23 May. The UN assess that more than 100 trucks are required each day.

25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has had recent discussions with the government of Ethiopia on (a) ending the conflict in Tigray and (b) the role that will play in encouraging businesses to return to and expand their operations in that country.

We welcome the cessation of hostilities announced on 24 March and the subsequent commitment to scale-up the delivery of life-saving humanitarian aid to Tigray. There can be no military solution to the conflict. We have consistently called on all parties to the conflict to stop fighting and find a political solution to the conflict through negotiations. I have underlined this message in meetings in the past weeks with the Ethiopian Finance Minister and Education Minister. I also raised this issue with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy during our meeting on 29 January.

The conflict has contributed to a challenging economic situation in Ethiopia. Bringing the conflict to an end will help to return Ethiopia's economy to rapid growth, and give British businesses the confidence that they need to invest. Once peace is secured, the UK stands ready to support Ethiopia's recovery from the conflict, supporting economic stability and growing the pipeline of potential UK investments.

8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is the world’s most severe humanitarian crisis. From north to south, 30 million people across the country require life-saving aid, including five million displaced persons and tens of millions of people affected by conflict and drought.

Only one aid truck has been able to enter the Tigray region since December, where four hundred thousand people are experiencing famine conditions. 500 trucks a week are needed

The UK has provided over £80 million pounds to the response since November 2020, making us one of the largest donors.

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

Nearly 80% of the Yemeni population, or 24 million people, need some form of humanitarian assistance. The crisis is exacerbated by severe food insecurity, a collapsing economy, the C-19 pandemic and the escalation of fighting in Marib. The UK has played an important role in responding to this crisis, contributing over £1 billion since the conflict began. Our pledge of at least £87 million for this financial year 2021 - 2022 will feed an additional 240,000 of the most vulnerable Yemenis every month, support 400 healthcare clinics and provide clean water for 1.6 million people. We will also provide one-off cash support to 1.5m of Yemen's poorest households. We continue to call on all parties to facilitate unhindered access for humanitarian actors and agencies and ensure that humanitarian workers are able to conduct their work safely.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support the Government is providing to Nepal to help tackle the spread of covid-19 in that country; and if he will make a statement.

The UK Government is one of the leading donors to Covax, committing £548m to the scheme, which will provide more than a billion vaccines to developing countries including doses for almost a fifth of Nepal's population. The UK has funded a new £180,000 duplex oxygen generation plant at the Nepal Police Hospital in Kathmandu to help address oxygen shortages to treat COVID19 patients. On 19 and 20 May Lord Ahmad held meetings with Foreign Minister Gyawali and the Nepalese Ambassador to discuss what further support the UK could offer.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent estimate he has made of the number of British citizens in Grenada awaiting repatriation as as result of the covid-19 pandemic; what steps are being taken to repatriate those people; and if he will make a statement.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is working around the clock, through our Posts overseas and in London, to make sure all British travellers who need and want to return to the UK are receiving the support and information they need. The number of British travellers that may still require support to return home across the globe is now in the low tens of thousands. It is difficult to be more precise because there have been instances of multiple registrations by the same individual, people not reporting their return to the UK via other means, and long term residents registering for flights even though they were not eligible. We have brought home over 32,000 people on 155 flights organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 29 countries and territories. We have also supported over 11,000 people to return home from the Caribbean via commercial means.

We are aware of pockets of British travellers across the Eastern Caribbean area, including in Grenada, and our effort is focused on supporting their return as quickly and safely as possible. We are sharing information with British travellers affected through our Travel Advice page and will update them as we have news.

We have lobbied airlines and the local authorities to keep routes out of Grenada open for as long as possible, allowing nearly all short- term visitors to leave. We also promoted details of departure options from Grenada on our social media platforms.

Our consular network in the region continues to provide support to British nationals who require assistance.

4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he plans to maintain restrictions on arms sales to Saudi Arabia; and if he will make a statement.

The Government's position remains that, until it retakes licensing decisions in line with the 20 June 2019 judgment of the Court of Appeal, it will not issue any new licences for exports to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners for possible use in the conflict in Yemen.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts throughout the world on the protection of religious freedoms in their countries; and if he will make a statement.

Defending and promoting Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) is a longstanding human rights priority for the British Government. Through our diplomatic network, we lobby governments for changes in laws and practices that discriminate against individuals on the basis of their religion or belief. Over recent months, ministers and diplomats have raised FoRB concerns in many countries both bilaterally and through multilateral institutions such as the UN, EU and OSCE. Our Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, has held Freedom of Religion or Belief roundtables, including in Lebanon. He met the Polish Foreign Minister on 19 January at the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance ministerial meeting to reaffirm their commitments to defend FoRB for all. The Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for FoRB has visited Bahrain and the Holy See and has held discussions with the Ambassadors of a number of countries in London and also with a number of other FoRB Special Envoys to see how they can work more closely together to advance FoRB. Ministers have also pressed for the rights of those unfairly detained, including calling for the immediate release of all Baha’is in Iran and Yemen imprisoned for their beliefs.

We have encouraged our diplomatic missions to consider what they can do to engage their host governments where human rights violations and abuses relating to freedom of religion or belief are of concern. We will also continue to work with faith leaders and civil society organisations to tackle discrimination and persecution and to promote the value and benefit - to individuals, communities and wider society - of Freedom of Religion or Belief and mutual respect.

14th Jun 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of increasing the threshold for the (a) 45 per cent tax rate to £150,000 and (b) 40 per cent tax rate to £60,000 on the public purse.

The Government must ensure the tax system supports strong public finances and it is right that higher earning households shoulder the most burden.

The additional rate threshold of income tax is set at £125,140 for 2023-2024. This was announced at Autumn Statement 2022 and was taken as part of a number of decisions to support public finances. Only the top 2 per cent of taxpayers are affected by this change.

The higher rate threshold is high enough to protect the vast majority of people from paying the higher rate of income tax. Around 80 per cent of all income taxpayers pay at the basic rate.

The Government’s approach to delivering fiscal sustainability is underpinned by fairness, with those on the highest incomes paying a larger share.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
14th Jun 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an estimate of the potential impact of reducing (a) corporation tax to 15 per cent, (b) income tax to 18 per cent and (c) capital gains tax to 10 per cent on annual tax receipts.

Spring Budget 2023 delivers a package of measures that further strengthen the UK’s position as one of the most competitive major economies. The economic and fiscal impact of changes in tax policy are factored into the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecasts. Further detail is available in the OBR’s Economic and Fiscal Outlook which is published at fiscal events.

The Government keeps the tax system under constant review and the Chancellor has signalled his intention to cut business taxes further when it is responsible to do so.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
14th Jun 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the Governor of the Bank of England on domestic pressures potentially impacting inflation; and if he will make a statement.

Monetary policy is the responsibility of the independent Monetary Policy Committee at the Bank of England. The Government is working closely with the Bank to ensure that monetary and fiscal policy are well coordinated, and fully supports the Bank in their mission to drive down inflation.

Consistent with monetary policy independence, the Chancellor has regular meetings with the Governor of the Bank. Open exchange of views in these meetings is critical for the Government and the Bank to understand each other’s views on the outlook for the economy and monetary and fiscal policy, to support policy making in both institutions. These meetings are therefore confidential.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to reduce the level of VAT applying to the hospitality sector; and if he will make a statement.

The previous VAT relief for tourism and hospitality cost over £8 billion.

The Government has been clear that this was a temporary measure designed to support the cash flow and viability of sectors that have been severely affected by COVID-19.

We have continued to support and encourage the hospitality sector through other measures since then. At Autumn Statement 2022, the Government announced a package of changes and cuts to business rates worth £13.6 billion over the next five years, including an increased 75 per cent relief for retail, hospitality and leisure properties, up to a cash cap of £110,000 per business for 2023-2024. This is a tax cut worth over £2 billion for around 230,000 RHL businesses, to support the high street and protect small shops.

The introduction of a small profits rate of Corporation Tax, from April, keeps the rate at 19 per cent for companies with profits of £50,000 or less. This means around 70 per cent of actively trading companies will not see an increase in their Corporation Tax rate. The availability of marginal relief for companies with profits of between £50,000 and £250,000 means only around 10 per cent of actively trading companies will pay the full 25 per cent.

While there are no plans to reduce the rate of VAT paid by hospitality businesses, the Government keeps all taxes under review.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing arrivals duty free policies in airports on (a) tax revenue and (b) job creation; and if he will make a statement.

Duty-free on arrival, which would apply to inbound passengers, would place additional pressure on the public finances to which excise duty makes a significant contribution. Any loss in tax revenue would have to be balanced by a reduction in public spending, increased borrowing or increased taxation elsewhere.

Although there are no plans to introduce such a scheme, the government keeps all taxes under review.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the effect of the cost of VAT to manufacturers where the Scottish Deposit Return Scheme reaches an 80 per cent bottle return rate; and if he will make a statement.

The Scottish Government and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs both intend to introduce deposit return schemes for drinks containers. HMRC is working with them and other stakeholders to ensure the VAT implications of these schemes are understood and is exploring how the VAT regulations may be amended to support the scheme. HMRC will assess the impact of any VAT regulation changes.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will provide additional financial support to businesses affected by the postponement of the easing of covid-19 restrictions planned for 21 June 2021; and if he will make a statement.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has sought to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods while also supporting businesses and public services across the UK.

The Government put in place an economic package of support totalling £352 billion through the furlough and self-employed income support schemes, support for businesses through grants and loans, business rates and VAT relief.

At Budget the Government deliberately went long and erred on the side of generosity – specifically to accommodate any short delay to the roadmap. Most of the Government’s Covid support schemes do not end until September or after, in order to provide continuity and certainty for businesses and families.

The Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) announced at Budget 2021 ensures lenders continue to have the confidence to lend, ensuring viable businesses, including small businesses, continue to have access to Government-backed finance needed throughout 2021. The scheme launched on 6 April 2021, following the closure of the emergency schemes to new loan applications on 31 March 2021, and will run until 31 December 2021. The scheme operates UK-wide, providing an 80% guarantee to lenders for term loans, overdrafts, and invoice and asset finance.

At Budget, it was also announced that local authorities in England will receive a top-up worth a total of £425m to the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund. This, combined with the £1.6 billion previously allocated, means local authorities will have received over £2bn of discretionary grant funding to support businesses which are not eligible for Restart Grants but which are nonetheless experiencing a severe impact on their business due to public health restrictions. Nearly half of the £2bn is still with local authorities and yet to be allocated.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was introduced to help employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus to retain their employees and protect the UK economy. All businesses across the UK can access the scheme, with employees receiving 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. At Budget the government extended the CJRS until the end of September 2021, to support businesses and employees through the next stage of the pandemic. The economy now is in a stronger position than it was last autumn, when businesses also contributed up to 20 per cent of wage costs.

In line with the extension to the CJRS, the government announced at Budget 2021 that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will continue until September, with a fourth and a final fifth grant. This provides certainty to business as the economy reopens and means the SEISS will continue to be one of the most generous schemes for the self-employed in the world.

As restrictions have been lifted, it is right that we ask employers to contribute more to strike the 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.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of the removal of customs and VAT guarantees for the temporary admission of thoroughbreds to Great Britain for racing and breeding purposes; and if he will make a statement.

Under new rules introduced on 1 January 2021, most businesses no longer need to provide a guarantee if they are granted full authorisation from HMRC for the Temporary Admission procedure in Great Britain. This means that authorised importers of racehorses will generally not be required to provide upfront security for customs and VAT liabilities, and subject to the horses being re-exported as per the Temporary Admission rules, import duties would not become payable.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the business rates holiday for hospitality businesses to 1 April 2022.

This year the Government has provided an unprecedented business rates holiday for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties due to the direct adverse effects of COVID-19, worth over £10 billion, and has frozen the business rates multiplier for all businesses for 2021-22.

The Government has provided various schemes to support firms, including wholesalers, including Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, Bounce Back Loans, grants and VAT deferrals.

The Budget will set out the next phase of the Government’s plans to tackle the virus, protect jobs and support business.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will defer the payment of NICs and PAYE for hospitality businesses to the end of 2021 to help support them in the context of covid-19 restrictions.

The Government has delivered support to the hospitality sector through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which has been extended until April; Government-backed finance through loan schemes and ‘Pay as You Grow’ long-term repayment options; a temporary VAT cut; a VAT deferral and the VAT New Payment Scheme to spread the deferred VAT; the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme; a 12-month business rates holiday; and a moratorium on evictions to protect commercial tenants. In January, the Chancellor announced further grant funding for businesses affected by restrictions.

Businesses affected by the pandemic have access to the CJRS to cover their furloughed employees’ wages. There were 1.65 million accommodation and food services sector employees furloughed at the peak on 10 April. Provisional figures show that the number of employees furloughed for this sector stood at 1.04 million at 31 December. In line with normal practice for benefits or grants that replace income, individuals pay Income Tax and National Insurance on any payments received through this scheme as they are a replacement for income. Employers also continue to pay employer National Insurance Contributions on wages.

If any business is experiencing temporary financial difficulties and they need more time to pay their tax, they can contact HMRC on the COVID-19 dedicated helpline to agree a Time to Pay (TTP) arrangement to spread their tax payments. These arrangements are bespoke and flexible, covering all taxes, and are based on how much the business can afford to pay. TTPs have proven effective at supporting businesses through temporary difficulties, with 90% of taxpayers making agreed instalments and paying off their debt as agreed in the TTP arrangement.

9th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will delay the introduction of the IR35 changes to 1 April 2022 following the effects on business of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has been clear that the reform of the off-payroll working rules will be introduced on 6 April 2021. Organisations should continue to prepare for the implementation of the reform. Since the reform was delayed in April 2020, Parliament has passed legislation enacting the reform from April 2021.

Many organisations have already undertaken significant preparations to ensure they are ready for the reform and HMRC are committed to supporting organisations and individuals in the run up to, and beyond the reform being implemented. HMRC are providing webinars, workshops and one-to-one calls as well as publishing updated guidance and factsheets in order to enable organisations to prepare.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will provide financial support for businesses which are not required to close under covid-19 restrictions but are experiencing a loss of trade as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Since March the Government’s priority has been to save lives and protect jobs, businesses, and livelihoods. The Government has supported people and businesses via an unprecedented package of financial support worth more than £280 billion.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has supported businesses by helping to pay the wages of people in 9.9 million jobs across the UK. It is open until the end of April 2021.

Businesses can continue to apply for loans under a number of business loan schemes, including the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, until the end of March 2021. Over 1.4 million small and medium sized companies have received government-backed loans, worth over £68 billion.

Businesses forced to close as a result of the current England-wide restrictions are eligible for one-off grants of up to £9,000 on top of existing monthly grants under the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed). In addition, however, England’s local authorities have received a top-up worth £500m to their allocation from the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), which has already provided local authorities with £1.1 billion.

This funding ensures that local authorities can make discretionary grants to businesses which are not eligible for the LRSG (Closed) but which are nonetheless experiencing a severe impact on their business due to the national lockdown. Local authorities will run application schemes for the ARG, including for the £500m top-up, and will have significant discretion when it comes to deciding which businesses receive payments. Business grant policy is a fully devolved area, but the Devolved Administrations will receive their share of this funding through the Barnett formula in the usual way.

This support comes on top of billions of pounds’ worth of Rate Reliefs, tax deferrals, and other labour market schemes.

The Chancellor made a Statement on the economy and comprehensive economic plan on 11 January and will set out the next phase of the plan to protect jobs in the Budget on 3 March 2021.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the furlough scheme to enable people who are suffering from cancer to remain at home.

The Government recognises that COVID-19 has posed significant challenges for those suffering with cancer.

The Government has put in place unprecedented levels of income support to help people deal with the financial consequences of COVID-19. This does not just include the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, but also the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, changes to Statutory Sick Pay, and the £9.3bn which the OBR estimates that the Government has injected into the welfare system.

The Chancellor announced on 12 May that the CJRS scheme will be extended until October. Before 30 June, any employee could be furloughed, including those suffering from cancer. From 1 July, an employee can only continue to be furloughed if they have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks taking place any time between 1 March 2020 and 30 June.

For those required to shield after 1 August, they will receive a letter or notification advising them of this, and they will continue to be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay on the basis of their shielding status.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of (a) furlough and (b) loss of tax revenue as a result of casinos remaining closed during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has published estimates of the cost of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The latest OBR estimates are available in the OBR’s coronavirus policy monitoring database, which can be found at: https://obr.uk/coronavirus-analysis/#pm.

An estimate of CJRS payments made to casinos and an assessment of the loss of tax revenue as a result of casinos remaining closed during the covid-19 outbreak is not available.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent estimate he has made of the amount of revenue to the public purse generated from casinos; and what assessment he has made of the importance of the contribution of casinos to the UK's economic recovery.

Gaming Duty paid by casinos raises around £220 million in revenue for the Exchequer per year.

The Government recognises the economic contribution the sector makes and has provided a package of measures to support businesses, including casinos, as announced by the Chancellor on 17 and 26 March. This includes a business rates holiday for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which provides loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank, backed by an 80% government guarantee.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will introduce further financial support for retail businesses with lower level of trade than before the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

On 11 May the Government published its COVID-19 recovery strategy which sets out our plan for moving to the next phase of our response. The strategy sets out a cautious roadmap for easing existing measures in a safe and measured way. Our aim is that all non-essential retail will be able to reopen by 15 June if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines. The roadmap will be kept constantly under review, and we will continue to work hard to support business and workers as the situation evolves.

Retail businesses continue to have access to a range of government support measures including:

  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England
  • Small business grant funding (SBGF) of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • The retail, hospitality and leisure grant fund (RHLGF)
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)
  • The Covid Corporate Financing Scheme (CCFF)
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises
  • VAT deferral for up to 12 months
  • The Time To Pay scheme, through which businesses in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, can receive support with their tax affairs
  • Protection for commercial leaseholders against automatic forfeiture for non-payment until June 30, 2020

The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible and how to apply - https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with hon. Members and the Equitable Members Action Group on providing further compensation to victims of the collapse of Equitable Life; and if he will make a statement.

There are no plans to reopen the Payment Scheme or review the £1.5 billion funding allocation previously made to it. The Equitable Life Payment Scheme closed to claims in 2015 and further guidance on the status of the Payment Scheme after closure is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/equitable-life-payment-scheme#closure-of-the-scheme.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will further extend the start date of the furlough scheme to employees who were on their employees payroll after the 19 March 2020 to enable people who started new jobs towards the end of March 2020 to be furloughed; and if he will make a statement.

On 15 April, the Government announced it would extend the cut-off date for the CJRS to 19 March, to include employees whose payroll information was notified to HMRC by 19 March. Processing claims for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in cases where HMRC did not have RTI data by 19 March would require much greater manual handling by HMRC, which would significantly slow down the system while risking substantial levels of fraud. It would also require greater resource for HMRC when they are already under significant pressure to deliver the system designed. Those not eligible for the scheme may be able to access the other support Government is providing, including a package of temporary welfare measures and up to three months’ mortgage payment holidays for those struggling with their mortgage payments.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will hold discussions with representatives of retail banks on not increasing interest levels on overdrafts during the covid-19 outbreak; and if her will make a statement.

The Treasury is working closely with industry and the financial regulators to ensure the steps they take are properly coordinated with Government’s wider economic response to COVID-19.

Banks and building societies are ready and able to offer support to their customers who are impacted directly or indirectly by COVID-19. The Government encourages anyone concerned about their overdraft to contact their provider.

Last June, the FCA announced reforms to the overdraft market, including mandating that firms cannot charge more for unarranged overdrafts than arranged overdrafts, banning fixed daily and monthly charges, and a package of measures to improve the transparency of pricing. Overall the FCA expects these changes to make overdrafts simpler, fairer, and easier to manage and will protect the millions of consumers that use overdrafts, particularly more vulnerable consumers. All providers have set their new charging structures ahead of the deadline in April.

The overdraft reforms will end high unarranged charges and the removal of fees means many occasional arranged borrowers will pay less even though their headline rate of borrowing may increase. Across the market, FCA analysis in January found that 7 out of 10 overdraft users will be better off or see no change when the new rules come into force in April.

In instances where consumers see an increased cost for their overdraft borrowing, the FCA expects firms to engage with customers with large overdraft balances and repeat users of overdrafts to make appropriate interventions. This includes customers who are impacted by COVID-19.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will hold discussions with credit card companies to ask them to suspend the charging of fees on balances while the restrictions in response to covid-19 are in place; and if he will make a statement.

On 17 March, the Government announced a package of measures aimed at supporting the financial wellbeing of British businesses, individuals, and families. The Government recognises that the outbreak of COVID-19 may lead to consumers facing financial difficulty and uncertainty. Therefore, we have acted to support customers who may find it challenging to make mortgage or credit payments and may require access to further credit. The major banks and building societies have pledged to provide relief to customers impacted by COVID-19, including deferring mortgage and other loan repayments, waiving fees on savings accounts and increasing overdraft or credit card limits.

The Government is committed to doing whatever it takes to get our nation through the impacts of COVID-19 and is working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and industry, including credit card companies, on a number of financial services issues. The Government stands ready to announce further action wherever necessary.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether self-employed people will be able to access the grants and loans announced in response to the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The government has always said that the best way to support freelancers and the self-employed through this crisis is through the welfare system. Since 20 March they have been able to benefit from changes such as the £20 increase in the Universal Credit standard allowance and the uprating of Local Housing Allowance. The government is temporarily relaxing the Minimum Income Floor for all self-employed UC claimants for the duration of the outbreak. This means a drop in earnings due to sickness or self-isolation or as a result of the economic impact of the outbreak will be reflected in claimants’ awards. Self-employed people unable to work because they are directly affected by Covid-19 or self-isolating will also be eligible for Contributory Employment and Support Allowance. As announced at Budget, this is now payable from the first day of sickness, rather than the eighth. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is available to self-employed individuals with an eligible business entity. People who are self-employed or own a business and are concerned about not being able to pay their tax bills because of Covid-19 should contact Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) dedicated Time to Pay service.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will increase financial support for businesses affected by flooding and covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

At Budget, the Chancellor announced a record funding for flood defences between 2021 and 2027, offering better protection from flooding for 336,000 homes and non-residential properties. Additional funding of £200 million will help communities most at risk of flooding recover faster in cases where they are affected by flood damage. Alongside this, the Chancellor has announced an unprecedented package of support for businesses affected by the covid-19 outbreak, including that all businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief and Rural Rates Relief would receive a grant of £10,000 each to help with the impact of Covid-19. Details of this package are available at: www.businesssupport.gov.uk

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to prevent businesses engaging in excessive profiteering during the covid-19 outbreak.

This is first and foremost a public health emergency but the coronavirus is having a significant impact on people’s lives and on our economy. The government has announced an unprecedented package of measures to support jobs, incomes and businesses, and will do whatever it takes to get our nation through this crisis. At the same time, the government expects businesses to play their part too, to act responsibly and not seek to make excessive profits. The Competition and Markets Authority have launched a Covid-19 taskforce to monitor the market and enable them to intervene as quickly as possible where required.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will defer the payment of (a) business rates and (b) VAT for businesses which can demonstrate loss of trade as a result of covid-19.

In response to COVID-19, on 17 March the Government introduced a 12 month business rates holiday for all eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England, where help is needed the most. Eligible businesses large and small will benefit from this exceptional step worth an additional £9.5bn in 2020-21.

HMRC already offer help to businesses struggling to meet their VAT payments with arrangements such as Time to Pay.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chancellor has pledged a range of measures to help business through the crisis, including grants, loans and relief from business rates worth more than £300 billion. The Chancellor will continue to keep the situation under review.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will reduce employer national insurance contribution rates for businesses that can demonstrate loss of trade as a result of covid-19.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent estimate he has of the additional revenue that will accrue to the public purse as a result of his proposed IR35 changes; and if he will make a statement.

HMRC’s latest assessment of the additional revenue as a result of the changes to the off-payroll working rules is set out in Table 2.2 of Budget 2020.

HMRC are undertaking an extensive programme of education and support to help organisations and contractors prepare for the reform.

14th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what percentage of the Overseas Development Assistance budget was spent on accommodating asylum seekers in the UK in the most recent year for which figures are available.

The latest data available was published on GOV.UK on 5 April 2023 as part of the provisional Statistics for International Development (SID). In this publication, Home Office In-donor costs for 2022 were £2,382m and total HMG ODA was £12,774m, in line with international spending rules. Here is a link to published statistics The Statistics on International Development: Provisional UK Aid Spent 2022 – GOV.UK

That is why we are shifting to cheaper and basic accommodation and delivering on out plan to stop the boats – which is the enduring way to alleviate unfair pressure on communities and the British taxpayer.

13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the cost of accommodating asylum seekers in the UK was in the most recent year for which figures are available.

The Government has been clear that the use of expensive hotels to house the unprecedented number of asylum seekers crossing the Channel is unacceptable and must end. It is costing the UK taxpayer over £6 million a day. That is why we are shifting to cheaper and basic accommodation and delivering on out plan to stop the boats – which is the enduring way to alleviate unfair pressure on communities and the British taxpayer.

A link to the most recent published figures:

https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2023/04/03/accommodation-sites-factsheet-april-2023/

7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the administration cost to the public purse of each Electronic Travel Authorisation application; and if she will make a statement.

On 6 June, I set in a Written Ministerial Statement (https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2023-06-06/hcws821), that the proposed fee for an ETA application is £10.00. This is set at a level that will cover the costs of administering the system and is competitive compared with similar international schemes by international partners.

It is the government’s policy that those who use and benefit most from the immigration system should contribute towards the cost of operating the system, reducing the burden on the UK taxpayer.

The estimated cost of administering each ETA application will be published when the ETA fee is formally set in the Immigration and Nationality Fees Regulations in Autumn 2023.

16th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to prevent delays in processing passport applications; and if she will make a statement.

Between January and April 2023, 99.5% of customers using the standard UK service received their passport within the published processing timeframe of ten weeks.

16th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps steps she is taking to improve waiting times for passport applications; and if she will make a statement.

Between January and April 2023, 99.5% of customers using the standard UK service received their passport within the published processing timeframe of ten weeks.

1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of restricting the sale of nitrous oxide canisters by suppliers to nominated businesses only; and if she will make a statement.

Supply of nitrous oxide for legitimate medical and industrial purposes is lawful. Nitrous oxide has legitimate uses, such as in medicine, dentistry and as a propellant for whipped cream canisters.

However, those who supply nitrous oxide knowing or reckless as to whether it is likely to be used for its psychoactive effect, are committing an offence under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. This includes a maximum custodial sentence of seven years’ imprisonment.

On 3 September 2021, the Government asked the independent statutory advisory body, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), to provide an updated assessment of the harms of nitrous oxide, including advice on whether it should be controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

The ACMD is independent of Government and can provide a broad range of recommendations, including advice on regulatory or legislative changes. The Government will consider the ACMD advice carefully before deciding how to proceed.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
29th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will open a help-line for individuals to use to check on the progress of their applications for visas for people coming to the UK from Ukraine; and if she will make a statement.

UKVI already have a dedicated Ukraine helpline in place to support enquiries for those applying under the Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine scheme.

The helpline can provide information on eligibility and the application process, and in cases of concern can escalate to teams who can look at the full case history and establish any issues.

We are currently reviewing the options and feasibility around offering a status checking option, these considerations are currently ongoing.

14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to help speed up the procedure for considering complaints made against police officers.

In February 2020, the Government reformed the police complaints and discipline systems to make them more transparent, more independent and more proportionate. New measures were also introduced to improve timeliness of investigations, including a requirement for forces and the IOPC to provide written explanations where cases take more than 12 months.

The Home Affairs Select Committee have recently published their report into police conduct and complaints which highlighted areas of progress, including on timeliness of investigations. We will be responding to the report in due course.

3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2022 to Question 121681, on Coronavirus: Disease Control, what recent discussions she has had with the Crown Prosecution Service on their investigation into fines which were wrongly handed down to people for alleged breaches of covid-19 restrictions; and if she will make a statement.

The Home Office does not hold the information requested. This would be a matter for the Crown Prosecution Service. The CPS publish data on a monthly basis on all coronavirus prosecutions.

https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/cps-review-findings-first-year-coronavirus-prosecutions

This link sets out the findings on all Fixed Penalty Notice cases and cover the period of the first lockdown including those issued erroneously.

9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the process for imposing fines on people for breaches of covid-19 regulations; and if he will make a statement.

The Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) scheme was put into law in order to reduce transmission of the virus, and has been an important part of enforcement measures, which allow for quick and appropriate action to be taken against people that are not following the rules. Evidence suggests that the success of measures to date has been founded on broad public support and understanding of the need for adopting safer behaviours to reduce the spread of the virus.

Police forces across the UK are operationally independent. In their engagement with the public throughout the pandemic they have used the 4Es approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging individuals to comply, before moving on to enforcement action if required. This approach has meant we have not relied on enforcement as the primary driver of behaviour, but as complementary to other measures. This has also included clearer and more consistent communications from Government on the rules.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to tackle dog theft; and if she will make a statement.

I refer my Hon Friend to the answer I gave to a question from the Hon Member for Newport East (UIN 142846).

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to reduce the answering time to calls on the 101 service; and if she will make a statement.

Law enforcement, including the handling of 101 calls is an operational matter for the police. It is for elected Police Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables to decide how best to manage their communications and response to the public based on their knowledge and experience of the communities they serve.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect of the mandatory wearing of face coverings in shops on rates of shoplifting during the covid-19 outbreak; and if she will make a statement.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) reported on its website on 30 September 2020 that provisional data from police forces in England and Wales showed a reduction in crime during the months of strict lockdown measures but that levels are now returning to pre-Covid-19 levels. This data showed a significant and sustained drop in the recording of shoplifting compared to last year with the most recent iteration showing a 30% drop.

The NPCC do not report specifically on how mask coverings have affected these trends. Given the potential varied levels of compliance of the wearing of face coverings at retail locations a correlation between the levels of shoplifting and the wearing of face masks is unlikely to be identified in recorded crime at a national level.

29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 28 April 2020 to Question 37427 on Asylum: Applications, for what reasons only those medically qualified asylum seekers who have been waiting for 12 months or more for decisions on their applications can apply to work for the NHS during the covid-19 outbreak; and if she will make a statement.

Current policy allowing medically qualified asylum seekers to work if they have been waiting for 12 months or more on a decision is fully compliant with our domestic and international obligations.

Asylum seeker right to work is a complex issue. We are continuing to monitor the wider situation closely and, in compliance with Public Health England advice, are making continuous adjustments to our processes and procedures where appropriate and necessary to do so.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on using the medical experience and qualifications of people who are waiting for a decision on their asylum application during the covid-19 outbreak; and if she will make a statement.

Asylum seekers with medical experience and qualifications, who have been waiting for a decision on their claim for 12 months or more, can already apply to work for the NHS in the range of medical professions on the Shortage Occupation List.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people are waiting for a decision on their asylum application as at 20 April 2020.

The Home Office publishes data on asylum applications awaiting a decision in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on the number of people who are awaiting a decision on their asylum application are published in the asylum applications awaiting a decision data table in Asy_D03 of the asylum and resettlement detailed datasets.

The latest data is as at December 31st 2019 and an update, covering data up to the end of March 2020, is due to be released on 21st May 2020 as part of the Immigration Statistics Quarterly release.

Information on how to use the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what health checks are carried out at borders on people coming to the UK from abroad; and if she will make a statement.

The security of the UK border, the safety of the staff who protect it and the public are our key concerns.

Our approach to tackling coronavirus is and has always been driven by the latest scientific and medical advice, and procedures at the border have been strictly following the latest PHE guidance throughout. To bolster public health measures already in place, passengers at airports are provided with information on symptoms and the social distancing processes.

Since 8 June, all passengers arriving in the UK have been required to complete a locator form as well as self-isolate for 14 days. This applies to all nationalities. Full details of these new measures, including the very limited exemptions to the new rules, can be found at www.gov.uk/uk-border-control.

Border Force continues to work collaboratively with devolved administrations, including Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England, to support the COVID 19 response.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to prevent migrants from illegally entering the UK from continental ports; and if she will make a statement.

The UK continues to collaborate with France under the terms of the Sandhurst Treaty to tackle illegal migration across the shared border. Under the Treaty, significant improvements were made to the security at northern French ports such as Calais, Dukirk, and the Eurostar Terminal at Coquelles. Last year, more than 35,000 attempts to enter the UK illegally were prevented at our juxtaposed controls in northern France and Belgium. The UK-FR Migration Committee takes responsibility for oversight of these projects, for discussing current pressures and agreeing new joint projects.

Senior Home Office officials and operational partners are in regular discussions with officials from the Belgian government to identify immediate action that can be taken at the Port of Zeebrugge to tackle illegal migration through the port and reduce the risks to migrants.

The UK has a proud history of providing protection to those who need it, in accordance with our international obligations under the Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Protection is granted where a claimant has a well-founded fear of persecution under the Refugee Convention or their circumstances engage our obligations under Article 3 (ECHR). Those found not to need protection are refused and if unsuccessful at a subsequent appeal will be removed from the UK.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that migrants who have illegally entered the UK from continental ports are returned safely to their countries of origin; and if she will make a statement.

The UK continues to collaborate with France under the terms of the Sandhurst Treaty to tackle illegal migration across the shared border. Under the Treaty, significant improvements were made to the security at northern French ports such as Calais, Dukirk, and the Eurostar Terminal at Coquelles. Last year, more than 35,000 attempts to enter the UK illegally were prevented at our juxtaposed controls in northern France and Belgium. The UK-FR Migration Committee takes responsibility for oversight of these projects, for discussing current pressures and agreeing new joint projects.

Senior Home Office officials and operational partners are in regular discussions with officials from the Belgian government to identify immediate action that can be taken at the Port of Zeebrugge to tackle illegal migration through the port and reduce the risks to migrants.

The UK has a proud history of providing protection to those who need it, in accordance with our international obligations under the Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Protection is granted where a claimant has a well-founded fear of persecution under the Refugee Convention or their circumstances engage our obligations under Article 3 (ECHR). Those found not to need protection are refused and if unsuccessful at a subsequent appeal will be removed from the UK.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to help increase the availability of labour for the defence manufacturing industry.

With over 100 apprenticeship schemes and 20,000 apprentices under training, defence is offering exciting opportunities to grow the skills we need, including in priority areas like the nuclear enterprise. We are working to improve this further, for example through the National Shipbuilding Office collaboration with the Department for Education to grow the UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
17th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to provide equivalent pensions and other benefits to Ghurkas and members of the Nepalese community living in the UK; and if he will make a statement.

Medical discharges in the UK Armed Forces involve a series of practices and protocols, which differ in each Service to meet their specific employment requirements. Due to these differences, data is presented separately for each Service.

The table below provides the numbers and percentage of UK Regular Armed Forces personnel who were medically discharged with a principal cause of mental and behavioural disorders between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2022, by Service and financial year.

Royal Navy

Army

RAF

Year

Number

%

Number

%

Number

%

2012-13

45

10%

188

11%

30

15%

2013-14

36

11%

279

13%

29

19%

2014-15

40

11%

282

13%

37

25%

2015-16

72

17%

363

21%

38

28%

2016-17

62

14%

385

20%

42

30%

2017-18

89

18%

418

25%

68

36%

2018-19

83

21%

359

29%

52

33%

2019-20

92

25%

350

35%

73

43%

2020-21

80

24%

311

47%

56

46%

2021-22

127

26%

306

46%

72

43%

Figures include trained and untrained UK Regular personnel. Army Regular personnel include Gurkha and Military Provost Guard Service. The Royal Navy includes both Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

Percentages presented are the percentage of all cause coded medical discharges.

Medical discharges due to mental and behavioural disorders were identified as personnel discharged with a principal or contributory cause of discharge coded as F00 - F99 according to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems Tenth Revision (ICD-10).

Figures for cause information between 2019-20 and 2021-22 are provisional and subject to change.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to improve the quality of housing for service families with disabled children; and if he will make a statement.

An improved process for managing Additional Needs Disability Adaptations (ANDAs) for Service personnel and their families, including disabled children, was implemented in April this year with the introduction of the new Future Defence Infrastructure Services (FDIS) Accommodation contracts.

Required works must be approved within a target of 15 days of receiving ANDA applications and an accompanying Occupational Therapist's report. Pinnacle, the Ministry of Defence's (MOD) National Accommodation Management Services supplier, is responsible for providing weekly progress reports to families and each family is provided with a dedicated contact person.

The MOD, through the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), give the highest priority to ANDAs and work closely with the Service Families Federations and Welfare Teams to ensure families and their children are provided with fit-for-purpose adaptations to meet their changing needs. DIO also liaise with the Forces Additional Needs & Disability Forum (FANDF) which gives families the opportunity to express their concerns and suggestions for further service improvements to DIO.

19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of disability facilities in Service Family Accommodation; and if he will make a statement.

An improved process for managing Additional Needs Disability Adaptations (ANDAs) for Service personnel and their families, including disabled children, was implemented in April this year with the introduction of the new Future Defence Infrastructure Services (FDIS) Accommodation contracts.

Required works must be approved within a target of 15 days of receiving ANDA applications and an accompanying Occupational Therapist's report. Pinnacle, the Ministry of Defence's (MOD) National Accommodation Management Services supplier, is responsible for providing weekly progress reports to families and each family is provided with a dedicated contact person.

The MOD, through the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), give the highest priority to ANDAs and work closely with the Service Families Federations and Welfare Teams to ensure families and their children are provided with fit-for-purpose adaptations to meet their changing needs. DIO also liaise with the Forces Additional Needs & Disability Forum (FANDF) which gives families the opportunity to express their concerns and suggestions for further service improvements to DIO.

21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many companies (a) made bids and (b) are being considered for the supply of protective electronic countermeasures; and if he will make a statement.

It is assumed this question is referring to the current competition to appoint a System Integrator for Project CRENIC, related to the provision of Force Protection Electronic Countermeasures. Following receipt of answers from industry to a dynamic pre qualification questionnaire, three separate industry teams received an Invitation to Negotiate and submitted tenders. Contract award is expected to be announced later in 2022.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the availability of employment opportunities in the defence manufacturing sector.

Drawing on employment and turnover data taken from ONS business surveys we estimate the Ministry of Defence supports over 200,000 direct and indirect jobs with UK industry.

Our £24 billion of additional investment in Defence will help generate greater employment opportunities as will our focus in DSIS of working with industry on future opportunities and Research and Development.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he expects to make a decision on re-engining the Merlin fleet of helicopters; and if he will make a statement.

Work to determine the future support requirements for the Merlin helicopter fleet is currently underway. This may result in a different engine being installed on Merlin, although a procurement decision is not expected until mid-2023.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he expects to make a decision on the Puma replacement; and if he will make a statement.

Following on from the Early Market Engagement and Market Interest Day, we are intending to initiate the formal competition in February 2022. Subject to industry responses and timely approvals, we are aiming for a decision date in late 2023. It is important that we give industry sufficient time to compile detailed competitive bids in order to reduce risk in the latter stages of the competition.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of sending a unit of Gurkhas who have been vaccinated against covid-19 to Nepal to help counter the spreading of that virus in that country; and if he will make a statement.

We are committed to our long-standing bilateral defence relationship with the Government of Nepal. Gurkhas have made an outstanding contribution to the UK through their years of dedicated service and are held in high esteem by the British Army and public alike. We are hugely proud that Gurkhas continue to serve in the British Army.

The UK Government is one of the leading donors to Covax, committing £548million to the scheme, which will provide doses for almost a fifth of Nepal's population. The UK has funded a new £180,000 duplex oxygen generation plant at the Nepal Police Hospital in Kathmandu to help address oxygen shortages to treat COVID19 patients. To further support the Government of Nepal during the current wave of COVID19 in the region, the MOD will send a small Military Advisory team to Nepal to assess the situation in-country. The advisors have experience of dealing with the challenges of COVID19 in the UK and will draw on subject matter experts.

We will continue to monitor the situation in Nepal and keep our assistance under careful review.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the economic effect on the UK of the (a) F-35 Programme including the UK’s Programme of Record and (b) Tempest initiative; and if he will make a statement.

UK industry provides approximately 15% by value of every F-35 aircraft built, generating significant revenue for the country, creating and sustaining high-skilled jobs in the aerospace sector.

The UK has already invested some £2 billion in the Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative. The Prime Minister's Comprehensive Spending Review announcement highlighted Future Combat Air Strategy (FCAS) and our aerospace sector as a particular area for investment.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for UK industrial workshare of the continuation of the F-35 programme; and if he will make a statement.

The UK remains a committed partner within the F-35 programme providing approximately 15% by value of every F-35 aircraft. Suppliers to the F-35 programme are determined by competition, for which the UK industry is well placed.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of (a) knowledge and technology transfer, (b) infrastructure investment, (c) skills initiatives and (d) other aspects of the F-35 Programme of Record on the viability of the UK’s combat air sector.

Participation in the F-35 Programme has brought significant revenue to the UK, creating and sustaining high-skilled jobs in the combat air sector which will benefit the sector in the long-term. Whilst knowledge and technology transfer is bounded by US International Traffic in Arms Regulations, significant investment has been made in the infrastructure to support the RAF F-35 Lightning fleet at RAF Marham and will continue to benefit the wider Combat Air sector through the retention of skills and facilities.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect on air mobility interoperability with (a) the US, (b) NATO, (c) European and (d) other allies of an early retirement of the C-130J; and if he will make a statement.

The A400M was manufactured and introduced into service by an international consortium (with a UK manufacturing share of around 18 per cent). Interoperability is a key tenet of MOD's Integrated Operating Concept. The C130J is widely used around the world, but the A400M is also operated by a number of important allies and partners, and has also successfully operated alongside US forces, on both exercises and operations.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the A400M's ability to perform all of the roles of the C-130J; and if he will make a statement.

Capability performance is assessed against the contribution it will make to counter the threats we face, now and into the future. The A400M is a highly capable modern aircraft, offering many advantages over the current C130 capability, including a greater range and payload capacity. Its modern technologies also offer the opportunity to apprach those tasks employed by the C130 in a different way. These will continue to be considered as part of the A400M’s capability development.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent estimate he has made of the value to the UK economy of (a) current and (b) potential production contracts under the (i) Warrior Capability Sustainment, (ii) AJAX, (iii) Mechanised Infantry Vehicle and (iv) Challenger II Life Extension programmes; and if he will make a statement.

The Full Business Cases for the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme and Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme are currently being considered through our internal approvals process, and are subject to commercial negotiations. It would not therefore be appropriate to comment further at this time.

The manufacturing contract for AJAX was awarded in September 2014 for 589 vehicles. The AJAX programme represents a £6 billion investment that supports approximately 4,100 jobs across more than 230 UK suppliers. Some 65-70% of the AJAX Programme is UK-based. We continue to work with General Dynamics to generate and support export opportunities.

The Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) programme awarded a £2.8 billion contract in November 2019 for 508 Boxer vehicles and 15 training vehicles. Around 60% by value of the contract is planned to come from the UK and will sustain up to 1,000 jobs. Investment in the UK indigenous armoured vehicle manufacturing capability generated through the MIV programme, combined with the UK procuring an already-proven vehicle in use with other nations, opens up future export opportunities and also puts the UK in a good position to support the other user nations through the NATO Support Procurement Agency.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) cost per flying hour and (b) expected through-life costs of the (i) C-130J and (ii) A400M.

Through life support costs include various elements of in-service support and related infrastructrure costs and therefore may not be directly comparable. However, the through life support costs for (i) C-130J and (ii) A400M are £3.5 billion and £6.8 billion respectively. These figures are based on out of service dates of 2035 and 2050 respectively. There are currently 14 aircraft in the C-130J fleet, compared to 20 A400Ms, rising to 22 by 2023.

I am withholding details of cost per flying hour as its release would prejudice commercial interests.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect on UK employment levels of an early retirement of the C-130J; and if he will make a statement.

The Integrated Review will modernise our Armed Forces to ensure they have the capabilities they need to counter the threats they face, now and into the future. That will mean making changes and making tough choices, but any decision on future capabilities will be firmly based on those principles and announced in due course.

19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will take steps to accelerate training for new Armed Forces recruits to increase capacity to support the response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has placed over 20,000 personnel on standby to support Government's efforts to tackle COVID-19. We are in the process of providing extra training to our Service personnel to enhance their capabilities to assist in specific circumstances, such as driving oxygen tankers to enhance resilience within the NHS.

Our training programmes across the MOD are as efficient as is currently possible. There is a danger and liability concerns around deploying military personnel who have not been through our rigorous training programme, which provides practical skills as well as developing emotional intelligence and command capability.

The MOD stands ready to provide vital support to the Government where required and we are fully staffed and equipped to deal with any such requests.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he plans to introduce free wraparound childcare for armed forces families.

To make life easier for Armed Forces families balancing the competing demands of Service with home life, the Government has committed to providing funding for wrap-around childcare. Wrap-around care includes breakfast and after school clubs; these facilities provide modern dual-working families with the flexibility they need to manage their careers alongside homelife. Discussions are underway to consider the most efficient means of providing funding to families of children between the ages of four and 11 and to confirm timescales for implementation. In parallel to these discussions I am setting up a dedicated childcare team with immediate effect, to help families by working with military establishments to demonstrate need and encourage local authorities to build capacity.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what progress he has made in removing the requirement for local authorities to maintain a five-year housing land supply; and if he will make a statement.

We consulted on changes to NPPF and are currently carefully considering the responses. We will set out further details later this year.

11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what guidance the Planning Inspectorate has issued to planning inspectors on taking the mental health of the wider community into consideration for housing application appeals; and if he will make a statement.

The Planning Inspectorate does not issue guidance on this matter.

1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to increase the number of private properties available to rent; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has announced £10 billion investment in housing supply since the start of this Parliament. This includes £300 million of locally led grant funding to help Local and Mayoral Combined Authorities invest in housing-led brownfield, infrastructure, and land projects in England.

We also welcome new institutional investment in the private rented sector, and our Build to Rent Fund has provided over £630 million of development finance for the supply of new homes built specifically for private rent.

Felicity Buchan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what investment support is available to companies in Gloucestershire under the levelling up agenda; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to levelling up all areas of the UK. Gloucestershire received over £52 million levelling up fund investment, for a range of regeneration projects and infrastructure improvements. The funding will help to develop projects such as The Forge, a new innovation hub supporting emerging cyber businesses to grow, creating new opportunities for Gloucester City and wider region. Further levelling up funding will be available in the Spring when we expect to launch the next round of the Levelling Up Fund. Further details of that, and the forthcoming UK Shared Prosperity Fund, will be announced soon.

12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans he has to remove the statutory right for owners of rentcharges to take possession or grant a lease of the property in the event of non-payment by the homeowner; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service. Where people pay estate rent charges it is not appropriate that these homeowners have limited rights to challenge these costs.

That is why the Government intends to legislate to ensure that the charges that resident freeholders may pay towards the maintenance of communal area are fairer and more transparent.

To this effect, we will legislate to give freeholders on private and mixed tenure estates equivalent rights to leaseholders to challenge the reasonableness of estate rentcharges, as well as a right to apply to the First-tier Tribunal to appoint a new manager to manage the provision of services.

In addition, we will ensure that where a freeholder pays a rentcharge, the rentcharge owner is not able to take possession or grant a lease on the property where the rentcharge remains unpaid for a short period of time. We will translate these measures into law when parliamentary time allows.

12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans he has to allow owners of freehold properties who pay estate rent charges to be able to challenge these costs; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service. Where people pay estate rent charges it is not appropriate that these homeowners have limited rights to challenge these costs.

That is why the Government intends to legislate to ensure that the charges that resident freeholders may pay towards the maintenance of communal area are fairer and more transparent.

To this effect, we will legislate to give freeholders on private and mixed tenure estates equivalent rights to leaseholders to challenge the reasonableness of estate rentcharges, as well as a right to apply to the First-tier Tribunal to appoint a new manager to manage the provision of services.

In addition, we will ensure that where a freeholder pays a rentcharge, the rentcharge owner is not able to take possession or grant a lease on the property where the rentcharge remains unpaid for a short period of time. We will translate these measures into law when parliamentary time allows.

22nd Feb 2021
If he will amend planning guidance to ensure that a full assessment of the capacity of the existing local drainage system is carried out before work can begin on developments; and if he will make a statement.

Our existing guidance is clear that if there are concerns about the capacity of wastewater infrastructure that is needed for drainage, applicants can be asked to provide information about how the development would be drained and wastewater dealt with. Where it is found that additional sewerage infrastructure is needed, developers can be required to fund this.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress he has made in determining a standard methodology for local planning authorities to use when calculating their land supply; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to realising our aim of delivering 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s and supporting housing delivery as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. A critical part of this is local authorities making land available for planning. Local planning authorities are expected annually to identify and update a supply of specific ‘deliverable’ sites sufficient to provide a minimum of five years’ worth of housing against their housing requirement. This is set out in the National Planning Policy Framework


In December, in response to the ‘Changes to the current planning system’ consultation, the Secretary of State announced a minor revision to the standard method formula for assessing local housing need. The announcement on the standard method provides certainty and stability during a period of economic uncertainty for our communities, businesses, and development sector whilst also focusing greater need into urban areas to maximise existing infrastructure and to support development that reduces the need for high-carbon travel


Our Planning for the Future White Paper proposed changes to housing land supply policy, and we are currently analysing responses to that consultation. A Government response will follow.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what status Neighbourhood Plans have with the Planning Inspector in the determination of planning application appeals; and if he will make a statement.

Once adopted, neighbourhood plans become part of the development plan for the local area alongside the Local Plan. Planning law requires that decision takers, including planning inspectors, must determine planning applications in accordance with the development plan (including any neighbourhood plan) unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to issue a decision on the bid by Tewkesbury Borough Council for financial support to deliver the Garden Town as part of the Government's garden communities programme; and if he will make a statement.

Across England we are currently supporting 49 locally-led Garden Communities, to be exemplars of high quality, good design and best practice.

Locally-led garden communities are vital to delivering the transformational housing growth that we need, whilst ensuring surrounding existing communities can also benefit from growth through well-planned infrastructure and community amenities.

My Department has been considering the bids received for funding through the Government’s Garden Communities programme and we hope to announce funding allocations in the coming weeks.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to issue a decision on the bid by Tewkesbury Borough Council for £1.5m to assist with the business case work associated with the options for the off line transport/highway improvements to J9 M5/A46; and if he will make a statement.

Across England we are currently supporting 49 locally-led Garden Communities, to be exemplars of high quality, good design and best practice.

Locally-led garden communities are vital to delivering the transformational housing growth that we need, whilst ensuring surrounding existing communities can also benefit from growth through well-planned infrastructure and community amenities.

My Department has been considering the bids received for funding through the Government’s Garden Communities programme and we hope to announce funding allocations in the coming weeks.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make water companies statutory consultees in medium and large scale planning applications; and if he will make a statement.

The list of statutory consultees is under constant review. Whilst particular organisations or bodies might not be statutory consultees on planning applications, they can work proactively with local councils to identify developments where they might have an interest and can comment on proposals within the statutory public consultation period. The decision to grant or refuse a planning application ultimately rests with the local planning authority, who will take into account all relevant planning considerations and not just the advice from one consultee.

Planning practice guidance encourages early engagement between local planning authorities and water/sewerage companies where water quality is likely to be a significant planning concern. Part 8 of the Development Management Procedure Order 2015 - “Miscellaneous – Local Development Orders” states that where a local planning authority has prepared a draft Local Development Order in which the interests of water/sewerage companies are likely to be affected, the authority must consult those companies. Consultation with water/sewerage companies also ensures that the companies’ investment plans align with local development needs. Water/sewerage companies should also be consulted on Local Plans in order to manage water demand locally and help deliver new development.

4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a snagging retention scheme for the sale of new houses; and if he will make a statement.

We expect all housing developers to deliver good quality housing, to deliver it on time, and to treat house buyers fairly.

Most snags found in new build homes occur within the first two years of the occupant moving in. Where there are problems, regardless of whether they are large or small, they should be corrected promptly by developers.

Our plans for the New Homes Ombudsman scheme will increase homebuyer protection, including resolving disputes about snags and defects within the first two years after purchase. It will be a requirement for developers of new build homes to be members of the New Homes Ombudsman scheme.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he expects to introduce a White Paper on Planning Reform.

As set out in Planning for the Future published at the Budget in March, we will be publishing a bold and ambitious planning White Paper which will aim to make the planning system clearer, more accessible and more certain for all users. The White Paper will be published later this year.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will hold discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on allocating additional financial support to district councils to compensate those councils for increased expenditure and lower receipts as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

On 18 April the Government announced an additional £1.6 billion of funding to support councils in England in delivering essential front line services, bringing the total amount given to councils to help them through the pandemic to over £3.2 billion. The package demonstrates the Government’s commitment to making sure councils, including district councils, have the resources they need to support their communities through this challenging time.

We are using data collection and our conversations with councils to refine our assessment of costs, and allocations to individual local authorities will follow as soon as practicable.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he plans to take after the lockdown has ended to help resettle people that became homeless during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has now announced £3.2 billion for local authorities to deal with emerging pressures as a result of COVID-19, including for housing and homelessness services. This is on top of the £492 million provided to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in 2020/21.

We have also introduced a package of measures to protect renters affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). With these in force, must give all renters 3 months’ notice if they intend to seek possession.

Further, the Chancellor recently announced that for 2020/21, we will increase the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants so that they are set at the 30th percentile of local rents. This will mean that many people renting in the Private Rented Sector see an increase in their housing support from April 2020, providing extra security during these uncertain times. The average claimant will gain an additional £600 per year in increased housing support.

The Homelessness Reduction Act, the most ambitious reform to homelessness legislation in decades, came into force on 3 April 2018. The Act requires local authorities and other public bodies to work together to actively prevent homelessness for people at risk. This is backed by the £63 million Homelessness Reduction Grant in 2020/21 which provides an uplift on previous years’ new burdens funding to implement the Homelessness Reduction Act and will enable local authorities to do more to prevent and relieve homelessness in their areas.

20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will extend the timescale for planning authorities to determine planning applications while restrictions are in place during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has put in place a package of measures that will help keep firms in business, and people in jobs and prevent Covid-19 from causing long-lasting economic harm. It is important that local planning authorities continue to provide the best service possible in these stretching times and prioritise decision-making to ensure the planning system continues to function, especially where this will support the local economy.

We are asking local planning authorities to take an innovative approach and explore every opportunity to use technology to ensure that discussions and consultations can go ahead. We would encourage councils to consider delegating committee decisions where appropriate. The Government has introduced legislation to allow council committee meetings to be held virtually for a temporary period which we expect will allow planning committees to continue.

9th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of delays in processing open cases by the Legal Ombudsman on the finances of people who have open cases.

Under the Legal Services Act 2007, the legal profession in England and Wales, together with its regulators, operate independently of government. The oversight regulator for the legal services sector is the Legal Services Board (LSB). The Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) is the board responsible for administering the Legal Ombudsman Scheme (LeO), and as such, it is required to report on the performance of the Legal Ombudsman to the LSB.

The LeO has a process for prioritising cases where a consumer’s circumstances mean that their complaint needs resolving urgently. Financial circumstances are one of the factors that can be considered. This information would be held on an individual case-by-case basis, but the LeO does not systematically holds records about consumers’ finances.

If the LeO decides that a consumer has experienced financial or non-financial loss as a result of a legal provider’s failings, then the remedy it awards will be assessed at the point the LeO directs it to be made. This would mean a consumer doesn’t lose out as a result of the length of time it has taken for their case to go through the LeO’s process, irrespective of the reasons for this.

The Ministry of Justice does not intend to assess the time taken by the Legal Ombudsman to process cases and the financial impact this may have on consumers. Instead, it continues to monitor the LeO’s ongoing performance through regular assurance letters provided by the OLC to the LSB. In an assurance letter provided to the LSB on 28 November 2023, the OLC stated that LeO’s operational performance continues to make progress with improvements in timelines and wait times. At the queue’s peak in 2022, customers could expect to wait up to 16 to 24 months before their complaint reached an investigator. Half of LeO’s customers’ cases are now resolved by early resolution, with no wait time. Latest figures (December 23) show the average journey time for customers whose complaints are resolved through early resolutions has fallen from 68 days in April 2023 to 42 days in December 2023. For those customers whose complaints are investigated, journey times have also reduced in the same period. Against a backdrop of an increase in demand, the LeO has made progress in reducing waiting times in recent years and anticipates a 30% reduction by the end of the year. So far in 2023/24 44% of all cases have been resolved within 90 days. In 2021/22 80% were taking more than 180 days.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
9th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department is taking steps to help reduce average processing times for cases with the Legal Ombudsman.

Under the Legal Services Act 2007, the legal profession in England and Wales, together with its regulators, operate independently of government. The oversight regulator for the legal services sector is the Legal Services Board (LSB). The Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) is the board responsible for administering the Legal Ombudsman Scheme (LeO), and as such, the OLC is required to report on the performance of the Legal Ombudsman to the LSB.

The OLC and LeO have been transparent that waiting times experienced by consumers and legal providers needing input from LeO remain too long. Against a backdrop of increasing demand, LeO has made progress in reducing waiting times in recent years. A key driver of improvements to date has been the introduction of early resolution approaches from 2022/23. Before this transformation, all complaints referred to LeO would have been put in a queue waiting to be assessed. Today, over half of complaints are resolved through early resolution and customers can expect to have their cases resolved within an average of 60 days.

Following a consultation process in 2021, new Scheme Rules were introduced on 1 April 2023. These rules were designed to enable the LeO to further improve the customers’ experience by increasing efficiency and removing obstacles to resolving complaints, helping to ensure they are able to give an outcome at the earliest possible stage. So far in 2023/24 44% of all cases have been resolved within 90 days. In 2021/22 80% were taking more than 180 days.

Further steps the LeO has taken to improve its efficiency, and in turn improve customers’ experience, are outlined in the OLC’s most recent annual report and accounts, draft strategy and business plan, published at https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/who-we-are/corporate-publications/. These include a focus improving the quality of legal providers’ own complaints handling, as one way of helping address rising demand for LeO’s service.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
17th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of expanding the list of subjects defined as positions of trust in Section 22A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003; and if he will make a statement.

We remain fully committed to protecting children and young people from sexual abuse and continue to keep the law under review.

In 2019-20 the Government carried out a review of “positions of trust” offences in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, following which we made the decision to extend the offences to capture those who regularly provide, coaching, teaching, training, supervising or instructing in a sport or a religion.

Provisions to extend these offences, in the Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, also created a power to allow additional positions of trust to be added via secondary legislation should it prove necessary to do so.

These reforms commenced in June 2022 so have only been in force for a little over a year. Before considering further reforms, we want to be assured that the 2022 changes are bedded in and are working effectively. My officials work closely with stakeholders and operational partners to ensure that the existing offences are being used effectively to tackle this behaviour, and that those working with young people understand their responsibilities and act appropriately.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what data his Department holds the proportion of decisions on ECH plans assessments that were overturned at a tribunal in England for each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement.

An appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Health, Education and Social Care Chamber) may contain an appeal against one or more Local Authority decisions and will, for statistical purposes, be classed as being in favour of the appellant if the appeal succeeds in full or in part.

The table below shows the number of appeals determined at hearing in each of the last three statistical years and of those the number and percentage of cases found in favour of the appellant.

Year

Number of appeals determined at hearing

Number of appeals in favour of the appellant

%

2021/22

5600

5393

96%

2020/21

4825

4651

93%

2019/20

3770

3577

95%

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Sep 2020
What steps he is taking to improve the rehabilitation of offenders on release from prison.

Everyone leaving prison should have the tools they need to avoid a life of crime, including a job, a home and treatment for substance misuse issues.

Offenders typically have complex needs, many of which drive offending. The prison and probation system provides an opportunity to address these, but we also need a concerted effort across Government to rehabilitate individuals on release from prison.

For example, we are working with NHS England to develop their care after custody service, RECONNECT, to engage and support more people into treatment upon release.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people have submitted a guilty plea by post for shop theft offences in each year since 2014.

The Ministry of Justice has published information on prosecutions, convictions and sentencing outcomes of court proceedings in England and Wales up to December 2018. The information requested for PQ 12200 and PQ 12202 can be found using the ‘Outcomes by offence’ data tool at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/802314/outcomes-by-offence-tool-2018.xlsx

Using the offence filter select ’46 Theft from Shops’.

PQ 12200

  • The number of prosecutions for this offence in each year will be displayed in row 24.

PQ 12202

  • The number of individuals sentenced to immediate custody for this offence in each year will be displayed in row 36.

The number of people who have submitted a guilty plea by post for shop theft offences in each year since 2014 can be viewed in the accompanying table.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people have been imprisoned for shop theft in each year since 2010.

The Ministry of Justice has published information on prosecutions, convictions and sentencing outcomes of court proceedings in England and Wales up to December 2018. The information requested for PQ 12200 and PQ 12202 can be found using the ‘Outcomes by offence’ data tool at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/802314/outcomes-by-offence-tool-2018.xlsx

Using the offence filter select ’46 Theft from Shops’.

PQ 12200

  • The number of prosecutions for this offence in each year will be displayed in row 24.

PQ 12202

  • The number of individuals sentenced to immediate custody for this offence in each year will be displayed in row 36.

The number of people who have submitted a guilty plea by post for shop theft offences in each year since 2014 can be viewed in the accompanying table.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Jan 2020
If he will increase the length of sentences handed down for burglary offences.

Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for our independent courts, taking into account the particular circumstances of the offence and offender, and following any relevant sentencing guidelines.

Over the last ten years, the average custodial sentence lengths for all forms of burglary have increased.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps he is taking to help grow Northern Ireland's economy.

The Government is committed to supporting Northern Ireland’s economy. The Northern Ireland Investment Summit in September 2023 welcomed 180 investors, and generous funding packages are creating jobs, developing skills, supporting businesses and attracting FDI, including through the £617m UK Government investment into the four City and Growth Deals in Northern Ireland and the British Business Bank’s £70m Investment Fund. Northern Ireland is now positioned for an era of transformational success with a financial package worth in excess of £3bn to a returning Executive, plus unique arrangements for trade across the UK, the EU and the world, together with a range of government packages of support.

Steve Baker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment he has made of the impact of the spend local voucher scheme on footfall on high streets in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

The Spend Local Voucher Scheme was designed and introduced by the Northern Ireland Executive and was made possible through the £5 billion additional Covid funding that the Government provided to the Executive since the start of the pandemic.

Assessment of the take up and impact of the Spend Local Voucher Scheme is a matter for the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy, however, I look forward to discussing the matter with the Executive in due course as part of our regular engagement.

9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment he has made of the level of take up of the spend local voucher scheme in Northern Ireland in each month since that scheme has been active; and if he will make a statement.

The Spend Local Voucher Scheme was designed and introduced by the Northern Ireland Executive and was made possible through the £5 billion additional Covid funding that the Government provided to the Executive since the start of the pandemic.

Assessment of the take up and impact of the Spend Local Voucher Scheme is a matter for the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy, however, I look forward to discussing the matter with the Executive in due course as part of our regular engagement.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent estimate he has made of the annual cost to the public purse of the Historical Investigations Unit from its establishment until the conclusion of that unit's work; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to reforming the current legacy system in Northern Ireland in a way that provides reconciliation for victims and certainty for veterans. The Government will be working to develop proposals in the coming weeks.