Laurence Robertson Portrait

Laurence Robertson

Conservative - Tewkesbury

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


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 271 Conservative Aye votes vs 0 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 273 Noes - 205
Speeches
Wednesday 22nd June 2022
EU Retained Law
Is it my right hon. Friend’s view that most of the bureaucracy placed on British businesses that are trying to …
Written Answers
Monday 27th June 2022
Children: Maintenance
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that a means …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Tuesday 3rd May 2022
1. Employment and earnings
14 April 2022, received £50. Hours: 20 mins. (Registered 25 April 2022)
EDM signed
Monday 31st January 2022
Giving every child the best start in life
That this House notes the work of WAVE Trust and its 70/30 campaign to reduce levels of child abuse, neglect …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Laurence Robertson has voted in 459 divisions, and 3 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
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)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(15 debate interactions)
Michael Gove (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
(11 debate interactions)
Nigel Huddleston (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
(8 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(22 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(20 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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

12th May 2021
Laurence Robertson signed this EDM on Monday 31st January 2022

Giving every child the best start in life

Tabled by: Wera Hobhouse (Liberal Democrat - Bath)
That this House notes the work of WAVE Trust and its 70/30 campaign to reduce levels of child abuse, neglect and domestic abuse by 70 per cent by 2030; further notes that over two-thirds of this House have endorsed that campaign, including a majority from all parties; recognises the role …
151 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Apr 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 62
Scottish National Party: 45
Conservative: 15
Liberal Democrat: 12
Democratic Unionist Party: 7
Independent: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Alliance: 1
8th September 2021
Laurence Robertson signed this EDM on Monday 20th September 2021

Play therapy

Tabled by: Lisa Cameron (Scottish National Party - East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow)
That this House recognises the importance of play therapy in helping children who are experiencing mental illness or trauma and considers that therapy to be an essential component of the covid-19 recovery programme; notes that play therapy is an internationally recognised and highly cost effective health intervention for children for …
32 signatures
(Most recent: 20 Apr 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 11
Scottish National Party: 6
Liberal Democrat: 6
Democratic Unionist Party: 4
Independent: 2
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Conservative: 1
Alba Party: 1
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

Laurence Robertson has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Laurence Robertson has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


209 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
4 Other Department Questions
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.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans he has to allow a right to manage for residential freeholders; 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.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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).

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
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 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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
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, 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
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 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
Minister of State (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
Minister of State (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 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 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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that people living in houses without driveways will have access to electric car charging points before 2030; and if he will make a statement.

On 25 March the Government published the Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Strategy, setting out our vision and commitments to make electric vehicle (EV) charging cheaper and more convenient than refuelling at a petrol station. Of the £2.5 billion of Government funding committed to the EV transition since 2020, over £1.6 billion will be used to support charging infrastructure.

Government wants to ensure that lack of access to off-street parking is not a barrier for drivers realising the benefits of owning a plug-in EV.

To ensure people can switch to an EV wherever they live and drive, we are pledging at least £500 million to support local chargepoint provision. As part of this, the £450 million Local EV Infrastructure fund will support local authorities to work with industry and transform the availability of charging for drivers without off-street parking. We have also launched a £10m pilot as a springboard for the development of the full fund. This pilot is open for applications until 17 June 2022.

Additionally, local authorities will continue to benefit from the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme, turbocharging smaller scale chargepoint projects. So far funding has been awarded for the installation of over 6,500 public chargepoints and this year, £20 million is available under the scheme to ensure more local authorities can benefit.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
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.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
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.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
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.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home 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 Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the time taken for a claimant to receive their first universal credit payment on the financial situation of those claimants; and if she will make a statement.

Universal Credit is now the main system of working age welfare support across the country. It is available in every Jobcentre, with a caseload of 2.8 million claimants, growing every month, now able to access the additional support and flexibilities it offers.

Claimants can access up to 100% of the total expected monthly award, which they can pay back over a period of up to 12 months. We have announced that from October 2021, the repayment period for these advances will be extended further, to 16 months. Claimants who utilise this support have more money in the first 6 months than on legacy benefits.

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

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

Data surrounding Universal Credit payments made in full and on time is published at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

Guidance for users is available at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
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.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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 (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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 (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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 (Department of Health and Social Care)
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 (Department of Health and Social Care)
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 (Department of Health and Social Care)
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 (Department of Health and Social Care)
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 (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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 (Department of Health and Social Care)
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 (Department of Health and Social Care)
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 (Department of Health and Social Care)
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 (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
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.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
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 (Department of Health and Social Care)
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 (Department of Health and Social Care)
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.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
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.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
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.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
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.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
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.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
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.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
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.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
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
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Minister for Equalities
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.

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
Minister for Equalities
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
Minister for Equalities
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
Minister for Equalities
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
Minister for Equalities
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
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
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 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.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
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.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
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.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
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).

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
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.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of issuing a form of recognition for people who were stationed on Christmas Island and affected by the test bombs during 1957 and 1958; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 7 March 2022 to Question 132301 to the hon. Member for Glenrothes (Peter Grant MP).

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
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.

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.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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.

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, 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 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.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
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.

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
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prosecutions for shop theft have occurred 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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, 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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Conor Burns
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 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.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
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.