Lyn Brown

Labour - West Ham

Shadow Minister (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs)

(since December 2021)
Shadow Minister (Justice)
10th Apr 2020 - 4th Dec 2021
Shadow Minister (Treasury)
12th Jan 2018 - 10th Apr 2020
Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Policing)
14th Oct 2016 - 12th Jan 2018
Shadow Minister (Home Office)
18th Sep 2015 - 28th Jun 2016
Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government)
7th Oct 2013 - 18th Sep 2015
Opposition Whip (Commons)
8th Oct 2010 - 7th Oct 2013
Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)
10th Jun 2009 - 6th May 2010
Crossrail Bill
14th Nov 2007 - 18th Nov 2007
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee
27th Jun 2006 - 15th Jan 2007
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee
27th Jun 2006 - 15th Jan 2007
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Committee
5th Dec 2005 - 27th Jun 2006


Scheduled Event
Monday 31st January 2022
22:00
Adjournment - Main Chamber
31 Jan 2022, 10 p.m.
NHS hysteroscopy treatment
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Scheduled Event
Friday 4th February 2022
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Child Criminal Exploitation Bill: Second Reading
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Division Votes
Wednesday 26th January 2022
Business without Debate
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 144 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 298 Noes - 176
Speeches
Tuesday 25th January 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
Some 9.4 million people are going hungry in northern Ethiopia, airstrikes are killing civilians and the blockade is being used …
Written Answers
Thursday 27th January 2022
Tigray: Humanitarian Aid
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to monitor the …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 15th December 2021
Child Criminal Exploitation Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make involvement in child criminal exploitation an aggravating factor in sentencing for drug supply, drug production, drug …
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
6. Land and property portfolio: (i) value over £100,000 and/or (ii) giving rental income of over £10,000 a year
One quarter share in a rental property in Ambleside, Cumbria: (i) and (ii). (Updated 26 July 2016)
EDM signed
Monday 25th October 2021
Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; …
Supported Legislation
House of Lords (Exclusion of Hereditary Peers) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Lyn Brown has voted in 333 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Lyn Brown 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.

View all Lyn Brown's debates

West Ham Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest West Ham signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

The Government should explore using the new sanctions regime that allows individuals and entities that violate human rights around the world to be targeted, to impose sanctions on members of the Nigerian government and police force involved in any human rights abuses by the Nigerian police.


Latest EDMs signed by Lyn Brown

23rd September 2021
Lyn Brown signed this EDM on Monday 25th October 2021

Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall

Tabled by: Afzal Khan (Labour - Manchester, Gorton)
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; notes that this memorial now includes over 150,000 hand-painted hearts to symbolise all those who lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic; praises the work of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for …
136 signatures
(Most recent: 5 Jan 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 97
Scottish National Party: 15
Liberal Democrat: 10
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
9th June 2021
Lyn Brown signed this EDM on Thursday 10th June 2021

Racism in football

Tabled by: Clive Lewis (Labour - Norwich South)
That this House applauds England football manager Gareth Southgate and his players for their principled opposition to racism; stands in solidarity with all football players and supporters who have been subjected to racism, while participating in the sport they love or in other areas of their life; recognises that those …
32 signatures
(Most recent: 24 Jan 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 20
Liberal Democrat: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Green Party: 1
Independent: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
View All Lyn Brown's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lyn Brown, 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.


Lyn Brown has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Lyn Brown

Thursday 24th September 2020

1 Bill introduced by Lyn Brown


A Bill to make involvement in child criminal exploitation an aggravating factor in sentencing for drug supply, drug production, drug importation and money laundering offences; to make being a victim of child criminal exploitation a mitigating factor in sentencing for such offences; to establish reviews of sentencing guidelines in relation to the prevention of child criminal exploitation and criminal liability in relation to child criminal exploitation for organised criminal offenders; to amend the Modern Slavery Act 2015 to include a statutory definition of child criminal exploitation; to create a register of child criminal exploitation offenders; to place duties on public bodies to make plans to prevent, and collaborate in preventing, child criminal exploitation; to make provision about the reporting of the scale of child criminal exploitation and the inclusion of such exploitation in child, domestic, and offensive weapons homicide reviews; to require criminal justice agencies to publish information on their responses to child criminal exploitation; to make provision about the training of professionals in responding to child criminal exploitation; to make provision about the content and national oversight of local serious violence strategies in relation to child criminal exploitation; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 15th December 2021
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 4th February 2022
Order Paper number: 22
(Unlikely to be Debated - would require unanimous consent to progress)

1214 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
9 Other Department Questions
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent estimate she has made of the resource impact for local authorities of increases in the population under Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements supervision.

Local authorities are under a statutory duty to co-operate with the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangement (MAPPA) responsible authority in each of the 42 MAPPA areas in England and Wales. Councils should also review the Ministry of Justice’s reoffending statistics, which are published quarterly and consider the potential impact for them and their budgets


Councils will receive around £1.6 billion additional funding for each year of the Spending Review, including funding for the expansion of the Supporting Families programme and to improve cyber resilience


Core Spending Power – the main measure used for the income of councils – is forecast to increase by an average of 3% in real terms each year over the next three years, including investment in Adult Social Care reform. This funding will empower councils to make decisions tailored to their own local needs and priorities


Further details on how this money will be allocated to councils will be announced in Parliament in the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement later this year.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when the decision was made to organise a Government Equalities Office meeting with Core Issues Trust, who made that decision; and who attended that meeting.

The Equality Hub is engaging with a wide range of stakeholders who hold different views in relation to conversion therapy. The Core Issues Trust wrote to the Equality Hub asking a Minister to meet to discuss our efforts to ban conversion therapy, an invitation which was declined. Instead, Equality Hub officials met briefly with the group as part of their routine stakeholder engagement around the proposed ban.

The Government launched its consultation into how – not whether – to ban conversion therapy on Friday 29 October. This will close on Friday 10 December. I would encourage everyone with an interest in this area to submit a response.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the Government's announcement on plans to ban conversion therapy of 11 May 2021, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that victims of conversion therapy have access to support to contribute to the Government’s consultation on banning conversion therapy.

The Government is working at pace to deliver on our commitment to ban conversion therapy. We will also ensure there is support available for victims of conversion therapy, the first time the UK Government has offered this. The support will be available to whoever considers themselves to be at risk of - or has undergone - conversion therapy, whatever the circumstances.

The importance of developing a quality service is of central importance and we are working at pace to explore delivery options available to realise this commitment. An announcement with more details on the service and how it will be delivered will be made in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to Government's announcement on plans to ban conversion therapy of 11 May 2021, when she plans to commission support services for victims of conversion therapy.

The Government is working at pace to deliver on our commitment to ban conversion therapy. We will also ensure there is support available for victims of conversion therapy, the first time the UK Government has offered this. The support will be available to whoever considers themselves to be at risk of - or has undergone - conversion therapy, whatever the circumstances.

The importance of developing a quality service is of central importance and we are working at pace to explore delivery options available to realise this commitment. An announcement with more details on the service and how it will be delivered will be made in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
7th Sep 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he is taking to encourage effective discussion on the role of grasslands in biodiversity protection and climate heating mitigation and adaptation at the upcoming COP26 summit.

Through our COP26 Nature Campaign, we are advancing work in four core areas; tackling the drivers of deforestation, promoting sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture, mobilising increased and more targeted finance for nature, and driving political ambition on nature.

On Nature Day at COP26, we are creating several opportunities to drive international action on all areas of biodiversity, including grasslands. The UK’s top priority is to agree on a strong post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. We will be pushing countries to make ambitious commitments to curb the dual crisis of biodiversity loss and climate change. This will put us on a path to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and mitigate the climate crisis.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what information her Department holds on employee satisfaction with the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme within Government departments that participate in that programme.

This Government supports inclusive workplaces and believes that all LGBT people should be able to be themselves at work, so that they can do their best and achieve their full potential.

It is fundamental that everyone is able to seize opportunities in the workplace without fear of discrimination or harassment.

Memberships of external schemes are kept under review, to ensure value for taxpayers’ money.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will make an assessment of the potential effect of withdrawing Government departments from the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme on the Government's (a) reputation as an institution that upholds equality and diversity for LGBT+ employees, (b) international reputation for LGBT+ equality, (c) work to promote LGBT+ equality internationally and (d) adherence to equality law.

This Government supports inclusive workplaces and believes that all LGBT people should be able to be themselves at work, so that they can do their best and achieve their full potential.

It is fundamental that everyone is able to seize opportunities in the workplace without fear of discrimination or harassment.

Memberships of external schemes are kept under review, to ensure value for taxpayers’ money.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme on (a) recruitment and retention of LGBT+ employees, (b) well-being and productivity of LGBT+ employees, (c) positive work environments and (d) adherence to equality law of Government departments that have participated in that programme.

This Government supports inclusive workplaces and believes that all LGBT people should be able to be themselves at work, so that they can do their best and achieve their full potential.

It is fundamental that everyone is able to seize opportunities in the workplace without fear of discrimination or harassment.

Memberships of external schemes are kept under review, to ensure value for taxpayers’ money.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent progress has been made on determining the future of the National Covid Memorial Wall located on land on the Albert Embankment; what discussions the Government has had with St Thomas’ Hospital to clarify ownership of that land; and what steps the Government has taken to establish future responsibility for the memorial’s upkeep.

The Government recognises the need to commemorate those who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to mark and remember this period as one of immense struggle.

The Prime Minister announced on 12 May the establishment of a UK Commission on Covid Commemoration. The Government will set out the Commission membership and terms of reference in due course.

We are aware of the call for the Memorial Wall to become a permanent national memorial. The UK Commission on Covid Commemoration, once established, will consider the appropriate way to remember those who have lost their lives during the pandemic.

Discussions on the future of the Memorial Wall are being led by Lambeth London Borough Council.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government plans to bring forward legislative proposals to amend section 2(1)(c) of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

The entitlement of resident Commonwealth and Irish citizens to vote reflects our close historical ties with Commonwealth countries and the reciprocal arrangements UK has with Ireland. The Government has no plans to alter these rights.

In relation to relevant citizens of the Union, I refer the Hon member to the answer which I gave to PQ 1802 on 29 January 2020.

The Scottish Parliament is responsible for the franchise for local elections in Scotland. The Welsh Assembly is responsible for the franchise for local elections in Wales.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the proposed restrictions on public bodies using their resources to support boycotts, divestment or sanctions against foreign countries or those who trade with them would prevent support of campaigns against UK trade involving companies linked to the military of Myanmar.

I refer the Hon. Member to the briefing notes on the Queen's Speech (p.133-134) published on 19 December 2019, which outline the Government's proposals:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/queens-speech-december-2019-background-briefing-notes

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the proposed restrictions on public institutions using their resources to support boycotts, divestment or sanctions against foreign countries or those who trade with them would prevent support of campaigns against UK trade involving firms linked with the persecution of the Uighur people in Xinjiang province, China.

I refer the Hon. Member to the briefing notes on the Queen's Speech (p.133-134) published on 19 December 2019, which outline the Government's proposals:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/queens-speech-december-2019-background-briefing-notes

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the proposed restrictions on public institutions using their resources to support boycotts, divestment or sanctions against foreign countries or those who trade with them would prevent support of campaigns against UK trade involving companies connected with deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.

I refer the Hon. Member to the briefing notes on the Queen's Speech (p.133-134) published on 19 December 2019, which outline the Government's proposals:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/queens-speech-december-2019-background-briefing-notes

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 23 April 2021 to Question 181214, in circumstances where the Valuation Office Agency failed to add a business to the Local Rating List in advance of 11 March 2020, as the result of an admitted administrative error on the part of the Agency, whether local authorities should (a) treat affected business applicants as if such errors had been rectified at the time a Business Support Grant was due to be issued and (b) be compensated for the additional cost of those applications.

As the question does not specify which grant scheme it relates to, I am responding under the assumption that it refers to the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF), and the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) which were affected by the 11 March 2020 date.

Local Authorities were responsible for delivering grants to eligible businesses through these schemes, and they closed for applications on 28 August 2020. As stated in the Grant Funding Schemes guidance, businesses that were in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief as of 11 March 2020 were in scope of the SBGF. Businesses in scope of the RHLGF were those that would have been in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) on 11 March 2020, with properties that have a rateable value of under £51,000.

The guidance is clear that Local Authorities were not required to adjust, pay or recover grants where the ratings list is subsequently amended retrospectively to 11 March 2020. However, Local Authorities had the discretion to depart from this if they knew that the record was incorrect - for example where it was factually clear to the Local Authority that the rating list was inaccurate on 11 March; but they were not obliged to do so.

We asked Local Authorities to close the SBGF and RHLGF schemes by 28 August 2020 and to ensure that, where any payments were still in process, they were completed by 30 September 2020. The only exceptions were those relating to a VOA / Ombudsman query, in which case payments could be made until 30 October. The 30 October date was negotiated to allow VOA queries to be resolved, but any that were not paid out by then are outside the scope of the schemes.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in circumstances where the Valuation Office Agency has made an error in valuation classifications for business rates purposes, whether local authorities should (a) treat affected business applicants as if such errors had been rectified at the time a covid-19 related grant was due to be issued and (b) be compensated for the additional cost of those applications.

As the question does not specify which grant scheme it relates to, I am responding under the assumption that it refers to Restart Grants which are the current primary business grant mechanism managed by local authorities.

Any changes to the rating list (rateable value or to the hereditament) after 1 April 2021 should be ignored for the purposes of eligibility. Local Authorities are not required to adjust, pay or recover grants where the rating list is subsequently amended retrospectively to 1 April 2021. In cases where it was factually clear to the Local Authority on 1 April 2021 that the rating list was inaccurate on that date, Local Authorities may withhold the grant and/or award the grant based on their view of who would have been entitled to the grant had the list been accurate. This is entirely at the discretion of the Local Authority and only intended to prevent manifest errors.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many employers have had enforcement action taken against them for retaliating against (a) employees and (b) other contracted workers for actions those workers have taken to self-isolate due to the covid-19 outbreak.

It is critically important that the following people stay at home and self-isolate immediately: anyone who has tested positive with COVID-19, anyone who has been contacted by NHS Test and Trace or their local authority, and anyone who has returned from abroad and is required to quarantine.

The Government has developed guidance on employment rights and self-isolation so that workers and employers are clear about their rights and obligations. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/if-you-need-to-self-isolate-or-cannot-attend-work-due-to-coronavirus.

In addition, anyone who is due to work anywhere other than where they are self-isolating (normally their home) must inform their employer that they are required to self-isolate. An individual can receive a Fixed Penalty Notice of £50 for not doing so.

It is an offence for an employer to knowingly allow a person who is required to self-isolate to work anywhere other than where they are self-isolating. If an employer is reasonably believed to be in breach of this requirement, they may be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice, ranging from £1,000 to £10,000.

Local Authorities provide written and verbal advice to businesses to enable them to comply with their obligations. Enforcement action is taken against employers who do not follow this advice and who do not take reasonable steps to ensure that their workers who must be self-isolating are not working from outside their home.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to provide security for workers that they will not be retaliated against by (a) employers and (b) providers of work on a non-employment basis as a result of actions to self-isolate due to the covid-19 outbreak.

It is critically important that the following people stay at home and self-isolate immediately: anyone who has tested positive with COVID-19, anyone who has been contacted by NHS Test and Trace or their local authority, and anyone who has returned from abroad and is required to quarantine.

The Government has developed guidance on employment rights and self-isolation so that workers and employers are clear about their rights and obligations. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/if-you-need-to-self-isolate-or-cannot-attend-work-due-to-coronavirus.

In addition, anyone who is due to work anywhere other than where they are self-isolating (normally their home) must inform their employer that they are required to self-isolate. An individual can receive a Fixed Penalty Notice of £50 for not doing so.

It is an offence for an employer to knowingly allow a person who is required to self-isolate to work anywhere other than where they are self-isolating. If an employer is reasonably believed to be in breach of this requirement, they may be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice, ranging from £1,000 to £10,000.

Local Authorities provide written and verbal advice to businesses to enable them to comply with their obligations. Enforcement action is taken against employers who do not follow this advice and who do not take reasonable steps to ensure that their workers who must be self-isolating are not working from outside their home.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to (a) continue and (b) extend the scope of the Warm Home Discount scheme, after the current scheme finishes at the end of March 2021.

We will consult on a one-year extension of the current Warm Home Discount scheme later this year. We will also consider reform to improve the fuel poverty targeting of the scheme beyond 2022, and will consult on this in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support social enterprises affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the important social and economic contribution that social enterprises are making across the country.

Social enterprises continue to benefit from the unprecedented package of support made available by the government, including Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Many will also have benefited from government grants where they have been required to close non-essential retail.

In addition to cross economy measures the Government made available a £750 million package of funding, specifically for charities, social enterprises, along with unlocking an additional £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts. This funding has helped over 13,000 organisations continue to deliver vital services for those most affected by the pandemic.

We continue to monitor sector health closely. The government is committed to working with social enterprise representatives to support a strong and resilient sector.

25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to provide additional funding through the School Games Organiser scheme for additional work with schools in 2021-22 to improve levels of pupil physical activity following the covid-19 outbreak.

Physical education (PE) and school sport plays an important role in supporting children and young people to be physically active, particularly during the current COVID-19 restrictions. The Department is working with the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care on how to support better PE, sport and physical activity provision for all children and young people. This is part of our continuing work to deliver our joint school sport and activity action plan, published in 2019.

I can confirm that the School Games Organisers are now fully funded for the 2021/22 financial year. Funding beyond that point will be subject to future Government Spending Review decisions.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of making an announcement on School Games Organiser funding with a short period remaining before the previous funding round will end on (a) the efficacy of programmes for pupil health and wellbeing, (b) additional costs for participant schools and (c) staff job security.

Physical education (PE) and school sport plays an important role in supporting children and young people to be physically active, particularly during the current COVID-19 restrictions. The Department is working with the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care on how to support better PE, sport and physical activity provision for all children and young people. This is part of our continuing work to deliver our joint school sport and activity action plan, published in 2019.

I can confirm that the School Games Organisers are now fully funded for the 2021/22 financial year. Funding beyond that point will be subject to future Government Spending Review decisions.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to announce School Games Organiser funding from October 2021.

Physical education (PE) and school sport plays an important role in supporting children and young people to be physically active, particularly during the current COVID-19 restrictions. The Department is working with the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care on how to support better PE, sport and physical activity provision for all children and young people. This is part of our continuing work to deliver our joint school sport and activity action plan, published in 2019.

I can confirm that the School Games Organisers are now fully funded for the 2021/22 financial year. Funding beyond that point will be subject to future Government Spending Review decisions.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of existing regulations to tackle the use of automated bots to bulk purchase gaming consoles and computer components upon release, circumventing retailer policies against bulk purchasing and enabling immediate resale at prices higher than the Manufacturer’s Recommended Retail Price.

We know that bulk purchasing for the purpose of reselling at profit through automated bots is a concern for some members of the games industry and their customers. Officials have discussed reports of games console scalping with the trade association for the video games industry, Ukie, who have been considering for example whether there is any additional advice games companies could provide to consumers.

The UK has an extensive framework of consumer protection law to ensure people get a fair deal when buying goods and services. For example, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 protect consumers when they make online purchases of goods, services or digital content from business traders. This includes rights of redress should there be a problem with a product, rules around clear labelling and pre-contractual information, and protection from unfair contractual terms.

However, these rules do not generally extend to guaranteeing the price for the product, nor its availability. Traders are generally able to set their own prices, so long as the price is clear and not misleading and the firm is not abusing a dominant position.

More broadly, as a government we want the UK to be a society in which technology works to the benefit of all citizens. For this to be the case, we must ensure we have the right rules in place to unlock these benefits while also protecting people from harm. That’s why we will pursue a pro-tech approach to regulating digital technologies, which will promote competition and innovation and build public trust through greater safety and security for users of digital tech.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will commit in the next six months to long-term funding for (a) physical education and (b) sport in schools.

I refer the hon. Member for West Ham to the answer I gave on 9 December 2021 to Question 86530.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has for the future of the primary PE and Sport Premium funding.

I refer the hon. Member for West Ham to the answer I gave on 9 December 2021 to Question 86530.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has for the funding of the School Games Organiser network beyond March 2022.

I refer the hon. Member for West Ham to the answer I gave on 9 December 2021 to Question 86530.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children known to children’s services teams in England and Wales have had child criminal exploitation noted as a risk factor in each of the past three years.

Information on the number of children known to children’s services teams in England, that have child criminal exploitation recorded as a factor at the end of assessment, is not yet collected centrally by the department.

Data on child criminal exploitation will be collected for the first time in the 2021 to 2022 children in need census and included in the associated statistics release, scheduled for publication at the end of October 2022. More information on the children in need census can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-in-need-census-2021-to-2022-guide.

Further information on the child criminal exploitation factor is included in the 'Additional guide on the factors identified at the end of assessment' document which is available under the subheading 'Factors identified at the end of assessment' here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/children-in-need-census.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of teaching children about the risks of (a) cryptocurrency speculation and (b) scams involving cryptocurrencies in the context of the history of (i) scams involving novel financial products and (ii) financial bubbles.

Education on financial matters helps to ensure that young people are prepared to manage their money well, make sound financial decisions and know where to seek further information when needed. Pupils receive financial education through the national curriculum for mathematics and citizenship which, for secondary school-aged pupils, includes compulsory content covering the functions and uses of money, financial products and services, and the need to understand financial risk.

As with other aspects of the curriculum, schools have flexibility over how they deliver the curriculum so they can develop an integrated approach that is sensitive to the needs and background of their pupils. The Money and Pensions Service published financial education guidance for primary and secondary schools in England during Talk Money Week, 8-12 November 2021, an annual event that encourages people of all ages to talk about money: https://maps.org.uk/2021/11/11/financial-education-guidance-for-primary-and-secondary-schools-in-england/. This guidance was developed in consultation with financial education experts and is designed to support school leaders and education decision makers to enhance the financial education currently delivered in their schools. The guidance includes links to quality assured resources for schools, including specific content and activities on cryptocurrencies and the knowledge and skills to equip pupils to protect their personal data, critically evaluate online content and identify scams.

There are also other opportunities across the national curriculum to teach pupils about cryptocurrencies. For example, the computing curriculum teaches the knowledge and skills that empower children and teachers to make well-informed choices about technology: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-computing-programmes-of-study. It covers the principles of e-safety at all key stages, with progression in the content to reflect the different and escalating risks that young people face.

The department will continue to work closely with the Money and Pensions Service and other stakeholders, such as Her Majesty’s Treasury, to support the teaching of financial education to children and young people including novel financial products. The government takes fraud very seriously. We continue to work closely with the industry to close down the vulnerabilities that fraudsters exploit and ensure members of the public have the information they need to spot a scam and stand up to fraudsters.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the report, Out of sight: Girls in the Children and Young People’s Secure Estate, published by Centre for Mental Health on 5 October 2021, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of capacity in secure children’s homes to meet demand.

This report raises a number of important issues of concern to all those who are responsible for the care and provision of accommodation for girls within the secure estate.

The responsibility to ensure there is adequate secure welfare provision rests with local authorities as they have a statutory duty to ensure that there is sufficient provision in their area to meet the needs of all children in their care.

The department has taken a number of steps to support local authorities in fulfilling this duty. The department established the Secure Welfare Coordination Unit in 2016 and continue to fund its work to help plan and coordinate welfare placements and to highlight capacity issues.

The department understands that local authorities sometimes find themselves in a position where the most appropriate placement is difficult to access, particularly for children with the most complex needs. That is why the government announced £24 million of investment to start a programme of work to support local authorities to maintain capacity and expand provision in secure children’s homes and will mean children can live closer to their families and support networks, addressing geographic disparities, in provision that meets their needs.

In addition, as part of this year’s Spending Review (SR), the government announced £259 million over the SR period to maintain capacity and expand provision in secure and open residential children’s homes. The department will announce more details on this funding shortly and the findings of the Centre for Mental Health’s report will be useful to inform the future design of the secure welfare estate.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent progress the Government has made on providing a sharia-compliant alternative student finance system.

I refer the hon. Member for West Ham to the answer I gave on 18 October 2021 to Question 53884.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for sixth form students.

We forecast future 16-19 year old student numbers and take into account population forecasts when considering the future need for education funding for 16-19 year olds. Future budgets for this education provision are being considered in the current Spending Review.

We have invested an extra £291 million in 16-19 education in the 2021-22 financial year. This is in addition to the £400 million awarded in the 2019 Spending Review, which was the biggest injection of funding into 16-19 education in a single year since 2010. This has allowed us to raise the base rate of funding for all providers of 16-19 education, including school sixth forms and sixth form colleges, from £4,000 in the 2019/20 academic year to £4,188 in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 academic years, as well as to make further funding increases targeted on high value and high cost programmes.

This year, we have also made £83 million in capital funding available through the Post-16 Capacity Fund to support eligible post-16 providers to accommodate the upcoming increase in 16-19 year olds. Bids are currently being assessed and the outcome will be announced in due course.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to page 25 of the report, Higher Education awarding gaps and ethnicity in London: Going beyond BAME, published by AccessHE on 16 July 2021, what steps his Department is taking to tackle differences in higher education attainment by ethnic background.

It is vital that all young people entering higher education (HE) in the UK do so with the same opportunities as their peers to fully benefit from their chosen course of study.

Under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, the Office for Students (OfS) has a statutory duty to promote equality of opportunity for disadvantaged and traditionally under-represented groups. This includes non-continuation and attainment levels of students from those backgrounds.

The OfS has set itself and the HE sector targets to address longstanding inequalities, including to eliminate the gap in degree outcomes between white and black students.

On 11 March 2021 the OfS published the access and participation data dashboard, which is used to identify gaps in access, continuation, attainment, and progression, at English providers delivering undergraduate provision by different student characteristics. This is available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/data-and-analysis/access-and-participation-data-dashboard/.

In our latest strategic guidance to the OfS we asked them to urge providers to do more to ensure that all students, particularly those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, are recruited onto courses that will deliver good outcomes. We have also asked that the OfS encourage universities to work with schools to meaningfully raise attainment in schools, as this is one of the strongest predictors of future participation in HE.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the report, Higher Education awarding gaps and ethnicity in London: Going beyond BAME published by AccessHE on 16 July 2021, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing the recommendations made in that report.

It is vital that all young people entering higher education (HE) in the UK do so with the same opportunities as their peers to fully benefit from their chosen course of study.

Under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, the Office for Students (OfS) has a statutory duty to promote equality of opportunity for disadvantaged and traditionally under-represented groups. This includes non-continuation and attainment levels of students from those backgrounds.

The OfS has set itself and the HE sector targets to address longstanding inequalities, including to eliminate the gap in degree outcomes between white and black students. In 2019-20, there was a difference of 18.3% between the proportion of white and black students getting a 1st or 2:1. The OfS has plans to eliminate the unexplained gap in degree outcomes (1sts or 2:1s) between white students and black students by 2024-25, and to eliminate the absolute gap by 2030-31.

On 11 March 2021 the OfS published the access and participation data dashboard, which is used to identify gaps in access, continuation, attainment, and progression at English providers delivering undergraduate provision by different student characteristics. This is available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/data-and-analysis/access-and-participation-data-dashboard/.

In our latest strategic guidance to the OfS we asked them to urge providers to do more to ensure that all students, particularly those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, are recruited on to courses that will deliver good outcomes. We have also asked that the OfS encourage universities to work with schools to meaningfully raise the attainment in schools, because we know this is one of the strongest predictors of future participation in HE.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the (a) financial and (b) academic effect on Higher Education students of the covid-19 outbreak in the 2020-21 academic year.

The government’s expectations are, and have been, very clear: Universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and seek to ensure that all students, regardless of their background, have the resources to study remotely.

The Office for Student (OfS), the higher education (HE) regulatory body, is taking the potential impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on teaching and learning very seriously. It is actively monitoring providers to ensure that they maintain the quality of their provision, that students are supported and achieve good quality outcomes, that tuition is accessible to all and that HE providers have been clear in their communications with students about how arrangements for teaching and learning may change throughout the year.

The OfS is also following up directly with providers where they receive notifications from students, parents or others that raise concerns about the quality of teaching on offer and requiring providers to report to them when they are not able to deliver a course or award a qualification. If the OfS has any concerns, it will investigate further.

This government recognises that this academic year has been incredibly difficult for students. As a result of these exceptional circumstances, some students are facing financial hardship, with some incurring additional costs at their alternative address. Officials are working hard with the sector to continue to monitor the situation and explore potential approaches to supporting students, particularly from disadvantaged groups.

We have made an additional £85 million of student hardship funding available to HE providers in the 2020/21 academic year. Providers have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to their students, in a way that best prioritises those in greatest need. Support can include help for students, including international students and postgraduates, facing additional costs arising from having to maintain accommodation in more than one location or assistance to help students access teaching remotely.

This is in addition to the £256 million of government-funded student premium funding already available to HE providers to draw on for this academic year, 2020/21. We know that not all students will face financial hardship. The current measures aim to target support for students in greatest need. The government continues to monitor the situation to look at what impact this funding is having.

The OfS required HE providers to return information on disbursement of hardship funding as part of the monitoring of its use. I have been liaising with the OfS on the analysis of those returns.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to announce the PE and sport premium funding for 2021-22.

The Department is aware of the importance of giving schools as much notice as possible of future funding. We will confirm arrangements for the Primary physical education and sport premium for the 2021/22 academic year as soon as possible.

25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of making an announcement on PE and sport premium funding with a short period remaining before the start of the 2021-22 school year on (a) the efficacy of programmes for pupil health and wellbeing, (b) additional costs for participant schools and (c) staff job security.

The Department is aware of the importance of giving schools as much notice as possible of future funding. We will confirm arrangements for the Primary physical education and sport premium for the 2021/22 academic year as soon as possible.

25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he plans to provide funding through the 2021-22 PE and sport premium for additional work with schools in 2021-22 to improve levels of pupil physical activity following the covid-19 outbreak.

The physical education (PE) and sport premium can be used by primary schools to develop or add to their PE, sport, and physical activity provision, and to build capacity and capability within the school. This includes providing additional opportunities for pupils to be physically active to help with recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department has ensured that schools have flexibility to use PE and sport premium from last year where their ability to make provision was limited by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department is currently considering arrangements for the Primary PE and sport premium for the 2021/22 academic year and will confirm the position as soon as possible.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential that the statement on the effectiveness and safety of transparent face coverings in the guidance for schools on mask wearing during the covid-19 outbreak may discourage some teaching staff from using such masks.

The Department continues to work closely with other Government Departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector. The Department is continuing to work to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, in order to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the effect of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

The Department recently published updated guidance for schools to support the return to full attendance from 8 March, which includes updated advice on face coverings. This guidance explains the actions school leaders should take to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in their school. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

As the guidance outlines, where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, the Department recommends that face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

From 8 March, the Department recommends that in schools and colleges where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn in classrooms unless social distancing can be maintained. The Department is recommending these additional precautionary measures for a for a time limited period until Easter.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This includes people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate. The same legal exemptions that apply to the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport also apply in schools and colleges.

Individuals working with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate are exempt from wearing a face covering in environments where they are normally required.

Transparent face coverings, which may assist communication with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate, can also be worn. There is currently very limited evidence regarding the effectiveness or safety of transparent face coverings, but they may be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

As with all measures, they will be under review and guidance will be updated as necessary.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the merits of including reasonable adjustments for (a) deaf pupils and (b) other pupils who rely on lipreading or facial expressions within the guidance for schools on mask wearing during the covid-19 outbreak alongside the guidance on exemptions.

The Department continues to work closely with other Government Departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector. The Department is continuing to work to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, in order to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the effect of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

The Department recently published updated guidance for schools to support the return to full attendance from 8 March, which includes updated advice on face coverings. This guidance explains the actions school leaders should take to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in their school. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

As the guidance outlines, where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, the Department recommends that face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

From 8 March, the Department recommends that in schools and colleges where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn in classrooms unless social distancing can be maintained. The Department is recommending these additional precautionary measures for a for a time limited period until Easter.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This includes people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate. The same legal exemptions that apply to the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport also apply in schools and colleges.

Individuals working with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate are exempt from wearing a face covering in environments where they are normally required.

Transparent face coverings, which may assist communication with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate, can also be worn. There is currently very limited evidence regarding the effectiveness or safety of transparent face coverings, but they may be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

As with all measures, they will be under review and guidance will be updated as necessary.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government has taken to ensure that school staff are familiar with the guidelines concerning exemptions to mask wearing during the covid-19 outbreak for (a) deaf pupils and (b) other pupils who rely on lipreading or facial expressions for communication.

The Department continues to work closely with other Government Departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector. The Department is continuing to work to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, in order to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the effect of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

The Department recently published updated guidance for schools to support the return to full attendance from 8 March, which includes updated advice on face coverings. This guidance explains the actions school leaders should take to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in their school. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

As the guidance outlines, where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, the Department recommends that face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

From 8 March, the Department recommends that in schools and colleges where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn in classrooms unless social distancing can be maintained. The Department is recommending these additional precautionary measures for a for a time limited period until Easter.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This includes people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate. The same legal exemptions that apply to the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport also apply in schools and colleges.

Individuals working with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate are exempt from wearing a face covering in environments where they are normally required.

Transparent face coverings, which may assist communication with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate, can also be worn. There is currently very limited evidence regarding the effectiveness or safety of transparent face coverings, but they may be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

As with all measures, they will be under review and guidance will be updated as necessary.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the effect of new guidance on mask wearing in schools during the covid-19 outbreak on (a) pupils who are deaf and (b) other pupils who rely on lipreading or facial expressions for communication.

The Department continues to work closely with other Government Departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector. The Department is continuing to work to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, in order to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the effect of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

The Department recently published updated guidance for schools to support the return to full attendance from 8 March, which includes updated advice on face coverings. This guidance explains the actions school leaders should take to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in their school. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

As the guidance outlines, where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, the Department recommends that face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

From 8 March, the Department recommends that in schools and colleges where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn in classrooms unless social distancing can be maintained. The Department is recommending these additional precautionary measures for a for a time limited period until Easter.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This includes people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate. The same legal exemptions that apply to the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport also apply in schools and colleges.

Individuals working with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate are exempt from wearing a face covering in environments where they are normally required.

Transparent face coverings, which may assist communication with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate, can also be worn. There is currently very limited evidence regarding the effectiveness or safety of transparent face coverings, but they may be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

As with all measures, they will be under review and guidance will be updated as necessary.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support is available for families that are paying for student accommodation that is unoccupied due to the covid-19 outbreak.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and we welcome the decision from many universities and accommodation providers to offer rent rebates for students who need to stay away from their term-time address. The government urges universities and private landlords to review their accommodation policies to ensure they are fair, clear and have the interests of students at heart.

The government has been clear in published guidance that tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. Where they can pay the rent as normal, they should do so. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.

This guidance is available to view at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities.

If students have concerns about their accommodation fees, they should first raise their concerns with their accommodation provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, and their higher education provider is involved in the provision of the accommodation, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

If a student thinks their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice as long as their provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/, https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and https://www.rla.org.uk/about/nrla-code-of-practice.shtml

We recognise that in these exceptional circumstances some students may face financial hardship. The Department for Education has worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to clarify that providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for academic year 2020/21, towards hardship support. We have also made an additional £70 million of student hardship funding available to higher education providers this financial year.

Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need. Support might include help for students facing additional costs arising from having to maintain accommodation in more than one location. I also made clear in my 2 February 2021 guidance to the OfS that the funding should be available to help students that have already applied for hardship funding previously but now need additional support. The funding can be distributed to a wide population of students, including postgraduates (whether taught or research) and international students. We will continue to monitor the situation to look at what impact this funding is having.

Students will normally qualify for Child Benefit if they are responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training). Full-time students with children can also apply for Childcare Grant and Parents' Learning Allowance. Full-time students who are single parents or student couples, one or both of whom are responsible for a child, and part-time students responsible for a child can apply for Universal Credit.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of the payment of fees for university accommodation that is unoccupied during the covid-19 outbreak on (a) families on low incomes and (b) single parent families.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and we welcome the decision from many universities and accommodation providers to offer rent rebates for students who need to stay away from their term-time address. The government urges universities and private landlords to review their accommodation policies to ensure they are fair, clear and have the interests of students at heart.

The government has been clear in published guidance that tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. Where they can pay the rent as normal, they should do so. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.

This guidance is available to view at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities.

If students have concerns about their accommodation fees, they should first raise their concerns with their accommodation provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, and their higher education provider is involved in the provision of the accommodation, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

If a student thinks their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice as long as their provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/, https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and https://www.rla.org.uk/about/nrla-code-of-practice.shtml

We recognise that in these exceptional circumstances some students may face financial hardship. The Department for Education has worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to clarify that providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for academic year 2020/21, towards hardship support. We have also made an additional £70 million of student hardship funding available to higher education providers this financial year.

Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need. Support might include help for students facing additional costs arising from having to maintain accommodation in more than one location. I also made clear in my 2 February 2021 guidance to the OfS that the funding should be available to help students that have already applied for hardship funding previously but now need additional support. The funding can be distributed to a wide population of students, including postgraduates (whether taught or research) and international students. We will continue to monitor the situation to look at what impact this funding is having.

Students will normally qualify for Child Benefit if they are responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training). Full-time students with children can also apply for Childcare Grant and Parents' Learning Allowance. Full-time students who are single parents or student couples, one or both of whom are responsible for a child, and part-time students responsible for a child can apply for Universal Credit.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of paying for student accommodation that is unoccupied during the covid-19 outbreak on the finances of deprived families.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and we welcome the decision from many universities and accommodation providers to offer rent rebates for students who need to stay away from their term-time address. The government urges universities and private landlords to review their accommodation policies to ensure they are fair, clear and have the interests of students at heart.

The government has been clear in published guidance that tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. Where they can pay the rent as normal, they should do so. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.

This guidance is available to view at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities.

If students have concerns about their accommodation fees, they should first raise their concerns with their accommodation provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, and their higher education provider is involved in the provision of the accommodation, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

If a student thinks their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice as long as their provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/, https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and https://www.rla.org.uk/about/nrla-code-of-practice.shtml

We recognise that in these exceptional circumstances some students may face financial hardship. The Department for Education has worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to clarify that providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for academic year 2020/21, towards hardship support. We have also made an additional £70 million of student hardship funding available to higher education providers this financial year.

Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need. Support might include help for students facing additional costs arising from having to maintain accommodation in more than one location. I also made clear in my 2 February 2021 guidance to the OfS that the funding should be available to help students that have already applied for hardship funding previously but now need additional support. The funding can be distributed to a wide population of students, including postgraduates (whether taught or research) and international students. We will continue to monitor the situation to look at what impact this funding is having.

Students will normally qualify for Child Benefit if they are responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training). Full-time students with children can also apply for Childcare Grant and Parents' Learning Allowance. Full-time students who are single parents or student couples, one or both of whom are responsible for a child, and part-time students responsible for a child can apply for Universal Credit.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an estimate of the number of international students that are falling into rent arrears as a result of financial difficulties associated with the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has put in place many measures to support individuals impacted by financial hardship, including international students. These measures include protection for renters from eviction, safety net support from local authorities regardless of immigration status, as well as a series of bespoke visa concessions for international students to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19. The government keeps these concessions under review and will not hesitate to act where further support is needed. £3.2 billion has been allocated to local authorities during the COVID-19 outbreak to support vulnerable groups, irrespective of their immigration status.

The department has also made available an additional £70 million of hardship funding for higher education students in England for this financial year. Providers have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that best prioritises those in greatest need. This is available for providers to distribute to a wide range of students, including international. This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding higher education (HE) providers are able to draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds and mental health support.

I have been clear that student welfare remains one of my top priorities and the department has worked closely with the HE sector throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to increase communications and messaging around hardship for students; I recently discussed this with a number of sector representatives at a taskforce meeting.

I would encourage all students, wherever they are learning, who need assistance to reach out to their HE provider’s student support and welfare teams as soon as possible, as these services are likely to be an important source of support. Many HE providers have bolstered their existing student welfare and mental health services and have adapted delivery mechanisms including reaching out to students who may be more vulnerable. For example, over £9 million has been provided by the government to leading mental health charities to help them to expand, and international students can also utilise Student Space – a mental health and wellbeing platform that aims to bridge any gaps in support for students arising during the COVID-19 outbreak – which has been funded by up to £3 million by the Office for Students.

The department does not hold data on the number of international students in rent arrears. We believe that some international students in need of support may not be contacting their universities to ask for assistance if they find themselves experiencing hardship. I have written to international students directly, providing information regarding the support available for mental health, wellbeing, and hardship at this time, and have asked the sector to further raise awareness and encourage international students to seek assistance as necessary.

The UK was one of the first countries to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by introducing comprehensive immigration flexibility for international students, and the government has implemented several concessions to support visa holders. If an international student needs to request access to hardship funds through their provider due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, they can be confident that they can express these concerns to their provider without any impact on their immigration status.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an estimate of the number of international students who have used food banks as a result of financial difficulties associated with the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has put in place many measures to support individuals impacted by financial hardship, including international students. These measures include protection for renters from eviction, safety net support from local authorities regardless of immigration status, as well as a series of bespoke visa concessions for international students to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19. The government keeps these concessions under review and will not hesitate to act where further support is needed. £3.2 billion has been allocated to local authorities during the COVID-19 outbreak to support vulnerable groups, irrespective of their immigration status.

The department has also made available an additional £70 million of hardship funding for higher education students in England for this financial year. Providers have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that best prioritises those in greatest need. This is available for providers to distribute to a wide range of students, including international. This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding higher education (HE) providers are able to draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds and mental health support.

I have been clear that student welfare remains one of my top priorities and the department has worked closely with the HE sector throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to increase communications and messaging around hardship for students; I recently discussed this with a number of sector representatives at a taskforce meeting.

I would encourage all students, wherever they are learning, who need assistance to reach out to their HE provider’s student support and welfare teams as soon as possible, as these services are likely to be an important source of support. Many HE providers have bolstered their existing student welfare and mental health services and have adapted delivery mechanisms including reaching out to students who may be more vulnerable. For example, over £9 million has been provided by the government to leading mental health charities to help them to expand, and international students can also utilise Student Space – a mental health and wellbeing platform that aims to bridge any gaps in support for students arising during the COVID-19 outbreak – which has been funded by up to £3 million by the Office for Students.

The department does not hold data on the number of international students in rent arrears. We believe that some international students in need of support may not be contacting their universities to ask for assistance if they find themselves experiencing hardship. I have written to international students directly, providing information regarding the support available for mental health, wellbeing, and hardship at this time, and have asked the sector to further raise awareness and encourage international students to seek assistance as necessary.

The UK was one of the first countries to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by introducing comprehensive immigration flexibility for international students, and the government has implemented several concessions to support visa holders. If an international student needs to request access to hardship funds through their provider due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, they can be confident that they can express these concerns to their provider without any impact on their immigration status.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Migrants’ Rights Network report of 10 August 2020, entitled The Effects of Covid-19 on Tier 4 International Students, if he will make an assessment of the effect of the hardship experienced by many international students on the UK’s international reputation for education.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has put in place many measures to support individuals impacted by financial hardship, including international students. These measures include protection for renters from eviction, safety net support from local authorities regardless of immigration status, as well as a series of bespoke visa concessions for international students to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19. The government keeps these concessions under review and will not hesitate to act where further support is needed. £3.2 billion has been allocated to local authorities during the COVID-19 outbreak to support vulnerable groups, irrespective of their immigration status.

The department has also made available an additional £70 million of hardship funding for higher education students in England for this financial year. Providers have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that best prioritises those in greatest need. This is available for providers to distribute to a wide range of students, including international. This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding higher education (HE) providers are able to draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds and mental health support.

I have been clear that student welfare remains one of my top priorities and the department has worked closely with the HE sector throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to increase communications and messaging around hardship for students; I recently discussed this with a number of sector representatives at a taskforce meeting.

I would encourage all students, wherever they are learning, who need assistance to reach out to their HE provider’s student support and welfare teams as soon as possible, as these services are likely to be an important source of support. Many HE providers have bolstered their existing student welfare and mental health services and have adapted delivery mechanisms including reaching out to students who may be more vulnerable. For example, over £9 million has been provided by the government to leading mental health charities to help them to expand, and international students can also utilise Student Space – a mental health and wellbeing platform that aims to bridge any gaps in support for students arising during the COVID-19 outbreak – which has been funded by up to £3 million by the Office for Students.

The department does not hold data on the number of international students in rent arrears. We believe that some international students in need of support may not be contacting their universities to ask for assistance if they find themselves experiencing hardship. I have written to international students directly, providing information regarding the support available for mental health, wellbeing, and hardship at this time, and have asked the sector to further raise awareness and encourage international students to seek assistance as necessary.

The UK was one of the first countries to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by introducing comprehensive immigration flexibility for international students, and the government has implemented several concessions to support visa holders. If an international student needs to request access to hardship funds through their provider due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, they can be confident that they can express these concerns to their provider without any impact on their immigration status.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Migrants’ Rights Network report of the 10 August 2020, entitled The Effects of Covid-19 on Tier 4 International Students, what support tier 4 international students are eligible for.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has put in place many measures to support individuals impacted by financial hardship, including international students. These measures include protection for renters from eviction, safety net support from local authorities regardless of immigration status, as well as a series of bespoke visa concessions for international students to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19. The government keeps these concessions under review and will not hesitate to act where further support is needed. £3.2 billion has been allocated to local authorities during the COVID-19 outbreak to support vulnerable groups, irrespective of their immigration status.

The department has also made available an additional £70 million of hardship funding for higher education students in England for this financial year. Providers have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that best prioritises those in greatest need. This is available for providers to distribute to a wide range of students, including international. This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding higher education (HE) providers are able to draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds and mental health support.

I have been clear that student welfare remains one of my top priorities and the department has worked closely with the HE sector throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to increase communications and messaging around hardship for students; I recently discussed this with a number of sector representatives at a taskforce meeting.

I would encourage all students, wherever they are learning, who need assistance to reach out to their HE provider’s student support and welfare teams as soon as possible, as these services are likely to be an important source of support. Many HE providers have bolstered their existing student welfare and mental health services and have adapted delivery mechanisms including reaching out to students who may be more vulnerable. For example, over £9 million has been provided by the government to leading mental health charities to help them to expand, and international students can also utilise Student Space – a mental health and wellbeing platform that aims to bridge any gaps in support for students arising during the COVID-19 outbreak – which has been funded by up to £3 million by the Office for Students.

The department does not hold data on the number of international students in rent arrears. We believe that some international students in need of support may not be contacting their universities to ask for assistance if they find themselves experiencing hardship. I have written to international students directly, providing information regarding the support available for mental health, wellbeing, and hardship at this time, and have asked the sector to further raise awareness and encourage international students to seek assistance as necessary.

The UK was one of the first countries to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by introducing comprehensive immigration flexibility for international students, and the government has implemented several concessions to support visa holders. If an international student needs to request access to hardship funds through their provider due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, they can be confident that they can express these concerns to their provider without any impact on their immigration status.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions has he had with universities on (a) levels of financial support for students (b) communication of available support to students, (c) the support available to those tier 4 international students not eligible for Government assistance, (d) mental health services and (e) rent relief on student accommodation.

This is a difficult and uncertain time for students, but we are working with the higher education (HE) sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to ensure that students are given appropriate support. I routinely engage the sector on our plans and have drawn on the expertise of the HE Taskforce of various sector representatives to challenge and inform our decision making.

On 22 February, I wrote to students outlining what my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister’s announcement on return to educational settings meant for HE. The letter is available at: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/d0d32f33-6efd-42f9-b75d-6b2204ac81dc/letter-to-students_minister-donelan_22022021.pdf. As stated in the letter, we made available an additional £70 million of funding for student hardship. Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need. This funding is available for HE providers to distribute to a wide range of students, including international students. Support might include help for students who are unable to work due to COVID-19 and to help students access teaching remotely. This is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding providers are able to draw on this academic year towards student hardship and mental health support.

Whilst the government plays no role in the provision of student residential accommodation, HE providers can draw on hardship funds to support students facing financial difficulties due to accommodation fees. The government encourages all accommodation providers to be as flexible as possible. Universities and private accommodation providers are autonomous and are responsible for setting their own rent agreements. We encourage universities and private landlords to review their accommodation policies to ensure they are fair, clear and have the interests of students at heart. Where students remain in their university accommodation, HE providers should continue to make sure they are well looked after and supported. Universities UK have published a checklist for providers to support students who are required to self-isolate, which can be accessed here: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/2020/uuk-checklist-support-self-isolating-students.pdf.

It is vitally important that universities continue to make sure that students feel as supported as possible and I encourage providers to regularly communicate with students about the support available to them. Providers should pay particular regard to the specific needs of certain groups during this period, including international students, who will require access to welfare and mental health support and essential services. I wrote to international students in December 2020 regarding tier 4 restrictions, and the letter is available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/01c8a0f7-6799-43e8-aa95-d60552fb6d44/minister-donelan-letter-clarifying-student-travel-in-light-of-tier-4.pdf.

We have informed students via a range of communication channels, including student-facing media, such as: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/949100/Minister_Donelan_Letter_to_Students_on_January_Returns.pdf and: https://twitter.com/michelledonelan/status/1363972520077049857/photo/1.

We recognise that many students are facing additional mental health challenges during this time, and many providers have bolstered their existing mental health services. We have worked closely with the Office for Students (OfS), providing up to £3 million to fund the mental health platform Student Space. We have also asked the OfS to allocate an additional £15 million towards student mental health, through proposed reforms to strategic priorities grant funding.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department’s property company LocatED’s plans to develop 259 Plaistow Road in Newham, London, how many and what proportion of the homes proposed to be built will be for (a) social rent, (b) 80 per cent of market rent, (c) market rent, (d) shared ownership, (e) leasehold sale and (f) other forms of sale or rent.

The Department and LocatED are consulting with the London Borough of Newham and the Local Planning Authority on the delivery of School 21 Plaistow, a secondary free school project. The number of new homes and housing mix is currently under review and will be finalised during the planning determination period.

4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish guidance instructing schools not to include specific brands or types of face covering in their uniform policies for non-medical reasons.

On 26 August 2020, the Department revised its guidance on face coverings in schools and colleges following a new statement by the World Health Organisation on 21 August. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education.

As the guidance outlines, from 1 September, in areas of national government intervention, in schools where year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by staff, visitors and pupils when moving around indoors, for example in corridors and communal areas, where social distancing cannot be safely managed. Nationwide, all schools have the discretion to require staff, visitors and pupils (in year 7 and above) to wear face coverings in indoor communal areas where social distancing cannot be safely managed, if they believe that it is right in their particular circumstances. Based on current evidence and the measures that schools are already putting in place, as well as the negative impact on communication and teaching, face coverings are not necessary in the classroom.

The guidance points to Department for Health and Social Care advice on face coverings but does not specify a type or style of face covering. It sets out that it is reasonable to assume that staff and young people will have access to face coverings due to their increasing use in wider society, and notes that Public Health England has made available resources on how to make a simple face covering.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of homicides of people aged 16-24 have been followed by (a) a serious case review, (b) a child safeguarding practice review, (c) an independent investigation report and (d) a safeguarding adult review in each of the last four years.

The information requested is not held by the Department for Education.

Local authorities are statutorily obliged to inform the National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel of all incidents of serious harm or death of a child under 18 years old where abuse and neglect is known or suspected. The National Panel shares this data with the Department for Education.

Information collected and held by the department does not distinguish ‘homicide’ as a reporting category.

The attached table sets out over the last 4 years: the number of child deaths notified as serious incidents, the number of Serious Case Reviews that local areas have stated will be initiated and the number of local child Safeguarding Practice Reviews that local areas have stated will be initiated.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to reduce UK coastal sea pollution.

The UK Government is committed to leading efforts to protect the marine environment, including from pollution.

The UK Marine Strategy Part 3, published in December 2015, sets out a comprehensive list of actions the UK Government is taking to reduce contaminant concentrations in the marine environment. We are currently updating the document and aim to publish an updated UK Marine Strategy Part 3 in 2022, outlining the programmes of measures that will continue to move us towards Good Environmental Status in our seas. Existing measures include various pollution reduction requirements for emissions and discharges from industry, and measures for coastal waters that are set out in the River Basin Management Plans.

The Government has made tackling harm from storm overflows a priority and we are the first Government to take concerted action to tackle this historic infrastructure issue. Earlier this year the Government published a new draft set of strategic priorities for the water industry's financial regulator, Ofwat. In this publication, the Government set out its expectation that water companies take steps to "significantly reduce the frequency and volume of sewage discharges from storm overflows."  The Environment Act then placed this direction on a statutory footing, setting a duty for water companies to achieve a progressive reduction in the adverse impacts of discharges from Storm Overflows. Defra intends to set out the level of ambition expected by this in due course.

The UK Government is also tackling pollution from waste at its source. The Resources and Waste Strategy for England, published in December 2018, sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, working towards our 25 Year Environment Plan target to significantly reduce, and where possible to prevent, all kinds of marine plastic pollution.

Given the trans-boundary nature of the marine environment, we work closely with other countries to tackle pollution, such as with those who share our seas through the OSPAR Convention. The UK also contributes to and implements the obligations of several global initiatives, including the London Protocol and the London Convention, to protect the marine environment from mercury, persistent organic pollutants, hazardous wastes, hazardous chemicals, pesticides and marine litter and their impact on our precious marine spaces.

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, further to the Answer of 19 July to Question 30326, if he will make an assessment of the compatibility of the 30% recycled plastic content criterion in the plastic packaging tax with the Government's commitment to all plastic packaging on the market being recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025.

The world-leading Plastic Packaging Tax that is set to be introduced in April 2022 will increase demand for recycled plastic by encouraging the use of recycled plastic content in the manufacture of plastic packaging, addressing concerns raised by stakeholders that a lack of market demand for recycled plastics has held back recycling.

Our proposed collection and packaging reforms that will help us work towards our milestone of all plastic packaging placed on the UK market being recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025 are complementary to the tax. These include a Deposit Return Scheme for beverage containers, a requirement for a core set of materials to be collected from households and businesses for recycling and extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging. Packaging EPR will incentivise producers to make better design choices and to use plastic packaging that can be recycled or re-used. Collectively, these proposals will increase the supply of good-quality material for recycling, including for plastic packaging with recycled content. We have recently closed consultations on each and are analysing the responses and evidence submitted by consultees.

Our work towards achieving our plastic packaging commitment and the Plastics Packaging Tax are complementary measures and hence further assessment of the compatibility of the 30% recycled plastic content criterion and the commitment is not needed.

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, what steps he is taking to protect and restore grasslands in the UK.

Species-rich grasslands are vital for biodiversity and their retention and management can play an important part in safeguarding carbon stores. Domestic biodiversity policy is devolved in the UK and so this response relates to England only.

Our 25 Year Environment Plan marked a step change in ambition for nature, and we are already putting in place new legislation and new investment to meet this ambition. Our Environment Bill requires a new, historic legally binding target to be set to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030. A domestic 2030 species target will not only benefit our species but the actions necessary to deliver it will also help to drive wider environmental improvements.

The Bill also introduces Local Nature Recovery Strategies which will identify priorities and opportunities for nature recovery and help drive investment and action to expand, improve and connect habitats, including grasslands, and establish a Nature Recovery Network.

We are committed to protecting 30% of our land for biodiversity. Our Sites of Special Scientific Interest protect our most important grasslands, and provide a wide range of other benefits including flood control, water purification, and carbon storage.

We are introducing three new environmental land management schemes which will support farmers and land managers to deliver a range of environmental benefits. These schemes will reward sustainable farming practices, reducing carbon emissions, creating and preserving habitat, including grasslands, and making landscape-scale environmental changes.

We have also invested in nature restoration to tackle biodiversity loss and climate change and to safeguard green jobs, for example through our £80m Green Recovery Challenge Fund. Plantlife’s ‘Meadow Makers’ project, which was awarded over £700,000 in the first round, is restoring 500 hectares of species-rich grassland at 100+ sites across seven landscapes.

The Government will publish a Green Paper before the end of the year which will set out our approach to driving nature recovery in England and provide the primary vehicle for developing and engaging on our future plans and proposals.

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, what assessment he has made of the prevalence of unregulated horse breeding in the UK; and whether he plans to bring forward (a) legislative or (b) regulatory proposals on tackling equine overbreeding.

To promote responsible ownership, there is clear guidance available to educate and remind horse owners of their responsibilities to provide for the welfare needs of their animal. The statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses, Ponies, Donkeys and Their Hybrids makes clear that you should consider buying or rehoming a youngster before taking the decision to breed. The foal’s individual future must also be considered before breeding from your equine, and the code highlights the UK’s overpopulation problem at the time of publication. The Code can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/700200/horses-welfare-codes-of-practice-april2018.pdf

Further information on responsible breeding is available to the public, including World Horse Welfare’s “Need to Breed” initiative which can be found here: https://www.worldhorsewelfare.org/advice/management/do-you-need-to-breed.

The Government considers that the key issue at stake here is how well equines are cared for after they have been born, and existing protections address this. We continue to engage closely with key stakeholders in the equine sector about these issues. The Government currently has no plans to introduce additional legislation or regulation specifically relating to breeding levels themselves.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the proposed annual reduction of plastic waste that may result from the introduction of a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.

An impact assessment was published alongside our second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Our research in the assessment suggested that for an All-in DRS (which includes all sizes of drinks containers up to 3l) with an 85% return rate of in-scope containers, there would be an annual reduction of 34,493 tonnes of plastic waste in 2024 increasing to 58,007 tonnes by 2033.

Our recent consultation set out options for the scope of DRS including size of drinks containers that could be included. The amount of reduction in plastic waste will of course vary depending on the precise scope of a DRS and potential return rates, which will be reflected in our government response and final impact assessment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of including other single-use materials in the planned deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.

We have recently closed a second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme for drinks containers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and are analysing the responses to the consultation, with a view to publishing a government response in due course. The government response will include a final decision on the scope and materials to be included in the deposit return scheme. An impact assessment for the introduction of the scheme will also be published.

Any packaging materials not included within the scope of a deposit return scheme will be included under the reformed packaging producer responsibility regime to ensure equitable treatment of packaging materials, which would then be collected through kerbside recycling collections.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he plans to take in response to (a) air pollution, (b) resident objections, (c) physical health impacts and (d) mental health impacts linked to gasworks redevelopment sites.

Local Planning Authorities are responsible for issuing planning consents for the redevelopment of brownfield land. The National Planning Policy Framework is clear that development sites should be suitable for its proposed use taking account of ground conditions and any risks arising from land contamination. This includes risks arising from former activities such as gasworks. The Framework is also clear that new development should be appropriate for its location taking into account the likely effects of pollution on health, living conditions and the natural environment.

Certain remediation activities on former gasworks sites (such as treatment of contaminated soils and groundwater) require a mobile treatment permit under the Environmental Permitting Regime. These permits are issued by the Environment Agency (EA), which regulates emissions from the treatment activities (e.g. air pollution, odour, noise).

Before treatment commences, the operator must submit an application to the EA to deploy the mobile plant to site. This application must include site specific information to show how the operator will:

  • control pollution from the treatment process and
  • control and manage emissions to avoid pollution to the environment and harm to human health.
Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when the General License for Bird Gatherings will be reinstated by his Department.

From 21 April 2021, certain bird gatherings can take place in Great Britain provided the organisers notify the Animal and Plant Health Agency at least seven days before the event and that they meet the requirements of the General Licence. This includes markets, shows, sales, exhibitions of pigeons, budgerigars, canaries, parrots, cockatiels and birds of prey. Some low risk pigeon racing is also permitted. Gatherings of ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys or game birds whether kept commercially as poultry, as pets or for other purposes remain banned. Poultry gatherings will be kept under review.

For a full list of what is permitted see the guidance for bird gatherings on gov.uk. Definitive requirements are set out in the published General Licence for the relevant administration (England, Wales and Scotland).

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what representations he has made to his EU counterparts on the effect of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/692 on cross-Channel pigeon racing.

Changes to EU law from 21 April 2021 affect the movements of certain live animals. As a consequence of this change, racing pigeons are considered to be in scope of the definition of ‘captive birds’ and the requirements for imports into the EU would apply. These include export certification and a period of quarantine prior to export to the EU.

Defra has sought technical clarification from the European Commission on the new rules as they apply to movements of racing pigeons, including how an EU derogation for racing pigeons might be granted, and we are actively seeking a response.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on cross-Channel pigeon racing.

Changes to EU law from 21 April 2021 affect the movements of certain live animals. As a consequence of this change, racing pigeons are considered to be in scope of the definition of ‘captive birds’ and the requirements for imports into the EU would apply. These include export certification and a period of quarantine prior to export to the EU.

Defra has sought technical clarification from the European Commission on the new rules as they apply to movements of racing pigeons, including how an EU derogation for racing pigeons might be granted, and we are actively seeking a response.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on levels of food waste of the guidance on serving alcohol only with a substantial meal.

Defra has not made an assessment of the impact of food waste levels as a result of this policy. However, we continue to support the hospitality sector to make sure good food is not wasted.

Since 2018 we have supported the surplus redistribution sector with over £11 million of grants to make sure they have the infrastructure to get good food, including from the hospitality sector, to those who have a need. We are also supporting WRAP and its brokerage work bringing businesses together with suitable food redistributors.

We are also directly helping hospitality businesses to waste less. The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap is open to the hospitality sector and sets out a series of milestones to Target, Measure and Act on their waste including the provision of sector specific tools to measure their waste. This programme is supported by the Guardians of Grub campaign which aims at empowering employees to waste less in its provision of advice, guidance and support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing policies to ensure that food served as a substantial meal with alcohol is not wasted.

Defra has not made an assessment of the impact of food waste levels as a result of this policy. However, we continue to support the hospitality sector to make sure good food is not wasted.

Since 2018 we have supported the surplus redistribution sector with over £11 million of grants to make sure they have the infrastructure to get good food, including from the hospitality sector, to those who have a need. We are also supporting WRAP and its brokerage work bringing businesses together with suitable food redistributors.

We are also directly helping hospitality businesses to waste less. The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap is open to the hospitality sector and sets out a series of milestones to Target, Measure and Act on their waste including the provision of sector specific tools to measure their waste. This programme is supported by the Guardians of Grub campaign which aims at empowering employees to waste less in its provision of advice, guidance and support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the cost to the public purse is of each badger cull zone; and what estimate she has made of the economic cost-benefit of each of those areas to date; and if she will make a statement.

Bovine TB is one of the greatest animal health threats to the UK and the disease costs the public over £100 million a year, with the cost to the farming industry around £50 million a year.

The Government badger cull costs are published annually on the GOV.UK website and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bovine-tb-government-badger-control-costs.

The 2019 costs are still being calculated and will be published later this year. Costs are not broken down by cull zone.

The most recent badger control policy value for money analysis, carried out in 2019, estimates the Net Present Value i.e. the monetised benefits of Badger Control over 11 years at £1.08 million per area.

Further information can be found on GOV.UK at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bovine-tb-badger-control-policy-value-for-money-analysis.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department plans to continue expanding the boundary of the minimum infected area in Cumbria in the event that the Animal and Plant Health Agency continues finding badgers outside that area which are infected with TB; and if she will make a statement.

In Area 32-Cumbria the cull area is made up of two parts, the minimum infected area and the outer cull area. The minimum infected area is based on:

  1. the location of the infected badgers, associated farms and contiguous breakdown areas, plus a radius of the estimated average social group territory based on main sett distribution; and

  1. the location of another farm with a TB breakdown very strongly suspected on epidemiological grounds to be badger related.

Therefore the boundary could be expanded if evidence shows that infected badgers are found outside the boundary, as it was in 2019.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reasons the original planning for the minimum infected area (MIA) in Cumbria did not include barriers to prevent badgers from passing to and from the MIA; and if she will make a statement.

Natural barriers to badger movement were used, as far as practical, for the outer boundary of Area 32 to minimise the risk of possible perturbation effects. Area 32 is made up of two parts, the minimum infected area and the outer cull area. The outer cull area acts as a buffer between the minimum infected area, where the majority of infection is located, and those outside of the cull area.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of a buffer zone around the minimum infected area in Cumbria for the vaccination of badgers, and if she will make a statement.

A ‘buffer zone’ currently operates around the minimum infected area in Area 32-Cumbria; this is referred to as the outer cull area (OCA). Both the minimum infected area and the outer cull area together make up the intervention area.

The OCA is based on estimated average badger social group territory size surrounding the minimum infected area, to take into account the possibility that infection may have already spread in the badger population. The boundary was adjusted to adhere to natural barriers to badger movement as far as practical to minimise the risk of possible perturbation effects.

The results of testing of badgers from the 2019 cull are still being analysed. When completed they will inform decisions as to what type of badger control method should be applied in 2020.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many Animal and Plant Health Agency assurance checks are conducted in each badger cull zone to determine the numbers of active setts in those areas (a) before and (b) after annual culls take place; and if she will make a statement.

All cull companies are instructed to carry out a thorough sett survey programme in the spring before each cull in their area. Animal and Plant Health Agency surveyors then carry out a Quality Assurance check on at least 5% of the land parcels at random in areas between their first and second cull.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many deer are shot in England and Wales each year; how many of those deer are shot cleanly the first time; and how many need to be dispatched with a second or further shot; and if she will make a statement.

Defra does not hold this data regarding the culling of deer. The Deer Act 1991 provides a robust framework for the protection of deer, including the welfare of shot deer.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent evidence her Department has of the effect of invasive non-native species since the publication the 2010 technical report entitled The Economic Cost of Invasive Non-Native Species on Great Britain by Frances Williams et al.

The evidence that invasive species are having an ever greater impact on biodiversity, globally and domestically, is undeniable. The 2019 Environmental Audit Committe report, developed using a wide range of evidence sources, highlighted the risks these species pose to native biodiversity. It also called for greater levels of prevention, management, control and public awareness regarding invasive species and their negative effects on the environment.

Defra is also in receipt of the 2019 UN global assessment report on biodiversity which concluded that “the numbers of invasive species per country have risen by around 70 per cent since 1970” and that “invasive non-native species have contributed to 40 per cent of the animal extinctions that have happened in the last 400 years and are the biggest threat to biodiversity on islands”. Defra is aware that the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services found that invasive species were one of the top five direct drivers for changes to nature and were included in a list with climate change and pollution.

Reports such as “The Economic Cost of Invasive Non-Native Species on Great Britain” remain highly relevant, as the impact of invasive non-native species (INNS) has not decreased since the report was published. Defra recently however commissioned a scoping study aimed at documenting the current evidence in relation to the ecosystem service impacts of INNS in the UK. This study[1] sought to determine the feasibility of expanding on the 2010 report by estimating natural capital costs incurred by INNS, alongside the direct economic costs which the 2010 report focused upon.

[1] Scoping study: ecosystem services and natural capital costs of invasive non-native species in the UK - BE0162 http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&Completed=1&ProjectID=20315

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what consultations her Department has undertaken on the implementation of the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019.

Defra has undertaken two formal consultations relating to the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019. They were: “Invasive Non-native Species: Tackling Invasive Non-native Species – A new enforcement regime” and “Management measures for widely spread Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in England and Wales”. These consultations ran from from 9 January 2018 to 3 April 2018 and 18 July 2019 to 12 September 2019 respectively.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will amend the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019 to permit the licensing of vet practices and wildlife hospitals to release grey squirrels in areas where they pose no risk to native squirrel populations.

Releasing grey squirrels back into the environment, even in areas away from red squirrels, would encourage a wide range of further negative impacts associated with this species towards other native species, forestry assets and national parks.

The release of grey squirrels can only be allowed as a management measure under the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019 if it contributes to the population control, eradication or containment of the species. The Government will, therefore, not be updating this Order to permit the release of grey squirrels by veterinary practices or wildlife hospitals. The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not allow grey squirrels to be kept or released. The Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order, which came into effect on 1 December 2019, thus brought England in line with the rest of the United Kingdom.

Any grey squirrel that requires medical attention can be taken to a licensed facility where it can remain for the rest of its natural life.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to her Department's press release entitled, UK will step up efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children in the developing world by 2030, published in October 2019, whether preventable (a) HIV acquisitions and (b) AIDS related deaths will be included in those priorities.

Ending new HIV infections and preventing AIDS-related deaths is a critical part of the UK government’s renewed focus on ending preventable deaths of mothers, new-borns, and children by 2030.

The UK is a world leader in efforts to end the AIDS epidemic. Last year the UK made a £1.4 billion pledge to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria for the 6th replenishment covering 2020 to 2022. This supports the commitment to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. In 2018 alone, the Global Fund provided 18.9 million people with treatment in 2018 and protected nearly 700,000 babies from being infected by their mothers.

We are working to expand access to treatment, while reducing new infections, particularly among adolescent girls, women, and other marginalised populations, who face stigma and discrimination.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department categorises all deaths following HIV infection as preventable; and how those deaths are recognised in her Department's policies on ending preventable deaths.

Ending new HIV infections and preventing AIDS-related deaths is a critical part of the UK government’s renewed focus on ending preventable deaths of mothers, new-borns, and children by 2030.

The UK is a world leader in efforts to end the AIDS epidemic. Last year the UK made a £1.4 billion pledge to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria for the 6th replenishment covering 2020 to 2022. This supports the commitment to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. In 2018 alone, the Global Fund provided 18.9 million people with treatment in 2018 and protected nearly 700,000 babies from being infected by their mothers.

We are working to expand access to treatment, while reducing new infections, particularly among adolescent girls, women, and other marginalised populations, who face stigma and discrimination.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent steps his Department has taken to help tackle the (a) humanitarian crisis, (b) effects of aerial bombardment, (c) mass internal displacement during winter conditions and (d) destruction of medical and educational facilities in Idlib, Northern Syria.

We are gravely concerned about escalating Syrian Regime and Russian military action and its humanitarian impact in Idlib. As of 6 February, the UN reports that 586,000 people have been displaced since 1 December 2019 and many more are at risk of imminent further displacement.

This financial year DFID has already allocated £103 million to organisations delivering aid cross-border from Turkey primarily into North West Syria, including Idlib. This has helped to provide hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people with food, clean water, shelter, and healthcare including psychosocial support.

Given the rapidly deteriorating conditions in North West Syria, we have put options in place to increase our funding further to address the pressing needs of those displaced by the conflict. We have provided funding to response partners including the UN to preposition essential supplies to support innocent families and civilians displaced by conflict and are supporting all our partners to respond to this humanitarian crisis.

I visited Turkey on 5-6 February and discussed the crisis in North West Syria with UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs, as well as with Turkish authorities. DFID partners on the ground are working tirelessly to provide aid to those affected by the military offensive. We continue to provide education assistance and support healthcare facilities affected by the recent violence.

13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to Strategic export controls: licensing statistics: 1 April to 30 June 2021, Table E, what each of the military licences granted for export to Ethiopia related to in each of the last five years.

Information on all military licences granted for export to Ethiopia over the last five years is available on GOV.UK, from the strategic export controls licensing statistics annual reports, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data-annual-reports.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason South Africa is on the red list for international covid-19 travel restrictions; and if he will publish the (a) data and (b) evidential basis on which South Africa has been retained on the red list for international covid-19 travel restrictions.

South Africa was removed from the red list at 4am on Monday 11 October.

Decisions on red list assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account Joint Biosecurity Centre risk assessments of countries and territories, alongside wider public health factors. A summary of the Joint Biosecurity Centre methodology is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports Ministers' decisions.

Key data used to support decision to remove South Africa from red list on 11 October has been published on gov.uk

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of the (a) the blind and partially sighted and (b) deaf and hard of hearing community on trials of e-scooters.

The Department has in place a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation programme for the trials. This evaluation includes a range of data sources and approaches including data sharing arrangements with operators, surveys, interviews and focus groups with users and non-users and interviews with key local and national stakeholders. A final report will be published in spring 2022. Any future rules for e-scooters may not be exactly the same as the rules in trials, but they will be based on the evidence gathered.

I have met with the Inclusive Transport Stakeholder Group last year, to discuss e-scooters and our local trials. Membership of this group includes representatives from: Age UK, Scope, Alzheimer’s Society, National Autistic Society, Disability Rights UK, DPTAC, Guide Dogs and Leonard Cheshire. Since then I have hosted four e-scooter roundtable discussions - the most recent on 7 June - attended by several groups that represent the interests of disabled people and older people to update them on the progress of the trials and listen to their concerns.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the impact of e-scooter trials on (a) blind and partially sighted and (b) deaf and hard of hearing pedestrians.

The Department has in place a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation programme for the trials. This evaluation includes a range of data sources and approaches including data sharing arrangements with operators, surveys, interviews and focus groups with users and non-users and interviews with key local and national stakeholders. A final report will be published in spring 2022. Any future rules for e-scooters may not be exactly the same as the rules in trials, but they will be based on the evidence gathered.

I have met with the Inclusive Transport Stakeholder Group last year, to discuss e-scooters and our local trials. Membership of this group includes representatives from: Age UK, Scope, Alzheimer’s Society, National Autistic Society, Disability Rights UK, DPTAC, Guide Dogs and Leonard Cheshire. Since then I have hosted four e-scooter roundtable discussions - the most recent on 7 June - attended by several groups that represent the interests of disabled people and older people to update them on the progress of the trials and listen to their concerns.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of skills shortages in the transport sector on the effectiveness of the Transpennine Rail upgrade.

On TRU, Network Rail has developed an operating model which utilises two separate alliances on the east and west of the Transpennine route. These aim to tap into the best capability from rail and construction to mitigate the risks of skill shortages.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he has made an assessment of the potential merits of taking steps to improve the hygiene and social distancing capacity of the Transpennine Rail upgrade in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The business case for the Transpennine Rail Upgrade is being developed. Steps to improve hygiene and social distancing will be fully considered as part of the delivery of the programme. In the interim the rail industry will continue to actively encourage passengers to socially distance, manage passenger flows and increase cleaning regimes.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to plans for High Speed Rail Two, whether he plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of adding Stratford International as an operating station to the High Speed Rail One route.

There are no plans to add Stratford International as an operating station on the HS2 network. The Department considered Stratford International in the initial HS2 station selection process, however, it was not taken forward as it was not considered to release the same level of benefits to onward connectivity and passenger journey times as the planned HS2 London stations.

The Department for Transport also considered a number of rail and tunnel link options between HS2 and HS1, including a long tunnel connecting Stratford International station and Old Oak Common. However, these were rejected on the basis of excessive cost and disruption.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the feasibility of the proposed 2031 opening date for High Speed Rail Two.

We have recently published the second HS2 Parliamentary report with an update provided on potential Covid-related impacts on Phase One. HS2 Ltd is currently re-planning its schedule for Phase One to mitigate slower than planned progress on construction, including verified impacts from Covid-19. However, this will not impact the projected Delivery into Service date range of 2029-2033.

The full impact of Covid-19 on cost and schedule continues to be assessed, including work to disaggregate Covid-19 impacts from other cost and schedule impacts on the programme.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of skills shortages in the transport sector on the effectiveness of High Speed Rail Two.

The Department commissioned the National Skills Academy for Rail in January 2021 to provide data on skills shortages across transport modes. Skills shortages were identified in infrastructure construction, rail, freight and logistics. The Department is now working, in collaboration with industry partners, stakeholders, other Government departments and public bodies (including HS2 Ltd), to identify mitigations and ensure it addresses the challenges facing both the transport industry and the wider economy.

HS2 Ltd has also developed a Skills, Employment and Education strategy, that focuses on securing the skills and labour required to build HS2, and leave a legacy of a highly-skilled and diverse workforce. Underlying this strategy are labour and skills forecasting data and analysis which provide an assessment of potential mismatches between HS2 labour and skills requirements and their availability. Reforecast data is expected to be published later this year.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of High Speed Rail 2 on congestion at central London stations.

The impacts on central London stations (and all London stations including Stratford International) were reviewed as part of the AP3 Euston scheme for the Bill in September 2015. The Transport assessment to this set out the cross-London rail impacts for the design year of 2041 in section 3.5*. It should be noted that Stratford International was not identified as having any substantial change in use at that time.

As neither HS2 Ltd nor the Department believe the impact of HS2 will cause a material change to the underlying long-term usage of the London rail network, the analysis does not currently need updating.

*https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/460749/SES2___AP3_ES_Volume_5_Transport_Assessment__TR-001-000__Part_2.pdf

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of High Speed Rail Two on traffic volumes at Stratford International station.

The impacts on central London stations (and all London stations including Stratford International) were reviewed as part of the AP3 Euston scheme for the Bill in September 2015. The Transport assessment to this set out the cross-London rail impacts for the design year of 2041 in section 3.5*. It should be noted that Stratford International was not identified as having any substantial change in use at that time.

As neither HS2 Ltd nor the Department believe the impact of HS2 will cause a material change to the underlying long-term usage of the London rail network, the analysis does not currently need updating.

*https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/460749/SES2___AP3_ES_Volume_5_Transport_Assessment__TR-001-000__Part_2.pdf

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the environmental impact of the Transpennine Rail upgrade.

As with all rail upgrades, our evaluation of the options made through the business case process will consider the long-term benefit of the scheme in terms of its contribution to the Government’s commitment to decarbonize the economy by 2050. Environmental Impact Assessments for the construction itself will be undertaken in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the value for money of the Transpennine Rail upgrade.

We are currently evaluating a range of different options for the TransPennine Route Upgrade (TRU) which will be selected later this year, informed by the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands. The value for money of each option varies and it is therefore not possible to be specific at this stage.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the completion date of the Transpennine Rail upgrade.

We are currently evaluating a range of different options for the TransPennine Route Upgrade (TRU) which will be selected later this year, informed by the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands. These options range in their delivery date dependent on the option which is eventually chosen.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to make a new assessment of the value for money of the Transpennine Rail upgrade in response to potential estimated revisions to the take-up of public transport as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We are undertaking analysis in support of the next business case for the TransPennine Route Upgrade which we expect to complete later this year. This will consider different post-COVID-19 demand scenarios.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the number of newly qualified forklift operators.

The Government does not record the numbers of newly qualified forklift operators.

The training for materials handling equipment, including forklift trucks, is an option within the Supply Chain Warehouse Operative apprenticeship but is not required to complete the apprenticeship. There have been 5,093 Supply Chain Warehouse Operative apprenticeship starts in the last five years.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends level of the pass rate for LGV driver practical tests.

Prior to the pandemic more than 40,000 drivers passed their LGV test each year over the last four years. The restrictions put in place to fight the pandemic has affected the ability for new drivers to take their LGV driving test.

LGV driver training and testing is due to re-start on 12 April as the current restrictions are lifted. When tests resume DVSA plan to conduct 2,800 to 3,000 LGV tests per week.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the number of people newly passing an LGV driver practical test.

Prior to the pandemic more than 40,000 drivers passed their LGV test each year over the last four years. The restrictions put in place to fight the pandemic has affected the ability for new drivers to take their LGV driving test.

LGV driver training and testing is due to re-start on 12 April as the current restrictions are lifted. When tests resume DVSA plan to conduct 2,800 to 3,000 LGV tests per week.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the number and proportion of EU nationals who are qualified LGV drivers.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency does not collect data on the nationality of those taking an LGV driving test.

Logistics UK estimate that there were around 25,000 EU nationals working as LGV drivers in the UK in 2020.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the number and proportion of EU nationals newly qualifying as LGV drivers.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency does not collect data on the nationality of those taking an LGV driving test.

Logistics UK estimate that there were around 25,000 EU nationals working as LGV drivers in the UK in 2020.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the UK having left the EU on (a) freedom of movement and (b) interoperability of transport skills qualifications in the transport sector.

Free movement between the UK and the European Union ended on 31 December 2020 and on 1 January 2021, and the UK implemented a points-based immigration system that prioritises skills and talent over where a person comes from.

The UK and the EU have agreed a framework for the recognition of professional qualifications between the Parties which is based on the EU’s recent free trade agreements. It makes improvements on those agreements, which are designed to make the system more flexible and easier for regulatory authorities to use. EU driving licence holders residing in the UK will be able to exchange their licence without the need for a re-test. They can use their EU licence as long as it is valid, subject to UK licence renewal requirements. Certificates of professional competence for drivers and transport managers issued by EU Member States remain valid for use in the UK.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the number of qualified LGV drivers claiming jobseeker’s allowance.

The number of LGV drivers claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in February 2021 was 80, down 11 per cent from a year ago. The number of qualified LGV drivers claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has historically been low, reflecting the ongoing LGV driver shortages in the logistics industry.

Departmental officials are working with colleagues at the Department for Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus to ensure that qualified LGV drivers are able to move back into work as soon as possible.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people have newly passed an LGV driver practical test in each of the last five years.

The number of LGV driver practical test passes in each of the last five years are:

2015/16

39,000

2016/17

44,346

2017/18

40,808

2018/19

43,065

2019/20

41,434

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency publishes the statistics for all driving tests on Gov.uk

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the proportion of people holding driving qualifications who are (a) women and (b) from each Census 2021 ethnicity group.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency does not hold this data.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people have newly qualified as forklift operators in each of the last five years.

The Government does not record the numbers of newly qualified forklift operators.

The training for materials handling equipment, including forklift trucks, is an option within the Supply Chain Warehouse Operative apprenticeship but is not required to complete the apprenticeship. There have been 5,093 Supply Chain Warehouse Operative apprenticeship starts in the last five years.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people have newly qualified as LGV drivers in each of the last five years.

Prior to the pandemic more than 40,000 drivers passed their LGV test each year over the last four years. The restrictions put in place to fight the pandemic has affected the ability for new drivers to take their LGV driving test.

LGV driver training and testing is due re-start on 12 April as the current restrictions are lifted. When tests resume DVSA plan to conduct 2,800 to 3,000 tests per week.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the number of people newly qualifying as LGV drivers.

Prior to the pandemic more than 40,000 drivers passed their LGV test each year over the last four years. The restrictions put in place to fight the pandemic has affected the ability for new drivers to take their LGV driving test.

LGV driver training and testing is due re-start on 12 April as the current restrictions are lifted. When tests resume DVSA plan to conduct 2,800 to 3,000 tests per week.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people have (a) applied for a Driving Goods Vehicles apprenticeship, (b) started a Driving Goods Vehicles apprenticeship and (c) successfully completed a Driving Goods Vehicles apprenticeship in each of the last five years.

There have been 4,889 starts for the Large Goods Vehicle Driver apprenticeship standard in the five years to October 2020.

We are working with the industry to develop a suite of apprenticeships which will enable the logistics sector to make the most of the Apprenticeship Levy funding available.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in (a) the number of applications for Driving Goods Vehicles apprenticeships, (b) the number of starts for Driving Goods Vehicles apprenticeships and (c) the number of successful completions of Driving Goods Vehicles apprenticeships.

There have been 4,889 starts for the Large Goods Vehicle Driver apprenticeship standard in the five years to October 2020.

We are working with the industry to develop a suite of apprenticeships which will enable the logistics sector to make the most of the Apprenticeship Levy funding available.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the extent of skills shortages in the logistics sector in the occupations of (a) transport management, (b) mechanics, (c) technicians, (d) LGV drivers, (e) storage management, (f) elementary storage occupations, (g) importers and exporters.

The labour shortages in the sector are longstanding. There has been no recent systematic assessment by the department of the extent of the skills shortage. Assessments have been made by Logistics UK.

We are working with the Department for Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus to ensure that jobseekers can find employment or training in the industry as quickly as possible.

We are also working with the Department for Education in supporting the logistics sector make the most of the opportunities provided through the apprenticeship levy.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent representations he has received from (a) members of the Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce and (b) other sector stakeholders on the effect of the UK leaving the EU on transport sector skills shortages.

In 2016, the Government set ambitions through the Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy (TISS) to increase apprenticeships in road and rail client bodies to help address skills shortages in the transport sector, ensuring that the transport sector has the capacity and capability to deliver planned investment and to increase diversity.

Over the past four years, the Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce (STAT) has worked to identify skills shortages across the transport sector. To understand the likely impact of changes to migration policy post-Brexit, STAT responded to the Migration Advisory Committee’s Call for Evidence on Salary Thresholds (2019) and the Shortage Occupation List (2017 and (2020). This included employer led evidence of the potential impacts of Brexit on the transport industry.

The Department has received representations from sector stakeholders including Logistics UK which publishes an annual Skills and Employment Report and a monthly Logistics Performance Tracker. The Road Haulage Association also continue to make representations to government.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what conclusions were reached on the causes of ethnic disparities in maternal mortality, following the roundtable of 2 September 2020.

At the roundtable on 2 September, leading experts in the field clarified that underlying health conditions and comorbidities largely explain ethnic disparities in maternal mortality rates.

Maternity experts also linked this to a reluctance by some women from minority backgrounds to attend routine appointments and check-ups where many of these conditions are typically identified.

The government continues to work with maternal health practitioners and ethnic minority women to drive positive actions and interventions in this area so that our actions can benefit more women. This includes the recently launched NHS campaign ‘Help us Help You’, informing pregnant women about the importance of attending check-ups, and providing reassurance that the NHS is there to see them safely.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the covid-19 social distancing measures implemented by Great Western Rail.

The Department issues guidance to transport organisations in England to help them understand how to provide safer workplaces and services for themselves, their workers and passengers. It outlines measures to assess and address the risks of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Department published updated guidance on 5 November:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators

The guidance makes clear that it does not supersede any legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment or equalities and that it is important that businesses and employers continue to comply with their existing obligations.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what penalties are applicable to train companies in the event that they fail to facilitate adequate covid-19 social distancing measures.

We have issued comprehensive guidance on the steps transport operators should take to assess and address the risks of coronavirus in the transport sector across England. While we strongly advise passengers to practice social distancing to help limit the spread of COVID-19, we acknowledge that this might not always be possible. We have been working closely with operators to ensure appropriate procedures are in place and that they are clearly communicated to passengers. Some stations have natural ‘pinch-points’, which makes maintaining social distancing difficult. Passengers are urged to use the whole length of the train to board, avoid travelling at busy times and follow government guidance.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of existing legal obligations for train operators to ensure that customers are able to socially distance on their services during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have issued comprehensive guidance on the steps transport operators should take to assess and address the risks of coronavirus in the transport sector across England. While we strongly advise passengers to practice social distancing to help limit the spread of COVID-19, we acknowledge that this might not always be possible. We have been working closely with operators to ensure appropriate procedures are in place and that they are clearly communicated to passengers. Some stations have natural ‘pinch-points’, which makes maintaining social distancing difficult. Passengers are urged to use the whole length of the train to board, avoid travelling at busy times and follow government guidance.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits for (a) reducing the risk of covid-19 transmission and (b) consumer welfare of mandating that airlines seat groups of people who are travelling together are seated closely together during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has published guidance specifically for both aviation operators and for air passengers on safer travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. This operator guidance maps out the measures airlines can take to protect passengers and staff on board aircraft, and includes advice on hygiene measures, face coverings, and social distancing in the aircraft setting. On the specific issue of seating passengers travelling in a group together, the guidance states ‘where possible and where mass and balance allow, enable social distancing among passengers of different households or support bubbles, where relevant.’

The Government expects all airlines to manage the risks of coronavirus as far as possible in order to provide safer workplaces and services for workers and passengers. For further information, the operator guidance is available to view at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-aviation-guidance-for-operators

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make a comparative assessment of the terms of support offered to similar SME leaseholders by (a) Network Rail, (b) Transport for London and (c) the Arch Company to protect those SMEs during the covid-19 outbreak.

Network Rail has offered SME commercial estate tenants a three-month zero-rent period between April and June 2020.

In deciding on this course of action, Network Rail worked to understand the offers of support proposed by those in similar situations, including the Arch Company and Transport for London.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of ceasing food services on trains while ensuring that all food service staff are retained on full pay during the covid-19 outbreak.

Our priority is to ensure the safety of both employees and passengers, as well as the ongoing provision of passenger and freight services. Operators and their suppliers, including those to whom catering is subcontracted, are working to resource trains appropriately, protect staff wellbeing and provide essential services for those who must travel, such as key workers who may have accessibility requirements. On-board catering services should cease, unless it is possible to serve pre-packed food that requires minimal contact. Catering staff can and have been deployed to do other tasks on our railways.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to an investigation into the DWP's handling of Ms U’s migration to Employment and Support Allowance, published by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman on 13 January 2022, what information her Department holds on the number of the 118,000 claimants ​who have not received compensation following departmental errors over benefit payments who are resident in (a) West Ham and (b) Newham.

The Department published an update on the exercise to correct past ESA underpayments on Gov.uk on 8 July 2021. This reported that as of 1 June 2021, of the 600,000 cases checked, 118,000 arrears payments have been made totalling £613 million. This report showed the numbers of cases paid arrears at a national level only as the data was not available at sub-national level at that time. The Department is investigating the feasibility of providing this analysis at a constituency level.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Trussell Trust’s publication, Keep The Lifeline: The Trussell Trust briefing on the £20 cut to Universal Credit published by the Trussell Trust on the 8th September 2021, what steps she plans to take to ensure that people in receipt of universal credit can meet their basic needs when the £20 uplift to the standard allowance of universal credit is removed.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes through a range of measures, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending over £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work. This approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

In April this year, we increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25, helping eligible low income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins. We are investing up to £220m in the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has been expanded to every Local Authority across England. Participating children are benefitting from a range of support, including healthy and nutritious meals as well as fun and engaging activities covering the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the report, What will the end of the Universal Credit uplift mean for areas of poor health?, published by the Health Foundation on 10 September 2021, if she will make an assessment of the impact of the planned removal of the £20 uplift to universal credit on healthy life expectancy in areas where healthy life expectancy is relatively low.

No. The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of the COVID support package worth £407 billion.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced with the success of the vaccine rollout. Now the economy is reopening and as we continue to progress with our recovery our focus is on helping people back into work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for UC claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to UC claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the report, What will the end of the Universal Credit uplift mean for areas of poor health?, published by the Health Foundation on 10 September 2021, if she will make an estimate of the additional costs to (a) the NHS, (b) employers and (c) the wider economy of any impact of the planned removal of the £20 uplift to universal credit on healthy life expectancy.

No. The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of the COVID support package worth £407 billion.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced with the success of the vaccine rollout. Now the economy is reopening and as we continue to progress with our recovery our focus is on helping people back into work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for UC claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to UC claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Child Action Poverty Group report, Universal Credit: What Needs to Change published in July 2021, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing the recommendations in that report.

We are aware of the report, and we constantly keep our policies and systems under review.

Universal Credit is a modern, flexible benefit responding effectively to economic conditions, providing a safety net for millions in the wake of the pandemic. In 2021/22 we will spend over £111bn on working age welfare, equivalent to 4.9% of GDP (GB).

The temporary uplift was part of a support package that has lasted beyond the end of restrictions. Our focus now is on our multi-billion pound Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to reduce the time between a British passport holder (a) applying for and (b) receiving a National Insurance number.

The Department has recently developed a digital service which enables employment inspired National Insurance Number (NINo) applications to be made on-line, removing the need for the majority of applicants to attend a face to face appointment.

Due to the suspension last year of the employment inspired NINo service, because of Covid 19 restrictions, demand for the NINo service is extremely high. The average time taken to process applications, including British Passport holders, is around 10/12 weeks. The Department is currently recruiting and training additional staff to reduce these waiting times.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to continue support for vulnerable children and families provided by the Covid Winter Grant Scheme.

The Government is committed to helping people with the cost of living and providing a safety net for those that need it and has injected billions into the welfare system for those most in need. The Covid Winter Grant Scheme was introduced to provide Local Authorities in England with funding to support vulnerable households with the costs of food, heating and water bills, in response to the pandemic. The funding was intended to provide additional support throughout the challenging winter period to those most in need. This will now be extended until the 16 April 2021 to support families as restrictions are gradually lifted.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what targets the Crime and Justice Task Force has set for her Department.

It is a long-established precedent that information about the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees, and how often they have met, is not normally shared publicly.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to make her Department's dedicated phone line for prison leavers a permanent programme after the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has taken a predominantly digital approach to providing and delivering services associated with Universal Credit, ensuring we make best use of technology to deliver a modern and effective working-age welfare system. This allows our staff to concentrate on those people who require additional support through different channels.

For vulnerable people our telephone lines were also available, including a line for prison leavers. Measures brought in during covid-19 are under constant review.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Request for direction on independent sector contracting from NHS England Chief Executive Officer to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, published on 12 January 2022, what assessment he has made of the long-term impact on (a) staff availability to the NHS, (b) public trust and confidence in the NHS and (c) potential health inequalities linked to increased access to high-quality care of those with the means to pay for access to independent health services of the payments made to the independent health sector referred to in that letter.

The national contracts agreed between NHS England and independent sector providers are short-term measures aimed to support the National Health Service’s response to the spread of the Omicron variant until 31 March 2022. We do not believe these arrangements will have any significant long-term negative impact on staff availability to the NHS or potential health inequalities.

The arrangements provide additional surge capacity to prevent NHS services from being overwhelmed and to ensure the recovery of elective care can continue. The public can be confident that all those requiring emergency or urgent treatment can continue to receive it.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to work with large employers to enable direct access to covid-19 vaccination in the workplace in areas with persistently low relative levels of vaccine uptake.

We have no specific plans to do so. There are now hundreds of walk-in sites and the opening hours of vaccination sites have been extended to seven days a week. General practitioners and pharmacies have also been asked to increase their provision of vaccination services, including in areas of lower uptake.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason otherwise eligible people who received two vaccinations with an MHRA-approved vaccine in third countries are considered ineligible for a NHS vaccine booster, and what steps he is taking to enable people in this group to maintain their protection against covid-19 whilst in the UK.

If an individual has received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in a third country, they will be eligible to receive a booster vaccination, provided they meet the eligibility criteria of the rest of the population. On 29 November, following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, it was announced that all eligible adults aged 18 years old and over will be offered a booster vaccine by the end of January 2022.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to pages 16 to 28 of the report entitled Towards True Universal Care: Reforming the NHS Charging System Report, published by the Institute for Public Policy Research on 22 November 2021, what steps he plans to take to tackle the issues noted in that report.

The Government believes that it is right that people who do not live in the United Kingdom on a lawful, settled basis help contribute towards treatment costs. Therefore, we have implemented a system of charging overseas visitors that is fair and proportionate, working with NHS England and NHS Improvement to ensure that the Charging Regulations are properly applied.

The Department regularly reviews the Charging Regulations, with consideration for their equity and impact on vulnerable groups, using a range of evidence and reports by organisations such as the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). We are committed to improving the support, guidance, and advice provided to trusts on the issues raised by the IPPR’s report. We are taking steps to further protect vulnerable groups by raising awareness of exemptions from charge and improving guidance and training for the National Health Service on identifying patients who are genuinely without funds.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Towards True Universal Care: Reforming the NHS Charging System published by the Institute for Public Policy Research on 22 November 2021, what recent assessment he has made of the equity of the NHS charging system.

The Government believes that it is right that people who do not live in the United Kingdom on a lawful, settled basis help contribute towards treatment costs. Therefore, we have implemented a system of charging overseas visitors that is fair and proportionate, working with NHS England and NHS Improvement to ensure that the Charging Regulations are properly applied.

The Department regularly reviews the Charging Regulations, with consideration for their equity and impact on vulnerable groups, using a range of evidence and reports by organisations such as the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). We are committed to improving the support, guidance, and advice provided to trusts on the issues raised by the IPPR’s report. We are taking steps to further protect vulnerable groups by raising awareness of exemptions from charge and improving guidance and training for the National Health Service on identifying patients who are genuinely without funds.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that current UK residents previously vaccinated in Germany with MHRA-approved vaccines, regardless of nationality, are treated in the same way as those vaccinated in the UK.

Vaccines administered in Germany can be recorded in vaccination records and displayed in the NHS COVID Pass. This allows individuals resident in England but vaccinated in Germany to demonstrate their status and avoid self-isolation regulations in the same way as those vaccinated under the United Kingdom programme.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the HMICFRS report, A joint thematic inspection of the criminal justice journey for individuals with mental health needs and disorders, published on 17 November 2021, what steps he is taking to reduce waiting times for group therapies for people with mental health problems in prisons in England and Wales.

NHS England and NHS Improvement undertook a comprehensive mental health needs analysis was undertaken during summer 2021. It is expected to provide information about the current mental health needs of prisoners as well as the staffing skill mix and resources required to meet these needs. NHS England and NHS Improvement expect to publish the outcomes from this analysis by April 2022.

NHS England and NHS Improvement acknowledge there will continue to be restrictions on accessing group therapies until prisons move into stage one of the COVID-19 recovery regime.

Local recovery plans are in place to address the mental health and well-being of prisoners, which will include both individual and group therapy depending on restrictions. In the interim, telemedicine and digital platforms have been developed to support prisoners’ ongoing mental health and wellbeing across the prison estate.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the HMICFRS report, A joint thematic inspection of the criminal justice journey for individuals with mental health needs and disorders, published on 17 November 2021, what recent assessment he has made of trends in waiting times for group therapies for people with mental health problems in prisons in England and Wales.

NHS England and NHS Improvement undertook a comprehensive mental health needs analysis was undertaken during summer 2021. It is expected to provide information about the current mental health needs of prisoners as well as the staffing skill mix and resources required to meet these needs. NHS England and NHS Improvement expect to publish the outcomes from this analysis by April 2022.

NHS England and NHS Improvement acknowledge there will continue to be restrictions on accessing group therapies until prisons move into stage one of the COVID-19 recovery regime.

Local recovery plans are in place to address the mental health and well-being of prisoners, which will include both individual and group therapy depending on restrictions. In the interim, telemedicine and digital platforms have been developed to support prisoners’ ongoing mental health and wellbeing across the prison estate.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on (a) tourism, (b) businesses and (c) family lives of the restrictions on travel to third countries for those who cannot demonstrate they have had a third booster vaccination if evidence of such vaccinations cannot be provided within the NHS Covid Pass.

From 19 November, the NHS COVID Pass can be used to demonstrate proof of a booster or third dose for outbound international travel and is available through the NHS App and on NHS.UK. Booster vaccinations are not required for domestic certification in England.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing evidence of third booster vaccinations within the NHS Covid Pass; and whether he plans to implement that policy.

There are currently no plans to record booster vaccinations in the NHS COVID Pass. Booster vaccinations are not required for domestic certification in England. We recognise that some countries are altering their vaccination requirements, therefore we are keeping this under review.

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 timescale is for North East London Health and Care Partnership to be allocated an adequate supply of covid-19 vaccine booster doses for (a) immunosuppressed patients and (b) other patients eligible for a covid-19 vaccine booster dose.

Vaccination sites order the vaccines they require to meet their clinic schedules. There are adequate quantities of vaccine for allocation across England and to date, over 99% of deliveries have been made on time and in full.

There are currently several hundred thousand doses for booster vaccination across the three North and East London integrated care systems - East London Health and Care Partnership, North London Partners in Health and Care and North West London Health and Care Partnership. This provides sufficient supply for each of the approximately 300 vaccination sites in these areas.

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, whether North East London Health and Care Partnership has a list of (a) immunosuppressed patients and (b) other patients eligible for a covid-19 vaccine booster dose; and when eligible patients will begin to be contacted about receiving their vaccine booster dose.

North East London Health and Care Partnership has a list of immunosuppressed patients, and other patients eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose. General practitioner practices use this list to contact patients for COVID-19 vaccinations, in coordination with primary care colleagues and acute consultants.

Every eligible adult in England aged 18 years old and over has now been contacted and offered a COVID-19 booster vaccination, including immunosuppressed patients.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much was spent on purchasing bed capacity in private sector hospitals for each hospital Trust in London in each of the last 18 months.

National contracts were used to secure all appropriate inpatient capacity across England, which came to an end on 31 March 2021. However, these contracts related to hospital capacity, not bed capacity. Total spend on hospital capacity and health services from private sector providers from March 2020 to March 2021 is not currently available as these contracts are undergoing a reconciliation exercise. It is expected that this will be completed by the end of 2021/22. However, information is being collated at independent provider level, rather than by specific area or region. From 1 April 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement returned to local commissioning arrangements and as such this information is not held centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the extent to which private sector hospital capacity in London is being used to create extra capacity in the NHS.

No recent assessment has been made. While national contracts were used to secure appropriate inpatient capacity and other resource in England, on 31 March 2021 these contracts came to an end. From 1 April 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement returned to local commissioning arrangements and as such this information is not held centrally.

We have announced £2 billion this year through the Elective Recovery Fund and £8 billion in the following three years to tackle the elective backlog. This will enable National Health Service commissioners and trusts to secure the capacity required locally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of NHS hospital beds per capita for each hospital Trust in England.

This data is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of (a) GPs per capita and (b) GP working hours per capita for each hospital Trust in England.

The information requested is not collected centrally, as general practice workforce data is not available by hospital trust.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Annual Report of the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Wandsworth, published on 21 October 2021, what steps he plans to take to increase mental healthcare resources at HMP Wandsworth in response to the increase in mental health issues.

The service delivery model HMP Wandsworth has been reviewed and an assessment and liaison function is being established within the mental health team. While additional mental health practitioners are recruited, the wider mental health team is providing an assessment, liaison and case management function. This has enabled a review to ensure that referrals into mental health services are dealt with responsively with clear governance and oversight.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are maintaining oversight of these service developments and a number of governance mechanisms are in place to ensure appropriate monitoring and evaluation. These include a monthly Quality and Performance Board, regular site visits, attendance at the prison Local Delivery Board and regular meetings between commissioners and the lead healthcare provider at operational and strategic level.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Injustice? Towards a better understanding of health care access challenges for prisoners, published by Nuffield Trust on 21 October 2021, what steps he plans to take to improve planning of hospital services to meet the high and specialised needs of prisoners being admitted to hospitals in England.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are ensuring prison screening programmes are re-established and effective access to external treatment pathways is made available through telemedicine or in person hospital attendance.

In order to improve the understanding of existing medical conditions and needs of those entering the secure estate, such as drug use, mental health and alcohol-related disorders, NHS England and NHS Improvement are reviewing and updating the reception screening tool across the adult secure estate.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Injustice? Towards a better understanding of health care access challenges for prisoners, published by Nuffield Trust on 21 October 2021, if he will make a statement on progress in health care for prisoners made since the publication of Locked out? Prisoners' use of hospital care by the Nuffield Trust on 26 February 2020.

As a signatory to the National Partnership Agreement for Prison Healthcare, the Department is committed to working with the Ministry of Justice, HM Prison and Probation Service, NHS England and NHS Improvement and the UK Health Security Agency to ensure safe, legal, and effective care that improves health outcomes and reduces health inequalities for prisoners.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Injustice? Towards a better understanding of health care access challenges for prisoners, published by Nuffield Trust on 21 October 2021, what steps he is taking to increase access to outpatient services via remote consultations in prisons in England; and what assessment he has made of the barriers to increased use of remote consultations in prisons in England.

To increase access to outpatient services, all secure and detained sites in England have now received the equipment to facilitate Telemedicine appointments within their establishment. Regions are working to establish connections with their tertiary and secondary health care partners to reduce the need to move a patient to sites external to the prison for a healthcare appointment.

No formal assessment has been made of the barriers to increased use of remote consultations in prisons in England. However, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw region is running a pilot connecting five prisons to one hospital trust for telemedicine appointments and has successfully implemented a clinical assessment and treatment service clinic using the telemedicine solution. Learning from this pilot is being rolled out across the English regions and other regions are now setting up similar services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement continues to work with other providers of services such as mental health organisations, probation services, voluntary community and social enterprise organisations, and liaison and diversion services to promote the use of telemedicine across the estate.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Injustice? Towards a better understanding of health care access challenges for prisoners, published by Nuffield Trust on 21 October 2021, what steps he is taking to improve the collection of ethnicity data for prisoners using healthcare services in England.

The NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) prison health data system ‘SystmOne’ already collects and holds ethnicity data for prisoners. NHSEI regularly review the data fields to ensure they are accurate and appropriate and provide quality audits and reports for internal use by commissioners.

From 2022 clinical records will work across a General Practitioner (GP) to GP system which will support a swift reconciliation of client data including ethnicity, as people transfer from community services into custodial settings and from custody back into the community.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Injustice? Towards a better understanding of health care access challenges for prisoners, published by Nuffield Trust on 21 October 2021, what steps he is taking to support (a) research into and (b) monitoring of avoidable health outcomes for prisoners.

The Department is funding, through the National Institute for Health Research, the ‘Understanding the scale and nature of avoidable harm in prison healthcare’ research project. This aims to identify the scale of avoidable harm in prison healthcare and understand which policies or processes could minimise the risk of this in the future. The project is currently due to complete in May 2023.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s health and justice and health and inequalities teams are considering how the national Core20PLUS5 health inequalities survey for National Health Service professionals could be applied to prison settings. This will contribute to the monitoring and reduction of differences in health outcomes across priority areas such as maternal health, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and early cancer detection. In addition, the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcomes and Death will undertake a review of natural cause deaths of people who died whilst detained in prison.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Injustice? Towards a better understanding of health care access challenges for prisoners, published by Nuffield Trust on 21 October 2021, what recent discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues in the Ministry of Justice on the impact on health and social care services and budgets in England of (a) prisoner missed appointments, (b) high rates of injuries and (c) high rates of poisoning among prisoners.

The Department of Health and Social Care and the Ministry of Justice meet regularly to discuss health services for people in prison. Officials from both Departments continue to work together to improve healthcare services and outcomes for all people in custody.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Injustice? Towards a better understanding of health care access challenges for prisoners, published by Nuffield Trust on 21 October 2021, what recent discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues in the Ministry of Justice on the adequacy of prisoner escort capacity in England for enabling (a) a good standard of healthcare access for prisoners and (b) efficient provision of healthcare services.

We have regular discussions with the Ministry of Justice on a range issues related to the provision of healthcare services in prisons.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Injustice? Towards a better understanding of health care access challenges for prisoners, published by Nuffield Trust on 21 October 2021, if he will work with colleagues in the Ministry of Justice to enable the publication of regular data on (a) prisoners’ health care use and (b) how that compares to use by the general population.

We have no specific plans to do so. However, NHS England and NHS Improvement collect health information in the prison health data system which is regularly reviewed and analysed to improve healthcare services for prisoners. Where possible, comparisons will data for the general population will made.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to administer covid-19 vaccine booster doses alongside flu vaccines to those eligible in prisons in England.

Flu and COVID-19 booster vaccines are ordered by and delivered directly to prison healthcare teams in the same way as vaccination services in the community. The prison healthcare team will offer and administer the vaccines to eligible patients. Each establishment will decide on the best approach dependent on their facilities as to whether their clinics administer both the flu and COVID-19 booster vaccinations at the same time or separately.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the London Ambulance Service Estates Vision, published in 2019, if he will make an assessment of any potential detriment to the access to healthcare of (a) critically ill and (b) disabled people in Newham of the closures of ambulance stations planned by the London Ambulance Service.

No such estimate has been made. The London Ambulance Service (LAS) advises that it is at an early stage in developing its estates a strategy, including understanding how any changes would impact on the care patients receive. The LAS will engage with the public and stakeholders on any proposed changes.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the London Ambulance Service Estates Vision, published in 2019, what estimate he has made of any impact on the (a) mean and (b) median ambulance response times to addresses in Newham of the closures of ambulance stations planned by the London Ambulance Service.

No such estimate has been made. The London Ambulance Service (LAS) advises that it is at an early stage in developing its estates a strategy, including understanding how any changes would impact on the care patients receive. The LAS will engage with the public and stakeholders on any proposed changes.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) breaches of current standards and guidelines on electroconvulsive therapy the Care Quality Commission has identified in each of the last 10 years and (b) practitioners of electroconvulsive therapy have had their license to practice (i) restricted or (ii) removed in each of the last 10 years.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) do not hold data centrally on the number of breaches related to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). The CQC’s records also do not separately identify records of breaches or other regulatory action related to ECT specifically. The General Medical Council (GMC) is the regulator of all medical doctors practising in the United Kingdom (UK). Its role is to set and enforce the standards all doctors must adhere to and it is responsible for ensuring that medical practitioners have the necessary skills and knowledge to join the UK medical register.

The GMC does not have data readily available on practitioners of ECT who have had their licence to practise restricted or removed.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Electroconvulsive Therapy Accreditation Service (ECTAS) requires member (a) practitioners and (b) clinics to meet its accreditation standards in order to continue operating as members; and what role ECTAS has in providing information to the Care Quality Commission on adherence to standards and guidelines on electroconvulsive therapy.

The Electroconvulsive Therapy Accreditation Service (ECTAS) is an organisation of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and arrangements for participation are a matter for the College. The Care Quality Commission may consider ECTAS accreditation as part of the evidence used in its regulation. However, it does not receive details of the accreditation process or of members within the scheme.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many adult prisoners in England and Wales had received a (a) first and (b) second covid vaccination as at 19 July 2021.

As of 19 July 2021, 90% of prisons in England offered a first dose to their adult population. 99% of prisons had also offered both doses to those in Phase One priority cohorts 1-9.

Unvaccinated prisoners awaiting a first dose offer by this date were those newly admitted to sites, however many of them would have already been offered the vaccine in the community or in a previous prison.

NHS England and NHS Improvement collate weekly data showing the number of vaccinated adult prisoners there are in the prisons in England. As per the data from Friday 23 July (which included those who received their first or second dose on Monday 19 July), 43,276 had received a first dose and 23,819 had received a second dose.

As of 28 July 2021, all eligible adult prisoners in England were offered a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

As health is a devolved matter, any data specific to Wales would be a matter for their respective devolved administration.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether all adult prisoners in England and Wales had been offered a first covid-19 vaccination as at 19 July 2021.

As of 19 July 2021, 90% of prisons in England offered a first dose to their adult population. 99% of prisons had also offered both doses to those in Phase One priority cohorts 1-9.

Unvaccinated prisoners awaiting a first dose offer by this date were those newly admitted to sites, however many of them would have already been offered the vaccine in the community or in a previous prison.

NHS England and NHS Improvement collate weekly data showing the number of vaccinated adult prisoners there are in the prisons in England. As per the data from Friday 23 July (which included those who received their first or second dose on Monday 19 July), 43,276 had received a first dose and 23,819 had received a second dose.

As of 28 July 2021, all eligible adult prisoners in England were offered a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

As health is a devolved matter, any data specific to Wales would be a matter for their respective devolved administration.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to (a) Electroconvulsive Therapy for Depression: A Review of the Quality of ECT versus Sham ECT Trials and Meta-Analyses, published by Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry on 2 April 2020, and (b) A second independent audit of electroconvulsive therapy in England, 2019: Usage, demographics, consent, and adherence to guidelines and legislation, published by Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice on 16 March 2021, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reviewing the use of electroconvulsive therapy in cases of depression.

We have no plans to do so. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is responsible for assessing the safety and efficacy of treatments. NICE provides guidelines on when doctors should consider using electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) based on the available clinical evidence. Its guidance ‘Depression in adults: recognition and management’, includes recommendations on when ECT could be considered a treatment option for complex and severe depression. The Department expects commissioners and providers of services to pay due regard to these guidelines, which are kept under regular review.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure financial transparency of primary care providers to clinical commissioning groups, including on partner incomes.

It is a contractual requirement for general practitioner (GP) practices to publish the mean earnings of partners, salaried GPs and any locum who has worked in the practice for over six months.

GPs and partners with total National Health Service earnings above £150,000 per annum will be required to report those earnings by submitting self-declarations annually. The pay threshold at which earnings will have to be reported will change annually with inflation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help improve employee satisfaction in the social care sector.

The Department is working with the social care sector to improve employee satisfaction through supporting wellbeing and increasing recognition for staff. To support the wellbeing of social care workers, we have worked alongside the National Health Service and other organisations to provide a package of emotional, psychological and practical resources for the workforce. This includes support helplines, guidance, bereavement resources and a bespoke package of support for registered managers.

We have also identified carers, paid and unpaid, as essential workers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to give them much-needed acknowledgment of their critical role in keeping people safe and supported.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help improve the affordability of social care.

We are committed to reforming the adult social care system, including the provision of affordable personalised care and will bring forward proposals in 2021.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled The future of prison mental health care in England, published by Centre for Mental Health on 25 June 2021, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing recommendations (a) three, (b) four, (c) five, (d) six, and (e) seven of that report.

There are no plans to carry out any formal assessment. However, the report made a number of recommendations which are being taken into account as appropriate though existing aligned programmes of work being undertaken by the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled The future of prison mental health care in England, published by Centre for Mental Health on 25 June 2021, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the findings of that report.

There are no plans to carry out any formal assessment. However, the report made a number of recommendations which are being taken into account as appropriate though existing aligned programmes of work being undertaken by the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Carpenters Practice Inspection report, published by the Care Quality Commission on 26 June 2021, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect on access to quality NHS primary care of any disruption resulting from the sale of GP practices to for profit providers.

Regardless of whether the contract holder is an individual, a partnership, or an organisation, all contract holders and providers of National Health Service core primary medical services are subject to the same requirements, regulation and standards. We have no plans to make a further assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Carpenters Practice inspection report, published by the Care Quality Commission on 26 June 2021, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect on (a) patient safety, (b) effective leadership, (c) good governance and (d) high quality sustainable care of sale of GP practices to for profit providers.

Regardless of whether the contract holder is an individual, a partnership, or an organisation, all contract holders and providers of National Health Service core primary medical services are subject to the same requirements, regulation and standards. We have no plans to make a further assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many sarcoma patients were diagnosed at stage I and II by (a) soft tissue sarcoma excluding GIST, (b) bone sarcoma, (c) Gastro-Intestinal Stromal Tumours (GIST) in each of the last five years.

Data on the number of patients diagnosed with sarcoma at stage I and II by each of these cancer cell types is not available in the format requested. Statistics on sarcoma are not published by stage at diagnosis because the subdivision of the small numbers of cases leads to unreliable estimates of incidence rates and trends.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to (a) pages 22 to 23 of Public Health England's COVID-19 - SARS-CoV-2 Green Book Chapter 14a, published on 7 May 2021, and (b) the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's Information for Healthcare Professionals on COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, 4.4, published on 15 April 2021, whether he has made an assessment of whether (i) previous experience of thrombosis and (ii) the presence of thrombophilia such as antiphospholipid syndrome should be treated as contraindications for (A) Pfizer/BioNTech, (B) Oxford/AstraZeneca, (C) Moderna and (D) Janssen Covid-19 vaccination in relation to risks of vaccine–induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has undertaken a thorough review into reports of an extremely rare specific type of blood clot in the brain in the United Kingdom, following vaccination with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. It is also considering other types of blood clots alongside low platelet levels. No risk factors for this unusual type of clotting disorder have been identified although the MHRA is continuing to monitor the emerging data.

There is no evidence those with a history of common types of thrombosis are more at risk of developing rare blood clots with low platelets after vaccination. Therefore, the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in individuals with a history of these conditions is not currently a contraindication. Individuals with past clotting episodes without low platelets and those diagnosed with thrombophilia remain at risk of COVID-19 disease and should be vaccinated with any of the available vaccines. However, as a precautionary measure, administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine in patients with a history of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis or antiphospholipid syndrome should only be considered when the benefit outweighs any potential risks and use is contraindicated in those who have experienced major clots with low platelets after any COVID-19 vaccine or after exposure to heparin.

These rare events have also been reported in other countries with the Janssen vaccine. However, no predisposing risk factors have been identified. The available evidence does not suggest an increased risk of these rare events following administration of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support he is providing to (a) research, (b) clinical trials and (c) psychological support services to help improve outcomes for patients with covid-19 vaccine–induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis.

The Department commissions research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR is supporting a relevant study on mechanisms of immunothrombosis in Vaccine-Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT). Findings from this study are available at the following link:

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaut.2021.102662

There are currently no clinical trials specifically looking at VITT in the United Kingdom. As the largest public funder of health and care research, the NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including COVID-19 vaccine-induced thrombocytopenia and thrombosis.

We are investing an additional £110 million to expand adult mental health services including psychological and talking therapies and £111 million to increase the mental health workforce support patients with conditions such as COVID-19 VITT.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of developing a diagnostic pathway for patients with respiratory symptoms.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have already invested £2 million to fund the establishment of Respiratory Clinical Networks to support the delivery of the objectives set out in the NHS Long Term Plan and provide clinical leadership to respiratory services in managing the current and on-going demand posed by COVID-19.

A priority area for respiratory services in the Long Term Plan is spirometry and this will be supported through the 13 respiratory clinical networks and the national team. The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) for 2021/22 includes improved respiratory indicators. The QOF will measure patients with a clinical diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on or after 1 April 2021 whose diagnosis has been confirmed by a quality-assured post-bronchodilator spirometry test.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to allocate funding to the roll-out of NHS diagnostic hubs for patients with respiratory symptoms.

For 2021/22, £325 million of capital funding has been allocated for diagnostic services. Discussions on how funding will be allocated are ongoing, including the establishment of community diagnostic hubs (CDHs). Diagnostics for respiratory conditions are part of the proposed ‘core’ services to be provided by CDHs. Pending the funding allocation, plans for mobilisation of CDHs from across England are currently under review and we anticipate some early adopter sites to provide services from summer 2021 with further CDHs opening in autumn.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what is the median time to a first diagnostic a) x-ray, b) CT scan, and c) spirometry test, where a serious lung condition is suspected, for each hospital Trust in England, for each of the last five years.

The data is not available in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what is the median time to a first appointment with a specialist respiratory consultant when a serious lung condition is suspected, for each hospital Trust in England, for each of the last five years.

The data is not available in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what is the median time to a diagnosis of Pulmonary Fibrosis, from first presentation to a GP with respiratory symptoms, for each hospital Trust in England, for each of the last five years.

The information is not collected in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on prognoses for chronic lung conditions that arise following a covid-19 infection.

It is not yet clear what the physical, psychological and rehabilitation needs will be for those experiencing long-term effects of the virus, including those with chronic lung conditions. The National Health Service and the wider scientific community are currently working to better understand the disease course of the COVID-19 virus, including symptom severity and duration, long term effects and how best to support recovery.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on waiting times for respiratory diagnostic appointments.

Community Diagnostic Hubs will create additional capacity for patients presenting with respiratory symptoms which will support efforts to reduce waiting times. Elective waiting lists, including for those with respiratory symptoms, are managed at system and trust level with digital solutions available to ensure the most clinically urgent patients are managed first. In addition, £1 billion has been made available to the National Health Service in 2021/22 to support the recovery of elective activity.

While we have made no official assessment, the NHS is taking steps to restore services and improve waiting times as a priority, including services for respiratory patients. In May, the NHS announced a £160 million accelerator initiative to rapidly trial further innovations and interventions to boost activity across all elective services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve waiting times for patients presenting with respiratory symptoms.

Community Diagnostic Hubs will create additional capacity for patients presenting with respiratory symptoms which will support efforts to reduce waiting times. Elective waiting lists, including for those with respiratory symptoms, are managed at system and trust level with digital solutions available to ensure the most clinically urgent patients are managed first. In addition, £1 billion has been made available to the National Health Service in 2021/22 to support the recovery of elective activity.

While we have made no official assessment, the NHS is taking steps to restore services and improve waiting times as a priority, including services for respiratory patients. In May, the NHS announced a £160 million accelerator initiative to rapidly trial further innovations and interventions to boost activity across all elective services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) funding and (b) other support his Department is providing to research into chronic lung conditions caused by covid-19 infection.

The Government recognises that chronic health conditions, including chronic lung conditions, may result from a COVID-19 infection and that there is a need to invest in research to better understand these conditions and how to effectively support affected individuals. The National Institute for Health Research, with UK Research and Innovation, has funded a post-hospitalisation study to understand and improve long-term health outcomes for people hospitalised with COVID-19 and four research studies specifically looking at the long-term effects of COVID-19, in non-hospitalised individuals with funding totalling £18.5 million. In addition, a second £20 million ‘long’ COVID-19 research call is currently underway.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Outcome Evaluation of the National Model for Liaison and Diversion, published by RAND Europe in April 2021, what steps he is taking to implement the recommendations to (a) increase capacity for onward referrals from Liaison and Diversion services and (b) develop approaches to support people who have multiple vulnerabilities but are not currently eligible for referral because no single vulnerability meets a required therapeutic threshold.

The Departmental funded evaluation of Liaison and Diversion services, published by RAND, found that these services are successfully engaging with a range of service users with diverse and often overlapping vulnerabilities. The evaluation has shown that the Liaison and Diversion model is successful in increasing referrals to mental health and drug and alcohol treatment services and diversion from custodial sentences.  The Department will be working across Government to further analyse the report’s findings and identify opportunities to build on this successful model.

We remain focussed on our NHS Long Term Plan commitments including those to expand access to community mental health services for adults with serious mental illness, including those individuals with the most complex needs. This will help maximise the effectiveness of Liaison and Diversion services by increasing capacity for onward referrals and improving support available for individuals with multiple vulnerabilities.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Outcome Evaluation of the National Model for Liaison and Diversion, published by RAND Europe in April 2021, what steps he is taking to implement the recommendations to (a) increase capacity for onward referrals from Liaison and Diversion services and (b) develop approaches to support people who have multiple vulnerabilities but are not currently eligible for referral because no single vulnerability meets a required therapeutic threshold.

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

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect on mental health of restrictions on (a) pigeon racing gatherings and (b) cross-Channel pigeon races.

No such assessment has been made.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Apr 2021
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 women in police custody who have been screened by Liaison and Diversion services.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of women in police custody screened by Liaison and Diversion services were found to have mental ill-health in the most recent period for which data is available.

The information is not available in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to page 10 of the Liaison and Diversion Standard Service Specification 2019, published on 20th November 2019, what steps he is taking to monitor adherence with the commitments for all services to (a) develop a gender specific female pathway to holistically address the specific needs of women in the criminal justice system, (b) nominate a dedicated female practitioner and (c) offer all females who come into custody a choice of gender for their practitioner or support time recovery worker who will provide a gender sensitive approach to screening and support effective onward referrals to gender specific services.

Dedicated female practitioner leads were nominated for each Liaison and Diversion Service in 2018. In 2019 self-report questionnaires were issued to all Liaison and Diversion Female Pathway Leads to assess progress made against developing effective female pathways. Having analysed the returns, bespoke advice was offered to providers.

In November 2020 NHS England delivered a virtual Maternal and Perinatal Pathway Workshop to commissioners and providers of Liaison and Diversion services. NHS England regional Health and Justice commissioning teams monitor Liaison and Diversion providers performance against the service specification requirements to ensure that they are delivering a gender specific approach within Liaison and Diversion Services and that they have effective pathways in place for onward referrals to gender specific community based services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 March 2021 to Question 138422 and the Answer of 16 March 2021 to Question 154909, if he will publish recent data on the vaccination rates for (a) directly employed prison staff, (b) non-directly employed people who work within prisons, (c) probation staff who have direct contact with service users and (d) prisoners.

We do not currently centrally hold data on the vaccination rates for directly employed prison staff, non-directly employed people who work within prisons or probation staff.

As of 19 April 2021 we have administered 23,281 first doses to prisoners eligible for vaccination during phase one. This represents an estimated 85% of eligible prisoners. In addition, 780 prisoners have received second doses which is 3.4% of the first dose total and includes some prisoners having a second dose in prison after a first dose in the community.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report by Empowering People Inspiring Change, The impact of lockdown to physical health, published in March 2021, what steps he is taking to ensure the adequacy of (a) communications with patients and (b) access to healthcare is maintained in prisons and youth custody facilities in England and Wales.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of communication programmes were initiated across the English secure and detained estate, including prisons and youth offender institutions, with the support of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service including using prison television broadcasts to address COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 care. Prison radio continues to feature programmes providing general medical information for patients in prisons delivered by clinical providers and a number of articles have been written for the prison magazine, Inside Times, as well as general notifications, such as leaflets translated into a number of languages posted across individual sites.

General practitioner and nurse-led services have continued to be present within all prisons in England. In response to COVID-19, telemedicine has been deployed at speed across the estate, enabling video calling for primary care, secondary care and mental health appointments within dedicated healthcare facilities. The provision of health services to those in public sector prisons in Wales is a matter for the Welsh Government.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to HM Chief Inspector of Prisons report on a scrutiny visit to HMP Long Lartin, published on 16 March 2021, what steps he will take to prevent waits to see a GP of (a) more than 12 months and (b) other long periods.

Following the HM Inspector of Prisons’ report, we understand that a number of changes have been made to processes to ensure patients in the prison are able to see a general practitioner in a timely way, including clinical triage of patients placed on waiting lists based on need and a single point of administrative contact who will report when any patient has exceeded an appropriate wait time. Patients will also be able to refer themselves to healthcare services appropriately, in a timely manner and with any necessary support to enable them to communicate their needs. Officers will receive an introduction to the healthcare service as part of their induction and patients will receive this as part of their reception/transfer in.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Questions 138422 and 154909 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, for what reasons third sector organisations have already received that information; and when he plans to respond to those Questions, tabled by the hon. Member for West Ham.

The information requested is not collected centrally. If third sector organisations have received this information, this may have been provided locally.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers to Written Questions 138422 and 154909.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether pharmacy staff are required to wear a face covering while serving customers.

The Face Covering Regulations require that workers in retail, hospitality and leisure venues wear a face covering where they come or are likely to come into contact with members of the public. Pharmacies are included in these requirements so both staff and members of the public must wear a face covering.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of (a) directly employed prison staff, (b) non-directly employed people who work within prisons, (c) probation staff who have direct contact with service users, (d) prisoners over the age of 80, (e) prisoners over the age of 75, (f) prisoners over the age of 70 and (g) clinically extremely vulnerable prisoners have received a first dose of a covid-19 vaccine as at 19 February 2021.

The information is not currently centrally held in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what targets the Crime and Justice Task Force has set for his Department.

It is a long-established precedent that information about the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees and how often they have met is not normally shared publicly.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the effect of no regular social security income for people who have no recourse to public funds on the likelihood of those people (a) requesting a covid-19 test as per Government advice and (b) self-isolating due to the covid-19 outbreak.

We introduced the Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP) scheme to support those where financial concerns can make it difficult to self-isolate.

We continue to work closely with the 314 local authorities in England to monitor the efficacy and payments made under the TTSP scheme. The discretionary element of TTSP is specifically designed to address the needs of people on low incomes, including those with no recourse to public funds, who need financial support for self-isolation and to encourage greater uptake of testing and to undertake self-isolation. We have provided an additional £20 million a month to extend the current scheme beyond 31 March into the summer.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS England A&E Attendances and Emergency Admissions 2020-21 data for January 2021, what assessment he has made of geographical disparities in the number of patients waiting longer than 12 hours in A&Es after a decision has been made to admit them; and what estimate he has made of the number of patients waiting longer than 12 hours in A&Es after a decision has been made to admit them in Barts Health Trust.

The following table provides data on the number of patients spending more than 12 hours from decision to admit to admission in January 2021, by National Health Service region and Barts Health Trust.

Number of patients spending more than 12 hours from decision to admit to admission

NHS England East of England

246

NHS England London

1,534

NHS England Midlands

405

NHS England North East and Yorkshire

59

NHS England North West

405

NHS England South East

141

NHS England South West

1,019

Barts Health NHS Trust

376

It should be noted that Barts Health NHS Trust data is not comparable with other hospitals as it has three hospitals with major emergency departments within the Trust.

COVID-19 rates in London were higher compared to the rest of the country in January.

The increased number of 12-hour trolley waits seen in January 2021 reflects the extreme demand for beds in the system at this time, with delays reported due to awaiting COVID-19 test results, reduced bed stock due to social distancing and intensive treatment unit capacity expansion and reconfiguration of beds to meet COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 demand.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of ethnic disparities in the rates of (a) application for a covid-19 self-isolation support payment and (b) receipt of such payment.

The Department is currently working with local authorities to gather information on the operation and impact of the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme, including an assessment of the ethnicity of those applying for and receiving the payments. The results of the assessment and information covering any ethnic disparities will be published in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many GP surgeries in Newham are owned by UK subsidiaries of (a) for-profit and (b) other private healthcare companies based in the US.

All general practitioner (GP) practices are private businesses that are paid by the National Health Service to provide a health service to their registered patients. Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) holds details of the type of each GP contract holder in Newham, but not details of the full cooperate structure of the limited companies that hold contracts. Newham CCG does not directly contract with any private healthcare companies based in the United States.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 February 2021 to Question 150736, if he will make an assessment of potential merits of publishing an evaluation of the benefits of wing-based primary care in prisons including (a) an identification of examples of excellence and (b) recommendations relating to the future model of healthcare after covid-19 restrictions are ended.

There are currently no plans to make such an assessment.

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, if he will make an estimate of the number of people for whom ineligibility for (a) self-isolation support payments and (b) sick pay has been a barrier to self-isolation during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have made no such estimate. The Government continues to work closely with the 314 local authorities in England to monitor the efficacy and payments made under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

The scheme is now being extended to the summer and funding to local authorities to make discretionary payments to people facing hardship is being increased to £20 million a month, to ensure local authorities can continue to make payments and support people on low incomes to stay at home and self-isolate when required to do so.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to statistics on alcohol and drug treatment in secure settings 2019 to 2020, published on 28 January 2021, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the (a) fall in the proportion of young people in treatment in secure settings reporting problems with NPS since 2015-16 and (b) increase in the proportion of young people in treatment in secure settings reporting problems with opiates since 2015-16.

No such assessment has been made.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for the commissioning of substance misuse services within secure and detained settings. In addition to structured treatment, unstructured treatment is also provided which can include harm reduction advice, brief interventions, mutual aid groups and signposting and information. This is not reported in National Drug Treatment Monitoring System data.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to statistics on alcohol and drug treatment in secure settings 2019 to 2020, published on 28 January 2021, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the decrease since 2015-16 in the number of adults in secure settings (a) starting substance misuse treatment and (b) in substance misuse treatment.

No such assessment has been made.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for the commissioning of substance misuse services within secure and detained settings. In addition to structured treatment, unstructured treatment is also provided which can include harm reduction advice, brief interventions, mutual aid groups and signposting and information. This is not reported in National Drug Treatment Monitoring System data.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Alcohol and drug treatment in secure settings 2019 to 2020: report, published on 28 January 2021, what plans he has to reduce regional inequalities in the proportion of adults with a substance misuse treatment need who successfully engage in community-based structured treatment following release from prison.

The Government recently announced an additional £80 million of funding in 2021/22 to enhance drug treatment services, including increasing the number of treatment places for prison leavers and offenders across England. This will improve access to community treatment for adults and young people following their release from a secure setting.

In addition, the NHS Long Term Plan introduced a new RECONNECT service which works with people before they leave prison and helps them to make the transition to community-based services. Of the new £80 million funding, £2.5 million will be invested in an enhanced RECONNECT service. This will support offenders with complex needs to engage with and get the right treatment from substance misuse and other services, for up to a year after release. The enhanced service will target those aged 18 to 24 years old.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to statistics on alcohol and drug treatment in secure settings 2019 to 2020, published on 28 January 2021, what plans he has to increase the proportions of (a) adults and (b) young people starting substance misuse treatment in the community following release from a secure setting.

The Government recently announced an additional £80 million of funding in 2021/22 to enhance drug treatment services, including increasing the number of treatment places for prison leavers and offenders across England. This will improve access to community treatment for adults and young people following their release from a secure setting.

In addition, the NHS Long Term Plan introduced a new RECONNECT service which works with people before they leave prison and helps them to make the transition to community-based services. Of the new £80 million funding, £2.5 million will be invested in an enhanced RECONNECT service. This will support offenders with complex needs to engage with and get the right treatment from substance misuse and other services, for up to a year after release. The enhanced service will target those aged 18 to 24 years old.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to statistics on alcohol and drug treatment in secure settings 2019 to 2020, published on 28 January 2021, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the (a) decrease in the proportion of young people completing substance misuse treatment in secure settings and( b) increase in the proportion of young people declining substance misuse treatment.

No such assessment has been made.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for the commissioning of substance misuse services within secure and detained settings. In addition to structured treatment, unstructured treatment is also provided which can include harm reduction advice, brief interventions, mutual aid groups and signposting and information. This is not reported in National Drug Treatment Monitoring System data.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of funding the provision of hepatitis C diagnostic testing machines to prisons to (a) reduce the time between testing and treatment, (b) reduce the need for liver transplants, (c) make progress towards the elimination of hepatitis C and (d) related factors.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have offered testing machines extensively to trusts who lead the diagnosis and treatment pathways, including those in prisons. Some prisons have taken up the offer, while others already achieve excellent rates of testing with other methods.

Furthermore, the High Intensity Test and Treat (HITT) programme have been implemented in prisons. HITTs involve partner services working together to offer testing to every person in prison on a short period of time. Those who are found to be positive are fast-tracked onto treatment, with a deadline of less than two weeks. The aim of the HITTs is the test at least 95% of the prison population, leaving prisons in a good place to achieve micro-elimination of Hepatitis C. Whilst these projects were disrupted during lockdown periods, several HITTs were able to take place during 2020.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have commissioned prisoner peer support schemes, run by the Hepatitis C Trust. The peers provide information about Hepatitis C to those at risk and work to engage with each individual on their own terms and encouraging and support individuals in testing.

Progress is being made towards the elimination of hepatitis C. Over 57,000 people have benefitted from new drugs which cure hepatitis C being made available on the National Health Service over the last few years. Up to 95% of those with a reported response to the treatment have been cured. Furthermore, death registrations for hepatitis C-related end-stage liver disease and cancer fell by 20% between 2015 and 2018, exceeding the 10% reduction by 2020 World Health Organization target. This is a direct result of the investment in hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many prisons have machines capable of running diagnostic tests for Hepatitis C on site in England and Wales.

All 112 prisons in England have access to hepatitis C diagnosis. Local authorities decide which method is utilised to achieve diagnosis. This is usually either a ‘point of care’ antibody test, a dry blood spot test or onsite PCR testing machines. Prisons may also have access to other diagnostic kit such as portable fibroscanners, to assess liver cirrhosis.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have offered ‘point of care’ PCR testing machines to every trust leading hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment pathways, including prisons. NHS England and NHS Improvement also offer the option of taking machines into 30 prisons per year as a part of the ‘High Intensity Test & Treat’ programme, to supplement reception screening.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the effect on the efficacy of prison diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C of (a) short sentence lengths, (b) short periods spent in prison on remand, (c) short recalls to prison and (d) the use of prisons as a place of safety.

Prisons in England use an ‘opt-out’ testing offer to diagnose hepatitis C infection. Testing is offered either at reception into prison or within 72 hours at the more extensive healthcare assessment. Individuals can be diagnosed, referred to a virtual consultation with the specialist treatment team and start treatment within days. Hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment for prisoners on a short sentence and remand will, to an extent, rely upon the prisoner rate of uptake for offered tests.

For those who start but do not complete treatment, medicines can be provided to take out on release and a ‘Follow Me’ facility can be used to ensure patients remain engaged with their treatment. Prisoners on short recalls are unlikely to start treatment within a one to two-week period. However, they will receive the opt-out testing offer and referral processes are in place for those individuals testing positive. If individuals are already diagnosed and/or have started treatment, this can be continued through case management between prison health and the trust specialist treatment team.

Prisons should not be used as a place of safety as alternative provision is available and more suitable for people who need to be kept safe.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of publishing an evaluation of the benefits of wing-based primary care in prisons, including (a) an identification of examples of excellence, and (b) recommendations relating to the future model of healthcare after covid-19 restrictions are ended.

No such assessment has been made.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on estimating the volume of wastage of covid-19 vaccines resulting from restrictions on the re-use of vaccines allocated to prisoners not being permitted to be re-used for prison staff.

Data on wastage of vaccination doses is not currently available. Work is ongoing across the vaccination programme to standardise and increase the information available for management purposes. However, no vaccines should be wasted.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised that where vaccine remains unused following an offer of vaccination to those in detained settings, such vaccine could reasonably be offered to prison officers.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is national policy that unused covid-19 vaccines within a batch allocated to prisoners in a prison setting may be used to vaccinate prison staff in that prison.

On 11 March 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommended that any left-over vaccine that cannot be used on detainees should be used for prison officers. This is increasingly unlikely given the numbers of detainees now eligible for the vaccine as the programme continues. However, in cases where vaccine remains unused following an offer of vaccination to those in detained settings, NHS England and NHS Improvement have been asked to consider offering those vaccines to prison officers, in order to minimise wastage in delivery of the programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the proportion of (a) women, (b) young people and (c) men leaving custody that are connected with a GP in their local area.

This information is not held centrally. For those leaving custody, general practitioner registration should be arranged prior to release.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish weekly data on the numbers and proportion of (a) directly employed prison staff, (b) non-directly employed people who work within prisons, (c) probation staff who have direct contact with service users and (d) prisoners within each vaccine priority group when that priority group becomes eligible for vaccination who have received a (i) first dose of a covid-19 vaccine and (ii) full dose of a covid-19 vaccine.

The information requested is not currently held centrally in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) directly employed prison staff, (b) non-directly employed people who work within prisons, (c) probation staff who have direct contact with service users and (d) prisoners over the age of 80 have received a first dose of a covid-19 vaccine as at 15 January 2021.

The information is not collected in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with local NHS providers on the (a) ending of and (b) process of emergence from the covid-19 lockdown that began on 6 January 2021.

Ministers and officials have regular discussions with National Health Service providers on a wide range of issues relating to the current national restrictions.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to include an assessment of NHS staff capacity in decision-making on the ending of the covid-19 lockdown that began on 6 January 2021.

National Health Service capacity is monitored by NHS England, while Public Health England publishes monitoring data on capacity at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/healthcare

The Government will take a cautious approach to easing lockdown and will be guided by the data. Of the four tests to facilitate decision-making around the easing of lockdown, two relate to NHS capacity; evidence showing vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated; and evidence that infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to (a) monitor the effect of the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown on NHS capacity and (b) include findings from that monitoring in decision-making on the (i) ending of and (ii) process of emergence from the lockdown.

National Health Service capacity is monitored by NHS England, while Public Health England publishes monitoring data on capacity at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/healthcare

The Government will take a cautious approach to easing lockdown and will be guided by the data. Of the four tests to facilitate decision-making around the easing of lockdown, two relate to NHS capacity; evidence showing vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated; and evidence that infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS staff in London have had their leave cancelled during (a) December 2020 and (b) January 2021 to date.

The Department does not hold the information requested.

Taking regular annual leave is important to support staff retention, health and wellbeing and patient safety. Employers have a duty of care to staff to ensure staff have reasonable opportunities to take annual leave to rest and recuperate and, whenever possible, leave requests should be approved. However, the National Health Service is continuing to face challenges as it responds to the pandemic, so there is less flexibility as to when leave can be taken. Employers across the NHS are working hard to maximise available workforce capacity, including use of bank staff and returners to maintain quality of care as far as possible and enable staff to take leave. The NHS People Plan published in July 2020 includes a commitment to enhanced occupational and mental health support for NHS staff.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of cancelling leave for NHS staff on (a) their mental and physical health, (b) their well-being, (c) staff retention and (d) patient safety.

The Department does not hold the information requested.

Taking regular annual leave is important to support staff retention, health and wellbeing and patient safety. Employers have a duty of care to staff to ensure staff have reasonable opportunities to take annual leave to rest and recuperate and, whenever possible, leave requests should be approved. However, the National Health Service is continuing to face challenges as it responds to the pandemic, so there is less flexibility as to when leave can be taken. Employers across the NHS are working hard to maximise available workforce capacity, including use of bank staff and returners to maintain quality of care as far as possible and enable staff to take leave. The NHS People Plan published in July 2020 includes a commitment to enhanced occupational and mental health support for NHS staff.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what conclusions were reached on further actions that can be taken to tackle ethnic disparities in maternal mortality, following the roundtable of 2 September 2020.

Following the roundtable on 2 September, officials in the Cabinet Office Race Disparity Unit are supporting the Department of Health and Social Care in driving positive actions through a number of interventions on maternal mortality from an equalities perspective.

For example, NHS England and Improvement are introducing a funded and comprehensive national support offer which will be mobilised later this year. This will require Local Maternity Services to work towards achieving the ambition that 75% of Black and Asian women receive continuity of care by 2024.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the 2020-21 National Tariff Payment System Annex D: Guidance on best practice tariffs, section 15.2, paragraph 196, whether the 2021-22 National Tariff Payment System will include a higher price for outpatient hysteroscopy procedures than for ordinary and day-case elective admissions.

NHS England sets day case and outpatient tariffs for a range of procedures where expert clinical consensus is that this may be appropriate. In the case of hysteroscopy procedures there is a single price.

NHS England recognises that few hysteroscopy cases are reported as outpatient procedures and that most are reported as day cases or inpatient cases. NHS England has raised this issue with the NHS Digital-led Expert Reference Group that covers this clinical area. Expert Reference Groups are led by clinicians nominated by their Royal Colleges to agree currency design changes and provide their views about whether the prices relativities are correct. The Expert Reference Group for this clinical area advises that the same price is set for all forms of diagnostic hysteroscopy procedures under Healthcare Resource Group codes MA31Z-MA34Z.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what representations he has received about barriers to covid-19 (a) testing and (b) vaccination resulting from (i) requirements to produce photo ID and (ii) language about such requirements in the terms and conditions of booking.

A search of the Department’s Ministerial correspondence database shows that there are approximately 4,817 cases which either contain the term ‘testing’ or ‘vaccination’. In order to determine whether these are representations concerning identification could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether a three-year investment programme agreed in 2017 with the London Fire Service to upgrade fire safety in Barts NHS Trust was delayed as a result of limits on capital funding available to the Trust.

The Department has provided emergency funding to Barts NHS Trust, including £6.1 million in 2019-20 for fire safety works. A significant portion has been carried out and work is scheduled to March 2022, with work designed to ensure clinical services can continue during construction work.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister for Patient Safety, Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, of 24 September 2020, Official Report, column 1243, when the Women’s Health Agenda is next planned to meet; and whether the issue of painful hysteroscopy is on the agenda for that meeting.

The Women’s Health Agenda is not a formal group and there are no meetings of the Women’s Health Agenda planned.

However, we are committed to considering the issue of painful hysteroscopies as part of our ongoing work on women’s health and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is currently reviewing the guideline regarding out-patient hysteroscopy, which has an explicit focus on minimising pain and optimising the woman’s experience.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for the effectiveness of his payment scheme for people in the highest covid-19 risk areas to self-isolate of the ineligibility to those payments of people with no recourse to public funds.

The Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 was introduced on 28 September, to support people on low incomes who are unable to work from home if they are told to self-isolate by National Health Service Test and Trace and will lose income as a result.

The standard eligibility criteria include receipt of Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

Local authorities can make a £500 discretionary payment to those who are not in receipt of any of the above benefits but meet the other eligibility criteria and will face financial hardship as a result of having to self-isolate. Depending on their individual circumstances, people who have no recourse to public funds may be eligible for a discretionary payment.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answers of 3 July 2020 to Questions 61685 and 61686 on Prisoners' Transfers: Mentally Disordered Offenders, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Justice on transfer times for prisoners to secure hospitals for treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983.

Prisoners eligible for transfer to National Health Service psychiatric units should be moved out of prison as quickly as possible.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have been working to revise the Department’s good practice guidance (2011) ‘Transfer and remission of adult prisoners under the Mental Health Act 1983 good practice guidance 2019’. The aim is to facilitate timely access to appropriate treatment under the Mental Health Act and reduce unnecessary delays based on clinical need.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have undertaken extensive public consultation on revisions to the guidance and had planned to publish the final version by spring 2020. The publication process has been delayed to the COVID-19 pandemic but NHS England and NHS Improvement intend to proceed towards publication as quickly as possible.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answers of 3 July 2020 to Questions 61685 and 61686 on Prisoners' Transfers: Mentally Disordered Offenders, what plans the Government has to improve transfer times for prisoners to secure hospitals for treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983.

Prisoners eligible for transfer to National Health Service psychiatric units should be moved out of prison as quickly as possible.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have been working to revise the Department’s good practice guidance (2011) ‘Transfer and remission of adult prisoners under the Mental Health Act 1983 good practice guidance 2019’. The aim is to facilitate timely access to appropriate treatment under the Mental Health Act and reduce unnecessary delays based on clinical need.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have undertaken extensive public consultation on revisions to the guidance and had planned to publish the final version by spring 2020. The publication process has been delayed to the COVID-19 pandemic but NHS England and NHS Improvement intend to proceed towards publication as quickly as possible.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Government response to Recommendation 9b of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs report on Custody-Community Transitions, published in October 2019, when the RAND Europe evaluation of the impact of Liaison and Diversion services in the criminal justice system including re-offending and levels of diversion from the criminal justice system into treatment will be published.

The report is currently being peer reviewed and will be published in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number and proportion of women and girls who are new entrants to a custodial facility in England and Wales and who have (a) been offered and (b) have taken up the offer of a pregnancy test.

Every woman who arrives at a prison in England is offered a pregnancy test on reception if they meet the eligibility criteria. Women can refuse to have a pregnancy test but if they do the subject is revisited with them as they settle into prison.

The take up of these tests is not nationally collected. We are unable to tell how many women take up the offer of the test as this information would sit on the patients’ notes.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the paper entitled, Healthcare access for children and families on the move and migrants, published in BMJ Pediatrics Open on 13 April 2020.

As part of its ongoing policy responsibilities, the Department is considering the Charging Regulations in relation to the most vulnerable in society, including children and migrant pregnant women and new mothers. This includes ensuring the evidence base is sufficient and up to date where necessary and consideration of relevant legal duties, such as the Public Sector Equality Duty.

The Department has no plans to suspend the Charging Regulations or to launch an independent review of their impact.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the publication entitled, Patients not passports: migrants’ access to healthcare during the coronavirus crisis, published by Medact, Migrants Organise, and The New Economics Foundation in June 2020.

Regulations came into force on 29 January 2020 to add Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) (now known as COVID-19) to Schedule 1 of the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015. This means there can be no charge made to an overseas visitor for the diagnosis, or treatment, of COVID-19. Patients that are known to be undergoing testing and treatment for coronavirus only are not subject to Home Office status checks.

This information has been widely communicated to NHS staff and the public, including a message published on Public Health England’s Migrant Health Guide, which has been translated into 40 languages.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Heath and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the capacity of the secure hospital system in England and Wales.

NHS England and NHS Improvement haveconducted a demand and capacity review of adult medium and low secure services to ensure they are in the right geographical location and delivering the right type of service in a timely way. This fed into the commitment to use National Health Service-led provider collaboratives to get appropriate, high quality secure care in place, which is being delivered as part of the implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan.

For high secure services, NHS England and NHS Improvement are in the early stages of a similar demand and capacity review as part of strategic commissioning work. This has been delayed due to the COVID-19 restrictions but is expected to inform the workplan for the 2021-26 high secure demand and capacity plan.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with stakeholders to explore and model what impact COVID-19 might have on future demand and capacity in the adult secure estate.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the paper entitled Secondary care clinicians and staff have a key role in delivering equivalence of care for prisoners: A qualitative study of prisoners’ experiences, published in The Lancet: EClinicalMedicine on 23 June 2020.

Offenders should have access to the same range and quality of healthcare services as people in the community.

Responsibility for the provision of health services in prisons sits with NHS England and NHS Improvement, which will no doubt want to take the findings of this report and any possible implications for the delivery of prison health services into account.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18 June 2020 to Question 54055 on Prisoners: Health Services, if he will make those assessments.

No assessment is necessary as secondary care services are not provided by primary care staff in prisons.

Primary care staff facilitate the use of remote/digital services to support consultations carried out by secondary care staff where people in prisons have not travelled to out-patient settings.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of transfers of a prisoner to a secure hospital for treatment under the Mental Health Act took longer than the national guideline of 14 days in 2019.

Data on mental health transfers in prisons is only held at an aggregated level and it is not possible to determine median and percentile figures as this would require patient-level information.

Within adult prisons, 285 out of 979 (29.1%) transfers of a prisoner to a secure hospital for treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983 in 2019 occurred within 14 days.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what was the (a) median and (b) 90th percentile time taken for a transfer of a prisoner to a secure hospital for treatment under the Mental Health Act in 2019.

Data on mental health transfers in prisons is only held at an aggregated level and it is not possible to determine median and percentile figures as this would require patient-level information.

Within adult prisons, 285 out of 979 (29.1%) transfers of a prisoner to a secure hospital for treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983 in 2019 occurred within 14 days.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the additional extent to which secondary care services for prisoners, including diagnostic fluid tests, are being performed by primary care staff within prisons due to the increasing use of remote outpatient consultations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and what assessment he has made of the potential need to transfer resources allocated for these services to providers of healthcare within prisons.

We have made no such assessments. Primary care teams in prisons are working with their counterparts in secondary care to ensure people in prisons are able to access the care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic, including through telemedicine where appropriate.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans NHS England has to protect patients with covid-19 from the increased risk in that group of potentially fatal venous thromboembolism.

As COVID-19 is a new disease, there is no high quality evidence to guide clinical management in protecting patients with the disease from the increased risk of thromboembolism. NHS England and NHS Improvement are urging clinicians to support research which may evaluate methods to prevent or reduce harm from thromboembolism in the context of COVID-19.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are not planning to publish clinical guidance it commissioned in relation to venous thromboembolism in patients with COVID-19. NHS England and NHS Improvement are engaging with other organisations and professional bodies and looking to them to publish the guidance as soon as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when NHS England plans to publish the expert clinical guidance that it commissioned on thrombosis and critical care for patients with covid-19 which was submitted for dissemination on 28 April 2020.

As COVID-19 is a new disease, there is no high quality evidence to guide clinical management in protecting patients with the disease from the increased risk of thromboembolism. NHS England and NHS Improvement are urging clinicians to support research which may evaluate methods to prevent or reduce harm from thromboembolism in the context of COVID-19.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are not planning to publish clinical guidance it commissioned in relation to venous thromboembolism in patients with COVID-19. NHS England and NHS Improvement are engaging with other organisations and professional bodies and looking to them to publish the guidance as soon as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing Band 5 nurses to fill tracking and tracing roles to tackle the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government launched its new NHS Test and Trace service on 28 May 2020. This includes enhanced contact tracing.

Public Health England’s local health protection teams and local authority public health teams are an integral part of the contact tracing system. They will be supported by around 25,000 additional contact tracers, a mix of call handlers and health professionals. Health professional applicants who meet the essential criteria for the role will be considered. The post is not band specific.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many domiciliary care workers in the community were tested for covid-19 in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

The Department does not hold this information.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much personal protective equipment his Department delivered to (a) care homes, (b) domiciliary care organisations, (c) district nurses, (d) NHS ambulance trusts and (e) GPs in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

Since 25 February the Government has delivered over 2 billion items of personal protective equipment (PPE) across the health and social care system within England, plus tens of millions more will have been distributed by the devolved administrations. This PPE is for frontline staff at care homes, home care providers and hospices as well as to hospitals, ambulance trusts, general practitioner practices and pharmacists.

Over 143 million items of PPE have been made available to social care providers through wholesalers. In addition to this, to date we have authorised the release of over 139 million items of PPE to local resilience forums.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many care home residents were tested for covid-19 in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

The information is not available in the format requested. Since the start of the pandemic, nearly 125,000 workers in care settings and over 118,000 care home residents have been tested through Departmental and Public Health England testing routes.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) district nurses and (b) other community medics were tested for covid-19 in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

The Department does not hold this information.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many GPs were tested for covid-19 in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

The Department does not hold this information.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many paramedics employed by NHS ambulance trusts were tested for covid-19 in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

The Department does not hold this information.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many care home employees were tested for covid-19 in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

The data is not held in the format requested. Since the start of the pandemic, over 198,000 workers in care settings and over 177,000 care home residents have been tested through Departmental and Public Health England testing routes.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many relatives of care home employees were tested for covid-19 on the basis of being a relative of a care home employee in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

Data on the number of relatives of care home employees that were tested on the basis of being a relative of a care home employee is not currently available or published in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many relatives of care home residents were tested for covid-19 on the basis of being a relative of a care home resident in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

Data on the number of relatives of care home residents that were tested on the basis of being a relative of a care home resident is not currently available or published in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of prisoners who have assessed mental health needs that would normally receive a psychiatric healthcare response received that response during (a) March, (b) April and (c) May 2020 to date; and if he will make a statement.

The information is not available in the required format.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of prisoners who have assessed mental health needs that would normally receive a pharmaceutical prescription received that healthcare in (a) March, (b) April and (c) May 2020 to date; and if he will make a statement.

The information is not available in the required format.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of whether a (a) men’s prison, (b) women’s prison, or (c) young offender’s institution in England and Wales has failed to provide the level of healthcare staffing set out in the relevant local healthcare delivery plan since the covid-19 Operational Guidance – Exceptional Regime & Service Delivery was promulgated.

Healthcare services for prisons in England are commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

As of 18 May 2020, no sites were reporting staffing issues that would impact on their ability to manage their patients’ care.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the data sharing agreement with Faculty Science Limited in relation to their work on the covid-19 data platform.

NHS England is the data controller for data processed in the NHS Data Store. It has engaged individual analysts from different tech companies under honorary contracts to assist with modelling data from the NHS Data Store, some of which are employees of Faculty.

Palantir Technology UK is engaged by NHS England under contract as a data processor. As a data processor, the organisation does have access to the data but can only process it under instruction from NHS England. As such, a data sharing agreement is not required. The Data Protection Impact Assessment for the NHS Data Store is being published by NHS England in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the data sharing agreement with Palantir Technologies UK in relation to their work on the covid-19 data platform.

NHS England is the data controller for data processed in the NHS Data Store. It has engaged individual analysts from different tech companies under honorary contracts to assist with modelling data from the NHS Data Store, some of which are employees of Faculty.

Palantir Technology UK is engaged by NHS England under contract as a data processor. As a data processor, the organisation does have access to the data but can only process it under instruction from NHS England. As such, a data sharing agreement is not required. The Data Protection Impact Assessment for the NHS Data Store is being published by NHS England in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the data protection impact assessment in respect of the work of Faculty Science Limited on the covid-19 data platform.

NHS England is the data controller for data processed in the NHS Data Store. It has engaged individual analysts from different tech companies under honorary contracts to assist with modelling data from the NHS Data Store, some of which are employees of Faculty.

Palantir Technology UK is engaged by NHS England under contract as a data processor. As a data processor, the organisation does have access to the data but can only process it under instruction from NHS England. As such, a data sharing agreement is not required. The Data Protection Impact Assessment for the NHS Data Store is being published by NHS England in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the data protection impact assessment in respect of the work of Palantir Technologies UK on the covid-19 data platform.

NHS England is the data controller for data processed in the NHS Data Store. It has engaged individual analysts from different tech companies under honorary contracts to assist with modelling data from the NHS Data Store, some of which are employees of Faculty.

Palantir Technology UK is engaged by NHS England under contract as a data processor. As a data processor, the organisation does have access to the data but can only process it under instruction from NHS England. As such, a data sharing agreement is not required. The Data Protection Impact Assessment for the NHS Data Store is being published by NHS England in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that covid-19 tests undertaken at home are not counted for statistical purposes both when they are sent out and when they are returned and processed.

The Government receives a daily report on the number of COVID-19 home kits dispatched. This single, reliable figure is the only one used for external statistical processes. Home kits returned to the laboratories are uniquely identifiable and therefore not counted in the daily statistics for the number of COVID-19 tests processed.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has received reports of (a) NHS Trusts and (b) other NHS bodies putting in place new restrictions on their staff speaking in public or to journalists about their concerns on the situation within their workplace since the outbreak of covid-19; and if he will make a statement

The Government supports the right of staff working in the National Health Service to speak up and raise concerns. Speaking up is vital for ensuring patient safety and improving the quality of services and should be a routine part of business in the NHS.

The Government has proactively encouraged NHS staff to raise concerns over recent years, and provided support by establishing an independent National Guardian to help drive positive cultural change across the NHS so that speaking up becomes business as usual.

NHS staff remain free to speak in a personal capacity about their work.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the effect on (a) NHS staff safety, (b) patient safety and (c) public trust of reports of restrictions by NHS bodies on staff members who wish to speak in public or to journalists about their concerns on the situation within their workplace during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government supports the right of staff working in the National Health Service to speak up and raise concerns. Speaking up is vital for ensuring patient safety and improving the quality of services and should be a routine part of business in the NHS.

The Government has proactively encouraged NHS staff to raise concerns over recent years, and provided support by establishing an independent National Guardian to help drive positive cultural change across the NHS so that speaking up becomes business as usual.

NHS staff remain free to speak in a personal capacity about their work.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the viability of reallocating funding to the production and distribution of additional medical devices to treat patients suffering severe covid-19 symptoms in advance of the infection rate peak; and if he will make a statement.

The Chancellor created a £5 billion contingency fund to ensure National Health Service and public services have the resources they need, including personal protective equipment and has been clear that the NHS will get whatever funding it needs to respond to the COVID-19.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is looking for organisations who can support in the supply of ventilators and ventilator components across the United Kingdom as part of the Government’s response to COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the viability of reallocating funding to the production and distribution of additional personal protective equipment to treat patients suffering severe covid-19 symptoms in advance of the infection rate peak; and if he will make a statement.

The Chancellor created a £5 billion contingency fund to ensure National Health Service and public services have the resources they need, including personal protective equipment and has been clear that the NHS will get whatever funding it needs to respond to the COVID-19.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is looking for organisations who can support in the supply of ventilators and ventilator components across the United Kingdom as part of the Government’s response to COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the current NHS (a) stock and (b) supply chain for medical devices required to treat patients with severe covid-19 infection symptoms.

The Department has well-established procedures to deal with supply problems affecting all medical products and supplies, including medicines, medical devices and personal protective equipment regardless of the cause, and work closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help prevent shortages and to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised.

A product supply response group has been set up to manage supply of products and to support any response to shortages required for the COVID-19 outbreak. The group is also considering the potential mid to long-term impacts of the outbreak globally. The Department is communicating with all stakeholders, including Royal Colleges, charities, patient groups, the NHS, the adult social care sector, and the devolved nations, and will continue to keep these stakeholders updated as the situation progresses.

Personal protective equipment has been issued to general practices since 9 March the packs include facemasks, aprons and gloves.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his department has made of the adequacy of current NHS (a) stock and (b) supply chain for personal protective equipment required to treat patients with covid-19.

The Department has well-established procedures to deal with supply problems affecting all medical products and supplies, including medicines, medical devices and personal protective equipment regardless of the cause, and work closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help prevent shortages and to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised.

A product supply response group has been set up to manage supply of products and to support any response to shortages required for the COVID-19 outbreak. The group is also considering the potential mid to long-term impacts of the outbreak globally. The Department is communicating with all stakeholders, including Royal Colleges, charities, patient groups, the NHS, the adult social care sector, and the devolved nations, and will continue to keep these stakeholders updated as the situation progresses.

Personal protective equipment has been issued to general practices since 9 March the packs include facemasks, aprons and gloves.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what powers he has to requisition privately-owned healthcare facilities in the event that more facilities are required for patients diagnosed with covid-19.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the independent sector to increase capacity and resource within the National Health Service, adding around 8000 beds and 20,000 clinical staff. This will ensure that more facilities are available for patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to requisition privately-owned healthcare facilities in the event that more facilities are required for patients diagnosed with covid-19.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the independent sector to increase capacity and resource within the National Health Service, adding around 8000 beds and 20,000 clinical staff. This will ensure that more facilities are available for patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to co-ordinate the conversion of hospital facilities into specialist areas to treat large numbers of patients needing intensive care as a result of covid-19, in advance of the infection rate peak.

NHS England has an operating Framework for Managing the Response to Pandemic Influenza. It sets out the roles, responsibilities and functions of NHS England in preparing for and responding to an influenza pandemic. It is intended to complement and support existing plans, policies and arrangements. More information can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/nhs-england-pandmic-influenza-operating-framework-v2.pdf

Extensive advice and guidance on COVID-19 has already been produced by Public Health England (PHE), the National Health Service and others, some of which will be of direct relevance to people who misuse drugs and alcohol, and those in specialist treatment for drug or alcohol misuse and dependence. Additional targeted information is being provided in specific settings, including prisons and approved premises. These populations may have particular vulnerabilities and needs that are considered within this guidance, alongside other populations. PHE cascaded this information directly to local authority commissioners on 14 February 2020. The Government will continue to carefully monitor whether further resources need to be made available to protect this vulnerable cohort.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to construct temporary intensive care facilities prior to the peak of the covid-19 infection to treat people as a result of that infection.

NHS England has an operating Framework for Managing the Response to Pandemic Influenza. It sets out the roles, responsibilities and functions of NHS England in preparing for and responding to an influenza pandemic. It is intended to complement and support existing plans, policies and arrangements. More information can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/nhs-england-pandmic-influenza-operating-framework-v2.pdf

Extensive advice and guidance on COVID-19 has already been produced by Public Health England (PHE), the National Health Service and others, some of which will be of direct relevance to people who misuse drugs and alcohol, and those in specialist treatment for drug or alcohol misuse and dependence. Additional targeted information is being provided in specific settings, including prisons and approved premises. These populations may have particular vulnerabilities and needs that are considered within this guidance, alongside other populations. PHE cascaded this information directly to local authority commissioners on 14 February 2020. The Government will continue to carefully monitor whether further resources need to be made available to protect this vulnerable cohort.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will meet with representatives of (a) the London Ambulance Service and (b) the Patients’ Forum for the London Ambulance Service to ensure that the London Ambulance Service is maintaining (i) effective transparency and (ii) an engaged consultative relationship with patient representative bodies.

The London Ambulance Service remains committed to working with patient representative groups and the wider public, to further improve the care it delivers for Londoners.

I will meet with the Ambulance Trust and the Patients’ Forum to discuss the continuation of their partnership.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the effect of funding inequalities between areas on (a) NHS Newham clinical commissioning group, (b) North-East London sustainability and transformation partnership and (c) other areas as set out on the Royal College of Psychiatrists Mental Health Watch website.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan we have committed at least a further £2.3 billion a year to mental health services by 2023/24 meaning that spend on mental health will be growing faster than the overall National Health Service budget.

Based on core weighted population, an indicative allocation of £163.7m in clinical commissioning group (CCG) baseline investment and indicative allocation of £271.3 million in transformation funding will be made to North East London Sustainability and Transformation Partnership between 2019/20 to 2023/24, with Newham CCG modelled as receiving around 17.5% of this funding.

The Mental Health Investment Standard requires CCGs to increase the amount spent on mental health by at least as much as their overall budget increases. For the first time, in 2018/19 all CCGs met this level of investment.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will include outpatient hysteroscopy and the issue of uncontrolled pain for women on the agenda of a meeting of the Women's Health Taskforce for England within the next six months.

Outpatient Hysteroscopy is an important topic, and we are open to discussing it at a future meeting of the Women’s Health Taskforce. It is not currently on the agenda for the next Women’s Health Taskforce meeting.

6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if NHS Improvement will remove the financial incentive for outpatient hysteroscopy procedures within the proposed National Tariff Payment System 2020-21.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for the design of the National Tariff. Any changes to tariff are made following significant engagement with stakeholders throughout the sector. The final changes are consulted on alongside an assessment of the potential impact to providers and patients.

The current statutory consultation on the 2020/21 tariff is open until midnight on Wednesday 22 January. The document considers changes to outpatient tariffs to support the delivery of the Long Term Plan, including outpatient transformation.

Hysteroscopy is covered by the outpatient procedures best practice tariff (BPT). The aim of the BPT is to encourage procedures in an outpatient setting, where clinically appropriate. Outpatient procedures provide the patient with a quicker recovery, as well as allowing them to recuperate at home and get back to work and daily life sooner. The National Health Service in England does not collect data on the incidence of severe pain during hysteroscopy or women discouraged from taking up diagnostic hysteroscopy as a result of fear of severe pain due to the procedure.

6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the effect of the inclusion of a financial incentive for outpatient hysteroscopy procedures within the National Tariff Payment System on the incidence of (a) severe pain during hysteroscopy and (b) women discouraged from taking up diagnostic hysteroscopy as a result of fear of severe pain due to the procedure.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for the design of the National Tariff. Any changes to tariff are made following significant engagement with stakeholders throughout the sector. The final changes are consulted on alongside an assessment of the potential impact to providers and patients.

The current statutory consultation on the 2020/21 tariff is open until midnight on Wednesday 22 January. The document considers changes to outpatient tariffs to support the delivery of the Long Term Plan, including outpatient transformation.

Hysteroscopy is covered by the outpatient procedures best practice tariff (BPT). The aim of the BPT is to encourage procedures in an outpatient setting, where clinically appropriate. Outpatient procedures provide the patient with a quicker recovery, as well as allowing them to recuperate at home and get back to work and daily life sooner. The National Health Service in England does not collect data on the incidence of severe pain during hysteroscopy or women discouraged from taking up diagnostic hysteroscopy as a result of fear of severe pain due to the procedure.

24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to monitor the (a) number of flights undertaken by the Ethiopian Government to deliver humanitarian supplies to the Tigray region and (b) efficacy of such flights in enabling distribution of humanitarian supplies to the areas in greatest need.

On my visit to Addis Ababa on 20 January 2022 I discussed the clear need for an urgent improvement in humanitarian access with the Government of Ethiopia, including in my meeting with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

A single humanitarian passenger flight to Mekelle from Addis Ababa each day is no substitute for the level of aid that is urgently required in the region. According to the UN, the relief effort in Tigray requires 100 trucks worth of life-saving supplies to be delivered each day. The humanitarian response in Tigray is now at standstill owing to the de facto blockade of the region imposed by the Government of Ethiopia since July 2021 and recent violence along the Tigray-Afar border. The blockade has caused major disruption to the provision of essential services. UK funded partners report that single-use items including medical gloves and surgical materials such as chest drains are being washed and reused significantly increasing the risk of infections for patients. The UK is appalled at reports that civilians are dying due to the unavailability of insulin and other generic medicines.

According to the latest available information from the UN, no humanitarian aid trucks entered Tigray during the period 14 December 2021 - 20 January 2022 with only 12% of required aid permitted to enter Tigray since July 2021. Fuel trucks have not been allowed entry to Tigray for over five months - since 2 August 2021.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the (a) security of the Government of Burkina Faso and (b) impact of recent mutinies on the security situation for Burkinabe civilians and UK nationals in that country; and what steps she is taking to support (i) ECOWAS and (ii) the elected Government of Burkina Faso in preventing coup attempts.

The UK is deeply concerned about the deteriorating security and political situation in Burkina Faso. As I set out in my statement on 25 January 2022, the UK condemns the coup d'etat by military forces in Burkina Faso, and calls for the immediate, safe and unconditional release of all members of the civilian government who have been detained, including the President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. It is vital that all parties remain calm and respect human rights, and for Burkina Faso to return to democratic civilian and constitutional rule without delay.

The UK stands with our partners on these developments, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union and the G5 Sahel. We continue to update British Nationals through our travel advice. Through our deployment to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA), our deployment of Chinook helicopters to the French counter-terrorism mission Barkhane, and our programmatic support for stabilisation and conflict resolution, the UK is working to build long-term peace and stability in the Sahel. We also provide humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable in the region, including in Burkina Faso.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to Department's News Story entitled, The conflict is causing untold suffering and must end, published on 20 January 2022, what assessment she has made of the range of organisations and people who will be able to participate in the (a) National Dialogue Commission and (b) peace and reconciliation efforts that that dialogue ​intends to make.

We are extremely concerned by the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia and the implications it has for the country as a whole. The UK is working to support an end to the violence. I [Minister Ford] met Prime Minister Abiy in Addis Ababa on 20 January when we discussed the conflict and I urged for efforts towards peace. I have continued to emphasise the need for a ceasefire through calls with my African counterparts, including from Kenya and the African Union (AU). I have urged my counterparts to engage with the African Union-led mediation efforts. We welcome the establishment of a National Dialogue Commission and the release of some political prisoners as positive steps forward. We are watching the development of the new Commission closely, which is still in its very early days. We engage on a regular basis with organisations and institutions involved with dialogue, peace and reconciliation efforts. This includes providing direct funding to support such efforts in Somali Regional State. We have spoken with a variety of international partners about the situation in Ethiopia, and have urged them to support a ceasefire and support the efforts of AU High Representative Obasanjo to bring an end to the violence. The British Ambassador in Addis Ababa remains in touch with HR Obasanjo.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the gov.uk News story, The conflict is causing untold suffering and must end - Minister for Africa's statement following visit to Ethiopia, published on 20 January 2022, what steps she is taking to ensure that UK funding for the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (a) will be used to guarantee that institution’s independence from the Ethiopian Government and (b) is used to support projects and activities that are free from bias.

On 21 January I announced £14.5 million of new funding to the crisis in Ethiopia of which £4.5 million is for peacebuilding and human rights. Part of this funding will go towards building the capacity of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Specifically, it will be provided to a multi-donor funded project run by the Danish Institute for Human Rights and focussed on the broad institutional development of the EHRC. The independence of the Commission and its work is part of the Commission's vision and principles, to which this project is aligned.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the gov.uk News story, The conflict is causing untold suffering and must end – Minister for Africa's statement following visit to Ethiopia, published on 20 January 2022, what steps she is taking to ensure that support for (a) health and education and (b) gender-based violence is able to reach every part of Ethiopia.

On 21 January I announced £14.5 million of new funding to the crisis in Ethiopia, of which £5 million is for health and education services for people affected by the conflict throughout the country.

As the conflict continues children, especially girls, are at increased risk of gender-based violence, child marriage, and sexual exploitation and abuse. We have deployed a Gender Based Violence and Gender Adviser to enhance the integration of gender into humanitarian and human rights initiatives. We are working with partners throughout Ethiopia to implement recommendations from the scoping mission by the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative UK Team of Experts in June 2021, including: programming to work with women's rights-focused organisations to enhance support services to survivors of violence and new research into the drivers and dynamics of conflict-related sexual violence. We will continue to identify options for addressing the immediate needs of survivors, preventing further sexual violence and delivering justice and accountability.

We continue to call for respect for international humanitarian law and for an end to targeting of civilians, the cessation of the use of sexual violence within the conflict, as well as unfettered humanitarian access to all areas of the country for humanitarians to deliver lifesaving aid.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 14 January 2022 to Question 98897 on Africa: Coronavirus, whether £7,000 is the entire planned budget for the Africa Vaccine Confidence Campaign.

Communication plays a central role in instilling vaccine confidence. The Africa Vaccine Confidence Campaign is producing social media content to tackle vaccine hesitancy. The total amount allocated to the Campaign is £8,500.

The Africa Vaccine Confidence Campaign is only part of the UK's work to address vaccine hesitancy. The UK-convened G7 Global Vaccines Confidence Campaign is sharing best practice in increasing vaccine confidence and establishing partnerships across G7 and non-G7 countries and with key academic institutions. It is also creating a platform through which relevant data, insight and effective strategies are shared with non-G7 partners. To help countries tackle the Omicron COVID-19 variant, we are also providing an additional £20 million to our existing work with Unilever to promote vaccine uptake alongside messaging to reduce COVID-19 transmission such as handwashing.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of taking steps to support the members of the Nile Basin Initiative in establishing negotiations to enable accession by Egypt and Sudan to the Cooperative Framework Agreement as part of a process to establish sustainable, cooperative and fair protocols for the management of the Nile’s water among all riparian states.

The UK supports the principles of transboundary water management, however it is a matter for the Nile River Riparian States to agree on fair and equitable use of Nile Waters.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 January 2022 to Question 98335 on Afghanistan: Refugees, how many of those 3,400 people have been supported to exit Afghanistan itself since the end of Operation Pitting; and what forms that support has taken.

The UK has supported over 3,400 individuals to leave Afghanistan since the end of Op Pitting, this includes over 1,200 British nationals and eligible Dependents. The forms of support for these 3,400 individuals has been varied and on a case-by-case basis.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to (a) provide emergency assistance to those affected by the damage of the volcanic eruption near Tonga on 15 January 2022 and (b) ensure that British nationals affected are safe.

The UK is deeply concerned by the appalling devastation caused by the volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga. While full details of the humanitarian impact are still unknown, it is estimated that up to 80,000 people will have been affected. Her Majesty's Government has been working with partners on options for support, helping to ensure a coordinated regional response.

On Friday 21 January, the UK sent supplies to support the humanitarian and disaster relief effort on Australia's HMAS Adelaide. 17 pallets are on board, including 90 family tents, 8 community tents and wheel barrows. All of these items were requested by the Tongan government.

In addition, HMS Spey has now set sail for Tonga, loaded with additional items including fresh water and medical supplies.

The UK is also funding the deployment of crisis experts through the United Nations. They will support the Tongan authorities to coordinate the international response.

The UK-funded International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) has also released £345,000 to support Tonga. The UK has committed a £6 million contribution to the DREF through an annual £1.5 million donation 2020-2023.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support she is offering to the Government of Kenya to (a) maintain security in areas threatened by an increase in attacks by Al-Shabaab and (b) support internally displaced people and communities affected by those attacks.

The UK and Kenya are close partners in the fight against global terrorism, and strengthening our counterterrorism cooperation is a priority under the UK-Kenya Strategic Partnership. To tackle the threat posed by Al Shabaab, the UK Government provides the Kenyan authorities with a range of support to develop their counter terrorism capabilities. This includes partnering in the development of counter-IED (Improvised Explosive Device) capability with a regional Centre of Excellence based in Nairobi that benefits the whole region.

Since 2011, the UK has played a leading role in supporting refugees fleeing fighting and drought. This has included significant investments in drought mitigation and famine prevention initiatives which range from building capacities of governments and institutions to supporting early warning systems, adaptation and resilience efforts. UK support is making a difference on the ground. I [Minister Ford] have just announced £17 million of UK emergency humanitarian support via the Crisis Reserve to address drought and food insecurity needs in Somalia (£8 million), Ethiopia (£5 million), South Sudan (£3 million) and Kenya (£1 million).

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what information her Department holds on (a) the reasons for the closure of the MONUSCO peacekeeping mission base in Bibokoboko, South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo and (b) when that base will be reopened.

In October 2021, the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) dispatched a standing combat deployment to set up a temporary operational base in Bibokoboko. Its purpose was to assist in the safe and secure return of people displaced as a result of clashes between rival armed groups in Bibokoboko. MONUSCO have since facilitated the deployment of Congolese national security forces to the area. They are therefore shutting the base, which was always intended to be a short term deployment. As a result, we would not anticipate MONUSCO reopening the base unless the situation changed. The UK supports the work carried out by MONUSCO, to protect civilians, humanitarian personnel, and human rights defenders under imminent threat of physical violence, and to support the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in its stabilization and peace consolidation efforts.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, further to the Answer of 9 December 2021 to Question 85209, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of the steps the Government has taken to raise the cases of (a) Dr Abduljalil Al Singace and (b) Hasan Mushaima with (i) the Government of Bahrain and (ii) the relevant oversight bodies.

We continue to monitor and discuss the cases of Dr Abduljalil al-Singace, and Hassan Mushaima, with the Bahraini Government as well as with the independent oversight bodies. We encourage those with concerns to raise them directly with the relevant oversight bodies.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, on which dates the Government has raised the case of (a) Dr Abduljalil Al Singace and (b) Hasan Mushaima with (i) the Government of Bahrain and (ii) the relevant oversight bodies.

We continue to monitor and discuss the cases of Dr Abduljalil al-Singace, and Hassan Mushaima, with the Bahraini Government as well as with the independent oversight bodies. We encourage those with concerns to raise them directly with the relevant oversight bodies.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential risks to UK influence in (a) South Africa and (b) other African countries of continued participation in UK public procurement by Bain and Company.

The UK's Integrated Review sets out the UK Government's approach to fighting corruption and illicit finance as threats to democratic values and open societies around the world. We are fully committed to driving forward this commitment in South Africa and across the African continent, including through our law enforcement agencies. In South Africa, President Ramaphosa has identified the fight against corruption as one of his top priorities; we are working in close partnership with his government on this agenda. As an example of our commitment to tackling corruption in South Africa, in May 2021 under the UK Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions regime, the UK imposed sanctions against Ajay Gupta, Atul Gupta, Rajesh Gupta and Salim Essa for their roles in serious corruption. As a long-standing friend of South Africa, the UK will continue to engage the South African authorities, business and civil society on a shared agenda of security, economic and social issues including in light of the conclusions of the Zondo Report. We will, of course, also consider carefully any implications for UK public procurement.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of any disproportionality in the impact on women and girls of recent rises in the prices of basic foodstuffs.

Conflict, climate change and now Covid-19 have caused food insecurity and acute hunger to reach record levels. Agriculture investment has plummeted, and recovery is not yet visible. Food prices have risen above a 10-year high. The poor are highly vulnerable to food price inflation, and within that are women who are traditionally land poor and more dependent on the informal economy or in poorly paid, precarious jobs.

The UK provides humanitarian aid but also invests in building resilience to crises and supporting sustainable recovery. We provided assistance to 40 countries to help adapting social protection in response to COVID-19, integrating gender equality and social inclusion to support women and girls and other groups disproportionately impacted by the crisis.

The FCDO also adapted ongoing programmes, preventing countries from deteriorating into full-blown emergency and influenced partners, including to promote women's economic empowerment. For example:

  • FCDO's CASA programme works to improve food security by attracting investment into the agri-food sector and helping to keep food supply chains flowing. Women account for nearly half of the farmers reached.
  • The multilateral GAFSP has adapted its commitments to mitigating COVID-19 impacts and build resilience for the most vulnerable. In 2021 the total share of women reached has increased to 38%, while 54% of the full-time equivalent jobs created has gone to women.
Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she has taken to raise the case of Kakwenza Rukirabashaija with the Government of Uganda.

We are concerned that the Ugandan novelist, Kakwenza Rukirabashija, following a series of tweets, was detained at his home on 28 December 2021 and then held without charge for 14 days at an unknown facility. Using legislation, such as the Computer Misuse Act, to stifle freedom of expression is very worrying. We welcome the decisions of the Chief Magistrate's Court and the High Court in relation to Rukirabashija's release and habeas corpus. We note, however, that Rukirabashija was subsequently charged and placed on remand.

We urge the Government of Uganda to ensure that the rule of law is upheld as a vital component of democracy. Rukirabashija must be afforded all of his rights under the Constitution of Uganda, including access to legal representation. I (Minister for Africa) expressed the importance of upholding human rights with the President of Uganda during my visit to Uganda on 19 January 2022. Our High Commission in Kampala issued a tweet on 7 January publicly stating our concern over Rukirabashija's continued detention. The High Commission has also set out our concerns over his detention with the Government of Uganda, Uganda's human rights institutions and the security services. We have urged all to ensure that Uganda honours its constitutional commitments and international human rights law.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the additional (a) internally displaced population and (b) need for humanitarian assistance that would be generated in the event that Marib city were taken by the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The current Houthi offensive in Marib is worsening the humanitarian crisis and increasing levels of need. Humanitarian agencies have recorded over 60,000 displaced in Marib since September 2021 and a total of more than 200,000 have been displaced around Marib since January 2020. Our partners the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and World Food Programme (WFP) are currently responding in Marib. We are also working with the UN to ensure adequate presence on the ground and updated contingency planning for all potential scenarios. In 2021, the UK contributed £63.5 million to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which has provided $40 million to UN agencies for Marib. This is in addition to £87 million in aid that the UK is spending in Yemen for this financial year.

A negotiated political settlement is the only way to bring long-term stability to Yemen. On 10 January, I [Minister Cleverly] hosted UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, in London and reiterated UK support for UN led peace efforts to drive forward the political process in Yemen. We urge the parties to engage constructively in negotiations to end the conflict and alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2022 to Question 98241 on Somaliland: Freedom of Expression, whether the engagement included raising the cases of (a) Abdifatah Mohamoud Abdi, (b) Khadar Farah Rikaah, (c) Hamze Abdi Ahmed and (d) Mukhtaar Hersi Waal.

We note that Abdifatah Mohamoud Abdi, Khadar Farah Rikaah, Hamze Abdi Ahmed and Mukhtaar Hersi Waal were released on 3 January without any charges. The UK engages with the Somaliland Government on an ongoing basis, including with regular meetings between the UK Ambassador to Somalia and President Muse Bihi Abdi, most recently on 18 December 2021. This meeting did not involve specific discussion of the four cases; however, our regular engagement covers a broad range of issues, including discussion of our shared interests in upholding human rights in Somaliland - of which freedom of expression and freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention are important elements.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to offer support to the Government of Nigeria with the humanitarian impact of the massacres in Zamfara state between the 4 and 6 January 2022.

We are concerned by deteriorating security in North West Nigeria. Intercommunal violence and attacks by criminal groups are having a devastating impact on communities in this region, as well as in the Maradi region of Niger. I discussed insecurity in Nigeria with Foreign Minister Onyeama in a bilateral meeting in November and I will hold further such discussions with the Nigerian Government during the upcoming Security and Defence Dialogue.

We condemn the recent attacks in Zamfara State in North West Nigeria. On 10 January, I publicly expressed my concern about these horrific attacks and reiterated our commitment to working with the Government of Nigeria to support sustainable peace and security. We are working with our Nigerian partners to monitor the situation. In 2020 we supported more than 15,000 displaced people in Kaduna State, North West Nigeria, with cash grants to address food security as well as water and sanitation needs. Furthermore, we are supporting local peace-building efforts, including through our work with the Nigeria Governors' Forum. The UK Government is also supporting the International Organisation for Migration's work with the Governments of Niger and Nigeria to improve border management.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to support the Governments of (a) Nigeria, (b) Niger and (c) other neighbouring states with a process to restore security in areas of north-west Nigeria affected by banditry, farmer-herder conflict, and intercommunal conflict.

We are concerned by deteriorating security in North West Nigeria. Intercommunal violence and attacks by criminal groups are having a devastating impact on communities in this region, as well as in the Maradi region of Niger. I discussed insecurity in Nigeria with Foreign Minister Onyeama in a bilateral meeting in November and I will hold further such discussions with the Nigerian Government during the upcoming Security and Defence Dialogue.

We condemn the recent attacks in Zamfara State in North West Nigeria. On 10 January, I publicly expressed my concern about these horrific attacks and reiterated our commitment to working with the Government of Nigeria to support sustainable peace and security. We are working with our Nigerian partners to monitor the situation. In 2020 we supported more than 15,000 displaced people in Kaduna State, North West Nigeria, with cash grants to address food security as well as water and sanitation needs. Furthermore, we are supporting local peace-building efforts, including through our work with the Nigeria Governors' Forum. The UK Government is also supporting the International Organisation for Migration's work with the Governments of Niger and Nigeria to improve border management.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent estimate she has made of the scale of the global increase in need for nutritional support as a result of recent rises in the prices of basic foodstuffs.

The global Integrated food security Phase Classification (IPC) estimates there will be over 223 million people living in crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity by the middle of 2022. This is up from 164 million at the end of 2020. Conflict is the primary cause of this increase in need, but it is being exacerbated by climate change and the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as global food price rises, compromising people's access to nutritious food. Our recently launched approach paper to Ending Preventable Deaths includes strengthening and transforming food systems to make safe and nutritious food accessible.

The UK's humanitarian response helps address the rising need in the short term. In 2021, the UK brokered the first-ever G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Crises Compact to tackle this challenge, securing £5 billion in humanitarian assistance and resilience strengthening, helping to address people's immediate food insecurity in the 42 countries one-step from famine. FCDO have committed additional funding to deteriorating food crises since, including £50 million for Afghanistan and £76 million for Ethiopia, helping to tackle food insecurity and malnutrition.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential impact on UK diplomatic engagement in the Horn of Africa region of the announcement by the People’s Republic of China that it will soon appoint a special envoy for that region.

The UK is very concerned by the increase in conflict in the Horn of Africa and the unprecedented range and severity of humanitarian crises in the region - where drought and flooding, alongside ongoing conflict and issues of access, are putting tens of millions of people at risk. We hope that greater international interest will result in increased support for international efforts to deescalate and resolve conflicts, and address the substantial humanitarian needs. The UK Special Envoy for the Red Sea and Horn of Africa has been working with international partners to help coordinate international efforts. We welcome China's recent calls for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ethiopia at the United Nations Security Council. We look forward to China naming its new Envoy and discussing with them how we can work together to address these most pressing concerns.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to minimise risks of damage to Malian civilian (a) lives, (b) security, (c) wellbeing following the announcement of sanctions by ECOWAS and the closure of borders on 10 December 2022.

We note that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has imposed a range of measures against Mali, following the Malian transitional authorities request to delay elections by up to five years. These measures include regional border closures and a suspension of non-essential commercial transactions, as announced at the ECOWAS Summit on 9 January. The UK has consistently called for elections and a return to constitutional rule in line with the conditions set out by ECOWAS. I made this clear in my statement on 29 September 2021, and the UK Government again reiterated its position in the joint statement with international partners on 23 December 2021.

We stand behind ECOWAS mediation efforts and continue to call on the Malian transitional authorities to prepare for elections without delay so that constitutional order can be restored as soon as possible. We are monitoring the situation closely, including risks to UK nationals and troops. We remain committed to providing support to those most in need in Mali. We are in touch with partners, including agencies on the ground, to assess potential unintended consequences for humanitarian needs and the ability of our humanitarian partners to respond.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure UK (a) nationals and (b) troops in Mali are safe following the announcement of sanctions by ECOWAS and the closure of borders on 10 December 2022.

We note that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has imposed a range of measures against Mali, following the Malian transitional authorities request to delay elections by up to five years. These measures include regional border closures and a suspension of non-essential commercial transactions, as announced at the ECOWAS Summit on 9 January. The UK has consistently called for elections and a return to constitutional rule in line with the conditions set out by ECOWAS. I made this clear in my statement on 29 September 2021, and the UK Government again reiterated its position in the joint statement with international partners on 23 December 2021.

We stand behind ECOWAS mediation efforts and continue to call on the Malian transitional authorities to prepare for elections without delay so that constitutional order can be restored as soon as possible. We are monitoring the situation closely, including risks to UK nationals and troops. We remain committed to providing support to those most in need in Mali. We are in touch with partners, including agencies on the ground, to assess potential unintended consequences for humanitarian needs and the ability of our humanitarian partners to respond.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to support the World Health Organisation’s new road map for neglected tropical diseases 2021−2030, published on 28 January 2021.

The seismic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UK economy forced tough but necessary decisions, including exiting from Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) implementation programmes. The UK has made a significant contribution to global efforts to protect hundreds of millions of people from NTDs. Our programmes have delivered NTD treatments and strengthened health systems to deliver these services in future.

The latest target for the total number of treatments to be delivered by the ASCEND (Accelerating the Sustainable Control and Elimination of NTDs) programme between 2019 and 2022 was 600 million. Hundreds of millions of treatments have been distributed to date under the programme. The full results and spend of the programme will be published by March 2022.

FCDO research has helped deliver innovative technologies such as new diagnostics and treatments for NTDs, for example the first rapid diagnostic test as well as the first ever oral only drug to treat all stages of sleeping sickness. We currently fund the Coalition for Operational Research on NTDs and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative.

Global health remains a priority for UK Official Development Assistance. We will invest in health systems strengthening through our support for the World Health Organisation (WHO), multi-country global funds and bilateral support for health programmes within countries, including those affected by NTDs. The UK fully endorses the WHO's 2030 NTDs Road map and its focus on sustainability and delivery through health systems.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to monitor the impact of UK Official Development Assistance on levels of Neglected Tropical Diseases.

The seismic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UK economy forced tough but necessary decisions, including exiting from Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) implementation programmes. The UK has made a significant contribution to global efforts to protect hundreds of millions of people from NTDs. Our programmes have delivered NTD treatments and strengthened health systems to deliver these services in future.

The latest target for the total number of treatments to be delivered by the ASCEND (Accelerating the Sustainable Control and Elimination of NTDs) programme between 2019 and 2022 was 600 million. Hundreds of millions of treatments have been distributed to date under the programme. The full results and spend of the programme will be published by March 2022.

FCDO research has helped deliver innovative technologies such as new diagnostics and treatments for NTDs, for example the first rapid diagnostic test as well as the first ever oral only drug to treat all stages of sleeping sickness. We currently fund the Coalition for Operational Research on NTDs and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative.

Global health remains a priority for UK Official Development Assistance. We will invest in health systems strengthening through our support for the World Health Organisation (WHO), multi-country global funds and bilateral support for health programmes within countries, including those affected by NTDs. The UK fully endorses the WHO's 2030 NTDs Road map and its focus on sustainability and delivery through health systems.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what Neglected Tropical Disease programmes her Department funded from April to September 2021; what funding each such programme received; and what Neglected Tropical Disease programmes her Department is funding from October 2021 to March 2022.

The seismic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UK economy forced tough but necessary decisions, including exiting from Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) implementation programmes. The UK has made a significant contribution to global efforts to protect hundreds of millions of people from NTDs. Our programmes have delivered NTD treatments and strengthened health systems to deliver these services in future.

The latest target for the total number of treatments to be delivered by the ASCEND (Accelerating the Sustainable Control and Elimination of NTDs) programme between 2019 and 2022 was 600 million. Hundreds of millions of treatments have been distributed to date under the programme. The full results and spend of the programme will be published by March 2022.

FCDO research has helped deliver innovative technologies such as new diagnostics and treatments for NTDs, for example the first rapid diagnostic test as well as the first ever oral only drug to treat all stages of sleeping sickness. We currently fund the Coalition for Operational Research on NTDs and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative.

Global health remains a priority for UK Official Development Assistance. We will invest in health systems strengthening through our support for the World Health Organisation (WHO), multi-country global funds and bilateral support for health programmes within countries, including those affected by NTDs. The UK fully endorses the WHO's 2030 NTDs Road map and its focus on sustainability and delivery through health systems.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what estimate she has made of the number of people with (a) lymphatic filariasis, (b) river blindness, (c) schistosomiasis and (d) childhood intestinal worms who would have received treatment from the UK-funded Sustainable Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases programme in West and Central Africa between October 2021 and April 2022 had that programme continued during that period.

The seismic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UK economy forced tough but necessary decisions, including exiting from Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) implementation programmes. The UK has made a significant contribution to global efforts to protect hundreds of millions of people from NTDs. Our programmes have delivered NTD treatments and strengthened health systems to deliver these services in future.

The latest target for the total number of treatments to be delivered by the ASCEND (Accelerating the Sustainable Control and Elimination of NTDs) programme between 2019 and 2022 was 600 million. Hundreds of millions of treatments have been distributed to date under the programme. The full results and spend of the programme will be published by March 2022.

FCDO research has helped deliver innovative technologies such as new diagnostics and treatments for NTDs, for example the first rapid diagnostic test as well as the first ever oral only drug to treat all stages of sleeping sickness. We currently fund the Coalition for Operational Research on NTDs and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative.

Global health remains a priority for UK Official Development Assistance. We will invest in health systems strengthening through our support for the World Health Organisation (WHO), multi-country global funds and bilateral support for health programmes within countries, including those affected by NTDs. The UK fully endorses the WHO's 2030 NTDs Road map and its focus on sustainability and delivery through health systems.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 16 December 2021 to Question 91893 on Somalia: Peacekeeping Operations, following the extension of African Union Mission in Somalia's mandate by the UN Security Council on 21 December 2021, what steps she will take to ensure progress is made on an effective future international security mission for Somalia prior to the new mandate’s expiry on 31 March 2022.

We support the temporary extension of the UN Security Council (UNSC) mandate for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) until 31 March. As 'pen-holder', the UK has urged all stakeholders to use this three month rollover period to engage transparently and in good faith to reach consensus on the way ahead. It is essential that the UN and the African Union (AU) produce their joint proposal on the strategic objectives, size and composition of a reconfigured AU-led mission rapidly, and within necessary timelines, to ensure that there can be a mutually agreeable UNSC mandate that supports security transition in Somalia. In the coming months, the UK will participate in a range of bilateral and international meetings with the AU, UN, Federal Government of Somalia, Troop Contributing Countries, EU and others to encourage progress towards these goals.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, further to the Answer of 21 December 2021 to Question 91892 on Africa: Coronavirus, (a) how much funding the UK has allocated to the Africa Vaccine Confidence Campaign to date, (b) what estimate she made of the reach of this campaign to date in terms of (i) number of African countries supported and (ii) number of people reached, and (c) what the timescale is for this project.

The UK recognises that community demand and vaccine confidence are key factors influencing vaccine rollout. Through FCDO's Africa Vaccine Confidence Campaign, the UK is working with Wits University in South Africa and the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation to develop content which seeks to tackle vaccine hesitancy. The campaign has been used and amplified in the following countries: Botswana, Ghana, Uganda, Liberia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Sudan.

In terms of funding, £7,000 has been spent on producing new high quality video content, for use by HMG Posts across Africa and partners to support traditional and social media activity that builds Covid-19 vaccine confidence. The campaign is ongoing so the total number of people reached cannot yet be quantified, but in November 2021 alone, 60,000 people across Sub-Saharan Africa engaged with (liked, shared or viewed) the campaign on social media. The Africa Vaccine Confidence Campaign is to run until the end of April 2022. The UK is also supporting wider efforts in vaccine delivery on the continent. For example, in South Africa we have contributed £1.8 million to the Covid-19 Solidarity Fund to support the roll out of Covid-19 vaccines and provided technical advice for vaccine deployment.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to support children affected by recent school closures as a result of insecurity in Burkina Faso.

The UK is concerned about escalating violence in Burkina Faso, including the closure of more than 3000 schools as of December 2021 due to insecurity. The UK is the largest bilateral donor to Education Cannot Wait (ECW), a global fund to transform the delivery of education in emergencies. We have earmarked £30 million of our ECW funding between 2019-24 to the Sahel and surrounding countries, including Burkina Faso. This supports access to quality and safe education for children affected by crisis and conflict.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to support (a) the African Union and (b) civil society groups in ensuring that National Assembly elections in Senegal planned for July 2022 are peaceful, free and fair.

The National Assembly elections in Senegal in July will be the responsibility of the Government of Senegal, all political parties, and the Senegalese people. Peaceful, free and credible elections, in line with international law, are an opportunity to build long-term peace and stability in Senegal. Our Ambassador and Embassy in Dakar regularly engage with government and civil society groups to reinforce these messages.

The African Union (AU) provides important support to African nations' development, cooperation and democratic processes. The UK has pledged £35 million (2018 - 22) towards the African Union's objectives, including on peace and security and governance. The UK provides further support to the AU's Political Analysis Cell, which supports democratic processes, including free elections, and transitional justice in countries undergoing political transition. I underlined the importance of Senegal as a stable democracy which supports regional security and stability in West Africa, during my visit in November.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to help support (a) the African Union and (b) civil society groups in preventing violence associated with the Kenyan Presidential election planned for August 2022.

Upcoming general elections in August are the responsibility of the Government of Kenya, all political parties, and the Kenyan people. Peaceful, free and credible elections, in line with international law, are critical to maintaining long term stability in Kenya. The UK is playing an important role in the international community to encourage all parties to work towards this goal. We are engaging at senior levels to encourage all parties to participate responsibly, avoid the use of inflammatory language, and denounce violence and hate speech.

The UK is also working with media and civil society to help deliver effective and peaceful elections, including through support for short and long term election monitoring, and promoting peace and community security in priority regions of the country - with a focus on elections security and preventing election related violence against women. We also encourage the accurate coverage of sensitive issues through our work with media organisations and journalists. We continue to support the African Union's Department for Political Affairs, Peace and Security to deliver peaceful and credible elections across Africa, including in Kenya. This includes support to short and long-term observation missions, longer-term capacity building and specific areas of technical assistance through third parties.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to help support people displaced in Chad following recent violence in Cameroon over fishing, pastoral, and agricultural resources.

We are aware of the recent influx of Cameroonian refugees into Chad and continue to monitor this. The UK is providing life-saving humanitarian support through the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for protection and basic needs.

We are concerned by instances of intercommunal violence in the Far North of Cameroon, and the impact this has on communities across the Lake Chad Basin. We urge all to engage in dialogue to de-escalate the situation, and ensure delivery of vital humanitarian assistance.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to help support people displaced within the Central Sahel region as a result of increased insecurity in that region.

The UK is working with partners, through our Sahel Humanitarian Emergency Response Programme, to address the needs of those displaced in the Sahel. UK support includes responding to urgent food insecurity, responding to severe acute malnutrition, providing basic life-saving assistance to conflict affected people, as well as supporting safe access for humanitarian workers. Since 2019, we have supported 10.5 million people with life-saving assistance across the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, and Mauritania).

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what (a) estimate she has made of the number of people at risk of food insecurity (i) in the Central Sahel region and (ii) across West Africa during (A) the 2021 lean season and (B) the 2022 lean season, and (b) steps she is taking to ensure that adequate nutritional support will be available during the 2022 lean season.

According to the Cadre Harmonise, which analyses current and projected food and nutrition situations across West Africa, over 8.1 million people in the Central Sahel are expected to face severe food insecurity during the 2022 lean season. This is a 25% increase compared to 2021. Across West Africa the Cadre Harmonise estimates that 35.8 million people are expected to face severe food insecurity during the 2022 lean season, a 23% increase compared to 2021.

The UK is a major humanitarian donor in the region and continues to support the humanitarian response in the Sahel and West Africa. We are working with partners to address urgent food insecurity, respond to severe acute malnutrition, and provide basic life-saving assistance to conflict-affected people. Examples of UK support include: contributing towards feeding 1.7 million people in Nigeria, providing 400,000 children and 84,000 pregnant and lactating women in Nigeria with nutrition support in 2021; providing life-saving assistance to 10.5 million people across the G5 Sahel since (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, and Mauritania) since 2019; and providing humanitarian assistance including nutrition services and health treatment for children in Cameroon.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Humanitarian Bulletin: Ethiopia, published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on 3 January 2022, what steps she is taking to ensure that adequate (a) nutritional, (b) water, sanitation and hygiene, and (c) education support reaches affected populations in the (i) Somalia, (ii) Southern Oromia and (iii) Eastern Oromia Regions of Ethiopia.

The UK shares the concerns outlined by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in their report on 3 January. We concur with OCHA's analysis that 6.4 million people in Oromia and Somali regions require food assistance due to drought conditions. Humanitarian agencies report alarming nutrition indicators among young children which in some locations in Somali region exceed internationally agreed emergency thresholds. In the financial year 2021/2022 the UK has provided almost £59 million to humanitarian agencies working throughout Ethiopia including Oromia and Somali regions.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to support (a) children and (b) adults affected by Typhoon Rai/Odette in the Philippines on (i) increased risks of infectious disease, (ii) WASH needs, (iii) nutrition needs, (iv) education needs, (v) shelter needs, and (vi) protection from increased risks of abuse, exploitation and gender-based violence.

The UK was saddened to see the devastation wrought by Typhoon Rai on the Philippines on 16 and 17 December. We offer our deepest sympathies to those who have been affected.

The UK has committed £1 million to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) emergency appeal, launched on 18 December. This will go towards supporting the immediate and early recovery needs of affected people in areas including water, sanitation and hygiene; shelter; and protection of the most vulnerable.

The UK is also one of the top contributors to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) which is contributing £9 million to the UN's Humanitarian Response Plan for Typhoon Odette. With CERF funding, UN agencies and partners are providing life-saving assistance in areas including health; protection; food assistance; and education to a total of 244,800 people. The IFRC are still considering what the longer-term support to those affected by the Typhoon is appropriate.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of Women and Girls Left Behind: Glaring Gaps in Pandemic Responses, published by UN Women on 17 December 2021.

We know that women and girls are amongst the hardest hit by the indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. That is why the FCDO has been working with international partners to ensure the needs and priorities of women and girls are central to every aspect of our response.

This has included donating £10 million for the United Nations Population Fund's COVID-19 response and an additional £1 million to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women for the COVID-19 Crisis Response Window. This funding helped address reproductive health supply shortages caused by the pandemic, and scale up reporting, protection, and support services for women and girls affected by the surge in gender based violance (GBV). In addition, FCDO has supported over 40 countries to flex and adapt their social protection systems in response to COVID-19. This integrated a focus on gender equality and social inclusion to support women disproportionately impacted by the crisis. Social protection when well-designed can increase women's economic participation and reduce their unpaid care responsibilities, which have increased during the COVID crisis. The FCDO will continue to champion women and girls rights because that's the only way we will create a fairer, safer and more prosperous world.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the risk of renewed civil war in Somalia as a result of escalation in the dispute between Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Mohamed Hussein Roble.

We are concerned by the political situation in Somalia and have strongly urged Somalia's leaders to take immediate steps to de-escalate political tensions. It is vital for Somalia's stability that its leaders conclude the electoral process as soon as possible in a way that ensures the confidence of the Somali people.

In a statement on 26 December, I called for all parties to refrain from provocative actions that could exacerbate tensions or lead to violence. On 30 December, I spoke with Prime Minister Roble to underline the UK's support for an urgent National Consultative Council (NCC) meeting as the appropriate forum to resolve fundamental issues and address observed electoral shortcomings, and we welcome the commencement of an NCC meeting with Federal Member State (FMS) leaders on 3 January. The UK's Ambassador in Mogadishu continues to engage with all parties. With international partners, we continue efforts to support a swift and credible conclusion to the electoral process to aid long-term peace, security and stability in Somalia.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to help secure (a) effective civilian leadership for Sudan’s transition to democracy and (b) consensus-building between pro-democracy movements and the military following the resignation of Abdalla Hamdok on 2 January 2022.

Sudan has been on a delicate path from oppressive autocratic rule to potential freedom and democracy following the August 2019 Constitutional Declaration, signed by the Sudanese military and the civilian Forces of Freedom and Change political movement. Despite progress on economic reforms and peace talks since then, fractures between different political actors, including relating to the role of the military in government, have led to a political crisis, including the military coup of 25 October 2021, significant protests against the military, and the resignation of Abdallah Hamdok as Prime Minister on 2 January.

Abdallah Hamdok has played a major role in leading Sudan's democratic and economic reforms. His resignation underscores the urgent need for all Sudanese political actors to re-commit to the country's democratic transition, to work together, and to deliver the civilian rule millions continue to call for. The Troika (UK, Norway, US) and EU issued a statement on 4 January urging the Sudanese military and other actors to engage in an immediate, Sudanese-led and internationally facilitated dialogue to secure a lasting solution to the political crisis. Since the coup, British Embassy staff in Khartoum, the UK Special Representative to Sudan and South Sudan and FCDO officials have engaged with all parties to encourage dialogue and demonstrate UK support for the democratic transition. With our international partners, we will continue to urge all parties to work on the basis of the 2019 Constitutional Declaration to overcome the political crisis and deliver the Sudanese people's demands for freedom, peace and justice.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the potential risk of violence at the 2022 CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will run from 9 January to 6 February 2022 in Cameroon. Our High Commission will continue its engagement with the Government of Cameroon throughout the tournament.

Matches will take place in Yaoundé, Douala, Bafoussam, Limbe and Garoua. The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to Limbe and Garoua, due to ongoing tensions. There is also a heightened risk of petty crime in all the host cities during this period. Separatist armed groups have also announced publicly their intentions to disrupt the AFCON tournament: we advise that any travellers exercise extra caution when visiting locations that are associated with the tournament. Our latest Safety and Security advice for Cameroon can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking with international counterparts to help (a) prevent attacks on (i) schools, (ii) school staff and (iii) students attending schools in English-speaking regions of Cameroon and (b) promote engagement by the Government of Cameroon with peaceful campaigners for greater Anglophone autonomy.

The Government is deeply concerned about the crisis in the North-West and South-West "Anglophone" regions of Cameroon. We have raised this with the Government of Cameroon and in multilateral fora, including in a joint statement with our US, Swiss and Canadian partners in November 2021. This condemned attacks on civilians and urged dialogue. The UK also has programmes in place which aim to prevent human rights violations.

Every child has the right to a safe education. We are appalled by the attacks on schools and have called for impartial investigations to determine the perpetrators of these attacks and to bring them to justice. We also urge all parties to remain engaged with the Swiss-led process to promote a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to help support parties to the conflict in Ethiopia in establishing a (a) stable ceasefire and (b) path towards a negotiated peace following developments in the conflict since 21 December 2021.

We are extremely concerned by the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia and the implications it has for the country as a whole. The UK is working to bring an end to the violence. I have called on all parties to urgently agree a ceasefire and allow humanitarian aid through. I spoke to Ethiopian Minister of Justice Gedion on 6 December and pressed for an end to the fighting and for peace talks. I have continued to emphasise the need for a ceasefire through calls with my African counterparts, including from Kenya and the African Union (AU). We have spoken with a variety of international partners about the situation in Ethiopia, and have urged them to support a ceasefire and support the efforts of AU High Representative Obasanjo to bring an end to the violence.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of the World Bank’s International Development Association funding mechanism on promoting sustainable development.

The World Bank's International Development Association ('IDA') is an important partner for the UK and an important source of concessional finance to the world's poorest and least creditworthy countries.

In October 2021, at the World Bank's Annual Meetings in Washington DC, I discussed the UK's priorities for IDA, including the need for a greater focus on supporting women and girls, and pursuing a green recovery. In December 2021, the UK and other donors agreed a substantial IDA funding package of $93 billion over three years from July 2022 to June 2025. This includes strong commitments on getting girls back into school, tackling climate change, financing Covid-19 vaccines, and building clean and green infrastructure.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to support the freedom of the press, of expression, and of association in the Republic of the Congo.

In partnership with the international community, the UK Government engages with the Government of the Republic of the Congo on a range of issues, including human rights and media freedom. The UK does not have a resident Embassy in the Republic of the Congo but we monitor the political, economic, and social situation in that country through the British Embassy in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The UK is firmly committed to promoting and defending media freedom globally, including through the Global Media Defence Fund, managed by UNESCO, and the Media Freedom Coalition, both of which the UK helped establish.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to help support freedoms of (a) press, (b) expression and (c) association in Chad.

The Government continues to follow the situation in Chad, including through our first resident Ambassador in N'Djamena, appointed in April 2021. The UK supports the African Union's conclusions on the transition back to civilian and constitutional rule in Chad, including the holding of democratic elections by October 2022. We have expressed this position to Chadian partners regularly through our diplomatic engagement, including in a visit from our Sahel Envoy in November 2021.

The UK supports freedom of expression and the rights of Chadians, like all peoples, to freedom of assembly and peaceful protest. Through the UN Development Programme, we are providing financial support for the inclusion of women and youth in Chad's national dialogue on the transition, which is due to begin on 15 February 2022.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to support (a) the African Union and (b) civil society groups in Chad in (i) ensuring that civilian organisations are able to participate in the forthcoming National Dialogue process and (ii) ensuring that a timely timetable for free, fair, and inclusive elections is set as part of the National Dialogue process.

The Government continues to follow the situation in Chad, including through our first resident Ambassador in N'Djamena, appointed in April 2021. The UK supports the African Union's conclusions on the transition back to civilian and constitutional rule in Chad, including the holding of democratic elections by October 2022. We have expressed this position to Chadian partners regularly through our diplomatic engagement, including in a visit from our Sahel Envoy in November 2021.

The UK supports freedom of expression and the rights of Chadians, like all peoples, to freedom of assembly and peaceful protest. Through the UN Development Programme, we are providing financial support for the inclusion of women and youth in Chad's national dialogue on the transition, which is due to begin on 15 February 2022.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to UK and international partners' condemnation of the Wagner Group’s plan to deploy mercenaries in Mali, published on 23 December 2021, whether she plans to follow the EU in establishing UK sanctions against (a) the Wagner Group or (b) individuals and entities associated with the Wagner Group.

In our joint statement with international partners on 23 December 2021, the UK condemned the deployment of Wagner Group mercenaries in Mali, noting the involvement of the Russian Federation Government. On 29 September 2021, I made clear the destabilising impact of Wagner Group and the multiple human rights abuses they commit, as seen in other countries affected by conflict.

Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, who has close links to the Wagner Group, is designated under the UK Libya sanctions regime for providing support for Wagner Group's activities in Libya which threaten the country's peace, stability and security. It would not be appropriate to speculate on potential measures, as doing so could reduce the impact of any options used in the future. We will continue to closely monitor the situation.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to support (a) the Economic Community of West African States and (b) civil society groups in Mali to secure an effective and timely timetable for free and fair elections in Mali.

The UK has consistently called for elections and a return to constitutional rule in line with the conditions set out by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). I made this clear in my statement on 29 September 2021, and the UK Government has again reiterated its position in the joint statement with international partners, on 23 December 2021, concerning the deployment of Wagner Group in Mali.

We have supported ECOWAS mediation efforts at the UN Security Council and in Ministerial and senior official meetings with the Malian transitional government. The UK's Minister for the Armed Forces and our Global Ambassador for Human Rights raised the need for elections during their visits to Mali in November 2021. Our Embassies across the West African region are in regular touch with their host governments and with the ECOWAS commission on political developments in Mali, and I had a call with ECOWAS President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou to discuss Mali in November 2021. Our Embassy in Bamako often speaks with civil society to seek their views on a range of issues affecting the country, including the political uncertainty, insecurity, humanitarian crisis, human rights situation and women's rights.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to help support (a) the Economic Community of West African States, (b) the African Union, and (c) civil society groups in Guinea in their efforts to secure a timetable for free and fair elections in Guinea.

The UK Government has joined the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union and international partners to condemn the removal by force of the President of Guinea, Alpha Condé, in a coup that was led by Colonel Doumbouya on 5 September 2021.

We continue to call for all parties to engage in peaceful dialogue to ease tensions, prevent any further violence and uphold democratic principles, including the rule of law. The UK has expressed support for regional mediation efforts and remains aligned with ECOWAS efforts to restore stability in the region, including by calling for a peaceful democratic transition as soon as possible.

We continue to work with our international partners to address the implications of the coup and monitor the situation closely, including in my discussion with ECOWAS President Brou on 18 November 2021.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to engage with authorities in Somaliland on (a) freedoms of the press and expression and (b) freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention.

The UK engages with the Somaliland Government on an ongoing basis, including with regular meetings between the UK Ambassador to Somalia and President Muse Bihi Abdi (most recently on 18 December 2021). Our engagement covers a broad range of issues; discussion of our shared interests in upholding human rights in Somaliland - including freedom of expression and freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention - is an important element.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to support (a) the Angolan Government and (b) Angolan civil society groups in preparation for peaceful, free and fair elections in Angola.

The dates for the Angolan general elections in 2022 have not yet been announced by the Angolan President or the National Electoral Commission. Angola held a peaceful and democratic election in 2017, and there is no evidence to suggest that this will not be repeated in 2022. The UK, along with likeminded partners, is monitoring the electoral situation closely, including through engagement with government officials and civil society actors. We will continue to press for an inclusive, fair and transparent election, underlining to the Government of Angola the importance of demonstrating the value of democratic reforms and freedoms that have already been implemented.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether any (a) UK Official Development Assistance or (b) other public funds have been used in connection with the Inter-American Development Bank’s loan to Marfrig Global Foods.

The UK is aware of a prospective Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group loan to Marfrig Global Foods, which is due to be considered by the Board of Directors of IDB Invest in April 2022. IDB Invest is the private sector arm of the IDB Group. The UK is a member of the IDB, which is the arm of the IDB Group that lends to sovereign governments. However, the UK is not currently a member of IDB Invest, which is a separate entity from the IDB and invests in the private sector. No UK ODA or other public funds have been used in connection with this loan.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the impact on humanitarian access to north-east Syria of the closure of the border crossing with the Kurdistan region of Iraq on 15 December 2021.

We are engaging with our aid partners in north east Syria, who are responding to disruptions to their operations, where they assess 1.8 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. The closure carries a greater impact given the spread of the Omicron Covid variant and there are a number of critical humanitarian supplies in the pipeline affected by the closure, including medical supplies for health facilities, materials for rehabilitating drinking water and irrigation infrastructure, and wheat seeds. The UK continues to advocate for increased cross-border access across all of northern Syria and supports the resumption of passage for humanitarian personnel and life-saving humanitarian supplies.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will take steps to engage with the (a) Government of Saudi Arabia and (b) United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on allegations of mistreatment of ethnic Tigrayan migrants following (i) deportation or (ii) other forms of repatriation to Ethiopia.

We are aware of reports of mistreatment and poor conditions in detention centres, and the deportation of illegal migrants in Saudi Arabia. We regularly raise this and other human rights issues with the Saudi authorities through diplomatic channels, including Ministers, our Ambassador, and the British Embassy in Riyadh. In November 2020, I raised the treatment of migrants with the Saudi Ambassador to the UK. Later that month, representatives from British Embassy Riyadh visited the Al-Shumaisi Deportation centre - where approximately 90% of the detainees at the time were Ethiopian. Vicky Ford MP, Minister for Africa, spoke with Ethiopian Justice Minister Gedion in December 2021 and pressed him for an end to mass detentions in Ethiopia. Senior FCDO officials have also regularly engaged the UNHCR on this situation. We continue to monitor this situation carefully. No aspect of our relationship with Saudi Arabia prevents us from speaking frankly about human rights at both ministerial and official level.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has of the freedom (a) of the press, (b) of expression and (c) of association in Sudan since 19 November 2021.

Despite progress on economic reforms and peace talks since the 2019 revolution in Sudan, fractures between different political actors have led to a political crisis, including the military coup of 25 October 2021, significant protests against the military, and the resignation of Abdallah Hamdok as Prime Minister on 2 January. The Troika (UK, Norway, US) and EU issued a statement on 4 January urging the Sudanese military and other actors to engage in an immediate, Sudanese-led and internationally facilitated dialogue to secure a lasting solution to the political crisis.

The situation in Sudan puts at risk the significant achievements made in freedom of the press, of expression, and of association since the 2019 revolution. We have consistently raised our concern at, and called for an end to, detentions of activists and journalists since the coup, most recently in the 4 January statement. We have also repeatedly called for the Sudanese people to be able to protest and express their views without fear of violence, including through statements the Foreign Secretary and I made, and in international fora such as the UN Security Council and G7 Foreign and Development Ministers meeting. It remains essential that the right to peaceful protest is protected and accountability for any violations is delivered.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to help prevent the use of violence in the dispute between Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Mohamed Hussein Roble in Somalia.

We are concerned by the political situation in Somalia and have strongly urged Somalia's leaders to take immediate steps to de-escalate political tensions. It is vital for Somalia's stability that its leaders conclude the electoral process as soon as possible in a way that ensures the confidence of the Somali people.

In a statement on 26 December, I called for all parties to refrain from provocative actions that could exacerbate tensions or lead to violence. On 30 December, I spoke with Prime Minister Roble to underline the UK's support for an urgent National Consultative Council (NCC) meeting as the appropriate forum to resolve fundamental issues and address observed electoral shortcomings, and we welcome the commencement of an NCC meeting with Federal Member State (FMS) leaders on 3 January. The UK's Ambassador in Mogadishu continues to engage with all parties. With international partners, we continue efforts to support a swift and credible conclusion to the electoral process to aid long-term peace, security and stability in Somalia.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support she is offering to the World Health Organisation in the identification of the unidentified disease reported in the Fangak County of Jonglei State in South Sudan.

We are concerned at the increased incidents of disease and deaths in Fangak County. Following investigations, the Government of South Sudan has ascribed these primarily to an upsurge in malaria cases. These investigations have identified that illness and deaths have been exacerbated by flooding, which impacted treatment and restricted access to healthcare, including the prompt treatment of life-threatening malaria. We are in contact with the Government of South Sudan and international partners, notably the World Health Organisation (WHO), to better understand this and other health challenges in South Sudan as part of our work to help address the humanitarian crisis in the country.

As a leading donor to South Sudan the UK is helping to provide life-saving access to quality health, food, nutrition, water, sanitation and other services throughout the country. As part of this the UK has contributed to a number of funds helping those impacted by recent flooding. This includes the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which the UK was the third largest donor to globally in 2021. CERF has allocated $13 million in flood-affected areas, including $2 million to WHO to support 260,000 people with medical supplies and improved water and sanitation support to reduce the risk of disease. In addition the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund, of which the UK is a donor, allocated $20 million for issues such as flooding, including $1 million to WHO for the flood response.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what estimate she has made of the number of humanitarian aid trucks entering Tigray province in Ethiopia in each of the last 10 weeks.

The delivery of humanitarian assistance into Tigray remains hugely constrained. The de facto blockade of Tigray imposed by the by the Government of Ethiopia since July remains a principal driver of humanitarian suffering across the region. According to the latest available information from the UN, no humanitarian aid trucks entered Tigray during the period 14 December 2021 - 5 January 2022. We assess that in the six weeks prior to this period less than 10 per cent of the required humanitarian cargo was successfully delivered to Tigray.

The UK calls on all warring parties to ensure the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid across all regions of northern Ethiopia affected by fighting.

The UK has committed £76 million to the crises response - making the UK the second largest donor globally. FCDO officials speak regularly with representatives from the UN and other humanitarian agencies on contingency planning for an increase in needs inside Ethiopia as well as for further displacement of refugees into neighbouring states. Our priority is to ensure that all Ethiopians in need receive life-saving aid and that humanitarian access to areas affected by insecurity is maintained. I raised my concerns with State Minister Redwan in November and Justice Minister Gedion in December, and pushed for an end to the blockade.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps she has taken to engage with the pro-democracy protest movement in Sudan following the political agreement of 21 November 2021.

I am pleased that Dr Hamdok has been reinstated as the Prime Minister of Sudan and that many detainees have been released following the Political Agreement on 21 November. The Agreement is an important first step towards restoring Sudan's transition to democracy, but we continue to call for the transition to be restored fully, for all detainees to be released and for the Sudanese people to be able to protest without fear of violence. We have delivered this message to the military leadership in Khartoum, in statements the Foreign Secretary and I made, and in international fora such as securing unanimous support for a resolution on Sudan at the UN Human Rights Council on 5 November. Most recently we reinforced this at the UN Security Council on 10 December and at the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers meeting in Liverpool on 11 December.

Since the coup British Embassy staff in Khartoum and the UK Special Representative to Sudan and South Sudan have engaged with all parties, including the pro-democracy protest movement and diaspora representatives, to understand their positions, encourage progress, and demonstrate UK support for the democratic transition. The UK has been a consistent and firm advocate for the democratic transition and we will continue to engage with all parties in order to deliver the freedom, peace and justice called for by the Sudanese people.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations she has made to the UN Security Council on putting the conflict in Ethiopia on that organisation's formal agenda.

There have been regular discussions of Ethiopia by the UN Security Council. The UK has consistently and fully supported every discussion of Ethiopia by the Council, including the most recent discussion on 20 December, and will continue to do so at every opportunity.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking, in advance of the special session of the UN Human Rights Council planned for 17 December 2021, to secure support among members of that council for resolutions on (a) humanitarian access throughout Ethiopia, (b) independent and robust investigations into human rights abuses during the conflict in that country and (c) ceasefires and a negotiated end to the conflict in that country.

On 17 December, a special session of the UN Human Rights Council agreed a resolution that: urges all parties to stop targeting humanitarian workers and allow humanitarian aid to resume; established an International Commission of Human Rights Experts in Ethiopia to investigate and collect evidence from the conflict, and; reiterates firm support for the ongoing mediation efforts of the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa Region to find the urgently needed political, non-military solution. The UK supported the special session and the resolution.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to help support the governments of (a) Senegal and (b) Mali in relation to the potential reduction of gender inequalities in (i) access to gold mining land and (ii) participation in the governance of the gold mining sector.

The UK contributes funding to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The initiative supports Senegal and Mali to improve good governance in the extractive and mining sectors to improve development impact and reduce poverty.

As part of EITI, countries are held to a global standard. This includes provisions which aim to improve the participation of women in extractive sector management and encourage the publication of data by gender. The UK also provides funding to the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA). IDA works across the Sahel region on a range of governance programmes, including on governance of extractives, which seek to consider gender in programme design and implementation, and contribute to gender equality gains. The UK continues to promote gender equality and women's economic inclusion with our partners. For example, during my recent trip to Senegal, I met with the Senegalese Foreign Minister to discuss the importance of gender equality and women's economic empowerment.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with her counterparts in (a) partner donor countries to the African Union Mission in Somalia, (b) the African Union, (c) the Federal Government of Somalia and other relevant stakeholders in Somalia on the future of that mission.

The UK regularly engages international partners on the security situation in Somalia, including the threat from Al Shabaab, the role of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somalia's ongoing needs for international support as it transitions to take greater control of its own security. The UN Security Council (UNSC) mandate for AMISOM runs until 31 December 2021. A UNSC briefing on Somalia took place on 17 November, during which the UK - as 'pen-holder' - reiterated the need for progress on discussions on a successor mission to AMISOM to support the transition to Somali-led security in accordance with the Somalia Transition Plan. Senior officials, and ministers when required, liaise with their interlocutors as a matter of due course, including: the African Union, Troop Contributing Countries and the Federal Government of Somalia, to ensure that planning for a future mission can realistically meet objectives for transition while maintaining appropriate security levels; donor partners, to ensure appropriate funding mechanisms and levels of resources; and others in the UNSC who will be involved in formulating a future mandate. We continue to work with all relevant international partners on our collective interests in supporting long-term security and stability in Somalia and how a future mission can meet those shared objectives.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent estimate her Department has made of the number of people at risk of displacement as a result of coastal flooding and erosion in Ghana.

Ghana is vulnerable to coastal erosion, and industrial activity and climate change have contributed to this risk. This erosion can displace communities and destroy infrastructure. We are using UK development assistance to work with the city of Sekondi-Takoradi (which is suffering from increased urban flooding, sea level rise, and coastal erosion) to better understand these climate risks and gather data on the impact, including displacement. Through this project we will work with the local authorities and communities to support interventions to address climate change, including infrastructure plans to tackle these hazards.

In her previous role as UK International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP visited Ghana earlier this year, where she chaired a ministerial roundtable on building resilience to climate impacts and welcomed Ghana to the Adaptation Action Coalition.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps she has taken to support South Sudan with the implementation of (a) public finance and (b) anti-corruption measures in the peace deal signed in South Sudan in 2018.

Poor Public Financial Management (PFM) and corruption are major concerns in South Sudan, depriving ordinary citizens of basic services from their government and the benefits of economic growth. We welcome the commitments made in the 2018 Peace Agreement to improvements in this area, but implementation remains significantly delayed. British Embassy staff in Juba regularly engage with South Sudanese Ministers and officials on PFM and anti-corruption issues. This includes the Ministry of Finance, Financial Intelligence Unit and the National Multi-Disciplinary Committee on Money Laundering. We have also encouraged the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to support South Sudan with financial management and transparency programmes.

The UK Ambassador to South Sudan is currently co-chair of the Public Financial Management Oversight Committee, alongside the South Sudanese Minister of Finance. This mechanism, that we helped instigate to coordinate action on reforms, has supported progress such as the adoption by South Sudan of a plan for reforms, the establishment of a Cash Management Unit, and exchange rate reform that has helped food prices in South Sudan to drop despite increases in global prices. While these reforms are encouraging, we will, with our international partners, continue to press for further progress.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps she has taken to support the Government of Burkina Faso with security sector reform.

The UK is concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Burkina Faso and has followed recent events closely, including the protests and resignation of the Prime Minister. In January, my predecessor discussed insecurity in the Sahel with the President of Burkina Faso. Then, on 11 June, my predecessor spoke with the Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso and set out UK support to regional stability in the Sahel.

Through our deployment to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA), our deployment of Chinook helicopters to the French counter-terrorism mission Barkhane, and our programmatic support for stabilisation and conflict resolution, the UK is working to build long-term peace and stability in the Sahel. We also provide humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable in the region, including to some of those affected by conflict in Burkina Faso.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to Building the Network of Liberty speech, published on 8 December 2021, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of funding projects in the Caribbean and South-East Asia by British International Investment on the (a) amount and (b) proportion of funding through British International Investment that funds projects in Africa.

British International Investment (BII) is a central part of the UK Government's international financing offer to help developing and emerging countries across Asia, Africa and the Caribbean meet their financing needs for infrastructure and enterprise. BII is the largest G7 development finance investor into Africa and over the next five years will support the delivery of the Prime Minister's G7 commitment to invest up to $80 billion into Africa over the next five years.

BII plans to increase the amount it invests into Africa, compared to the last five years. The majority of investments will be self-funded by BII exiting existing investments. The FCDO is currently undertaking a business planning process following the spending review settlement. No decisions have yet been taken by Ministers on individual budgets.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the scale of funded demand from Covax vaccine distribution programmes for African states in fully utilising available covid vaccine production capacity.

The UK is committed to ending the acute phase of the pandemic as soon as possible and strongly supports the COVAX Facility as a key mechanism to deliver this. We are among the largest donors to COVAX's Advance Market Commitment, providing £548 million that will help supply at least 1.8 billion COVID-19 vaccines to up to 92 low and middle-income countries by early 2022. The UK will also donate 100 million COVID-19 vaccines to countries in need, 80 per cent of which will go through COVAX.

The UK recognises that community demand as well as health system capacity and vaccine hesitancy are key factors for delivering an effective vaccine rollout. Through FCDO's Africa Vaccine Confidence Campaign, the UK is working with experts at the Wits University in South Africa to build vaccine confidence. The UK, along with partners in COVAX, is also working with country governments to help health systems be better prepared in delivering vaccines. This includes engaging communities to build trust, provide correct information and encourage uptake.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the whether the planned Sombwe Dam and associated reservoir in the Democratic Republic of Congo will have a footprint in the Upemba National Park.

The UK is aware of the proposed project and the concerns regarding potential environmental impacts on the Upemba National Park. Whilst the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)'s energy needs are great and the mining sector currently relies heavily on diesel power generation to make up for a deficit in electricity, it is also vital that these needs are balanced with the needs to protect DRC's fragile environments and ecosystems.

The British Embassy in Kinshasa is in direct contact with the Director of the Upemba National Park and with civil society organisations in the Haut Katanga province where the Park is situated. Civil society have been working to publicise concerns about threats to the Park and the UK are supportive of their efforts. A study on the environmental impacts on the Park is currently underway by the Congolese National Institute for Conservation (ICCN) and we are waiting to see the findings of this study. Following a report by several NGOs, a Parliamentary Commission has been launched to investigate the concerns. The UK will be following up with relevant members to understand the conclusions from this commission.

The UK is scaling up its efforts to support DRC to safeguard its environment and adopt a low carbon development path. COP 26 saw an announcement from the UK to contribute £200 million to help protect the Congo Basin forests. Encouraging responsible investment into DRC will be a vital factor in driving sustainable growth.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the Sombwe Dam plans in the Democratic Republic of Congo on (a) net effects on carbon emissions, (b) corruption, (c) rule of law, (d) ecological conservation, (e) national economic development, (f) regional economic development and (g) the livelihoods and rights of local communities.

The UK is aware of the proposed project and the concerns regarding potential environmental impacts on the Upemba National Park. Whilst the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)'s energy needs are great and the mining sector currently relies heavily on diesel power generation to make up for a deficit in electricity, it is also vital that these needs are balanced with the needs to protect DRC's fragile environments and ecosystems.

The British Embassy in Kinshasa is in direct contact with the Director of the Upemba National Park and with civil society organisations in the Haut Katanga province where the Park is situated. Civil society have been working to publicise concerns about threats to the Park and the UK are supportive of their efforts. A study on the environmental impacts on the Park is currently underway by the Congolese National Institute for Conservation (ICCN) and we are waiting to see the findings of this study. Following a report by several NGOs, a Parliamentary Commission has been launched to investigate the concerns. The UK will be following up with relevant members to understand the conclusions from this commission.

The UK is scaling up its efforts to support DRC to safeguard its environment and adopt a low carbon development path. COP 26 saw an announcement from the UK to contribute £200 million to help protect the Congo Basin forests. Encouraging responsible investment into DRC will be a vital factor in driving sustainable growth.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo on the Sombwe Dam plans; and whether she has made any representations on the potential merits of alternative dam sites.

The UK is aware of the proposed project and the concerns regarding potential environmental impacts on the Upemba National Park. Whilst the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)'s energy needs are great and the mining sector currently relies heavily on diesel power generation to make up for a deficit in electricity, it is also vital that these needs are balanced with the needs to protect DRC's fragile environments and ecosystems.

The British Embassy in Kinshasa is in direct contact with the Director of the Upemba National Park and with civil society organisations in the Haut Katanga province where the Park is situated. Civil society have been working to publicise concerns about threats to the Park and the UK are supportive of their efforts. A study on the environmental impacts on the Park is currently underway by the Congolese National Institute for Conservation (ICCN) and we are waiting to see the findings of this study. Following a report by several NGOs, a Parliamentary Commission has been launched to investigate the concerns. The UK will be following up with relevant members to understand the conclusions from this commission.

The UK is scaling up its efforts to support DRC to safeguard its environment and adopt a low carbon development path. COP 26 saw an announcement from the UK to contribute £200 million to help protect the Congo Basin forests. Encouraging responsible investment into DRC will be a vital factor in driving sustainable growth.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to her comments in the question and answer session following her speech entitled Building the Network of Liberty at Chatham House on 8 December 2021, which multilateral ODA funding programmes her Department plans to reduce as part of the restoration of funding to women and girls and humanitarian aid referred to during that event.

We are restoring funding for women and girls and humanitarian aid over the Spending Review period.

No decisions on funding to individual organisations have been made to date. This will all be worked through as part of the FCDO's Business and Country Planning process over the coming months. Following the Spending Review, decisions on allocations and individual programmes will be published in the usual way.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to her comments in the question and answer session following her speech entitled Building the Network of Liberty at Chatham House on 8 December 2021, over what timeframe she plans to restore budgets for Official Development Aid for (a) women and girls and (b) humanitarian aid; and to what level those budgets are planned to be restored.

We are restoring funding for women and girls and humanitarian aid over the Spending Review period.

No decisions on funding to individual organisations have been made to date. This will all be worked through as part of the FCDO's Business and Country Planning process over the coming months. Following the Spending Review, decisions on allocations and individual programmes will be published in the usual way.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on 17 December 2021, if she will discuss with international partners the wellbeing of men and women considered to be of fighting age who have allegedly been subjected to systematic mass detention in western Tigray.

We have frequently and consistently raised the need for full humanitarian access in Ethiopia at the Human Rights Council and at the UN Security Council. The Foreign Secretary, as Chair of the G7 Foreign and Development Minister's meeting, made a statement on 12 December also calling for unimpeded humanitarian access. The statement also called for an additional independent investigation on human rights violations as recommended by the Joint Investigation report from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. In my most recent discussion with Ethiopian Government Ministers - with Minister of State Redwan on 18 November and Justice Minister Gedion on 6 December - I raised our concerns about mass detentions, ethnic profiling, and hate speech. We will continue to take all opportunities to raise these important matters.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the United Nations Human Rights Council on 17 December 2021, if she will take steps to discuss at that meeting the potential merits of (a) introducing a robust independent mechanism to investigate human rights abuses during the current conflict in Ethiopia and (b) tackling the spread of misinformation.

We have frequently and consistently raised the need for full humanitarian access in Ethiopia at the Human Rights Council and at the UN Security Council. The Foreign Secretary, as Chair of the G7 Foreign and Development Minister's meeting, made a statement on 12 December also calling for unimpeded humanitarian access. The statement also called for an additional independent investigation on human rights violations as recommended by the Joint Investigation report from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. In my most recent discussion with Ethiopian Government Ministers - with Minister of State Redwan on 18 November and Justice Minister Gedion on 6 December - I raised our concerns about mass detentions, ethnic profiling, and hate speech. We will continue to take all opportunities to raise these important matters.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will take steps to raise issues of humanitarian access to (a) Tigray and (b) other areas of Ethiopia at the special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council planned for 17 December 2021.

We have frequently and consistently raised the need for full humanitarian access in Ethiopia at the Human Rights Council and at the UN Security Council. The Foreign Secretary, as Chair of the G7 Foreign and Development Minister's meeting, made a statement on 12 December also calling for unimpeded humanitarian access. The statement also called for an additional independent investigation on human rights violations as recommended by the Joint Investigation report from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. In my most recent discussion with Ethiopian Government Ministers - with Minister of State Redwan on 18 November and Justice Minister Gedion on 6 December - I raised our concerns about mass detentions, ethnic profiling, and hate speech. We will continue to take all opportunities to raise these important matters.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the extent to which a continued flow of arms to (a) the Government of Ethiopia and (b) other parties to the current conflict in Ethiopia is a barrier to ceasefires and a negotiated peace; and what representations the Government has made to countries supplying arms that may potentially be used in that conflict.

We are extremely concerned by the ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia and the implications it has for the country as a whole. The UK is working to bring an end to the violence. I have called on all parties to urgently agree a ceasefire and allow humanitarian aid through. I spoke to Ethiopian Minister of Justice Gedion on 6 December and pressed for an end to the fighting and for peace talks. I have continued to emphasise the need for a ceasefire through recent calls with my African counterparts, including from Kenya and the African Union (AU). We have spoken with a variety of international partners about the situation in Ethiopia, and have urged them to support a ceasefire and support the efforts of AU High Representative Obasanjo to bring an end to the violence.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps she has taken to support the African Union initiatives for ceasefires and negotiations between combatants in Ethiopia.

We are extremely concerned by the ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia and the implications it has for the country as a whole. The UK is working to bring an end to the violence. I have called on all parties to urgently agree a ceasefire and allow humanitarian aid through. I spoke with State Minister for Foreign Affairs Redwan on 18 November, stressing the need for all parties to the conflict to engage in meaningful talks, lift the blockade on aid, and end the mobilisation of civilians and ethnically targeted arrests. I also spoke to Ethiopian Minister of Justice Gedion on 6 December and pressed for an end to the fighting and for peace talks. I have continued to emphasise the need for a ceasefire through recent calls with my international counterparts, including Kenya and the African Union (AU). I spoke with the AU High Representative for the Horn of African Region, Olusegun Obasanjo on 4 November to discuss the situation and make clear our strong support, for his efforts to end the conflict. I also spoke with AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Bankole, on 8 November and pressed him on the need for the AU to find a way forward.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure that no UK-origin arms are being used to abuse human rights in Ethiopia.

We are extremely concerned by reports of widespread human rights violations and abuses in Ethiopia committed by all sides to the conflict and I raised our concerns with Ethiopian State Minister Redwan on 18 November and the Ethiopian Minister of Justice, Gedion, on 6 December. All those responsible for human rights violations and abuses should be held to account. I encourage all parties to implement the joint investigation's recommendations and ensure that victims have access to support. Our Ambassador in Addis Ababa and I continue to raise human rights issues in our discussions with all parties to the conflict, and more broadly we have reminded all warring parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Our priority is to ensure that Ethiopians, irrespective of ethnicity, religion and political affiliation, receive life-saving aid and that humanitarian access to areas affected by conflict and insecurity is restored.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the security options available to the government of the Central African Republic in providing security in that country; and what recent representations she has made to that government on establishing a peace process between it and rebel groups.

The ongoing violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) continues to take a distressing toll on the civilian population, compounding an already acute humanitarian situation. In 2021, the UK contributed £21 million to the humanitarian response in the CAR and has stood alongside our allies at the UN in calling for all parties to the conflict to respect human rights and international humanitarian law. I spoke with President Touadéra on 1 November where I commended his call for a unilateral ceasefire and underlined the importance of an inclusive peace-building process.

I have voiced deep concern at the foreign mercenary activity of the Wagner Group in the Central African Republic. In my statement of 29 September 2021 on the Wagner Group, I made clear that they are a driver of conflict and capitalises on instability for their own interests. This is true in CAR as well as elsewhere on the continent. Wagner does not offer long-term security answers in Africa and operates opaquely. The October 2021 report from UN experts found that the Wagner Group had violently harassed and intimidated civilians, including peacekeepers, journalists, aid workers and minorities in CAR and called on the government to end all relationships with the Wagner Group.

The priority in CAR continues to be on ending violence and building security, and the UK continues to work closely with international partners to support efforts to bring stability to the country. The UN Mission in CAR, MINUSCA, will be central to this and the UK contributes approximately £40 million per year in support of their work.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of how Wagner mercenaries are paid by the Government of the Central African Republic.

The ongoing violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) continues to take a distressing toll on the civilian population, compounding an already acute humanitarian situation. In 2021, the UK contributed £21 million to the humanitarian response in the CAR and has stood alongside our allies at the UN in calling for all parties to the conflict to respect human rights and international humanitarian law. I spoke with President Touadéra on 1 November where I commended his call for a unilateral ceasefire and underlined the importance of an inclusive peace-building process.

I have voiced deep concern at the foreign mercenary activity of the Wagner Group in the Central African Republic. In my statement of 29 September 2021 on the Wagner Group, I made clear that they are a driver of conflict and capitalises on instability for their own interests. This is true in CAR as well as elsewhere on the continent. Wagner does not offer long-term security answers in Africa and operates opaquely. The October 2021 report from UN experts found that the Wagner Group had violently harassed and intimidated civilians, including peacekeepers, journalists, aid workers and minorities in CAR and called on the government to end all relationships with the Wagner Group.

The priority in CAR continues to be on ending violence and building security, and the UK continues to work closely with international partners to support efforts to bring stability to the country. The UN Mission in CAR, MINUSCA, will be central to this and the UK contributes approximately £40 million per year in support of their work.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the roles of (a) Wagner mercenaries, (b) Government forces and (c) rebel forces in (i) human rights abuses and (ii) restrictions on humanitarian access in the Central African Republic.

The ongoing violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) continues to take a distressing toll on the civilian population, compounding an already acute humanitarian situation. In 2021, the UK contributed £21 million to the humanitarian response in the CAR and has stood alongside our allies at the UN in calling for all parties to the conflict to respect human rights and international humanitarian law. I spoke with President Touadéra on 1 November where I commended his call for a unilateral ceasefire and underlined the importance of an inclusive peace-building process.

I have voiced deep concern at the foreign mercenary activity of the Wagner Group in the Central African Republic. In my statement of 29 September 2021 on the Wagner Group, I made clear that they are a driver of conflict and capitalises on instability for their own interests. This is true in CAR as well as elsewhere on the continent. Wagner does not offer long-term security answers in Africa and operates opaquely. The October 2021 report from UN experts found that the Wagner Group had violently harassed and intimidated civilians, including peacekeepers, journalists, aid workers and minorities in CAR and called on the government to end all relationships with the Wagner Group.

The priority in CAR continues to be on ending violence and building security, and the UK continues to work closely with international partners to support efforts to bring stability to the country. The UN Mission in CAR, MINUSCA, will be central to this and the UK contributes approximately £40 million per year in support of their work.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to prevent wastage of covid-19 vaccines donated to (a) Nigeria, (b) Malawi, (c) South Sudan and (d) other African countries as a result of (i) inadequate time for distribution before expiry dates, (ii) inadequate distribution infrastructure and (iii) other reasons.

Avoiding vaccine expiry and wastage is a core UK objective in determining when and where we share or deploy doses. COVAX works with African governments, including Nigeria, Malawi and South Sudan, to monitor equitable distribution, allocation, and delivery of vaccines in line with National Deployment and Vaccination Plans and the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s 'equitable allocation framework'. For all bilateral donations, we have sought assurances from recipients that they have the capacity to roll out the quantity of doses offered in line with their National Deployment and Vaccination Plans and ahead of the vaccine expiry date.

We are working through the governing boards of Gavi and the World Bank to ensure funding available for in-country delivery is approved and disbursed in a timely manner. We are also working with COVAX, technical partners (WHO and UNICEF), bilateral programmes and the UK's diplomatic network to tackle immediate bottlenecks that can be addressed through focused funding, provision of equipment or technical assistance. We are aware of the recent media reports of large volume of expired vaccines in Nigeria. However, I can confirm that no UK-donated doses are among those expired.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent diplomatic steps she has taken to help prevent a potential further military coup in Sudan.

I am pleased that Dr Hamdok has been released and reinstated as the Prime Minister of Sudan following the Political Agreement between the military and civilian leaders on 21 November. The Troika (UK, Norway, US), along with Canada, the EU, and Switzerland, have recognised the Agreement as an important first step towards restoring Sudan's transition to democracy. The UK has helped to maintain pressure on the military since the coup to encourage this, including through securing unanimous support for a resolution on Sudan at the UN Human Rights Council and in statements the Foreign Secretary and I made. Most recently, we called for all parties to take a genuinely inclusive and consultative approach to delivering Sudan's democratic transition at a meeting of the UN Security Council on 10 December.

We continue to call for Sudan's transition to be restored fully, for all detainees to be released and for the Sudanese people be able to protest without fear of violence. We also continue to work with our international partners to maintain pressure on the military to deliver their commitments, including through visits to the region by the UK Special Representative to Sudan and South Sudan and the UK Envoy for the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea. Since the coup we have engaged with all parties to encourage progress and demonstrate support for the civilian-led democratic transition.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure that covid-19 vaccines donated by the UK which are then destroyed rather than being used are excluded from being counted as Official Development Assistance.

There are ongoing discussions at the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) regarding how donations of vaccine doses should be reported in ODA in 2021. No decision has yet been made.

Avoiding vaccine expiry and wastage is a core UK objective, and determines when and where we share or deploy doses. Vaccines delivered by COVAX are delivered in consultation with recipient countries, and distributed in line with the World Health Organisation's 'equitable allocation framework.' For all bilateral donations, we have sought assurances from recipients that they have the capacity to roll out the quantity of doses offered in line with National Deployment and Vaccination Plans ahead of their expiry dates.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the UNHCR Pledging Conference 2021: UK statement, published on 7 December 2021, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of the provisions in the Nationality and Borders Bill on the credibility of UK representatives.

The Nationality and Borders Bill and the New Plan for Immigration, which Home Office are leading, will deliver the most comprehensive reform of the asylum system in decades. The UK has a proud history of supporting refugees, and this will continue. We will also continue to work closely with our international partners on what are shared global challenges. Ensuring refugees can access protection will remain central to our partnership with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), other humanitarian agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the UNHCR Pledging Conference 2021: UK statement, published on 7 December 2021, what recent estimate she has made of trends in the quantity of UK financial support for the UNHCR per person forcibly displaced over the last five years.

The UK is a major humanitarian donor and one of the largest financial supporters of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in terms of both core and in-country contributions. We have provided over £714 million in funding to UNHCR across bilateral and multilateral channels over the past five years (2016-2020). We do not yet have a final figure for UK funding to UNHCR in 2021, nor does the UK carry out global estimates of the sum total number of people forcibly displaced - though UNHCR estimates this total to be at least 84 million as of mid-2021.

Humanitarian assistance is one of the Foreign Secretary's top priorities for the FCDO. Our work around the world to support displaced people and the countries that host them, and to champion International Humanitarian Law, is central to our efforts to build a global network of liberty, and to the ambitions of the Integrated Review.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the UNHCR Pledging Conference 2021: UK statement, published on 7 December 2021, what assessment she has made of the impact on (a) refugee protection, (b) UK influence within the UNHCR and (c) UK influence with countries affected by large refugee populations or flows of the reduction in UK contributions to the UNHCR from $134 million in 2020 to $78.6 million in 2021.

Humanitarian assistance is one of the Foreign Secretary's top priorities, and the UK remains a major humanitarian donor. Our work around the world to support displaced people and the countries that host them, and to champion International Humanitarian Law, is central to our efforts to build a global network of liberty. We have led the way in forging innovative solutions to refugee crises, championing a longer-term approach and helping shape the Global Compact on Refugees - including our pioneering responses in Jordan and Ethiopia.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is a critical partner in delivering these priorities. We play a central and influential role in supporting UNHCR - as one of its largest core funding partners, through close joint work via their Executive Committee and other governance fora, through our UN reform agenda, and by deploying our bilateral funding and global diplomatic network to carry out humanitarian diplomacy. Refugee protection is a crucial element of this partnership - and to our partnerships with other UN and Red Cross agencies - but is subject to a much broader range of factors than funding alone. We do not yet have a final figure for the UK's total 2021 funding to UNHCR, but we know the Covid-19 pandemic has had particularly severe impacts for displaced people. That is why the UK provided a £20 million uplift in core funding to UNHCR to help counter the effects of the pandemic. We have also been instrumental in advocating for greater support for host countries through our bilateral engagement - including driving progress on development financing, and host communities' access to health services, education and livelihoods.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the impact on the risk of (a) starvation and (b) malnourishment of the suspension of the distribution of World Food Programme aid in Kombolcha and Dessie towns following a deterioration in the local security situation; and what steps she is taking to enable secure humanitarian access in that area.

The conflict in Ethiopia has caused huge levels of suffering with the UN estimating 9.4 million people across the north of the country in need of food aid. Of this number, it is estimated that over 400,000 people in Tigray are experiencing famine-like conditions. Without free and unfettered access for relief agencies and a cessation of hostilities the situation will deteriorate and young children will bear the brunt.

The UK is working to bring an end to the violence and to facilitate humanitarian access. We remain very concerned about the security context including in Kombolcha and Dessie in Amhara. Armed violence poses both a threat to civilians as well as to humanitarian actors many of whom have suspended or reduced their operations owing to insecurity. I have called on all parties to urgently agree a ceasefire and allow humanitarian aid through. I spoke with State Minister for Foreign Affairs Redwan on 18 November and the Ethiopian Minister of Justice, Gedion, on 6 December. I have continued to emphasise the need for a ceasefire through recent calls with my international counterparts, including Kenya and the African Union.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of settlement expansion or construction in (a) the settlement designated E1 in area C, (b) Atarot/Qalandiya and (c) Ariel West on the (i) territorial contiguity and viability of a future Palestinian state, (ii)e human rights of nearby Palestinian residents and (iii) prospects for a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine.

As I made clear on 28 October, we urge the Government of Israel to reverse the decisions on 24 October and 27 October to advance the construction of settlement units in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. The UK's position on settlements is clear. They are illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace, and threaten the physical viability of a two-state solution. We continue to urge the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships to avoid actions which make peace more difficult to achieve.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations she has made to her Israeli counterpart on plans for settlement expansion or construction in (a) the settlement designated E1 in area C, (b) Atarot/Qalandiya and (c) Ariel West.

As I made clear on 28 October, we urge the Government of Israel to reverse the decisions on 24 October and 27 October to advance the construction of settlement units in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. The UK's position on settlements is clear. They are illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace, and threaten the physical viability of a two-state solution. We continue to urge the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships to avoid actions which make peace more difficult to achieve.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what (a) humanitarian and (b) diplomatic support she is giving to Afghan refugees with links to the UK who have fled Afghanistan and are in (i) Iran, (ii) Pakistan, (iii) India, (iv) Turkey and (v) other states in the region.

We have doubled UK aid for Afghanistan to £286 million this year, including £50 million for emergency humanitarian support inside Afghanistan, and £30 million of life-saving aid for Afghans in neighbouring countries to support new and existing refugees and asylum seekers. So far, we have disbursed £10 million to support refugee preparedness and assistance in neighbouring countries as follows:

£4 million to Pakistan

£3 million to Iran

£2 million to Tajikistan

£1 million regional

We continue to support those individuals and families eligible for resettlement in the UK and to this end we have created a new Joint Afghanistan Casework Unit, staffed by officials from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Home Office and Ministry of Defence.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will convene an urgent UN Security Council meeting on recent humanitarian and political developments in North-Western Myanmar.

The UK is deeply concerned about the situation in Chin and Sagaing States, particularly the significant troop movements by the Myanmar Armed Forces and reports of multiple civilian casualties. Current clashes have created mass displacement, with thousands of people now fleeing across the Indian border into Manipur and Mizoram state. This not only exacerbates the crisis in Myanmar but causes further regional instability. On 15 October the British Embassy in Yangon released a statement urging the military to end their campaign of violence and flagging our concern for communities, their livelihoods, property and places of worship. We are monitoring developments closely and are in discussion with our international partners in the UN Security Council.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many people in Yemen were provided with food aid funded by UK Official Development Assistance in (a) 2019 and (b) 2020; and how many people in Yemen will be provided with food aid funded by UK Official Development Assistance in 2021.

In the financial year 2019/2020, the UK met the food needs of more than 1 million Yemenis each month during the year and treated at least 70,000 children for malnutrition. In the financial year 2020/2021, the UK provided support to at least 500,000 vulnerable people each month with cash transfers and enrolled 73,000 children on malnutrition programmes. This financial year we have already provided one-off cash support to 1.5 million of Yemen's poorest households to help them buy food and basic supplies given the devastating impacts of Covid-19. The UK will also feed around 240,000 of the most vulnerable Yemenis every month and enrol over 50,000 children in malnutrition programmes. Despite the financial pressures at home, the UK remains a leading donor to the UN Yemen appeal.

The UK is playing a leading diplomatic role, and we are using all our diplomatic and humanitarian expertise to coordinate international efforts to bring parties to the conflict to the negotiating table. An inclusive political settlement is the only way to bring long-term stability to Yemen and to address the worsening humanitarian crisis.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent estimate she has made of the number of people at risk of starvation in Yemen.

The latest projection that we have available on food insecurity in Yemen was published by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) on 3 December 2020. This estimated that nearly 50,000 Yemenis are currently living in famine-like conditions and at least 16.2 million people (54 per cent of Yemen's population) are at risk of starvation and death.

The UK has already disbursed 85 per cent of our £87 million commitment to Yemen this financial year which will feed around 240,000 of the most vulnerable Yemenis every month. We also provided one-off cash support to 1.5 million of Yemen's poorest households to help them buy food and basic supplies. Given the disproportionate impact on women and children, our funding to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has already supported over 2 million pregnant women and new mothers with nutrition counselling and education since 2018. We fully support the peace process led by the UN Special Envoy, Hans Grundberg, and urge the parties to engage constructively with this process and call on all states to release humanitarian funding commitments promptly. An inclusive political settlement is the only way to bring long-term stability to Yemen and to address the worsening humanitarian crisis.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Foreign Minister of Myanmar will be attending the G7 ASEAN Foreign Ministers 2021 meeting.

The UK has invited ASEAN to the G7 Foreign and Development Ministerial Meeting in Liverpool in December as a demonstration of our commitment to ASEAN and the Indo Pacific region. The UK has been clear that the military regime in Myanmar is not welcome to attend in person. We note ASEAN's decision not to invite Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to attend the ASEAN Leaders' Summit. The UK Government condemns the military coup in Myanmar, the violence against the people of Myanmar and the detention of members of the civilian government and civil society, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint. The UK will continue to work closely with ASEAN on our shared ambition of ending the crisis in Myanmar.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether officials in her Department have had discussions with their Chinese counterparts on the Uyghur Tribunal chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC.

The Chinese Ambassador had an introductory meeting with the former Minister for Asia, Nigel Adams MP, on 8 September, where the issue of the Uyghur Tribunal was raised. The former Minister for Asia reiterated the UK Government's deep concern about the human rights situation in Xinjiang, and made clear that the UK Government would not interfere with the tribunal's work.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential implications for his policies of findings made by the Uyghur Tribunal.

We are following the work of the Uyghur Tribunal closely and will study any resulting report carefully.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure the rights of (a) Shia Muslims, (b) Sikhs, (c) Hindus, (d) Christians, (e) Sufi Muslims, (f) Baháʼís, (g) Jews, (h) other religious minorities and (i) non-religious people and are protected in Afghanistan following the recent military victory of Taliban forces.

We are clear on the need for a political settlement which will provide for an inclusive government and the peace and stability Afghanistan needs. Minister for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August to underscore the UK's commitment to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people, including all ethnic and religious communities, and holding the Taliban to account.

The UK led work on the recent UN Security Council resolution, demonstrating our commitment to holding the Taliban to account on human rights.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure the rights of women and girls are protected in Afghanistan following the recent military victory of Taliban forces.

We are committed to prioritising women and girls in the UK's response to the situation in Afghanistan. We will use every humanitarian and diplomatic lever to safeguard human rights and the gains made over the last two decades. The UK led work on the recent UN Security Council resolution, demonstrating our commitment to holding the Taliban to account on human rights, humanitarian access, safe passage and preventing terror. Minister for Human Rights Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August to underscore the UK's commitment to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people, including women and girls, and holding the Taliban to account.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans he has to support a negotiated resolution to the conflict on the island of Cyprus.

The UK remains committed to supporting the UN process to reach a Cyprus Settlement, which will be good for Cyprus, regional stability and UK interests. On 27-29 April, in support of the efforts led by the UN Secretary General to find common ground on a way forward to resolve the Cyprus Issue, the Foreign Secretary represented the UK as a Guarantor Power at informal UN talks in Geneva.

At the meeting, the Foreign Secretary continued to urge all sides to demonstrate flexibility and compromise to find a solution to the Cyprus Issue within the UN Security Council parameters of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, which we believe are broad enough to meet the objectives of all sides. This followed UK messaging to the parties ahead of the talks, including the Foreign Secretary's visit to the island on 4 February where he met President Anastasiades, Turkish Cypriot leader Tatar and the UN. Ahead of the talks, during my visit to Cyprus (7-9 April), I reiterated this message and the UK's support for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the evidence of human rights abuses contained in the report entitled Like we were enemies in a war: China's mass internment, torture and persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang, published by Amnesty International on 10 June 2021.

Amnesty International's report of 10 June 2021 is a compelling addition to the already extensive and irrefutable body of evidence about systematic human rights violations taking place in Xinjiang. The Government has taken careful note of Amnesty's report and will continue to engage with a range of NGOs, and other experts, to inform our understanding of the situation in Xinjiang and guide policy development.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the statement of the UK's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Launch of Rohingya Joint Response Plan in Bangladesh on 18 May 2021