Margaret Ferrier

Independent - Rutherglen and Hamilton West

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Manufacturing)
7th Jan 2020 - 1st Oct 2020
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland Office)
20th May 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Scottish Affairs Committee
6th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017


Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 3rd November 2021
13:45
Scheduled Event
Friday 26th November 2021
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Pension Schemes (Conversion of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions) Bill: Second Reading
View calendar
Division Votes
Tuesday 26th October 2021
Judicial Review and Courts Bill
voted No
One of 3 Independent No votes vs 1 Independent Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 321 Noes - 220
Speeches
Tuesday 26th October 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

Over a decade after pro-democracy protests were crushed and oversight mechanisms, which the UK helped to fund, were adopted, cosmetic …

Written Answers
Wednesday 27th October 2021
Mohammed al-Khudari
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations she has made to her international …
Early Day Motions
Thursday 21st October 2021
Cambuslang COP26 Campaign
That this House recognises both Cambuslang and Halfway Community Councils for their joint initiative, the Cambuslang COP26 Campaign; commends their …
Bills
Wednesday 16th June 2021
Pension Schemes (Conversion of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision about the amendment of pension schemes so as to provide for the conversion of rights …
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
8. Miscellaneous
Member of Halfway Community Council. (Registered 07 January 2020)
EDM signed
Wednesday 27th October 2021
Occupation of the Channel Islands during the Second World War
That this House remembers the generation of people who lived on the Channel Islands during their occupation by the Nazis …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Margaret Ferrier has voted in 238 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Margaret Ferrier Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(22 debate interactions)
Rishi Sunak (Conservative)
Chancellor of the Exchequer
(12 debate interactions)
Ben Wallace (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Defence
(12 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(20 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(17 debate contributions)
Ministry of Defence
(15 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Margaret Ferrier's debates

Latest EDMs signed by Margaret Ferrier

26th October 2021
Margaret Ferrier signed this EDM on Wednesday 27th October 2021

Death and recognition of Walter Smith OBE

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House expresses its deep sorrow at the death of Rangers Football Club legend, and one of the great modern day football managers, Walter Smith OBE; recognises Walter's extraordinary contribution to Scottish football, both as a manager and as a player, beginning his playing career at Dundee United in …
39 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 31
Labour: 4
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Liberal Democrat: 1
Independent: 1
26th October 2021
Margaret Ferrier signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 27th October 2021

Creature Comforts and Independent Pet Retailer of the Year

Tabled by: Kirsten Oswald (Scottish National Party - East Renfrewshire)
That this House congratulates Graeme and Ann Wilson, whose business, Creature Comforts, was awarded the UK Independent Retailer of the Year for 2021 at the Pet Industry Federation Awards; notes that Creature Comforts' first shop opened in Clarkston, East Renfrewshire, in 1997 and that the company has since grown to …
5 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 4
Independent: 1
View All Margaret Ferrier's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Margaret Ferrier, 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.


Margaret Ferrier has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Margaret Ferrier has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Margaret Ferrier


A Bill to make provision about the amendment of pension schemes so as to provide for the conversion of rights to a guaranteed minimum pension.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 16th June 2021
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 26th November 2021
Order Paper number: 2
(Likely to be Debated)

A Bill to prohibit charges for the use of cash machines; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 2nd September 2020

Margaret Ferrier has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


172 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
3 Other Department Questions
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, whether he discussed human rights in Bahrain with the Crown Prince, the Prime Minister of Bahrain, Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa and accompanying Bahraini officials at their meeting on 17 June.

The Crown Prince and I discussed a wide range of matters. We regularly raise human rights issues with the Government of Bahrain and continue to engage with the Government of Bahrain to support its reform agenda.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what plans she has for the replacement of the recently-disbanded LGBT Advisory Panel.

The LGBT Advisory Panel was created under the previous administration and the term of all panel members ended on 31 March. The Minister for Women & Equalities has written to panel members to thank them for their contributions. I will shortly set out further details on our plans for the International LGBT Conference and banning conversion therapy, including how we will engage those with relevant expertise.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what representations he has made to Cabinet colleagues on the effect of the Woodhouse Colliery project on the UK's Paris Climate Agreement obligations.

I have regular meetings with Cabinet colleagues on a variety of issues. It is for councils to make a decision on the planning proposals which are submitted to them, applying the Government’s national planning rules and weighing up each case on its merits. Coal generated only 1.6% of the UK’s electricity mix in 2020, compared with almost 25% five years ago.

The UK is fully committed to decarbonising industry and phasing out coal for power generation by 2024 (subject to consultation) as part of our pathway to net zero emissions by 2050.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
12th Nov 2020
What steps he is taking with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to ensure the adequacy of fuel and electricity supplies in the event of no agreement on the future relationship with the EU at the end of the transition period.

The end of the transition period will not alter the fact that our energy system is resilient, and our supplies secure. We are planning extensively for the end of the transition period, alongside industry, the Devolved Administrations, and key delivery partners to ensure energy demands continue to be met.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 16 July 2020 to Question 904850, for what reason the Government has not yet published the recommendations of Lord Dunlop's Review of UK Government Union Capability.

The Government is giving full consideration to the recommendations of Lord Dunlop’s Review of UK Government Union Capability.

The Government is grateful for the work Lord Dunlop has undertaken.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many staff in his Department have formal arrangements to work from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

Where possible Cabinet Office officials are working from home during the COVID-19 crisis, and as a result the vast majority of civil servants are working from home on any given day. The Department has issued staff with working from home guidance. However, only a small number of staff are formally 'designated homeworkers'. Of those who have declared, 20 members of staff are 'designated homeworkers' as of 30 April 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with his Cabinet colleagues on the circular economy and the safety of products.

In order to fully realise the significant benefits of a shift to a more circular economy, it is important that consumers can continue to have confidence in the safety of products as both supply chains and product design evolve. The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is currently reviewing the UK’s product safety framework and its recent Call for Evidence requested information from stakeholders on changes to product lifecycles, the circular economy and the impact on product safety. The review will seek to ensure that the product safety framework can adapt to any emerging risks and a Government Response to the Call for Evidence will be published in due course.

Alongside its Call for Evidence, OPSS has commissioned research to further build our evidence base, including on second-life batteries and on the use of recycled materials in consumer products. The OPSS research programme will continue to address issues related to the transition to a circular economy.

OPSS and Defra officials are in regular contact to ensure a coordinated approach to the development of a circular economy and consumer safety.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what information his Department collects on product recalls and corresponding safety actions.

Businesses have a legal duty to notify their market surveillance authority where they have identified a safety issue with a product they have placed on the market and taken an action. In 2019, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) launched the UK’s Product Safety Database which allows national and local authorities to notify unsafe products identified by businesses, in addition to other enforcement actions they have taken. Notifications include information on the product, its supply chain, the risks presented by the technical fault and the corrective action taken to reduce the risk to consumers. The database allows authorities to access and exchange data securely and effectively to ensure swift and appropriate action can be taken to protect consumers. In addition, OPSS publishes alerts on GOV.UK about unsafe products and recalls using information from the database.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a common mobile phone charger.

The forthcoming Energy-related Products Policy Frameworkis due to be published by the Government shortly.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what repercussions overseas third-party toy sellers face when they sell unsafe toys to children in the UK.

The Government is committed to ensuring that only safe consumer products can be sold in the UK. Product safety legislation places obligations on manufacturers, importers and distributors and this includes overseas online retailers selling goods via marketplaces.

Where products are identified online that do not meet the UK’s product safety requirements, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) works with colleagues in local Trading Standards to take action and expects online platforms to act quickly to remove them from sale. This has recently included action to ensure that a number of non-compliant products, including toys, being sold by third-party sellers have been removed from sale, delisted, recalled or destroyed.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that third-party toy sellers are traceable and accountable for products sold via online marketplaces to children in the UK.

The Government is committed to ensuring that only safe consumer products can be sold in the UK. Product safety legislation places obligations on manufacturers, importers and distributors and this includes overseas online retailers selling goods via marketplaces.

Under the UK Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011, a toy must be marked with the name of the UK-based manufacturer or UK-based importer, and the address at which they can be contacted. Where this is not possible on the toy, the relevant information must be present on the toy’s packaging or in an accompanying document.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is taking forward a programme of work to ensure that major online marketplaces are playing their part to protect UK consumers from unsafe goods sold via third parties. OPSS works with colleagues in local Trading Standards to take action where products are identified online that do not meet the UK’s product safety requirements and expects online platforms to act quickly to remove them from sale. This has recently included action taken to ensure that a number of non-compliant products, including toys, being sold by third-party sellers have been removed from sale, delisted, recalled or destroyed. In addition, we are developing a new voluntary commitment for online marketplaces to agree further actions they will take to reduce the risks from unsafe products being sold online.

OPSS is also currently conducting a review of the UK’s product safety framework, including in relation to e-commerce, to ensure it remains fit for purpose, protects consumers, and enables businesses to innovate and grow. The Government issued a public Call for Evidence to support the review which closed on 17 June. Officials are currently reviewing the evidence received and we will publish a response in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps (a) his Department and (b) Ofgem has taken to avoid the risk of mutualisation of the cost of customer credit balances in the event of energy supplier failure.

Ofgem have strengthened checks at market entry to ensure that suppliers understand their obligations and have the appropriate arrangements in place to operate in the retail energy market (introduced from July 2019).

In January this year Ofgem introduced a suite of new rules to ensure that suppliers act in a financially responsible manner and do not take actions that may result in their competitors and consumers facing increased costs should they fail. Ofgem are currently consulting on further measures that would require suppliers to automatically refund customers’ credit balances every year, and protect any amounts they hold above a certain threshold.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment (a) his Department and (b) Ofgem has made of the potential disproportionate effect on (i) vulnerable and (ii) less-able-to-pay consumers of the mutualisation of costs from energy supplier failures.

Keeping down bills and protecting vulnerable consumers remains a key focus for Government and Ofgem. For example, the Government’s Warm Home Discount and Energy Company Obligation schemes are focussed on reducing bills for vulnerable households.

When a supplier fails and Ofgem appoints A Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR), they carefully consider the ability of the incoming supplier to effectively serve the new customers, including those in vulnerable circumstances. Very rarely does the appointment of a SoLR involve mutualisation of the costs of onboarding the customers.

Mutualisation of unpaid supplier bills under the Renewables Obligations support scheme, is now less likely to occur. The Government recently restored the link between the threshold at which mutualisation occurs and the annual cost of the scheme, making the threshold much higher. We will also be consulting soon on the wider matter of supplier payment default under the Renewables Obligation, which will consider both regulatory and legislative approaches.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many energy suppliers have been investigated by Ofgem for the purpose of Ofgem undertaking its financial responsibility to protect customers against mutualisation of costs in the event of energy supplier failure.

Ofgem closely monitors suppliers’ ability to meet their customer service and financial obligations. Ofgem are actively implementing the new rules in relation to financial responsibility, and will take action where there is a risk of consumer detriment. A range of tools is available to tackle poor behaviour, including enforcement action.

Mutualisation mechanisms play an important role in supporting the effective functioning of the energy market. Ofgem aims to ensure that suppliers do not behave in a manner that increases the likelihood or scale of costs to be mutualised across their competitors, and ultimately consumers, if and when they fail.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of energy suppliers using customer credit balances to fund low-cost acquisition tariffs.

Deliberately collecting more credit than is required to service customers, in order to fund acquisition tariffs, would be unreasonable and unsustainable.

In January this year, Ofgem introduced a suite of new rules to ensure that suppliers act in a financially responsible manner and do not take actions that may result in their competitors and consumers facing increased costs should they fail.

We await the outcome of Ofgem’s recent consultation on further measures that would require suppliers to automatically refund customers’ credit balances every year, and protect any amounts they hold above a certain threshold.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the extent of the risks to consumers of energy suppliers failing in the context of recent increases in wholesale energy costs.

When an energy supplier becomes insolvent, for whatever reason, Ofgem revokes the supplier’s licence, and appoints another supplier to quickly take over serving the customers, via the Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) process. Customer credit balances are protected under this process, nearly always without recourse to the Last Resort Supply levy, which allows for the mutualisation of certain costs of onboarding the new customers.

In the unlikely event where the use of SoLR powers would not be practicable, the Government has put in place a Special Administration Regime, whereby my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State may seek the appointment of an administrator, whose primary objective is to ensure continuity of energy supply at the lowest practical cost.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the British Ceramic Confederation on the effect of Government policy on freeports on UK ceramic manufacturing.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State has met with the British Ceramics Confederation (BCC) on a number of occasions and discussed a range of issues relevant to the ceramics sector.

My Noble Friend Lord Grimstone has met with the BCC on 3 occasions since January. The most recent meeting was an Industry Roundtable on 8 March where EU Exit, COVID-19 and Net Zero were all discussed.

Freeports were not raised in these meetings. The Government continues to engage on topics the industry deems to be of interest.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2021
What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effect on the UK manufacturing industry of proposed freeports.

Freeports will play a significant role in boosting trade and driving productivity across the UK. Private sector involvement – including from the manufacturing sector - was a key consideration in assessing the bids, and we are committed to supporting the industry more generally.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to provide further financial support to the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund.

The Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF) was announced in November 2018 as a £315 million scheme to provide industry with support for energy efficiency and decarbonisation projects. The first Phase 1 competition, worth £30m, was held in 2020 and all applicants have now been notified of the outcome. The second Phase 1 competition will be held in Spring 2021. Projects funded by the IETF will help industry to reduce emissions and energy bills, while creating a green economic recovery.

The 2020 Spending Review announced increased investment to tackle climate change and deliver my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. The IETF is a key part of the Government’s plan to decarbonise industry and any further financial support will be considered at the next fiscal event.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on redress for victims of HELMS Green Deal mis-selling.

No such formal discussions have taken place with Cabinet colleagues specifically on the subject of redress for victims of mis-selling by the former Green Deal Provider, Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS). The redress process is completed in line with the requirements of the Green Deal Framework Regulations.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many initial intention notices proposing reduction of a Green Deal loan mis-sold by Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd have been challenged by complainants through additional representations.

The figures provided below are as of 7 September, except where otherwise specified.

A total of 218 appeals about the mis-selling of Green Deal Plans by the company Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) have been referred to my Rt.Hon. Friend the Secretary of State. At the end of June 2020 (the latest date for which this data is available), the total value of loans, including interest and fees, that are the subject of the appeals was £1,700,338.

The Green Deal Framework Regulations require that, before imposing any sanction, the Secretary of State gives notice to affected parties of his intention to impose a sanction (an initial notice, referred to as an Intention Notice) and provides them with an opportunity to make representations before it is made final.

Complainants are not required to indicate acceptance or otherwise in response to Intention Notices or final Sanction Notices. Affected parties, including complainants, may make representations in response to Intention Notices and can appeal final decisions (set out in final Sanction Notices) to the General Regulatory Chamber of the First–tier Tribunal.

One hundred and twenty-one HELMS complainants have yet to receive an Intention Notice. One hundred seventy-four HELMS complainants have yet to receive a final decision.

Ninety-one Intention Notices in respect of mis-selling by HELMS proposed a reduction in loan amount. Of these, complainants have made representations in 37 cases. As complainants are not required to indicate acceptance of a proposed reduction the Department does not hold such records.

The total value of proposed reductions set out in Intention Notices and final Sanction Notices relating to mis-selling of Green Deal Plans by HELMS to date is £376,628.

Where Intention Notices have proposed reductions in loan amounts, the highest reduction to date has been 68%, the lowest reduction, 30%, and the average reduction, 50%.

Six Intention Notices in respect of mis-selling by HELMS have proposed cancellation. To date, there have been 4 cases where Intention Notices proposed cancellation but the Secretary of State’s decision, set out in the subsequent final Sanction Notices, was to impose reduction following representations.

No complainants who have received Intention Notices proposing cancellation have made representations in response to those Notices.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in response to complaints made to date to his Department in relation to misselling of Green Deal loans by Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS), what the (a) highest, (b) lowest and (c) average loan reductions offered to those complainants were as a proportion of the overall loan amount.

The figures provided below are as of 7 September, except where otherwise specified.

A total of 218 appeals about the mis-selling of Green Deal Plans by the company Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) have been referred to my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State. At the end of June 2020 (the latest date for which this data is available), the total value of loans, including interest and fees, that are the subject of the appeals was £1,700,338.

The Green Deal Framework Regulations require that, before imposing any sanction, the Secretary of State gives notice to affected parties of his intention to impose a sanction (an initial notice, referred to as an Intention Notice) and provides them with an opportunity to make representations before it is made final.

Complainants are not required to indicate acceptance or otherwise in response to Intention Notices or final Sanction Notices. Affected parties, including complainants, may make representations in response to Intention Notices and can appeal final decisions (set out in final Sanction Notices) to the General Regulatory Chamber of the First–tier Tribunal.

One hundred and twenty-one HELMS complainants have yet to receive an Intention Notice. One hundred and seventy-four HELMS complainants have yet to receive a final decision.

Ninety-one Intention Notices in respect of mis-selling by HELMS proposed a reduction in loan amount. Of these, complainants have made representations in 37 cases. As complainants are not required to indicate acceptance of a proposed reduction the Department does not hold such records.

The total value of proposed reductions set out in Intention Notices and final Sanction Notices relating to mis-selling of Green Deal Plans by HELMS to date is £376,628.

Where Intention Notices have proposed reductions in loan amounts, the highest reduction to date has been 68%, the lowest reduction, 30%, and the average reduction, 50%.

Six Intention Notices in respect of mis-selling by HELMS have proposed cancellation. To date, there have been 4 cases where Intention Notices proposed cancellation but the Secretary of State’s decision, set out in the subsequent final Sanction Notices, was to impose reduction following representations.

No complainants who have received Intention Notices proposing cancellation have made representations in response to those Notices.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many initial intention notices issued by his Department in response to complaints of the mis-selling of Green Deal loans by Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) first proposed (a) cancellation of the Green Deal loan, (b) reduction of that loan or (c) cancellation of that loan but then changed to a proposal of reduction.

The figures provided below are as of 7 September, except where otherwise specified.

A total of 218 appeals about the mis-selling of Green Deal Plans by the company Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) have been referred to my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State. At the end of June 2020 (the latest date for which this data is available), the total value of loans, including interest and fees, that are the subject of the appeals was £1,700,338.

The Green Deal Framework Regulations require that, before imposing any sanction, the Secretary of State gives notice to affected parties of his intention to impose a sanction (an initial notice, referred to as an Intention Notice) and provides them with an opportunity to make representations before it is made final.

Complainants are not required to indicate acceptance or otherwise in response to Intention Notices or final Sanction Notices. Affected parties, including complainants, may make representations in response to Intention Notices and can appeal final decisions (set out in final Sanction Notices) to the General Regulatory Chamber of the First–tier Tribunal.

One hundred and twenty-one HELMS complainants have yet to receive an Intention Notice. One hundred and seventy-four HELMS complainants have yet to receive a final decision.

Ninety-one Intention Notices in respect of mis-selling by HELMS proposed a reduction in loan amount. Of these, complainants have made representations in 37 cases. As complainants are not required to indicate acceptance of a proposed reduction the Department does not hold such records.

The total value of proposed reductions set out in Intention Notices and final Sanction Notices relating to mis-selling of Green Deal Plans by HELMS to date is £376,628.

Where Intention Notices have proposed reductions in loan amounts, the highest reduction to date has been 68%, the lowest reduction, 30%, and the average reduction, 50%.

Six Intention Notices in respect of mis-selling by HELMS have proposed cancellation. To date, there have been 4 cases where Intention Notices proposed cancellation but the Secretary of State’s decision, set out in the subsequent final Sanction Notices, was to impose reduction following representations.

No complainants who have received Intention Notices proposing cancellation have made representations in response to those Notices.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the value is of reduction offers made to consumers who have complained to his Department in relation to mis-selling by Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) to date.

The figures provided below are as of 7 September, except where otherwise specified.

A total of 218 appeals about the mis-selling of Green Deal Plans by the company Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) have been referred to my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State. At the end of June 2020 (the latest date for which this data is available), the total value of loans, including interest and fees, that are the subject of the appeals was £1,700,338.

The Green Deal Framework Regulations require that, before imposing any sanction, the Secretary of State gives notice to affected parties of his intention to impose a sanction (an initial notice, referred to as an Intention Notice) and provides them with an opportunity to make representations before it is made final.

Complainants are not required to indicate acceptance or otherwise in response to Intention Notices or final Sanction Notices. Affected parties, including complainants, may make representations in response to Intention Notices and can appeal final decisions (set out in final Sanction Notices) to the General Regulatory Chamber of the First–tier Tribunal.

One hundred and twenty-one HELMS complainants have yet to receive an Intention Notice. One hundred and seventy-four HELMS complainants have yet to receive a final decision.

Ninety-one Intention Notices in respect of mis-selling by HELMS proposed a reduction in loan amount. Of these, complainants have made representations in 37 cases. As complainants are not required to indicate acceptance of a proposed reduction the Department does not hold such records.

The total value of proposed reductions set out in Intention Notices and final Sanction Notices relating to mis-selling of Green Deal Plans by HELMS to date is £376,628.

Where Intention Notices have proposed reductions in loan amounts, the highest reduction to date has been 68%, the lowest reduction, 30%, and the average reduction, 50%.

Six Intention Notices in respect of mis-selling by HELMS have proposed cancellation. To date, there have been 4 cases where Intention Notices proposed cancellation but the Secretary of State’s decision, set out in the subsequent final Sanction Notices, was to impose reduction following representations.

No complainants who have received Intention Notices proposing cancellation have made representations in response to those Notices.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the total value is of Green Deal loans of those consumers who have complained to his Department in relation to mis-selling by Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd.

The figures provided below are as of 7 September, except where otherwise specified.

A total of 218 appeals about the mis-selling of Green Deal Plans by the company Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) have been referred to my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State. At the end of June 2020 (the latest date for which this data is available), the total value of loans, including interest and fees, that are the subject of the appeals was £1,700,338.

The Green Deal Framework Regulations require that, before imposing any sanction, the Secretary of State gives notice to affected parties of his intention to impose a sanction (an initial notice, referred to as an Intention Notice) and provides them with an opportunity to make representations before it is made final.

Complainants are not required to indicate acceptance or otherwise in response to Intention Notices or final Sanction Notices. Affected parties, including complainants, may make representations in response to Intention Notices and can appeal final decisions (set out in final Sanction Notices) to the General Regulatory Chamber of the First–tier Tribunal.

One hundred and twenty-one HELMS complainants have yet to receive an Intention Notice. One hundred and seventy-four HELMS complainants have yet to receive a final decision.

Ninety-one Intention Notices in respect of mis-selling by HELMS proposed a reduction in loan amount. Of these, complainants have made representations in 37 cases. As complainants are not required to indicate acceptance of a proposed reduction the Department does not hold such records.

The total value of proposed reductions set out in Intention Notices and final Sanction Notices relating to mis-selling of Green Deal Plans by HELMS to date is £376,628.

Where Intention Notices have proposed reductions in loan amounts, the highest reduction to date has been 68%, the lowest reduction, 30%, and the average reduction, 50%.

Six Intention Notices in respect of mis-selling by HELMS have proposed cancellation. To date, there have been 4 cases where Intention Notices proposed cancellation but the Secretary of State’s decision, set out in the subsequent final Sanction Notices, was to impose reduction following representations.

No complainants who have received Intention Notices proposing cancellation have made representations in response to those Notices.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many complaints his Department has received relating to the Green Deal scheme in each of the last 12 months that do not reference the practices of Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd.

The following table lists the numbers of appeals made, in each of the last 12 complete months, to the Secretary of State under the Green Deal Framework Regulations, regarding complaints not relating to the practices of Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd.

Month

Appeals received

September 2019

4

October 2019

3

November 2019

19

December 2019

1

January 2020

2

February 2020

8

March 2020

4

April 2020

0

May 2020

1

June 2020

2

July 2020

9

August 2020

4

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many new complaints, by parliamentary constituency, his Department received on the mis-selling of Green Deal loans by Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd in each month since 1 January 2020.

The following table lists the numbers of appeals made, by month and constituency, to the Secretary of State under the Green Deal Framework Regulations regarding mis-selling of Green Deal Plans by Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd.

January 2020

Constituency

Appeals received

Thornbury and Yate

1

Colchester

1

Inverclyde

1

Paisley and Renfrewshire North

1

Kilmarnock and Loudoun

2

February 2020

Constituency

Appeals received

Rutherglen and Hamilton West

1

East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow

1

Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East

1

Glasgow North East

1

West Dunbartonshire

2

Torfaen

2

March 2020

Constituency

Appeals received

Rutherglen and Hamilton West

1

Central Ayrshire

1

Paisley and Renfrewshire North

1

Perth and North Perthshire

1

Clacton

1

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath

1

Livingston

1

April 2020

Constituency

Appeals received

Central Ayrshire

1

Glasgow East

1

May 2020

Constituency

Appeals received

Paisley and Renfrewshire North

1

June 2020

Constituency

Appeals received

Ipswich

1

Rutherglen and Hamilton West

1

Paisley and Renfrewshire South

1

East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow

1

July 2020

Constituency

Appeals received

Paisley and Renfrewshire North

2

Central Ayrshire

1

August 2020

Constituency

Appeals received

Motherwell and Wishaw

1

Cardiff South and Penarth

1

Jarrow

1

Kilmarnock and Loudoun

1

Newport East

1

Gloucester

1

Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East

1

East Dunbartonshire

1

Rutherglen and Hamilton West

1

North Ayrshire and Arran

1

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many initial intention notices proposing reduction of a Green Deal loan mis-sold by Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd have been accepted by individual complainants.

The figures provided below are as at 7 September, except where otherwise specified.

A total of 218 appeals about the mis-selling of Green Deal Plans by the company Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) have been referred to the Secretary of State. At the [end of June 2020] (the latest date for which this data is available), the total value of loans, including interest and fees, that are the subject of the appeals was £1,700,338.

The Green Deal Framework Regulations require that, before imposing any sanction, the Secretary of State gives notice to affected parties of his intention to impose a sanction (an initial notice, referred to as an Intention Notice) and provides them with an opportunity to make representations before it is made final.

Complainants are not required to indicate acceptance or otherwise in response to Intention Notices or final Sanction Notices. Affected parties, including complainants, may make representations in response to Intention Notices and can appeal final decisions (set out in final Sanction Notices) to the General Regulatory Chamber of the First–tier Tribunal.

One hundred and twenty-one HELMS complainants have yet to receive an Intention Notice. One hundred and seventy-four HELMS complainants have yet to receive a final decision.

Ninety-one Intention Notices in respect of mis-selling by HELMS proposed a reduction in loan amount. Of these, complainants have made representations in 37 cases. As complainants are not required to indicate acceptance of a proposed reduction the Department does not hold such records.

The total value of proposed reductions set out in Intention Notices and final Sanction Notices relating to mis-selling of Green Deal Plans by HELMS to date is £376,628.

Where Intention Notices have proposed reductions in loan amounts, the highest reduction to date has been 68%, the lowest reduction, 30%, and the average reduction, 50%.

Six Intention Notices in respect of mis-selling by HELMS have proposed cancellation. To date, there have been 4 cases where Intention Notices proposed cancellation but the Secretary of State’s decision, set out in the subsequent final Sanction Notices, was to impose reduction following representations.

No complainants who have received Intention Notices proposing cancellation have made representations in response to those Notices.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many initial intention notices proposing cancellation of a Green Deal loan mis-sold by Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd have been accepted by individual complainants.

The figures provided below are as of 7 September, except where otherwise specified.

A total of 218 appeals about the mis-selling of Green Deal Plans by the company Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) have been referred to my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State. At the end of June 2020 (the latest date for which this data is available), the total value of loans, including interest and fees, that are the subject of the appeals was £1,700,338.

The Green Deal Framework Regulations require that, before imposing any sanction, the Secretary of State gives notice to affected parties of his intention to impose a sanction (an initial notice, referred to as an Intention Notice) and provides them with an opportunity to make representations before it is made final.

Complainants are not required to indicate acceptance or otherwise in response to Intention Notices or final Sanction Notices. Affected parties, including complainants, may make representations in response to Intention Notices and can appeal final decisions (set out in final Sanction Notices) to the General Regulatory Chamber of the First–tier Tribunal.

One hundred and twenty-one HELMS complainants have yet to receive an Intention Notice. One hundred and seventy-four HELMS complainants have yet to receive a final decision.

Ninety-one Intention Notices in respect of mis-selling by HELMS proposed a reduction in loan amount. Of these, complainants have made representations in 37 cases. As complainants are not required to indicate acceptance of a proposed reduction the Department does not hold such records.

The total value of proposed reductions set out in Intention Notices and final Sanction Notices relating to mis-selling of Green Deal Plans by HELMS to date is £376,628.

Where Intention Notices have proposed reductions in loan amounts, the highest reduction to date has been 68%, the lowest reduction, 30%, and the average reduction, 50%.

Six Intention Notices in respect of mis-selling by HELMS have proposed cancellation. To date, there have been 4 cases where Intention Notices proposed cancellation but the Secretary of State’s decision, set out in the subsequent final Sanction Notices, was to impose reduction following representations.

No complainants who have received Intention Notices proposing cancellation have made representations in response to those Notices.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many complaints on the mis-selling of Green Deal loans by Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd his Department has received since that scheme was established; and how many of those complainants have yet to receive (a) an initial and (b) final intention notice in response to their complaint.

The figures provided below are as of 7 September, except where otherwise specified.

A total of 218 appeals about the mis-selling of Green Deal Plans by the company Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) have been referred to my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State. At the end of June 2020 (the latest date for which this data is available), the total value of loans, including interest and fees, that are the subject of the appeals was £1,700,338.

The Green Deal Framework Regulations require that, before imposing any sanction, the Secretary of State gives notice to affected parties of his intention to impose a sanction (an initial notice, referred to as an Intention Notice) and provides them with an opportunity to make representations before it is made final.

Complainants are not required to indicate acceptance or otherwise in response to Intention Notices or final Sanction Notices. Affected parties, including complainants, may make representations in response to Intention Notices and can appeal final decisions (set out in final Sanction Notices) to the General Regulatory Chamber of the First–tier Tribunal.

One hundred and twenty-one HELMS complainants have yet to receive an Intention Notice. One hundred and seventy-four HELMS complainants have yet to receive a final decision.

Ninety-one Intention Notices in respect of mis-selling by HELMS proposed a reduction in loan amount. Of these, complainants have made representations in 37 cases. As complainants are not required to indicate acceptance of a proposed reduction the Department does not hold such records.

The total value of proposed reductions set out in Intention Notices and final Sanction Notices relating to mis-selling of Green Deal Plans by HELMS to date is £376,628.

Where Intention Notices have proposed reductions in loan amounts, the highest reduction to date has been 68%, the lowest reduction, 30%, and the average reduction, 50%.

Six Intention Notices in respect of mis-selling by HELMS have proposed cancellation. To date, there have been 4 cases where Intention Notices proposed cancellation but the Secretary of State’s decision, set out in the subsequent final Sanction Notices, was to impose reduction following representations.

No complainants who have received Intention Notices proposing cancellation have made representations in response to those Notices.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Tide on its decision to suspend lending under the Bounce Back Loan scheme.

The British Business Bank is in regular discussions with Tide and all parties are working to resolve the current situation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many staff in his Department have formal arrangements to work from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

The formal position for all 4,634 staff in the Department (excluding contingent workers) is to work from home. The Department has also made additional funding available to staff for the purchase of equipment to support them to work from home.

Any requirements for essential work to be undertaken in one of the Department’s buildings are considered on a case by case basis, supported by an individual risk assessment and in line with Government guidance. Currently, there are less than 1% of staff working in the Department’s office on any given day.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many complaints about the mis-selling of Green Deal loans have been received by his Department from consumers resident in (a) Scotland, (b) England and (c) Wales in each year since 2013.

The numbers of complaints about the mis-selling of Green Deal loans, referred to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, from consumers resident in (a) Scotland, (b) England and (c) Wales in each year since 2013 are as follows:

2017

2018

2019

2020

Total

Scotland

3

50

98

4

155

England

1

15

87

2

105

Wales

5

3

12

0

20

Total

9

68

197

6

280

Under the Green Deal Framework Regulations, the Secretary of State may reduce or cancel a Green Deal Plan, if he is satisfied that there has been a breach of the law or code of practice.

The Regulations require that, before imposing any sanction, the Secretary of State gives notice to affected parties of his intention to impose a sanction and provides them with an opportunity to make representations before it is made final.

To date, 131 Intention Notices have been issued in respect of complaints about mis-selling of Green Deal loans. Of these, four have proposed cancellation from the effective date of the complaint.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many offers of full loan cancellations his Department has made in response to complaints his Department has received about the mis-selling of Green Deal loans.

The numbers of complaints about the mis-selling of Green Deal loans, referred to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, from consumers resident in (a) Scotland, (b) England and (c) Wales in each year since 2013 are as follows:

2017

2018

2019

2020

Total

Scotland

3

50

98

4

155

England

1

15

87

2

105

Wales

5

3

12

0

20

Total

9

68

197

6

280

Under the Green Deal Framework Regulations, the Secretary of State may reduce or cancel a Green Deal Plan, if he is satisfied that there has been a breach of the law or code of practice.

The Regulations require that, before imposing any sanction, the Secretary of State gives notice to affected parties of his intention to impose a sanction and provides them with an opportunity to make representations before it is made final.

To date, 131 Intention Notices have been issued in respect of complaints about mis-selling of Green Deal loans. Of these, four have proposed cancellation from the effective date of the complaint.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government has made an assessment of the reasons for the closure of 39 bingo clubs across the UK during the outbreak of covid-19.

The government recognises that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be extremely challenging for businesses, including in the bingo sector. In recognition of the impact of requiring some businesses to remain closed for a longer period, an enhanced package of support was introduced, including Restart Grants of up to £18,000 per premises, specifically for those which were required to remain closed beyond Step 2. The package also included extensions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, with further discretionary funding for allocation by Local Authorities. Bingo clubs have accessed £44m of government support via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (£26.8m), Eat Out to Help Out (£600k), Business Rates Relief (£15.9m) and Grant funding (£1.6m). We are continuing to work with organisations in the land-based gambling sector to understand the impacts and how we may be able to support them.

13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will allocate sector-specific funding to bingo clubs.

The government recognises that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be extremely challenging for businesses, including in the bingo sector. In recognition of the impact of requiring some businesses to remain closed for a longer period, an enhanced package of support was introduced, including Restart Grants of up to £18,000 per premises, specifically for those which were required to remain closed beyond Step 2. The package also included extensions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, with further discretionary funding for allocation by Local Authorities. Bingo clubs have accessed £44m of government support via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (£26.8m), Eat Out to Help Out (£600k), Business Rates Relief (£15.9m) and Grant funding (£1.6m). We are continuing to work with organisations in the land-based gambling sector to understand the impacts and how we may be able to support them.

15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the economic effect on the creative sector of the exclusion of creative professionals from the visa-free travel list in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

The Government recognises the importance of international touring for UK cultural and creative practitioners, and their support staff.

We know that while leaving the EU will bring changes and new processes to touring and working in the EU, it will also bring new opportunities. In all circumstances, we expect the UK’s creative output to continue to be an export that is as highly valued in the European Union as it is across the world.

Leaving the EU has always meant that there would be changes to how practitioners operate in the EU. DCMS has engaged with the sector extensively throughout negotiations and since the announcement of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement to understand the diverse circumstances of companies, organisations and individual practitioners and how they may need to adapt as they plan activity across the European Union.

Going forward we will continue to work closely with the sector, including with representative organisations, to assess impact and to ensure businesses and individuals have the advice and guidance they need to meet new requirements.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of allocating financial support to members of the Scottish Section of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain who are based in northern England and therefore ineligible for Scottish Government grants for showpeople.

DCMS officials continue to meet with representatives of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain to assess how we can most effectively support the fairground industry through this period. Any further support will need to be considered in the wider context of existing support for the tourism industry, and the effectiveness of measures already in place.

The Government has introduced a number of support measures to support businesses and individuals through COVID-19, which travelling showpeople can access. These include various government-backed loans, as well as the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes. We also introduced a substantial, UK-wide cut in VAT for many tourism and hospitality activities, including admission to circuses and fairs, until the end of March.

Further to this, the Additional Restrictions Grant discretionary fund will allow Local Authorities to help businesses more broadly during this period. It supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes, such as the Local Restrictions Support Grant, or where additional funding is needed.

As tourism is devolved, the Devolved Administrations are responsible for any targeted financial initiatives to support the sector in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Since 2 December, we have returned to a tiered approach to COVID-19 restrictions in England. Funfairs and fairgrounds - which are permitted to reopen in all three tiers as they were prior to this period of national restrictions - will need to go through the normal process of requesting permission and any relevant licences from the relevant authority and have the relevant health and safety protocols in place, including a Covid-19 risk assessment.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of commissioning a longitudinal study of gambling-related harm.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) works closely with the Department for Health and Social Care and wider government on matters related to gambling harm, and the departments share regular updates, including on the forthcoming evidence review being carried out by Public Health England. The Gambling Commission has no role in the delivery of PHE's evidence review, but DCMS and the Commission work closely together to monitor the wider evidence base on gambling harms.

The Gambling Commission commissioned and published a scoping review looking at the feasibility of a longitudinal study of gambling behaviours and problem gambling, and how that study would best be conducted, and the Commission is now considering next steps.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the launch of his call for evidence on loot boxes, what discussions (a) Ministers and (b) officials have had with representatives of organisations with commercial interests in loot boxes.

Ministers and officials have had regular discussions with a range of companies and representative organisations from the creative industries on a variety of issues, including loot boxes. Ministerial meetings with external organisations and individuals are published on gov.uk on a quarterly basis.

In addition to our written call for evidence on loot boxes which is currently underway, we plan a number of roundtables with stakeholders during the autumn to discuss elements of the topic in detail.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will invite representatives from the Showmen's Guild of Great Britain to attend meetings of the covid-19 roadmap taskforce on recreation and leisure.

Five new ministerial-led taskforces have been set up to work up plans for how and when closed sectors and places can reopen safely, as part of the Government’s roadmap to start easing social distancing measures. This includes a recreation and leisure taskforce, led by DCMS, which will engage with key stakeholders across the tourism, culture and heritage, libraries, entertainment, youth and sport sectors.

Membership of the Recreation and Leisure taskforce was announced on 20th May. However, its work will be supported by eight working groups. Membership of those working groups has not yet been confirmed, but will be announced shortly.

29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many staff in his Department have formal arrangements to work from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

All DCMS staff have formal arrangements in place and are able to work remotely.



29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many staff in his Department have formal arrangements to work from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

As both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday 16 March 2020 that where possible, people should work from home, all employees of the Department for Education were asked to work from home from Tuesday 17 March. All DfE staff now have arrangements to work from home. All our buildings are closed, but remain accessible for a very small number of staff when required.

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review.

21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the guidance issued by his Department to private nurseries on furloughing employees during the covid-19 outbreak.

Although the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is UK-wide, the Department for Education’s guidance relating to it applies to England only. Whether or not the Scottish Government should publish equivalent guidance is a decision for the Scottish Government, with the input of HM Treasury.

The Scottish Government has been closely involved in the UK response to COVID-19. Treasury ministers and officials are in close touch with their Scottish counterparts regarding the CJSR.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to increase the UK’s veterinary vaccine manufacturing capacity.

The UK recognises the complex interdependencies between the health of people, animals, plants and the natural environment, and the need to address threats holistically – through a ‘One Health’ approach. There is close collaboration between animal and human health sectors to prepare and respond to disease threats, for example through the Human Animal Infections and Risk Surveillance (HAIRS) group (https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/human-animal-infections-and-risk-surveillance-group).

The development and application of veterinary vaccines are a crucial instrument in support of disease control and such R&D forms a fundamental part of our biosecurity research priorities. Over the past five years, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has invested £177.2 million in veterinary vaccinology research and innovation including the Global Challenges Research Fund Networks in Vaccine R&D call, led by the Medical Research Council and supported by BBSRC, committing £9.6 million to support global, multisector research communities tackle key challenges facing human and veterinary vaccine R&D. The Networks foster and support an interdisciplinary One Health agenda through pump-prime funding and networking and knowledge exchange activities. BBSRC and Defra also work with European and International partners though Horizon 2020 programmes as well as through a Global Coronavirus research and innovation network jointly funded by BBSRC and Defra.

In June investment was announced for a new Animal Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre to be established at The Pirbright Institute (TPI), a strategically funded BBSRC institute, with contributions from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Gates Foundation. The Centre will develop and improve the use of veterinary vaccines for control of a number of diseases, both in the UK and Developing Countries, and will enable improvements to animal and public health directly and provide wider benefits including combating antimicrobial resistance.

The BBSRC Bioscience for Health Strategic Framework also outlines One Health as a key strategic challenge area with a vision of collaborative and coordinated approaches to combat zoonotic with a focus on prediction, prevention, response and recovery principles to improve the health and wellbeing of animals and people in their environments.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to introduce a one health approach between (a) veterinary and (b) human vaccine research.

The UK recognises the complex interdependencies between the health of people, animals, plants and the natural environment, and the need to address threats holistically – through a ‘One Health’ approach. There is close collaboration between animal and human health sectors to prepare and respond to disease threats, for example through the Human Animal Infections and Risk Surveillance (HAIRS) group (https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/human-animal-infections-and-risk-surveillance-group).

The development and application of veterinary vaccines are a crucial instrument in support of disease control and such R&D forms a fundamental part of our biosecurity research priorities. Over the past five years, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has invested £177.2 million in veterinary vaccinology research and innovation including the Global Challenges Research Fund Networks in Vaccine R&D call, led by the Medical Research Council and supported by BBSRC, committing £9.6 million to support global, multisector research communities tackle key challenges facing human and veterinary vaccine R&D. The Networks foster and support an interdisciplinary One Health agenda through pump-prime funding and networking and knowledge exchange activities. BBSRC and Defra also work with European and International partners though Horizon 2020 programmes as well as through a Global Coronavirus research and innovation network jointly funded by BBSRC and Defra.

In June investment was announced for a new Animal Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre to be established at The Pirbright Institute (TPI), a strategically funded BBSRC institute, with contributions from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Gates Foundation. The Centre will develop and improve the use of veterinary vaccines for control of a number of diseases, both in the UK and Developing Countries, and will enable improvements to animal and public health directly and provide wider benefits including combating antimicrobial resistance.

The BBSRC Bioscience for Health Strategic Framework also outlines One Health as a key strategic challenge area with a vision of collaborative and coordinated approaches to combat zoonotic with a focus on prediction, prevention, response and recovery principles to improve the health and wellbeing of animals and people in their environments.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support veterinary vaccine research.

The UK recognises the complex interdependencies between the health of people, animals, plants and the natural environment, and the need to address threats holistically – through a ‘One Health’ approach. There is close collaboration between animal and human health sectors to prepare and respond to disease threats, for example through the Human Animal Infections and Risk Surveillance (HAIRS) group (https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/human-animal-infections-and-risk-surveillance-group).

The development and application of veterinary vaccines are a crucial instrument in support of disease control and such R&D forms a fundamental part of our biosecurity research priorities. Over the past five years, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has invested £177.2 million in veterinary vaccinology research and innovation including the Global Challenges Research Fund Networks in Vaccine R&D call, led by the Medical Research Council and supported by BBSRC, committing £9.6 million to support global, multisector research communities tackle key challenges facing human and veterinary vaccine R&D. The Networks foster and support an interdisciplinary One Health agenda through pump-prime funding and networking and knowledge exchange activities. BBSRC and Defra also work with European and International partners though Horizon 2020 programmes as well as through a Global Coronavirus research and innovation network jointly funded by BBSRC and Defra.

In June investment was announced for a new Animal Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre to be established at The Pirbright Institute (TPI), a strategically funded BBSRC institute, with contributions from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Gates Foundation. The Centre will develop and improve the use of veterinary vaccines for control of a number of diseases, both in the UK and Developing Countries, and will enable improvements to animal and public health directly and provide wider benefits including combating antimicrobial resistance.

The BBSRC Bioscience for Health Strategic Framework also outlines One Health as a key strategic challenge area with a vision of collaborative and coordinated approaches to combat zoonotic with a focus on prediction, prevention, response and recovery principles to improve the health and wellbeing of animals and people in their environments.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the Woodhouse Colliery project on the UK's Paris Climate Agreement obligations.

The UK has been leading internationally on the phase out of (unabated) coal fired power generation through its co-leadership of the Powering Past Coal Alliance which has now grown to over 100 members. Through our work under the COP26 Energy Transition Campaign, the UK has been playing a leading role in driving the global transition from coal fired power generation to clean energy. The UK is also working internationally, including through its leadership of Mission Innovation, the global initiative working to accelerate clean energy innovation. As part of this we are developing technology solutions that will enable more rapid decarbonisation of the industrial sector and only a few months ago we ended direct government support for the fossil fuel energy sector overseas.

As this is a live litigation matter it would not be appropriate to comment on the application.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the Government's policy is on the export of pesticides banned in the UK to other countries; and if he will make a statement.

Pesticides which are not approved or severely restricted in GB are regulated under the Prior Informed Consent Regulation (PIC). Companies intending to export these chemicals from the UK must notify the importing country via the exporter's Designated National Authority.

For GB the Designated National Authority is the Health and Safety Executive. Some pesticides additionally require the explicit consent of the importing country before export can take place. The exchange of information that GB PIC provides allows the importing countries to make informed decisions on the import of those chemicals and how to handle and use them safely.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to create a new statutory definition of animal sentience.

The Government has committed to bringing in new laws on animal sentience. Any necessary changes required to domestic legislation will be made in a rigorous and comprehensive way after the transition period and will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows. Defra is currently assessing how best to support Government departments in considering the welfare needs of sentient animals when they are developing and implementing Government policy.

Defra engages with a wide range of stakeholders on a number of animal welfare issues, including animal sentience.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how many staff in her Department have formal arrangements to work from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

Approximately 98% of DFID UK based staff are working from home.

In line with UK Government guidelines, both UK headquarter buildings have been closed, with only essential staff working in the premises. All staff based in the UK have the ability to work remotely.

Our overseas office situation varies across the countries we have a presence in, and we work in conjunction with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to adopt working from home arrangements on a case by case basis. The vast majority of DFID staff in overseas locations have the ability to work remotely and have been instructed to do so, in line with UK Government advice.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many staff in her Department have formal arrangements to work from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department for International Trade (DIT), including UK Export Finance, has been operating a policy of working from home by default for those staff living and working in the United Kingdom, in line with UK Government guidelines. We have provided guidance on working from home, including information on the safe and secure use of technology and data, as well as advice on wellbeing, mental health and staying connected.

There are a small number of essential staff who are working in the office where work cannot be undertaken remotely. We estimate that this is currently in the region of 10 at any one time. This is by exception and requires prior approval from a senior manager.

For our workforce based overseas, we are working closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to adopt appropriate working arrangements based on the specific circumstances of the countries we are operating in. This includes temporary return to the UK in some instances. The vast majority of DIT staff in overseas locations have the ability to work remotely and have been instructed to do so, in line with UK Government advice.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress has been made by the US-UK taskforce to reopen travel between the two nations.

Prime Minister Johnson and President Biden made clear the importance of bringing about the return of safe trans-Atlantic travel as soon as possible. The Government continues to work closely through the joint UK-US Experts’ Working Group to develop meaningful options to ensure the return of safe and sustainable international travel.

The US maintains the executive order 212f limiting travel from a number of countries, including the United Kingdom. The reopening of transatlantic travel to fully vaccinated US passengers travelling to the UK from amber countries reflects the government’s clear ambition to work closely together to share best practice and influence reforms to empower trans-Atlantic recovery.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the viability of permitting e-scooter use (a) on roads, (b) on cycle lanes and (c) in other public spaces.

In July 2020 the Department made regulations to enable trials of rental e-scooters to take place. The trials will allow us to assess the safety of e-scooters and their wider impacts, before deciding whether they should be more widely and permanently legalised. 32 trials are underway in England and will run across the year, with final trial schemes due to conclude by 31 March 2022. This is an extension to the original deadline of 30 November 2021. It takes into account the slower start to trials as a result of the pandemic and will allow us more time to gather evidence as lockdown eases.

E-scooters in trial areas are permitted on roads, cycle lanes and tracks where the local authority considers it safe to do so, but they are not permitted on the pavement or on motorways. We have a comprehensive national monitoring and evaluation programme in place which will allow us to assess the impact of e-scooters.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is taking to support airport-based vehicle rental businesses over the next six months.

The Government recognises the challenging circumstances aviation and associated business face as a result of Covid-19. Firms, across the economy, that are experiencing difficulties have been able to draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor. This includes support through loan guarantees, the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The extension of Government-backed loans and furlough payments announced at the Budget build on the support package available and will help ensure this vital and vibrant part of the UK economy is ready to bounce back in the wake of the pandemic.

We continue to take a flexible approach and keep all impacts and policies under review.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of reduced airline passenger numbers during the covid-19 outbreak on airport-based vehicle rental businesses (a) between March 2020 until May 2021 and (b) over the next six months.

The Government recognises the challenging circumstances aviation and associated business face as a result of Covid-19. Firms, across the economy, that are experiencing difficulties have been able to draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor. This includes support through loan guarantees, the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The extension of Government-backed loans and furlough payments announced at the Budget build on the support package available and will help ensure this vital and vibrant part of the UK economy is ready to bounce back in the wake of the pandemic.

We continue to take a flexible approach and keep all impacts and policies under review.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of how the limited number of countries being given green light status during the covid-19 outbreak will affect the aviation, travel and tourism industries.

The Government recognises the challenging circumstances facing the aviation industry and wider tourism sector because of Covid-19. Firms experiencing difficulties can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor.

We continue to take a flexible approach and keep all impacts and policies under review. Ongoing engagement with the sector is critical for the Government to be prepared and able to react in a timely manner.

In total, we estimate that the air transport sector (airlines, airports and related services) has benefited from around £7bn of Government support since the start of the pandemic. This includes support through loan guarantees, support for exporters, the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to publish the criteria being used for the traffic light system for reopening international travel including the assigning of countries to the amber list.

A summary of the JBC methodology used to produce risk assessments for the “traffic light” country system is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports Ministers' decisions. It can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-risk-assessment-methodology-to-inform-international-travel-traffic-light-system/risk-assessment-methodology-to-inform-international-travel-traffic-light-system

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he plans to take to support the aviation sector to increase connectivity to pre-covid-19 pandemic levels.

The Department recognises the severe impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on travel, and work continues to understand how best the industry can be supported at this time. The Government is working on a strategic framework for the recovery of the sector. It will explore the return to growth of the aviation sector, and will include consideration of workforce and skills, regional connectivity, noise, innovation and regulation, and consumer issues.

In addition, through the Global Travel Taskforce, the Government will work closely with the industry to find ways to safely and gradually ease restrictions on international travel. We will set out more detail on this soon.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the economic effect of the covid-19 outbreak on (a) regional airports compared with other airports and (b) the Government's levelling up agenda.

The Government recognises the challenges faced by the aviation sector at this time. The Government is committed to maintaining critical connectivity and through policies like Public Service Obligations the Department for Transport subsidises routes into London.

We have also taken action to support airports through the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS). This opened for applications on 29 January to provide support for eligible commercial airports and ground handlers in England. It will provide support up to the equivalent of their business rates liabilities or COVID-19 losses – whichever is lower – in the 2020/21 financial year, subject to certain conditions and a cap per claimant of £8m.

The Government is keen to find ways to work closely with the industry to ease restrictions on international travel gradually and sustainably. The Secretary of State for Transport will lead a successor to the Global Travel Taskforce to develop a framework that can facilitate greater travel when the time is right, while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what economic forecasts his Department has made of recovery and growth in the (a) air transport and (b) travel sectors.

DfT has not produced economic forecasts of recovery and growth in the air transport or travel sectors. DfT maintain a capability to produce a range of passenger demand scenarios, reflecting the uncertainty surrounding the potential shape of recovery, for internal use.

The Department recognises the severe impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on travel, and work continues to understand how best the industry can be supported at this time. The Government is working on a strategic framework for the recovery of the sector. It will explore the return to growth of the aviation sector, and will include consideration of workforce and skills, regional connectivity, noise, innovation and regulation, and consumer issues.

Aviation businesses have access to the unprecedented economic support package that the Chancellor has put in place to help businesses to manage the challenges they are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to this, the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS) opened for applications on 29 January to provide support for eligible commercial airports and ground handlers in England.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the loss of air routes in Europe on the UK’s ability to trade with Europe.

The new UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) does not place any restriction on air services between points in the UK and points in the EU, ensuring that UK-EU trade can continue to travel freely by air. Furthermore, the TCA recognises that, at their discretion, EU Member states may permit UK airlines to operate non-scheduled air services within and beyond the EU. The TCA also allows the UK and individual EU Member States to negotiate and agree a bilateral exchange of additional “5th Freedom” all-cargo rights. My officials are engaging closely with EU Member States and with industry on these matters.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made on the effect of the severe downturn in the aviation industry due to the covid-19 outbreak on the wider economy.

Before Covid-19, aviation directly contributed at least £22 billion to GDP to the UK economy and supported around half a million jobs. This included the air transport and aerospace sectors, as well as the wider supply chain. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the aviation sector has been one of the worst affected sectors in the UK. Passenger numbers at UK airports fell by 99% at the height of the pandemic. Overall volumes of flight traffic in the UK is currently around 80% below equivalent 2019 levels. The air transport sector’s contribution to the UK economy dropped by 74% in 2020 compared to 2019 and tens of thousands of redundancy notifications have been made. In addition to the direct impact to the UK air transport sector, the wider supply-chain and economy has also been adversely impacted by the severe reduction in air passenger demand, jobs and air connectivity, with impacts on consumer spending and investment across the rest of the economy.

The Department recognises the severe impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on travel, and work continues to understand how best the industry can be supported at this time. The Government is working on a strategic framework for the recovery of the sector. It will explore the return to growth of the aviation sector, and will include consideration of workforce and skills, regional connectivity, noise, innovation and regulation, and consumer issues.

Aviation businesses have access to the unprecedented economic support package that the Chancellor has put in place to help businesses to manage the challenges they are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to this, the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS) opened for applications on 29 January to provide support for eligible commercial airports and ground handlers in England.

Through the Global Travel Taskforce, the Government will work closely with the industry to find ways to safely and gradually ease restrictions on international travel. We will set out more detail on this soon.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to introduce a stimulus package to incentivise new air routes after covid-19 travel restrictions are eased.

The Department recognises the severe impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on travel, and work continues to understand how best the industry can be supported at this time. The Government is working on a strategic framework for the recovery of the sector. It will explore the return to growth of the aviation sector, and will include consideration of workforce and skills, regional connectivity, noise, innovation and regulation, and consumer issues.

Aviation businesses have access to the unprecedented economic support package that the Chancellor has put in place to help businesses to manage the challenges they are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Firms can continue to draw upon the package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including a Bank of England scheme for firms to raise capital, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Time to Pay flexibilities with tax bills, financial support for employees including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and VAT deferrals.

In addition to this, the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS) opened for applications on 29 January to provide support for eligible commercial airports and ground handlers in England. It will provide support up to the equivalent of their business rates liabilities or COVID-19 losses – whichever is lower – in the 2020/21 financial year, subject to certain conditions and a cap per claimant of £8m.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to recent ONS figures showing that air transport companies have contracted by up to 89 per cent in GDP terms since February 2020, what assessment he has made of the potential economic effect of an aviation recovery package.

Before Covid-19, aviation directly contributed at least £22 billion GDP to the UK economy and supported around half a million jobs. This included the air transport and aerospace sectors, as well as the wider supply chain. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the aviation sector has been one of the worst affected sectors in the UK. Passenger numbers at UK airports fell by 99% at the height of the pandemic. Overall volumes of flight traffic in the UK is currently around 80% below equivalent 2019 levels. The air transport sector’s contribution to the UK economy dropped by 75% in 2020 compared to 2019.

The Department recognises the severe impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on travel, and work continues to understand how best the industry can be supported at this time. The Government is working on a strategic framework for the recovery of the sector. It will explore the return to growth of the aviation sector, and will include consideration of workforce and skills, regional connectivity, noise, innovation and regulation, and consumer issues.

In addition, through the Global Travel Taskforce, the Government will work closely with the industry to find ways to safely and gradually ease restrictions on international travel. We will set out more detail on this soon.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the UK’s existing regional aviation network.

The Government recognises the challenges faced by the aviation sector at this time. It remains committed to supporting regional connectivity across all transport modes, including the importance of maintaining a thriving and competitive aviation sector in UK to deliver connectivity. Through policies like Public Service Obligations the Department for Transport subsidises routes into London.

The Government is working on a strategic framework for the recovery of the sector. It will explore the return to growth of the aviation sector, and will include consideration of workforce and skills, regional connectivity, noise, innovation and regulation, and consumer issues.

In addition, the Union Connectivity Review will make recommendations on how the UK government can level up transport infrastructure and improve connectivity between the four nations, looking at road, rail, air and sea links.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on the (a) welfare of merchant mariners and (b) measures to repatriate them safely during the covid-19 pandemic.

I have regular dialogue with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency regarding a range of topics. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency have been supporting Departmental officials who have been working with other government agencies to support industry in the global repatriation of UK and non-UK national seafarers

The UK has not placed restrictions on the transit and transfer of seafarers and continues to meet its international obligations related to the transit and transfer of seafarers.

The Government has ensured quarantine requirements for those travelling into UK, announced on 22 May, do not apply to seamen, masters or marine pilots travelling in the operation of their duties.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the International Maritime Organisation on the (a) welfare of merchant mariners and (b) measures to repatriate them safely during the covid-19 pandemic.

I wrote to the International Maritime Organization on 23 March setting out the UK position in regard seafarer welfare and to reassure the IMO that the UK continues to recognise our international obligations in regard the transit and transfer of seafarers.

The UK is currently considering IMO protocols to facilitate crew changes to ascertain what other measures the UK could implement. We also continue to work with and share best practice with other administrations.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2020 to Question 39656 on Motorcycles: driving instruction and with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what guidance his Department has issued on arrangements for motorcyclists who need to renew their Compulsory Basic Training certificate: and if he will make a statement.

The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) are continuing to provide emergency tests for those whose work is critical to the coronavirus response. DVSA has provided information on how a candidate can apply for one of these tests on GOV.UK at the following link https://www.gov.uk/apply-emergency-driving-test. This includes details of what evidence is needed to demonstrate a candidate meets the critical worker criteria.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 April 2020 to Question 39656 on Motorcycles: driving instruction, if centres providing Compulsory Basic Training for motorcyclists are permitted to operate in line with public health guidance on the containment of covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, approved training bodies can continue to provide CBT instruction for workers whose role is critical in the COVID-19 response. It is the responsibility of the trainer, and the pupil, to consider the risks to their health and the need for any protective equipment before going ahead with the training.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the safety of motorcycling as an alternative method of transport during the covid-19 outbreak.

We assessed the safety of motorcycling as part of the recent update of the Department’s Road Safety Statement, published on 19 July 2019, which provides steps to improve motorcycle safety.

The Department’s guidance issued on 12 May refers to “Private cars and other vehicles” as an alternative to using public transport, and encourages the public to “consider all other forms of transport before using public transport”. This would include private vehicles such as motorcycles and mopeds where the journey to be made is appropriate.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many staff in his Department have formal arrangements to work from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

As of 01 April 2020 the core department had 2,937 members of staff, of which 94% are able to work from home. The remaining 6% is made up of those who cannot work from home due to their frontline roles, those who require access to specialist equipment, or can’t work from home because of their living arrangements.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to extend compulsory basic training certificates for motorcycle riders during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department for Transport is aware that the compulsory basic training certificate (CBT) for some people has already expired or is due to expire shortly and we are currently considering options on this matter. In the meantime, DVSA are prioritising motorcycle tests and CBT applications for workers whose jobs are critical to the coronavirus response as set out in government guidelines.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Mar 2020
What recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on plans to increase fuel duty on red diesel.

The Department has regular discussions with the Treasury on tax matters. In yesterday’s Budget, the Government set out its position on red diesel, including importantly the use of red diesels for rail. We will continue to work closely with the Treasury and transport stakeholders during the upcoming consultation on red diesel to take into account any issues raised.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with representatives of airlines on the potential relaxation of slot allocation rules during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Secretary of State for Transport wrote to the European Commission on two separate occasions, asking for urgent action to be taken on alleviation from the 80:20 slot usage rules to avoid ‘ghost planes’, and protect both airlines and the environment. These letters are publicly available and follow ongoing discussions across industry about the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, including two recent airline ‘roundtable’ calls which I hosted. As a result, on 13 March the European Commission granted further alleviation until June 2020. We welcome this response and continue to engage across the sector on this matter.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with representatives of the European Commission on the potential relaxation of slot allocation rules during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Secretary of State for Transport wrote to the European Commission on two separate occasions, asking for urgent action to be taken on alleviation from the 80:20 slot usage rules to avoid ‘ghost planes’, and protect both airlines and the environment. These letters are publicly available and follow ongoing discussions across industry about the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, including two recent airline ‘roundtable’ calls which I hosted. As a result, on 13 March the European Commission granted further alleviation until June 2020. We welcome this response and continue to engage across the sector on this matter.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress his Department has made on its assessment of the safety of e-scooters; and what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to regulate the use of those vehicles on (a) roads and (b) pavements.

We are considering this closely and recognise that people want to take advantage of the opportunities personal vehicles, such as electric scooters can offer. The Department for Transport is committed to encouraging innovation in transport as well as improving road safety, but new modes of transport must be safe and secure by design.

The Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy, published on 19 March 2019 includes a Regulatory Review to address the challenges of ensuring our transport infrastructure and regulation are fit for the future.

The Department will use the Regulatory Review to examine current legislation and determine from the evidence what is needed to make the necessary changes for a safe and healthy future. One strand of this will look at options for enabling micromobility devices, and a consultation will be issued in due course. No timetable for the introduction of legislation for micromobility has been set as this is dependent on the outcomes of the consultation.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the potential effect on the ending of the £20 weekly universal credit uplift on benefit recipients in Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency.

No impact assessment has been made.

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.

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.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of establishing an independent body to advise the Government on the adequacy of welfare support.

The Government, as required by parliament already passes all relevant regulations pertaining to social security benefits to the Social Security Advisory Committee for independent scrutiny. The Committee also provides impartial and independent advice on a range of social security matters.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has been made of the impact of ending the £20 universal credit uplift on children living in households in receipt of that benefit.

No impact assessment has been made.

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.

The latest poverty figures (2019/20) demonstrate that absolute poverty rates (both before and after housing costs) for working-age adults in working families have fallen since 2009/10. In 2019/20, 8% of working age adults in working families were in absolute poverty (before housing costs), compared to 9% in 2009/10.

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.

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.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a secure alternative to the Post Office Card Account (POca) card for those without a bank account, which offers face-to-face support for those requiring assistance.

We recognise that not all of our customers are able to open and operate standard accounts, which is why we offer an alternative for those customers.

The Post Office card account (POca) contract is due to end and the Department plans to start moving customers to the replacement Payment Exception Service (PES) during the coming months.

The new PES is similar to Her Majesty’s Government Payment Exception Service (HMG PES) which has been in place since 2018 and is due to end in September 2021. The HMG PES service has successfully served our most vulnerable customers by the issue of vouchers which are uploaded to a card or sent electronically via SMS or email.

The replacement PES has also been designed for customers who cannot open or manage a basic bank or standard account. We have ensured that the new service enables users to continue to obtain cash payments in their local area (including suburban and rural locations) following the end of the Post Office card account contract.

Customers identified as at risk of harm will receive additional support before being migrated to the new service. This includes outbound calls to make contact with the customer or their nominated representative and referral to the DWP visiting service to make face-to-face contact where a call is unsuccessful or identifies that a visit is required. Post migration we will track the encashment of vouchers by all customers to ensure that they are accessing the payments they receive at the level we would expect. This post migration support is significantly stronger than currently exists for POca.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of security and fraud risks posed by Post Office Card Account (POca) voucher alternatives offered in £100 denominations.

The new Payment Exception Service has been designed as a simple service to ensure customers have access to cash. Vouchers will be uploaded to a card or sent electronically via SMS text or email. Customers will need to cash the full amount of the voucher (vouchers are maximum £100) but do not have to cash all of their vouchers at the same time. This is a similar process to when customers used to be issued with Order Books and Girocheques.

PayPoint retailers and the Post Office will ask for customer ID when someone cashes a voucher. Customers are provided with the list of acceptable ID in their welcome letter from the new PES supplier.

In designing the new service, the same levels of security have been applied as they were to HMG PES. Fraud will be treated as a business as usual process in line with existing DWP Policy.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to re-deploy staff of her Department to assist with processing new applications for social security benefits during the covid-19 outbreak.

Our priority as a Department is ensuring people get their benefit payments and that we can continue to support those who need us the most.

We are re-deploying over 10,000 staff to critical frontline services as well as recruiting additional staff to support this priority.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to invest in equipment for diagnosing dementia to prepare the NHS for the availability of disease-modifying treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently exploring which pathways, processes and equipment might best support future disease modifying treatments, including for Alzheimer’s disease.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to his Answer of 10 February 2021 to Question 147873 and with reference to his responsibility in addressing gambling related harms, what role his Department will have in the Review of the 2005 Gambling Act; and whether he has met with non-industry funded gambling treatment services.

The Department for Health and Social Care will work closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the review of the Gambling Act 2005, ensuring gambling-related harms remains a consideration throughout. The Department recognises the unique opportunity offered through the review to strengthen and enhance existing protections for those most vulnerable to gambling-related harms.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has had no official discussions with non-industry funded gambling treatment services about the Gambling Act review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with (a) gambling industry organisations and (b) gambling industry-funded treatment services on the review of the Gambling Act 2005.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is the lead Government department for the regulation of the industry as well as the Gambling Act 2005. On 8 December 2020, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport launched its review of the Gambling Act 2005 with the publication of a call for evidence which is open until 31 March 2021.

The Department of Health and Social Care is responsible for addressing gambling-related harms. We have had no direct contact with gambling industry organisations or gambling-funded treatment services regarding the review of the Gambling Act 2005.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the barriers to treatment for women suffering from gambling disorder.

The Government is committed to tackling gambling-related harm.

The NHS Long Term Plan announced the creation of up to 15 specialist gambling clinics by 2023/24. Work continues on phased expansion of these services, enabling the National Health Service to explore how best to use existing treatment models to reach those most in need of support.

The Department commissioned Public Health England to undertake the first ever comprehensive evidence review focussed on gambling-related harm. The review will look at prevalence, determinants and harms associated with gambling, alongside the social and economic burden of gambling-related harms. This includes reviewing the evidence on young people, men and women. The review will be published later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the correlation between trauma and levels of problem gambling among women.

The Government is committed to tackling gambling-related harm.

The NHS Long Term Plan announced the creation of up to 15 specialist gambling clinics by 2023/24. Work continues on phased expansion of these services, enabling the National Health Service to explore how best to use existing treatment models to reach those most in need of support.

The Department commissioned Public Health England to undertake the first ever comprehensive evidence review focussed on gambling-related harm. The review will look at prevalence, determinants and harms associated with gambling, alongside the social and economic burden of gambling-related harms. This includes reviewing the evidence on young people, men and women. The review will be published later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many staff in his Department have formal arrangements to work from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

In line with the wider Civil Service and as a result of Government guidance on social distancing measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, the majority of staff working for the Department are currently working at home. These are temporary measures and are either in line with their normal working pattern or adapted to reflect caring and other responsibilities, along with business needs. Working from home is not recorded on our HR systems, although from our current business knowledge and levels of remote systems access we estimate that over 90% of our staff are currently working from home.

As part of our existing approach to working flexibly, Departmental staff have access to laptops and IT to enable them to work remotely. We have also supplemented the existing guidance with additional staff toolkits in the context of COVID-19 about working from home, managing teams remotely and wellbeing and are also deploying a programme of remotely delivered staff communication and engagement activities.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department has received representations on private jets owned by Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund being used for travel to and from Istanbul by Saudi agents responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

The UK has always been clear that Jamal Khashoggi's murder was a terrible crime. We condemn his killing in the strongest possible terms, which is why we have sanctioned twenty Saudi nationals involved in the murder under the global human rights regime. The former Foreign Secretary raised the killing of Jamal Khashoggi during his visit to Riyadh last year, and we continue to raise it in our engagement with the Saudi authorities.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she or her Department's officials raised the cases of political detainees, prisoners of conscience and other human rights concerns with officials from (a) the English Premier League and (b) Newcastle United Football Club in connection with the proposed purchase of that Club by a consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund.

The Department has had no contact with Newcastle United. FCDO officials met English Premier League officials at the latter's request. FCDO officials provided an overview of the UK relationship with Saudi Arabia. FCDO officials were clear that any prospective takeover of Newcastle United was a matter for the two parties concerned.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps her Department plans to take in response to the detention of Mr. Abdulrahman al-Sadhan in Saudi Arabia; and if her Department will take steps to monitor reports of torture of that person.

We continue to monitor the case of Mr Abdulrahman al-Sadhan. FCDO Ministers and senior officials regularly raise human rights in our engagement with the Saudi authorities. We have consistently pressed for due process and raised concerns about the use of solitary confinement, lack of family contact and allegations of torture.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations she has made to her Saudi counterpart officials on the 20-year sentence recently upheld against Saudi humanitarian aid worker Mr. Abdulrahman al-Sadhan.

We continue to monitor the case of Mr Abdulrahman al-Sadhan. FCDO Ministers and senior officials regularly raise human rights in our engagement with the Saudi authorities. We have consistently pressed for due process and raised concerns about the use of solitary confinement, lack of family contact and allegations of torture.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations she has made to her international counterparts on the case of critically ill cancer patient and Palestinian national Mr. Mohammed al-Khudari currently in prison in Saudi Arabia.

The UK regularly engages with international partners. Our position is clear that all detainees should have access to adequate medical care and medical supplies.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to ensure (a) an investigation into and (b) accountability for potential violations of international law in the context of Israel’s May 2021 military offensive on Gaza.

Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that Israel ensures its actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and that it makes every effort to avoid civilian casualties. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation, including raising concern about Israel's actions when warranted.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to the UN Secretary-General on the omission of the Saudi and Emirati-led Coalition in the UN Secretary-General's annual list of perpetrators of grave violations against children.

The UK continues to call on the UN Secretary-General for greater transparency on listing decisions. The UK is firmly committed to ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers and to protecting all children affected by armed conflict. We use our permanent UN Security Council (UNSC) membership to ensure conflict-related child protection issues remain a key part of UNSC discussions and that UN operations address child protection issues. The UK condemns in the strongest terms all grave violations and abuses committed against children in Yemen, and we urge the parties to the conflict to uphold their human rights obligations under applicable international law.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of implications for his policies of the UN Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict; and what steps the Government is taking to hold perpetrators of grave violations against children to account.

The UK is an active member of the United Nations Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), which leads the international response to the use of child soldiers and child protection. This includes pressing those parties to conflict listed in the UN Secretary-General's annual report on CAAC, to enter into concrete action plans with the UN to verify and release any child soldiers associated with armed groups and forces and to prevent re-recruitment. We apply diplomatic pressure to listed governments and armed groups, and fund projects to help protect and rehabilitate vulnerable children.

Protecting children in conflict builds on our work to support lasting political settlements, create resilient and accountable institutions of security and justice, and help international and regional organisations to prevent and resolve conflict. Failing to protect children affects a country's ability to emerge from conflict, undermining the prospects of future generations and the potential of tomorrow's leaders.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he made on (a) violations of freedom of the media and expression and (b) the cases of (i) Sherwan Sherwani, (ii) Ayaz Karam Brushki, (iii) Kohidar Mohammed Zebari and (iv) other arbitrarily detained journalists and activists when he met the President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Nechirvan Barzani, and his officials on 9 June 2021.

During the Foreign Secretary's visit to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on 9 June he raised the importance of freedom of expression, including media freedom, as well as the KRI's progress on religious tolerance and support for internally displaced people.

I have raised and continue to raise the importance of media freedom during my engagements with political leaders from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Our Ambassador in Baghdad, and our Consul General in Erbil, also regularly discuss these issues with their interlocutors in the Kurdistan Regional Government, and made a public statement on the detained journalists and activists in May 2021.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what human rights issues and cases of concern he raised when he met the President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Nechirvan Barzani, and his officials on 9 June 2021.

During the Foreign Secretary's visit to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on 9 June he raised the importance of freedom of expression, including media freedom, as well as the KRI's progress on religious tolerance and support for internally displaced people.

I have raised and continue to raise the importance of media freedom during my engagements with political leaders from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Our Ambassador in Baghdad, and our Consul General in Erbil, also regularly discuss these issues with their interlocutors in the Kurdistan Regional Government, and made a public statement on the detained journalists and activists in May 2021.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, which officials he met when he visited the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on 9 June 2021.

The Foreign Secretary met with Nechirvan Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq; Qubad Talabani, Deputy Prime Minister; Minister of the Diwan, Fawzi Hariri; Vice President Jaafar Mustafa; and Vice President Mustafa Said Qadir.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he raised the (a) assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and (b) the cases of detained Saudi activists (i) Abdulkarim Al-Khoder, (ii) Fowzan Al-Harbi, (iii) Dr. Mohammad Al-Qahtani, (iv) Mohamed Al-Otaibi, (v) Raif Badawi, (vi) Samar Badawi and (vii) Nassima al-Sadah, when he met Saudi officials during his visit to Saudi Arabia on 7 June 2021.

The Foreign Secretary raised a number of human rights issues during his visit to Saudi Arabia on 7 June 2021, including judicial reform and the cases of the women's rights defenders. During my visit to Riyadh in May 2021, I [Minister Cleverly] also raised issues including women's rights, the death penalty and freedom of religion or belief. In March 2021, Lord Ahmad discussed human rights with the President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, including individual cases.

The British Embassy Riyadh also raises cases on a regular basis.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what human rights issues and cases of concern he raised when he met Saudi officials during his visit to Saudi Arabia on 7 June 2021.

The Foreign Secretary raised a number of human rights issues during his visit to Saudi Arabia on 7 June 2021, including judicial reform and the cases of the women's rights defenders. During my visit to Riyadh in May 2021, I [Minister Cleverly] also raised issues including women's rights, the death penalty and freedom of religion or belief. In March 2021, Lord Ahmad discussed human rights with the President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, including individual cases.

The British Embassy Riyadh also raises cases on a regular basis.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what human rights issues and cases of concern he raised when he met Iraqi officials during his visit to Baghdad on 8 June 2021.

The Foreign Secretary discussed efforts to hold militia groups to account for their actions, including work with the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq to identity those responsible for violations against demonstrators in 2019-20. He also discussed the need to help internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other vulnerable communities, which had previously been under Daesh control.

We will continue to speak out against human rights violations and abuses, and support the Government of Iraq to safeguard the human rights of all Iraqis.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Lithuanian counterpart on what steps (a) the UK Government and (b) NATO can take to assist in securing Lithuanian airspace in the aftermath of the recent hijacking of Flight FR4978 and kidnapping of Belarusian journalist Raman Pratasevich.

The Government has been in close contact with partners in responding to the forced diversion of FR4978 and the arrest of Roman Protasevich by the Belarusian authorities. The UK has worked in the G7, NATO, and the United Nations Security Council and as Co-Chair of the Media Freedom Coalition to condemn the Belarusian regime's appalling and dangerous actions. The Government welcomes the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Council's decision to launch a fact finding mission into the incident.

NATO issued a statement on 26 May strongly condemning the incident and the Foreign Secretary raised it at the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers on 1 June, highlighting the assault on civil aviation law and calling on Allies and Partners to stand together and send a clear message of unity against such actions.

The UK and Lithuania collaborate extremely closely, both bilaterally and through multilateral bodies such as NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), to address threats to regional security. The Foreign Secretary will be speaking with Foreign Minister Landsbergis to assure him of the UK's steadfast support for Lithuania's actions in response to this unprecedented act, and that the UK stands ready to work with Lithuania to hold the Belarusian authorities to account.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of recent comments by the President of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, urging the UK Government to take action on the flow of money to autocratic regimes via the UK.

The Government has long recognised the corrosive risks of dirty money, including from Russia, being laundered in the UK. In December 2020, the Government published the UK's third National Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, which presents a comprehensive understanding of the risk of money laundering, and the financing of terrorism through the UK. This assessment informs the UK's response to these threats, including through our foreign and development policy.

Tackling illicit finance is central to the FCDO's mission to support Open Societies, and to act as a force for good in the world. The Foreign Secretary recently launched the UK's first sanctions under our new global anti-corruption sanctions regime, which imposes asset freezes and travel bans that stop those involved in serious corruption from entering, and channelling money through the UK. We were already the first country in the G20 to establish a public register of the beneficial owners of firms so that secretive shell companies could not be used to hide the real owners of assets and companies. In 2018, the Financial Action Task Force found that the UK had one of the strongest systems for combatting money laundering, and terrorist financing globally. On top of this, our new Global Anti-Corruption sanctions regime will immediately act as a further deterrent, ensuring that Britain is not a safe haven for illicit funds.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his Turkish counterpart on the arrest of Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu.

We are aware of reports of the arrest of Mr Gergerlioğlu, MP for the People's Democratic Party (HDP). We have made it clear to Turkey that we expect the government to undertake any legal processes or actions against opposition parties, MPs, party officials and elected mayors, as well as human rights defenders and journalists, fairly, transparently and with full respect for the rule of law. Our Embassy meets regularly with the HDP leadership, as it does with other opposition parties, to discuss their concerns, including the arrests of HDP MPs. We will continue to engage closely with Turkey to encourage the full protection of fundamental rights of all peoples, regardless of their legitimate political affiliations, particularly in the areas of freedom of expression and assembly, press freedom and the treatment of detainees.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish an updated strategy of UK support for human rights defenders.

The UK strongly supports Human Rights Defenders worldwide to enable them to carry out their work safely and without fear. We are considering carefully the request from Amnesty International and other NGOs for a UK Government strategy on Human Rights Defenders. In 2019, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon launched the document 'UK support for Human Rights Defenders' which was drawn up with significant and important input from relevant stakeholders, including Amnesty International, and which sets out how the UK Government engages with Human Rights Defenders to advance the human rights agenda globally.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to add Chen Quanguo to the UK sanctions list.

The Government remains gravely concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang. On 12 January, the Foreign Secretary announced robust, targeted measures to help ensure that British organisations, whether public or private sector, are not complicit in, nor profiting from, the human rights violations in Xinjiang. We also continue to play a leading role in holding China to account for its human rights violations in the region, working closely with international partners, including at the UN.

The FCDO are carefully considering further designations under the Global Human Rights sanctions regime, introduced in July 2020. We will keep all evidence and potential listings under close review. It is not appropriate to speculate on who may be designated in the future, as to do so could reduce their impact.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to support UK citizens (a) Natalia Kaliada and (b) Nikolai Khalezin, who have reportedly been threatened by media outlets in Belarus.

The Government condemns the intimidation and persecution of political opposition figures and activists by Lukashenko's regime. Although we have not been directly approached by the persons concerned, we are aware of certain articles in a Belarusian state owned newspaper. These articles have made false claims about our Embassy in Minsk and made threats towards British nationals in the UK, who have spoken out against Lukashenko's regime. We have raised our concerns about this newspaper directly with the Belarusian authorities and to the Belarusian Ambassador in London. Any person in the UK who believes they are at risk are able to contact their local police in the UK.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to review travel advice to Spain in response to recent increases in the number of covid-19 cases reported in that country.

Spain is currently exempt from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice against all non-essential international travel. The FCO travel advice for Spain is updated factually as required, and as of 14 July 2020 remains to follow the advice of local authorities and to stay up to date, including by checking a map on locations of localised outbreaks published by the Spanish Ministry of Health. This is based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks. We are monitoring the international situation very closely and keeping all our travel advice under constant review to ensure it reflects the latest situation on the ground and our assessment of risk to British people.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations his Department is making to the Government of Pakistan regarding freedom of religion and belief for minority communities in that country.

We regularly raise our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) and the protection of minority communities, including religious minorities, with the Pakistani Government at a senior level.

Most recently, the Minister for South Asia, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, raised our concerns about FoRB with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 5 June. The British High Commissioner to Pakistan raised our concerns about FoRB with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights on 8 June. We will continue to urge the Government of Pakistan at senior levels to guarantee the fundamental rights of its citizens, regardless of their belief.

The Prime Minister's Special Envoy for FoRB, Rehman Chishti MP, has previously met the Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK to look at FoRB issues.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the UN Secretary-General's decision to remove the Saudi-led Coalition from his annual list of perpetrators of grave violations against children in conflict zones despite verified evidence of ongoing grave violations against children committed by the coalition in Yemen in 2019.

At the UN Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict on 23 June, the UK reaffirmed our commitment to tackling violations against children in armed conflict and highlighted the need for a transparent and credible framework for accountability based on a standardised and evidence-backed approach to de-listing and listing of state and non-state actors for violations. The UK takes extremely seriously allegations of abuses against children in armed conflict. We strongly support the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and continue to fund her office and work. The UK regularly raises the importance of human rights with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, including at senior levels. The Coalition must protect children's rights and continue to take positive steps to protect children in armed conflict, such as by implementing the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the UN and Saudi Arabia in March 2019.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will support an independent review of the process for listing parties to armed conflict for grave violations against children to safeguard against potential political interference.

The UK takes allegations of abuses against children in armed conflict extremely seriously. We strongly support the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and continue to fund her office and work. At the UN Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict on 23 June, the UK reaffirmed our commitment to tackling violations against children in armed conflict and highlighted the need for a transparent and credible framework for accountability based on a standardised and evidence-backed approach to de-listing and listing of state and non-state actors for violations. We have called upon the UN to review its approach and we will continue to engage constructively with the UN and member states to ensure the effectiveness of the listing mechanism.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions (a) he and (b) officials in his Department have had with (i) the UN Secretary-General and (ii) his officials about the decision to remove the Saudi and Emirati coalition from the UN list of perpetrators of grave violations against children in conflict zones in 2019.

At the UN Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict on 23 June, the UK reaffirmed our commitment to tackling violations against children in armed conflict and highlighted the need for a transparent and credible framework for accountability based on a standardised and evidence-backed approach to de-listing and listing of state and non-state actors for violations. The UK takes extremely seriously allegations of abuses against children in armed conflict. We strongly support the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and continue to fund her office and work. The UK regularly raises the importance of human rights with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, including at senior levels. The Coalition must protect children's rights and continue to take positive steps to protect children in armed conflict, such as by implementing the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the UN and Saudi Arabia in March 2019.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Government of Bahrain on the provision of appropriate medical care to (a) Dr Abduljalil Al Singace, (b) Hassan Mushaima, (c) Ali Al Hajee and (d) Naji Fateel; and if he will call for their release.

The Government of Bahrain has made clear in public statements that access to appropriate medical care for those in detention is guaranteed by the Constitution of Bahrain. These statements stated publicly that, under normal circumstances, any prisoner wishing to see a doctor is taken to the prison clinic, with referral to specialist facilities where required. However as part of COVID-19 precautions, all medical consultations now take place via video calls, ensuring the safety of both patients and medical staff. We welcome these assurances from the Government of Bahrain, urge continued transparency and would encourage those with any concerns about treatment in detention to raise them with the appropriate Bahraini human rights oversight body.

We continue to monitor the cases of Abduljalil al-Singace, Hassan Mushaima, Ali Al Hajee and Naji Fateel.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the Bahrain authorities' decision to release some prisoners during the covid-19 pandemic, if he will make representations to the Government of Bahrain on the release of (a) Sheikh Ali Salman, (b) Hassan Mushaima and (c) other imprisoned Bahraini political opposition leaders.

From January to June 2020, 1,055 Bahraini prisoners have received royal pardons and been released from prison. In March, a further 585 prisoners received alternative, non-custodial sentences. We welcome the continued use of alternative sentencing in Bahrain, which was introduced with UK Government support for Bahraini-led reforms of the judicial system. The use of alternative sentencing is governed by clear eligibility guidelines. So far, over 1,700 alternative sentences have been handed down since 2017.

We continue to monitor the cases of Hassan Mushaima and Sheikh Ali Salman.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing a commission of inquiry to investigate violations of international (a) humanitarian law and (b) human rights law committed by all armed actors in Libya.

Ensuring justice and reconciliation will be a vital part of securing a lasting peace in Libya. It is imperative that those who have committed and are still committing violations and abuses, including unlawful killings, do not evade justice for their crimes. The UK has strongly supported resolutions at the United Nations Human Rights Council aimed at increasing accountability, and fully supports the International Criminal Court's efforts to hold accountable those responsible for the most serious crimes in Libya. Where justice through prosecutions is proving elusive or limited, the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council can promote greater accountability and deter further violations and abuses.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) adequacy of conditions in detention facilities and (b) appropriateness of the use of extended pre-trial detention periods in Egypt.

Egypt is a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights Priority Country and the UK continues to urge the Egyptian Government to ensure the full implementation of the rights and freedoms set out in Egypt's constitution. We have concerns about mass detentions and sentencing, prison conditions, access to justice, and restrictions on freedom of expression and the media. We regularly raise these and other issues with the Egyptian Government, both in public and in private, and including at Ministerial level.

During Egypt's Universal Periodic Review in the United Nations Human Rights Council in November 2019, we called upon the Egyptian Government to ensure access to medical care and family visits in prisons, and to release all those detained for exercising the right to freedom of expression. We also raised the issue of extended pre-trial detention in our questions ahead of the Universal Periodic Review. On prison conditions, the Egyptian Government has undertaken to follow up our Universal Periodic Review recommendation.

In addition to these issues, we regularly raise specific cases with the Egyptian authorities, including that of Mohamed el-Baqer, on 17 February. The Foreign Secretary also raised human rights issues with his Egyptian counterpart at this year's UK-Africa Investment Summit.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the human rights situation in Egypt; and what representations he has made to his Egyptian counterpart on human rights (a) issues and (b) cases.

Egypt is a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights Priority Country and the UK continues to urge the Egyptian Government to ensure the full implementation of the rights and freedoms set out in Egypt's constitution. We have concerns about mass detentions and sentencing, prison conditions, access to justice, and restrictions on freedom of expression and the media. We regularly raise these and other issues with the Egyptian Government, both in public and in private, and including at Ministerial level.

During Egypt's Universal Periodic Review in the United Nations Human Rights Council in November 2019, we called upon the Egyptian Government to ensure access to medical care and family visits in prisons, and to release all those detained for exercising the right to freedom of expression. We also raised the issue of extended pre-trial detention in our questions ahead of the Universal Periodic Review. On prison conditions, the Egyptian Government has undertaken to follow up our Universal Periodic Review recommendation.

In addition to these issues, we regularly raise specific cases with the Egyptian authorities, including that of Mohamed el-Baqer, on 17 February. The Foreign Secretary also raised human rights issues with his Egyptian counterpart at this year's UK-Africa Investment Summit.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his counterpart in Egypt on the ongoing detention of (a) Mahienour El-Massry, (b) Mohamed El-Baqer, (c) Mohsen Bahnasi, (d) Haitham Mohamedeen and (e) other human rights lawyers in that country.

Egypt is a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights Priority Country and the UK continues to urge the Egyptian Government to ensure the full implementation of the rights and freedoms set out in Egypt's constitution. We have concerns about mass detentions and sentencing, prison conditions, access to justice, and restrictions on freedom of expression and the media. We regularly raise these and other issues with the Egyptian Government, both in public and in private, and including at Ministerial level.

During Egypt's Universal Periodic Review in the United Nations Human Rights Council in November 2019, we called upon the Egyptian Government to ensure access to medical care and family visits in prisons, and to release all those detained for exercising the right to freedom of expression. We also raised the issue of extended pre-trial detention in our questions ahead of the Universal Periodic Review. On prison conditions, the Egyptian Government has undertaken to follow up our Universal Periodic Review recommendation.

In addition to these issues, we regularly raise specific cases with the Egyptian authorities, including that of Mohamed el-Baqer, on 17 February. The Foreign Secretary also raised human rights issues with his Egyptian counterpart at this year's UK-Africa Investment Summit.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2020 to Question 38936 on Saudi Arabia: Political Prisoners, what assessment his Department has made of the accuracy of reports that Saudi Arabian human rights defender Abdullah al-Hamid was denied urgent medical attention before his death in detention.

We are aware of reports concerning Abdullah al-Hamid's medical attention in detention. While reporting on this case has been limited, we continue to seek information, and will raise any concerns we have with the Saudi authorities. We will continue to regularly raise individual human rights cases and call for political detainees to be given adequate legal representation.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has made representations to the Saudi Arabian authorities on the release of (a) human rights campaigner Dr Abdullah al-Hamid and (b) all other prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia.

We are aware that Dr Abdullah al-Hamid sadly died on 24 April. We continue to monitor the cases of political detainees in Saudi Arabia. The Foreign Secretary raised our concerns on a number of cases during his visit to Saudi Arabia on 4 and 5 March. We raise concerns about individual cases regularly and will continue to call for political detainees to be given adequate legal representation.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Chinese counterpart on the regulation of wet markets.

Wet markets exist all around the world. All wet markets should follow best practice on hygiene and safety to avoid health issues, whether in China or elsewhere and that should include safe sourcing of animal and other products. On 24 February 2020 China's National People's Congress passed a law banning the trade and consumption of wildlife for food. We welcome this decision and urge China to ensure it is enforced effectively. We have been in regular contact with the Chinese authorities since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, including a phone conversation between the Foreign Secretary and Foreign Minister Wang-Yi on 20 March. The UK remains at the forefront of international efforts to regulate global trade in wild animals and is spending £36m (2014-2021) on countering the Illegal Wildlife Trade.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make it his policy to advise against all but essential travel to Israel during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Foreign Office now advises against all but essential travel globally. The situation is changing rapidly, with many countries imposing restrictions and closing borders. We urge all British nationals in country to speak to their travel provider if they wish to return to UK and follow the guidance of local authorities while they remain overseas. Travellers should speak to their tour operator, airline, transport/accommodation provider and insurance company (as applicable) to discuss the options available to them.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make it his policy to advise against all but essential travel to Canada as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Foreign Office now advises against all but essential travel globally. The situation is changing rapidly, with many countries imposing restrictions and closing borders. We urge all British nationals in country to speak to their travel provider if they wish to return to UK and follow the guidance of local authorities while they remain overseas. Travellers should speak to their tour operator, airline, transport/accommodation provider and insurance company (as applicable) to discuss the options available to them.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the impact assessments produced by banks when announcing a bank branch closure include an assessment of privacy provision at local post offices for confidentiality purposes.

The major high street banks have been signed up to the Access to Banking Standard since May 2017, which commits them to ensure customers are well informed about branch closures, the bank’s reasons for closure and options for continued access to banking services.

Under the Access to Banking Standard, banks are expected to publish an Impact Assessment which ensures impacted customers understand what the alternatives are when a branch is closing, how they can be accessed, and what the bank will do to help or assist with all or each of those.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has also published guidance setting out its expectation of firms when they are deciding to reduce the number of their physical branches. The FCA expects firms to carefully consider the impact of a closure on a consumer’s needs and consider possible alternative access arrangements. Consumer needs could comprise physical access requirements, the need for privacy, or security for making transactions. This is particularly important for vulnerable customers, so they are not excluded from using everyday banking services.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of expanding the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to include self-employed company directors and homeworkers, in particular those working in the travel industry who are not eligible for current salary support schemes.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has supported 2.9 million people, paying over £25bn across all four SEISS grants. Together, the five SEISS grants combined will have provided individual claimants with support up to £36,570, making it one of the most generous self-employment income COVID support schemes in the world.

Company directors are not self-employed and so cannot qualify for the SEISS. They have access to the CJRS if they are paid a salary through PAYE and if they meet the eligibility criteria. Those paid annually have been and are still eligible to claim, as long as they meet the relevant conditions including being notified to HMRC on an RTI submission within the relevant cut-off dates.

In designing the SEISS, the Government’s priority was to get support to the greatest number of people but in a way that guards against fraud and abuse. That meant designing a system where HMRC can automatically match the data people provide in their applications with information already in the system to verify and pay out the claim.

The Government has explored a range of options and proposals to support company directors who pay themselves through dividends. However, HMRC do not have data – as it is not needed to administer the tax system – to identify them or verify how much grant they should be awarded. This would rely solely on self-certification and would thus open any scheme up to unacceptable levels of fraud and error by organised criminals and others who would seek to exploit these schemes.

11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of including wholesalers in the guidance for local authorities on the administration of the new Business Rates Relief Fund.

The government has announced a £1.5 billion pot of additional business rates relief for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that have not otherwise been eligible for existing reliefs. The statement by the Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government of 25 March 2021 explained the relief will be allocated to English local authorities based on the stock of properties in the area and the sector-specific economic impacts of COVID-19.

The devolved administrations will receive an additional £285 million through the Barnett formula as a result of this relief announcement. Wales will receive £90 million, Scotland £145 million and Northern Ireland £50 million. Business rates are devolved in Scotland and are therefore a matter for the Scottish Government.

11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he we will meet with the Federation of Wholesale Distributors to discuss developing a business rates support system for businesses affected by the covid-19 outbreak outside the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

The government has announced a £1.5 billion pot of additional business rates relief for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that have not otherwise been eligible for existing reliefs. The statement by the Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government of 25 March 2021 explained the relief will be allocated to English local authorities based on the stock of properties in the area and the sector-specific economic impacts of COVID-19.

The devolved administrations will receive an additional £285 million through the Barnett formula as a result of this relief announcement. Wales will receive £90 million, Scotland £145 million and Northern Ireland £50 million. Business rates are devolved in Scotland and are therefore a matter for the Scottish Government.

11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has plans to bring forward legislative proposals to provide support for business rates to businesses outside the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors that have been affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The government has announced a £1.5 billion pot of additional business rates relief for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that have not otherwise been eligible for existing reliefs. The statement by the Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government of 25 March 2021 explained the relief will be allocated to English local authorities based on the stock of properties in the area and the sector-specific economic impacts of COVID-19.

The devolved administrations will receive an additional £285 million through the Barnett formula as a result of this relief announcement. Wales will receive £90 million, Scotland £145 million and Northern Ireland £50 million. Business rates are devolved in Scotland and are therefore a matter for the Scottish Government.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of reducing Vehicle Excise Duty for cars initially priced in excess of £40,000 that are being resold second-hand.

Petrol, diesel and hybrid cars with a list price when new exceeding £40,000 pay an additional Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) supplement for five years as well as paying the standard rate of VED, which means those who can afford the most expensive cars pay more than the standard rate imposed on other drivers. As around 88% of all new cars have a list price below £40,000, this was considered a suitable threshold for distinguishing the luxury end of the market.

With regard to used vehicles, whilst the sale price of these cars may be below £40,000, the additional supplement is based solely on the original list price, which provides a clear and easy to understand measure of a car’s value as published by manufacturers. As the additional supplement is only payable for five years, slightly older cars pay the supplement for a shorter period of time.

As with all taxes, VED remains under review and any changes are considered by the Chancellor.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of introducing an aviation recovery package.

The Chancellor regularly discusses a wide range of matters related to economic recovery with Cabinet colleagues.

The Government recognises the challenging circumstances facing the aviation industry as a result of Covid-19 and firms experiencing difficulties can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including schemes to raise capital and flexibilities with tax bills. In addition to economy-wide measures such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the aerospace sector and its aviation customers are being supported with almost £11 billion made available through loan guarantees, support for exporters, the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility and grants for research and development. This includes £8bn of guarantees provided by UK Export Finance.

In addition, the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme launched on 29 January 2021 will provide support for eligible businesses, up to the equivalent of their business rates liabilities in the 2020/21 financial year, subject to certain conditions and a cap per claimant of £8m. This will help companies with their fixed costs and could unlock shareholder and lender support.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to publish information on the revenue that has not accrued to the public purse as a result of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the travel sector.

The Government recognises the challenging circumstances facing the travel sector as a result of Covid-19, and firms experiencing difficulties can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills and the extended furlough scheme.

As set out in the Covid-19 Impact Assessment last November, the Government cannot forecast with confidence the precise impact of specific changes to restrictions, including those on the travel sector, as this will depend on a broad range of factors which are, in many cases, difficult to estimate. The Treasury does not prepare forecasts for the UK economy and public finances, these are the responsibility of the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

The economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and the unprecedented fiscal support has caused significant but necessary increase in borrowing and debt. However, borrowing costs continue to be low, making the current costs of servicing this increase in debt affordable.

The Budget will set out the next phase of the plan to tackle the virus and protect jobs.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many letters were sent by HMRC to people affected by the Loan Charge, in December 2020.

HMRC sent approximately 17,000 letters in December 2020 to people affected by the Loan Charge. The number of taxpayers receiving these letters will be lower, as some will have received more than one piece of correspondence.

In addition to these letters and since 30 September 2020, HMRC have continued settlement discussions with taxpayers eligible for the 2017 disguised remuneration settlement terms who were prevented from settling by 30 September 2020 for reasons beyond their control, such as recent hospitalisation.

HMRC continue to offer support to taxpayers where needed when dealing with their tax affairs.

19th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 19 May 2020 to Question 45620 on the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, if he will make it his policy to enable accountants to submit applications to the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme on behalf of their self-employed clients.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) was designed in order to make it deliverable quickly and to minimise the risk of fraud. Expanding the scope to include provision for accountants and other agents to make applications on behalf of their clients would have taken significantly longer to deliver, at a time when speed is a priority.

Self-employed people who are eligible for the SEISS were able to make claims from 13 May 2020, and by midnight 24 May 2020 about 2.3 million people had successfully claimed the SEISS. The claims process for the SEISS is easy and straightforward, with HMRC doing all of the calculations.

11th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether accountants can submit applications to the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme on behalf of their self-employed clients.

The claims process for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is easy and straightforward. HMRC are doing all of the calculations, and taxpayers will only need their National Insurance number, Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number, online log-in details, and bank account details to apply for the grant. Accountants, tax agents or advisers cannot make claims on behalf of their clients. Designing a scheme that enabled agents to do this would have taken significantly longer to deliver, at a time when speed is a priority. Accountants, tax agents and advisers can help their clients by ensuring clients are aware they may be eligible; helping clients to find the details they need; using the online eligibility checker on their clients’ behalf (or supporting them to use the checker themselves); and explaining why they may or may not be eligible, and what other support is available to them.

29th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many staff in his Department have formal arrangements to work from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

In response to the Prime Minister’s statement on 16 March, the Civil Service moved to remote working by default, where possible to do so. While some staff have formal home working arrangements under HM Treasury’s Flexible Working provisions, all staff are currently required to work from home to support the government measures in limiting the spread of covid-19. On the very rare occasions where it is not possible for Treasury employees to work from home they may work from the office with the permission of their Director.

On average the department has less than 1% of its workforce physically attending the workplace during lockdown period.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to accept contracts of employment as supporting evidence for applications to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is open to any individual who was on an employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and for whom HMRC received an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before the 19 March 2020. Processing claims for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where HMRC do not have RTI data by 19 March would require much greater manual handling by HMRC, which would substantially slow down the system while risking substantial levels of fraud. It would also require greater resource for HMRC when they are already under significant pressure to deliver the system designed. Those not eligible for the scheme may be able to access other support the Government is providing, including a package of temporary welfare measures and up to three months’ mortgage payment holidays for those struggling with their mortgage payments.

21st Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the guidance issued to private nurseries on furloughing employees during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Scottish Government has been closely involved in the UK response to COVID-19. Treasury ministers and officials are in close contact with their Scottish counterparts regarding the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

Although the CJRS is UK-wide, the Department for Education’s guidance relating to the CJRS applies to England only. Department for Education officials have discussed COVID-19 guidance with their Scottish counterparts and continue to work with them on matters relating to COVID-19.

1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the recommendations of the Global Travel Taskforce report, publish in April 2021, whether the Government plans to increase the budget for UK Border Force.

The budget for the Home Office, including Border Force, will be reviewed as part of the forthcoming Spending Review 2021 to be commissioned by the Treasury. An announcement on the Spending Review plans is expected in due course.

The Home Office will always ensure Border Force has the necessary resources to keep the border secure

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the recommendations of the Global Travel Taskforce report, published in April 2021, what progress has been made on rolling out full e-gate integration across all UK ports of entry to reduce waiting times at the border.

Border Force continues to work, including with UK Port Operators, to increase the number and effectiveness of ePassport gates

Annual passenger transactions at the e-Passport gates have grown rapidly since the 1 million recorded in the 12 months of 2009. In the 12-month period from March 2020 to February 2021, the number of passenger transactions at e-Passports gates was 8 Million (8,092,175). This compares to 63 Million (63,095,660) passengers in the corresponding period last year (March 2019 to February 2020), a decrease of 55 Million (55,003,485) due to the current COVID-19 travel restrictions

In addition to our work on e-Gates referenced in the report, we are also developing Border Crossing systems so Border Force can scan passenger passports and immediately identify whether the passenger has a completed Passenger Locator Form.

This is to protect the public and the UK's vaccine rollout, as international travel resumes.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jun 2021
For what reason her Department continues to monitor asylum seekers' usage of Aspen Cards.

Aspen cards are prepaid debit cards used to provide financial support to destitute asylum seekers. Their use is recorded and will be investigated where there are safeguarding concerns, for example to help locate a person who has gone missing, or potential breaches of the conditions of support to which the recipients have agreed, such as to prevent fraud.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has made an assessment of potential accommodation alternatives to housing asylum seekers in former army barracks.

Increased asylum intake, alongside measures taken to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, has meant that the Home Office has had to deal with growing demand for asylum support and accommodation services.

In recent months we have faced additional challenges which have required us in some instances to use contingency accommodation, including hotels, to fulfil or statutory obligations to house destitute asylum seekers whilst their claims are examined.

In order to reduce the use of such contingency accommodation we have been working closely with local authorities and devolved administrations to identify opportunities to increase the amount of dispersal accommodation available and to assist those that are no longer eligible for asylum support to ‘move-on’ from asylum accommodation. This has been handled through a calm, considered and phased approach.

Following a review of available government property, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) agreed to temporarily hand over two of their sites: the Penally Training Camp in Pembrokeshire and the Napier Barracks in Kent.

These sites were immediately available to be used to house asylum seekers and are safe, secure, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped in line with existing contractual requirements for asylum accommodation.

An independent rapid review was also recently conducted to assure ourselves of the health and safety of asylum seekers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the recommendations from which are being reviewed and will be shared in due course. We will also hold round tables with stakeholders to discuss the recommendations, actions taken and proposed next steps.

It remains our intention to move all individuals in contingency accommodation into suitable dispersed accommodation as soon as reasonably practical, however our immediate priority is to ensure that we continue to meet our legal duty to house destitute asylum seekers and ensure their safety and wellbeing.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential health and safety risks to asylum seekers housed in former army barracks.

Increased asylum intake, alongside measures taken to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, has meant that the Home Office has had to deal with growing demand for asylum support and accommodation services.

In recent months we have faced additional challenges which have required us in some instances to use contingency accommodation, including hotels, to fulfil or statutory obligations to house destitute asylum seekers whilst their claims are examined.

In order to reduce the use of such contingency accommodation we have been working closely with local authorities and devolved administrations to identify opportunities to increase the amount of dispersal accommodation available and to assist those that are no longer eligible for asylum support to ‘move-on’ from asylum accommodation. This has been handled through a calm, considered and phased approach.

Following a review of available government property, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) agreed to temporarily hand over two of their sites: the Penally Training Camp in Pembrokeshire and the Napier Barracks in Kent.

These sites were immediately available to be used to house asylum seekers and are safe, secure, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped in line with existing contractual requirements for asylum accommodation.

An independent rapid review was also recently conducted to assure ourselves of the health and safety of asylum seekers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the recommendations from which are being reviewed and will be shared in due course. We will also hold round tables with stakeholders to discuss the recommendations, actions taken and proposed next steps.

It remains our intention to move all individuals in contingency accommodation into suitable dispersed accommodation as soon as reasonably practical, however our immediate priority is to ensure that we continue to meet our legal duty to house destitute asylum seekers and ensure their safety and wellbeing.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has for the resumption of refugee resettlement flights to the UK; and if she will make a statement.

We have been working closely with key domestic and international stakeholders on plans to safely resume UK resettlement arrivals against the backdrop of unprecedented restrictions and pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of this work, and as announced by Baroness Williams of Trafford in the House of Lords on 9 November, the UK will shortly restart UK resettlement arrivals to fulfil our commitment of resettling 20,000 refugees affected by the conflict in Syria under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) and we are working closely with partners to deliver this commitment.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will waive the Immigration Health Surcharge for British Nationals (Overseas) who apply for UK visas from January 2021.

The bespoke new Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa route recognises our historic and moral commitment to British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) citizens in Hong Kong, giving them the option to live in the UK if they decide that is an appropriate choice for them.

It is reasonable to expect BN(O) citizens coming to the UK to show they can support themselves when they arrive. It is only right that they contribute towards our brilliant NHS through the Immigration Health Surcharge. The Immigration Health Surcharge offers excellent value to BN(O) citizens given the comprehensive access to the range of NHS services it provides.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance UK Visas and Immigration has issued to companies which operate overseas visa application centres on the phased reopening of those centres.

UKVI continues to work closely with our commercial partners, who operate our overseas visa application centre network, to ensure they abide by the local social distancing measures in the countries they operate. Our commercial partners have given UKVI detailed assurances on the steps they have taken, prior to reopening, which are designed to keep their staff and visa customers safe. Where possible, UKVI staff have been visiting the application centres as an added layer of assurance our commercial partners are following appropriate procedures. Information for customers on these arrangements is provided on the commercial partner webpages for individual locations, signposted from gov.uk and highlighted as part of the visa application process customers follow.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many staff in her Department have formal arrangements to work from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

In line with wider Government guidance on social distancing those Home Office employees whose work can be done from home have been asked to work from home during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The number of employees currently doing so is not collated centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what proportion of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund allocated to the UK was spent on (a) removal, (b) resettlement and (c) asylum seeker and refugee integration in (i) 2014-15, (ii) 2015-16, (iii) 2016-17, (iv) 2017-18 and (v) 2018-19.

The Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) UK Responsible Authority (UKRA) manage AMIF funds in the UK. The total amount allocated to the UK from AMIF is £518.5m.

The UKRA operates according to AMIF years YYYY and YYYY +1 rather than n (current year), rather than the financial year as set out in the question. Therefore, this response includes expenditure claimed from the EU in the AMIF period covered as set out in the header.

Furthermore, the UK does not include asylum seekers in integration activities as this is not appropriate until their status has been settled. In addition, the ‘Integration’ objective of AMIF applies to Third Country Nationals, including refugees. The UKRA has projects that focus on both, and as such it is not feasible to differentiate expenditure between that on ‘refugees’ and ‘TCNs’, so the response relates to all AMIF expenditure on Integration.

Also included in the UK AMIF allocation is an amount for a ‘Resettlement Pledge’ where the UK can claim an amount for resettling refugees from the EU. Depending on the type of case, figures for this have also been included below.

Any expenditure incurred in 2014-15 was recorded in the 2015-16 accounts.

2015-16 (Expenditure incurred 01/01/14 – 15/10/16)

(a) removal

Actual spend - £53,480,997.80

(b) resettlement

Actual spend - £0

Resettlement pledge - £19,130,434.80

(c) asylum seeker and refugee integration

Actual spend - £0

2016-17 (Expenditure incurred 16/10/16 – 15/10/17)

(a) removal

Actual spend - £10,877,122.00

(b) resettlement

Actual spend - £0

Resettlement pledge - £18,086,956.52

(c) asylum seeker and refugee integration

Actual spend - £3,052,638.95

2017-18 (Expenditure incurred 16/10/17 – 15/10/18)

(a) removal

Actual spend - £25,054,327.61

(b) resettlement

Actual spend - £1,863,468.65

Resettlement pledge - £0

(c) asylum seeker and refugee integration

Actual spend - £6,873,834.41

2018-19 (Expenditure incurred 16/10/18 – 15/10/19)

(a) removal

Actual spend - £0

(b) resettlement

Actual spend - £0

Resettlement pledge - £66,782,608.69

(c) asylum seeker and refugee integration

Actual spend - £0

The Home Office is currently assessing an alternative UK programme to the AMIF and this will form part of spending review discussions.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she will take to replace the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) UK Responsible Authority (UKRA) manage AMIF funds in the UK. The total amount allocated to the UK from AMIF is £518.5m.

The UKRA operates according to AMIF years YYYY and YYYY +1 rather than n (current year), rather than the financial year as set out in the question. Therefore, this response includes expenditure claimed from the EU in the AMIF period covered as set out in the header.

Furthermore, the UK does not include asylum seekers in integration activities as this is not appropriate until their status has been settled. In addition, the ‘Integration’ objective of AMIF applies to Third Country Nationals, including refugees. The UKRA has projects that focus on both, and as such it is not feasible to differentiate expenditure between that on ‘refugees’ and ‘TCNs’, so the response relates to all AMIF expenditure on Integration.

Also included in the UK AMIF allocation is an amount for a ‘Resettlement Pledge’ where the UK can claim an amount for resettling refugees from the EU. Depending on the type of case, figures for this have also been included below.

Any expenditure incurred in 2014-15 was recorded in the 2015-16 accounts.

2015-16 (Expenditure incurred 01/01/14 – 15/10/16)

(a) removal

Actual spend - £53,480,997.80

(b) resettlement

Actual spend - £0

Resettlement pledge - £19,130,434.80

(c) asylum seeker and refugee integration

Actual spend - £0

2016-17 (Expenditure incurred 16/10/16 – 15/10/17)

(a) removal

Actual spend - £10,877,122.00

(b) resettlement

Actual spend - £0

Resettlement pledge - £18,086,956.52

(c) asylum seeker and refugee integration

Actual spend - £3,052,638.95

2017-18 (Expenditure incurred 16/10/17 – 15/10/18)

(a) removal

Actual spend - £25,054,327.61

(b) resettlement

Actual spend - £1,863,468.65

Resettlement pledge - £0

(c) asylum seeker and refugee integration

Actual spend - £6,873,834.41

2018-19 (Expenditure incurred 16/10/18 – 15/10/19)

(a) removal

Actual spend - £0

(b) resettlement

Actual spend - £0

Resettlement pledge - £66,782,608.69

(c) asylum seeker and refugee integration

Actual spend - £0

The Home Office is currently assessing an alternative UK programme to the AMIF and this will form part of spending review discussions.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to publish a response to her Department’s call for evidence on abuse and violence towards shopworkers.

The Government recognises the damaging impact that violence and abuse can have on victims, businesses, and the wider community; and we are committed to tackling this issue.

We launched a call for evidence on violence and abuse toward shop staff to help strengthen our understanding of the scale and extent of the issue. During the Westminster Hall debate on ‘Protection of retail workers’, which took place on 11 February, I committed to publishing the Government’s response by the end of March 2020. Unfortunately, given the current circumstances, the Government must focus its communications on tackling COVID-19. Therefore, the publication of the Government’s response is delayed. I am, however, keen to publish it as soon as I am able.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people have been extradited from the UK to Indonesia for (a) violent crimes and (b) non-violent crimes in each year since 2003.

There have been no extraditions from the UK to Indonesia between 1 January 2003 and 13 February 2020 for either violent or non-violent crimes.

As any request for extradition made to Scotland or issued by Scotland would be sent or received by the Crown Office directly, therefore the Home Office does not hold these figures.

15th Mar 2021
What recent progress he has made on the implementation of the Armed Forces Covenant commitment on housing for military personnel; and if he will make a statement.

The provision of high-quality subsidised accommodation remains a fundamental part of the overall offer to Service personnel and their families.

In July, the Government committed an additional £200 million to further improve both Service Family and Single Living Accommodation. As part of this, 3,500 homes will be fully modernised. In addition, through the Future Accommodation Model, the Department will provide Service personnel with more choice over where, how and with whom they live.

29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many staff in his Department have formal arrangements to work from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

Defence's policy is that all employees should work from home during COVID-19 unless their work is business critical which requires them to be in the workplace. The Department believes that it is vital to support staff to enable them to meet their work and family commitments, particularly if they are caring for children following school closures, or other relative or friend. Advice and guidance on working remotely/flexibly is available in a toolkit; guidance in a "Coronavirus pandemic - working from home guidance" as well as; in a series of FAQs which are regularly updated. Employees working from home can request the use of a laptop, or, if they have a reasonable adjustment, specialist equipment which their line manager will make best endeavours that it is delivered. The key issue for Defence is to ensure that critical business continues as usual, and that its employees can meet their objectives.

I am unable to give you figures on staff with formal arrangements: when scoping the relevant information for your request, it was established that in order to locate, retrieve and extract information in scope of the question would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold (DCT). The request exceeds the DCT as the department does not hold this information centrally and it would require reviewing the data for each directorate within the Department, its agencies and Frontline Commands individually.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with businesses which have applied for Additional Restrictions Grant funding; and if he will apply lessons learnt from the administration of that scheme to the new £1.5 billion Business Rates Relief Fund for businesses affected by covid-19 outside the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

The Department will work closely with local government throughout the development of the £1.5 billion relief scheme and will ensure that experiences from the delivery of other support measures are taken on board. This includes experiences of administering the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) which – as of 28 March 2021 – has delivered £816 million in support to over 400,000 businesses. The Government will continue to support local authorities in making further ARG payments throughout 2021/22.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to (a) simplify and (b) homogenise across local authorities the process of applying for business rates relief in respect of the Government's £1.5 billion business rates relief fund for businesses in England outside of the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors which have been affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department will ensure that local authorities have the guidance they need to deliver the additional £1.5 billion business rates support package once primary legislation is passed, in line with the announcement on 25 March. As with other business rates reliefs, officials will work closely with local government on the development of the relief scheme and guidance for local authorities will be published in due course.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of tariff-free arrangements for materials imported through a freeport on the competitiveness of domestic manufacturing.

Government is committed to supporting UK manufacturing and recognises the vital role it plays in the UK economy, by driving innovation, exports, job creation and productivity growth. Freeports give businesses increased choice for their customs facilitation which plays a significant role in attracting investment and jobs. Businesses will benefit from import duty suspension when goods are imported into the Freeport customs site, and when the goods exit the Freeport to enter the UK’s market the duty will apply. Within a Freeport customs site, businesses also have the option to bring in domestic goods which can then be processed alongside imported goods.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on leasehold which will will apply to tenants of the Duchy of Cornwall.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service. We are taking forward a comprehensive programme of reform to end unfair practices in the leasehold market, and last month we announced reforms to the valuation process and length of lease extensions, in response to Law Commission recommendations.

The Law Commission’s report on enfranchisement includes recommendations relating to the qualifying criteria for enfranchisement and lease extensions, including the applicability of these to leaseholders of the Crown. We will bring forward a response to these and the other remaining Law Commission recommendations.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many women are serving (a) custodial and (b) suspended sentences where gambling has been identified as a relevant motivational factor in the offence.

Centrally held sentencing data in England and Wales does not identify where gambling, or any other factor, has been identified as a relevant motivational factor in the offence. The information may be held on court records but to be able to identify such cases would require accessing individual court records which would be of disproportionate cost.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th May 2020
To ask the Leader of the House, if he will make it his policy to renew the temporary Standing Orders relating to hybrid proceedings to enable hon. Members who are shielding as a result of covid-19 to continue to participate in business remotely.

I set out the Government’s position during today’s Urgent Question and Business Statement.The House cannot be as effective in carrying out its constitutional duties without its members here. I therefore think it essential that all MPs who are able to do so move back to physical ways of working as quickly as possible.

The House Authorities are making every effort to ensure that the return to physical proceedings will be in line with Public Health England guidance and safe for members and the staff of the House.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how many staff in his Department have formal arrangements to work from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

All staff in the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland have formal arrangements to work from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, when he plans to next meet the First Minister of Scotland.

I refer the honourable Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the honourable Member for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
12th Feb 2020
What the Government’s policy is on maintaining the Sewel Convention.

This Government remains fully committed to the Sewel Convention and the related practices and procedures for seeking legislative consent.

We will continue to uphold the spirit and the letter of the devolution settlement, as every Government has done consistently throughout the last twenty years.