Margaret Ferrier

Independent - Former Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West

First elected: 12th December 2019


European Scrutiny Committee
9th Mar 2020 - 1st Aug 2023
Pensions (Extension of Automatic Enrolment) (No. 2) Bill
8th Mar 2023 - 15th Mar 2023
Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill
1st Mar 2023 - 8th Mar 2023
Child Support (Enforcement) Bill
22nd Feb 2023 - 1st Mar 2023
Pension Schemes (Conversion of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions) Bill
26th Jan 2022 - 2nd Feb 2022
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


Division Voting information

Margaret Ferrier has voted in 839 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

11 Sep 2015 - Assisted Dying (No. 2) Bill - View Vote Context
Margaret Ferrier voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 11 Scottish National Party No votes vs 14 Scottish National Party Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 118 Noes - 330
View All Margaret Ferrier Division Votes

All Debates

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
Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party)
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)
(100 debate interactions)
Penny Mordaunt (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(58 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
(43 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(99 debate contributions)
Department for Work and Pensions
(96 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(95 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Margaret Ferrier's debates

Latest EDMs signed by Margaret Ferrier

17th July 2023
Margaret Ferrier signed this EDM on Monday 4th September 2023

The two-child benefit cap

Tabled by: Jon Trickett (Labour - Hemsworth)
That this House strongly opposes the continuation of the cruel and unnecessary two child limit for benefits, introduced by the Government in 2017; notes that recent research shows that one in 10 children live in households affected by the two-child limit, that is 1.5 million children; highlights the University of …
34 signatures
(Most recent: 25 Oct 2023)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 21
Independent: 6
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
17th July 2023
Margaret Ferrier signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Friday 14th July 2023

Flowers 2 Go

Tabled by: Margaret Ferrier (Independent - Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
That this House congratulates Stephen Reid, owner of Flowers 2 Go in Blantyre, on being nominated as a finalist for the Scottish Funeral Awards 2023; notes that Stephen and his business are being recognised for the excellent service they provide to customers and the wider funeral industry; further notes that …
1 signatures
(Most recent: 14 Jul 2023)
Signatures by party:
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

3 Adjournment Debates led by Margaret Ferrier

Thursday 12th May 2022
Thursday 16th December 2021
Monday 2nd March 2020

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.

This Bill received Royal Assent on 28th April 2022 and was enacted into law.


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

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 2nd September 2020

683 Written Questions

(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
14 Other Department Questions
1st Dec 2021
What assessment he has made of the potential effect of agreements made at COP26 on the aviation sector.

COP26 saw 24 states, representing around half of global aviation emissions, commit to negotiating for a 1.5°C-consistent climate goal for aviation next year.

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
President of the Board of Trade
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)
1st Feb 2016
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what recent assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the potential effect of the date of the EU referendum on mayoral, local, and devolved institutions' elections.

The Electoral Commission recently wrote to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, following that Committee’s recent evidence session, on a number of issues, including the potential impact of the date of the referendum if it were to be held in June. A copy of the letter is available on the Committee’s website.

10th Dec 2015
To ask the Prime Minister, when he plans to reply to the letter of 26 November 2015 from the hon. Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West regarding mass executions in Saudi Arabia.

A reply has been sent.

3rd Dec 2015
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent discussions she has had with her Cabinet colleagues on the legal recognition in Northern Ireland of same-sex marriages which have been registered elsewhere in the UK.

The UK government has demonstrated its commitment to marriage for same sex couples by introducing it for England and Wales, and has welcomed its introduction in other jurisdictions, including Scotland.

We recognise and respect the devolution settlement in Northern Ireland. The constitutional arrangements in place mean that any decision to extend marriage to same-sex couples in Northern Ireland is a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly. Officials from the Government Equalities Office speak regularly with colleagues in the Northern Ireland Office regarding these and other equality related matters.

27th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, with reference to paragraph 1.203 of the Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015, when the energy intensive industry exemption from the cost of Renewable Obligation and Feed-in Tariff will come into effect.

Following consultation, state aid clearance and necessary amendments to Renewables Obligation and Feed in Tariff scheme legislation, we intend to switch from compensation to exemptions as soon as possible.



Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2015
To ask the Prime Minister, what discussions he had with his Indian counterpart during his recent visit on the death of Sikh people at the Golden Temple in Amritsar in June 1984.

The events between 5-7 June 1984 at the Golden Temple in Amritsar led to a tragic loss of life, and I understand the pain that they still cause to Sikh communities around the world, including in the UK.


During the visit of Prime Minister Modi we discussed a wide range of issues and in those conversations he emphasised his commitment to upholding the Gandhian traditions of diversity and religious tolerance. In his Wembley address, he underlined the important role that Indians of all faiths are playing in India’s economic and social development.

21st Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the level of energy prices on the steel industry; and if he will make a statement.

The Government recognises that energy costs are among the factors that have an impact on the competitiveness of the steel industry and for that reason has provided over £50 million compensation to steel makers for energy costs.

We are also in advanced discussions with the European Commission to approve millions of pounds of further compensation for energy intensive industries, including steel makers. Many years of underinvestment in the UK’s energy infrastructure has meant wholesale prices of energy are higher in the UK than in some other EU countries. The Government is committed to addressing this long term issue through, for example, new nuclear plants and our support for shale gas extraction.

13th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what assessment her Department has made of the environmental effects of underground coal gasification.

In recognition of the need for a better understanding of the potential impacts of underground coal gasification, the Department has commissioned an assessment of the greenhouse gas emissions related to underground coal gasification, which we expect to publish in due course.


Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2015
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government is taking to reduce the gender pay gap.

The gender pay gap has fallen to its lowest ever level, but any gap is unacceptable. The Prime Minister has pledged to eliminate this gap in a generation. Our recent consultation will inform new regulations that will deliver our manifesto commitment to require large companies to publish details of their gender pay gap. We will also tackle the causes by encouraging girls to consider a wide range of careers and ensuring that workplaces are fit for the 21st century.

15th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment he has made of the effect of the privatisation of Royal Mail on (a) residential properties and (b) businesses in Scotland.

Royal Mail was privatised in October 2013. Regardless of ownership, Royal Mail as the designated Universal Service Provider for the United Kingdom is required to deliver the universal postal service in accordance with minimum requirements set by Parliament and quality of service standards set by Ofcom, the postal services regulator.

Royal Mail publishes reports on its quality of service each quarter on its website. Ofcom closely monitors Royal Mail’s quality of service to ensure that service standards are maintained throughout the country.

29th Jun 2015
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to address the reduction in the number of sex discrimination cases brought before employment tribunals.

On 11 June, we announced the start of the post-implementation review of the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunals. The review will consider how successful the change has been in achieving its original objectives and seek to assess the impact fees have had.

25th Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of criminal prosecutions in which gambling is a relevant factor.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not maintain a central record of criminal prosecutions involving gambling or in which gambling has been a factor. This information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
24th Nov 2016
To ask the Attorney General, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the implementation of the UK's domestic and international legal obligations on human rights.

I regularly meet Ministerial colleagues to discuss important issues of common interest, including on domestic and international human rights law. I am not able to talk about any legal content of those discussions because, by convention, the fact that the Law Officers have advised or have not advised and the content of their advice must not be disclosed outside Government without their authority.

18th Jul 2016
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on the rate of criminal prosecutions.

It is not possible to make any such assessment, as the answer will depend on the terms of the agreement reached on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

We will now need to negotiate the best deal we can with Europe, and part of that process will focus on tools and mechanisms for cooperation that can help keep Britain’s citizens secure.

13th Oct 2015
To ask the Attorney General, what recent discussions he has had with his Cabinet colleagues on the implementation of the UK's domestic and international legal obligations on human rights.

By long-standing convention, observed by successive administrations and embodied in the Ministerial Code, the fact that I may or may not have advised or have been requested to advise on a particular issue, and the content of any advice, is not disclosed outside Government.

16th Mar 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an estimate of the number of UK citizens that emigrated to (a) Australia, (b) New Zealand, (c) the US and (d) Canada in the last 12 months.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the Hon. Member's Parliamentary Question of 16 March is attached and the completed answer will be deposited in the House of Commons Library.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the new ONS method for recording and reporting veteran suicide, whether he plans to regularly publish this data.

The Office for National Statistics will trial a new method of of recording veteran suicide from early 2023 by working closely with the Office for Veterans’ Affairs and the Ministry of Defence. As part of a 10-year retrospective study, analysis of veteran suicide data is expected to be completed by the ONS in 2023. Details on how and when this data might be published will be finalised following agreement between the MOD, ONS and OVA.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the removal of the UK from the Eurostat database.

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

Professor Sir Ian Diamond | National Statistician

Margaret Ferrier MP

House of Commons

London

SW1A 0AA

4 November 2021

Dear Ms Ferrier,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking what recent assessment has been made of the implications of the removal of the UK from the Eurostat database (67174).

Since the UK’s departure from the EU, the UK statistical system has continued to collect and publish our wide range of high-quality data and analysis to inform the UK on social and economic matters. This ensures Government, Parliament, and the public continue to have the statistics they need to inform their decisions.

Our statistics continue to be produced according to our Code of Practice for Statistics, ensuring official UK statistics are trustworthy, quality-assured, and meet society’s needs. Furthermore, in line with our strategy, Statistics for the Public Good, we continue to apply the highest international standards to our work, enabling comparability both over time and internationally.

Outside of the EU, it is no longer appropriate for the UK to be bound into European regulations on statistics, however, we remain strongly committed to co-operating with our colleagues in other national statistical institutes across Europe and the rest of the world, with a view to making UK statistics as widely and easily available as possible for international comparison, analysis and research.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

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.

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
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
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.

21st Apr 2017
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government plans to bring forward legislative proposals to extend the franchise to EU nationals for the 8 June 2017 UK general election.

The franchise for the Parliamentary election remains unchanged as set out in the Representation of the People Acts 1983 and 1985.

19th Apr 2017
To ask the Prime Minister, whether in her meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia in April 2017 she discussed with him the cases of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdullah al-Zaher.

I refer the hon. Member to the statement issued on 5 April following my meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia and which is available on the gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-meeting-with-king-salman-of-saudi-arabia-5-april-2017.

I also refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my noble Friend, the Minister of State, the right hon. Baroness Anelay of St Johns to the noble Lord Hoyle on 24 April 2017 in the House of Lords, HL6712.

19th Apr 2017
To ask the Prime Minister, whether she discussed future arms sales to Saudi Arabia in her meeting with King Salman in April 2017.

I refer the hon. Member to the statement issued on 5 April following my meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia and which is available on the gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-meeting-with-king-salman-of-saudi-arabia-5-april-2017.

I also refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my noble Friend, the Minister of State, the right hon. Baroness Anelay of St Johns to the noble Lord Hoyle on 24 April 2017 in the House of Lords, HL6712.

19th Apr 2017
To ask the Prime Minister, whether she discussed the Saudi Arabia-led coalition participation in the conflict in Yemen at her meeting with the King of Saudi Arabia in April 2017.

I refer the hon. Member to the statement issued on 5 April following my meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia and which is available on the gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-meeting-with-king-salman-of-saudi-arabia-5-april-2017.

I also refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my noble Friend, the Minister of State, the right hon. Baroness Anelay of St Johns to the noble Lord Hoyle on 24 April 2017 in the House of Lords, HL6712.

30th Jan 2017
To ask the Prime Minister, whether she raised the use of torture as an interrogation technique by US intelligence services at her meeting with President Trump on 27 January 2017.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Mrs West) on 31 January 2017, UIN 50210.

30th Jan 2017
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if the Government will take steps to make the consultation process operated through the Sewel Convention a statutory requirement.

The Sewel convention recognises that the Parliament of the United Kingdom will not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters without the consent of the relevant devolved legislature. Both the Scotland Act 2016 and the Wales Act 2017 place the Sewel convention on a statutory footing, as committed to in the cross-party Smith Commission and St David’s Day agreements.

26th Jan 2017
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the average salary was in (a) Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK in each of the last five years.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

24th Jan 2017
To ask the Prime Minister, when she was made aware of the results of the tests of the UK's nuclear deterrent in June 2016; and if she will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the Statement made by the Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks (Mr Fallon) on 23 January 2017, Official Report, columns 23-42.

13th Jan 2017
To ask the Prime Minister, if she will publish minutes of her meeting with the Wall Street Editorial Board in September 2016.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr Gwynne) on 28 October 2016, UIN 50210.

20th Dec 2016
To ask the Prime Minister, when information on her external meetings from July to September 2016 will be published.

Information covering the period from July to September 2016 was published on 21 December 2016 and is available on the gov.uk website.

25th Nov 2016
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if the Government will bring forward legislative proposals to extend the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds for the next UK general election.

The Government has no plans to lower the voting age for the next UK general election.

3rd Nov 2016
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government has appointed a UK Digital Champion to replace Martha Lane Fox; and if he will make a statement.

Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho CBE, stepped down from her role as UK digital champion in 2013. She continues to be a member of the Government Digital Service Advisory Board, whose remit includes supporting government to deliver better services for users, reviewing progress, sharing experience, providing external expertise and raising public awareness. The current membership can be found here:

- https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/gds-advisory-board

The Government’s focus on digital is comprehensive and expanding, something underlined by the creation of three new senior roles. The Government Digital Service has been strengthened with the appointment of its first Director General of Digital, Kevin Cunnington. In addition, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has appointed Matthew Gould, as its first Director General for Digital and Media, and Liam Maxwell as the Government’s first National Technology Adviser.

10th Oct 2016
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the remit is of the Gulf Strategy Unit; when the Unit was established; how many staff the Unit is intended to employ; and what the proposed budget for the Unit is.

The Gulf Strategy Integrated Delivery Team was established in 2015.

Its remit is to coordinate the Government’s strategic approach to UK engagement with the Gulf States as set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015.

It employs three full-time and one part-time Government employees. One is military and three are civilian.

Administration costs were £70,004 in the 2015-16 financial year and the budget for administration costs in the 2016-17 financial year is £423,000. The 2015-16 figure reflects the fact the unit was established later in the financial year.

23rd Feb 2016
To ask the Prime Minister, what recent representations he has made to officials working on the Chilcot Inquiry; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to Sir John Chilcot’s letter to me of 28 October 2015, and my reply of 29 October, copies of which can be found on the Iraq Inquiry website.

8th Feb 2016
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 4 February 2016 to Question 25009, what proportion of people in the Senior Civil Service were based in London in each year since 2010.

The Civil Service requires a variety of skills and professions within its workforce and many senior civil servants, by nature of their remit, work closely with Ministers, which is why the majority of these positions are based in London.

The proportion of SCS based in London has remained relatively stable from 2010 to 2015.

1st April 2010

65.1%

1st April 2011

65.0%

1st April 2012

65.5%

1st April 2013

63.9%

1st April 2014

65.4%

1st April 2015

67.0%

Although the proportion has increased, this represents an overall decrease in headcount, from 2,840 at 1st April 2010 to 2,660 at 1st April 2015.

4th Feb 2016
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the estimated total cost to the public purse is of the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information review of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Sheffield Central on 19 October 2015 to UIN: 10764.

4th Feb 2016
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost to the public purse has been of the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information since its establishment.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Sheffield Central on 19 October 2015 to UIN: 10764.

28th Jan 2016
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 9 December 2015 to Question 902477, when he expects the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information to publish its review of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

It is for the independent Commission to determine the timing for submitting its response to Government.

26th Nov 2015
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to amend the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

We are committed to the Freedom of Information Act. An independent commission was established review the workings of the Act. The Government will consider the Commission’s report when it is received.

9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to tackle barriers around planning and consent in developing the transmission network required to support a net zero grid.

In the British Energy Security Strategy the Government committed to accelerating the delivery of electricity transmission infrastructure. The network blueprint, the Holistic Network Design for onshore-offshore transmission, will be referenced in the energy National Policy Statements (NPS) for England and Wales, supporting the needs case for transmission projects.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what progress has been made in updating the Energy National Policy statements which have been under review since November 2021.

To enable delivery of the commitments in April’s British Energy Security Strategy, the Department has reviewed and strengthened these NPSs. This includes the EN-1 Overarching need case for energy infrastructure, EN-3 Renewable electricity infrastructure and EN-5 Electricity networks infrastructure. The review is to ensure they fully reflect the strategic importance of new energy infrastructure for delivering the UK’s energy security and affordability and to deliver on Net Zero. The importance of this has been underlined by global events in the last 12 months since the end of the previous consultation. DESNZ will re-consult on these documents.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether it is her policy to secure funding for the Office for Life Sciences’ respiratory healthcare mission.

The Government, via the National Institute for Health and Care Research and the Medical Research Council, invest significantly in research and development into respiratory diseases. This investment is aligned to the aims and ambitions of the proposed Respiratory Mission, outlined in the Life Science Vision, to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with respiratory disease.

The Office for Life Sciences will continue to work with public, private and philanthropic partners to identify options and funding opportunities that could allow a specific Respiratory Mission to be set up and delivered.

29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the Rosebank oil field development in the North Sea on the UK’s international climate obligations and commitments.

Supporting domestic oil and gas production is not incompatible with our international climate obligations. Oil field developments under existing licences, including Rosebank, are assessed by the North Sea Transition Authority, who integrate net zero considerations into the development consent process.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential impact of the development the Rosebank oil field on decarbonisation targets in the North Sea Transition Deal.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave the Hon. Member for Norwich South on 1st November 2022 to Question 69713.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the compatibility of the oil and gas licensing round on the UK's (a) carbon budgets, (b) net zero target and (c) legal obligations and commitments towards international climate targets.

The opening of the most recent licensing round by the North Sea Transition Authority followed the publication of the Climate Compatibility Checkpoint.

The North Sea Transition Deal includes emissions reduction targets consistent with the Government’s Net Zero Strategy, which establishes the UK pathway for carbon budgets and international targets.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
25th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support medical research charities.

I recognise the important role medical research charities play in saving lives.

We announced £20 million in 2021/22 to support the vital work of medical research charities and develop a pipeline of early career researchers in their areas.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of reports of breaches by directors of the Insolvency Act 1986 and Companies Act 2006 were investigated by the Insolvency Service in each of the last five years.

The Insolvency Service receives reports on directors’ conduct, in particular of companies entering formal insolvency procedures.

Cases with reports of director misconduct are considered in line with the Insolvency Service’s acceptance criteria. The most serious cases are vetted and where appropriate taken forward for investigation.

Information from Insolvency Service internal management systems shows the number of cases vetted and investigations commenced with a view to director disqualification in the last 5 years. The latter includes a number of cases where the investigation commenced as a result of information from another source.

Companies vetted in any one year may be taken forward for investigation in a later year. The figures in the table relate to the number of companies not the number of directors. An investigation may encompass more than one company.

The first column excludes companies vetted in compulsory liquidation cases prior to January 2020.

Companies Vetted

Civil investigations started

2017/18

8,528

1,669

2018/19

9,059

1,748

2019/20

9,041

1,899

2020/21

6,284

1,484

2021/22

6,340

1,700

20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of expanding the definition of de facto directors to include natural person directors of corporate directors.

The Government plans to make several changes to the rules governing corporate directors, including requirements that corporate directors of limited companies must be entities with legal personality, directors (or equivalents) of corporate director entities must all be natural persons and be subject to ID verification, and that corporate directors must be UK-registered.

Any person is a de facto director if they assume the status and functions of a company director even if they have not been properly appointed. It is not possible to expand the definition of a de facto director, it being a factual rather than a legal status.

14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to encourage companies to take up innovative technologies to make packaging more accessible to people with sight impairments.

The Government recognises the specific challenges faced by people with sight loss or visual impairment, and that consideration of equality impacts must be integral in all key policy decisions.

UK Research and Innovation have work undertaken to accelerate innovation in assistive technologies, which is set out in the National Institute of Health Research’s report on Research and Development Work Relating to Assistive Technology.

The Royal National Institute for Blind People can support businesses to develop more accessible products and services, and can recommend solutions, technologies and tools to help resolve accessibility issues.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure equitable distribution of funds between the (a) National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research and (b) broader life science and medical-related research sectors.

The National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs) receives its core funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and since it was launched in 2004, it has committed £100 million through its research, innovation, and early career awards to provide new 3Rs approaches for scientists in academia and industry to use. This funding builds on wider funding by UKRI on development of alternative approaches to the use of animals. UKRI welcomes applications for research into any aspect of human health and is committed to funding excellence.

Between 2015-2019 UKRI’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council spent over £7 million on research grants aimed at developing and applying innovative methodologies to studying human and animal physiology, including in silico approaches, organ-on-a-chip, organoid and other advanced cell culture systems. Additionally, UKRI’s Medical Research Council launched a new Precision Medicine Accelerator to take ideas from discovery science into research using humans, focused on early clinical application. The Experimental Medicine Panel has an annual budget of £10 million.

The recent Spending Review set the total amount of funding available for the next three years. Internal business planning is underway to allocate specific funding for life sciences and broader medical R&D which will be announced soon. As part of this process £95 million of new funding has recently been announced which will support the development and use of the most promising new drugs and technologies, as part of the Government’s commitment to the NHS and making the UK a Science and Technology Superpower.

12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he is taking steps to contribute to the (a) development and (b) validation of human-on-a-chip and organ-on-a-chip technologies.

The Government actively supports and funds the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce, and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs).  This is achieved primarily through funding for the National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs), which works nationally and internationally to drive the uptake of 3Rs technologies and ensure that advances in the 3Rs are reflected in policy, practice, and regulations on animal research.

The NC3Rs receives its core funding from UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Medical Research Council, and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). Since the NC3Rs was launched in 2004, it has committed £100 million in research to develop 3Rs technologies.

In addition to funding the NC3Rs, UKRI also funds a portfolio of research projects involving humans, human materials, animal models, and non-animal technologies. UKRI also encourages grant applicants, including those whose research does not involve animals but could contribute to greater reduction and replacement, to consider further opportunities to advance the 3Rs.

Between 2015-2019, the BBSRC spent over £7 million on research grants aimed at developing and applying innovative methodologies to studying human and animal physiology, including in silico approaches, organ-on-a-chip, organoid and other advanced cell culture systems.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of legislation on ensuring that toys manufactured overseas carry the address of a UK entity responsible for product safety compliance.

Where toys manufactured overseas are placed on the UK market, a UK-based importer must ensure that their name or trade name and address are marked on the product.

However, the Government recognises the challenge of third-party sales, where the retailer is based overseas. OPSS is currently conducting a review of the UK’s product safety framework, including in relation to e-commerce and supply chain responsibility, 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.

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
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

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.

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
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

11th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2017 to Question 58548, what sanctions were imposed on Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd for breaches of the Green Deal Code of Practice.

On 27 August 2015, a ‘Notice of intention to impose sanctions’ was issued to Home Energy and Lifestyle Management (HELMS). Having considered the representations received from HELMS and other affected persons, on 19 November 2015, my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State imposed a sanction on HELMS of a financial penalty of £10,500.

20th Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support the Government provides to people who received Green Deal finance from a company that has since gone into liquidation.

Consumers who have entered Green Deal Plans will continue to be covered by the Green Deal Framework even if their Green Deal Provider has gone into liquidation. This means that the plan repayments will continue as normal, with no disruption in service.

Where consumers have a concern, they can still make any complaints to the Green Deal Ombudsman or the Financial Services Ombudsman (FOS) as appropriate, even though the Green Deal Provider is in liquidation.

20th Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what representations his Department has received from consumers on the sale of Green Deal services by Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd.

The Department is aware that some customers of the Green Deal Provider, Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS), have made allegations that they were mis-sold their Green Deal plans by HELMS. In November 2015, my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State imposed sanctions on HELMS for breaches of the Green Deal Code of Practice. HELMS has since gone into liquidation. It would not be appropriate to comment on individual cases at this stage. However, customers who have complaints about their plans should raise these with the Green Deal Ombudsman or Financial Ombudsman Service as appropriate.

24th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to encourage retailers to stock more Fairtrade products and adopt Fairtrade principles.

The stocking of Fairtrade products and the adoption of Fairtrade principles by retailers are commercial matters for the companies concerned.

The Government is committed to supporting Fairtrade around the world. Over the last six years, the Department for International Development (DFID) has provided £18m to Fairtrade International to support their work and strengthen the global Fairtrade system. This includes Fairtrade producer and worker organizations that are the drivers of inclusive economic, environmental and social development in their communities around the world. DFID continues to actively engage with Fairtrade on a variety of projects and campaigns, such as the upcoming Fairtrade Fortnight.

24th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support micro enterprises in Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency.

The British Business Bank currently facilitates around £310m of finance in Scotland. This includes over £300,000 in loans to 54 start-up businesses in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency. Since it was established in 2007, Innovate UK has supported 5 Small & Medium sized Enterprises in the constituency with more than £2.5m in grants. This includes funding two micro enterprises with innovation vouchers in 2013 and 2014. In 2015/16, Innovate UK committed to invest £58.3m in 291 innovation projects in Scotland.

24th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the average proportion of household expenditure on energy bills was in Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency in the latest period for which figures are available.

The proportion of household expenditure spent on energy bills is not available at a regional level. On average, in the UK in 2014, 4.9% of all household expenditure was spent on energy bills. This data is from the Living Costs and Food Survey by ONS and has been calculated by summing the domestic household expenditure on gas, electricity and other household fuels, divided by the total household expenditure.

24th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will commission research on the reasons for the unseasonably high temperatures being recorded in the Arctic.

HMG funds a number of organisations, including NERC funded centres and the Met Office Hadley Centre, which are world-leaders in climate research and are active in Arctic research; this includes the monitoring of Arctic temperatures and understanding the reasons for observed changes in temperature.

14th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his Department's policies in England of the conclusions of the report of Health Protection Scotland, entitled A Health Impact Assessment of Unconventional Oil and Gas in Scotland, published on 8 November 2016.

Health Protection Scotland’s report[1] highlights some of the potential hazards associated with unconventional gas and oil extraction but, in line with Public Health England’s report in 2014[2], it finds that risks can be mitigated by adopting a range of precautionary measures involving operational best practice, regulatory frameworks and community engagement.

[1] http://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/enviro/unconventionalgas.aspx

[2] http://www.hpa.org.uk/Publications/Environment/PHECRCEReportSeries/PHECRCE009/

7th Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 20 October 2015 to Question 11541, whether the Department for Energy and Climate Change completed its assessment of the greenhouse gas emissions related to underground coal gasification.

The Department recognises a need to understand the risks and benefits associated with underground coal gasification better. It commissioned a report from the consultancy WS Atkins Plc into the greenhouse gas implications of underground coal gasification. This report will be received in due course.

28th Jun 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, whether he plans to raise the rate of the national minimum wage for people under 25 to the rate of the national living wage.

The priority for younger workers is to secure work and gain experience so that they can compete in the labour market.

The wages of younger workers will continue to be underpinned by the National Minimum Wage as recommended by the Low Pay Commission at the highest possible level without costing jobs.

Earlier this year the Government accepted the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations to increase rate for 21-24 year olds to £6.95 per hour - the largest single increase in the main rate of the NMW since 2008 in cash terms.

24th Jun 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, whether he plans to raise the national living wage to the same rate as the living wage set by the Living Wage Foundation.

The Government’s ambition is for the National Living Wage to reach 60% of median earnings by 2020 – which would currently be around £9 per hour. The Government has asked the Low Pay Commission to recommend the National Living Wage rate going forward.

18th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, whether her Department will implement the recommendations made by the Committee on Climate Change in its report of November 2015, The fifth carbon budget - The next step towards a low-carbon economy.

This Government remains firmly committed to meeting our climate change target of an at least 80% emissions reduction by 2050. The fifth carbon budget, which covers the period 2028-2032, is an important step on the way to 2050.

Discussions on this budget are continuing and we will make an announcement as soon as those discussions conclude.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what recent assessment he has made of the applicability of the provisions of the Trade Union Bill to officials of the devolved administrations.

The Trade Union Act 2016 is about employment and industrial relations law, which are reserved matters. The Act will apply to public sector officials across Great Britain in the same manner, and therefore no specific assessment has been made of its applicability to officials of the devolved administrations.

3rd Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, which (a) Ministers and (b) officials of his Department attended the Welsh Tata Steel Task Force meeting on (i) 20 January and (ii) 1 February 2016.

No Ministers from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) attended the meetings of the Welsh Tata Steel Task Force on 20 January and 1 February 2016. However, my noble Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Wales Office (Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth) was present at the meeting on 1st February. A Senior Civil Service official from BIS attended both meetings.

3rd Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, which (a) Ministers and (b) officials of his Department attended the Scottish Steel Task Force meeting on (i) 29 January 2015, (ii) 13 November 2015, (iii) 26 November 2015, (iv) 11 December 2015 and (v) 14 January 2016.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) was not present at the first meeting of the Scottish Steel Task Force which took place on 29th October 2015. However, BIS was represented by a Grade 6 level official at the meetings on 13 and 26 November 2015 and 14 January 2016, as well as at the most recent meeting on 4 February 2016. Officials from the Scotland Office have attended all meetings of the Task Force. There was no meeting on 29 January 2016.

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
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
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.

29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, (b) the Gambling Commission and (c) the Prime Minister on the Gambling-related harms evidence review.

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
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
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.



20th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support deaf people who participate in sport.

Sport England is currently in discussions with National Disability Sports Organisations, including UK Deaf Sport, about the role they can play to support the delivery of Government’s strategy for sport and physical activity, Sporting Future, which is focused on tackling inactivity in priority groups, such as disabled people. Between 2014 and 2017 Sport England is investing £365,791 in UK Deaf Sport to provide disability and impairment specific expertise to create more opportunities for deaf people to play sport regularly. This was an increase of £83,817 (30%) from its 2011-2014 investment.

20th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has had with (a) UK Sport and (b) Sport England on the UK's representation at this year's Deaflympics.

No recent ministerial discussion has taken place with UK Sport or Sport England concerning the UK’s representation at this year’s Deaflympics. In 2012, Sport England invested £134,620 of National Lottery funding into UK Deaf Sport to support the Great Britain team in attending the last Deaflympics at Sofia in 2013.

19th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what funding her Department plans to provide for UK teams competing in the Deaflympics in the future.

No lottery funding has been allocated to the Deaflympics in any of the last three years. However, in 2012, Sport England invested £134,620 of National Lottery funding into UK Deaf Sport (UKDS) to support the Great Britain team in attending the most recent Deaflympics at Sofia in 2013.

While there are currently no plans to provide funding for UK teams competing in the Deaflympics in future, between 2014 and 2017 Sport England is investing £365,791 in UK Deaf Sport to provide disability and impairment specific expertise to create more opportunities for deaf people to play sport regularly. This was an increase of £83,817 (30%) from its 2011-2014 investment. A breakdown of funding awarded to UK Deaf Sport by Sport England in each of the last five years is detailed below:

Financial Year

Investment

2012/13

£93,658

2013/14

£91,570

2014/15

£120,290

2015/16

£121,342

2016/17

£124,240

19th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what funding her Department has given to UK Deaf Sport in each of the last five years.

No lottery funding has been allocated to the Deaflympics in any of the last three years. However, in 2012, Sport England invested £134,620 of National Lottery funding into UK Deaf Sport (UKDS) to support the Great Britain team in attending the most recent Deaflympics at Sofia in 2013.

While there are currently no plans to provide funding for UK teams competing in the Deaflympics in future, between 2014 and 2017 Sport England is investing £365,791 in UK Deaf Sport to provide disability and impairment specific expertise to create more opportunities for deaf people to play sport regularly. This was an increase of £83,817 (30%) from its 2011-2014 investment. A breakdown of funding awarded to UK Deaf Sport by Sport England in each of the last five years is detailed below:

Financial Year

Investment

2012/13

£93,658

2013/14

£91,570

2014/15

£120,290

2015/16

£121,342

2016/17

£124,240

19th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, how much lottery funding has been allocated to the Deaflympics in each of the last three years.

No lottery funding has been allocated to the Deaflympics in any of the last three years. However, in 2012, Sport England invested £134,620 of National Lottery funding into UK Deaf Sport (UKDS) to support the Great Britain team in attending the most recent Deaflympics at Sofia in 2013.

While there are currently no plans to provide funding for UK teams competing in the Deaflympics in future, between 2014 and 2017 Sport England is investing £365,791 in UK Deaf Sport to provide disability and impairment specific expertise to create more opportunities for deaf people to play sport regularly. This was an increase of £83,817 (30%) from its 2011-2014 investment. A breakdown of funding awarded to UK Deaf Sport by Sport England in each of the last five years is detailed below:

Financial Year

Investment

2012/13

£93,658

2013/14

£91,570

2014/15

£120,290

2015/16

£121,342

2016/17

£124,240

26th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether Phase 2 superfast broadband delivery in Scotland will receive European funding.

It will be for the Scottish Government to decide whether to seek to use European funding to support its Phase 2 broadband programme.

26th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has made an estimate of the proportion of (a) households and (b) business premises in Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency which are forecast to have signed up to receive superfast broadband by the end of 2017; and if she will make a statement.

The Department does not forecast superfast broadband take-up, and does not hold information on take-up at a constituency level or on separate business and household take-up. Take-up in the broadband project covering the Rest of Scotland excluding Highlands & Islands is currently just over 25%.

26th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what recent estimate she has made of the proportion of (a) households and (b) business premises in Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency that have access to superfast broadband.

The information is not available in the requested form.

11th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Written Statement of 11 January 2017, HCWS401, within what timescale her Department plans to complete analysis of the responses to the consultation on the Leveson Inquiry and its implementation.

An application for a judicial review of the consultation exercise has been made. The government has given an undertaking to the court that it will not take any final decisions on the matters to which this consultation relates until the court has determined the judicial review application. We are unable to commit to a timetable at this time.

11th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions her Department has had with Ofcom on introducing a 30 per cent cap on mobile spectrum.

This is a matter for Ofcom. DCMS has noted Ofcom's competition and consumer assessment, as set out in its successive consultations on the forthcoming auction of 2.3 and 3.4 GHz spectrum.

18th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, when the Government plans to bring into force section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013.

No decision has been taken regarding commencement of section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. The matter is still under consideration.

18th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he made of the cost of Part Two of the Leveson Inquiry.

Criminal proceedings connected to the subject matter of the Leveson Inquiry, including the appeals process, have not yet completed. We‎ have always been clear that these cases must conclude before we consider Part 2 of the Inquiry, including any estimate of cost.

18th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if the Government will hold an inquiry into regulation of non-print media.

Ofcom is the independent body that regulates TV, radio and video on demand services. The Broadcasting Code contains rules those TV and radio broadcasters must follow. There are separate rules for video on demand services which include TV catch up, online film services and libraries of archive content. Government considers this regulatory system is working well and has no plans to hold an inquiry.

3rd Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2016 to Question 19385, for what reasons his Department does not plan to pay another grant to MG Alba.

This information can be found in the 2015 Information Security Breaches Survey [Link]. The Government’s National Cyber Security Programme (NCSP) aims to tackle cyber crime and make the UK the safest place in the world to do business in the world. This includes the Cyber Essentials Scheme to protect businesses against common cyber threats and the cyber streetwise campaign which offers simple cyber security advice to small businesses and consumers. In addition to the £860 million investment under the NCSP between 2011-2016, in November 2015 the Chancellor announced a new five year £1.9 billion investment in cyber security to make the UK one of the best protected countries in cyber space.

All Government departments must adhere to the Government’s Security Policy Framework and are required to report, manage and recover from information risk incidents, including losses of protected personal data and ICT security incidents.

9th Dec 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the contribution of the Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy of 3 December 2015, Official Report, column 510, what the purpose was of the two one-off grants paid to MG Alba.

The two one-off grants to MG Alba were provided to support the production of high-quality Gaelic language content, including original drama, and to continue its valued services for Gaelic speakers.

15th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Scotland and (b) Ministers in the Scottish Government on the provision of 4G mobile telephone coverage in Scotland.

I met with John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister in the Scottish Government on 8 June 2015. 4G mobile coverage was not discussed at that meeting. The Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy has met with the Secretary of State for Scotland and discussed options of mobile coverage including indoor 4G coverage to 98% of all premises by the end of 2017.

7th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to refer fixed line telecommunications services to the Competition and Markets Authority.

This is a matter for the communications regulator, Ofcom, or the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), either of which might review the fixed line telecommunications market on their own initiative. Ofcom could conduct a market study and, if its findings warranted it, refer it to the CMA for a market investigation. In theory it is possible for the Secretary of State to request a referral to the CMA under Section 131 (1) of the Enterprise Act. However, this is a ‘reserve power’ and has never been used.

Ofcom periodically reviews the telecommunications fixed access market, most recently in May 2014. In March this year Ofcom launched an overarching Strategic Review of Digital Communications in the UK. This is covering both fixed and wireless networks and services.

1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the number of deaf children that achieve spoken language skills; and what assessment she has made of the potential merits of early intervention programmes, including Auditory Verbal therapy, on educational outcomes for deaf children.

The department is committed to ensuring that children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), including those with hearing impairment, receive the support they need to succeed in their early years, at school and at college. We recognise the importance of spoken language skills and the particular challenges that deaf children face.

The newborn hearing screening programme is offered to parents of all babies. It plays a key role in the early identification of children with hearing impairment and then in providing their parents with the right help to develop their spoken and wider communication skills. Health visitors and specialist local authority teachers provide families with advice and support to maximise the development of such skills in the early years. In addition, the Early Years Foundation Stage framework, which all early years providers follow, has a strong focus on developing communication and language.

The department also has a comprehensive system for identifying where children have SEND and putting in place the right support for them, but we recognise that too often the experiences and outcomes of these children are poor. That is why earlier this year we consulted on the green paper, SEND Review: Right support, right place, right time, which set out proposals to improve the outcomes of children and young people. These proposals for strengthening the SEND system included commitments on early intervention, given the proven effectiveness of this approach. Further details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/send-review-right-support-right-place-right-time.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will meet with Auditory Verbal UK to discuss funding for early intervention programmes for deaf children.

The department is firmly committed to ensuring that children with special education needs and disabilities, including those who are deaf, receive the support they need to succeed in their early years, at school, and at college.

The Secretary of State for Education has received an invitation to meet with Auditory Verbal UK and will reply in due course.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to evaluate the impact of the free period products scheme in schools and colleges on the availability of those products in those settings.

The period products scheme launched in January 2020 and has most recently been extended until July 2024. Take up of the scheme is monitored regularly by the department and our supplier, phs. Within the first two years of the scheme, 94% of secondary schools and 90% of post-16 organisations had ordered at least once. These organisations have older students and therefore are more likely to have a higher proportion of students in scope, compared to primary schools.

The department is considering opportunities to publish further management information in the future, as well as the need for further research into the scheme to evaluate its impact.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make the free period products scheme permanent.

The period products scheme launched in January 2020, and has most recently been extended until July 2024.

The department will make information available about any extensions or changes to the scheme in due course.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will issue guidance to schools and colleges on consulting with students on period products in the context of the free period products scheme.

Guidance regarding the free period products scheme, including the new range of products available was updated on 8 September, the same day eligible organisations can order. This was developed in line with research from schools and colleges, and period product experts. The guidance states that schools and colleges know their learners best and, therefore, have the freedom to select the most suitable products for their learners considering cost and type of product. All eligible organisations were emailed in early September to remind them of their log in details and a link to the guidance will be provided.

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what digital support her Department will provide as part of her family hubs offer.

Through the ‘Family Hubs – Growing Up Well’ digital project, we are partnering with five local authorities in England to develop digital and data solutions that solve problems faced by local authorities in delivering accessible, inter-connected education, health, and social care services for families.

The solutions will focus on improving how information is shared between professionals across a range of services in a Family Hub Network, and how families access and navigate services. These are key to strengthening the practical implementation of Family Hub Networks and levelling up outcomes for vulnerable and disadvantaged families.

Subject to standard agile digital delivery methodology, the solutions will enter beta testing in the 2022/23 financial year.

We anticipate that they will be available for participating local authorities in England in 2023.

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if the Government will make an assessment of the implications for its policies of Action for Children’s report entitled Brighter Future Ahead? Comparing three generations of childhood.

The department welcomes Action for Children’s report.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

With almost 1.32 million vacancies across the UK, the department's focus is on supporting parents into, and to progress in, work wherever possible. The department's approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of parental employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty. The expanded Plan for Jobs continues to help people across the UK to find work and to boost their wages and prospects.

In the 2021 Budget, the government announced a £500 million package for families. This includes a £200 million uplift to the Supporting Families programme taking total planned investment across the next 3 years to £695 million. This funding will help up to 300,000 more families facing multiple, interconnected issues to access effective support and improve their life outcomes.

£300 million of funding will be used to transform ‘Start for Life’ services and create a network of family hubs in half of council areas in England. This includes funding for a network of Family Hubs (£82 million) and parenting programs (£50 million). The government is committed to family hubs and will robustly evaluate the impact of the investment to gather best practice and inform future funding decisions.

The report also recommends a legal duty for early help. The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care is due to set out its final recommendations this spring, and the government will consider those relevant to early help to inform any next steps.

17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the likely levels of discrepancy between the (a) skills and geographic location of people looking for work and (b) needs of employers (i) within sectors, (ii) between sectors and (iii) across the whole economy, following the lifting of covid-19 public health measures.

The department undertakes labour market analysis through numerous means to help determine immediate and longer-term skills needs, such as:

  • managing the Employer Skills Survey (ESS), which is the only national survey of employers providing comprehensive and robust information on employers’ skills needs by sector, occupation and geography, their interaction with the skills system, and their investment in training
  • publishing the current Working Futures labour market projections of jobs by sector, occupation, and geography for the UK labour market
  • funding Labour Market Information (LMI) for All - an impartial service which connects and standardises existing national sources of high quality and reliable LMI
  • establishing the Skills and Productivity Board which provides independent, expert, labour-market analysis on skills, skills mismatches, and their impacts (for 2021, this includes a focus on skills shortages)
  • establishing 36 Skills Advisory Panels across the country to undertake analysis of local labour markets and produce Local Skills Reports setting out an area’s main skills strengths and needs

We last ran the ESS in 2019, which captured employer reported skill shortages by sector, occupation, location, and skill-type. The ESS showed that construction and manufacturing employers were among the sectors that struggled the most to find applicants with the right skills, experience, or qualifications. The ESS also showed that, within most sectors, employers found it the most difficult to find adequately skilled applicants for occupations classed as ‘skilled trades’.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for collecting data on job vacancies, which is a measure of employer skill needs. Since the relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions, official statistics show that the largest proportional increases in vacancies between May-July 2021 to August-October 2021 occurred in the construction sector, transport and storage sector, and manufacturing sector. Further information can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/jobsandvacanciesintheuk/november2021.

We are also working to make the skills system more responsive to employer need.

The ‘Skills for Jobs’ White Paper launched earlier this year set out our aims to build on the success of our flagship apprenticeships programme by putting employers at the heart of the system so that education and training provision meets their needs. By 2030, almost all technical courses will be aligned to employer-led standards, ensuring that the education and training people receive are directly linked to the skills needed for jobs.

The white paper also set out our plans for local areas to be able to plan what skills they need, with local employers leading the process. We are therefore introducing Local Skills Improvement Plans, starting in a small number of trailblazer areas in 2021 led by established employer representative organisations. The first eight were announced in July 2021. The Plans will bring together colleges and other providers, employers, Job Centres Plus, and other local organisations to identify skills needs and the capacity the area has to deliver them.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has provided a total of £352 billion to support the economy. This includes the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Plan for Jobs programmes such as Restart and Kickstart, alongside other measures to boost work search activity, skills and apprenticeships.

As a result, latest figures confirm we are now above pre-COVID-19 outbreak levels of employees on payroll.

We are working across government and across the country to identify sectors with immediate or growing demand and are implementing a range of initiatives to ensure that upskilling programmes meet this demand.

This work includes the sector-based work academy programme (SWAP) where Jobcentre staff work with local employers and tailor training and support packages to help claimants fill local vacancies. DWP is increasing the number of SWAP opportunities to 80,000 over the current financial year 2021/22.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
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.

2nd Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister for Schools of 22 October 2015, Official Report, column 457WH, what plans her Department has to consult on a revised Building Bulletin 100.

It has not yet been decided what further review or consultation is necessary on the revised Building Bulletin 100 (Fire Safety in Schools) before publication.

10th Dec 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to promote coding as part of the curriculum or otherwise amongst young people.

The new computing curriculum, introduced in September 2014 and compulsory for ages 5-16, has been designed to ensure the study of topics such as computational logic, algorithms and coding.


The government has spent more than £4.5 million over the past three years to support schools in delivering high quality computing teaching. This includes £3 million for Computing At School to build a national network of over 350 ‘Master Teachers’ in computer science whom schools can commission to provide training for their teachers.


In primary school, pupils will be looking at designing, writing and debugging programs. With these skills, pupils can create games or useful tools like a number generator for maths.

10th Dec 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the page on the National Crime Agency website entitled, Cyber crime: Preventing young people from getting involved, what discussions she has had with the Home Secretary on interest in coding and possession of independent learning material on computing being considered possible indicators of risk of involvement in cyber crime.

The Secretary of State holds discussions on a range of topics with Cabinet Ministers.


The National Crime Agency (NCA) has recently published guidance on preventing young people from becoming involved in cyber-crime: www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/crime-threats/cyber-crime/cyber-crime-preventing-young-people-from-getting-involved


21st Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many GCSE exam papers have been sent to other countries to be marked this year.

This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have therefore asked its Chief Regulator, Glenys Stacey, to write directly to the Honourable Member. A copy of her reply will be placed in the House of Commons Library.

13th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the reasons for changes in the number of children eligible for free school meals in each of the last three years.

The overall proportion of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals has reduced nationally over the last three years from 17.1% in 2013, to 16.3% in 2014, to 15.2% in 2015.

As the economy improves, there are two million more people finding work including parents, which is leading to year on year decreases in the numbers of pupils entitled to this benefit. For example, the rate of people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) has been falling steadily for the last three years, and this is one the key benefits that provides entitlement to FSM.

29th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of removing the business test under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) England Regulations 2018 for breeders who breed two or fewer litters per year.

We are currently conducting a post-implementation review of the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. The review will consider the need for any refinements to the eight licensable activities, including dog breeding, in light of evidence provided by stakeholders, partners, and local authorities.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Petfished campaign in providing information to potential puppy buyers on sourcing a puppy responsibly; and whether she plans to run further education campaigns to help puppy buyers acquire dogs responsibly.

Our analysis of the Petfished campaign indicates that it has successfully delivered key messages about the responsible purchase or rehoming of cats and dogs. Those key messages remain available to the public on the Petfished website which can be found here: Petfished – Learn how to spot the signs of a deceitful pet seller (getyourpetsafely.campaign.gov.uk)

Defra keeps its public messaging campaigns under review and will consider conducting further campaigns to support the responsible purchasing of pets where there are clear benefits.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the impact of dog breeding regulations on breeders who breed two or fewer litters per year.

Under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (the 2018 Regulations) anyone in the business of breeding and selling dogs and/or who breeds three or more litters in a twelve-month period needs to have a valid licence from their local authority.

The 2018 Regulations are targeted at businesses and individuals/operators which operate on a commercial basis. They are not intended to capture or regulate hobby breeders. We are currently conducting a post-implementation review of the 2018 Regulations which will consider the need for any refinements in light of evidence provided by stakeholders, licensed and unlicensed dog breeders, and local authorities.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has had recent discussions with industry stakeholders on the level of Government support that will be required for the implementation of the packaging extended producer responsibility scheme.

Key stakeholders from industry have been involved throughout the policy development process, through forums such as the Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP), Defra’s Packaging and Collections Working Group and the Industry Sounding Board. We held an initial consultation on the introduction of Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging in 2019 and a second consultation in 2021.

We have recently embarked on a series of visioning sprints to provide an opportunity for industry and UK Government officials to work together to propose a shared vision and develop a strategic roadmap for the delivery of our packaging and waste reforms. We are also running fortnightly Business Readiness Forums, to ensure we capture feedback and continue to relay key information to businesses across the packaging chain. A number of deep dive sessions on specific topics have also been arranged and we will continue to offer new sessions throughout 2023 to ensure business readiness.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate she has made of the potential impact of the proposed packaging extended producer responsibility scheme on business costs.

An impact assessment, setting out the costs and benefits of Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging, was published in March 2022 alongside the Government response to our 2021 consultation. This estimates the net cost to business of these reforms at £1206.8 million per year.

An updated impact assessment will be published later this year alongside the draft Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging and Packaging Waste) Regulations 2023.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that standards on food labelling and allergens in the UK are maintained following the Government’s proposal to sunset existing EU regulations.

Maintaining the UK's high food standards remains our priority. HM Government is committed to promoting robust food standards nationally and internationally, to protect consumer interests, facilitate international trade and ensure that consumers can have confidence in the food that they buy. The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill will not in any way reduce that commitment.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill 2022 on public health standards.

HM Government is committed to maintaining the United Kingdom's public health standards, including through upholding standards on environmental quality and food safety.

Defra is in the process of analysing its Retained EU Law stock to determine what should be preserved as part of domestic law, and what should be repealed, or amended. This work will determine how we use the powers in the Bill and therefore inform assessments of its impact, including in relation to the above.

Defra is also committed to maintaining current high levels of biosecurity including sanitary and phytosanitary measures. These measures protect human, animal and plant health from disease, pests and contaminants by preventing introduction of disease agents into the country.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a visual check at the border to ensure that the pet animal is the (a) same as the animal listed on the pet passport and (b) age stated.

We operate one of the most rigorous and robust pet travel checking regimes in Europe. All non-commercial dogs, cats and ferrets entering Great Britain on approved routes (every route other than Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Crown Dependencies) under the Pet Travel rules undergo 100% documentary and identity checks by authorised pet checkers.

To enter Great Britain pets must have been implanted with a microchip or have a legible tattoo imprinted prior to 3 July 2011. A pet’s identity is checked by ensuring that the microchip or tattoo details correspond to the details in the pet’s documentation, which includes the date of birth of the pet animal. Carriers can refer suspected non-compliances to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), including cases where any dog appears underage. APHA staff are highly trained to deal with intercepted shipments.

APHA works collaboratively with Border Force and other operational partners at ports, airports and inland, sharing intelligence to enforce the Pet Travel rules, disrupt illegal imports, safeguard the welfare of animals and seize non-compliant animals.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June 2021 and completed committee on 18 November 2021. The Bill allows us to further protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on the low welfare movements of pets into Great Britain and includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to support companies pioneering new technologies to make food and drink packaging more accessible to people with sight loss.

The availability and accessibility of essential food information to all consumers is vitally important. It is already a requirement that food information must be easily visible and clearly legible. Information shall not in any way be obscured and depending on the package size, there is a minimum font size.

That said, we welcome work by industry, especially companies developing new digital technologies with the potential to provide the means for people with visual impairment to access food information. As part of the upcoming Food Strategy White Paper, we will look at optimising food information, including labelling, so all consumers, are better able to make informed choices.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help make food and drink packaging more accessible to people with sight loss.

The availability and accessibility of essential food information to all consumers is vitally important. It is already a requirement that food information must be easily visible and clearly legible. Information shall not in any way be obscured and depending on the package size, there is a minimum font size.

That said, we welcome work by industry, especially companies developing new digital technologies with the potential to provide the means for people with visual impairment to access food information. As part of the upcoming Food Strategy White Paper, we will look at optimising food information, including labelling, so all consumers, are better able to make informed choices.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has carried out an assessment of the economic costs of the illegal puppy smuggling industry in the UK; and what assessment he has made of the potential economic merits of the proposals made in the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill in relation to tackling the puppy smuggling industry.

In August 2021, the Government launched an eight-week consultation on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain.

We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will publish a summary in due course. This will allow us to take on board the views of the public and interested groups in order to shape our future policy.

We will develop an economic impact assessment for these proposals once finalised.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has any plans to limit bottom trawling in marine protected waters.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a devolved competency and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The UK is at the forefront of marine protection with 372 protecting 38% of UK waters. Management measures now protect sensitive features from bottom towed fishing gears in 98 of English inshore MPAs. We are also developing an ambitious three-year programme for assessing sites and implementing appropriate byelaws to manage fishing activity in all English offshore MPAs.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will publish an impact assessment for offshore wind farms on British fishing fleets.

Marine licensing decisions and Marine Protected Area (MPA) designation and management are devolved matters. The information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Government is committed to a sustainable and thriving fishing sector, to delivering 40 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, and to ensuring healthy and productive seas. To help deliver on these commitments Defra is leading a cross-Government programme of work to consider Marine Spatial Prioritisation. The overarching goal of the programme is to optimise the use of our seas, balancing the needs of sea users and protection of the marine environment. As part of this, projects are underway to consider the cumulative impacts of marine developments on fisheries and to identify opportunities for co-location.

In order for developments to be consented their impacts on other sea users, including fishermen, have to be considered. The impacts on the fishing industry of MPAs are assessed when new sites are designated and when byelaws regulating those areas are developed. MPA can have benefits for fisheries and their sustainability. Increases in abundance and density of fish stocks arise from better protected, healthier environments. Studies show that uplifts in stock can spill over into adjacent areas that allow fishing, benefitting commercial and recreational sectors.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made of an assessment of the impact of (a) offshore wind farms, (b) underwater cabling and (c) marine protected waters on British fishing fleets.

Marine licensing decisions and Marine Protected Area (MPA) designation and management are devolved matters. The information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Government is committed to a sustainable and thriving fishing sector, to delivering 40 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, and to ensuring healthy and productive seas. To help deliver on these commitments Defra is leading a cross-Government programme of work to consider Marine Spatial Prioritisation. The overarching goal of the programme is to optimise the use of our seas, balancing the needs of sea users and protection of the marine environment. As part of this, projects are underway to consider the cumulative impacts of marine developments on fisheries and to identify opportunities for co-location.

In order for developments to be consented their impacts on other sea users, including fishermen, have to be considered. The impacts on the fishing industry of MPAs are assessed when new sites are designated and when byelaws regulating those areas are developed. MPA can have benefits for fisheries and their sustainability. Increases in abundance and density of fish stocks arise from better protected, healthier environments. Studies show that uplifts in stock can spill over into adjacent areas that allow fishing, benefitting commercial and recreational sectors.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
25th Jun 2020
Whether he plans to maintain food and drink standards after the transition period.

This Government is committed to upholding our high environmental, food safety and animal welfare standards as we leave the EU. The EU Withdrawal Act will transfer all existing food safety provisions, including existing import requirements, onto the UK statute book after the Transition Period. These requirements include a ban on using artificial growth hormones in domestic and imported products, and set out that no products, other than potable water, are approved to decontaminate poultry carcasses.

Our manifesto is clear that in all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.

We are already engaging with the agricultural sector as part of our trade discussions and we will continue to work closely with the National Farmers’ Union and other relevant stakeholders across the food chain to understand the concerns about the impact of new trade deals, as well as the opportunities. The Government has in place a range of stakeholder groups to feed into our policy development on trade. These include the Strategic Trade Advisory Group, the Agri-Food Expert Trade Advisory Group and various supply chain groups.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
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)
2nd Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department plans to bring forward legislative proposals on the importation of (a) cat, (b) dog and (c) seal fur after the UK leaves the EU.

There are EU regulations which ban the importation of cat and dog fur and seal products including fur. The Government will bring forward legislation in the next session that, when enacted, will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and ensure a functioning statute book on the day we leave the EU. This ‘Great Repeal Bill’ will end the authority of EU law and return power to the UK. The Bill will convert existing European Union law into domestic law, wherever practical.

7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the (a) humaneness and (b) effectiveness of badger culls since 2013.

The approach Defra takes to monitoring the effectiveness and humaneness of the badger control policy, including the Chief Veterinary Officer’s advice, can be found on GOV.UK.

7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 3 March 2016 to Question 29007, what recent estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of the badger culls in 2016.

Defra published an updated badger control policy value for money assessment on GOV.UK in August 2016, including estimated costs to government per licensed area.

2nd Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the conclusions of the report led by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology published in Nature Communications on 16 August 2016, entitled Impacts of neonicotinoid use on long-term population change in wild bees in England; and if she will make a statement.

We consider new studies on neonicotinoids, including the recent study led by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, carefully, drawing on advice from the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides as well as from government experts. The Government remains committed to ensuring that pesticides are not authorised if the scientific evidence shows they pose unacceptable risks to the environment.

13th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the conclusions of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's assessment of the neoniocotinoid imidacloprid, published on 6 January 2016.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has published a “Preliminary Pollinator Assessment to Support the Registration Review of Imidacloprid”. The Agency aims to produce the final assessment at the end of 2016. The preliminary assessment indicates a risk to honey bees from uses of imidacloprid on cotton and some uses on citrus. Risks from use on a number of other crops were low and a shortage of data meant that the risks from use on other crops were uncertain.


The US assessment cannot be read across to the UK situation as there are many differences in the crops, methods of applying the pesticide and environmental conditions.


The European Food Safety Authority has begun a scientific evaluation of the risk to bees from imidacloprid, as well as two other neonicotinoids (clothianidin and thiamethoxam). The UK will participate fully in that review.

23rd Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what discussions he has had with (a) the Engineering Employers Federation, (b) the Liberty House Group, (c) Tata Steel and (d) other steel manufacturers on the potential effect in the steel industry of the UK leaving the EU.

We need to ensure that all views are reflected in the British Government's analysis of the priorities and opportunities for the UK as it exits the European Union.

The Government has set up the Steel Council to work with all key stakeholders to explore actions industry and Government can take to further support the UK steel sector. The Department for Exiting the European Union's Officials and Ministers are working closely with other departments, including the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and others, to deliver the best outcomes for the UK.

DExEU Ministers are working closely with their colleagues across Government to ensure that we are all speaking to every sector, from small family businesses to multinational companies and trade bodies. Details of Ministerial meetings will be published in the Department’s Quarterly Transparency Returns, which will be made publicly available on GOV.UK.

22nd Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the future of the UK steel industry.

We will continue to ensure that all views are reflected in the British Government's analysis of the priorities and opportunities for the UK as it exits the European Union.

The Government has left no stone unturned in our work to support the steel sector. We will continue to engage with the sector, as well as with the devolved nations and other key stakeholders as we seek to secure long-term viable solutions for the industry. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry met with steel CEOs on 9 January.

The Department for Exiting the European Union's Officials and Ministers are working closely with other departments, including the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and others, to deliver the best outcomes for the UK.


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.

18th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department has had discussions with (a) the Yemen Executive Mine Action Centre and (b) other national de-mining institutions in Yemen on the provision of funding for clearing UK-produced cluster munitions; and if she will make a statement.

The Department for International Development (DFID) has not had discussions with any national de-mining institutions in Yemen. However, through the cross-government Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), the UK is supporting the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to work with both the Yemen Executive Mine Action Centre (YEMAC) and the National Mine Action Commission (NMAC) to clear mines and explosives in Yemen, including cluster munitions.

17th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will make it her Department's policy to provide direct funding to ensure the clearing of UK-produced cluster munitions.

DFID funds clearance of cluster munitions, landmines and other explosive remnants of war irrespective of their origin through its Global Mine Action Programme, through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, and through the DFID Afghanistan programme. The Global Mine Action Programme has delivered 2,086ha of land back to productive use, saving lives and supporting livelihoods.

17th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what proportion of direct aid for Yemen committed in the current financial year has been used to help with the clearing of UK-produced cluster munitions.

DFID is contributing £112 million to the crisis in Yemen this financial year, none of which is used to help with the clearing of cluster munitions. The majority of this funding is used to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance, such as food, clean water, medical supplies and emergency shelter.

Through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, the UK is contributing £700,000 for 2016/17 to support the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to clear mines and explosives in Yemen, including cluster munitions.

23rd Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how many people participated in the International Citizens Services from (a) Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency and (b) Scotland in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement.

The International Citizen Service (ICS) aims to be representative of young people in Britain, both in terms of diversity and reaching all regions of the country.

Table 1 shows how many participants there were from Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency. One additional volunteer has been selected to take part in 2017.

Table 1

Year

Number of participants

2012

0

2013

3

2014

2

2015

3

2016

3

Total

11

Table 2 provides a breakdown of participants from Scotland.

Table 2

Year

Number of participants

2012

24

2013

110

2014

201

2015

265

2016

224

Total

824

29th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department has programmes to facilitate access to the internet in Malawi.

DFID’s Digital Strategy aims to ensure that digital processes pervade all of DFID’s work, from communications to policy making and programmes. We want to ensure the poorest and most marginalised people in developing countries benefit from the added value digital can bring, including by giving citizens access to information and services quickly and affordably.

DFID does not currently directly support programmes to facilitate access to the internet in Malawi. DFID is currently developing programme plans for 2016-21 and is exploring how to support an increased uptake of Information and Communications Technology in Malawi. This will include consideration of whether and how DFID can support an increased uptake of internet-based services as well as an increase in awareness of the potential of internet and digital marketing tools for businesses.

20th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 6 January 2016 to Question 20675, how much of the £300 million provided to eradicate polio was spent in each of the last three years; and how much will be spent in each of the next four years.

The UK is a top three donor to polio eradication, with a £300 million commitment over six years from 2013/14 to 2018/19. Of this, £100 million was disbursed in the financial year of 2013/2014, £50 million in 2014/15, and £65 million in 2015/16. The UK will provide £39 million in 2016/17, £29 million in 2017/18 and £17 million in 2018/19.

UK support has been critical in bringing us one step closer to the finish line of a world free from polio, something people across the country can be immensely proud of.

27th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether any chapters have been concluded during negotiations for a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Two rounds of negotiations on a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have been held, covering all the objectives outlined in the UK’s Strategic Approach. The UK has exchanged draft chapter text with the GCC across most policy areas.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department is seeking further state-level trade and economic memorandums of understanding with US states; and if she will make a statement.

The Government sees huge potential to grow trade with US states by promoting UK business, tackling barriers, and attracting investment.

Building on Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) concluded last year with Indiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina, the Government is actively engaging with further states, including Oklahoma, Utah, Texas, and California.

Signature is just the start. Using MoUs to deliver results for business, the UK has already completed working groups with Indiana and North Carolina, which highlighted opportunities in government procurement and offshore wind respectively. The Government will hold expanded sessions with each state involving UK industry later this year.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
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 and Trade)
19th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether he discussed deaths related to the war on drugs in the Philippines at his meeting with the President of the Philippines on 4 April 2017.

I refer the hon Member to the answer I gave to the hon Member for Hornsey and Wood Green on 20/04/17 UIN 70775.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
13th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, which Government department has the lead responsibility for assessing each of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria.

Criterion

Lead Department

Criterion 1

FCO

Criterion 2

FCO

Criterion 3

FCO

Criterion 4

FCO

Criterion 5

MOD

Criterion 6

FCO

Criterion 7

MOD and FCO

Criterion 8

DfID

Further details are set out in Annex A of the United Kingdom Strategic Export Controls Annual Report 2015. Although this publication predates the creation of the Department for International Trade, the lead departments as set out above are unchanged. (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-annual-report-on-strategic-export-controls-2015).

3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the League Against Cruel Sports report entitled Hunt Havoc: The Human Cost of Hunting With Hounds, published in October 2022, whether he has made a recent assessment of that report's findings on hunts causing interference on roads; whether he has made a recent assessment on the potential impacts of hunts on road users; and whether he is taking steps he is taking to address the findings of that report.

The Department for Transport does not hold any data on hunts causing interference on the road network.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many delays of more than 30 minutes have been caused to trains by hunts and hounds trespassing on the railway since 1 January 2021; and what steps he is taking to prevent these incidents from occurring.

We do not hold this information.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many incidents of (a) hunts and hounds trespassing on the railway and (b) (i) hounds and (ii) other animals, being struck by a train whilst on a hunt have been recorded since 1 January 2021.

We do not hold this information.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to (a) reduce the cost of public electric vehicle charging, (b) increase cost transparency at public electric vehicle charging stations, (c) increase the reliability of public electric vehicle charging stations and (d) mandate local authorities to install public electric vehicle charging stations.

The UK is a global front-runner in supporting provision of charging infrastructure. Government has committed £1.3 billion to support the rollout of charging infrastructure. We are supporting rapid chargepoints along motorways and major roads and installing more chargepoints near homes and workplaces to make charging reliable and easy.

The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles provides grants for domestic, workplace and public chargepoints to reduce the up-front costs of purchasing and installing an electric vehicle chargepoint. To further support drivers reduce the cost of charging, in December 2021 we laid legislation to require all new private chargepoints to be able to smart charge. Smart charging during off-peak periods when demand for electricity is lower can help avoid triggering unnecessary network reinforcement work to the electricity grid. Furthermore, this technology helps utilise renewable energy and can benefit consumers with cheaper electricity.

To increase confidence in the charging network and reduce range anxiety the Government consulted in Spring 2021 on using our powers under the Automated Electric Vehicles Act (2018) to improve the consumer experience at public chargepoints. Proposals included opening public chargepoint data; improving the reliability of the network; streamlining the payment methods offered to drivers; and increasing pricing transparency.

Drivers in the UK should expect reliability from the public network. Having chargepoints out of action is inconvenient, frustrating and can be unsafe. We consider that minimum reliability standards are required to drive improvements and hold poor performing chargepoint operators to account. Following consultation, we have announced that we will mandate new standards to ensure reliable charging. We have also announced that we will be mandating a single payment metric so consumers can easily compare the costs across networks which will be in a recognisable format, similar to pence per litre for fuel.

We will publish our full consultation response soon and intend to lay legislation later this year.

Government’s forthcoming EV Infrastructure Strategy will define our vision for the continued roll-out of a world-leading charging infrastructure network across the UK. The strategy will clearly establish Government’s expectations for the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders in the planning and deployment of charging infrastructure.

Local authorities will have a key role in planning and enabling the delivery of chargepoints to meet the needs of their local communities and areas, with particular focus on supporting those who do not have access to off-street parking.

We are working closer than ever with local authorities to encourage uptake of central government funding for electric vehicle chargepoints and ensure more widespread regional and local action in this space. We will continue to work to help mainstream capability and leadership, leading to local action to support zero emission vehicle uptake across every part of the UK.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much his Department has allocated to supporting (a) public electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and (b) off-street EV charging infrastructure in each of the next three financial years starting March 2022.

The Government is investing over £1.3 billion in accelerating the roll-out of charging infrastructure over the next four years, targeting support on rapid chargepoints on motorways and major roads, and installing more on-street chargepoints near homes and workplaces to make charging reliable and easy. Our grant schemes and the £400m Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund will see thousands more electric vehicle charge-points installed across the UK.

Budgets to support public and off-street electric vehicle charging infrastructure in each of the next three financial years have not yet been finalised. The Government’s forthcoming EV Infrastructure Strategy will define our vision for the continued roll-out of a world-leading charging infrastructure network across the UK.

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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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.

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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department’s traffic light system for reopening international travel will include an island policy to reopen routes to relatively low risk regions of nations as was implemented in Summer 2020.

The Government will take an island approach for border measures where possible.

Changes to the traffic light country system will be reviewed and implemented every three weeks, unless concerning evidence means we need to act faster to protect public health.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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 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.

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.

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.

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
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
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.

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.

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.

29th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of devolving full rail powers to the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Ministers already have substantial devolved powers in relation to the railways in Scotland. These have recently been supplemented through the Government’s delivery of the recommendations of the cross-party Smith Commission in full. We have no plans to go beyond this.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 24 November 2015 to Question 16881, when the consultation on extending the deadline for new cars and motorbikes to have their first MOT test from three to four years will begin.

I anticipate this consultation will be published in the summer and will run for 12 weeks.

11th Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to lower the blood alcohol limit for drivers from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml.

The Government has no plans to lower the drink drive limit. We believe that rigorous enforcement and serious penalties for drink drivers are a more effective deterrent than changing the drink driving limit.

25th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Ministers in the Scottish Government on the transfer of air passenger duty to that government.

No such discussion have taken place. Decisions on taxation, including Air Passenger Duty, are of course a matter for HM Treasury.

18th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Financial Statement of 8 July 2015, Official Report, column 327, when the consultation on extending the deadline for new cars and motorbikes to have their first MOT test from three to four years will begin; who will be invited to respond to that consultation; and when that consultation will end.

The consultation‎ is expected to be published in early 2016 and is likely to run for 12 weeks. It will be a public consultation and anyone will be able to respond. It is likely that the consultation will be brought to the attention of a number of specific groups, including motoring organisations, MOT industry groups, commercial vehicle trade associations and road safety organisations.


15th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what mechanisms exist to allow vehicle owners to opt out of having their details sold to private sector organisations by the DVLA.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) takes the protection and security of its data very seriously. A comprehensive set of safeguards is in place to ensure data is disclosed only where it is lawful and fair to do so.

Individuals may write to the DVLA to request that their personal information is not disclosed if it would cause unwarranted and substantial damage or distress. The DVLA does not operate a blanket opt-out process but considers each such request taking into account the individual’s particular circumstances.

16th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in receipt of a UK pension live in countries without a reciprocal social security agreement with the UK by (a) the country they live in and (b) their gender.

This information is published on Stat-Xplore https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk and currently extends to November 2020.

The number of people in receipt of a UK State Pension living in countries without a reciprocal social security agreement with the UK is 298,294.

The breakdown by country and gender are shown in the tables below:

Country of State Pension receipt

Male

Female

Antigua

141

166

Albania

8

7

Algeria

13

5

Andorra

91

74

Anguilla

33

48

Antilles (Netherlands)

20

19

Argentina

128

132

Aruba

..

6

Ascension Island

7

..

Australia

100,047

122,289

Bahamas

116

139

Bahrain

79

48

Bangladesh

175

795

Belize

57

38

Bolivia

17

12

Botswana

89

55

Brazil

485

284

Brunei

16

8

Burkina Faso

..

..

Burma (Myanmar)

..

..

Cameroon

6

5

Cape Verde Islands

..

6

Cayman Islands

111

78

Chile

168

141

China People's Republic

249

74

Colombia

128

127

Cook Islands

9

..

Costa Rica

65

38

Dom Commonwealth (Dominica)

217

244

Dominican Republic

26

17

Country of State Pension receipt

Male

Female

Ecuador

54

33

Egypt

189

116

El Salvador

8

5

Equatorial Guinea

..

..

Ethiopia

22

7

Falkland Islands & Dep

47

26

Faroe Islands

5

7

Fiji

63

28

French Polynesia

..

..

Gambia

44

23

Ghana

451

388

Greenland

..

..

Grenada

402

500

Guatemala

7

5

Guyana

110

101

Honduras

6

8

Hong Kong

1,510

904

India

2,145

2,113

Indonesia

314

42

Iran

21

11

Iraq

5

..

Japan

4,644

2,158

Jordan

72

46

Kampuchea

40

..

Kenya

345

305

Kuwait

10

5

Laos

19

..

Lebanon

73

49

Lesotho

6

7

Macau

7

..

Country of State Pension receipt

Male

Female

Malagasy Republic

6

5

Malawi

39

31

Malaysia

1,072

1,159

Mexico

241

228

Monaco

246

143

Montserrat

29

40

Morocco

112

70

Mozambique

9

..

Namibia

49

42

Nepal

29

13

Nevis, St Kitts-Nevis

131

148

New Caledonia

8

10

Nicaragua

15

6

Nigeria

1,090

804

Norfolk Island

..

..

Oman

71

29

Pakistan

1,103

1,579

Panama

23

14

Papua New Guinea

8

5

Paraguay

14

8

Peru

66

64

Qatar

41

15

Republic of Azerbaijan

11

..

Republic of Belarus

13

12

Republic of Georgia

19

..

Republic of Kazakhstan

12

..

Republic of Kyrgyzstan

5

..

Republic of Moldova

5

..

Republic of Yemen

172

501

Russian Federation

95

41

San Marino

..

..

Saudi Arabia

75

20

Senegal

..

8

Seychelles

73

78

Sierra Leone

18

27

Singapore

514

359

Country of State Pension receipt

Male

Female

Solomon Islands

..

..

Somalia

9

13

South Africa

12,932

17,411

South Korea

288

91

Sri Lanka

557

572

St Helena & Deps

56

48

St Lucia

376

454

St Vincents & Grenadines

221

229

Sudan

5

..

Surinam

5

..

Swaziland

42

37

Syria

5

..

Tahiti

7

..

Taiwan

88

20

Tanzania

54

23

Thailand

4,777

586

Togo

..

..

Tonga

8

6

Trinidad & Tobago

456

843

Tunisia

62

53

Turks & Caicos Islands

17

6

Uganda

47

26

Ukraine

59

33

United Arab Emirates

431

180

United States Minor Outlying Islands

..

5

Uruguay

35

27

Vanuatu

24

13

Venezuela

24

16

Vietnam

105

14

Virgin Islands (British)

28

19

Western Samoa

..

..

Zambia

79

86

Zimbabwe

311

546

Please note:

1. The ".." denotes a nil or negligible number of claimants or award amount based on a nil or negligible number of claimants.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
3rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a dedicated work allowance for unpaid carers who are in receipt of Universal Credit and the carer element.

There are no plans to make an assessment. The carers element is an additional amount of benefit, payable in Universal Credit, to support carers who provide care of 35 hours or more each week for a severely disabled person, and as such have no work related requirements. This payment is made in recognition of the support provided by carers for relatives, partners and friends who may be ill, frail, or disabled.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
3rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of unpaid carers in receipt of (a) carer’s allowance and (b) the carer element of Universal Credit are of working age.

As of August 2022, around 945,000 working age unpaid carers were receiving Carer’s Allowance. Around 99% of those receiving Carer’s Allowance are of working age.

The information requested for Universal Credit is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
3rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the carer's allowance for supporting unpaid carers with their living costs.

This Government recognises and values the vital contribution made by carers in supporting some of the most vulnerable in society.

The primary purpose of Carer’s Allowance is to provide a measure of financial support and recognition for people who give up the opportunity of full-time employment in order to provide regular and substantial care for a severely disabled person.  It is not a “carer’s wage” or designed to fully replace the income from work that an unpaid carer may have foregone. The current rate of Carer’s Allowance is £69.70 per week. From April, the rate will increase to £76.75 per week. This means that, since 2010, it will have increased from £53.90 to £76.75 a week, providing around an additional £1200 a year for carers through Carer’s Allowance.

In addition to Carer’s Allowance, carers on low incomes can claim income-related benefits, such as Universal Credit and Pension Credit. These benefits can be paid to carers at a higher rate than those without caring responsibilities through the carer element and the additional amount for carers respectively. From April, the Universal Credit carer element will be £185.86 per monthly assessment period, and the additional amount for carers in Pension Credit will be £42.75 a week.

Around 489,000 (November 2022 data) carer households on Universal Credit can currently receive around an additional £2,000 a year through the carer element and this will increase to an additional £2,200 a year from April. The Government has chosen to focus extra support on those carers who need it most.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
3rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of unpaid carers in receipt of Universal Credit and the carer element also have earnings from paid employment.

The information requested for Universal Credit is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications made to the Access to Work Scheme had not been processed within the service delivery period in each month from January 2022 to date; and how many of those applications related to (a) claims for payment of existing awards, (b) new awards, (c) renewals, (d) changes of circumstance and (e) any other type of claim.

The information requested about Access to Work applications that have been received but not processed within the service delivery period in each month from January 2022 to date; and how many of those applications related to (a) claims for payment of existing awards, (b) new awards, (c) renewals, (d) changes of circumstance and (e) any other type of claim, is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he has held discussions with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs on the request made by the Government of Canada to discuss a reciprocal social security agreement with the UK.

I refer the honourable member to the answer given to PQ 45728 on 17 September 2022.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many requests for a reciprocal social security agreements his Department has received, including on pensions, broken down by country in each of the last 10 years.

I refer the honourable member to the answer given to PQ 129841 on 7 March 2022.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many pensioners living outside of the UK had their pensions stopped in the last six months owing to postal issues and life certificate forms broken down by current country of residence.

DWP does not maintain data regarding the temporary suspension of International State Pensions owing to postal issues, as this is not something the Department is able to determine.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he has made a recent assessment of the impact of the cost of living and inflation on British pensioners living overseas in countries without a reciprocal uprating agreement with the UK.

DWP does not make such assessments. The UK State Pension is payable worldwide to those who meet the qualifying conditions. Entitlement is based on an individual’s national insurance record. The policy on up-rating UK State Pensions overseas is long-standing and has been supported by successive post-war Governments for over 70 years. We continue to up-rate UK State Pensions abroad where there is a legal requirement to do so – for example where there is a reciprocal agreement that provides for up-rating. There are no plans to change this policy.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department is taking steps to help support UK pensioners living in countries without a reciprocal pension uprating agreement with the UK.

The UK State Pension is payable worldwide to those who meet the qualifying conditions. Entitlement is based on an individual’s national insurance record. State Pensions are up-rated abroad where there is a legal requirement to do so – for example where there is a reciprocal agreement that provides for up-rating.

This Government continues to take the view that priority should be given to those living in the UK when drawing up expenditure plans for pensioner benefits. There is information available in leaflets and on GOV.UK on how to claim State Pension from overseas and on what the effect of going abroad will be on a person’s UK State Pension.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact on the Government's Global Britain agenda of the policy of not uprating pensions paid to UK pensioners living in commonwealth countries where there is no requirement to do so.

The policy on the up-rating of UK State Pensions overseas is longstanding and has been supported by successive Governments for over 70 years.

There are no plans to change the policy. The UK State Pension is payable worldwide, and we continue to up-rate it abroad where there is a legal requirement to do so; for example, where recipients are living in countries where there is a reciprocal agreement in place that provides for up-rating.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she will take steps to provide additional support for disabled people, in the context of increases in the cost of living.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave on 9 November 2022 to Question UIN 80920.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to reduce (a) delays and (b) waiting times for those in the Personal Independence Payment application process.

We are committed to ensuring people can access financial support through Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in a timely manner, taking into account the need to review all available evidence. Reducing customer journey times for PIP claimants is a priority for the department and we are working constantly to make improvements to our service.

We are seeing an improvement in average clearance times for new PIP claims and the latest statistics show that the end-to-end journey has steadily reduced from 26 weeks in August 2021 to 18 weeks at the end of July 2022. This is because we are:

  • using a blend of phone, video and face-to-face assessments to support customers and deliver a more efficient and user-centred service;
  • increasing case manager and assessment provider health professional resource;
  • prioritising new claims, whilst safeguarding claimants awaiting award reviews, who have returned their information as required, to ensure their payments continue until their review can be completed.
Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of (a) means-tested and (b) non-means-tested benefit payments for (i) blind and (ii) partially sighted people.

No assessment has been made of the adequacy of (a) means-tested and (b) non-means-tested benefit payments for (i) blind and (ii) partially sighted people.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government has plans to reinstate the cross-departmental Child Poverty Unit.

A key function of the previous Child Poverty Unit was to support the delivery of the child poverty targets that we abolished in 2016, which we have no plans to reintroduce. We believe that an approach to tackling child poverty focused primarily on meeting income-based targets can drive action that focuses primarily on moving the incomes for those ‘just in poverty’ just above a ‘poverty line’ whilst doing nothing to help those on the very lowest incomes or to improve children’s future prospects.

Ministers and officials engage extensively across Government to ensure a coordinated approach to tackling poverty and we will we continue to do so in the future.

The latest statistics show that in 2020/21 there were 200,000 fewer children in absolute poverty before housing costs than in 2009/10.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment the Government has made of the potential effect of increasing benefits in line with living costs on levels of child poverty.

No assessment has been made.

The Secretary of State undertakes an annual review of benefits and pensions, and the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) in the year to September this approach has been in place since 1987 is the latest figure that the Secretary of State can use to allow sufficient time for the required legislative and operational changes before new rates can be introduced at the start of the new financial year.

CPI has been the default inflation measure for the government’s statutory annual review of benefits since 2011.

CPI has a basket of goods and services that is relevant to pensioners and benefit recipients, is the target level of inflation used by the Bank of England and is an internationally recognised measure.

National Statistics on the number of children in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. Latest statistics, covering up until 2020/21, on the number of children in low income in the UK can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1064433/hbai-summary-results.ods

The latest statistics show that in the UK in 2020/21 there were 200 thousand fewer children in absolute poverty, before housing costs, than in 2009/10.

This Government is committed to reducing child poverty and supporting all low-income families, and believes work is the best route out of poverty. With around 1.32 million vacancies across the UK our focus is firmly on supporting people into and to progress. Our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which has been expanded by £500 million, and Way to Work is a concerted drive across the UK to help half a million currently out of work people into jobs by the end of June 2022.

We are giving the lowest earners a pay rise by increasing the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 from April 2022, and making permanent changes to Universal Credit, worth £1000 a year on average, to two million in-work claimants.

We recognise that some people require additional support and from April, the government is providing an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials, on top of what we have already provided since October 2021, bringing the total funding for this support to £1 billion.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
What estimate she has made of the number of jobs created by the Kickstart scheme in Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency.

I refer the honourable member to the answer given for PQ 58900.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to monitor the impact of its policy on indexing state pensions overseas only for British pensioners in countries with reciprocal uprating agreements.

No assessment has been made. The decision to move abroad is voluntary and remains a personal choice dependent on the circumstances of the individual. This longstanding policy has been in place under successive governments for over 70 years.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the findings of the survey published by the End Frozen Pensions campaign on 2 November 2021 that 28 per cent of British pensioners with frozen overseas pensions are unable to access medication as a result of financial hardship.

No assessment has been made. The decision to move abroad is voluntary and remains a personal choice dependent on the circumstances of the individual. This longstanding policy has been in place under successive governments for over 70 years.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
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 Transport)
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.

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.

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 Transport)
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 Transport)
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)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many staff of her Department have formal arrangements to work from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

Working from home data is not recorded on our HR systems. However, the number of staff logging into the Department’s computer system via a secure remote connection shows that approximately 20% of staff were working from home.

We have now provided an additional 6656 computers to enable working from home; we will deploy a further 6,000 in the next fortnight.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many new applications have been lodged with the Child Maintenance Service in each of the last five years.

Information on the number of new 2012 applications that have been lodged with the Child Maintenance Service are published on Table 1 of the Child Maintenance Service Experimental Statistics, which contains data up until November 2016.The Publication can be accessed online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/2012-statutory-child-maintenance-scheme-aug-2013-to-nov-2016-experimental

13th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether it is his Department's policy to assign one caseworker to each individual case at the (a) Child Maintenance Service and (b) Child Support Agency.

Both CMS and CSA cases are assigned to an individual caseworker in the relevant case owning department within the business as and when action is required on the case. Over time cases move throughout the department depending on what action is required. When a case moves it is then allocated to a caseworker in the relevant part of the business to action accordingly.

13th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints have been referred to a senior resolution manager for cases at the Child Maintenance Service as a result of an hon. Member acting on behalf of a constituent in each of the last five years.

Statistics on the number of complaints received under the Child Maintenance Service are published in the Child Maintenance Service 2012 Scheme - Experimental Statistics.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/2012-statutory-child-maintenance-scheme-aug-2013-to-aug-2016-experimental

The data is collected clerically and breakdowns based on personal circumstances of the complainant, such as whether the case was referred to a senior resolution manager for cases at the Child Maintenance Service as a result of an hon. Member acting on behalf of a constituent, is not routinely recorded and could only be provided at a disproportionate cost.

30th Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many of his Department's staff at the Child Maintenance Service in the Northern Business Unit, Falkirk have been employed to take enquiries from hon. Members on behalf of constituents in each of that last five years.

The table below shows the average number of caseworkers employed by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) over the past 5 years who work in the Falkirk Complaints Team.

This team carry out a range of duties including policy queries, application fee refunds, and consolatory payments as well as handling enquiries from Members of Parliament. The team are responsible for handling any such activities relating to cases in Scotland, North East and North West England.

2012/2013

2013/2014

2014/2015

2015/2016

2016/2017

Falkirk Complaints Resolution

-

5

10

13

10

Note:

- Data unavailable for 2012/2013 as the team was not set up until July 2013

30th Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many members of staff have been employed by his Department (a) in total and (b) as caseworkers at the Child Maintenance Service in each of the last five years.

The table below shows how many members of staff have been employed in total by the Department for Work and Pensions and how many of these are Caseworkers for the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) over the past five years.

2012/2013

2013/2014

2014/2015

2015/2016

2016/2017

DWP

106,551

97,394

91,464

86,347

85,301

CMS Caseworkers

52

1,487

2,620

3,289

3,458*

Notes:

- Figures show March resource level for each respective year

- *2016/2017 CMS figure shows position as of end February 2017 as March data is currently unavailable

- These figures include caseworkers at AO, EO and HEO grade. For the purposes of this answer all managers / team leaders have been excluded although these colleagues on occasion may complete work on a case

22nd Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2017 to Question 58932, on what date his Department will (a) conclude and (b) publish its equality analysis for the proposed jobcentre closures.

Throughout the development of these proposals, the Department has been mindful of its duties under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. Consideration of the potential impact on staff and customers has been informed by statistical analysis of population data, local knowledge and consultation.

As we obtain further local, site-specific information we will ensure any issues identified are also taken fully into consideration when the final decisions are made. We intend to complete this work within the next 12 weeks; equality analysis is not generally published separately but it will be used to inform final decisions.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
30th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment has been made of the effect on the local economy of the proposal to relocate jobs from Cambuslang Jobcentre to Rutherglen Jobcentre.

We have carefully considered the wider impacts on local communities when developing our proposals for Cambuslang and Rutherglen jobcentres. The economic impact of employment is dispersed beyond the specific location of a workplace and the staff currently based at Cambuslang jobcentre already live in the broader area around the site. While we expect all these staff to move to Rutherglen jobcentre, it is unlikely that a significant proportion of them will also move their place of residence.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
30th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, by what criteria Cambuslang Jobcentre has been selected for closure.

The Department has sought to merge together multiple sites in close proximity. Merging the staff and services from Cambuslang into Rutherglen Jobcentre maximises use of space and offers good value for money.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
30th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether any compulsory redundancies will result from the closure of Cambuslang Jobcentre.

The Department for Work and Pensions is now consulting with colleagues at Cambuslang Jobcentre. We are seeking to relocate, or offer alternative roles, to all employees affected by the proposed closure and we anticipate that we will be able to redeploy everyone to Rutherglen Jobcentre.

It is important to stress that this is a proposed closure: we will make a final decision informed by the consultation process with our colleagues. We are not therefore in a position to comment on the potential for redundancy.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
30th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants are currently served by (a) Cambuslang and (b) Rutherglen Jobcentres; and how many such claimants are (i) disabled and (ii) women.

The claimant count for Cambuslang is 410 of which 130 are female. The claimant count for Rutherglen is 465 of which 135 are female. This information is available from the following link: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5.

Guidance for users is available at:

https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/home/newuser.asp

These are UC and JSA claimants served by Cambuslang and Rutherglen Jobcentres. We are unable to identify disabled claimants, or provide exact figures of ESA and IS claimants, however the purpose of the equality analysis is to help establish how many people are likely to be affected by the proposal.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
30th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the expected costs are of the proposal to relocate staff and resources from Cambuslang Jobcentre.

We are not yet in a position to share an estimated figure due to commercial confidentiality pending completion of legal processes and staff consultations. We expect to make savings for the tax payer from merging offices by reducing running costs and making best use of office space available.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
30th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people using Cambuslang Jobcentre have been informed in writing of the closure of that jobcentre.

It is important to remember that the announcements made in relation to the Written Statement of 26 January 2017 are proposals at this stage and not final decisions. Once a final decision is made, claimants will be informed at an appropriate time prior to any office move.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
30th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when an equality impact assessment will be published on the proposal to close Cambuslang Jobcentre.

We will be undertaking an equality analysis as part of the detailed planning for service reconfiguration. This will include feedback from public consultation in those locations where this applies.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
26th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in (a) Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK received support through the Access to Work scheme in each of the last five years.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
26th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have been sanctioned for not attending a jobseeker's allowance appointment within five minutes of the appointed time in Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency in each of the last five years.

This information is not available

Information on Jobseeker’s Allowance sanction decisions by referral reason and constituency is available here: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

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

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
26th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency have had their benefit payments reduced after transferring from disability living allowance to personal independence payment in each year for which figures are available.

The statistics on the outcomes of Disability Living Allowance claimants who have been invited to and claimed Personal Independence Payment (PIP), including those who have seen a reduced award value, are in the table below:

Table 1 – Award outcomes following reassessment for PIP in Rutherglen and Hamilton West

Award amount increased

Award amount the same

Award amount decreased

Jan-Dec 2014

-

-

-

Jan-Dec 2015

200

-

100

Jan-Oct 2016

300

100

200

Notes:

  • ‘-’ indicates fewer than 50 cases in the category.
  • Data has been rounded to the nearest 100.
  • Data taken from the PIP computer system’s management information.
Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
26th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department has met (a) Citizens Advice Scotland and (b) Money Matters to discuss the current review of his Department's estate.

Over the past few months, we have been negotiating new leases with our landlords and partners. This has been a very complex commercial process and has limited our ability for detailed discussions with local customer representative groups on specific site proposals.

We have committed to a public consultation for offices over three miles and 20 minutes away by public transport and would encourage customer representative groups to submit their views on these proposals via the online consultation.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
26th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Written Statement of 26 January 2017, HCWS439, on welfare delivery, on what date further details will be released on the acquisition of a new back-of-house site in Glasgow.

It is important to remember that the announcements made in relation to the Written Statement of 26 January 2017 are just proposals at this stage and not final decisions. As such, no specific dates in relation to the proposals have yet been agreed.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
26th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Written Statement of 26 January 2017, HCWS439, on welfare delivery, how many (a) existing and (b) new employees of his Department will be based at the newly acquired back-of-house site in Glasgow.

It is important to remember that the announcements made in relation to the Written Statement of 26 January 2017 are just proposals at this stage and not final decisions.

Until discussions with staff have been undertaken, we cannot provide details of how many new and existing people would make up that number.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
26th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Written Statement of 26 January 2017, HCWS439, on welfare delivery, which of the jobcentres due to be closed or co-located elsewhere will be subject to public consultation.

We have committed to a public consultation for offices over three miles and 20 minutes away by public transport. There are 25 consultations covering 27 sites planned. Consultation started on 30 January 2017 and ends at 5pm on 28 February 2017.

The full list of sites we have announced has been published and is available from: http://qna.files.parliament.uk/ws-attachments/678953/original/DWP%20Estates%20Proposals.pdf

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
26th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Written Statement of 26 January 2017, HCWS439, on welfare delivery, whether each of his Department's sites due to be closed or co-located elsewhere have been consulted on those proposals.

We have committed to a public consultation for offices over three miles and 20 minutes away by public transport. Consultation started on 30 January 2017 and ends at 5pm on 28 February 2017. We will also be undertaking internal consultations with staff in those sites affected.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
26th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average time is between a claimant requesting by telephone that a benefit claim form be sent to them by post and their receiving that form.

The vast majority of our benefit claims are now made on line or by telephone. The total ESA claims we receive on a clerical ESA 1 is usually around 5% and for JSA claims clerical cases are issued in less than 1% of cases as a general rule. In all cases when a clerical form is required it is dispatched on the same day if the request is received before 12.30pm. Later requests are dispatched the following working day.

The majority of DLA & IIDB claims are issued by post and are actioned within a 24 hour period of the request. IIDB Claim forms are also held by 3rd party groups such as CAB, Asbestos Support Groups and Solicitors. Customers can also download both IIDB & DLA forms from the Intranet.

The majority of PIP claims are expected to made by telephone unless the claimant is unable to or finds it very difficult to use the phone. In these cases a clerical PIP part 1 would be issued and once the claim is completed and submitted, the PIP part 2 form is system issued overnight.

Income Support New Claims are normally made by telephone, in extraordinary circumstances a contingency process can be invoked to ensure that customer demand is met. Since January 2017 the contingency approach has accounted for 10 % of the total number of new claims made during this period. When this process is used, a claim pack is sent to the customer on the same day as the customer requests it.

All claim forms, with the exception of the PIP part 2 and Income Support claim forms which are issued by 1st class post, are issued by 2nd class post. The Royal Mail delivery standards for 1st class are 93% next day from their receipt by Royal Mail and for second class are 98.5% within 2 days.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
26th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Written Statement of 26 January 2017, HCWS439, on welfare delivery, how many of the 2,500 work coaches who are expected to be in post by March 2018 will be located in (a) Scotland, (b) England and (c) Wales.

There are currently around 11,000 work coaches across DWP in Wales, Scotland and England. By the end of March 2018 we plan to have around 2,500 more Work Coaches in Jobcentres in every nation and region of Great Britain. However, the final allocation of work coaches will be based on claimant activity and determined by need.

The face to face support our work coaches offer at Jobcentres will continue to be a core part of the service we deliver.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
26th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many blank (a) employment support allowance claim forms and (b) income support claim forms have been issued in the last year from Jobcentres in (i) Scotland, (ii) England and (iii) Wales.

It should not be necessary for a claimant to visit a Jobcentre to obtain any claim form for Income Support or Employment and Support Allowance.

The preferred method for making a claim for either benefit is by telephone, where the claimant can also request an alternative format. However, there may be individual instances where printing claim forms in the Jobcentre will be helpful and appropriate. Information is not recorded on the number of occasions this has happened.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
26th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Written Statement of 26 January 2017, HCWS439, on welfare delivery, what percentage of claims made online for (a) jobseeker's allowance and (b) universal credit are made using computer equipment at a jobcentre.

Internet devices in Jobcentre Plus offices provide a safe and secure environment for claimants to search for work and access a variety of DWPs services, including making a claim to UC and JSA.

Privacy of claimant’s information is our highest priority and Jobcentre Plus staff do not record specific data on use of Internet access devices at a local level.

This information is not centrally captured as an information requirement within the department.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
25th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many additional work coaches will be employed in (a) Rutherglen Jobcentre and (b) total across Glasgow's jobcentres as a result of the planned jobcentre closures there.

Detailed site level information on anticipated work coach levels is not yet available, but we are recruiting and expect to have more work coaches in 2018 than we have today.

The face to face support our work coaches offer at Jobcentres will continue to be a core part of the service we deliver.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
24th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether any Minister of his Department has visited Cambuslang Jobcentre Plus in Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency in the last 30 years.

This information is not available; to obtain the visits made in the last 30 years could only be provided at disproportionate costs.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
12th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when he expects the hon. Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West to receive a reply to her freedom of information request of 8 November 2016; and what the reason is for the time taken in responding to that request.

A reply to the hon. Member’s freedom of information request was issued on 16 January 2017.

13th Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 12 December 2016 to Question 56414, if he will establish a programme to make regular contact with a group of people who are subject to a benefit sanction in order to discern whether they have used food banks at any time over the duration of the sanction for the purposes of collecting data and determining whether there is a link between benefit sanctions and food bank usage.

I refer the hon. Lady to my previous Answer of 12 December 2016 to Question 56414.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
13th Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister for Employment of 22 June 2015, Official Report, column 608, whether it is his Department's position that there is no robust evidence that directly links sanctions and food bank use.

It continues to be widely acknowledged that food bank use cannot be attributed to a single cause and the reasons that people use foodbanks are complex and overlapping.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
9th Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have used the services of jobcentre offices in each of the last five years in (a) Aberdeen, (b) Dundee, (c) Edinburgh, (d) Glasgow, (e) Inverness, (f) Perth, (g) Stirling, (h) Cardiff, (i) London, (j) Scotland, (k) England, (l) Wales and (m) the UK.

The Department for Work and Pensions does not measure the number of people visiting its network of Jobcentres.

Statistics on the claimant count, which shows the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit claimants by geography, can be found at:

https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/default.asp

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/home/newuser.asp

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
6th Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 6 December 2016 to Question 55470, if he will (a) make it his Department's policy to make regular contact with people who are subject to a benefit sanction in order to discern whether they have used food banks at any time over the duration of the sanction, (b) make it his Department's policy to offer assistance with an application for a hardship payment to individuals who are identified as food bank users and (c) regularly publish data related to the use of food banks by people subject to benefit sanctions.

As part of providing on-going employment-related support, work coaches maintain contact with claimants who have been sanctioned. They also offer information about how to challenge a sanction decision and about the availability and application process for hardship payments. Usage of any other form of assistance is not needed to assess a person’s ongoing entitlement to benefit and so we do not need to collect this information.

Claimants are provided with information about hardship payments at the point at which a referral is made to a decision maker and also following the application of a sanction. This includes assistance, if required, with applying for a hardship payment. This support is provided to all claimants, regardless of whether individual’s volunteer information on assistance received from another source. A person does not need to disclose whether they have used any particular source of assistance, in order to qualify for hardship payments.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
29th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 29 November 2016 to Question 54545, if he will make it his Department's policy to collect data on the number of people subject to a benefit sanction who have used food banks at any time over the duration of that sanction.

The department does not have access to these data.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
24th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) parents with care and (b) non-resident parents there are in Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency with a Child Support Agency case.

As of June 2016 there were 1,930 parents with care and 2,150 non-resident parents with a Child Support Agency case in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency.

  1. Figures rounded to the nearest 10.
  2. Cases have been allocated to a parliamentary constituency by matching the residential postcode of the parent with care or non-resident parent for all cases administered on the CS2 and CSCS computer systems and cases managed off system to the Office for National Statistics Postcode Directory.
24th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the total amount of child maintenance arrears is in (a) Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency and (b) Scotland.

Child Support Agency

a) As at June 2016 the total value of arrears on cases in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency stood at £5.30m.

b) As at June 2016 the total value of arrears on cases in Scotland stood at £280.11m.

Child Maintenance Service

Information on geographical breakdowns on the Child Maintenance Service is not routinely recorded for management information purposes and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Notes:

1) Numbers are rounded to the nearest 10,000.

2) Cases have been allocated to a parliamentary constituency by matching the residential postcode of the parent with care or non-resident parent for all cases administered on the CS2 and CSCS computer systems and cases managed off system to the Office for National Statistics Postcode Directory.

24th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will take steps to make an estimate of the number of customers of his Department in Scotland who are using the services of food banks.

The Department does not hold information on the number of customers using the services of food banks and is therefore unable to provide an estimate.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
24th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Child Support Agency (a) arrears-only and (b) arrears cases involving a current liability for a child there are in Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency.

As of June 2016 there were 1,340 arrears only cases and 430 arrears cases involving current liability in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency held by the Child Support Agency.

Notes:

1) Numbers are rounded to the nearest 10.

2) Cases have been allocated to a parliamentary constituency by matching the residential postcode of the parent with care or non-resident parent for all cases administered on the CS2 and CSCS computer systems and cases managed off system to the Office for National Statistics Postcode Directory.

3) A case is classed as having a ‘Current Liability’ if it is open, has children of a qualifying age and has a positive liability (i.e. assessment to pay maintenance). This includes cases due to pay via Maintenance Direct.

23rd Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an estimate of the number of people in Scotland subject to a benefit sanction who have used food banks in the last 12 months.

The Department does not hold this information.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an estimate of the number of people who have been signposted or referred to a food bank by each Jobcentre Plus office in Scotland in the last 12 months.

The information requested is not available.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the potential implications for his Department's policies of the statistics on emergency food aid released by the Trussell Trust on 8 November 2016.

It is widely acknowledged that the reasons people use food banks are complex and overlapping. It is misleading to link them to any one cause. The vast majority of benefits are paid on time and we have made huge improvements to the service we provide.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the oral contribution by the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work of 21 November 2016, Official Report, column 604, if his Department will issue guidance to personal independence payment assessment providers on how claimant satisfaction reviews should be conducted; and if he will make a statement.

It is a contractual requirement for providers to undertake claimant satisfaction reviews. Claimant satisfaction reviews are undertaken by a third party on behalf of Capita and Atos, and only after the case has been returned to the department. Reviews would normally be conducted by telephone, but in the event the customer is unable to be contacted by telephone a survey is issued via the post for completion.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
8th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his Department's policies of the findings and recommendations of the report of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, published on 6 October 2016, entitled Inquiry concerning the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland carried out by the Committee under article 6 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

My Department has already reflected on the UN Committee’s findings and recommendations as set out in the UK Government response, which was published at the same time as the report.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
8th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 November 2016 to Question 51046, how many complaints have been accepted for investigation by the Independent Case Examiner's Office but not yet allocated to an investigation case manager.

Once a complaint has been accepted for investigation, the ICE Office will consider whether a solution to the complaint can be brokered with the relevant department or its supplier without having to request evidence from the relevant department or supplier, and the complainant – know as “resolution”. If it is not possible resolve the complaint, the evidence will be requested and the case will await allocation to an Investigation Case Manager.

Complaints are brought into investigation in strict date order, based on the date the complaint was accepted for examination. The number of cases awaiting allocation to an Investigation Case Manager changes from day to day, on 10th November 2016 there were 818 complaints awaiting allocation. The ICE Office will settle some of these to the satisfaction of the complainant without needing to allocate them to an Investigation Case Manager.

3rd Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his Department's policies of the conclusions of sociology working paper 2016-03, published by the University of Oxford on 27 October 2016, on the impact of benefit sanctioning on food insecurity: a dynamic cross-area study of food bank usage in the UK; and if he will make a statement.

The Work and Pensions Select Committee, in their report published in 2015, recognise that “[sanctions are] a key element of the mutual obligation that underpins the effectiveness and fairness of the social security system”.

The report the honourable member cites does not provide evidence of a causal link between sanctions rates and the use of food banks.

We know the most effective route out of poverty is work. That is why we are determined to help people find employment through a wide range of support targeted to each individual’s personal circumstances. Sanctions are only used in a small percentage of cases and in the year to March 2016 the number of JSA sanctions issued dropped by 56%.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
31st Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 28 October 2016 to Question 50222, how many members of the public in (a) Scotland and (b) the rest of the UK have contacted his Department on the implementation of the Pensions Act 1995, the Pension Act 2011 and the campaign to equalise state pensions for women in 2016; and what proportion of those people have received a response from his Department.

The information requested is not collated centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

31st Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average waiting time is between a complaint being lodged with the Independent Case Examiner and being allocated to an Investigation Case Manager.

Once a complaint has been accepted for investigation, the ICE Office will consider whether a solution to the complaint can be brokered with the relevant department or its supplier without having to request evidence from the relevant department or supplier, and the complainant – known as “resolution”. If it is not possible resolve the complaint, the evidence will be requested and the case will await allocation to an Investigation Case Manager.

The Independent Case Examiner’s Office allocates complaints to Investigation Case Managers in strict date order, based on the date the complaint was accepted for investigation. The ICE Office is currently allocating complaints that were accepted for investigation in January 2016.

12th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 September 2015 to Question 9645, for what reasons median end to end times for processing personal independence payments did not change between April 2015 and July 2015; and if he will make a statement.

The current processing times represent a stable position for both DWP and our Assessment Providers and reflect the significant progress made to improve the claims process by both parties over the preceding months. We continue to look at all of our processes and activities to identify any further areas for improvement, or to drive out even greater efficiency.

8th Sep 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress has been made on addressing the backlog in applications for personal independence payments; and for what median end-to-end time applicants are currently waiting.

We have implemented a wide range of initiatives across the whole Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim journey to speed up processes and are continuing to identify further opportunities for improvement. Figures released on 17 June reflect the significant progress made over the past year and show claims for PIP are now being cleared at four times the rate they were in January 2014. These figures can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/personal-independence-payment-april-2013-to-april-2015

The latest statistics show that as at April 2015 a new claimant was waiting on average (median) 11 weeks from the point of registration to a decision being made on their claim (end to end), compared to 41 weeks in July 2014. DLA reassessment claims were taking on average (median) 10 weeks in April 2015.

Updated statistics on PIP registrations, clearances, clearance times and outstanding times (up to July 2015 data) are due to be published and can be found from 16th September at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/personal-independence-payment-statistics

8th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will discuss levels of food bank use in Scotland with the Secretary of State for Scotland in order to assess the potential relationship between reductions in welfare provision and food bank usage.

The Secretary of State regularly meets with Ministerial colleagues to discuss a range of issues.

3rd Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many benefit recipients have been sanctioned in Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency in the last 12 months.

The information requested, broken down by geography and reason, is published at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://sw.stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started---SuperWEB2.html

26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of clinical endoscopists working in the NHS.

To support the workforce as a whole we have commissioned NHS England to develop a Long Term Workforce Plan, which will include independently verified forecasts for the number of healthcare professionals required in future years. The Plan is for the whole of the National Health Service workforce. It will not provide detailed workforce assessments for individual services or for every staff group.

28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Major Conditions and Disease Strategy will help ensure that the availability of essential inhalers for certain respiratory health diseases.

Work on the Major Conditions Strategy is ongoing and we are committed to ensuring that the Strategy’s approach is rooted in the best understanding of the evidence to tackle the major conditions which contribute to the burden of disease in England, including respiratory conditions. This includes seeking the views of and working closely with stakeholders, citizens and the National Health Service.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is taking steps to ensure that (a) asthma, (b) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and (c) other respiratory health diseases are priorities of the forthcoming Major Conditions and Disease Strategy.

Work on the Major Conditions Strategy is ongoing and we are committed to ensuring that the Strategy’s approach is rooted in the best understanding of the evidence to tackle the major conditions which contribute to the burden of disease in England, including respiratory conditions. This includes seeking the views of and working closely with stakeholders, citizens and the National Health Service.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps (a) his Department and (b) NHS England have taken to tackle increases in respiratory health conditions in the context of recent changes to GP contracts.

General Practices (GPs) are required to provide services, termed ‘essential services’, to meet the reasonable needs of their registered and temporary patients. This includes providing consultations, referrals and ongoing treatment and care as necessary and appropriate.

Some GP practices may opt into providing additional services over and above this. The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) is a voluntary reward and incentive scheme to help improve the quality of care across GPs. This incentivises practices to undertake specific activities in order to improve prevention and long-term condition management, including tackling respiratory health conditions. In the 2023/24 GP contract, nine QOF indicators (16%) will target tackling respiratory health conditions.

Vaccination against COVID-19 and flu can also support a reduction in cases of respiratory virus during the winter, both amongst the general public and the healthcare workforce. Over 17.4 million doses of an autumn COVID-19 booster were delivered in England over winter 2022/23 and as of 28 February, more than 21.1 million people in England have had their flu jabs.

The vaccine programmes provide necessary protection to those at higher risk of severe illness and are keeping more people out of hospital. The Government encourages all of those who are eligible for vaccinations to come forward.

The Department continues to work with tripartite partners to deliver improvements to vaccinations, including acquiring data to allow for timely and targeted action, and to identify and provide advice on reducing disparities in vaccination coverage.

The tripartite is committed to improving childhood and adult immunisation programmes, driving maximum uptake, and working hard towards re-gaining the United Kingdom’s measles elimination status, and sustaining our rubella and polio status.

27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to expand opt out testing for blood borne viruses in emergency departments in high prevalence areas.

We are considering all the evidence from the first year of opt-out HIV and blood borne testing in emergency departments, alongside the data on progress towards our ambitions to end new HIV transmissions and AIDS- and HIV-related deaths within England by 2030, when examining the feasibility for further expansion of this programme.

We will be sharing evidence as it emerges to support other areas of the country to make the case for implementing the same approach locally.

27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the key emerging data is from the emergency department opt out testing for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C; and how that data will inform the future development of the scheme.

In the first 100 days of opt out testing over 250,000 HIV tests and over 100,000 hepatitis C virus antibody tests were delivered from April to July 2022. This testing resulted in identification of more than 500 people with a previously unknown (unrecognised or undiagnosed) blood borne virus. The full report can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/long-read/emergency-department-opt-out-testing-for-hiv-hepatitis-b-and-hepatitis-c-the-first-100-days/

NHS England and the UK Health Security Agency will publish reports evaluating the impact of the first year of opt-out HIV and blood borne virus testing in 2023. We will consider all the evidence from the first year of opt-out testing alongside the data on progress towards our ambitions to end new HIV transmissions and AIDS- and HIV-related deaths within England by 2030 when examining the feasibility for further expansion of this programme.

We will be sharing evidence as it emerges to support other areas to make the case locally for implementing the same approach in other areas of the country.

18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help tackle rising liver disease deaths in deprived coastal areas.

We are taking steps to identify those who are drinking at a level that places them at risk of alcohol-related liver disease, to increase the earlier detection of liver disease in those at risk. During NHS Health Checks information on alcohol consumption and body mass index is used to support people to make healthier choices which can help to prevent liver disease.

Additional treatment and recovery funding, made available through the new drug strategy, can be used to increase capacity for screening for liver fibrosis in treatment settings and to establish effective referral pathways with hepatology. This includes a number of deprived coastal areas that were allocated the extra funding in the first phase of a three-year investment programme as areas of highest need.

In the National Health Service the earlier detection of alcohol-related liver disease in secondary care settings is currently being incentivised through a Commissioning for Quality and Innovation indicator applicable to acute and mental health trusts across England. In addition, the National Cancer Programme is working to detect more hepatocellular carcinomas at an early stage as part of the NHS Long Term Plan ambition to diagnose 75% cancers at an early stage by 2028.

18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in the debate on Liver Disease and Liver Cancer: Diagnosis on 11 October 2022, Official Report, column 71WH, what his planned timetable is for concluding the review of adult liver services.

During the debate on Liver Disease and Liver Cancer: Diagnosis held on 11 October 2022, an error was made on the NHS England Review of Adult Liver Services, in which it was said that such a review “is taking place in 2022-23, and there should be a report after that”.

NHS England have since confirmed that there is currently no review of adult Liver Services being undertaken by NHS England.

NHS England Clinical Reference Group has only recently concluded and discussions about future work programmes are currently in progress.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of liver cancer patients were diagnosed at stages 3 and 4 in each of the last three years for which figures are available.

This data is not held centrally in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase the use of fibrosis assessments in primary and community care to help improve the identification of high-risk groups for liver cancer surveillance.

Community Liver Health Checks are being funded across 12 areas to identify patients with cirrhosis and advanced fibrosis, both of which are risk factors for hepatocellular carcinomas. These pilots will ensure that more people at high risk of HCC are referred onto, and continue to engage with, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended 6-monthly liver surveillance by ultrasound. Many of the patients identified by this route will also receive lifestyle advice and support which aims to reduce future cancer incidence. From June to November 2022, over 4,000 fibroscans have been delivered through the pilots, from which 494 people have been found to have cirrhosis or advanced fibrosis.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential geographic variation in access to innovative liver cancer treatments such as selective internal radiation therapy.

There are 10 National Health Service trusts currently commissioned to provide selective internal radiation therapy for metastatic colorectal cancer. Following the publication of ‘Selective internal radiation therapies for treating hepatocellular carcinoma’ by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, seven of the 10 trusts confirmed an interest in also treating hepatocellular carcinoma. We expect the number of trusts to increase to approximately 15, following completion of a market engagement and prior information notice process.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on access to multidisciplinary Parkinson's care in the UK.

There have been no specific discussions.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish the 10 Year Cancer Plan for England.

Following the call for evidence for a 10-year cancer plan, we more than 5,000 submissions. We are currently reviewing these responses.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking with the devolved Administrations to improve eye health care across the UK.

The provision of eye care services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a devolved matter. In England, free eye tests and optical vouchers are provided to contribute towards the cost of glasses, with over 12 million National Health Service sight tests provided in 2021/22. NHS England has recently appointed a National Clinical Director for eye care to oversee the post pandemic recovery and long term transformation of optical services.

We are supporting research into diagnosis, prevention and treatment of eye conditions, including a £20 million award to the National Institute for Health and Care Research’s (NIHR) Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre for vision research. Through the NIHR, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland work on a range of topics and the devolved administrations co-fund several research programmes.

3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential risks for public health of GMO food and feed being placed on the UK market without any food safety assessment taking place.

All genetically modified food and feed products must receive an extensive risk assessment under the regulatory framework. This involves a detailed assessment of whether the foods could be toxic, the nutritional value and whether the products could cause allergic reactions. These products will only enter the food chain if judged to not present a risk to human health, animal health or the environment, not mislead consumers and not have less nutritional value than existing equivalent products.

1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to mandate Auditory Verbal therapy on the NHS Clinical Pathway.

There are no current plans to do so.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of Auditory Verbal therapy as an early intervention for deaf children under five years old.

No recent assessment has been made. ‘Commissioning Services for People with Hearing Loss: A framework for clinical commissioning groups’ was published in July 2016. This framework supports former clinical commissioning groups and from July 2022, integrated care boards in England to maximise value for local populations and provide consistent, high quality and integrated care. It also addresses inequalities in access and outcomes between hearing services.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of including liver disease assessments in NHS health checks for people aged 40 and over.

During a NHS Health Check, the alcohol use disorder identification test (AUDIT) is used to assess alcohol consumption. The national guidance for the NHS Health Check states that individuals with an AUDIT score of 16 or more should be referred for a liver disease assessment. The 2021 evidence-based review of the NHS Health Check programme recognised the benefit of including increasingly common conditions, such as mental and musculoskeletal ill-health. There are no current plans to include liver disease assessments in the NHS Health Check programme.

13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the impact of late presentation and diagnosis of liver disease on the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma.

No specific assessment has been made. We would expect general practitioners to use professional judgement in diagnosing liver disease and refer patients as appropriate.

Between 2015 and 2020, hepatitis C-related mortality from end stage liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma has reduced by 20%. NHS England’s cancer programme is working with the hepatitis C elimination programme to deliver 11 community liver health check pilots. These pilots aim to support earlier detection and diagnosis of liver cancer by identifying and referring people with cirrhosis or advanced fibrosis into a liver surveillance pathway.

25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with the Treasury on a multi-year funding envelope for training for neurology professionals.

Following the conclusion of the Spending Review, plans for individual National Health Service workforce budgets in England, including for training neurology professionals, will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course. Through this exercise, the Department has held discussions with HM Treasury and will continue to do so until a settlement has been achieved.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to increase access to new medicines for people with progressive forms of MS.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for developing evidence-based recommendations for the National Health Service on whether licenced medicines represent a clinically and cost-effective use of resources. NICE appraises all new medicines, including for multiple sclerosis and is committed, wherever possible, to publishing draft guidance at the time of licensing with final guidance published within three months of licensing.

NICE has published guidance recommending a number of medicines for multiple sclerosis for routine use on the NHS. The NHS in England is legally required to fund medicines recommended by NICE.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle unwarranted variation in (a) treatment of, (b) care and (c) support for people with neurological conditions.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) develops evidence-based guidance for healthcare professionals on best practice in the health and care system, supporting improved patient outcomes and reducing variation. NICE has produced a range of guidance on neurological conditions which clinicians and commissioners are expected to take into account.

The National Neurosciences Advisory Group (NNAG) is developing optimum clinical pathways for people with neurological conditions. The pathways will support the improvement of treatment, care and support services, setting out aspirations for good care and commissioning of neurological services locally and nationally.

The NNAG has worked with NHS RightCare to publish two toolkits, specifically on progressive neurological conditions and epilepsy. The toolkits prioritise faster and more accurate diagnoses, collaborative working between different disciplines and an increase in the availability of neuro-rehabilitation, reablement and psychosocial support. New triage processes have been introduced to ensure patients receive the care they need, with more patients now seen in outpatient settings closer to home. In addition, the Department has announced the development of a cross-Government strategy on acquired brain injury. The strategy will be informed by a call for evidence which will invite views on whether other related neurological conditions should also be included.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to work with neurological charities and patients to restore and improve neurology services.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement work with the National Neurosciences Advisory Group (NNAG), a neurological collaborative group of professional bodies, patient groups and national and local policy and commissioning leads, to design and deliver plans to improve neurological care. This includes the Neurological Alliance which is comprised of 70 charity partners.

The NNAG has engaged with patients, patient groups and charities, clinicians, expert bodies, and commissioners in order to address the challenges faced by neurology services. The NNAG has published ‘Lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic’, which sets out the pandemic’s impact on neurological care and how the healthcare system can begin to recover services.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much and what proportion of the £1 billion a year granted by the National Institute for Health Research for research is spent solely on non-animal methodologies.

The Department funds research on health and social care through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR’s funding is focused on translational, clinical and applied health and care research and work involving animals or animal testing is not within the NIHR’s remit.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to support Scotland to become a leader in eye health research.

Health research is a devolved responsibility. However, through the National Institute for Health Research, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland work together on a range of research topics and the devolved administrations co-fund several research programmes.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
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
Secretary of State for Education
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to increase the number of specialist treatment services for women with gambling disorders.

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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how much the NHS has paid DeepMind Health for its work related to the Streams app for the Royal Free Trust.

Digital transformation is crucial if we are to get the best results for patients. This is an agreement between the individual trust and the partner organisation, and as such the Department does not hold the details of the agreement. However, arrangements local National Health Service organisations enter into with third parties to manage data on their behalf, whether for research or any other purposes, must comply with the Data Protection Act 1998.

7th Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many people were admitted to hospital with malnutrition in England in 2015-16.

Published data on finished admission episodes with a primary diagnosis of malnutrition for 2015-16 are not yet available. We do not hold data on the number of people admitted to hospital with malnutrition. Hospital Episode Statistics record admissions to hospital rather the number of patients, as a person may have more than one admission within a certain period.

13th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment his Department has made of the reasons for changes in the number of cases of malnutrition in each of the last three years.

Data published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre in 2014 showed an increase in the number of people admitted to hospital for malnutrition. This is likely to be due in part to better diagnosis by doctors, better collection of data and an increase in the ageing population.

18th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he has taken to raise awareness among people travelling within European Economic Area countries in order to ensure all such travellers hold an EHIC card.

The Department has taken a series of ongoing steps to raise awareness among travellers in the European Economic Area (EEA) about the importance of carrying with them both a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and a valid travel insurance policy to cover private medical care or other additional costs.

The Department works closely with the Foreign Office to ensure key messages get onto social media platforms targeting customers in the United Kingdom looking to travel.

In conjunction with the Foreign Office, campaigns have also been carried out within Europe to target holiday makers already abroad, especially Spain where approximately 12 million British nationals visit each year.

Videos to raise awareness on the EHIC have been created by the Department and the European Commission and distributed on websites such as the Post Office, gov.uk and YouTube.

In addition, we have and will again encourage students coming from EEA countries for the new academic year to bring their EHIC with them, and use it when accessing NHS health care.

There is also extensive information on the NHS Choices website about the EHIC scheme.

26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the political and human rights situation in Hong Kong.

The imposition of National Security Law and actions by the authorities in Hong Kong have eroded the civil and political rights promised to Hong Kongers under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

We are clear that China remains in an ongoing state of non-compliance with the Declaration. As the Foreign Secretary has said, we will act when China breaks its obligations, as we did in giving nearly 3 million Hong Kongers a path to British citizenship.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has held discussions with his counterparts in Saudi Arabia on the detention of Saudi human rights defender Mohammed Fahad Al-Qahtani.

The Minister of State for the Middle East, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, has raised this case with the Saudi authorities, alongside a range of human rights issues, most recently during his visit to the Kingdom in February.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had discussions with his counterparts in Tunisia on the arrest and detention of representatives of the political opposition and civil society in that country; and if he will make a statement.

On 18 April, the Minister of State for North Africa, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon made clear the UK's view that the recent wave of arrests and restrictions on political opposition in Tunisia is eroding the space for political plurality, urging the Tunisian Government to respect the principles and values of an open and democratic society. Lord Ahmad also raised our issues over the arrests directly with Tunisian Chargé d'Affaires on 23 February, as did His Majesty's Ambassador to Tunisia with Foreign Minister Nabil Ammar on 23 February. The UK believes in the importance of space for legitimate political opposition, civil society, strengthening human rights and including all voices in building resilient and successful democracies. The UK is a constructive partner to Tunisia, and we will continue to raise these important issues with the Tunisian authorities at every available opportunity. We continue to monitor the political and human rights situation in Tunisia closely.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle malnutrition in East Africa, in the context of commitments made in the Integrated Review Refresh 2023, published in March 2023.

The 2023 Integrated Review (IR) Refresh builds on existing policy, including for East Africa as set out in the IR 2021. IR 2021 provided a comprehensive articulation of the UK's national security and international policy in the context of a world moving towards greater competition and multipolarity. The IR Refresh published in March 2023 sets out the continuing priority the UK places on engagement with Africa and elsewhere.

The UK's humanitarian support in East Africa, totalling at least £156 million this financial year, is providing millions of people with essential services and supplies to help tackle malnutrition and other concerns. The UK's work in East Africa will be a key part of the campaign referenced in the IR Refresh to improve global food security and nutrition. We will increase the availability, affordability and quality of malnutrition treatment and prevention products to do this. Efforts to develop anticipatory action on famine risk and resilience building are other components the IR Refresh that the UK will progress in Africa to help address undernutrition.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
21st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of frontloading funding for the humanitarian crisis in East Africa.

This financial year the UK has allocated at least £156 million in humanitarian support to East Africa. The FCDO coordinates with international partners across the region to ensure UK funded humanitarian aid is provided as promptly as possible and is prioritised to those in greatest need.

Throughout East Africa the UK also works to build resilience to crises to help limit the impact of shocks such as drought. The UK's resilience building investments have benefitted tens of millions of people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make representations to the Government of Saudi Arabia following the Saudi Arabian Appeals Court’s decision of 13 June 2022 to uphold a death sentence against Abdullah al-Howaiti for crimes allegedly committed when he was 14 years old.

The UK strongly opposes the death penalty in all countries and in all circumstances, as a matter of principle. We raise concern regarding all known juvenile death penalty defendants with the Saudi authorities. The British Embassy Riyadh closely monitors the cases of all juvenile death penalty defendants and regularly attempts to attend their trials. We raise human rights at all levels with the Saudi authorities, including ministerial channels. On 23 May I raised concerns about juvenile death penalty sentencing with the Saudi Ambassador to the UK.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will call on the Saudi Arabian authorities to end the imposition of (a) travel bans and (b) other restrictions on (i) Loujain Al-Hathloul, (ii) Samar Badawi, (iii) Raif Badawi and (iv) other human rights activists released from prison.

Saudi Arabia remains a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office human rights priority country. No aspect of our relationship with Saudi Arabia prevents us from speaking frankly about human rights. We raise human rights with the Saudi authorities at all levels, including ministerial channels. This includes raising individual detentions. The Minister responsible for Human Rights discussed detentions with the Saudi Ambassador to the UK on 27 May and raised concern about prison conditions during his visit to Saudi Arabia in February 2022.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has had discussions with her counterpart in Saudi Arabia on securing the immediate and unconditional release of (a) Abdulrahman al-Sadhan, (b) Waleed Abu al-Khair, (c) Mohammed al-Oteibi and (d) other prisoners of conscience.

Saudi Arabia remains a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office human rights priority country. No aspect of our relationship with Saudi Arabia prevents us from speaking frankly about human rights. We raise human rights with the Saudi authorities at all levels, including ministerial channels. This includes raising individual detentions. The Minister responsible for Human Rights discussed detentions with the Saudi Ambassador to the UK on 27 May and raised concern about prison conditions during his visit to Saudi Arabia in February 2022.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will call on the Saudi Arabian authorities to take further steps in line with their international obligations to protect the welfare of prisoners of conscience, including Mohammed Fahad al-Qahtani allegedly held in a wing reserved for inmates with mental disorders and assaulted on 26 May 2022.

Saudi Arabia remains a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office human rights priority country. No aspect of our relationship with Saudi Arabia prevents us from speaking frankly about human rights. We raise human rights with the Saudi authorities at all levels, including ministerial channels. This includes raising individual detentions. The Minister responsible for Human Rights discussed detentions with the Saudi Ambassador to the UK on 27 May and raised concern about prison conditions during his visit to Saudi Arabia in February 2022.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she had with her Cabinet colleagues in advance of the United Nations pledging summit on Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis, about the UK’s ongoing response to the refugee crisis.

Ahead of the UN Afghanistan Pledging Conference, UK officials held broad-ranging discussions, including on the impact of the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan on refugees, with UN donor partners, NGOs, financial institutions and other government departments.

The UK has supported over 3,700 individuals to leave Afghanistan since the end of Op PITTING. We'll continue to work to ensure those still in Afghanistan are able to depart the country safely. This includes holding the Taliban to their commitment to ensure safe passage.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department held discussions with the Scottish Refugee Council in advance of the United Nations pledging summit on Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis.

UK officials regularly engage with NGOs, donor partners and financial institutions, including through round table discussions. Several NGOs were engaged in the run up to the UN Afghan Pledging Conference, particularly those working in humanitarian assistance and essential basic services in Afghanistan, however, this did not include the Scottish Refugee Council.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions her Department held on human rights (a) concerns and (b) cases during their recent visit to Bahrain.

Bahrain is a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office human rights priority country. Our annual Human Rights Report, published last in July 2021, contains our most recent assessment. We regularly discuss human rights issues and individual cases with senior members of the Government of Bahrain, as well as with the independent human rights oversight bodies. The visit to Bahrain from 13-14 February by the Minister of State for South and Central Asia, UN and the Commonwealth, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad was a further opportunity to do so.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made for the implications of her policy of the human rights situation in Bahrain following the recent visit of her Ministerial colleague to Bahrain.

Bahrain is a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office human rights priority country. Our annual Human Rights Report, published last in July 2021, contains our most recent assessment. We regularly discuss human rights issues and individual cases with senior members of the Government of Bahrain, as well as with the independent human rights oversight bodies. The visit to Bahrain from 13-14 February by the Minister of State for South and Central Asia, UN and the Commonwealth, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad was a further opportunity to do so.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has made an assessment of the extent to which Saudi Arabian legislation on (a) counter-terrorism, (b) cybercrime and (c) associations and foundations complies with international human rights standards.

Counter-terrorism (CT) cooperation with Saudi Arabia is important to UK national security. All security cooperation is subject to rigorous Overseas Security and Justice Assessments (OSJA) to ensure compliance with UK and international human rights standards.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of proposals for judicial reform in Saudi Arabia announced by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in February 2021.

The UK welcomes the judicial reforms announced by the Saudi Crown Prince in February 2021. The Secretary of State for Justice Dominic Raab, and Lord Ahmad, Minister responsible for Human Rights in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, discussed judicial reform with the Saudi Justice Minister on 25 January 2022. Judicial reforms were also discussed during Lord Ahmad's visit to Saudi Arabia on 7 February 2022.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has made an assessment of the extent to which conditions attached to the release of political activists (a) Loujain al-Hathloul, (b) Nouf Abdelaziz and (c) Mayaa al-Zahrani from prison in Saudi Arabia are consistent with international human rights standards.

We welcome the release of remaining prominent female Women's Rights Defenders in June 2021. In the same month, British Embassy Riyadh raised concern about the conditions attached to the release of some of the women's rights defenders with the Saudi Human Rights Commission. We regularly raise human rights issues and individual cases with the Saudi authorities.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has made an assessment of the implications for her policies of Saudi Arabian use of a Specialised Criminal Court for the prosecution of human rights defenders and political activists; and if she will make representations to her Saudi Arabian counterpart of the detention of (a) Israa al-Ghomghan, (b) Mousa al-Hashim, (c) Khaled al-Mahoush, (d) Mohammed al-Rabiah, (e) Khaled al-Omair and (f) Ali Mohsen Abu Lahoum in that country.

The UK remains concerned over the arrests and continued detention of a number of individuals, particularly those detained for expressing their political views. Lord Ahmad discussed referrals to the Specialised Criminal Court with the Saudi Justice Minister on 7 February 2022. We regularly raise human rights issues and individual cases with the Saudi authorities.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether (a) she and (b) officials in her Department have raised concerns with their Jordanian counterparts on reported violations of media freedom (a) in that country generally and (b) in connection with the intimidation and detention of Syrian journalists in exile there, such as Syrian freelance journalist Ibrahim Awwad.

Jordan is a valued partner of the UK and we maintain a close dialogue with the Government of Jordan and Jordanian civil society. This includes discussion of human rights issues and media freedom. We are aware of the reported arrest of Ibrahim Awwad. The UK continues to encourage compliance with Jordan's international human rights obligations and supports efforts being made by the Jordanian Government and civil society to that end.

The FCDO remains committed to the Global Media Freedom campaign launched in 2018. Through the UK's co-chairing of the Media Freedom Coalition we are working to improve media freedom internationally. The Coalition is taking action to defend media freedom including through statements on the deteriorating situation for media across the globe. We do not currently fund projects in Jordan focused specifically on media freedom.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of media freedom in Jordan; and whether her Department has allocated specific funding for the promotion and protection of media freedom in that country.

Jordan is a valued partner of the UK and we maintain a close dialogue with the Government of Jordan and Jordanian civil society. This includes discussion of human rights issues and media freedom. We are aware of the reported arrest of Ibrahim Awwad. The UK continues to encourage compliance with Jordan's international human rights obligations and supports efforts being made by the Jordanian Government and civil society to that end.

The FCDO remains committed to the Global Media Freedom campaign launched in 2018. Through the UK's co-chairing of the Media Freedom Coalition we are working to improve media freedom internationally. The Coalition is taking action to defend media freedom including through statements on the deteriorating situation for media across the globe. We do not currently fund projects in Jordan focused specifically on media freedom.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the political and human rights situation in Egypt.

Our strong bilateral relationship with Egypt allows us to raise human rights concerns frankly when we have them. These rights and freedoms are essential for Egypt’s long-term stability, and we call on Egypt to implement its new human rights strategy. We welcome Egypt lifting its state of emergency, and will monitor closely what this decision means in practice.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what specific human rights (a) issues and (b) cases Ministers in his Department raised with the Bahraini prime minister when they met at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow.

We regularly raise human rights issues and individual cases with senior members of the Government of Bahrain, and continue to raise specific cases with senior interlocutors, as well as with the independent human rights oversight bodies.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether (a) she, (b) Ministers in her Department and (c) officials in her Department have made representations to their Bahraini counterparts in each of the last three months on the case of imprisoned human rights defender, Dr Abuljalil AlSingace.

We continue to monitor and raise the case of Dr Abduljalil al-Singace and others as necessary, with the Bahraini Government as well as with the oversight bodies.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if she will make representations to the Emirati government to invite independent impartial human rights monitoring bodies, including UN thematic special procedures, to that country and allow those bodies to visit detention centres and detainees.

We encourage all states, including the United Arab Emirates, to uphold international human rights obligations. We believe that the best approach is to engage with Governments and work with international partners and civil society organisations to bring about positive change. Officials have raised cases in which there are allegations of human rights abuses with Emirati authorities.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the report by Sir David Calvert-Smith entitled, Undue influence: the UAE and Interpol, published in April 2021, and the candidacy of Emirati Major General Nasser Ahmed al-Raisi for the Interpol presidency, what assessment (a) she and (b) officials in her Department have made of evidence in that report that the UAE misused the Interpol Red Notice system for minor offences and political gain against people seen as a threat to the regime.

We are aware of this publication. INTERPOL is an independent organisation and is politically neutral in fulfilling its mandate. As with all elections for international organisations, the UK Government will review all candidates for the presidency of INTERPOL and consider our vote carefully. We are committed to the promotion of universal freedoms and human rights and we encourage all states, including the United Arab Emirates, to uphold international human rights obligations.

On 9 September, the Home Secretary with her G7 counterparts committed to strengthening our collective efforts to deter the misuse of INTERPOL notices, to improperly target and detain individuals for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including through supporting INTERPOL's use of corrective measures, as appropriate and increasing outreach on this issue.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions (a) she and (b) officials in her Department have had with Emirati counterparts on the treatment, welfare and release of Emirati prisoners of conscience, including academic, Dr Nasser bin Ghaith, human rights defender, Ahmed Mansoor and human rights lawyer, Mohammed al-Roken.

We are aware the cases of Ahmed Mansoor, Dr Nasser bin Ghaith and Mohammed al-Roken and the allegations of human rights abuses against them.  Officials have raised such cases with the Emirati authorities, including with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador in London. We encourage all states, including the UAE, to uphold international human rights obligations.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the implications for its policies of the continued detention of human rights activists Dr Mohammed Fahad al-Qahtani, Mohamed Al-Otaibi and Mohammed al-Rabea; and what representations her Department has made on those cases to relevant stakeholders in the last year.

The UK signed a statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September 2020. It called for the release of all political detainees in Saudi Arabia, and noted concern over reports of torture, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention. On 26 October 2021, Lord Ahmad spoke to the President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, and raised a number of human rights issues, including specific cases and women's rights defenders.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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 continued detention of senior members of the Saudi royal family, including Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Prince Turki bin Abdullah and Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz bin Salman; and what representations her Department has made on the detention of those people to Saudi officials.

We continue to monitor the cases of Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz bin Salman and Prince Turki bin Abdullah. 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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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.

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.

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.

19th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with (a) his global counterparts and (b) animal rights groups on cruelty in the global dog meat trade; and if he will make a statement.

I met with animal rights activists earlier this year to discuss this issue and my officials are in ongoing discussions with them to identify how to improve animal welfare and raise awareness of the cruelty and potential health implications of the global dog meat trade.

The consumption of dog meat is legal in many countries, and the UK has no grounds to intervene or take trade measures to prevent this. As such, I have not raised the matter with my global counterparts. However, the British Ambassador in Seoul has raised the issue with the Korean authorities, and officials from the British Embassy in Seoul have accompanied non-government organisations on a dog farm visit. Officials have also met with police representatives from China to discuss their implementation of animal welfare regulations.

As I stated in the Westminster Hall Debate on 12 September 2016, it is encouraging that in countries where dog meat is consumed there are signs that attitudes are changing.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
19th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department has made representations to the Israeli Government on the (a) charges brought against Issa Amro by the Israeli military court and (b) arrest of Omar Barghouti in March 2017.

We have not raised the particular cases of Mr Amro or Mr Barghouti with the Israeli authorities but we are following their cases closely. Officials from our Consulate-General in Jerusalem attended Mr Amro’s court hearing on 26 March, visited him at Youth Against Settlements in Hebron on 6 January and met his lawyer on 17 January.

19th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Government of Bahrain on the case of Nabeel Rajab.

The British Government has raised concerns over the case of Nabeel Rajab with the Bahraini Government at senior levels. The judicial process is ongoing and we continue to monitor the case closely with officials

13th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has made representations to his Bahraini counterpart on the harassment of family members of Sayed Al Wadaei.

The UK monitors events in Bahrain closely. We continue to raise concerns about human rights with the Bahraini authorities, both in private and in public. We encourage anyone with concerns about their treatment in detention to report these directly to the Ombudsman.

13th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has (a) made and (b) received on the medical treatment available to the Bahraini prisoner, Abduljalil al-Singace.

The UK monitors events in Bahrain closely. We continue to raise concerns about human rights with the Bahraini authorities, both in private and in public. We encourage anyone with concerns about their treatment in detention to report these directly to the Ombudsman.

13th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Government has provided any training or guidance to the National Security Agency in Bahrain since 2010.

It is a long standing policy of successive British Governments not to comment on intelligence matters.

13th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Government has made representations to the Government of Bahrain on the alleged dissolution of the secular opposition party Wa'ad National Democratic Action Society by that Government.

We are following closely the legal action brought against Wa'ad. We work closely with the Government of Bahrain to encourage progress on human rights and, where we have concerns, we will continue to raise them in public and in private.

30th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 16 June 2016 to Question 40456, what recent representations the UK has made to Saudi Arabia to accede to the Convention on Cluster Munitions; and on what dates those representations were made.

In line with our obligations under the Convention on Cluster Munitions, we regularly encourage Saudi Arabia, as a non-party to the Convention, to accede to it. The most recent Ministerial engagement on this issue was in October. Foreign Office Ministers, our Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and officials have frequent meetings with the Saudi government and officials to discuss a full range of regional and bilateral issues.

30th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 16 June 2016 to Questions 40437 and 40433, when his Department last made representations to Saudi Arabia (a) expressing concern about the extent of the application of and (b) encouraging abolition of the death penalty in that country.

The UK Government does not shy away from raising legitimate human rights concerns. We regularly raise the death penalty with the Saudi authorities, most recently on 19 January.

The UK Government opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and in every country, including Saudi Arabia, especially for crimes other than the most serious and for juveniles, in line Article Six of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Arab Charter on Human Rights.

24th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 September 2016 to Question 45557, what recent representations he has made to his Saudi Arabian counterpart on the cases of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, Abdullah al-Zaher and Dawood al-Marhoon.

The UK remains concerned about cases of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdullah al-Zaher. Our Embassy in Riyadh last raised the three men's cases on 19 January 2017 and our expectation remains that they will not be executed. We will continue to closely follow their cases.

11th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the government of Bahrain on the death sentences against Abbas al-Samea, Sami Mushaima and Ali al-Singace; and if he will make a statement.

The Foreign Secretary, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Mr Johnson) released a statement on 15 January where he outlined the UK’s firm opposition to the death penalty. It is our longstanding position to oppose capital sentences in all circumstances. The Bahraini authorities are fully aware of our position and the Foreign Secretary has raised the issue with the Government of Bahrain.

25th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will take steps to ensure that religious persecution is on the agenda for the next session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The promotion and protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief is a high priority for the UK. It was one of our pledges for re-election to the UN Human Rights Council in 2017-2019, and will inform our approach to Council sessions and UN Special Procedures. At the 34th Session in March 2017, we will work with likeminded partners to maintain consensus on the adoption and implementation of both the EU's 'Freedom of Religion or Belief' resolution and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's 'Combating Religious Intolerance' resolution, both of which we expect to be tabled at that session.

In addition, the new UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, will also present his first report. A dialogue with Member States will follow, giving the UK further opportunity to set out our support for his mandate and to draw attention to priority issues.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
25th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will take steps to ensure that arbitrary revocation of citizenship is on the agenda for the next session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The UK does not intend to press for this topic to be considered at the March 2017 session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), as the HRC traditionally considers the issue of the deprivation of nationality at its June session, on either an annual or biennial basis. The most recent resolution on the topic of arbitrary deprivation of nationality was adopted by consensus at the June 2016 session of the HRC. The text of the resolution calls upon States to refrain from taking discriminatory measures and from enacting or maintaining legislation that would arbitrarily deprive persons of their nationality on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, including disability, especially if such measures and legislation render a person stateless. It also urges States to adopt and implement nationality legislation with a view to avoiding statelessness, consistent with the principles of international law, in particular by preventing the arbitrary deprivation of nationality and statelessness as a result of State succession.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
25th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will take steps to ensure that migrant worker rights are on the agenda for the next session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The United Kingdom does not intend to press for this topic to be considered at the March 2017 session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), as the HRC traditionally considers the protection of the human rights of migrants on an annual basis at its June session. A resolution on migrants in transit was adopted by consensus on 30 June 2016.

A resolution on the right to work is likely to be tabled at the March session, which follows the adoption in March 2016 of a resolution on the issue. While it did not reference migrant workers specifically, the resolution addressed a range of issues which affect migrant workers (as they do all workers). It also mandated the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report on the relationship between the right to work and the enjoyment of human rights by women. We expect the March session to consider that report. We do not know at this stage whether the resolution will specifically reference migrant workers.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
25th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will take steps to ensure that the juvenile death penalty is on the agenda for the next session of the UN Human Rights Council.

A resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty was adopted by the UN's Third Committee on 17 November and will be considered by the UN General Assembly in December. The United Kingdom does not intend to press for this topic to be considered at the March 2017 session of the Human Rights Council (HRC).

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is clear that "Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age." Execution of those who committed crimes when juveniles is therefore forbidden by international human rights law. We oppose the death penalty and encourage other states to follow suit.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
23rd Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his Department's policies of the findings of the report by Amnesty International, published on 21 November 2016, entitled, Window-dressing or pioneers of change? An assessment of Bahrain's human rights oversight bodies.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office received a copy of the report from Amnesty International on Monday 21 November. We note that they have made a series of recommendations to the UK Government which we will look at closely. Since 2012, the UK has worked with Bahrain and have supported the establishment of a number of oversights bodies responsible for investigating allegations of human rights abuses.

We believe that the UK support to Bahrain's reform programme is the most constructive way to achieve long lasting and sustainable reform in Bahrain.

14th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has made representations to his Iranian counterpart on the detention of Roya Saberinejad Nobakht.

Since April 2014, when we were made aware of her arrest, Ministers and officials have raised Mrs Nobakht's case repeatedly and at all levels with the Iranian government. Most recently, The Prime Minister, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May) raised Mrs Nobakht's case with Iranian President Rouhani in person on 20 September, and followed up by letter on 3 October. The Foreign Secretary, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Mr Johnson), raised Mrs Nobakht's case with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif on 22 September. We will continue to raise Mrs Nobakht's case with the Iranian Government at every available opportunity.

31st Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the government of Pakistan on the cases of Abdul Shakoor and Mazhar Sipra.

We are aware of Mr Shakoor and Mr Sipra's cases. I remain concerned about reports of abuses against Ahmadiyya and other religious minorities in Pakistan. The Government strongly condemns the persecution of all minorities, including the targeting of innocent people based on their beliefs. Our concerns are reflected in the latest update to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office annual human rights report, which can be found on www.gov.uk/fco.

We regularly raise our concerns about the protection of minority communities, including the misuse of the blasphemy laws, with the Pakistani Government at a senior level. In April, the previous Foreign Secretary, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Philip Hammond), raised the importance of safeguarding the rights of all minorities with Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs. We continue to urge Pakistan to honour in practice its human rights obligations, including those related to religious minorities.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
25th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if his Department has undertaken a recent assessment of the welfare and treatment of Mr Andargachew Tsege; and if he will make a statement.

​When the former Foreign Secretary, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), visited Ethiopia in June 2016, he stated that he was satisfied that Mr Tsege was not being ill-treated and that he was receiving regular visits from family members in Ethiopia. Our Ambassador to Ethiopia last visited Mr Tsege on 2 August 2016. This was the eleventh consular visit to Mr Tsege. At each visit, we ask Mr Tsege about his treatment in prison and whether he has any welfare issues that he would like to raise. Where we have Mr Tsege's permission to do so, we raise any concerns or issues about his welfare and treatment with the authorities, in line with our standard consular practice. We continue to monitor Mr Tsege's welfare closely and to support him and his family.

25th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department has been advised by the Ethiopian authorities that Mr Andargachew Tsege has been visited or contacted by family members.

​Mr Tsege has received regular visits in prison from his family based in Ethiopia. I understand that Mr Tsege also has had access to a phone to call his family based in the UK.