Mark Pritchard Portrait

Mark Pritchard

Conservative - The Wrekin

First elected: 5th May 2005


Select Committees
Panel of Chairs (since January 2020)
Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament
13th Jul 2020 - 9th Feb 2022
Panel of Chairs
22nd Jun 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Human Rights (Joint Committee)
30th Oct 2017 - 18th Dec 2017
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
28th Nov 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Human Rights (Joint Committee)
28th Oct 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Panel of Chairs
3rd Dec 2012 - 3rd May 2017
National Security Strategy (Joint Committee)
30th Nov 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
International Development Committee
5th Nov 2012 - 4th Nov 2013
Transport Committee
14th Jul 2008 - 6th May 2010
Welsh Affairs Committee
17th Dec 2007 - 6th May 2010
Work and Pensions Committee
23rd Oct 2006 - 14th Jul 2008
Environmental Audit Committee
12th Jul 2005 - 18th Dec 2007


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 279 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 226 Noes - 287
Speeches
Tuesday 6th February 2024
Ministerial Severance: Reform
I know this is an Opposition day debate, where the Government will get bashed—that is part of the convention and …
Written Answers
Monday 12th February 2024
Animal Diseases: Research
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to commission research …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
1. Employment and earnings
From 1 November 2023 until further notice, I provide marketing advisory services to ATS Group; an industrial manufacturing and technology …
EDM signed
Tuesday 20th March 2018
CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION IN TELFORD
That this House expresses concern about the scale of child sexual exploitation in Telford; notes that, in 2015-16, Telford had …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 6th March 2018
Wild Animals in Circuses Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Mark Pritchard has voted in 614 divisions, and 3 times against the majority of their Party.

20 May 2020 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Mark Pritchard voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Conservative Aye votes vs 345 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 262 Noes - 352
18 Oct 2022 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Mark Pritchard voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 103 Conservative No votes vs 113 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 297 Noes - 110
7 Mar 2023 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Mark Pritchard voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 107 Conservative Aye votes vs 109 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 116 Noes - 299
View All Mark Pritchard Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Matt Hancock (Independent)
(11 debate interactions)
Daniel Kawczynski (Conservative)
(10 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(10 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(30 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(25 debate contributions)
Home Office
(23 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Mark Pritchard's debates

The Wrekin Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest The Wrekin signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

The Government needs to change the law so laboratory animals are included in the Animal Welfare Act. Laboratory animals are currently not protected by the Act and are therefore victims of 'unnecessary suffering' (see section 4 of the Act: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/45/section/4).

Cervical screening needs to be every year.

This is because women are dying, mothers, wives, daughters, granddaughters and sisters are dying.

Many missing microchipped pets are never reunited as it’s optional to scan & check microchip registration. It’s time veterinary professionals, authorities and rescues checked pet & keeper match on the original database at a pets 1st consultation or yearly checkup. It’s their only chance to get home

A healthy young dog with RBU was euthanised. The person who requested euthanasia was not the registered keeper.


Latest EDMs signed by Mark Pritchard

15th March 2018
Mark Pritchard signed this EDM on Tuesday 20th March 2018

CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION IN TELFORD

Tabled by: Lucy Allan (Conservative - Telford)
That this House expresses concern about the scale of child sexual exploitation in Telford; notes that, in 2015-16, Telford had the highest number of child sexual offences recorded, per head of population, in each of the 317 community safety partnerships in England and Wales; recognises the horrific abuse and suffering …
42 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Mar 2018)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 18
Conservative: 16
Liberal Democrat: 2
Scottish National Party: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Independent: 1
26th April 2016
Mark Pritchard signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 26th April 2016

COMMUNITY PHARMACIES

Tabled by: Alan Meale (Labour - Mansfield)
That this House is concerned about the planned £170 million cut to the Community Pharmacy Budget in England scheduled for October 2016, which could lead to the forced closure of up to 3,000 pharmacies and place the remaining pharmacies, GPs and A&E departments under ever greater pressure; believes the Government …
18 signatures
(Most recent: 9 May 2016)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 11
Independent: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Conservative: 1
Green Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
View All Mark Pritchard's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Mark Pritchard, 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.


Mark Pritchard has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Mark Pritchard has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Mark Pritchard has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


303 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
7 Other Department Questions
4th Dec 2023
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, if the Church will have discussions with the Dioceses of (a) Hereford and (b) Lichfield on support with energy costs.

The Church Commissioners are in regular contact with the Dioceses of Hereford and Lichfield. During the winter of 2022-23, due to dramatic increases in energy costs, £3million of Church Commissioners’ funding was made available through the Archbishops’ Council to support additional ministry hardship funding for clergy and lay workers, and a further £15million was similarly made available in energy cost support funding for dioceses to allocate primarily to Parochial Church Councils. This money was in addition to the dioceses' own ministry hardship funding and discretionary funding.

There is no plan to offer a similar scheme this year over and above the money already available through diocesean discretionary and hardship funds.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, whether he has had recent discussions with the Church of England on tackling anti-Semitism in (a) theological training colleges, (b) ordained clergy and (c) Church of England parishes.

The key resource that the National Church Institutions commend to all clergy, dioceses and parishes is God’s Unfailing Word: Theological and Practical Perspectives on Christian-Jewish Relations, produced by the Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England in 2019. This addresses the need to combat antisemitism in the Church and affirms the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism. Teaching and training of ordinands and clergy in Theological Colleges and Dioceses includes much of this material, and there are regular resources and seminars for Diocesan Inter Faith Advisers equipping them in this area.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
3rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will hold discussions with the Advertising Standards Authority on the broadcasting of images of animal cruelty on TV adverts for animal welfare charities before the 9.00pm watershed.

Advertising across broadcast media in the UK is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), an organisation independent of government, through their Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP Code). The ASA regulates charity advertisements and not the charities themselves, which are regulated by the Charity Commission.

In their rules, the ASA makes it clear that advertising featuring animals should not contain anything that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence, or undue fear or distress. The BCAP code specifically requires broadcasters to exercise responsible judgement on the scheduling of advertisements and avoid unsuitable juxtapositions between advertising material and programmes, especially those that could distress or offend viewers or listeners. In addition, all broadcast advertising is cleared by Clearcast to ensure advertising content is thoroughly checked according to the BCAP before it airs.

Currently the Secretary of State has no plans to discuss this with the ASA.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what support the Church Commissioners are giving to churches in the dioceses of Hereford and Lichfield to help protect the written and oral history and heritage of churches.

There are no specific written or oral history heritage projects supported by the Church Commissioners in the dioceses of Hereford and Lichfield. However the Cathedral and Church Buildings Division of the Archbishops’ Council is in regular contact with parishes across the region to support them in the care of their buildings and local community heritage assets. More general advice is available from the ChurchCare website: https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/churchcare which gives information about grants, building management and best practice.

Across England the Church of England manages 12,500 listed buildings out of a total of 16,000 churches. Many of these are considered to be nationally important buildings and are maintained by the generosity and goodwill of local volunteers and donors.

The Church Commissioners are providing £11million in funding for 2023-25 to support a new “Buildings for Mission” programme to provide support, through dioceses, to local parishes with the challenges they face in maintaining their church buildings

The Church is grateful to the Government for its support for cathedrals and major churches during the pandemic when the Culture Recovery Fund made over £60.6m available to 582 parishes and cathedrals. The Church advocates for the continuation of the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme, worth up to £42m a year, until a suitable alternative can be found. The National Church Institutions are working closely with Government, heritage partners and philanthropic funders, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund in response to its recent strategic review and has continuing dialogue with Government about the financial needs involved in maintanining such important places of worship.

The Church awaits the response of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to the recommendations made by the Government’s independent review led by Bernard Taylor into the sustainability of Church buildings, which was published in 2017: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/english-churches-and-cathedrals-sustainability-review

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
7th Nov 2022
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what recent discussions the Church of England has had with the Russian Orthodox Church on the conflict in Ukraine.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus’ met online earlier in the year, and channels of communication remain open. A brief meeting took place between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Russian Orthodox delegates at the World Conference of Churches Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany (31 August to 8 September 2022) where there was a robust exchange. The Archbishop of Canterbury also met with leaders of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

The Church continues to pray for an immediate ceasefire and a return to dialogue in order to secure a negotiated peace settlement. The Church calls on all parties to respect the principles of international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure and for the humane treatment of all prisoners of war.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what assessment he has made of the financial effect on central London parishes of the congestion charge being levied on Sundays.

I am aware of the pressure the extension of the congestion charge is placing on all who worship in those London parishes that are located within the boundary of the charge, and who must travel to them from outside that boundary. Though the Church Commissioners have not made formal representations, I am aware that approaches have been made to the Mayor of London by Churches Together in Westminster including St Martin-in-the-Fields and St James's, Piccadilly, alongside other denominations and faiths. Concern has been raised about the knock-on impact on social action project work carried out by many central London places of worship, which may see a fall in donations as a result of fewer regular worshippers or visitors.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
19th Jul 2022
To ask the Attorney General, whether her Department is providing support to the office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine in prosecuting war crimes.

The Government is appalled by the atrocities being committed in Ukraine by Russian forces, including the targeting of civilians, mass graves, and rape and sexual violence being used as weapons of war. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine, at the forefront of international efforts to ensure there is no impunity. The Attorney General personally had a long and very fruitful dialogue with the former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, having signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with her to underline UK support for her Office’s work investigating and prosecuting crimes committed in the course of the conflict. The Attorney General visited the former Prosecutor General in Ukraine and hosted her for a two-day visit in London at the end of May. We look forward to continuing working closely with the Prosecutor General’s Office. Importantly, the Attorney General appointed Sir Howard Morrison QC, one of the UK’s leading war crimes lawyers, to support the Prosecutor General directly on Ukraine’s domestic investigations. The Attorney General also convened a meeting of the Quintet of Attorneys General from the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, with Prosecutor General Venediktova. Following this meeting, we published a joint statement which makes clear our countries’ support for Ukraine’s domestics war crimes investigations and prosecutions, and our commitment to work together with the Prosecutor General and Office of the Prosecutor General to ensure every perpetrator faces justice. The preservation and collection of evidence is vital. The UK, together with the United States and EU, has launched the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA) to directly support the War Crimes Units of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine in its investigation and prosecution of conflict-related crimes. The ACA seeks to streamline coordination and communication efforts to ensure best practices, avoid duplication of efforts, and encourage the expeditious deployment of financial resources and skilled personnel to respond to the needs of the Office of the Prosecutor General as the legally constituted authority in Ukraine responsible for dealing with the prosecution of war crimes on its own territory. This shows the Government’s clear commitment to supporting Ukraine in its investigations. We will continue to work with Ukraine, partners and international mechanisms in their investigations and to collect and preserve evidence of war crimes in Ukraine. Those responsible will be held to account.

20th Jul 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of commissioning a national memorial to honour Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by public subscription.

The Government and Royal Household announced on 3 September the creation of The Queen Elizabeth Memorial Committee. The Committee will develop proposals for both a permanent memorial, and a national legacy programme that will allow everyone in the UK to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s life of service. The UK Government will support the proposals, and will consider funding options as proposals develop.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if the Government will make it its policy to offer interim compensation payments to the (a) estates, (b) parents and (c) children of people who have died as a result of infected blood products.

I refer the hon Member to the statement I made in the House on 15 December in which I set out the work being carried out across government in consideration of the compensation framework study - which included specific reference to those groups who were not able to claim interim compensation.

Since then, Sir Brian Langstaff, the Chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry, has announced his intention to produce a further interim report about the Compensation framework study by Sir Robert Francis KC. The Government welcomes this news. The cross-government work that is underway is likely to be significantly assisted by Sir Brian’s further interim report in making preparations to act swiftly in response to his final report.

31st Jan 2023
To ask the Prime Minister, if he will bring forward proposals to update the Memorandum of Understanding between Government and the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament.

The Government welcomes the independent and robust oversight of the Security and Intelligence Agencies and wider Intelligence Community that the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament provides.

The role and remit of the Committee is set out in the Justice and Security Act 2013 and accompanying Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), agreed between the Committee and the Prime Minister. The current arrangements set out in the Act and related MoU are sufficient to enable the Committee to discharge its statutory function in respect of the oversight of the UK Intelligence Community. There are therefore no plans to update these arrangements.

Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department is taking steps to help ensure that people without access to online and mobile banking can make payments for services provided by Government (a) Departments and (b) agencies.

Government has committed to ensuring that assistance is always available for those who need it. All Government departments and agencies are required to be compliant with HMG’s ‘Service Standard’ available at this link: https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/service-standard. Specifically, point 5 of the Service Standard requires that government services are accessible to all users, including disabled people, people with other legally protected characteristics, people who do not have access to the internet and those who lack the skills or confidence to use the internet. This includes being accessible to those without a mobile device. Compliance to this standard is measured through regular Service Assessments.

In addition, the Government Digital Service in the Cabinet Office runs GOV.UK Pay - a free service available to public sector organisations, enabling them to take card payments. The service includes a mail order and over the phone payment option.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish how democratic oversight of government decisions will operate in the event of a nuclear attack on the UK.

Consideration has been given to the preparation for various emergency scenarios. Due to national security considerations it would not be appropriate to disclose further information.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
20th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Social Mobility Commission report, Navigating the labyrinth, published in May 2021, what steps he plans to take to support career progression in the civil service.

The Civil Service must harness the broadest range of talent across every part of the UK.

Our plans for government reform and modernisation, which we will set out soon, will show how we will continue to do this by increasing opportunity and supporting career progression for all.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to counter threats posed by the use by foreign governments and other entities of commercially available cyber intrusion and other surveillance technology against UK citizens, companies and government departments.

The cyber threat landscape and tools commercially available to hostile actors are diverse, but the UK is clear that it will not tolerate malicious cyber activity and will react robustly and proportionately to the threat using the full spectrum of HMG capabilities at our disposal.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Centre for the Protection of Critical National Infrastructure (CPNI) provides ongoing advice and guidance for Government departments, Critical National Infrastructure, businesses, organisations and the general public.

Working closely with industry partners and experts through campaigns like ‘Industry 100’, Cyber Essentials and Cyber Aware, they produce guidance and support that sets out protective measures that can be taken to protect against a range of threats and threat actors, including espionage and cyber-attacks.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that commercial spyware and surveillance technology is not used by foreign governments against UK nationals.

The cyber threat landscape and tools commercially available to hostile actors are diverse, but the UK is clear that it will not tolerate malicious cyber activity and will react robustly and proportionately to the threat using the full spectrum of HMG capabilities at our disposal.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Centre for the Protection of Critical National Infrastructure (CPNI) provides ongoing advice and guidance for Government departments, Critical National Infrastructure, businesses, organisations and the general public.

Working closely with industry partners and experts through campaigns like ‘Industry 100’, Cyber Essentials and Cyber Aware, they produce guidance and support that sets out protective measures that can be taken to protect against a range of threats and threat actors, including espionage and cyber-attacks.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps she is taking to extend the eligibility of British cheese producers to export cheese to Canada under the reserve for the European Union within Canada's World Trade Organisation Tariff Rate Quota until 31 December 2025.

Negotiations with Canada on this issue are ongoing. Our key aim is to ensure that we maintain current market access for the UK dairy sector. We have longstanding rights to this access at the World Trade Organisation, and a long-term solution is in the best interests of businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. We continue to make that clear to the Canadian government at Ministerial and official level.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will include surface coating or heat treatment, SIC Code 25610, in the Energy Intensive Industries compensation scheme.

The list of eligible sectors for the compensation scheme is set for its duration until 2025.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps she is taking to (a) make older people aware of Gigabit vouchers and (b) enable older people to access Gigabit vouchers.

The UK’s Digital Strategy published in 2022 is clear that HMG has a “vision to enable everyone, from every industry and across the UK, to benefit from all that digital innovation can offer”.

The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is led by broadband suppliers, who are encouraged to communicate directly with communities to increase local awareness of the voucher scheme and develop potential projects. Suppliers are then responsible for communicating with beneficiaries as any project progresses.

An address checker is available for all consumers to find out whether they are eligible for a voucher at: https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/.

10th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, when she plans to publish the UK Semiconductor Strategy.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology has been reviewing the UK government’s approach to the semiconductor sector and intends to set out its plans for the sector in the forthcoming UK Semiconductor Strategy. The Strategy will be published as soon as possible.

2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, if she will hold discussions with her counterparts in the G7 on the oversight and regulation of (a) nation-state and (b) private sector developed artificial intelligence technologies.

G7 ministerial discussions concerning the oversight and regulation of AI are well advanced. On 29-30 April 2023, the Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy attended the G7 Digital Ministerial meeting in Japan, where the UK agreed to the G7 Digital Ministerial Declaration. The Declaration emphasises the importance of responsible AI and global AI governance, and endorses an Action Plan for promoting global interoperability between tools for trustworthy AI and for cooperating on upcoming AI opportunities and challenges.

Active engagement in the G7, as well as other international fora, is a key priority for the Government. We recognise the need to shape the development and governance of AI both at a domestic and international level, as highlighted in the AI Regulation White Paper and the International Technology Strategy, both published in March 2023. We will continue to collaborate with our G7 counterparts to shape the global AI landscape, achieving the right balance between responding to risks and maximising opportunities afforded by AI.

28th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she is taking steps to improve mobile phone signal strength and coverage in Shropshire.

This Government is taking steps to improve both 4G and 5G coverage across the country.

With industry, we are investing £1 billion in the Shared Rural Network (SRN) to extend 4G coverage to 95% of the UK landmass by the end of 2025. Shropshire will see coverage improvements to partial not-spots areas where there is coverage from one but not all Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), and to total not-spots where there is no coverage from any operator.

In our recently published Wireless Infrastructure Strategy (11 April 2023), we have set a new ambition for nationwide coverage of standalone 5G in all populated areas by 2030.

We have also taken steps to make it easier and cheaper for operators to deploy 4G and 5G wireless connectivity by reforming the planning system in England. Alongside this, measures within the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2022, will support upgrades of sites to 5G.

14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, if she will discuss with (a) Ofcom and (b) the Competition Commission potential measures to increase competition and diversity of supply in the provision of commercial and retail cloud data and storage services.

Fair competition and diversity of supply in the cloud sector is important for our country's economic growth. On 5 April, Ofcom proposed to refer the market to the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) (previously the Competition Commission) for further investigation into competition issues it has identified as part of its market study into cloud services. Ofcom is consulting on that referral.

If the CMA takes forward a market investigation, the CMA could choose to intervene in the market using its existing competition powers or through the new powers it will be granted via the upcoming Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill. The CMA is an operationally independent regulator and any intervention it makes in this market would be at its own discretion.

The Government regularly engages with its regulators and will continue to do so to ensure that the cloud services market remains competitive.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
30th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing legislation in order to prevent price gouging and strengthen consumer protection in case of rare and unexpected events.

The Government is committed to tackling consumer rip-offs and bad business practices, including profiteering.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) monitors firms suspected of profiteering to challenge unjustifiable price increases and takes enforcement action where there is evidence that competition or consumer protection law has been broken.

Through the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill, government has committed to give the CMA administrative enforcement powers to tackle businesses not treating customers fairly, bolstering protections for consumers across the economy.

The Government continues to monitor the operation of consumer markets and keeps all options under review to ensure good value and service for consumers.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support (a) independent and chain pubs, (b) breweries and (c) distilleries in (i) Shropshire, (ii) Telford and (iii) Wrekin.

This Department is working with the Hospitality Sector Council to deliver on our Hospitality Strategy to improve the resilience of hospitality businesses, including pubs and breweries across the UK.

The Government recognise that hospitality businesses are facing cost pressures driven by global factors, including high energy and cost of living pressures.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme ensures that businesses are protected from excessively high energy bills over the winter period.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer recently announced in his Autumn Statement a range of measures to support firms with business rates worth £13.6 billion over the next 5 years, including increased and extended Retail, Hospitality and Leisure (RHL) relief. This is the most generous in year business rates relief in over 30 years, outside of Covid-19 support.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how park home residents will be able to access the £400 support for energy bills that will be provided to consumers not reached through the Energy Bills Support Scheme; and when he plans to make that support available.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave the hon. Member for St Albans on 22nd September to Question 48498.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, (a) how and (b) when households which use heating oil will be able to access (i) the equivalent of £400 support for energy bills being provided through the Energy Bills Support Scheme and (ii) the additional £100 payment to compensate for the rising cost of heating oil.

The Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) delivers a £400 non-repayable discount to households with an electricity meter. For those not on standard gas or electricity contracts the EBSS Alternative Fund will provide equivalent support. We are working quickly with a range of organisations, such as local authorities, as well as Devolved Administrations and across UK Government, to finalise the details and have the process up and running for applications this winter.

The Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) will provide a one-off payment of £100 to households that use alternative fuels for heating instead of mains gas. Eligible households in Great Britain will receive £100 credit on their electricity bill this winter.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to ensure that people living in blocks of flats with one main electrical meter and separate sub-meters in each flat will receive support under the (a) Energy Bills Support Scheme and (b) Energy Price Guarantee.

The Energy Prices Bill introduced on 12th October includes provisions that will require landlords and other intermediaries to pass the benefits they receive from the energy price support on to their tenants and end users as appropriate. Further details of the requirements under this legislation will be set out in regulations.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to take steps to ensure that residents on park home sites in Shropshire receive the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme discount in circumstances where the site owner is the energy account holder and residents pay their energy bills to the site owner.

On 29 July, the Government set out further details of the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) and confirmed that further funding will be available to provide equivalent support of £400 for energy bills for the small percentage of domestic energy consumers not reached by EBSS, such as park homes residents.

The Government will be announcing details in the Autumn for how these households will receive the £400 of support

This support will be provided alongside the ‘Energy Price Guarantee’ which will mean a typical UK household will pay, on average, no more than £2,500 a year on their energy bill for the next two years.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will issue guidance to local councils on the potential impact of the change of use of agricultural land for solar farms on sustainable, local food production in those areas.

The Government recognises the importance of preserving greenfield land. Planning policy encourages the effective use of land by recommending the siting of large-scale solar farms on previously developed and non-agricultural land, provided it is not of high environmental value. Where projects are proposed on greenfield sites, guidance seeks to minimise the impacts on the best and most versatile agricultural land and requires developers to justify the use of any such land and ensure projects are designed to avoid, mitigate and where necessary compensate for impacts.

Solar farms and agricultural practice can co-exist. Many solar farms are constructed with raised panels that enable continued grazing of livestock. Solar energy can also help farmers raise their revenue streams from land less suited to higher value crop production.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
28th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he is taking steps to stop the import of non-compliant e-scooters into the UK.

The UK government is committed to ensuring that consumers are protected from unsafe goods. Manufacturers need to ensure that the e-scooter devices they place on the market meet all the product safety regulations that apply.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) works with Local Authorities and border authorities to help ensure that products imported and sold in the UK are safe and that action is taken against those who place unsafe or non-compliant products on the market.

22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to support the music industry through (a) improving copyright and intellectual property protection and (b) making industry representations on matters including the Credits Due campaign.

Government policy in this area has long been underpinned by the desire to maintain robust copyright and intellectual property protection. The copyright, and wider intellectual property, frameworks are kept under constant review to ensure they remain fit for purpose and that any changes to these are driven by evidence.

For example, the Government recently responded to recommendations from the DCMS Select Committee following its inquiry into music streaming. The response sets out the imminent launch of a package of stakeholder engagement and research aimed at better understanding and resolving some of the issues identified within the music streaming environment. The IPO and DCMS will work closely with partners on the music industry’s “Credits Due” initiative to develop options for a minimum data standard.

20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the Government's strategy is on increasing its oil and gas reserves and storage capacity.

The UK benefits from having access to highly diverse sources of gas supply to ensure households, businesses and heavy industry get the energy they need.

Gas storage is not a component of overall winter supply. GB gas storage stock levels are currently comparable to previous years ahead of the winter months and storage is expected to continue its role as a source of system flexibility. BEIS is continuing to explore the future of the gas storage landscape through the UK Hydrogen Strategy, which considers the role of hydrogen storage in greater detail and whether further regulation or support mechanisms are needed to maximise its potential.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Government's Heat and Buildings strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that the costs of low carbon heating are sustainable for people in (a) Shropshire and (b) other rural areas.

The Government is planning to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course. This will include information on the Government’s approach to the transition to low carbon heating through a comprehensive policy package comprising targeted regulatory, market-based and public investment measures.

In transitioning to low carbon heat, it will be important that future costs are allocated in a way that is fair to all consumers and incentivises them to use cost-effective low-carbon technologies.

As announced in the Energy White Paper last December, we will shortly issue a call for evidence on affordability and fairness in the energy market which will explore these issues further. This will include looking at policy costs placed on gas and electricity prices and gathering evidence on the extent to which these act as a significant barrier to the deployment of low-carbon technologies such as heat pumps.

In order to ease consumer costs, the Government has also been providing financial support through schemes such as the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive. In addition, from April 2022, the Clean Heat Grant will provide support to households switching to low carbon heating.

In respect of rural homes in particular, we recognise that many homes in rural areas that are not connected to the gas grid use high-carbon heating systems such as oil so decarbonising this stock will be vital to meet our net zero ambitions. The recently launched Home Upgrade Grant, backed by an initial £150 million of funding will support energy efficiency upgrades and low carbon heating for low-income households living off the gas grid in England, including in Shropshire.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will hold discussions with his US counterpart on ensuring that UK students can participate in the NASA International Internship Program.

In the light of our growing international programme of space collaborations, it would be timely for us to consider the opportunities this programme might offer within funding constraints. I shall instruct officials at the UK Space Agency to discuss this with their counterparts at NASA.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when hairdressers and barbers will be able to open as part of the easing of the covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

As stated in the Roadmap for Recovery, the Government anticipates that close proximity businesses such as hairdressers and barbers will be opened as part of Phase 3 in July, should the science confirm that it is safe to do so.

Hairdressers and other beauty businesses still remain closed in the current phase because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher due to the indoor environment and closer physical contact. This also applies to mobile hairdressers.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy leads the non-essential Retail Taskforce. Part of this taskforce is focussed on salons and non-clinical therapy. We are working with the sector to develop guidance on safer ways for them to open at the earliest point at which it is safe to do so. The guidance will be published in June.

16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will take further steps to promote STEM subjects through (a) permanent and (b) temporary exhibitions at (i) the Royal Air Force Museum Midlands and (ii) other museums.

The Royal Air Force Museum is sponsored by the Ministry of Defence. It welcomes around 900,000 visitors a year to its sites in London and the West Midlands, inspiring everyone with the Royal Air Force story through its unique national collection. Around 64,000 of its visitors are young people participating in formal learning sessions, including STEM subjects, history, and literacy.

In December 2022 the Royal Air Force Museum was awarded investment from The National Lottery Heritage Lottery Fund for its ‘Inspiring Everyone: Royal Air Force Museum Midlands Development Programme’. This will include a new Learning Centre linked to an innovative exhibition focusing on the critical national role played by the Royal Air Force over the past four decades in particular.

More widely, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport supports museum programming, including education, through Arts Council England. Arts Council England has awarded National Portfolio Organisation status to 82 museums and museum sector organisations in its forthcoming 2023–26 investment round. Museums are also eligible for National Lottery Project grants.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to protect news gathering and output following the review into BBC local radio services in Shropshire.

The Government recognises the important role that BBC Radio Shropshire plays in terms of the provision of local news and information, and of community engagement in the local area. We are disappointed that the BBC is planning to reduce parts of its local radio output. The BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the government as set out in its Royal Charter, and decisions on service delivery are a matter for the BBC. However, I have been clear with the Chairman of the BBC Board and the Director General that the BBC must make sure it continues to provide distinctive and genuinely local radio services, with content that reflects and represents people and communities from all corners of the UK. The Government also expects Ofcom, as regulator of the BBC, to ensure the BBC is robustly held to account in delivering its public service duties. The Secretary of State has already asked Ofcom about how they are considering this issue, and I understand that Ofcom is continuing to discuss these proposals with the BBC.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans her Department has for the future (a) use and (b) expansion of Lilleshall Hall National Sports Centre; and if she will make a statement.

Lilleshall National Sports Centre provides opportunities for elite and talent pathway athletes as part of National Governing Body (NGB) programmes. The centre is part of the national Elite Training Centre network of facilities which also provide support through the English Institute of Sport (EIS) athlete rehabilitation programmes. These activities are provided alongside opportunities for local people and community organisations/clubs to take part in a range of activities.

UK Sport, Sport England, EIS and stakeholders including British Gymnastics, GB Archery and the Royal British Legion Battleback programme collaborate and combine to provide a range of activities on site.

An element of commercial activity such as conferences take place at Lilleshall and this helps to underpin the financial viability of the site and enables the provision of sporting activity. There are no plans for this to change.

The centre has benefitted from investment over recent years, including state of the art gymnastics facilities, renovation of the Lilleshall Main House listed building, new hockey pitches and office accommodation for NGB’s. Future plans for investment include improved archery facilities and the expansion of the Royal British Legion Battleback programme which include the hosting of the Invictus Games programme.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to support Shropshire SMEs to roll out broadband into harder to reach rural areas and where major suppliers refuse to operate.

We want all telecoms providers to be able to be a part of Project Gigabit, from small, specialist suppliers reaching hard-to-reach communities to larger firms able to tackle large areas at pace.

The Project Gigabit procurement process for the Shropshire area will commence shortly. Market engagement in advance of the procurement has confirmed strong interest from a number of suppliers including SMEs and the procurement approach will be designed to utilise this as effectively as possible.

Alongside Project Gigabit procurements, the £210m Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is also a key tool in incentivising and encouraging suppliers to connect some of the hardest to reach premises in the UK. To date, over 220 premises in Shropshire have claimed and received payment for a voucher through the scheme, with a further 590 premises awaiting completion, for a combined value of over £2.5m. Shropshire Council has also invested £2m into a local top-up scheme that further increases the level of funding available for voucher projects.

As a direct result of voucher funding, over 140 telecoms providers are currently actively building in challenging rural areas. Their ambitions have also grown, with the average size of projects increasing four-fold since 2019, meaning they are covering larger, contiguous areas and increasingly including the very hardest-to-reach premises.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department plans to establish a cultural export office.

This government recognises the importance of the UK’s creative and cultural industries, not only to the economy and international reputation of the United Kingdom, but also to the wellbeing and enrichment of its people. We support our world leading creative industries across the UK through a range of export support programmes, including the successful Music Export Growth Scheme and International Showcase Fund.

Creative SMEs in England can also access the Internationalisation Fund which provides matching grants for export support including attendance at trade shows. The Department of International Trade is setting up new trade and investment hubs in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the North-East to boost trade and investment and level up the country. The offices will include teams of export and investment specialists who can provide businesses with expert support and advice.

The Department for International Trade has also set up a new Export Support Service where UK businesses can get answers to practical questions about exporting to Europe by accessing cross-government information and support all in one place.

All of this support is featured in the new Creative Industries Export Campaign. This was launched on 20 September, and will encourage both new exporters and companies wanting to look at new export markets to take advantage of the new opportunities available to the UK as an independent trading nation.

DCMS continue to work closely with the Department of International Trade, the Creative Industries Trade and Investment Board (CITIB) and sector representatives to consider what more can be done to help the creative and cultural industries adapt to new arrangements in the EU and take advantage of the opportunities that the UK’s new global position offers.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that Shropshire plays a role in supporting the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Birmingham 2022 will be the biggest sporting event ever held in the West Midlands and it provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase the very best of the region to the rest of the world. These Games will be about far more than 11 days of sport and will create significant opportunities including job creation, community and sports facilities, an exciting cultural programme and a timely boost to businesses and tourism for the whole of the West Midlands. An additional £24 million investment to create a Business and Tourism Programme will ensure we maximise the economic opportunities hosting the Games provides for the region and the UK.

Birmingham 2022 is providing a boost for jobs and businesses across the UK, with a total procurement spend of around £350 million. The Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee, which is responsible for the operational delivery of the Games, held a webinar in November 2020 with the Shropshire Chamber of Commerce to highlight how Shropshire businesses can take advantage of the opportunities the Games will provide, including bidding for potential contracts. There will also be many other activities and opportunities open to the residents of Shropshire, including the volunteering programme which launched on 1 June 2021 and is seeking over 13,000 volunteers to help deliver the Games.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of people employed in high street betting shops in Shropshire; and what assessment he plans to make of that level of employment for the gambling review.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. The Review’s objectives include examining whether changes are needed to the system of gambling regulation to reflect changes to the gambling landscape, to make sure customers are suitably protected wherever they are gambling, and to ensure that there is an equitable approach to the regulation of the online and the land based industries.

The Gambling Commission requires gambling operators to have effective procedures in place for customers who choose to self-exclude. More information is available at: https://gamblingcommission.gov.uk/PDF/LCCP/Licence-conditions-and-codes-of-practice.pdf (Section 3.5). In March 2020, the Commission made it mandatory for online operators to participate in GAMSTOP, the national online self-exclusion scheme, which allows customers to self-exclude from all licensed online gambling at once.

The government recognises the value of a responsible industry which protects players, provides employment and pays taxes. It does not hold information on the number of people employed in high street betting shops in Shropshire.

24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to work with the gambling and gaming sector on extending self-exclusion provisions for problem gamblers as part of the gambling review.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. The Review’s objectives include examining whether changes are needed to the system of gambling regulation to reflect changes to the gambling landscape, to make sure customers are suitably protected wherever they are gambling, and to ensure that there is an equitable approach to the regulation of the online and the land based industries.

The Gambling Commission requires gambling operators to have effective procedures in place for customers who choose to self-exclude. More information is available at: https://gamblingcommission.gov.uk/PDF/LCCP/Licence-conditions-and-codes-of-practice.pdf (Section 3.5). In March 2020, the Commission made it mandatory for online operators to participate in GAMSTOP, the national online self-exclusion scheme, which allows customers to self-exclude from all licensed online gambling at once.

The government recognises the value of a responsible industry which protects players, provides employment and pays taxes. It does not hold information on the number of people employed in high street betting shops in Shropshire.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of additional redundancies that will potentially occur in the leisure and hospitality sectors as a result of the Government's 14 day quarantine policy for people arriving in the UK in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

We remain in regular contact with stakeholders, including UKHospitality, UKInbound and the Association of British Travel Agents, to closely monitor COVID-19’s economic impact on the leisure and hospitality sectors. No estimate has been made by my Department of the number of potential redundancies as a result of a 14 day quarantine.

We appreciate that the quarantine measures will present difficulties for these sectors. The quarantine policy will be reviewed regularly and the first review will take place in the week beginning 28 June. We are also working with the transport industry to see how we can introduce agreements with other countries when safe to do so, so we can go abroad and tourists can come here.

Leisure and hospitality businesses and workers can access the Government’s economic support package. These include the recently extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, loan schemes, as well as business rates relief and grants for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of the Angling Trust report entitled When We Fish Again; and what his timetable is for enabling the sport of angling to commence again.

It is vital that people continue to be active during the Covid-19 outbreak to support their physical and mental health


On 11 May, Government published updated guidance on lockdown measures, including updates on how people can remain active. From Wednesday 13 May, people are allowed to go outside more than once a day for exercise as long as they are following social distancing guidelines, alone, with members of their household, or with one person from outside of their household. People must still only exercise in groups of no more than two people, unless they are exercising with their household.

All outdoor sports and physical activities are now permitted, without time limit, including angling, with the exception of swimming in an open-air swimming pool. This does not apply to individuals’ private swimming pools within their own homes.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will hold discussions with representatives of Royal Parks on (a) extending cycle routes, (b) upgrading cycle route markings and (c) enforcing cycling restrictions on pedestrian only areas of the Royal Parks during the covid-19 outbreak.

Day to day operational management of The Royal Parks is matter for The Royal Parks charity. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to you to respond to your questions.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps with the Royal Parks to introduce designated areas for jogging that are separate from pedestrian areas in those parks in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Day to day operational management of The Royal Parks is matter for The Royal Parks charity. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to you to respond to your questions.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to improve (a) mobile phone and (b) broadband coverage in (i) The Wrekin constituency and (ii) Shropshire; and what the timeframe is for improving that coverage.

The Government announced in-principle support in October 2019 for the Mobile Network Operators’ (MNOs) Shared Rural Network (SRN) proposal. The proposal would share investment costs between the mobile network operators and government and increase 4G mobile coverage throughout the United Kingdom to 95% by 2025. It will be underpinned by a legally binding coverage commitment from each operator.

The Government's in-principle support is subject to detailed negotiations. While this is not yet a done deal, the Prime Minister has made improvements to rural mobile coverage part of his first 100 days pledge. I will continue to work with the sector to make that happen, but I will also explore all possible options to meet our mobile coverage ambitions, including rural roaming.

The exact site deployment plans and timescales will be managed by the MNOs themselves in order for them to best deliver the agreed coverage outcomes. So until the operators’ final radio planning exercise is complete, neither the Government nor the operators will know the precise location or number of new or upgraded masts. However, the operators will be consulting with local communities as the SRN rolls out across the UK.

According to Thinkbroadband, currently, 93.7% of Shropshire has access to superfast broadband - up from 5% in 2011. This improvement is thanks to the investment that both the government and Shropshire County council have made towards superfast rollout in Shropshire, including parts of Wrekin.

Taking into account the Council’s current contracts with British Telecommunications plc (BT) and Airband Community Internet Ltd, together with additional commercial commitments, Shropshire County Council expect 97% of premises in the Council area will have access to superfast broadband by 2021.

The Wrekin constituency currently has 97% of premises with access to superfast speeds, up from 72% in 2011.

Our Voucher scheme through the Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme is available to all rural areas in the UK and there are a number of providers who have been very active in utilising this and our previous voucher schemes in Shropshire, for example SWS Broadband who are headquartered in Shrewsbury.

15th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to help reduce the number of secondary schools teachers retiring early.

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

The department is taking action to support teachers to stay in the profession and thrive. The department accepted in full the School Teachers’ Review Body’s recommendations for the 2023/24 pay award for teachers and leaders, meaning teachers and leaders in maintained schools will receive a pay award of 6.5%. This is the highest pay award for teachers in over thirty years.

The department has also launched a new and updated suite of national professional qualifications for teachers and school leaders at all levels to help teachers to continuously develop their expertise throughout their careers so that every child, in every classroom, and in every school gets the best start in life.

Staff wellbeing is crucial to the department’s commitment to recruit and retain more teachers and support teacher quality. The department has made available a range of resources to help address teacher workload and wellbeing including launching the education staff wellbeing charter, which the department are encouraging schools to sign up to as a shared commitment to promote staff wellbeing. Further information on the charter is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-staff-wellbeing-charter.

The department has also convened a workload reduction taskforce to explore how the department can go further to support trust and school leaders to minimise workload for teachers and leaders.

The department are also looking at how flexible working opportunities can be expanded and promoted in schools to help recruit, retain and motivate teachers and leaders. The department has worked with school leaders and other sector experts to publish non-statutory guidance, case studies, and a flexible working toolkit. This is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-workload-reduction-toolkit.

These measures are aimed not only at helping more teachers to remain in the classroom, but for them to thrive in their careers.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will amend the national curriculum to include teaching on the dangers of (a) road collisions, (b) drink-driving and (c) driving under the influence of drugs.

From September 2020 in England, Relationships Education became compulsory for all primary school aged pupils, Relationships and Sex Education compulsory for all secondary school aged pupils, and Health Education compulsory for all pupils in state funded schools.

The statutory guidance for Health Education sets out the following content on drugs, alongside drug education as a statutory subject in maintained schools as part of the National Curriculum for science in Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3. Primary education guidance covers the facts about legal and illegal harmful substances and associated risks, including smoking, alcohol use and drug taking. Secondary education guidance builds on the primary areas and additionally covers the associated legal and psychological risks of using drugs.

In Health Education, there is a strong focus on mental wellbeing, including a recognition that mental wellbeing and physical health are linked. This includes teaching about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, including drug misuse. The Department has published non statutory implementation guidance titled ‘Plan your Relationships, Sex and Health Education Curriculum’, alongside teacher training materials. Further information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/plan-your-relationships-sex-and-health-curriculum.

The Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) statutory guidance states that, in both primary and secondary school, pupils should be taught the facts about legal and illegal harmful substances and associated risks, including smoking, alcohol use, and drug taking. A link to this guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

To support schools to deliver this content effectively, the Department published a suite of teacher training modules, including one on drugs, alcohol and tobacco, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-training-drugs-alcohol-and-tobacco.

Personal safety, which would include road safety, is currently a part of the Personal, Social, Health and Economic curriculum, but this subject is not mandatory in schools.

The Department will be launching a public consultation by the end of this year on draft revised RSHE guidance, so that interested parties can contribute their comments and ideas, including the impact of drink driving and drug taking on driving and road safety generally. The Department intends to publish final guidance in 2024.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
18th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has plans to update guidance to schools on the use of seclusion rooms.

The Behaviour in Schools guidance, updated in 2022, provides advice on situations that may warrant the removal of pupils from the classroom due to serious misbehaviour, and to maintain the safety of all pupils. The removed pupil should never be isolated but taken to a supervised space where they can regain calm and continue to engage in their education. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/behaviour-in-schools--2.

17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what data her Department holds on the academic achievements of schools teaching (a) Singapore maths and (b) other forms of maths teaching.

The Department draws on a range of published data about the effectiveness of teaching approaches, including from Ofsted, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). Mastery based pedagogy in mathematics promoted by the Department is informed by approaches in Singapore and Shanghai, jurisdictions that perform highly in international tests.

A randomised controlled trial funded by the Department’s Centres for Excellence in Maths Programme, which provided mastery teaching support for GCSE resits, found that students on the full intervention made one month of additional progress in attainment compared with students in other business as usual colleges. Students from a disadvantaged background benefitted the most, the research showed they made two months of additional progress.

Combined analysis of an EEF study of ARK Multi Academy Trust’s Mathematics Mastery programme at primary and secondary also showed an average improvement equivalent to one month’s additional progress over a year of teaching.

The latest Key Stage 2 results from 2023 showed that 73% of pupils met the expected standard in mathematics, which is up from 71% in 2022. The results from the latest Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) and Programme for International Assessment (PISA) international comparison studies showed that England performs above the international average for mathematics. Before the pandemic, England achieved its highest ever mathematics scores in the 2019 TIMSS international test for year 5 pupils and the 2018 PISA study for 15 year olds.

Ofsted’s latest mathematics subject report highlights how Maths Hubs, which are increasing the numbers of schools that are focusing on mastery pedagogy to 65% of secondary and 75% of primary schools by 2025, have contributed to notable improvements in the quality of mathematics education since 2012. Ofsted’s latest mathematics subject report can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/subject-report-series-maths/coordinating-mathematical-success-the-mathematics-subject-report.

27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will publish an action plan on steps to help local education authorities expand the provision of sign language courses for families of deaf children.

Funding is available through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) for qualifications in, or focusing on, British Sign Language (BSL) up to and including level 2. Approximately 60% of the AEB has been devolved to Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority, who determine which provision to fund for learners who live in their areas. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) provides the remaining funding for learners who live in non-devolved areas.

ESFA funded AEB qualifications include, for example, the level 1 Award in BSL which allows learners to communicate in BSL on a range of topics that involve simple, everyday language use, thereby giving them the basic skills and confidence in production and reception of BSL. It will depend on an individual’s circumstances as to whether they are entitled to free provision or expected to meet part of the cost through co-funding. Where community learning providers offer BSL courses, those providers are responsible for determining the course fees, including levels of fee remission. Some local authorities receive a funding allocation as part of the AEB, depending on the circumstances in each area.

For some BSL courses, Advanced Learner Loans (ALLs) are available. Parents can find more information about which qualifications are eligible at: https://www.qualifications.education.gov.uk/Search. More general information about the provision of ALLs is available at: https://www.gov.uk/advanced-learner-loan.

For parents learning BSL on an AEB funded course, there is also additional support available. The AEB provides funding to colleges and providers to help adult learners overcome barriers preventing them from accessing learning. Providers have discretion to help learners meet costs such as transport, accommodation, books, equipment, and childcare. Learning support funding also helps colleges and training providers to meet the additional needs of learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and the costs of reasonable adjustments, as set out in the Equality Act 2010.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will issue guidance to schools on identifying gaming disorders.

As part of the statutory relationships, sex and health education guidance, pupils are taught about the importance of online safety and the harms associated with excessive use. Pupils are also taught how to seek help and support for issues or have mental health concerns. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education/relationships-and-sex-education-rse-secondary.

Statutory health education, sets out that pupils are taught that although the internet is an integral part of life, they should understand the benefits of rationing time spent online, the risks of excessive time spent on electronic devices, the impact of positive and negative content and how this might affect mental and physical wellbeing.

Schools can also access the 'Teaching online safety in schools' non-statutory guidance. This includes content on how schools can ensure their pupils understand how to stay safe and behave online as part of existing curriculum requirements and when they should seek support. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teaching-online-safety-in-schools.

9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that there are enough teachers qualified to teach deaf and partially-deaf children.

The department is firmly committed to ensuring that children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), including those with a hearing impairment, receive the support needed to succeed in their education.

It is a legal requirement for qualified teachers of classes of pupils with sensory impairments to hold the relevant Mandatory Qualification for Sensory Impairment (MQSI). To offer MQSIs, providers must be approved by the department.

We have developed a new approval process to determine providers of MQSIs from the start of the 2023/24 academic year. Our aim is to ensure a steady supply of teachers of children with visual, hearing and multi-sensory impairments, in both specialist and mainstream settings.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will issue guidance to schools on the minimum notice which parents should be given of a decision to close a school due to bad weather.

The Department has updated its emergency planning and response guidance, which sets out how education and childcare providers should plan for and deal with emergencies, including significant public health incidents and severe weather. This guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/emergency-planning-and-response-for-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings.

All education and childcare providers should have emergency plans in place. The plans should detail what providers would do and how they would respond if any temporary actions needed to be taken in the event of an emergency, including severe weather. The aim of an emergency plan is to help providers respond effectively in an emergency, and, where possible, continue to prioritise and maximise face-to-face learning.

The guidance outlines that a good plan should cover how providers would communicate any changes to children, pupils, students, parents, carers, and staff.

16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if her Department will hold discussions with fee paying schools in (a) the Borough of Telford and Wrekin and (b) Shropshire on the potential impact of the introduction of VAT on (i) school fees and (ii) local state school (A) places and (B) class sizes.

The Department regulates and inspects independent schools to ensure that they provide a safe and suitable education for children. The Department does not monitor or regulate independent school fees, spending or financial arrangements.

The introduction of additional tax on school fees may make independent education less affordable and create place pressures on state funded schools with limited capacity. As a result, the Department has no plans to make changes to the VAT regime around independent schools.

6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment she has made of the extent of delays to Ofsted inspections of schools caused by the covid-19 pandemic; and what steps her Department is taking to clear the backlog of overdue inspections.

Ofsted’s routine school inspections were paused in March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension of routine school inspections was lifted on 28 April 2021. Whilst some graded inspections took place during the 2021 summer term, Ofsted returned to its full programme of routine school inspections in September 2021.

In November 2021, Ofsted announced its aim to inspect every state funded school by the end of summer 2025, so that every school will have at least one inspection between May 2021 and July 2025. Ofsted is confident it can meet this target

27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will visit Harper Adams University in 2023.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, will consider the request proposed by my right hon. Friend to visit Harper Adams University. My right hon. Friend will be notified as soon as a decision has been reached.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what childcare support the Government provides for (a) student nurses, (b) midwives and (c) paramedics; and what plans he has to increase that level of support.

Support for childcare available to students, including student nurses, midwives, and paramedics includes the Childcare Grant and Parents’ Learning Allowance. These schemes are available for full-time students with dependent children.

Since September 2020, for additional financial support to help with childcare costs, all eligible nursing, midwifery, paramedics and other allied health profession students have received a non-repayable training grant of a minimum of £5,000 per academic year. Eligible students with child dependants can also access a further £2,000 per academic year.

In addition to the above childcare support for students, all parents are eligible for the universal 15 hours of free early education which is available to all three and four-year-olds regardless of family circumstances.

Working parents of three and four-year-olds may also be eligible for an additional 15 hours of free childcare if they earn the equivalent of 16 hours a week at national minimum or living wage and under £100,000 per year. Students who participate in paid work in addition to their studies and meet the income requirements will be eligible for the additional hours.

Parents who meet these income criteria may also be able to receive support from Tax-Free Childcare, which can be worth up to £2,000 per year for children aged 0-11, or up to £4,000 per year for disabled children aged 0-16.

Further information on the childcare offers available to parents can be accessed at: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/.

6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide additional support to universities seeking to increase the number of places for students who want to study medicine.

The goverment funded an expansion of medical school places by 1,500 between 2017 and 2020, and student numbers were temporarily increased further by 616 in 2020 and 742 in 2021. There are no plans to increase the number of publicly funded medical school places beyond this, but we continue to keep this under review.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has held with Public Health England on the need for personal protective equipment provision for teaching staff at schools in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has worked closely with Public Health England (PHE) and stakeholders on our approach and guidance throughout the Department’s COVID-19 response. We have worked with PHE to devise a hierarchy of controls for all education settings which, when implemented, will create an inherently safer system where the risk of transmission of the infection is substantially reduced. This includes measures such as ensuring that anyone with symptoms does not attend their education settings, cleaning hands regularly, good respiratory hygiene, regular cleaning of touched surfaces, minimising contact and mixing and, where needed, use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The majority of staff in schools and nurseries will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work, even if they are not always able to maintain distance of 2 meters from others. Our guidance sets out clearly the limited circumstances in which PPE is required in educational settings, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has held with representatives of the universities sector on reopening residential accommodation for students who return to the UK from abroad and who will need to provide a UK residential address in order to comply with the requirement to quarantine for 14 days.

We are in discussions with Universities UK and other sector representatives on a regular basis to ensure that international higher education students are welcomed to the UK and we expect international students to be supported upon arrival by their chosen university during these unprecedented times.

We welcome the actions of Universities UK, who have set out principles for the sector to consider as it prepares for the autumn term, including encouraging higher education providers to think about how to support students during the self-isolation period.

The department has also published guidance to support providers in making decisions on re-opening campuses and buildings to students and staff ahead of the academic year 2020/21. Further information on this guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

International students who are considering studying at a UK higher education provider from September 2020 should contact their chosen university to find out how they are adapting to the COVID-19 outbreak, including how international students can prepare themselves for an autumn start.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children of key workers have attended school in (a) Shropshire and (b) Telford and Wrekin since 23 March 2020 or the most recent period for which figures are available.

On Monday 21 April, national data on pupil attendance in educational establishments between Monday 23 March and Friday 17 April was published, and is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings.

The data indicates that 84,000 children attended school on Friday 17 April, of which 62,000 were classed as children of critical workers.

The data is collected from individual schools and the published figures include estimates for non-response. Equivalent estimates have not been made at local authority level.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to promote apprenticeships in (a) The Wrekin constituency and (b) Shropshire.

We have introduced a wide range of reforms to improve the quality of apprenticeships and to encourage employers across England to create more high-quality apprenticeship opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. This year, 2019-20, funding available for investment in apprenticeships in England is over £2.5 billion; double what was spent in 2010.

Since May 2010 there have been 4,392,000 apprenticeship starts in England. Of these 35,260 apprenticeships starts have been in Shropshire unitary authority, with 18,090 in The Wrekin parliamentary constituency.

From August 2020 all starts will be on the new apprenticeship standards which are replacing frameworks. These are designed and driven by industry to create apprenticeships that are high-quality, providing employers in Shropshire and across England, with the skills they need. Over 510 standards have already been approved for delivery to apprentices.

We are working hard to encourage take up of our apprenticeship programme. The third phase of the Fire it Up campaign launched in January, targeting groups to widen participation in apprenticeships. Our 13th annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) took place in February. Nearly 900 events were held across the country, aiming to change perceptions of apprenticeships.

To ensure that young people hear about all the education and employment options available to them, in January 2018 we introduced a legal requirement for schools to give training providers the chance to talk to pupils about technical qualifications and apprenticeships. We offer a free service to schools through the Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge (ASK) project to ensure that teachers have the knowledge and support to enable them to promote apprenticeships to their students. In the last academic year, ASK reached over 300,000 students.

We are working with Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Local Authorities, to develop a sub-regional Apprenticeship Ambassador Network for the Shropshire area. This will also include a Young Ambassador Network. We are working closely with CapGemini and West Midlands NHS Partnership Trust to develop their apprenticeship programmes and recruitment in the local area. We are also supporting an apprenticeship and skills event in March where employers and colleges from the Shropshire/Telford/Hereford areas will be promoting apprenticeships.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to commission research into developing a vaccine to protect livestock from the Schmallenburg virus.

A vaccine for Schmallenberg virus was authorised for use in the UK in 2015. The marketing authorisations are still valid for GB and NI, but the vaccine is not commercially available in the UK at present.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will bring forward legislation to ban (a) new dogs and (b) cross-breeds in addition to those dogs already banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

The Government is taking urgent action to bring forward a ban on XL Bully dog types following a concerning rise in attacks and fatalities, which appear to be driven by this type of dog. We intend to have the legislation in place to deliver this by the end of the year.

20th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking with the Health and Safety Executive to reduce (a) farm deaths and (b) farm-related work accidents.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has responsibility for the regulation of health and safety standards on Great Britain’s farms. Agriculture has the highest rates of injury and ill health of any industry sector and the HSE is working with key stakeholders in the industry to change behaviours in order to improve the management of risks on farms. The HSE’s website - Agriculture health and safety - provides essential information and guidance on health and safety in agriculture. The industry, via the Farm Safety Partnership Farm Safety Foundation / Yellow Wellies - YellowWellies.org, is also a key partner in the HSE’s Working Minds campaign and supporting farmers to manage stress and mental wellbeing.

Defra works with the HSE to ensure that farmer feedback informs the HSE’s work.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he expects his working group on fertilisers to report; what assessment he has made of the impact of rises in fertiliser prices on farmers in Shropshire; and if he will make a statement.

On 31 March Minister Prentis hosted the first meeting of the Fertiliser Taskforce with key industry bodies to discuss potential mitigations to the challenges which global supply pressures are causing. On 18 May I hosted the second Taskforce meeting. Ministers will continue to meet with key industry bodies for further Fertiliser Taskforce sessions in the coming months, to help identify and mitigate potential risks. Defra fertiliser blogs on gov.uk from 30 March and 11 May have reported on the Fertiliser Taskforce meetings.

Global gas prices have impacted production of fertilisers internationally and domestically. Some international companies halted or reduced production, and some countries such as China reduced the export of some fertiliser products to protect their domestic demands. However, supply of all fertilisers in the UK has remained available throughout the last 12 months although high prices reduced demand from farmers.

While global fertiliser prices have risen, the supply chain providing imports of fertiliser to the UK has remained dynamic. CF Fertilisers continues to produce ammonium nitrate fertiliser from its plant at Billingham.

Government actions, such as bringing forward half of this year's Basic Payment Scheme payment as an advance injection of cash to farm businesses, will help farmers deal with high fertiliser prices.

We are monitoring the situation closely, including through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group. Defra is in regular contact with key industry figures including the National Farmers Union, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and the Agricultural Industries Confederation.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support his Department is providing to Harper Adams University to research the potential merits of automated farms.

Defra has developed an ambitious R&D package for England which will enable more farmers and agri-food businesses to become involved in agricultural R&D.

The Government's £90 million investment in the 'Transforming Food Production' (TFP) challenge, launched by UK Research and Innovation in 2018, is already supporting ground-breaking research and development to boost productivity and encourage technological advances. The Farming Innovation Programme was launched in October 2021 to build on this effort. The programme is made up of three separate but complementary funds, that will pull through innovation in different areas, from small farmer-led innovative research projects to larger industrial R&D projects that can transform the sector.

Harper Adams, in collaboration with Precision Decisions Ltd Agri-Epi Centre, was awarded a £1,577,964 grant through the TFP to support their Hands-Free Farm project. This seeks to operate a farm autonomously, whilst developing robotic skills and technology. Oats, wheat and beans were all successfully harvested autonomously in the last season. Through TFP, Harper Adams is also involved in the Dairyvision project which looks to develop autonomous monitoring and management of dairy cows to optimise their welfare and productivity.

As announced in December 2020, Defra has undertaken a review of automation in horticulture during 2021, covering both the edible and ornamental sectors in England. It is due to be published later in 2022. Defra Ministers engage and visit Harper Adams regularly.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support his Department is providing to Harper Adams University to research the potential merits of automated farms.

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

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help protect the pig industry from the affects of increases in feed prices.

Domestic feed prices are strongly influenced by global markets for feed cereals and soyabeans. These are currently trading at historically high prices due to tight global supplies. I recognise the impact that this is having on the UK agricultural industry including the pig sector. We continue to monitor the situation and are working closely with the pig sector on this issue and the other challenges they continue to face at the present time.

I recently met with representatives of the agricultural banking sector to discuss the current situation in the pig sector. The banks confirmed that they are working closely with impacted pig farmers during this exceptionally challenging period and remain keen to be supportive. They are encouraging any farmers, especially those who might normally be reluctant to speak to their bank, to contact them.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish an action plan to prevent divestment out of pig farming by farmers in England.

We continue to monitor the evolving situation and to work closely with the pig industry to help them respond to challenges caused by the pandemic, including the loss of exports to the Chinese market for certain pig processors, disruption to CO2 supplies, and a temporary shortage of labour in the processing sector.

We have provided a package of measures to help address these unique circumstances, which includes temporary work visas for up to 800 pork butchers, and Private Storage Aid and Slaughter Incentive Payment schemes to facilitate an increase in the throughput of pigs through abattoirs. Together with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and other Government Departments, we are working to both expand existing markets and to identify new export markets for pork, particularly lightly processed pork. We are also working with industry to support their efforts on the recruitment and retention of domestic workers.

On 10 February, I chaired a roundtable with pig industry representatives and retailers from across the UK to discuss the challenges that the sector has been facing in recent months. At the roundtable I announced that we will be launching a UK-wide review of supply chain fairness in the pig sector. We will be engaging with industry on this with a consultation expected later this year. We want to elicit industry views on improvements to fairness and transparency that could be made to ensure a profitable and productive future. Following the Roundtable I met with representatives of the agricultural banking sector. The banks confirmed that they are already being as flexible as possible to support pig farmers during this exceptionally challenging period and remain keen to be supportive.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to reduce the volume of low-value pig carcass imports from the European Union.

There is currently no evidence that retailers or processors are importing more pork from Europe. At the present time, volumes of imports are at their lowest levels since 2017 and in 2021 were around 9% lower than those in 2020.

The UK is reliant on imports of around 40% to meet consumer demand for pork. UK consumer preference is also for cuts from the leg and loin and domestic production is currently insufficient to satisfy this demand.

On 10 February, I chaired a roundtable with pig industry representatives and retailers from across the UK to discuss the challenges that the sector has been facing in recent months. As part of those discussions, retailers have been encouraged to work closely with processors to access more of our great British food, providing a reliable and sustainable food supply to the British public and help to reduce the current backlog of pigs on farms. I have also been speaking directly with both retailers and the hospitality sector.

We are also launching a UK-wide review of supply chain fairness in the pig sector. We will be engaging with industry on this with a consultation expected later this year. We want to elicit industry views on improvements to fairness and transparency that could be made to ensure a profitable and productive future for our pig industry.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to support steps being taken by the UK wine-making sector to become resilient against climate change.

Adapting to current and predicted changes to our climate is vital across the economy. Through our statutory framework under the Climate Change Act 2008, Defra works across government to promote climate adaptation and the nation’s resilience to a changing climate. The Act requires us to prepare, on a five-yearly cycle, a UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA), followed by a National Adaptation Programme (NAP), setting out actions to address the risks identified in the CCRA. To inform our third adaptation cycle, on 16 June the Climate Change Committee (CCC) published a new UK Climate Risk Independent Assessment (CRIA). It offers a detailed and up to date insight into the growing risks and opportunities to the UK from climate change and includes a technical chapter on the natural environment and natural resources, including coverage of opportunities for new crops and viniculture. It will inform our third UK CCRA, due for publication in January 2022.

The wine sector is excellent example of how our agriculture sector is already adapting to meet the demands of climate change and through this helping to build resilience in our rural landscapes and economies. One indication of this is the willingness of some famous champagne houses to invest in UK vineyards.

We work closely with the £18.7 million Strategic Priority Fund (SPF) UK Climate Resilience Programme, supported by UK Research & Innovation and the Met Office. This programme includes a project looking specifically at the risks and opportunities associated with climate change in the UK wine sector. A link to the project can be found here: crews-uk-characterising-and-adapting-to-climate-risks-in-the-uk-wine-sector-climate-resilience-in-the-uk-wine-sector/

A recent report produced by the South Downs National Park Authority indicates that 0.4% of land is currently dedicated to viticulture in the South Downs but that up to as much as 34% could be suitable for growing vines. This demonstrates significant scope to increase grape production both in the south and further north in the UK.

Mitigating and adapting to climate change remain one of this Government’s key objectives.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what new funding is available to farmers in England to help them to introduce crime prevention measures to help reduce rural crime.

Defra’s new Farming Investment Fund is intended to help farmers improve their business performance rather than support crime prevention measures. The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund will provide smaller grants grant to allow farmers to buy items from a set list of equipment and technology. The Farming Transformation Fund will support larger or more complicated investments. Defra will publish full eligibility guidance in the coming months.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with West Mercia Police and Crime and Commissioner on steps to reduce (a) vehicle theft, (b) livestock theft and (c) other rural crime.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Environment Secretary has not recently met the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner.

We recognise that there can be particular challenges in responding to rural crime. In particular, we are aware that dog attacks on livestock are a serious and growing concern to rural communities, police forces and farmers. To address this, we recently set out in “Our Action Plan for Animal Welfare”, published on 12 May, that we will legislate to ensure that new powers are available to the police so they can respond to the most serious incidents of livestock worrying.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to expand community garden kitchens in urban areas to increase food sustainability.

Defra has committed in the 25 Year Environment Plan to introduce stronger new standards for green infrastructure and to support local authorities to assess local provision against these new standards. This includes greenspace such as community gardens. The Framework of Green Infrastructure Standards will help all local authorities, developers and communities to improve provision in their area.

Later this year, the Government will produce a Food Strategy White Paper. This will support the development of a food system that is sustainable, resilient and affordable, and provide a response to Henry Dimbleby’s independent review of the food system, which is due to be published this summer.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of amending The Hedgerow Regulations 1997 to strengthen protections for mature hedgerows of less than 30 years of age.

Under the Hedgerow Regulations 1997 a hedgerow is deemed ‘important’, and is protected, if it is at least 30 years old. Although there is local variation, research has indicated that, nationally, over 70% of hedgerows in England and Wales are 'important' according to the criteria in the Regulations.

The Regulations therefore play a valuable role in providing statutory protection for a large proportion of hedgerows in the countryside, with the risk of removal now extremely low compared with when the Regulations came into effect. We consider that the current level of statutory protection remains appropriate and have no plans to amend the Regulations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th May 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what discussions he has had with the Diocese of Hereford on lost revenues resulting from the closure of places of worship during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Church Commissioners and National Church Institutions are in discussions with dioceses during this challenging period, including on the evolving financial impact. A series of structured interviews have been held with every diocese, including with the Diocese of Hereford at the end of April. Though too early for detailed conclusions, it was clear that the financial challenges will be significant.

The Church announced a national package of financial support for dioceses on 27 March, providing funds to support liquidity in dioceses where this was needed, with a further announcement following on 14 May. See: https://mailchi.mp/churchofengland.org/update-financial-support-for-dioceses-and-cathedrals-in-light-of-the-coronavirus?e=fbaf3379f3 We are continuing to consider how best dioceses can be further supported in terms of both immediate needs, and in strengthening their long-term missional health and financial sustainability

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with Shropshire Council on improving flood defences in (a) Albrighton and (b) Shifnal.

Officers from the Environment Agency have been working in partnership with Shropshire Council along with the National Flood Forum, Albrighton Community Flood Action Group and Shifnal Community Flood Action Group to come up with measures that will manage flood risk locally. This work is ongoing.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to support the World Food Programme distribute overseas aid to Yemen.

The UK provided £65 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) last financial year (2019/20), to help support the delivery of life-saving food assistance in Yemen. This funding provided 3 million cash transfers and vouchers to vulnerable Yemenis to enable them to buy food and household essentials. In addition to our food security support, we also provided funding to WFP’s logistics operation, which helped to coordinate the delivery of humanitarian assistance into Yemen.

We are continuing to support WFP in the delivery of emergency aid this financial year (2020/21) through our new £160 million funding commitment to Yemen. This includes funding for WFP, through which we expect to provide support to at least 300,000 vulnerable people each month, to help them buy food and household essentials.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what progress the St Kitts and Nevis Government has made in reforming its financial sector; and what support her Department is providing to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to regulate the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.

The UK does not have a bilateral development programme in St. Kitts and Nevis as it is a high income country and therefore not eligible for Official Development Assistance (ODA). However, we are providing technical support through the International Monetary Fund Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) to St. Kitts and Nevis to strengthen financial stress testing frameworks for the insurance sector. CARTAC is also helping to strengthen financial sector regulation and supervision by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank over the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund in helping countries agree trade agreements with the European Union.

The Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund (CARTFund) was launched by the UK Government in 2009 to help Caribbean countries and businesses implement and take advantage of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and support the region’s own economic integration initiative. DFID published an evaluation report in October 2015 at the end of the project, which found that it performed relatively well, particularly in relation to activities relating to the implementation of the EPA.

The UK has now signed the CARIFORUM-UK EPA with 13 CARIFORUM States, providing assurance to businesses, consumers and investors on the continuity of trade arrangements at the end of the transition period. Building on the recommendations from the CARTFund evaluation, DFID continues to deliver economic development objectives in the Caribbean including the UK Trade Partnerships Programme, which will support CARIFORUM States to implement and maximise the benefits of the CARIFORUM-UK EPA.

7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will redirect funding that would have otherwise been used for the cancelled phase 2 of HS2 to electrification of the Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton line.

I am aware of and grateful for Midlands Connect’s Strategic Outline Business Case which sets out the case for the electrification of the Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton line, as well as work from other local parties to identify and promote improvements to the line.

We are committed to a rail infrastructure portfolio which delivers benefits for rail users and value for money for the taxpayer. Individual schemes are assessed on their alignment with Government priorities and the strength of their business cases in line with the Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline policy.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to prevent the use of modified car exhausts which generate excessive noise.

The Department has been trialling noise camera technology to understand if it can be used to automatically detect when vehicles are excessively noisy, such as when car exhausts have been modified. As set out in the Government’s recent Plan for Drivers, the Department intends to publish the findings of the trial shortly and issue guidance to local authorities setting out minimum requirements and best practice for the use of noise cameras

Compliance with vehicle standards is monitored by the Department’s Market Surveillance Unit based in the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). Current and past market surveillance activity includes targeted investigation of both illegal vehicle modifications in respect of exhaust replacement and of the legality of silencers which form part of the exhaust system. Prosecutions will be taken where there is sufficient evidence to do so. There are currently cases of this type in the court system waiting to be heard.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will introduce legislative proposals to ensure that gig economy delivery companies are responsible for (a) the roadworthiness of delivery vehicles and (b) the driving standards of delivery drivers who use their delivery app platforms.

Vehicles used for deliveries weighing over 3.5 tonnes are subject to the annual roadworthiness test and also fall under operator licensing requirements. Those vehicles used by delivery drivers weighing 3.5 tonnes or less are also subject to annual roadworthiness checks under what is commonly known as the MOT test. All drivers of goods vehicles used for commercial purposes are subject to the relevant drivers’ hours regulations.

Vehicles used on the public road are required by law to be in a roadworthy condition.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
18th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve the (a) availability and (b) reliability of electric vehicle charging points on (i) public roads and (ii) the (A) central and (B) local government estate in (1) Shropshire, (2) Telford and (3) Wrekin.

The Government is supporting local authorities in England through its £381 million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Fund.

Shropshire Council has been allocated £2,006,000 of capital funding and £362,000 of capability funding through the LEVI Fund, to transform the availability of charging infrastructure across the area, including in Telford and the Wrekin.

Since 2017, local authorities across the UK have also been able to apply to the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS). Over 190 local authorities have been awarded grants through ORCS, which will help to support the installation of more than 18,000 chargepoints. Telford and Wrekin Council have been awarded £682,370 for the installation of 70 chargepoints, and Shropshire Council have been awarded a total of £992,330 for the installation of 150 chargepoints across two projects.

The Government has also laid regulations to improve the consumer experience across the public charging network and has published accompanying guidance. The regulations mandate open data to ensure that consumers can locate the right chargepoints for their needs, mandate 99 per cent reliability across each rapid charging network, and will ensure that a 24/7-hour helpline is available across the entire public charging network.

Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) and infrastructure grants are also available for local government estates. Eligible applicants can get up to 75% off the total costs of purchase and installation, capped at £350 per socket.

14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will commission research on the (a) potential impact and (b) prevalence of interference of 5G technology on the radio bandwidth of aircraft navigation systems.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is aware of the concerns around 5G and is actively monitoring any potential risk of 5G interference to radio navigation aids both nationally and internationally.

The risk of aircraft equipment failure remains inherently low but is under constant review. To date no UK or international reports of radio altimeter failure have been directly attributed to 5G technology. The CAA has issued a Safety Notice across the industry and continues to monitor any concerns that the 5G network could affect equipment onboard aircraft. It will keep this under review and update it to reflect UK and international developments.

8th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had recent discussions with National Highways on keeping motorways clear of litter in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

The Department works closely with National Highways to combat roadside litter along our motorways and considers National Highways performance against its litter performance indicator. However, specific regional operational matters are the responsibility of National Highways and relevant local duty bodies.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will hold discussions with Highways England on improving drainage on the M54 motorway in Shropshire.

I meet with National Highways regularly and will be happy to discuss any issues on the M54 motorway in Shropshire. National Highways are aware of minor recurring issues with drainage between the slip roads at M54 junction 3 on the eastbound carriageway, and the catch pit covers affecting both carriageways between junctions 3 to 4, and 6 to 7. These issues are present in extremely heavy rainfall, however, these locations are not recorded as flooding hotspots. These are recurring issues as they are prone to becoming blocked by straw blown off agricultural transport which uses this route very regularly.

National Highways regard the drainage system on the M54 as fit for purpose, and a routine maintenance regime is now in place to address the recurring issues on the route.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many dog attacks were recorded on public transport in the latest period for which data is available.

The Department for Transport does not record or hold this data centrally.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will hold discussions with transport providers on trends in the number of dogs, other than assistance dogs, permitted on public transport; and if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of dogs on public transport on (a) public safety and (b) carriage capacity.

The rules on the carriage of dogs on trains is set out in condition 24 of the National Rail Conditions of Travel. This states that up to 2 dogs can accompany the passenger free of charge. Train operating companies can allow passengers to take additional dogs onto the train but there may be a cost to the passenger for this.

This condition also stipulates that staff can ask that dogs be removed if they cause a nuisance or inconvenience to other passengers. On bus and coach, regulations state that animals are accepted onto bus services at the discretion of the driver. Bus and coach operators set their own conditions of carriage policies which may prohibit the carriage of dogs with the exception of trained assistance dogs.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will hold discussions with road safety and cycle representative groups on making it a legal requirement for cyclists to wear helmets on public roads.

The Department considered this matter at length in a comprehensive cycling and walking safety review in 2018 and held discussions with a wide range of stakeholders as part of that review. The safety benefits of mandating cycle helmets for cyclists are likely to be outweighed by the fact that this would put some people off cycling, thereby reducing the wider health and environmental benefits. The Department recommends that cyclists should wear helmets, as set out in The Highway Code, but has no intention to make this a legal requirement.

19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will hold discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on building greater resilience into the rail network as a result of climate change.

My department takes resilience of the railway very seriously. The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail includes a priority for long-term investment in climate resilience supported by smarter forecasting, planning and technology. The Department is working closely with Defra and the Climate Change Committee to ensure infrastructure risks are identified and addressed. Defra is the lead government department for climate change adaptation and is regularly in contact with the Treasury on the associated costs.

Network Rail has made significant progress in developing its understanding of weather risks and how these will shift as the climate changes into the future. Network Rail has developed a Weather Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation (WRCCA) Strategy which has helped improve governance, knowledge and practices throughout its business. There are a number of mechanisms through which it identifies, records and controls its risks, including its updated Control Period 6 Route WRCCA Plans and recent Asset Management WRCCA Plan. Further information can be provided on this is required. Network Rail is also working on implementing the recommendations of the Mair and Slingo reports.

Furthermore, the third National Adaptation Programme is due in 2023. It will showcase the government’s strategy and plans to tackle the effects of climate change, including how to protect people, infrastructure and the environment in heatwaves. For transport, this means working closely with transport infrastructure operators to take meaningful and measurable action to address risks posed by our changing climate.

19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take into account the impact of reduced public transport in (a) The Wrekin and (b) other rural areas on levels of (i) rural peripherality and (ii) socio-economic deprivation as part of his assessment of (A) the Telford and Wrekin Sustainable Transport Package and (B) other integrated transport bids.

When assessing bids for local transport projects, the Department considers a range of factors including alignment to strategic priorities, local context, deliverability, as well as financial, economic and commercial cases.

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential impact on people's (a) socio-economic wellbeing and (b) job opportunities of waiting lists for a motorcycle theory test.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency operates a six month forward booking window and tests are not available to book beyond this. All available theory test appointments are shown on the live booking system and any additional tests are added as soon as they become available. There is capacity available to book motorcycle theory test appointments within this window.

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to help reduce waiting times for a motorcycle theory test.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency operates a six month forward booking window and tests are not available to book beyond this. All available theory test appointments are shown on the live booking system and any additional tests are added as soon as they become available. There is capacity available to book motorcycle theory test appointments within this window.

3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his planned timetable is for making a decision on Shropshire Council's bid for Government funding for bus services across Shropshire as part of the Government's Bus Back Better strategy.

At the Budget we announced £1.2bn of dedicated funding for Bus Service Improvement Plans as part of the £3 billion we have committed to improve bus services over the course of this Parliament. Our aim is to announce indicative funding allocations by end of February.

6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of electric recharging stations across the road network.

The Government will provide over £1.3 billion over the next four years to support the continued roll-out of chargepoints on motorways and major A roads, in homes and businesses and on-street.

The Government is working with the operators of motorway service areas (MSAs) and major A road services to ensure that this charging provision is in place ahead of customer demand. The aim is to help support early adoption of electric vehicles and remove range anxiety concerns for drivers on long journey.

By 2023, we aim to have at least six high powered, open access chargepoints at MSAs in England, with some larger sites having ten to twelve. By 2035, we expect the number to increase to around 6,000 high powered chargers across the network. To ensure the private sector can continue to expand the charging network at pace in the 2020s, the Government will invest £950 million through the Rapid Charging Fund to future-proof grid capacity along the Strategic Road Network to prepare for uptake of zero emission cars and vans ahead of need.

Local authorities can already apply to the £20 million On-Street Residential Charging Scheme. Government also committed at Spending Review 2020 to a new Local EV Infrastructure Fund which will facilitate the rollout of larger-scale chargepoint infrastructure projects across England for local areas. Details of how local EV charging will be supported will be announced in due course and the fund is due to launch in Spring 2022.

Alongside funding support, Government’s forthcoming electric vehicle Infrastructure Strategy will define our vision for the continued roll-out of a world-leading charging infrastructure network across the UK. The strategy will focus on how we will unlock the chargepoint rollout needed to enable the transition from early adoption to mass market uptake of electric vehicles. We will set out our next steps to address barriers to private investment, and level up charge point provision.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of cancellations of West Midlands Railway trains travelling in and out of Shropshire.

The Department oversees the delivery of the West Midlands National Rail Contract (NRC) in conjunction with the West Midlands Railway Executive (WMRE), a consortium of 14 local authorities.

The Department and WMRE monitor the performance of West Midlands Trains (WMT) against its obligations on a four weekly basis and meets with WMT regularly (both formally and informally) to discuss these matters.

It is disappointing that the number of traincrew related cancellations on routes within the West Midlands has increased since the start of October and the Department and WMRE are closely monitoring the steps WMT are taking to address the performance problems, and, if appropriate, will be using the full range of remedies available under the NRC.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to prevent the import of modified (a) e-scooters, (b) micro scooters and (c) e-bikes that are capable of being driven at speeds in excess of the permitted speed limit for public roads in the UK.

In the UK, e-scooters are treated like any other motor vehicle under the Road Traffic Act and are subject to laws requiring them to be built and used safely, meaning that users need to have insurance, driving licences, number plates, and helmets. The law was not drafted with e-scooters in mind, and in practice users of e-scooters will find it a challenge to comply with these legal requirements. Offences relating to driving standards and speeding also apply. Ministers from the Department have written to micromobility retailers, and will do so again, reminding them of the law regarding the sale of e-scooters. It is in everyone’s interest that consumers can make properly informed decisions when buying these products about regulation and guidance being provided to retailers.

Electric cycles which can offer power assistance at speeds exceeding 15.5 mph, do not, in the Department’s opinion, comply with the relevant Regulations and therefore would also be considered to be a motor vehicle.

The law is very clear and there are existing penalties for improper use. Enforcement of offences relating to unlawful use of motor vehicles is an operational matter for individual Chief Officers of police in conjunction with local policing plans. They decide what offences may be appropriate in individual cases, taking into account the circumstances.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the increased use of micro-mobility vehicles and e-scooters, if he will include a new category in the STATS19 data system to record personal injuries and accidents caused by electric scooters and other micro-mobility vehicles on public highways and pedestrian areas.

Since July 2020 I have held four e-scooter roundtable meetings with groups representing the interests of disabled people, including those with sight loss. The most recent roundtable was have held on 7 June 2021. Local areas involved in the trials gave presentations on what they are doing to address the concerns of disabled people in trial areas.

We have instructed all local authorities participating in trials to engage throughout the trial period with these groups in their local areas to ensure their concerns are being heard and, where possible, mitigated.

E-scooters are treated like any other motor vehicle under the Road Traffic Act. As such it is illegal to use an e-scooter in spaces which are set aside for use by pedestrians, cyclists, and horse-riders. This includes on the pavement and in cycle lanes. The law is very clear and there are existing penalties for improper use. Enforcement of offences relating to unlawful use of e-scooters is an operational matter the police.

The STATS19 data collection system has recently been reviewed. As part of this review, it is proposed that a new category of ‘powered personal transporter device’ – including, but not exclusive to, e-scooters – is added to the list of available vehicle types in STATS19. Stakeholder feedback on the review recommendations is currently being analysed and is scheduled for publication alongside the next road casualty statistics later this year.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to protect (a) pedestrians and (b) disabled people from (i) micro scooters and (ii) other types of electric vehicles used on pedestrian walkways.

Since July 2020 I have held four e-scooter roundtable meetings with groups representing the interests of disabled people, including those with sight loss. The most recent roundtable was have held on 7 June 2021. Local areas involved in the trials gave presentations on what they are doing to address the concerns of disabled people in trial areas.

We have instructed all local authorities participating in trials to engage throughout the trial period with these groups in their local areas to ensure their concerns are being heard and, where possible, mitigated.

E-scooters are treated like any other motor vehicle under the Road Traffic Act. As such it is illegal to use an e-scooter in spaces which are set aside for use by pedestrians, cyclists, and horse-riders. This includes on the pavement and in cycle lanes. The law is very clear and there are existing penalties for improper use. Enforcement of offences relating to unlawful use of e-scooters is an operational matter the police.

The STATS19 data collection system has recently been reviewed. As part of this review, it is proposed that a new category of ‘powered personal transporter device’ – including, but not exclusive to, e-scooters – is added to the list of available vehicle types in STATS19. Stakeholder feedback on the review recommendations is currently being analysed and is scheduled for publication alongside the next road casualty statistics later this year.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had recent discussions with the Royal National Institute of Blind People and The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association on ensuring that bikes are parked in docking stations to prevent them being parked at random on pavements and in pedestrian areas.

The Department has regular discussions with its statutory advisors, the Disabled Person’s Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), on the transport needs of disabled people. I last met with the organisations mentioned in the question on 18th March 2021.

The Department has previously discussed this matter with stakeholders including local authorities and representatives from groups representing visually impaired people. Local authorities already have powers to deal with hire bicycles if they are causing an obstruction or nuisance.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish data for road traffic accidents involving e-scooters, electric bikes and electric skateboards on (a) public highways and (b) pavements in the last 12 months or the most recent period for which that data is available.

Data on personal injury road accidents is collected via the STATS19 system of accidents reported by the police.

Electric scooters and other micromobility vehicles are not currently one of the designated vehicle types collected in STATS19, and as such they would be classed as ‘other’ and can only be identified using a free text field in the STATS19 database.

Data for 2020 are currently being collated and validated. Subject to the data recorded in the free text field being of sufficient quality, we intend to publish data on e-scooters and other vehicle types which can be reliably identified from the free text field alongside the annual Reported Road Casualties Great Britain statistics publication in September 2021.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will issue guidance to (a) parents and (b) children on the use of safe transport to school including the safe use of (i) electric bikes, (ii) e-scooters and (iii) electric skateboards.

E-scooters and electric skateboards cannot be used legally on the road or pavement, and the Government would not therefore support their use as a safe way of getting to school. The Department is supporting carefully controlled trials of e-scooters in 32 trial areas which will inform future policy decisions on this matter.

The travel guidance on gov.uk, updated on 17 May, continues to recommend that people should walk or cycle where possible. The Department has no plans to issue further guidance on this matter but will continue to emphasise the importance of walking and cycling to school, and has increased to £18 million its funding of Bikeability training for schoolchildren in the current financial year. Only those over 14 are legally allowed to ride an e-bike, and, like all cyclists, they should follow the advice in The Highway Code. The Bikeability Trust will be reviewing its resources to help more schools prepare for Bikeability training, and will look to include information about e-devices in future.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will hold discussions with Network Rail on the potential merits of making available land for community garden kitchens in urban areas.

Network Rail run over 100 community schemes across Britain as part of their ‘Community Rail’ programme. They invite voluntary groups to transform disused railway land in their area including old platforms, land adjoining stations, and land underneath viaducts. Network Rail keep volunteers safe and make sure that all community schemes coordinate with and complement the existing railway operation.

Network Rail are always happy and open to discussing new ideas for local communities. My right honourable friend can contact Network Rail’s public affairs office at publicaffairs@networkrail.co.uk.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to support the use of electric mopeds and motorbikes by delivery companies in urban areas.

The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) provides grants for plug-in cars, vans, lorries, taxis and motorcycles, as well as funding to support charge point infrastructure at homes, workplaces, on residential streets and across the wider roads network.

Through the plug-in motorcycle grant (PIMG), zero emission mopeds and motorcycles are eligible for a grant of 20% up to £1,500. UK delivery companies and their riders are able to take advantage of this grant. Since the scheme launched in 2016, over 2,600 PIMG-eligible motorcycles have been registered in the UK.

Last year, the Government announced £582m to support consumer grants, including extending the PIMG to 2022-23.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help reduce noise pollution from motorised delivery vehicles in urban areas.

In 2015 the Department for Transport worked with other Government departments, the Freight Transport Association (now Logistics UK), and the Noise Abatement Society to produce guidance on good practice for quiet deliveries. The published guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quiet-deliveries-demonstration-scheme.

Regulations governing the maximum sound level of goods vehicles are harmonised at an international level and require new vehicles to demonstrate compliance before being placed on the market. Reductions in the maximum sound limit will apply to new vehicles being registered from July 2022 with a further reduction planned for July 2026.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Trasnport, if he will introduce compulsory traffic calming measures and hazard signs outside all (a) early years education settings and (b) schools to reduce the risk of injury and death to children.

Local authorities are responsible for roads in their area and are free to make their own decisions about the design of the streets they manage.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what contingency planning his Department has undertaken to avoid future disruption to air routes from volcanic activity.

The UK is prepared to deal with a significant Icelandic volcanic eruption. Since 2010, the Department for Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), NATS and industry have developed a bespoke response guidance, which is regularly exercised and updated.

We are confident that contingency plans developed by the government and the aviation industry, alongside actions taken by the Icelandic authorities, will reduce significantly the level of disruption arising from a similar eruption to that in 2010. Volcanic activity across Iceland is kept under constant scrutiny and the contingency plans can be deployed quickly if required.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he Department is taking to prohibit adults from using e-scooters on the public highway while carrying (a) infants and (b) other passengers.

It is illegal for e-scooters to be used on public roads other than as part of government approved e-scooter trials, which were launched last summer and will run in a number of areas across most of 2021. Only rental e-scooters can be used in trial areas, and they can only be ridden by a single person. The police in local areas across the country have a range of sanctions at their disposal to enforce illegal e-scooter use, including on the spot fines and placing points on any licence held by the user.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will hold discussions with (a) Uber Eats and (b) other mobile delivery companies on ensuring that their delivery drivers and vehicles (i) are roadworthy, (ii) hold comprehensive and public liability insurance, (iii) have undertaken driver standards training, (iv) do not undertake deliveries using pavements or other pedestrian only areas and (v) are equipped with adequate lights for night time deliveries.

The safety of anyone driving on our roads is a priority, and that includes those who drive for work. Employers have a duty to manage the risks of their work activities, and employees have a responsibility to drive safely; both are expected to take these responsibilities seriously. Anyone using a bicycle or moped on the highway has a responsibility to ensure that their driving and vehicle meets specific standards that comply with the law in the interests of their own safety and that of other road users and risk prosecution if they do not.

4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will consult (a) Uber and (b) other electric bicycle operators on the effect on visually impaired people of indiscriminate parking of bicycles on pavements.

Local authorities already have powers to deal with hire bicycles if they are causing an obstruction or nuisance on pavements or elsewhere, and are also able to introduce local byelaws as appropriate. The Department continues to monitor the impacts of bike hire schemes through regular engagement with stakeholders including organisations representing disabled people, local authorities and the scheme operators.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with (a) the Royal National Institute of Blind People and (b) other sight loss charities on the risks of bicycles being parked on pavements.

Local authorities already have powers to deal with bicycles if they are causing an obstruction on pavements or elsewhere, and are also able to introduce local byelaws as appropriate to deal with this. The Department continues to engage on this and other issues with the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), which provides expert independent advice on the transport needs of disabled people.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to expand the UK's network of hydrogen refuelling stations.

The UK is particularly well placed to be a leader in hydrogen and fuel cell powered transportation due to our high-quality engineering and manufacturing capability in relevant supply chains creating opportunities for investment and jobs. The Government’s £23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme is increasing the uptake of fuel cell electric vehicles and delivering new refuelling stations and upgrading some existing stations, as well as deploying hundreds of new hydrogen vehicles. We have consulted on ending the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans by 2035 or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible. As part of our consultation on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans, Government is considering what further measures are required to support the uptake of zero emission vehicles.

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will hold discussions with the National Federation of the Blind of the UK and and the Royal National Institute of Blind People on the use of e-scooters on pedestrian walkways.

I will soon be hosting an accessibility roundtable with stakeholders on e-scooters, and the National Federation of the Blind of the UK and the Royal National Institute of Blind People have both been invited to it. Trials of e-scooters will be starting soon, looking to gather evidence of the impacts of e-scooters for their users and other road users, including those with disabilities.

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward a scheme to ensure a minimum driving standard requirement for delivery drivers who use mopeds.

Riders of mopeds have to complete Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) before they ride a moped on the road. This training makes sure motorcyclists can ride safely on their own and ensures a minimum standard is met.

Moped riders, like other road users, are required to comply with road traffic law and may be fined, given penalty points on their licence or disqualified from driving if they disobey the legal requirements. If they do not adopt a responsible attitude or if their use of the highway creates an unsafe environment or causes nuisance, they may be committing a number of offences.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will hold discussions with representatives from major hot food delivery companies on reducing the use of petrol and diesel vehicles for customer deliveries.

My Ministerial colleagues and I regularly meet stakeholders to discuss our ambitions for greener road transport.

The Government is investing?around?£2.5bn??with grants available for ultra-low emission vehicles, as well?as funding?to support charge point infrastructure at homes,?workplaces,?on residential streets?and across the wider roads network. This includes motorcycles and mopeds, which are often used for hot food deliveries, and which are eligible for the plug-in motorcycle grant (PIMG). The grant, which was introduced in 2017, is worth up to £1,500 to reduce the upfront cost and support the early market for these vehicles. Since its launch, over 1,900 motorbikes and mopeds have been supported by the grant scheme. The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) was extended on 1 April 2020 to include eligible PIMG electric motorcycles. The scheme provides a rebate of £350 towards the cost of installing an electric vehicle chargepoint.

The Government specifically wants to target the decarbonisation of last mile deliveries in our urban areas. Since February 2018 the Department has supported the uptake of e-cargo bikes through a £2 million grant programme to help achieve this.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will hold discussions with representatives from (a) Deliveroo, (b) UberEats and (c) other online food ordering and delivery companies to ensure that (i) bicycles and (ii) mopeds used to deliver food meet minimum road safety requirements.

Employers have a duty to manage the risks of their work activities and employees have a responsibility to drive safely. Anyone using a bicycle or moped on the highway has a responsibility to ensure that their vehicle meets specific standards that comply with the law in the interests of their own safety and that of other road users.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to keep passengers on public transport who have travelled to the UK from overseas separate from all other passengers on public transport as part of the Government's 14 day quarantine policy.

The Government is encouraging passengers arriving into the UK to use their own private transport or to arrange with friends or family to collect them from the airport, port or station. If they have no other option, passengers are advised to follow the “Safer travel guidance for passengers” when taking public transport, which recommends wearing a face covering if they can, and keeping a 2m distance from others where possible.

The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what scientific advice he received from Public Health England on the public health benefits of quarantining passengers who arrive at UK airports.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply previously given to the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth on 20 May 2020, PQ UIN 43656.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve the provision of bus services serving The Wrekin constituency.

The bus market outside London is deregulated and decisions regarding service provision are primarily a commercial matter for bus operators. However, the Bus Services Act 2017 provides the tools local authorities need to improve local bus services and increase passenger numbers.

The Government provided £90,742 for Telford and Wrekin Council during 2018/19, to support vulnerable services.

In addition, we have announced a further £30 million for less commercial services. Telford and Wrekin Council has been allocated £77,984 which will be available from April 2020 if the funding requirements are met. This is from the £220 million Better Deal for Bus Users package to transform bus services. The Government’s ambition is to secure a long term, sustained improvement in bus services underpinned by a National Bus Strategy for England which will be accompanied by a long-term funding settlement.

On 11 February 2020, the Prime Minister announced there will be £5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links for every region outside London which may benefit bus services serving The Wrekin.

24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will hold discussions with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the potential effect of the gambling review on the employment of women in retail betting shops.

The Secretary of State regularly meets with Cabinet colleagues to discuss a range of policy issues and topics.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to support homeless people who require a fixed address to access public services.

If a Universal Credit claimant doesn't have a permanent address, there are a number of options available to them. They can use a 'care of' address, like the address of a family member or trusted friend. There is also the option of using a hostel address if the claimant is staying there, or in exceptional circumstances, the claimant can use their local jobcentre address.

There are varied and complex reasons behind a person’s homelessness and that is why it is DWP’s priority to ensure homeless people get the appropriate support they need to move into work so they can succeed and move on with their lives. This support includes help for people to make a Universal Credit claim and to access the Jobcentre Plus employment offer, with priority access to the Work and Health Programme. Jobcentres in England are required to offer a voluntary referral to claimants who may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to a local housing authority of the claimant’s choice.

The Department is committed to tackling homelessness and is supporting the manifesto commitment to end the blight of rough sleeping by the end of the next Parliament. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has worked closely with local authorities and the sector to offer vulnerable people safe accommodation and support. The ‘Protect Programme’, provides targeted support to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our communities from Covid-19, and builds on the success of the still ongoing ‘Everyone In’ campaign - by September it had supported over 29,000 vulnerable people; with over 10,000 in emergency accommodation and nearly 19,000 moved on into settled accommodation.

The Next Steps Accommodation Programme makes available the financial resources needed to support local authorities and their partners to prevent people from returning to the streets.

Alongside this funding, the Government is also making available the expertise from MHCLG’s Rough Sleeping Initiative and Homelessness Advice and Support Adviser Teams to help coproduce accommodation provision and related support services.

For the most up to date information relating to the Government’s response to homelessness and rough sleeping please refer to the following link

https://www.gov.uk/housing-local-and-community/homelessness-rough-sleeping

15th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to help patients see their preferred doctor at GP surgeries.

The Government recognises the importance of the relationship between patients and their general practitioners (GPs). However, in some cases patients may prefer to see another professional from the wider general practice workforce instead of a specific GP.

All patients must be assigned a named GP, and practices must endeavour to comply with all reasonable requests of patients to see a particular GP or other healthcare professional for an appointment. The 2023/24 GP Contract promotes the use of the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Continuity of Care toolkit via the Quality and Outcomes Framework Quality Improvement module.

We are building a diverse workforce of professionals in general practice teams who play an important role in providing and enabling continuity of care for patients.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether she plans to take steps to increase access to Abiraterone.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body that provides evidence-based guidance for the National Health Service on whether new licensed medicines represent a clinically and cost-effective use of resources. The NHS is legally required to fund medicines recommended by NICE, usually within three months of final guidance.

NICE has published guidance recommending abiraterone for the treatment of metastatic hormone-relapsed prostate cancer before chemotherapy is indicated and for castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer previously treated with a docetaxel-containing regimen. NHS England funds abiraterone for these indications of prostate cancer in line with NICE’s recommendations, making it routinely available for the treatment of eligible patients.

Abiraterone is not licensed for the treatment of non-metastatic prostate cancer and has therefore not been appraised by NICE for such use. NHS England is currently considering a clinical policy proposal for abiraterone as a treatment option for patients newly diagnosed with high risk, non-metastatic, hormone-sensitive prostate cancer, or in whom prostate cancer has relapsed after at least 12 months without treatment. This specific policy proposal is due to be discussed later this month, and if supported by a clinical panel it will progress to stakeholder testing by January 2024.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has undertaken research on the impact on patient illness of antibiotic courses prescribed by GPs for (a) five and (b) seven days.

The Department commissions research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). The NIHR has funded several studies on the impact of duration of antibiotic courses on patient illness, as well as antimicrobial resistance.

For example, in 2022 we funded the Cellulitis Optimal Antibiotic Treatment (COAT) study investigating whether a short course (five days) of flucloxacillin was non-inferior to a standard course (seven days) in terms of pain over days six to 14, in patients with leg cellulitis in primary care.

10th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to invest in IT systems to (a) improve the productivity and (b) reduce the administrative workload of GP surgeries in (i) Shropshire and (ii) Telford and Wrekin.

As part of our Delivery plan for recovering access to primary care, published on 9 May, NHS England committed to fund digital tools to make it easier for practices to receive, navigate, assess and respond to requests more efficiently. We are retargeting over £240 million of funding in 2023/24 for new technologies and support offers. These will, for example, make home blood pressure monitoring easier, improve the digital infrastructure between general practice and community pharmacy, and help practices implement digital telephony and a Modern General Practice Access approach.

These should improve productivity by saving time for general practice teams, and reducing unnecessary administrative workload across England, including in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin.

NHS England ensures that modern, integrated, secure and user-friendly digital systems are available through the GP IT Operating Model, the Digital Care Services catalogue and the GP IT Futures frameworks. This work supports ongoing improvements to procurement processes, a greater choice of nationally accredited digital suppliers and products that meet core standards, requirements and capabilities to ensure GP IT systems continually evolve and advance with minimal impact and disruption to care.

28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the health surveillance measures used by his Department to (a) detect cases of Marburg virus disease and (b) prevent people with the disease from entering the UK.

Testing for Marburg virus disease (MVD) is provided by the UK Health Security Agency’s Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory (RIPL) at Porton Down, including out of hours testing. Any clinician who suspects a possible case of MVD, usually based on clinical symptoms and travel history, should contact the Imported Fever Service (IFS). IFS is a 24/7 helpline, provided by specialist clinicians, who will arrange testing at RIPL as required and who will also advise on immediate clinical management and infection control. Details of IFS are available online at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/imported-fever-service-ifs

The risk of people with MVD entering the United Kingdom has been assessed as being very low based on the available epidemiology and geography of cases overseas. A specialist team undertake daily epidemiological global horizon scanning to identify any new and emerging threats, as well as any changes to existing overseas situations. Any change to information about current MVD outbreaks, or new incidents, will trigger a review of these risk assessments and consideration of additional potential public health interventions required.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
8th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support adults with cerebral palsy to remain economically active.

A range of Government initiatives are supporting disabled people and people with health conditions, including cerebral palsy, to start, stay, and succeed in work. These include:

- Employment Advice in NHS Talking Therapies, which combines psychological treatment and employment support for people with mental health conditions;

- increasing Work Coach support in Jobcentres for people with health conditions receiving Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance;

- Disability Employment Advisers in Jobcentres offering advice and expertise on how to help disabled people and people with health conditions into work;

- the Work and Health Programme and Intensive Personalised Employment Support, providing tailored and personalised support for participants;

- access to Work grants towards extra costs of working beyond standard reasonable adjustments;

- Disability Confident encouraging employers to think differently about disability and health, and to take positive action to address the issues employees face in the workplace; and

- the Information and Advice Service providing better integrated and tailored guidance on supporting and managing health and disability in the workplace.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to publish a (a) plan and (b) timetable for the elimination of cervical cancer.

In England, we are increasing the uptake of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) target of 90% through dedicated immunisation teams in schools where a 100% offer is made to all school aged children eligible for these vaccinations. Annually, HPV vaccines are promoted to university students as they start the Autumn term, and NHS England are planning a further HPV awareness campaign.

The NHS Cervical Cancer Screening Programme already aligns with the WHO’s target of 70% of women screened using a high-performance test by 35 and 45 years of age. Work is ongoing to improve this beyond the WHO target, through exploration into screening self-sampling via the YouScreen and HPValidate research.

A range of improvements and innovations have been brought in to help improve uptake in the NHS Cervical Screening Programme. For example, in some Primary Care Network areas, appointments can now be made in any Primary Care setting during evenings and on weekends, via integrated sexual health clinics.

There is currently no intention to publish a plan detailing these programmes.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will commission further research into the health impacts of e-liquids containing propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin in vaping products.

The Department is currently considering how best to commission further research into the health impacts of e-liquids, including those containing propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. In September 2022, we published the last in a series of evidence reviews entitled ‘Nicotine vaping in England’. This can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nicotine-vaping-in-england-2022-evidence-update/nicotine-vaping-in-england-2022-evidence-update-main-findings#:~:text=vaping%20prevalence%20in%20England%20in,0.6%25%20and%200.7%25%20in%202021

This report confirmed that vaping carries only “a small fraction of the risks” of smoking but is not risk free.

9th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of NICE bringing forward proposals to support the introduction of next generation of Evusheld to offer protection against covid-19 for those people for whom traditional covid-19 vaccines offer limited or no protection.

No assessment has been made.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for developing evidence-based guidance for the National Health Service on whether new medicines represent a clinically and cost-effective use of resources. NICE’s guidance is developed by experts based on a thorough assessment of the available evidence and through extensive engagement with stakeholders. NICE is only able to appraise medicines in relation to the conditions they have been licensed for. NICE’s technology appraisal process usually takes approximately nine months. The appraisal of Evusheld is underway as a priority and following an agreement with the manufacturer, NICE has already expedited the appraisal of Evusheld by one month and its independent Appraisal Committee will meet on 24 January to consider its draft recommendations.

30th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to take steps to help mitigate the potential impact of planned industrial action by ambulance workers on acute health services in (a) Shropshire and (b) Telford and Wrekin.

NHS England are leading national discussions to agree principles for determining derogations locally, including Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin. Employers and trade unions should discuss local derogations, which will identify which services are exempt from strike action in order to protect patient safety.

Exercise ‘Arctic Willow’, a multi-day exercise for integrated care boards (ICBs) working with trusts, is currently taking place. This will test the system to ensure services can respond to multiple, concurrent events. Data from this exercise will be coordinated through ICBs and submitted to NHS England. Findings will be complete by mid-December.

29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce waiting times for community mental health services in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

Through the NHS Long Term Plan, we are investing an additional £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24 to expand mental health services in England, including in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
26th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to ensure the future of the Veterans Mobility Fund.

The Government does not intend to reinstate the Veterans’ Mobility Fund

The Veterans' Mobility Fund was a time-limited fund set up in 2015 to provide support for veterans with serious physical injury resulting from their time in service. Although this fund is now closed, the NHS has a range of specialist equipment that can be procured through the NHS following an assessment of clinical need.

We are working with NHS England to ensure that there is no gap in provision for those who previously relied on the Veterans’ Mobility Fund. All equipment provided through the NHS must meet the clinical needs of the person who needs it whilst at the same time being available to all who need it. Enhanced support is available through the Personal Health Budget for Wheelchairs for those who required enhanced equipment.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will take additional steps to ensure the nuclear preparedness of England’s acute hospital trusts.

Acute, specialist, mental health and community National Health Service providers are required to have planning arrangement in place for the management of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents. Assurance of these arrangements are sought as part of the NHS England emergency preparedness, resilience and response annual assurance process against core standards.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether she has had discussions with relevant professional bodies on recognition of Ukrainian professional qualifications in the UK’s health and social care sector.

There have been no discussions between the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the relevant professional bodies on recognition of Ukrainian professional qualifications in the United Kingdom’s (UK) health and social care sector. Healthcare professional regulators, who set and enforce the standards that regulate healthcare professionals, are independent of government and directly accountable to Parliament.

The Government knows there are high-skilled Ukrainians in the UK who would be an asset to our outstanding National Health Service. Therefore, Government provided advice in Welcome Packs, given to all Homes for Ukraine arrivals, on how to obtain an international qualification recognised within the UK. This can be found at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1100294/Ukraine_Welcome_Guide.pdf

In addition, guidance has been produced in Ukrainian, Russian and English on gaining accreditation for medical professionals. This guidance will be published on GOV.UK in the coming weeks.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department's proposal for an A&E Local model at Telford Princess Royal Hospital would provide 24-hour, 7-day a week urgent care for local residents.

The new accident and emergency local model at Telford providing 24-hour, seven-day a week enhanced urgent care for residents is one component of the service changes outlined in the recently approved Strategic Outline Case for the Hospitals Transformation Programme.

13th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure an adequate number of NHS dentists in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

The Department is working with the National Health Service and Health Education England (HEE) to improve the provision of NHS dentistry nationally, including in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin. HEE’s Advancing Dental Care Review aims to tackle recruitment and retention challenges, attracting and retaining more dentists and dental care professionals in the NHS. These recommendations will be implemented through the Dental Education Reform Programme. We are also working with NHS England and other stakeholders to reform the dental contract, to ensure that working in the NHS is more attractive for dentists and other dental professionals.

The Department is working with the General Dental Council on legislative proposals which will allow the regulator greater flexibility to expand the registration options open to international dentists. The consultation on these changes has now closed and subject to its outcome, we hope to bring forward legislative changes later this year.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure an adequate number of NHS dentists in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

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

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust since the publication of the Ockenden Review.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to implement all the local actions set out in the final Ockenden Report. The Trust has participated in the Maternity Safety Support Programme since 2018. This programme involves senior experienced midwives and obstetricians providing intensive support to the Trust through visits, mentoring, peer support, review of key documents, sharing good working practice and leadership development to improve maternity services.

The Trust remains within the Maternity Safety Support programme and has a full-time dedicated Maternity Improvement Adviser (MIA) to improve its maternity services. The Deputy Chief Midwifery Officer, Sascha Wells-Munro, and the National Specialty Adviser for Obstetrics, Professor Donald Peebles, plan to meet the leadership team at the Trust on 12 May 2022 to agree any further support required, working with the MIA.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with NICE on including avoidant restrictive food intake disorder in NICE guidelines on the recognition and treatment of eating disorders.

The Department has had no such discussions. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent body responsible for developing guidelines in line with its established methods and processes.

When developing its updated guideline on the recognition and treatment of eating disorders, NICE concluded following consultation that avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is a relatively new diagnostic category, for which there is little evidence on which to make recommendations. NICE currently has no plans to extend the scope of the guideline to include ARFID.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will commission further research on the health impacts of nicotine on babies breastfed by mothers who continue to smoke.

We have no current plans to do so.

29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will hold discussions with the food industry on ending the use of cartoon and children's book characters on the packaging of high sugar food products.

The Department has ongoing discussions with the food and drink industry on measures to improve diets and reduce obesity including on the marketing and labelling of products high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS). This includes stakeholder engagement to assist businesses in responding to consultations. Businesses are encouraged to consider the health of their customers when directly targeting HFSS products at children.

The National Institute for Health Research Obesity Policy Research Unit, established in 2017 as part of our initial childhood obesity plan, will continue to review the evidence base of the effect of marketing and advertising on children, including the use of brand equity and licensed characters, cartoon characters and celebrities to promote high fat, salt, and sugar products.

22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps officials in his Department are taking with representatives of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to agree the timetable for introducing an A&E Local at the Princess Royal Hospital as part of the Future Fit Programme.

The Strategic Outline Case (SOC) on the reconfiguration of acute services, including emergency services, in Shropshire and Telford and the Wrekin has been submitted to NHS England and NHS Improvement. Under these proposals, accident and emergency (A&E) services will be consolidated on the Shrewsbury site and a 24 hours a day, seven days a week A&E local service will be provided at the Telford site. The SOC will be subject to an assurance review and will require formal approval by the National Joint Investment Committee before it can proceed to the next stage, which will include further detailed business case development.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) hold discussions with Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin CCG on extending the provision of GPs services in Shifnal and (b) agree a timetable for the completion of the proposed new GP surgery in Shifnal.

We have no current plans to do so. NHS England advises that the final business case for the proposed new surgery in Shifnal is due to be presented at the next Primary Care Commissioning Committee in December.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential (a) merits and (b) cost of building a single site hospital as part of the Future Fit Programme at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

The Future Fit Programme refers to the consolidation of the emergency services in Shrewsbury and Telford to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and to creating an urgent treatment centre model in the Royal Princess Hospital in Telford. The single site emergency centre proposal was one element of the clinical model developed in response to the case of change. Along with a planned care centre, it has been included in all options considered for acute hospital services since 2014.

It is for local commissioners to suggest new reconfigurations of services, including the potential of building a single site hospital. All reconfigurations should adhere to the local assurance process including public and local stakeholder engagement.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the recent Care Quality Commission inspection of the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of single site acute hospital provision for Telford and Wrekin and the county of Shropshire.

The reconfiguration of services, including a single site acute hospital, would be for the local commissioning body to propose. Under current proposals and following a decision made by the previous Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (Rt hon. Matt Hancock MP) after advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, accident and emergency services are to be consolidated onto the Shrewsbury site and a 24 hours a day, seven days a week urgent care model will be provided from the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will hold further discussions with relevant stakeholders on the provision of an A&E Local at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

The range of services being offered through the urgent care model at the Princess Royal Hospital will be determined locally in the business case development and approval process. This will include further engagement with local stakeholders.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the availability of the winter flu vaccine in (a) The Wrekin constituency, (b) Telford and Wrekin and (c) Shropshire.

No specific assessment has been made. General practitioners and community pharmacists are responsible for ordering flu vaccines from suppliers to deliver the national flu vaccination programme to adults. Vaccination providers determine the number of vaccines to purchase each year, based on their local populations, and eligible cohorts.

However, the Department works with flu vaccine manufacturers to ensure there are sufficient doses available. We have also secured a central stock of vaccines to meet additional demand which providers can access once they have utilised their own locally procured stock.

14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he plans to have with representatives of the emergency services on (a) proposals for an agreed national standard for decibel levels for sirens on emergency vehicles and (b) the noise pollution impact of those sirens on (i) pedestrians, (ii) cyclists, (iii) other road users and (iv) residential areas.

There are currently no discussions planned.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with representatives of the emergency services on (a) proposals for an agreed national standard for decibel levels for sirens on emergency vehicles and (b) the noise pollution impact of those sirens on (i) pedestrians, (ii) cyclists, (iii) other road users and (iv) residential areas.

No such discussions have been held.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what advice his Department has given on introducing stab proof vests for West Midlands Ambulance Service crews.

West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is piloting stab proof vests involving 22 volunteers at the Willenhall Hub, who will be regularly surveyed to understand the challenges and benefits of using this extra protection. The Trust expects the pilot to start in September.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to assess the effect of urban noise pollution on health outcomes in line with World Health Organisation recommendations.

Following the publication of the World Health Organization Environmental Noise Guidelines in 2018, the Interdepartmental Group on Costs and Benefits Noise Subject Group (IGCB(N)) was convened to consider any necessary updates to relevant government guidance. The IGCB(N) is a cross Government group led by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, that provides analysis and advice relating to the quantification and valuation of noise impacts. Its membership includes health economists from the Department and noise and public health experts from Public Health England. The outcome from the IGCB(N) review will inform any updated government assessment of the effect of noise pollution on health outcomes.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs on distributing surplus vaccines to Commonwealth countries.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has regular with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs to discuss the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccine distribution.

In February, the Government announced that the majority of United Kingdom surplus doses will be shared with COVAX.  As of 4 March, COVAX has delivered over 10 million doses to 16 countries, 14 of which are among the 92 most vulnerable countries eligible for support via the Advance Market Commitment which the UK has provided £548 million to support.

6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will amend government guidance to allow groups of up to 30 people to attend (a) Narcotics Anonymous meetings and (b) other mutual aid meetings provided that social distancing rules are observed.

Currently, support groups can take place in groups of up to 15 in a public place, if the support group is organised by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support to its members or those who attend its meetings. This includes, but is not limited to, providing support:

- to victims of crime (including domestic abuse);

- to those with, or recovering from, addictions (including alcohol, narcotics or other substance addictions) or addictive patterns of behaviour;

- to new and expectant parents;

- to those with, or caring for persons with, any long-term illness, disability or terminal condition or who are vulnerable;

- to those facing issues related to their sexuality or identity including those living as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender; and

- to those who have suffered bereavement.

We have to rightly balance the need for those to attend support groups, against the risk of transmission in large groups which is why we have limited the number to 15.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the human rights implications of introducing a 14 day quarantine period for UK and EU citizens arriving in the UK.

On 8 June new rules for international travellers were introduced in order to reduce the risk of new COVID-19 cases from abroad.

A legal Memorandum on Compatibility with the European Convention of Human Rights and EU Charter was completed for the regulations, which fall under The Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984. The analysis considered that the self isolation measure is a proportionate means of achieving the legitimate public health aims of the policy to control and reduce the domestic incidence of COVID-19.

The regulations remain under constant review to ensure that the border measures remain balanced, measured and proportionate to the public health response.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether UK citizens who have received a positive covid-19 antibody test result will be subject to the 14 day quarantine rule on returning to the UK.

Requiring international arrivals to the United Kingdom to self-isolate for 14 days is designed to keep the COVID-19 transmission rate down, reduce cases being brought in from abroad and prevent a devastating second wave.

Before considering whether antibody testing could ever be used to lessen or exempt specific individuals from self-isolation measures, we first need to improve our understanding of how the immune system responds to COVID-19.

COVID-19 is a new disease and the science around ‘immunity’ to the virus remains uncertain. There is no strong evidence yet to suggest that those who have been proven to have had the virus are immune. We do not know, for example, how long an antibody response to the virus lasts nor whether having antibodies means one does not transmit the virus to others.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has held with Public Health England on reducing the two metre social distancing rule to one metre in line with World Health Organisation guidance.

The Government maintains that, wherever possible, two metre social distancing should continue to be adhered to. The Government collaborates closely with Public Health England to ensure guidance on two metre social distancing is kept up to date as the regulations change in light of latest medical and scientific evidence.

In easing the lockdown, the Government accepts that maintaining two metre social distancing may be difficult in certain circumstances and will be issuing updated workplace guidance to address that and, subject to legislation, is mandating the use of face coverings on public transport from 15 June.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps with the hospitality industry to prohibit smoking outside restaurants and food outlets.

The Health Act 2006 and the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006 made it illegal to smoke in public enclosed or substantially enclosed areas and workplaces. Should a business in the hospitality industry wish to introduce their own non-smoking policy for outside space which is not captured under the Health Act 2006 and the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006, they are able to do so.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to allow local councils to prohibit smoking outside (a) restaurants and (b) other food outlets.

The Government has a track record of reducing the harm caused by tobacco. The United Kingdom is a world leader and has been rated the best in Europe on tobacco control by independent experts.

The Health Act 2006 and the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006 made it illegal to smoke in public enclosed or substantially enclosed areas and workplaces. Local authorities retain overall responsibility for the enforcement of the smokefree legislation and retain the power to make by-laws.

We support development and implementation of smoke-free policies locally in and around public premises. We believe local authorities are best placed to make decisions about the local populations which they serve.


Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress his Department has made on research into the treatment of mitochondrial disease.

The Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) supports three Biomedical Research Centres (BRC) and two Clinical Research Facilities that are carrying out research on mitochondrial disease. This includes a project from the NIHR BRC in Great Ormond Street on novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for mitochondrial disorders.

The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including mitochondrial disease; it is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to maintain the level of out of hours GP cover in The Wrekin constituency.

Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has advised that it is undertaking a number of steps to maintain the level of out of hours (OOH) general practitioner (GP) cover in the region. The CCG provide a GP out of hours service, which is part of an Integrated Urgent Care Service that is commissioned jointly across the 16 CCGs of the West Midlands. The OOH GP service is covered by a combination of full-time GPs, as well as local GPs that provide OOH cover on a sessional basis. Extended access appointments and enhanced access appointments are also available to ensure patients have the care they need, at the right place and the right time.

NHS England and NHS Improvement, working with stakeholders, are undertaking a national review of access to general practice services. The main objectives of the review are to consider how to improve access to general practice services both in hours and at evenings and weekends, to reduce the variations in patient experiences around the country, and to reduce the inequalities in access for specific groups in society.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will bring forward proposals to improve children's dental health to reduce the number of children admitted to hospital for dental extractions.

The Government is committed to improving oral health, particularly of deprived children. Children’s oral health is now better than it has ever been, with over 75% of five-year olds in England now decay free.

Latest data from the NHS Outcomes Framework shows that the number of tooth extractions due to decay for children admitted as inpatients to hospital, aged 10 years and under has dropped from to 424.6 in 2017/18 to 409.4 in 2018/19 (a decrease of 3.6%).

The Government’s Green Paper, ‘Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s’, published in July, committed to consulting on options for rolling out a national school toothbrushing scheme in more pre-school settings and primary schools, and to consulting on the role water companies can play to support a water fluoridation initiative in England. Both of these proposals will aim to improve the oral health of the most deprived children in all areas of the country and help to reduce the number of children needing tooth extractions.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, if he has had discussions with the Commonwealth secretariat on the potential merits of observing the upcoming general election in Pakistan.

The Commonwealth Secretariat's observation missions are important for supporting resilient democratic institutions across the Commonwealth, in line with the values of the Commonwealth Charter. We work with Commonwealth partners and our network of overseas posts to ensure missions have the support they need to carry out their work successfully.

The Secretariat has supported Pakistan in recent years to improve its election management, including increasing women's participation. We would support a decision of the Secretariat to deploy a Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) ahead of the election in Pakistan.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the impact on UK strategic interests in the Caribbean of the presence of Chinese military personnel in Cuba.

The Foreign Secretary's Mansion House speech earlier this year set out the UK's global approach to China. The Foreign Secretary underlined that the UK would be firm in pushing back wherever we judged Chinese actions were against British interests while engaging directly with China, bilaterally and multilaterally, to preserve and create open, constructive, and stable relations reflecting China's global importance. We continue to monitor the situation in Cuba and any potential impact on UK strategic interests.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies on the level of Official Development Assistance provided to Cuba and of Cuban nationals undertaking military training in Russia to fight with the Russian military in Ukraine.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office does not currently provide any bilateral ODA funding to Cuba. We will continue to monitor reports that Cuban nationals living in Russia may have joined the Russian army in exchange for Russian citizenship and be fighting in Ukraine. Russia's assault on Ukraine is an unprovoked, premeditated and barbaric attack against a sovereign democratic state. The UK and countries all around the world remain united in condemning Russia's egregious violation of international law and the UN Charter.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will hold discussions with his Cuban counterpart on the implications for his policies of Cuban citizens joining the Russian army to fight in the war in Ukraine.

We have and will continue to raise Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukraine with the Cuban government and will continue to monitor reports that Cuban nationals living in Russia may have joined the Russian army in exchange for Russian citizenship and be fighting in Ukraine. Russia's assault on Ukraine is a premeditated and barbaric attack against a sovereign democratic state. The UK and countries all around the world remain united in condemning Russia's egregious violation of international law and the UN Charter.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the impact of allegations that Cuban nationals are undertaking military training in Belarus with the consent of the Cuban government on the UK's bilateral relations with Cuba.

We continue to monitor reports of the discussion of potential military co-operation between Belarus and Cuba, following comments made by the Belarus Deputy Defence Minister. The UK has a long standing policy of engagement with Cuba. Our relationship allows us to collaborate positively in areas of mutual interest and to talk frankly on matters where our views and interests differ.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make it his policy to introduce sanctions on people in Russia who have been sanctioned by the US and Canadian governments for their role in the prosecution of the British national Vladimir Kara-Murza.

The UK Government does not speculate on future designations as to do so could reduce their impact. To date, we have sanctioned over 1500 individuals and entities through the Russia Sanctions Regime, and over 90 individuals and entities under the UK's Global Human Rights Regime. This includes individuals involved in Mr Kara-Murza's case, such as jailer Dmitry Komnov and Judge Podoprigorov.

The UK continues to raise Mr Kara-Murza's case with the Russian authorities and call for his release. Officials have attended his court hearings, and will attend a hearing on Tuesday 28 March. We remain vigilant to attempts by the Russian government to exclude diplomats from future hearings.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will hold discussions with the EU on securing visa-free access for UK nationals to the Schengen area for up to 180 days at a time.

The UK's Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU confirms that both the UK and EU currently provide for visa-free travel for short-term visits for each other's nationals in accordance with their respective laws.

The UK's offer to EU citizens is the same as our offer to the nationals of all other countries. Similarly, the EU has legislated to grant British citizens the same visa-free travel permissions they offer as standard to all other third countries.

Negotiations with the EU have concluded and the Government's focus is on the smooth, robust and effective implementation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential impact of the proposed foreign agent law in Georgia on NGO support for (a) internally displaced persons, (b) enhancing the rule of law and (c) strengthening democracy.

We welcome the news that the Georgian Government has announced that its draft "foreign agents" law will be withdrawn. The draft law, had it been adopted, would likely have harmed Georgia's democratic development through hindering the ability of Georgia's friends and international partners to support civil society and media freedom. It would have made delivery of UK programming extremely challenging. The UK remains committed to supporting a vibrant civil society in Georgia, an essential attribute of a healthy democracy, and remains a committed supporter of Georgia's continued integration into Euro-Atlantic structures in line with the wishes of the Georgian people.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential impact on peace and stability in the Middle East of reports that Russia has supplied anti-tank (a) missile and (b) missile technology to Iran; and if he will make a statement.

The UK is clear that Russia and Iran's relationship does not just affect Ukraine. On 9 December in a statement the Foreign Secretary highlighted Russia's offer of military and technical support to the Iranian regime and the risk this poses to international security and our partners in the Middle East.

Alongside our allies the Government has introduced severe sanctions against Russia's defence industry, including prohibiting exports of defence equipment to Russia. UNSCR 2231 also limits the ability of states to share certain missile technology with Iran. We will continue to work with the international community to hold Russia and Iran to account and deter others from supporting and benefitting from Russia's illegal war in Ukraine.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will take steps to introduce sanctions under the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 on (a) S.V. Kolesnikov, (b) Oleg Viktorovich Alypov, (c) Marina Andreevna Bobek and (d) Anna Evgenievna Potychko of the Prosecutors Office of the Russian Federation following the detention of Vladimir Kara-Murza.

The UK Government does not speculate on future designations as to do so could reduce their impact. To date, the UK has sanctioned more than 1200 individuals and 130 entities through its Russia Sanctions Regime. Under the UK's Global Human Rights Regime, the Government has sanctioned more than 80 individuals and entities.

The UK continues to raise Mr Kara-Murza's case with the Russian authorities and call for his release. British Embassy officials have attended Vladimir Kara-Murza's court hearings, the most recent being on 8 February. We will continue to attend, but remain vigilant to attempts by the Russian government to exclude diplomats from future hearings.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish the number of prison visits made by UK diplomats to visit the joint British citizen Vladimir Kara-Murza in detention in Moscow; and what assessment he has made of (a) the adequacy of his custodial conditions and (b) his health.

British Embassy officials have attended Vladimir Kara-Murza's court hearings, the most recent being on 25 January. We will continue to attend, but remain vigilant to attempts by the Russian government to exclude diplomats from future hearings. The UK continues to raise Mr Kara-Murza's case with the Russian authorities and call for his release. We are providing consular support to his family and continue to request consular access. Last month I [Minister Docherty] met with Mr Kara-Murza's wife, Evgenia. We condemn the politically motivated detention of Mr Kara-Murza, and of all those who speak out against Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to the Russian Government on the detention of the joint British citizen Vladimir Kara-Murza.

British Embassy officials have attended Vladimir Kara-Murza's court hearings, the most recent being on 25 January. We will continue to attend, but remain vigilant to attempts by the Russian government to exclude diplomats from future hearings. The UK continues to raise Mr Kara-Murza's case with the Russian authorities and call for his release. We are providing consular support to his family and continue to request consular access. Last month I [Minister Docherty] met with Mr Kara-Murza's wife, Evgenia. We condemn the politically motivated detention of Mr Kara-Murza, and of all those who speak out against Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will ensure that UK diplomats are present at the trial in Moscow of the joint British citizen Vladimir Kara-Murza.

British Embassy officials have attended Vladimir Kara-Murza's court hearings, the most recent being on 25 January. We will continue to attend, but remain vigilant to attempts by the Russian government to exclude diplomats from future hearings. The UK continues to raise Mr Kara-Murza's case with the Russian authorities and call for his release. We are providing consular support to his family and continue to request consular access. Last month I [Minister Docherty] met with Mr Kara-Murza's wife, Evgenia. We condemn the politically motivated detention of Mr Kara-Murza, and of all those who speak out against Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish as part of the Integrated Review a UK defence and security strategy for (a) the Sahel and (b) sub-Saharan Africa which includes the implications for the UK's border security and national security.

The Integrated Review sets out the Government's approach to security, defence, development and foreign policy across the world, including with African countries. In line with current practice, we have no plans at present to publish a written version of an Integrated Review sub-strategy on the Sahel or sub-Saharan Africa. We continue to share information on the implementation of our approach through various channels including speeches, visits, articles and social media. Our vision in Africa remains to promote British interests through partnerships with African countries and institutions that lead to a freer, safer, more prosperous, healthier and greener continent.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
31st Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make it his policy to launch a review of his Department's response to the evacuation of UK nationals from Afghanistan, including the effectiveness of that evacuation.

Following the Afghanistan response in August 2021, the FCDO conducted a lessons learning exercise, as is standard practice after a crisis. It focused on the FCDO crisis response systems, structures and ways of working. The FCDO is implementing the recommendations. The Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) conducted a detailed enquiry, to which the then Foreign Secretary and Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon gave oral evidence and responded to requests for written information on the evacuation. A summary of the lessons learned was shared with the FAC in March 2022. The FAC published the Government's response to the FAC's report in July 2022. The FCDO Management Board reviewed progress in January and an update was shared with the FAC on 8 February.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will bring forward sanctions on individuals within the Russian orthodox church who are shown to be complicit in alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

The UK Government does not speculate on specific future sanctions, as to do so could reduce their impact. The UK will continue to hold those who support Putin's brutal war of aggression against Ukraine to account. Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the UK has sanctioned over 1,200 individuals, including Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will take steps to extend sanctions against Iranian government (a) officials and (b) agencies.

The UK has designated over 300 Iranian individuals and entities in relation to their roles in human rights violations, weapons proliferation, destabilising activity in the region and terrorism. On 23 January we announced sanctions on the deputy Prosecutor General and six other individuals and entities responsible for the regime's violent crackdown on protestors; this brings to 50 the number of new designations since October 2022 under the UK's Iran Human Rights regime. It is longstanding practice not to speculate on future sanctions designations, but we keep our designations list under constant review and will continue to work with partners to ensure the Iranian regime is held to account for its appalling actions.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department is taking steps to support the establishment of a special tribunal to investigate the crime of aggression against Ukraine.

The UK is committed to holding Russia to account for its actions in Ukraine, including by supporting the International Criminal Court and Ukrainian domestic investigations into alleged crimes committed in Ukraine. The UK has also accepted Ukraine's invitation to join a 'core group' to consider options for ensuring criminal accountability for allegations of the crime of aggression.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has plans to further increase the UK's bilateral relationship with Japan.

The UK-Japan bilateral relationship is a strong and wide-ranging partnership. It is an increasingly deep and broad relationship, encompassing close collaboration in areas from security and defence to science and innovation. Our economic relationship is going from strength to strength following agreement of our bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 2020, which we are now seeking to implement in full. In the security and defence space, Japan and the UK have agreed in principle the Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) and we continue to work on closer collaboration on combat air programmes. As fellow members of the G7 and ahead of Japan's G7 Presidency next year, we look forward to continuing to grow the UK-Japan relationship.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will introduce new sanctions on Iran to prevent the import of spares and parts used in the manufacture of drones used for attacks against (a) Ukraine, (b) Israel and (c) international shipping.

Iran's support for the Russian military campaign in Ukraine is deplorable, and the supply of drones is in violation of UN Security Council resolution 2231. Iran is profiting from Russia's attacks on Ukrainian citizens, causing human suffering and the destruction of critical infrastructure. On 20 October, the UK introduced a sanctions package that targets Iranian individuals and business responsible for supplying Russia with drones. It is longstanding practice not to speculate on future sanctions designations, as to do so could reduce the impact of the designations. A full list is available on the UK Sanctions List.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-sanctions-on-iran-relating-to-human-rights

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will hold discussions with social media companies on taking steps to help improve the consistency of access to social media in (a) Iran, (b) Myanmar and (c) other countries during periods of heightened political tension.

We publicly oppose governments who restrict or disrupt access to the internet or mobile platforms all with the aim of frustrating the exercise of democratic rights online, and we condemn online attacks against women and girls, including journalists, political candidates, or others engaging in public debate who are targeted for their expression. We also remain troubled by the way in which social media platforms enable the promulgation of disinformation and hate speech against minorities, for example the Rohingya in Myanmar. We are committed to working with the international community and our partners, including social media platforms, to promote a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace and see digital freedom win out over digital authoritarianism.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will hold discussions with his Kenyan counterpart on freedom of the media in Kenya following the recent presidential elections.

The August 2022 Presidential elections, while reflecting areas of real progress, exposed some weaknesses within the media sector in Kenya. As part of the UK's engagement on democratic reforms, open society and independence of institutions, the UK will discuss how to strengthen media freedom with the Government of Kenya once the new administration has been appointed.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will hold discussions with her counterparts in Commonwealth countries on ending the death penalty for (a) minors and (b) people who are mentally incapacitated.

It is the longstanding policy of the UK Government to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances, especially in cases that do not meet the minimum standards defined by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We regularly engage with governments, including in Commonwealth countries, on human rights and the death penalty.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to encourage (a) political dialogue and (b) the peaceful resolution of disputes between political parties in Bosnia.

The UK remains committed to ensuring peace, and upholding international law in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). In the UN Security Council in recent weeks, we helped renew the EU's stabilisation force's (EUFOR's) mandate for a further 12 months, and supported the High Representative. The High Representative has an essential role in securing and maintaining lasting peace in BiH, and has the UK's full support, including for the use of executive powers should the situation require. The UK liaises closely with the EUFOR commander and his team on their vital work to ensure a safe and secure environment in BiH. We also support the NATO Headquarters in Sarajevo, including though the secondment of UK staff officers, who are building the capacity of the BiH Armed Forces. The UK also works closely with political parties, civil society and community leaders to support reconciliation efforts, to tackle legacy issues, and to build common purpose around a brighter future for all citizens. The UK rejects efforts to undermine BiH's stability, and will continue to support BiH in implementing domestic reforms and tackling challenges to peace and security.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the Government of Burkina Faso to tackle regional terrorism.

The UK is concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Burkina Faso. On 11 June, I spoke with the Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso. I gave my condolences for the Solhan attack on 4 June (the deadliest attack to take place in Burkina Faso since 2015) and discussed UK support to regional stability in the Sahel. Following presidential elections in Burkina Faso in 2020, I welcomed President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré's commitment to peace and development during his second term in office. I have since discussed regional insecurity and its impact on Burkina Faso with him in January this year. The UK Government is providing security assistance to the wider region. Through our deployment to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA), our deployment of Chinook helicopters to the French counter-terrorism mission Barkhane, and our programmatic support for stabilisation and conflict resolution, the UK is committed to building long-term peace and stability in the Sahel. We also provide humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable in the region, including to some of those affected by conflict in Burkina Faso.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the Government's position is on the Cyprus issue; and if he will publish the outputs of his recent visit to Northern Cyprus.

The UK remains committed to supporting the UN process to reach a Cyprus Settlement. On 27-29 April, in support of the efforts led by the UN Secretary General to find common ground on a way forward to resolve the Cyprus Issue, the Foreign Secretary represented the UK as a Guarantor Power at informal UN talks in Geneva.

At the meeting, the Foreign Secretary continued to urge all sides to demonstrate flexibility and compromise to find a solution to the Cyprus Issue within the UN Security Council parameters. This followed UK engagement with the parties ahead of the talks, including the Foreign Secretary's visit to the island on 4 February where he met President Anastasiades, Turkish Cypriot leader Tatar and the UN. Ahead of the talks, during my visit to Cyprus (7-9 April), I reiterated this message and the UK's support for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what his policy is on Cyprus and the UK's continuing commitment to UN Resolutions 789 and 550.

The UK is a strong supporter of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue, based on the existing parameters as set out in relevant Security Council Resolutions, including UN Security Council Resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992).

A Cyprus Settlement remains key to resolving wider tensions in the region. We are supportive of the UN Secretary General's efforts and the proposal of the informal meeting between the parties ("5+UN"). The UK stands ready to engage with any meetings in support of the settlement process.

10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what additional support the Government is giving to the Government of Mozambique in response to recent terrorist attacks in that country.

The UK is deeply concerned by the deteriorating security situation in northern Mozambique, and the increasing attacks by groups with links to Islamic extremism, including recent reports of horrific beheadings of civilians in Cabo Delgado province. On 10 November, The Foreign Secretary and I publicly condemned the recent attacks.

We are working with the Government of Mozambique to address the root drivers of conflict and instability in northern Mozambique, including through engagement with the Government of Mozambique's regional development authority in Cabo Delgado, and by providing targeted technical assistance under the framework of a Defence Memorandum of Understanding. I spoke to Foreign Minister Macamo on 23 July, noting Mozambique's efforts to address the causes of instability through the creation of the Integrated Department for the Development of Northern Mozambique (ADIN), and to encourage a holistic approach to tackling the insurgency.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish the number of reported incidents of sonic induced illnesses suffered by UK diplomatic staff serving overseas for the period from 1 September 2017 to 30 September 2020.

The FCDO is not aware of such a phenomenon affecting any of its staff worldwide.

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to include conflict prevention as part of his Department's contribution to the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

When the Prime Minister launched the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, he was clear that it will set out the way in which the UK will be a problem-solving and burden-sharing nation. Our aim continues to be for an ambitious and bold Integrated Review that is guided by the UK's foreign policy, national security and development objectives.

We fully expect the Integrated Review, together with a Comprehensive Spending Review, to propose fresh ideas to shape the objectives and systems of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, reflecting a drive towards a more effective and more joined-up foreign policy.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what travel will be classed as essential under the terms of his Department's covid-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice.

Since 17 March, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all but essential travel globally due to the unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions currently in place in response to the global pandemic.

Whether travel is essential or not is a personal decision. Travellers may have urgent family or business commitments to attend to. Circumstances differ from person to person. Only individuals can make an informed decision based on the risks.

Current Her Majesty's Government guidance also states that members of the public should not stay overnight away from their own home, except for in a limited set of circumstances, such as for work purposes.

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.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, on what date the Political, Free Trade and Partnership Agreement between the UK and Ukraine will be signed.

The text of the Political, Free Trade and Strategic Partnership Agreement between the UK and Ukraine is close to being finalised. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will then discuss with the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs arrangements to initial and sign the agreement, taking into account the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support the Government has provided to the Falkland Islands to tackle the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK Government is firmly committed to supporting the Falkland Islands and all of the Overseas Territories in dealing with Covid-19. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development are leading a cross-Whitehall effort to provide bespoke support to the Territories. For the Falkland Islands specifically, the UK has procured and transported medical supplies, ventilators and oxygen generation facilities, as well as the necessary equipment to develop an on-island testing capability. This has been supported by facilitating access to UK medical expertise through Public Health England. To support the Falkland civilian population and the British military base on the islands, a military clinical team of six personnel has also been sent to the main hospital on the islands.

I am in regular contact with the political leaders of the Falkland Islands to understand the impact the virus is having on both public health and the economy, to ensure they are receiving support from the UK where needed.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Government of China on that Government's introduction of new national security laws in Hong Kong.

We are deeply concerned by China's plan to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong. The Foreign Secretary has made two joint statements with international partners, and made a clear statement to Parliament on 2 June. Senior Officials have raised our concerns directly with the acting Chief Executive in Hong Kong, the Chinese Ambassador in London and the Chinese authorities in Beijing. The Chinese Government is well aware of our serious concern, and we will continue to raise this issue at senior levels with the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what diplomatic steps he is taking in response to the recent increase in violence and killings in South Sudan's Jonglei state.

The UK Government is concerned by recent increases in intercommunal violence in South Sudan's Jonglei state, which has seen hundreds killed and injured and shocking reports of sexual violence. On 21 May I raised my concern publicly at the death of three humanitarian workers caught up in the violence in Jonglei, and urged the Government of South Sudan to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice. Our UK Ambassador in Juba has been following up with government and community leaders to urge restraint, and encourage provision of security and participation in peace dialogues. The UK is also providing funding for peacebuilding programmes in South Sudan to seek to address the underlying drivers of conflict.

The violence in Jonglei and other parts of South Sudan underlines that, despite the 2018 Peace Agreement and reductions in overall political conflict, many South Sudanese continue to live with terrible violence. South Sudan's best chance of a more stable and prosperous future remains the full implementation of the Peace Agreement. The UK, through our Embassy in Juba, the UK Special Envoy, and with our international partners, continues to press for progress. Most recently the UK Ambassador in Juba met South Sudan's Foreign Minister on 25 May to stress our concerns and urge progress. The UK also recently supported the renewal of the UN Arms Embargo on South Sudan to 31 May 2021, which will help to stem the flow of weapons while the conflict remains.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the equity of process of recent elections in Benin.

The UK Government notes the outcome of local elections in Benin on 17 May. Participation was low and only one opposition party took part, despite the provisional ruling of the African Court of Human and People's Rights that the Government of Benin should take steps to avoid the exclusion of opposition parties. These concerns stand in contrast to the fact that Benin was one of the first nations in West Africa to deliver free and fair elections, in the 1990s. Elections are the responsibility of the Government of Benin, all political parties and the Beninese people. The UK remains committed to peaceful, free and credible elections, in line with international law, the importance of maintaining political space and an inclusive democratic process.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will publish the amount of funding allocated by his Department to UK human rights organisations and what the (a) subject and (b) campaign category for each of those allocations.

The FCO allocated £17.66m to its human rights, democracy and the rules based international system programme work in financial year 2019-2020. Projects included efforts to combat modern slavery; defending the right to Freedom of Religion or Belief; supporting the right of human rights defenders to carry out their work; promoting the development and strengthening of democracy; opposing the death penalty and the use of torture; gender equality; and defending the right to freedom of the media and freedom of expression. Programme funding allocations for financial year 2020-2021 are yet to be confirmed.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he plans to update his Department's Covid-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice for the Republic of Ireland.

The Foreign Commonwealth Office is advising British people against all non-essential travel worldwide due to the unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions currently in place in response to the global pandemic.

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. This advice does not affect travel between Northern Ireland and Ireland or intra-UK travel. British nationals in the UK should continue to follow government guidance on staying alert and safe during coronavirus, and those in Ireland should comply with the advice of local authorities.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he plans to update his covid-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice for France.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising British people against all non-essential travel worldwide due to the unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions currently in place in response to the global pandemic.

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.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he plans to update his Department's Covid-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice for Spain.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising British people against all non-essential travel worldwide due to the unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions currently in place in response to the global pandemic.

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.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he plans to update his Department's Covid-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice for Denmark.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising British people against all non-essential travel worldwide due to the unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions currently in place in response to the global pandemic.

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.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he plans to update his Department's Covid-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice for Sweden.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising British people against all non-essential travel worldwide due to the unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions currently in place in response to the global pandemic.

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.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will hold discussions with his Russian counterpart on that country's policy of borderization of the Kareli Municipality in Georgia.

The UK has raised concerns about the recent reports of Russian forces and the de-facto authorities in the breakaway region of South Ossetia working to create "borders" within the Kareli Municipality in Georgia. Through our Embassy in Tbilisi and in statements at the Council of Europe and the OSCE we have been clear that such actions must stop.

The UK is unwavering in our support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.

19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Cameroonian counterpart on a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict in Cameroon.

The British Government remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon. We continue to maintain a spotlight on the crisis and raise our concerns at the highest levels, including with the Government of Cameroon, at the United Nations (UN) and with international partners. At a UN security Council briefing session on 6 December, the UK welcomed the National Dialogue that took place in Cameroon from 30 September – 4 October. The latter was called by the government and is an initial step to bring parties together. During a visit to Cameroon in September the FCO’s Permanent Under-Secretary urged the government to ensure the National Dialogue was comprehensive and inclusive. It is imperative that the Government of Cameroon now engages in inclusive discussions about the root causes of the crisis and follows up on all the recommendations made at the National Dialogue. Supporting security, stability and good governance in Africa is a foreign policy priority and we urge all sides to engage in efforts to bring peace to the North-West and South-West regions. The UK has shared experiences with the Government of Cameroon on conflict resolution and remains ready to support.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will launch a consumer review of the car insurance market for the purposes of understanding the (a) adequacy of levels of competition and (b) comparative pricing structures between companies.

The motor insurance market has many providers offering a variety of insurance products to suit the needs of customers. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as the independent regulator for financial services, has a statutory objective to promote competition in the interests of consumers, and, working closely with the Competition and Markets Authority, can enforce against breaches of competition law. The FCA have also introduced several reforms, including the Consumer Duty rules, to ensure consumers are treated fairly in regard to pricing.

Insurers make commercial decisions about the terms, conditions or price that they set when offering insurance, including motor insurance. The Government does not intervene in these commercial decisions by insurers as this could damage competition in the market.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
9th Jan 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to amend the Vehicle Excise Duty rules so that it is based on the fuel type and level of CO2 emissions of a motorcycle rather than its engine size.

VED for motorcycles is currently based on engine size. The current rates range from £20 to £101 for those with the largest engines, which in part aims to reflect the environmental benefits of using smaller engines.

The Chancellor announced in his 2022 Autumn Statement that electric motorcycles will begin to pay VED from April 2025.

While there are no current plans to further reform the VED system for motorcycles, as with all taxes, VED remains under review and any changes are considered and announced by the Chancellor.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
30th Nov 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will have discussions with the retail banking sector on improving customer service standards and reducing social and banking exclusion for customers with learning disabilities and special educational needs.

The Government is committed to improving access to financial services, especially for those with a characteristic of vulnerability, and regularly engages with the retail banking sector on this important agenda.

As part of this, the Government recognises that access to a transactional bank account is key to enabling people to manage their money on a day-to-day basis effectively, securely and confidently. That is why the nine largest personal current account providers in the UK are legally required to offer basic bank accounts to customers who do not have a bank account or who are not eligible for a bank's standard current account. Basic bank accounts must be fee-free and do not have an overdraft facility or cheque book, but otherwise offer the same services as a standard personal current account.

UK banks’ and building societies’ treatment of their customers is governed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in its Principles for Businesses. This includes a general requirement for firms to provide a prompt, efficient and fair service to all of their customers.

The FCA’s Vulnerability Guidance outlines the expectations for firms on the fair treatment of vulnerable customers, such as those with learning disabilities and special educational needs, setting out a number of best practices. The FCA expects that firms treat these customers fairly and support them to continue to interact with financial services in a way that best works for them.

In addition, like all service providers, banks and building societies are bound under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments, where necessary, in the way they deliver their services.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to establish a Sovereign Wealth Fund.

The immediate focus for the UK Government’s economic and fiscal strategy is on ensuring that it continues to support workers and businesses as the UK recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Although both borrowing and debt will rise this year, the costs of servicing this debt are affordable and sustainable. The Government will set out further details on its plans for a sustainable and balanced fiscal policy as the economic and fiscal outlook becomes clearer.

In relation to establishing a sovereign wealth fund, the Government remains open to the introduction of new financing instruments but would need to be satisfied that they would meet value-for-money criteria and would be consistent with wider fiscal objectives. The Government continues to monitor the case for new financing instruments and will keep this under review.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to establish a crypto currency reserve bank in the UK.

The government has no plans to establish a crypto currency reserve bank.

The Treasury and the Bank of England are continuing analytical work to evaluate the possible opportunities and risks associated with a UK central bank digital currency, and of central bank digital currency initiatives being undertaken elsewhere. The Bank of England published a discussion paper on a possible UK central bank digital currency alongside the Budget in March 2020, which closed for responses on 12 June. The Treasury and Bank of England are considering next steps.

The government is also considering how it can support innovation and mitigate risks posed by cryptoassets. The Treasury recently launched a consultation looking at the broader regulatory approach to cryptoassets, including new challenges from so-called ‘stablecoins’. It closes for responses on 21 March.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an economic assessment of the potential merits of establishing a UK digital currency reserve bank.

The government set out at Budget that the UK will continue to take a leading role in exploring central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), and the wide-ranging opportunities and challenges they could bring.

The Bank of England’s discussion paper on a possible UK central bank digital currency was published at the time of the Budget and closed for responses on 12 June.

HM Treasury and the Bank of England are now working together to consider next steps.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Government has plans to liberalise the UK banking sector and increase competition from non-UK banks.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the UK financial services sector delivers choice and value for customers and to that end has taken significant action to ensure effective competition in UK banking markets. This includes: providing the financial services regulators with competition objectives, and a new Payments Systems Regulator to ensure fair and equal access to payments systems; reducing barriers to entry for new market entrants; initiatives to make it easier for customers to switch between bank account providers; and continued support for non-traditional providers, including the UK’s fintech sector.

It is also important that the UK maintains a prudential regulation regime that supports financial stability and economic growth as well as competition amongst firms. The Government will continue to prioritise the implementation of global regulatory standards, such as the Basel III standards, to maintain the UK’s position as a world-leading financial services centre.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with mortgage lenders on passing on reductions in the Bank of England lending rate to their customers.

Treasury ministers and officials are in regular discussions with mortgage lenders about the ongoing support they are providing to their customers at this challenging time.

Due to COVID-19, the Bank of England lowered the base rate of interest to 0.1%. Though the interest rate charged on finance facilities are set at the discretion of each lender, the Government expects that these rates will be competitive, and fairly priced, taking into account the unprecedented situation individuals and businesses may currently face.
John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will introduce measures to help victims of domestic violence retrieve their possessions safely from their ex-partner's properties in circumstances when the police will not intervene.

It is important that police officers recognise and understand domestic abuse in all its forms. Post-separation abuse is an established risk factor for homicide. The College of Policing authorised professional practice guidance is clear that officers should offer assistance to victims intending to recover property from a residence to ensure this process is carried out safely.

Domestic abuse training plays a crucial role in police officers’ understanding and response to domestic abuse. The specialist Domestic Abuse Matters programme developed by the College of Policing and domestic abuse charities, has been delivered to the majority of forces to date. The Government is also now funding the rollout of the training to those forces who have yet to undertake it. It is, however, crucial that police forces continue to remain updated with domestic abuse training, particularly for new officers.

18th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help reduce instances of theft of farm equipment and machinery.

This Government is committed to driving down rural crime including theft of farm equipment and machinery.

To help prevent the theft of agricultural machinery, the Government has introduced the Equipment Theft (Prevention) Act which will require immobilisers and forensic marking to be fitted as standard to all new All-Terrain Vehicles and quad bikes.

The Equipment Theft (Prevention) Act 2023 gained Royal Assent on 20 July 2023. The Home Office issued a Call for Evidence to inform the necessary secondary legislation regulations, which closed on 13 July and responses are currently being considered.

There are currently no plans to include all agricultural vehicles. However, the provisions could be extended in the future, through secondary legislation, where evidence shows this is necessary.

I also welcome the recent commitment by chief constables across England and Wales, to pursue any available evidence where there is a reasonable chance it could lead them to catching a perpetrator and solving a crime. This relates to all crimes, no matter where they are committed.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department is taking steps to support the police to help reduce the number of cases of (a) children assaulting their parents or guardians due to (i) gaming and (ii) other technology withdrawal disorders and (b) other inter-familial attacks.

Child and adolescent to parent violence and abuse (‘CAPVA’) is a hidden but increasingly recognised form of abuse.

The Home Office have been working to better understand CAPVA, including why it happens and how best to tackle it. As part of our 2021-22 Domestic Abuse Research Fund, we awarded over £1m for various research projects. Included in this were projects that specifically focused on under-researched areas like CAPVA. Over the last three years we have also invested over £41m in increasing the availability of interventions for domestic abuse perpetrators (for example behaviour change programmes) which will also improve our understanding of what works to reduce reoffending. This has included funding projects that specifically work with children and young people displaying these types of behaviours. We recently launched a similar fund worth £36m over the next two years.

More widely, in our cross-government Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan, the Home Office committed to publishing updated guidance for front line practitioners on child to parent abuse. We will seek input from those working in police, health, education and social care to help develop and hone this guidance. The Home Office will also work with stakeholders to reach an agreed definition and terminology for this type of behaviour which will help in identifying and addressing it.

27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will commission research on the impact of (a) conflict, (b) economic exclusion, (c) religious and ethnic persecution, (d) famine and (e) terrorism on migration from the Sahel and sub-Saharan Africa and illegal migration into the UK.

Migration is a permanent feature of the global economy. It is estimated that there are 281 million international migrants globally, accounting for about 3.6% of the global population. Work remains the major reason people migrate internationally, but UNHCR estimate that 100 million people worldwide are forcibly displaced from their homes. In Sub-Saharan Africa including the Sahel, millions of people have been displaced from their homes due to conflict, human rights violations, violence and natural disasters, exacerbated by climate change; the vast majority remain in or near their country of origin. His Majesty’s Government takes a “whole of route” approach to addressing the challenges of illegal migration, recognising that people’s motivations to move can be complex and inter-related. There are a number of drivers for migration and some of those include illegal migration to the UK or other European countries. While the Home Office does monitor trends, there is no plan to commission any new research at this time.

17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many police forces in England & Wales took part in television programmes in the period 2020-22; and whether she has made an assessment of the potential impact of participating in those programmes on (a) local communities and (b) reducing crime.

The Home Office does not collect information on how many police forces have taken part in television programmes or documentaries. We do not monitor the operational impact of this and have no plans to do so.

Decisions about media engagement are an operational matter for police forces. The College of Policing has published Authorised Professional Practice (APP) which covers engagement with the media.

This is available online at: https://www.college.police.uk/app/engagement-and-communication/media-relations

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has held with chief police officers on lawful business monitoring within police forces to help improve the internal operating culture of those forces.

The Home Secretary has been clear that standards and culture in policing must improve. In the wake of the horrific murder of Sarah Everard, the Home Secretary commissioned His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) to inspect forces’ vetting and counter-corruption arrangements. Their report on vetting, misconduct and misogyny was published in November last year and found that, whilst most forces have the capability to use IT monitoring to gather corruption intelligence, there was little evidence of it being used to proactively identify corruption-related intelligence


HMICFRS issued a recommendation that, by 31 March 2023, all Chief Constables should ensure that their forces are able to monitor all use of its IT systems and that forces use this to enhance investigative and proactive intelligence gathering capabilities. The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has committed to implementing all of the inspectorate’s recommendations. The Home Secretary has recently asked the inspectorate to conduct a rapid review of forces’ responses to recommendations from that report.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to bring forward legislative proposals to (a) update or (b) replace the Official Secrets Act.

The National Security Bill, currently before Parliament, will update the Official Secrets Acts (OSAs) 1911, 1920 and 1939 which relate primarily to espionage.

The Government is considering the case for the potential future legislative reform of OSA 1989, which relates to unlawful disclosures of Government information. It is important that this work runs in lockstep with other crucial work the Government is doing to strengthen whistle-blowing practices and transparency.

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
1st Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will maintain grant support at 85 per cent of the investigation costs this year for the Operation Lincoln investigation into baby deaths at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

The Home Office provided West Mercia Police £2.7 million in Special Grant funding in 2021-22 for Operation Lincoln.

The Department has received and is considering a request from West Mercia Police for the additional policing costs of Operation Lincoln in 2022-23.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to publish legislative proposals on countering state threats.

As announced in the Queen’s Speech of May 2021, the Home Office will be introducing new legislation to provide the security services and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to tackle the evolving threat of hostile activity by foreign states.

This legislation will modernise existing offences, to deal more effectively with the espionage threat, and create new offences, to criminalise other harmful activity conducted by, and on behalf of states.

A bill will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many police officers West Mercia Police have recruited since 2018-19.

The Home Office collects and publishes data on the number of joiners to the police service in England and Wales on an annual basis in the ‘Police workforce, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin, available here: Police workforce England and Wales statistics - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

These data show that West Mercia Police recruited a total of 622 full-time equivalent police officers between the financial years ending 31 March 2019 and 2021, excluding transfers.

While the ‘Police workforce, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin remains the key measure of the size of the police workforce, as part of the Police Officer Uplift Programme, the Home Office also publishes a quarterly update on the number of officers (headcount) in England and Wales, including the number of new recruits. Data are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/police-officer-uplift-statistics

As at 30 September 2021 there were 2,329 officers in West Mercia Police. West Mercia Police has recruited 155 additional officers (headcount) out of an allocated total of 184 additional officers for years one and two of the uplift combined. Allocations for year 3 and the remaining 8,000 officers towards the 20,000 are yet to be confirmed.

20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure supermarket supply chains do not support modern slavery through third party suppliers.

Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires businesses, including supermarkets, with a turnover of £36m or more to report annually on the steps they have taken to prevent modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.

The prevalence of modern slavery and complexity of global supply chains means that it is highly unlikely that any sector or company is immune from the risks of modern slavery. The Home Office’s statutory guidance on producing modern slavery statements suggests that statements should include the risk assessment and due diligence organisations undertook to prevent and tackle modern slavery. The Government encourages companies to report transparently about how they are identifying and mitigating modern slavery risks in their operations and supply chains, and to use their modern slavery statements to demonstrate year on year progress.

To enhance the impact of transparency and accelerate action to prevent modern slavery, the Government announced an ambitious package of changes to strengthen the reporting requirements on businesses and has committed to introduce financial penalties for those that fail to meet their obligations to publish statements under section 54. To further enhance transparency, in March 2021, the Government launched a digital registry for modern slavery statements to make statements available in one place. The registry will make it easier for investors, consumers and civil society to scrutinise the action being taken by different organisations and monitor progress.

The Government is currently reviewing its Modern Slavery Strategy and will consider whether there are further opportunities to enhance our approach to transparency in supply chains.

20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to expand the powers of police community support officers to be able to impose fines for minor traffic violations.

The Policing and Crime Act 2017 allows chief officers of police to designate their staff with powers they consider necessary in their force areas. It also enables chief officers to designate PCSOs directly with the necessary traffic powers that constables have to deal with low level motoring offences. How these powers are designated is an operational matter for chief officers in conjunction with local policing plans.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many drivers were summonsed for driving (a) without insurance and (b) without a valid MOT using evidence from ANPR technology in England and Wales in the latest 12 month period for which figures are available.

The Home Office collects and publishes data on the number of vehicle insurance offences and vehicle test offences that resulted in court action.

The latest published data can be found in the accompanying table FPN_03 of ‘Police Powers and Procedures, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin, which can be accessed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/police-powers-and-procedures-england-and-wales

Information on whether or not evidence from ANPR technology was used to detect these offences is not collected by the Home Office.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many police officers in England and Wales were (a) cautioned, (b) reprimanded and (c) dismissed for being members of proscribed religious or political organisations in 2018-19.

The Home Office collects and publishes information annually on the outcome of misconduct proceedings and criminal investigations involving officers, including the number of officers that have been dismissed following proceedings. However, information on a) the number of police officers issued with a police caution and b) the circumstances that led to a case being brought is not collected centrally by the Home Office

The data on the outcomes following misconduct proceedings, which covers cases in the year ending March 2019, is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-workforce-england-and-wales-30-september-2019.

The College of Policing publish data annually relating to those who have been dismissed from policing and placed on the Police Barred List. There are no categories specifically on extremist material or being members of proscribed organisations but, between April 2018 and March 2019, 17 officers were dismissed under the category of ‘notifiable association’. This data is available here:
https://www.college.police.uk/News/College-news/Documents/Barred_List_2019.pdf.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many police officers in England and Wales were (a) cautioned, (b) reprimanded and (c) dismissed for viewing political or religious extremist material online in 2018-19.

The Home Office collects and publishes information annually on the outcome of misconduct proceedings and criminal investigations involving officers, including the number of officers that have been dismissed following proceedings. However, information on a) the number of police officers issued with a police caution and b) the circumstances that led to a case being brought is not collected centrally by the Home Office

The data on the outcomes following misconduct proceedings, which covers cases in the year ending March 2019, is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-workforce-england-and-wales-30-september-2019.

The College of Policing publish data annually relating to those who have been dismissed from policing and placed on the Police Barred List. There are no categories specifically on extremist material or being members of proscribed organisations but, between April 2018 and March 2019, 17 officers were dismissed under the category of ‘notifiable association’. This data is available here:
https://www.college.police.uk/News/College-news/Documents/Barred_List_2019.pdf.

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will bring forward legislation proposals to regulate magnet fishing to make it mandatory to declare all finds of (a) barrelled weapons, (b) bladed instruments above three inches and (c) munitions.

It is already the case that anybody who finds a firearm or ammunition under any circumstances, including whilst magnet fishing, must notify the police. They are likely otherwise to be committing an offence by being in unlawful possession, given that most of these items are subject to strict licensing controls under firearms legislation.

Similar considerations apply for bladed articles which are found. These may be prohibited under the Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act 1959 or the Criminal Justice Act 1988. In addition, it is an offence to carry an article with blade or point in public without good reason, under section 139 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. The Offensive Weapons Act 2019 strengthens the law further in respect of knives and bladed articles and will make it an offence to possess prohibited weapons in private.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish the number of (a) UK nationals and (b) non-UK nationals who have been issued with fines for not complying with the requirement to quarantine upon entering the UK; and if she will publish the number of fines issued for each day that the quarantine requirement has been in place.

Information on the number of fixed penalty notices that have been issued by the police in England and Wales in relation to a breach of the COVID-19 health regulations are published by the National Police Chiefs Council on a fortnightly basis.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of enforcement officers required to visit residential addresses to check that people who have returned to the UK from overseas are complying with quarantine requirements in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

New measures being introduced from 8 June will require all passengers arriving in the UK, who do not fall under a specified exemption, to self-isolate for 14 days to reduce cases of COVID-19 being brought in from abroad and to help prevent a devastating second wave of the disease.

These passengers, who will be required to complete a locator form up to 48 hours before their arrival in the UK, could be contacted throughout this 14-day period via an assurance service that will randomly sample and contact non-exempted arrivals to ensure compliance. They will ensure that people understand the restrictions as well as how to recognise symptoms, and what to do if they are experiencing them. Calls will also include an assurance check as to whether individuals are complying with restrictions.

Where there is reason to suspect that an individual is not complying, details will be passed to the relevant police force who will consider enforcement action. Police will continue to take the 4 ‘E’s approach of engage, explain, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce. Given the high levels of compliance we have seen to our measures to date, we expect that the majority of people would do the right thing and abide by these measures.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has held with the Scottish Government on the 14 day quarantine policy for travellers returning to the UK.

As public health matters are devolved, we have been working closely with the Devolved Administrations, including colleagues in Scotland, to build a four nations approach. This has included meetings to establish the measures to be introduced and their operation.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of passengers entering the UK who cannot provide a residential address and will need to be provided with accommodation by the Government in order to comply with quarantine restrictions in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

We don’t have an assessment of this data. However, we expect numbers to be very low. Passenger numbers in total have decreased by a significant amount and a very small proportion of those who do arrive in the UK will require Government provided accommodation. To ensure we have the resources in place to deal with this, we have setup a flexible accommodation booking service to ensure we can meet any arising demand.

26th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Office, if she will publish the number of passengers that arrived at UK airports from abroad (a) from 11 May 2020 to 18 May 2020 and (b) from 19 May 2020 to 26 May 2020.

The Home Office publishes data on passenger arrivals to the UK in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on the number of arrivals can be found in the admissions tables. Information on passenger arrivals up to the end of June 2020 will be published in the August 2020 release.

In addition, the Home Office published Statistics relating to Covid-19 and the immigration system, May 2020, which includes information on the impact of COVID-19 on passenger arrivals.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will extend the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme to allow the recruitment of seasonal labour for work in the non-edible horticulture sector.

The Government has committed to continue the Seasonal Workers Pilot and in our election manifesto we set out plans to increase the scheme to 10,000 places following the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Details will be set out in due course.

4th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he will take steps to update military law to ensure the secure use of social media by armed forces personnel.

The Ministry of Defence does not have any plans to update military law regarding the use of social media by Armed Forces personnel.

Policy and guidance on the use of social media is set out in the MOD’s Acceptable Use Policy (JSP 740), which is available to all armed forces personnel. The MOD recognises the importance of educating personnel on the security risks of social media and runs both security awareness campaigns and online learning programs. The MOD has recently introduced new cyber security training for all personnel that includes a module on social media and will continue to use different communication means to reinforce the message.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
4th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will take steps to increase the number of hours of training for armed forces personnel on the security risks of using private social media.

The Ministry of Defence does not have any plans to update military law regarding the use of social media by Armed Forces personnel.

Policy and guidance on the use of social media is set out in the MOD’s Acceptable Use Policy (JSP 740), which is available to all armed forces personnel. The MOD recognises the importance of educating personnel on the security risks of social media and runs both security awareness campaigns and online learning programs. The MOD has recently introduced new cyber security training for all personnel that includes a module on social media and will continue to use different communication means to reinforce the message.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
4th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to reduce the length of time between the (a) date that armed services personnel are informed by a medical board that they are unfit for service and (b) date of discharge.

The date that a Service person is due to be discharged is calculated on an individual basis, taking into consideration a number of factors, including entitlements to any remaining individual leave allowance, Resettlement Leave, Invaliding leave and Terminal Leave. If there are additional considerations, such as an extension to attend a recovery course, then a decision will be taken on a case-by-case basis.

There are no current plans to reduce the time between the date that a Service person is informed by a medical board that they are unfit for service, and the date of their discharge.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress he has made on implementing phase 2 of the roll-out of veterans' identity cards.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Angus (Mr Doogan) to Question 193995 on 18 July 2023.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to counter the potential threat from surveillance balloons over (a) the UK and (b) UK military bases.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the right hon. Member for Wentworth and Deane to Questions 140020 and 140021 on 14 February 2023.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
31st Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what financial support his Department provides for the maintenance and care of war graves in Shropshire; and how his Department coordinates that maintenance with the Church of England.

The care and maintenance of the graves of those personnel who lost their lives in the two World Wars throughout the UK is undertaken on behalf of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The Department provides an annual Grant-in-Aid contribution to the Commission to fund the enduring work and in doing so provides the largest element of the Commission’s funding. In taking this work forward the Commission and the MOD engage with the relevant authorities as required, including the Church of the England.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will revise the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy to reflect trends in the level of nuclear threats to the UK.

The Defence and Security Industrial Strategy (DSIS) has reinforced the need to consider industry as a capability in its own right, and ensure closer and earlier dialogue with industry. DSIS set out in detail where there is a strategic imperative for industrial capabilities to reside in the UK, including those capabilities relating to nuclear warheads and submarines, and the Government has already committed to a once-in-two-generations programme to modernise our nuclear forces.

We will review the DSIS alongside the Integrated Review and Defence Command Paper refresh and will decide as part of that process whether a new publication is warranted.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will issue guidance to service personnel on discharge concerning their continuing obligations under the Official Secrets Act.

We have procedures that ensure staff are regularly reminded of their obligations while in Service. Personnel are then reminded of their ongoing obligations under the Official Secrets Act upon their departure from Defence. If there is any evidence that personnel breach the Official Secrets Act we would not hesitate to bring criminal charges.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to publicise the continuing obligations of discharged service personnel under the Official Secrets Act.

Obligations to the Official Secret Acts is lifelong and Personnel are reminded of this upon their departure from Defence. Ministry of Defence (MOD) works with Defence Industry to ensure that these reminders continue for those personnel that seek future employment in the private sector.

In relation to the recent threat alert regarding the threat alert on RAF pilots being recruited to train Chinese fighter pilots, we have no evidence that anyone has breached the high threshold of the OSA, but if any evidence were to be forthcoming, we would not hesitate to bring criminal charges. The Department takes this matter extremely seriously and are actively taking measures to deter future recruitment. We are engaging with the individuals already involved to ensure they are fully aware of the risk of prosecution under the Officials Secrets Act.

In cases where the MOD has identified personnel who may be tempted by the offer, we have undertaken a range of measures to remind them of their obligations under the Official Secrets Act, as well as taking action to mitigate any potential damage. By going public, we want to encourage increased reporting of any approaches and to deter anyone who may be considering an offer. Current serving personnel are also being given unequivocal advice about the unacceptability of such activity.

Additionally, we have issued an alert to the UK Defence Industry to make them aware, requesting that they communicate the threat to their personnel, to ensure that the alert is as widely disseminated as possible to any potential recruitment targets.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to help provide mental health support for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

We continue to tailor the training we are providing to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) to meet their needs. Following a recent reassessment of critical AFU training requirements, UK-based training for Ukrainian soldiers has been expanded and increased in duration. To date, mental health programmes have not been formally or specifically requested by the AFU within their requirement for rehabilitation or military training.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will publish the timetable for expanding RAF Cosford training facilities to develop the new Centre for Training Excellence.

The situation has not changed since the answer I provided the hon. Member on 28 April 2022 to Question 158902.

10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress has been made on the replacement of the UK's nuclear warhead upgrade programme.

The programme to replace the UK's Sovereign Nuclear Warhead continues to progress and, following approval of the Strategic Outline Case in September 2021, has now entered its concept phase.

10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent progress has been made on the Dreadnought programme as part of the UK's strategic nuclear defence.

On 9 May 2022, the Ministry of Defence announced entry into the next and most significant phase of the Dreadnought programme, known as Delivery Phase 3 (DP3), and has committed over £2 billion in initial contracts with its Alliance Partners, BAE Systems and Rolls Royce.

DP3 will include commitments to see the First of Class, HMS Dreadnought, exit the Barrow-in-Furness shipyard for sea trials so that she will be ready for patrol in the early 2030s. DP3 will in addition lay the foundations and progress the work for the delivery of the remaining three Dreadnought boats.

10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with references to threats made by Russia to UK security, if he will enhance mobile and physical security checks at (a) military and (b) other government facilities.

The Ministry of Defence does not comment on our security arrangements on national security grounds. We take the security of our people, assets and sites extremely seriously and have robust measures in place to ensure the integrity of the Defence Estate. These measures are kept under constant review and adjusted according to the threat. The security of other government facilities is the responsibility of their respective ministers and Permanent Secretaries.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will publish his timetable for the introduction of the Challenger 3 tank into service with the British Army.

Challenger 3 is scheduled to enter service in 2027. The next major milestone is the Critical Design Review in late 2022.

25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will publish his plans for the expansion of RAF Cosford.

The Ministry of Defence continues to develop its plans for expansion at RAF Cosford, which remains a core site for Defence. Final decisions are still to be taken, but we will confirm our plans in due course.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to support the armed forces of (a) Mali, (b) Chad, (c) Mauritania, (d) Niger and (e) Burkina Faso in preventing attacks by militants.

The UK provides a range of support for partner forces in the Sahel, focused on increasing their capacity and resilience, and preventing conflict, violent extremism and instability across the region.

In Mali, we have provided assistance through the funding of a small number of professional development courses for Malian personnel. However, following the coup in June 2021, we have adjusted this limited support to focus on broader stabilisation programmes such as reducing community-level violence, improving the conditions for political settlement, enhancing the understanding of International Humanitarian Law and improving the effectiveness of stabilisation efforts.

In Chad, the UK’s capacity building programme is delivered through the Multi National Joint Task Force, supporting operations against violent extremists in the Lake Chad Basin. The programme is primarily designed to tackle the threat from Improved Explosive Devices, but also provides training on operational planning and strategic communications.

The UK is not currently providing assistance to the Mauritanian armed forces, but has previously worked with them on maritime security, specifically improving their capability to protect their Exclusive Economic Zone.

In Niger and Burkina Faso, we have supported places on a small number of professional development courses. We have also helped the regional counter terrorism force, the G5 Sahel Joint Force, to improve its strategic communications capacity as a way of building trust with local populations.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will publish the timetable for publication of the Land Industrial Strategy.

Work is ongoing on the Land Industrial Strategy within the Department before further engagement with industry over the summer months to refine the strategy ahead of publication.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he plans to announce the location of the headquarters of the Special Operations Brigade.

Following the Secretary of State's announcement to the House on 22 March of the creation of the Special Operations Brigade built around the four battalions of the new Ranger Regiment, the Army will now undertake a period of refinement and testing its future structures and capabilities. Once the conclusions from this work have been endorsed by Ministers then we will be in a position to provide more detail.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he plans to publish the Land Industrial Strategy; and if he will publish what engagement the British Army has had with the private sector on the design of that strategy.

We have welcomed the evidence provided by the private sector in support of the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy (DSIS). This evidence has helped shape the design of the DSIS, which I was pleased to announce on 23 March.

We are now developing the Land Industrial Strategy over the coming year. The team will consult with the private sector in maturing its design.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with the recent escalation of Taliban activity, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of (a) the size of the UK's military presence in Afghanistan as part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission and (b) its rules of engagement.

The UK's contribution to the non-combat NATO Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan is kept under regular review to ensure it remains suited to the needs of the mission. For operational and personnel security reasons we do not comment on specific rules of engagement.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what his Department's guidance is on the use of gyms on UK military bases and maintaining the fitness of the armed forces during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Maintaining the fitness of our Armed Forces is critical to ensuring their operational effectiveness and this has continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Defence has benefitted from specific exemptions in law to continue to use gyms and sports facilities on the Defence estate throughout lockdown, taking into account risk assessments and Devolved legislation. However, these facilities are only open where it is deemed essential and COVID-19 secure measures are in place to minimise risks. Other forms of COVID-secure exercise and physical training are being encouraged where the use of gyms is not permitted.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will hold discussions with the Council of Mortgage Lenders on improving the treatment of mortgage applications submitted by armed forces personnel.

There are no plans to discuss this matter with the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Most major banking institutions are signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant and, as such, should treat mortgage applications from Service personnel in accordance with its principles. Defence Officials regularly meet representatives from the Financial Services sector and can discuss issues regarding Service personnel accessing financial products should they arise. Mortgages tailored to those Serving in the Armed Forces are available from several mortgage providers. These make special allowance for the unique circumstances of Service personnel, as it is recognised these can sometimes impede the ability to access a conventional mortgage. Support is also available via the Forces Help To Buy Scheme, extended until December 2022.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will improve security at (a) Army Reserve centres and (b) cadet organisations that house weapons for small arms training or drill practice.

Physical security is being improved at Reserve Forces and Cadets Association (RFCA) locations by the Army through the delivery of Project Aintree; a rolling programme of upgrades to armouries and ammunition stores to ensure they are compliant with Home Office legislation and the MOD's security policy.

The Army's security assurance regime includes all RFCA units, and all staff receive mandated security training in respect to weapons and ammunition. As part of the continuous improvement process, the Army is developing a security education video which is focused on improving the security culture of Cadet adult volunteers.

In 2019, following a review of Cadet weapon security, the MODs Directorate of Security & Resilience directed the Army relocate its holdings of Cadet s1 and s5 weapons[1] to reduce its risk exposure whilst physical security upgrades continue to be implemented.

[1] As defined in the Firearms Act 1968

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will publish a list of the (a) number and (b) types of small arms and light weapons that went missing from his Department's establishments and facilities in 2018-19.

The following table lists the number and type of Small Arms and Light Weapons recorded as missing from Defence Establishments and Facilities during 2018-19:

Number and Type of Small Arms and Light Weapons missing from Defence Establishments and Facilities during 2018-19

2018

(a) Number

(b) Type

1

Standard Issue Service Rifle (SA80)

Lost - British Army Training Unit Suffield, Canada

1

Standard Issue Service Rifle (SA80)

Lost - In deep water during exercise in Wales

2

.303 Lee Enfield Bolt Action Rifle (Deactivated)

Stolen - Reserve Centre

2019

(a) Number

(b) Type

4

Cadet Drill Purpose Rifle

Stolen - Merseyside Cadet Facility

4

Cadet Small Bore Target Rifle

Stolen - Merseyside Cadet Facility

1

General Purpose Machine Gun (with blank firing barrel)

Lost - At sea in bad weather

4

WW1-era Rifles (Deactivated)

Stolen - Reserve Centre

This information was previously released by my Department in response to Freedom of Information Requests (2018/10985, 2019/01322, 2019/12854 and 2020/07549) and is publicly available on the Gov.UK website.

13th May 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what discussions he has had with the Diocese of Lichfield on lost revenues resulting from the closure of places of worship during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Church Commissioners and National Church Institutions are in discussions with dioceses during this challenging period, including on the evolving financial impact. A series of structured interviews have been held with every diocese, including with the Diocese of Lichfield at the beginning of May. Though too early for detailed conclusions, it was clear that the financial challenges will be significant.

The Church announced a national package of financial support for dioceses on 27 March, providing funds to support liquidity in dioceses where this was needed, with a further announcement following on 14 May. See: https://mailchi.mp/churchofengland.org/update-financial-support-for-dioceses-and-cathedrals-in-light-of-the-coronavirus?e=fbaf3379f3 We are continuing to consider how best dioceses can be further supported in terms of both immediate needs, and in strengthening their long-term missional health and financial sustainability

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what support he is providing to the Government of Mozambique to tackle jihadists in north eastern Mozambique.

Through the British High Commission in Maputo, the UK is in regular contact with the Government of Mozambique and has discussed support in tackling the growing terrorist insurgency in North East Mozambique; centred on the Cabo Delgado region. The problem requires a cross Government response, including tackling the underlying issues which foster the conditions of such an insurgency. Whilst some Defence activity has been paused during the current Covid19 movement restrictions, we anticipate increasing our engagements once restrictions are lifted, facilitated by a defence cooperation Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in May 2019.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will offer additional defence support to his Georgian counterpart in respect of the continued borderization of that country's sovereign territory by Russia.

The UK remains concerned by the political and human rights situation in the Georgian breakaway regions and is unwavering in support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.

We were disturbed by recent reports of Russian forces and the de-facto authorities in the breakaway region of South Ossetia working to create "borders" within Georgia. Through the British Embassy in Tbilisi and in statements at the Council of Europe and the OSCE we have been clear that such actions must stop.

We remain completely committed to our bilateral defence relationship with Georgia, and fully support Georgia's NATO aspirations. We will continue to support the Georgian MOD to enhance their capabilities to assure a better level of security and resilience to defend their own state.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
22nd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will introduce a low interest deposit scheme for people seeking entry-level rental accommodation in the private sector.

The Government does not have plans to introduce a low interest deposit scheme for the private rented sector. Local authorities may offer deposit guarantee or bond schemes to people on low incomes or at risk of homelessness.

Councils can choose to use Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) or Homelessness Prevention Grant funding to provide rent deposits for people in financial difficulties.

Since 2011 the government has provided almost £1.7 billion in DHP funding to local authorities and is investing over £1 billion in the Homelessness Prevention Grant over three years (2023-2025) including a £109 million top up for 2023/2024.

Jacob Young
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of GDPR rules for sharing data between local authorities on the (a) services provided to and (b) risks faced by vulnerable people (i) during and (ii) since the covid-19 pandemic.

Authorities are responsible for managing their own data and taking the relevant actions to protect information securely. The Information Commissioner provides guidance for public bodies.

Simon Hoare
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will issue guidance to local authorities on the potential fire risks of battery energy storage sites in close proximity to (a) residential and (b) commercial buildings.

In August of this year the Government updated its Planning Practice Guidance to encourage battery storage developers to engage with Local Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs) before submitting a planning application, so that issues of the siting and location of Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) are dealt with before the application is made.

The guidance also encourages local planning authorities to refer to the guidance on BESS published by the National Fire Chiefs Council for consideration when determining applications and to consult with FRSs before issuing decisions.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will take steps with housing developers to deliver an increase in the proportion of new apartments in urban areas which are built with balconies.

The Government recognises through our national planning policy the importance that new development provides well-designed, healthy and inclusive new homes for all residents.

In support of this, our National Design Guide, which informs the preparation of local planning policies and guidance, emphasises the benefits that access to external private space, including balconies on new apartments, can bring in supporting the health and wellbeing of residents.

In addition, the National Model Design Code highlights how local councils can use design codes to consider the provision and size of balconies on new apartments in urban areas, where appropriate in the local context. Design codes can give developers greater certainty on design expectations at an early stage in the planning process.

Our national design guidance has been developed in consultation with built environment professionals, including housing developers, with the feedback collated and reviewed prior to publication.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will hold discussions with housing developers on the potential impact of the inclusion of balconies in new apartment blocks on residents' mental health.

The Government recognises through our national planning policy the importance that new development provides well-designed, healthy and inclusive new homes for all residents.

In support of this, our National Design Guide, which informs the preparation of local planning policies and guidance, emphasises the benefits that access to external private space, including balconies on new apartments, can bring in supporting the health and wellbeing of residents.

In addition, the National Model Design Code highlights how local councils can use design codes to consider the provision and size of balconies on new apartments in urban areas, where appropriate in the local context. Design codes can give developers greater certainty on design expectations at an early stage in the planning process.

Our national design guidance has been developed in consultation with built environment professionals, including housing developers, with the feedback collated and reviewed prior to publication.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has had recent discussions with local authorities on the closure of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme; and whether he will take steps to publish new proposals for housing refugees from Ukraine.

We are working closely with local councils to understand where pressures may be and are actively exploring options to find suitable long-term accommodation for the Ukrainians who are likely to stay in this country beyond their initial sponsorship period.

The updated guidance for the Homes for Ukraine guests, hosts and councils setting out all the support options available to them can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils#four-to-6-months-after-guests-have-moved-to-your-area.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of supporting semi-rural market towns in (a) Shropshire and (b) Telford and Wrekin as part of the next round of levelling up funding.

I am delighted to have opened the application portal for the second round of the Levelling Up Fund on the 15 July.

We recognise that what constitutes priority investment will vary across local authorities and geographies, including in rural areas of the UK.

I am keen to see a diverse range of bids come forward so that this government can continue to invest in Levelling Up urban and rural communities across the UK.

2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how much funding the Government has provided to help tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in (a) Shropshire and (b) Telford and Wrekin since 2018-19.

Over £3.6 million funding has been allocated to Shropshire council to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping since 2018-19.

Furthermore, over £3.6 million funding has been allocated to Telford and Wrekin Council to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping since 2018-19.

Overall, the Government has committed over £800 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping this year, further demonstrating the Government's commitment to end rough sleeping this Parliament and fully enforce the Homelessness Reduction Act.

20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to allow housing associations to increase their property portfolio by diversifying their streams of private capital funding.

In recent years, we have seen increasing levels of total investment by housing associations in new supply across a range of tenures (£13.7 billion in 2019-20, up 13 per cent on the previous year). We are keen to see new players in this market, and for housing associations to explore new funding streams to support the supply of new affordable homes.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to allow the extension of existing residential properties for enabling family members to move in for social care purposes.

Under the householder permitted development rights (set out in The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 (as amended) homeowners are already able to add extensions to their properties to create additional living space.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to increase the importance of Neighbourhood Plans in the Planning Bill.

The National Planning Policy Framework is clear about the important role that neighbourhood plans play in our plan-led system and neighbourhood plans continue to have real statutory weight in planning decisions. The Government is committed to retaining neighbourhood planning as an important part of the reformed planning system, and we will set out our decisions on the proposed way forward.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to remove potential conflicts of interest where a local authority owns land which is subject to a planning application and/or is directly or indirectly a residential developer.

There are already safeguards in place to ensure that decisions on local authorities’ own applications for planning permission are taken properly. Applications cannot be decided by a committee or officer responsible for the management of any land or buildings to which the application relates. They must be determined under the same legal principles as any other planning application and publicised in the same way. In reaching their decisions, authorities must take into account the views of statutory consultees and relevant objections by local residents.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to announce his decision on the Telford Town Deal Board Investment Plan submission to his Department.

I can confirm the Department has received Telford’s Town Investment Plan. My officials are conducting the assessment process for the proposals, and I look forward to making an announcement in due course.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership in ensuring that Shropshire businesses receive business grant support.

The Marches LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) is responsible for distributing £1.58 million of support to local businesses to help them in the face of the Covid-19 crisis, working in partnership with local authorities to make grants to SMEs (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) in the region. Of the £737,000 that has been allocated to Shropshire Council, £600,000 will be delivered to local SMEs in grants of up to £10,000 each. The Marches Growth Hub https://www.marchesgrowthhub.co.uk/about-us/, managed by Marches LEP, continues to provided business support, advice and guidance to Shropshire businesses .

As of 21 June, the Marches LEP has also supported Shropshire Council to deliver over £75.6 million in grants to 6,390 businesses in Shropshire from the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund. Government continues to work closely with all local authorities, with the support of local bodies such as Local Enterprise Partnerships, to help deliver the remaining grant funding quickly and efficiently.

In December 2019, following extensive consultation with local partners, Marches LEP published their Draft Local Industrial Strategy and evidence base, setting out how they will drive productivity and clean growth. The LEP is now working with local partners to help plan for economic recovery in the short term. All LEPs are subject to an annual performance review by MHCLG, which includes an assessment of their delivery performance.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is (a) subject to Freedom of Information requests or (b) protected under the GDPR.

All recorded information held by MHCLG as a public authority is eligible for disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In some instances a FOI request may be refused if the information requested falls under one of Act’s exemptions, including that for personal data


Local authorities are responsible for the delivery of grants to businesses, and therefore details of individual grant awards would need to be directed to local authorities. Under guidance for the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund, local authorities are required to set out the scope of their discretionary grant scheme on their website, providing clear guidance on which types of business are being prioritised.

26th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make it his policy to require coroners to keep records of whether the deceased is a military veteran when recording a verdict of suicide.

The Government takes the welfare of Armed Forces veterans very seriously and we are committed to improving our understanding of the risk of suicide and its prevalence among veterans.

The Office of Veteran Affairs has been working with the Ministry of Defence and the Office for National Statistics to link and exploit administrative data held by the various organisations that will enable the tracking of veteran suicides without creating additional duties for coroners. This approach will ensure that the most complete picture of veteran suicides is available to coroners and the public. It is expected that the first annual statistics will be published in 2024.

There are currently no plans to require coroners to keep records of whether the deceased is an Armed Forces veteran when recording a conclusion of suicide. Where a coroner has been informed that the deceased person was a veteran and considers that information about veteran status is relevant to a suicide which is being investigated, they can seek information from the Defence Inquests Unit in the Ministry of Defence. How a coroner uses any information received is for them to determine.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will undertake a review of sentencing guidelines for defendants convicted of sexual offences against minors.

Sentencing guidelines are developed by the Sentencing Council for England and Wales, which is independent of Parliament and Government.

The Sentencing Council recently consulted on revisions to its child sexual offences sentencing guidelines, which set out the approach courts should take when sentencing cases where no sexual activity takes places or the targeted child does not exist, for instance in police sting operations, as well as a new guideline for the offence of sexual communication with a child. The Council is currently analysing responses to the consultation, and it is anticipated that revised versions of the guidelines will be published next year.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of automatic custodial sentences for people convicted of sexual offences against children.

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 provides for a range of sexual offences, including specific sexual offences committed against children. The sentences available to the courts for offences against children are significant, and reflect the seriousness of the offending. Several of these offences, such as rape, already carry a discretionary life sentence.

Sentencing in individual cases is entirely a matter for the independent courts, taking into account the circumstances of the offence and the offender, and relevant sentencing guidelines. We currently have no plans to change the penalties available for these offences in statute.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the tariffs of custodial sentences for people convicted of committing sexual offences against children.

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 provides for a range of sexual offences, including specific sexual offences committed against children. The sentences available to the courts for offences against children are significant, and reflect the seriousness of the offending. Several of these offences, such as rape, already carry a discretionary life sentence.

Sentencing in individual cases is entirely a matter for the independent courts, taking into account the circumstances of the offence and the offender, and relevant sentencing guidelines. We currently have no plans to change the penalties available for these offences in statute.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of discretionary life sentences for people that have been convicted of the rape of minors.

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 provides for a range of sexual offences, including specific sexual offences committed against children. The sentences available to the courts for offences against children are significant, and reflect the seriousness of the offending. Several of these offences, such as rape, already carry a discretionary life sentence.

Sentencing in individual cases is entirely a matter for the independent courts, taking into account the circumstances of the offence and the offender, and relevant sentencing guidelines. We currently have no plans to change the penalties available for these offences in statute.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)