Nicholas Brown Portrait

Nicholas Brown

Labour - Newcastle upon Tyne East

2 APPG memberships (as of 29 Dec 2021)
Motorcycle Speedway, Opera
Opposition Chief Whip (Commons)
6th Oct 2016 - 9th May 2021
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
10th Nov 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Public Accounts Commission
4th Nov 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Members Estimate
9th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
House of Commons Commission
9th Jul 2015 - 31st Oct 2016
Liaison Committee (Commons)
10th Sep 2015 - 17th Oct 2016
Finance Committee (Commons)
20th Jul 2015 - 17th Oct 2016
Finance Committee (Commons)
21st Jul 2015 - 17th Oct 2016
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
23rd Jun 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Draft Financial Services Bill (Joint Committee)
18th Jul 2011 - 13th Dec 2011
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary and Chief Whip
12th May 2010 - 8th Oct 2010
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
3rd Oct 2008 - 6th May 2010
Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (North East)
29th Jun 2007 - 6th May 2010
Administration Committee
12th Jul 2007 - 27th Oct 2008
Committee of Selection
4th Jul 2007 - 8th Oct 2008
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
28th Jun 2007 - 3rd Oct 2008
Minister (Department for Work and Pensions) (Work)
8th Jun 2001 - 13th Jun 2003
Minister of State (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)
27th Jul 1998 - 8th Jun 2001
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Chief Whip)
3rd May 1997 - 26th Jul 1998
Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Commons)
1st Jan 1995 - 1st May 1997
Committee of Selection
16th Apr 1996 - 21st Mar 1997
Broadcasting
1st Jun 1994 - 1st Jun 1995
Shadow Spokesperson (Health)
1st Jan 1994 - 1st Jan 1995
Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons
1st Jan 1992 - 1st Jan 1994
Consolidation etc. Bills (Joint Committee)
16th Feb 1984 - 16th Mar 1992
Shadow Spokesperson (Treasury)
1st Jan 1988 - 1st Jan 1992
Shadow Solicitor General
1st Jan 1985 - 1st Jan 1988


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 18th January 2022
12:30
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 26th January 2022
14:00
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 1st February 2022
12:30
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 8th February 2022
17:00
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 1st March 2022
12:30
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 1st March 2022
15:45
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 22nd March 2022
14:00
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 5th April 2022
12:30
Division Votes
Monday 17th January 2022
Elections Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 172 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 325 Noes - 234
Speeches
Tuesday 9th November 2021
School-based Counselling Services
I beg to move,

That this House has considered the provision of school-based counselling services.

Let me start by saying …
Written Answers
Monday 10th January 2022
Bank Cards: Fees and Charges
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what enforcement action his Department takes on companies which issue minimum spend card …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 10th June 2015
CERVICAL SCREENING AWARENESS WEEK
That this House welcomes Cervical Screening Awareness Week 2015, which runs from 15 to 21 June 2015 and is led …
Bills
Wednesday 4th July 2012
Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007 (Amendment) Bill 2012-13
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 26th July 2021
1. Employment and earnings
6 July 2021, payment of £275 from Ipsos MORI, 3 Thomas More Street, London E1W 1YW, for a survey. Hours: …
EDM signed
Tuesday 16th November 2021
Student loan repayment threshold
That this House expresses its concern about proposals to lower the threshold at which students repay their student loans; notes …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Nicholas Brown has voted in 315 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Nicholas Brown Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Catherine West (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
(1 debate interactions)
Anna McMorrin (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Justice)
(1 debate interactions)
Catherine McKinnell (Labour)
(1 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Legislation Debates
Nicholas Brown has not made any spoken contributions to legislative debate
View all Nicholas Brown's debates

Newcastle upon Tyne East 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).

Nicholas Brown has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Nicholas Brown

15th November 2021
Nicholas Brown signed this EDM on Tuesday 16th November 2021

Student loan repayment threshold

Tabled by: Jon Trickett (Labour - Hemsworth)
That this House expresses its concern about proposals to lower the threshold at which students repay their student loans; notes that the average student leaves university with £50,000 worth of debt and is currently required to start paying off their student loan when they earn £27,295 a year; further notes …
30 signatures
(Most recent: 5 Jan 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 24
Independent: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
16th September 2021
Nicholas Brown signed this EDM on Monday 20th September 2021

North East Child Poverty

Tabled by: Ian Lavery (Labour - Wansbeck)
That this House notes the rapidly increasing levels of child poverty in the North East, including in Wansbeck, among other areas of the North, rising from 26 per cent in 2014-15 to 37 per cent in 2019-20 now the second highest rate across the country only behind London; further notes …
16 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 14
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
View All Nicholas Brown's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Nicholas Brown, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Nicholas Brown has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Nicholas Brown has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Nicholas Brown


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to amend the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007 to limit the display of external advertisements concerning lettings; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 4th July 2012

Nicholas Brown has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


83 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
2 Other Department Questions
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate his Department has made of changes in the number of short-term private rented lettings in the North East over the last five years.

This data is not collected by the Department and therefore it is not possible to make an assessment of the changes in the number of short-term private rented lettings in the North East.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending the Help to Buy Equity Loan for use on properties other than new build homes.

The Help to Buy Equity Loan has helped over 328,500 households buy a home from its launch in spring 2013 until the end of March 2021. All homes have been new-build, and around 82% of sales have been to first-time buyers.

A key objective of the scheme, alongside supporting people into homeownership, is to increase housing supply. By focusing the scheme on new build homes, Help to Buy has been very successful in achieving that. Our latest independent evaluation concluded that 14.5% of all new homes in England between 2015 and 2017 would not have been built without Help to Buy. Making Help to Buy available on second hand homes would not have the same supply effect and as such there are no plans to extend the offer to existing stock.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to reply to the correspondence of 9 April 2021 from the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne East.

A reply was issued on 4 May from my Hon. Friend the then Minister for Science, Research and Innovation (Amanda Solloway). A copy of that response was sent to the Rt. Hon. Member on 24 September.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that signal strength is strong enough to support smart meter installation in all areas.

Second generation smart meters use a dedicated national smart metering communications network, which deploys a variety of technologies to deliver connectivity to premises. These include cellular mobile technology plus wireless mesh radio, and long-range radio technology.

The Data Communications Company (DCC), which operates the national communications infrastructure for smart metering, is obligated under the conditions of its licence to provide communications coverage to at least 99.25% of premises across Great Britain.

The DCC is required by its licence conditions to assess the opportunities to increase the overall level of coverage beyond its contractual requirements, where it is practicable and cost proportionate.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his Department’s target is for smart meter installations by the end of 2021.

Smart meters are replacing traditional gas and electricity meters in Great Britain as part of an essential infrastructure upgrade to make the energy system more efficient and flexible, enabling the cost-effective delivery of net zero greenhouse gas emissions. The rollout is making good progress, with 24.2 million smart and advanced meters in homes and small business across Great Britain as of end March 2021.

Energy suppliers are currently required by licence conditions to take all reasonable steps to install smart meters in homes and small businesses. The Government has confirmed that a new four-year policy framework with fixed annual installation targets for energy suppliers will commence on 1 January 2022 to drive the consistent, long-term investment needed to achieve market-wide rollout.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of high quality green jobs in Tyne and Wear.

We are determined to seize the once-in-a-generation economic opportunities of the net zero transition by creating new business opportunities and, by one estimate, supporting up to 2 million green jobs by 2030 across all regions of the UK. The UK has a strong base to build upon, in 2019 there were already over 410,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains across the country. Through my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, we will support a further 90,000 green collar jobs across the UK by 2024, and up to 250,000 by 2030.

The Getting Building Fund is investing £64.4 million in 20 projects across the North East, creating an estimated 2475 jobs. This includes £1.82 million for Tyne Dock Enterprise Park in South Shields, which will accelerate site preparation and infrastructure for the offshore wind sector. This site has been selected by Equinor/SSE to establish a major Offshore wind land-based hub to service the offshore wind farms off the North East coast and will create over 200 jobs. The Getting Building Fund is also investing £1.3 million to develop a strategic riverside offshore wind enterprise zone in Wallsend, which could create a further 500 jobs and £1.86 million in the InTEGReL Customer Energy Village research facility in Gateshead, which will demonstrate technologies enabling existing housing stock decarbonisation to net zero.

Through the Growth Deal agreed with North East LEP, we provided £379.6 million to support nearly 50 projects and programmes, which are estimated to create up to 8200 jobs and attract £300m of public and private investment. In Tyne and Wear, this included £8 million for the Swans Energy Park in Wallsend, a key strategic site for the offshore and subsea sector, which will host several hundred jobs when fully developed.

In order to ensure we have the skilled workforce to deliver net zero and our Ten Point Plan, we have launched the Green Jobs Taskforce. The taskforce will conclude its work in summer 2021, with the actions feeding into our Net Zero Strategy to be published later in the year.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of funding universal entitlement to the Summer Reading Challenge in the North East of England for primary school aged children as part of the Government's catch-up plans to support children's reading over the summer holidays.

The Department welcomes the summer reading challenge and is supportive of the work of the Reading Agency.

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards, including those of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Ensuring that every child has access to high quality teaching of literacy forms a vital part of this Government’s mission to ‘level up’ education across the country.

The Department has invested £3 billion since June 2020 to support education recovery. This will have a significant impact in addressing lost education and closing gaps that have emerged. The £1.4 billion package to support children aged 2-19 across schools, early years and further education colleges announced in June 2021 is the next step, and builds on the £1.7 billion already committed.

As part of the wider recovery package to support children and young people of all ages in catching up on missed education and development due to the COVID-19 outbreak, £200 million will be made available to secondary schools to deliver face to face summer schools this year.

The following North East library authorities participated in the Summer Reading Challenge in 2020: Durham, Hartlepool Borough Council, Northumberland County Council and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.

All library authorities in the North East of England participated in 2019. All library authorities in the region, except Darlington, will be participating in 2021.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the UK-Australia trade deal on the demand for pork products dependent on the use of sow stalls.

The UK-Australia trade deal is the first we have negotiated from scratch since leaving the EU. Our goal is a long-term sustainable future for British farming, based on high standards, competitiveness and productivity, which meets the growing demand for our world-class produce.

The Australian Pork Industry has announced it would “commit to pursuing the voluntary phasing out of the use of sow stalls”. The UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement will contain a commitment to an Animal Welfare Working Group to provide a forum for ongoing cooperation and initiatives in areas of mutual interest, to review animal welfare developments and to promote high animal welfare practices.

The UK tariff treatment for pork products from Australia is not yet determined.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the level of plastic pollution in Newcastle.

The Government's 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. We are making great strides to tackle plastic pollution across the country, including in Newcastle. In December 2018 we published the Resources and Waste Strategy, which sets out how we want to achieve this and move towards a circular economy and keep resources in the system for as long as possible. In October 2020, we introduced measures to restrict the supply of plastic straws, plastic drink stirrers, and plastic-stemmed cotton buds. The single-use carrier bag charge, which has led to a 95% reduction in the use of single-use carrier bags by the main supermarkets, has been increased to 10p and extended to all retailers to further encourage customers to bring their own bags to carry shopping and reduce the volumes of single-use plastic being used.

Our Environment Bill will enable us to significantly change the way that we manage our waste and take forward a number of the proposals from the Resources and Waste Strategy. The Bill will include powers to create Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes; introduce Deposit Return Schemes (DRS); establish greater consistency in the recycling system; better control the export of plastic waste; and give us the power to set new charges for other single-use plastic items. Our consultations on an EPR scheme for packaging and a DRS for drinks containers closed on 4 June and our consultation on our proposals for consistency in the recycling system in England is open for responses until 4 July. More details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/environment/waste-and-recycling

Local councils, such as Newcastle City Council, are responsible for keeping their public land clear of litter and refuse. For any local litter issue, we recommend contacting the council to make sure it is aware of the problem. It is up to councils to decide how best to meet their statutory duty to keep their relevant land clear of litter and refuse.

The Government has put together a package of over £100 million for research and innovation to tackle the issues that arise from plastic waste. £38 million has been set aside through the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund and the Resource Action Fund including £10 million specifically to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter. The Government has also announced £60 million of funding through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, alongside a £150 million investment from industry, towards the development of smart, sustainable plastic packaging, which will aim to make the UK a world leader in sustainable packaging for consumer products.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the level of plastic pollution in waterways in Newcastle.

The Environment Agency has not conducted an assessment on the level of plastic pollution in waterways in Newcastle.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce air pollution in Newcastle upon Tyne.

We are continuing to deliver our ambitious plans to improve air quality. To tackle local nitrogen dioxide exceedances, we are providing £880 million to help local authorities develop and implement local air quality plans and to support those impacted by these plans.

The Joint Air Quality Unit has provided funding and support to, and continues to work closely with, Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council as they develop plans to tackle their nitrogen dioxide exceedances.

There are two monitoring stations on the national Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN) that are located within the Newcastle City Council area. Both the Newcastle Centre and Newcastle Cradlewell Roadside stations measure concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and PM10. The Newcastle Centre station also measures concentrations of PM2.5 and ozone.

Measurements from the Newcastle Centre station are published on the UK-AIR website at the following URL: https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/data/flat_files?site_id=NEWC

Measurements from the Newcastle Cradlewell Roadside station are published on the UK-AIR website at the following URL:

https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/data/flat_files?site_id=NCA3

Local authorities are additionally required to review and assess local air quality and to publish monitoring data in their Annual Status Reports along with the measures they are taking to improve air quality in their areas. Newcastle City Council’s Annual Status Reports can be viewed on the council’s website:

https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/services/environment-and-waste/environmental-health-and-pollution/air-pollution/air-quality

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the average level of air pollution in Newcastle upon Tyne; and if he will publish those figures for each of the last five years.

We are continuing to deliver our ambitious plans to improve air quality. To tackle local nitrogen dioxide exceedances, we are providing £880 million to help local authorities develop and implement local air quality plans and to support those impacted by these plans.

The Joint Air Quality Unit has provided funding and support to, and continues to work closely with, Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council as they develop plans to tackle their nitrogen dioxide exceedances.

There are two monitoring stations on the national Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN) that are located within the Newcastle City Council area. Both the Newcastle Centre and Newcastle Cradlewell Roadside stations measure concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and PM10. The Newcastle Centre station also measures concentrations of PM2.5 and ozone.

Measurements from the Newcastle Centre station are published on the UK-AIR website at the following URL: https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/data/flat_files?site_id=NEWC

Measurements from the Newcastle Cradlewell Roadside station are published on the UK-AIR website at the following URL:

https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/data/flat_files?site_id=NCA3

Local authorities are additionally required to review and assess local air quality and to publish monitoring data in their Annual Status Reports along with the measures they are taking to improve air quality in their areas. Newcastle City Council’s Annual Status Reports can be viewed on the council’s website:

https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/services/environment-and-waste/environmental-health-and-pollution/air-pollution/air-quality

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of a free trade deal with Australia on small to medium-sized farms in the North East.

The scoping assessment published in June 2020 assessed the potential impacts of a deal, in advance of negotiations, under various illustrative scenarios. This included a more detailed look at the impacts on the agri-food sectors. This assessment was not based on the actual deal, but on broad assumptions about what a trade agreement could look like.

Following the conclusion of negotiations, the Government will be updating the analysis and publishing a full impact assessment prior to implementation of the agreement.

The Australia-UK free trade agreement (FTA) will bring new export opportunities to British farmers and benefit the industry by removing tariffs whilst protecting UK agricultural sensitivities, upholding the UK’s high food and animal welfare standards, and facilitating movement of people. The UK produces high quality, premium produce that is globally sought after, and all the new FTAs will create new export opportunities for British farming.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what criteria his Department used to inform its decision to put the United Arab Emirates on covid-19 red list for travel.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) produces risk assessments of countries and territories. This risk is based on factors such as the level of community transmission of variants of concern or variant under investigation, levels of testing, genomic sequencing and reporting.

The decision to add the United Arab Emirates to the red list on 28 January was made by the Government, following analysis of the variant of concern first identified in South Africa and its strong travel connections to South Africa.

As with all our coronavirus measures, the Government keeps the red list under constant review and our priority remains to protect the health of the UK public.

A summary of the JBC methodology has been published on GOV.UK, alongside key data that supports ministers’ decisions.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average amount being recovered in a monthly repayment through universal credit is; and what proportion of those monies are owed as a result of (a) universal credit debts and (b) universal credit advance loans.

Deductions from Universal Credit awards are requested by creditors who ensure they have followed regulations. Universal Credit informs the claimant of all deduction requests.

Universal Credit deduction regulations protect claimants from excessive deductions, which could lead to financial difficulty. There is a 25% cap on deductions to ensure that priority debts and other debts are repaid, whilst supporting claimants with significant debts to retain more of their monthly award for their day-to-day needs. The cap was reduced in April 2021 from 30% to 25% to help support claimants to manage financial difficulties.

Advances are designed to ensure that the most vulnerable claimants receive the money they need to live on during their transition to Universal Credit. Claimants now have the option to spread twenty-five Universal Credit payments over twenty-four months, giving them more flexibility over the payments of their Universal Credit award. This will also allow claimants to retain more of their award, giving additional financial security

Customers can contact the Department if they are experiencing financial hardship to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment, depending on their financial circumstances, whilst work coaches can also signpost claimants to other financial support.

The information requested is provided in the attached spreadsheet.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the total amount of money being recovered by her Department through universal credit claims is as at 15 September 2021; and what the comparable figures are for the last three years.

Deductions from Universal Credit awards are requested by creditors who ensure they have followed regulations. Universal Credit informs the claimant of all deduction requests.

Universal Credit deduction regulations protect claimants from excessive deductions, which could lead to financial difficulty. There is a 25% cap on deductions to ensure that priority debts and other debts are repaid, whilst supporting claimants with significant debts to retain more of their monthly award for their day-to-day needs. The cap was reduced in April 2021 from 30% to 25% to help support claimants to manage financial difficulties.

Advances are designed to ensure that the most vulnerable claimants receive the money they need to live on during their transition to Universal Credit. Claimants now have the option to spread twenty-five Universal Credit payments over twenty-four months, giving them more flexibility over the payments of their Universal Credit award. This will also allow claimants to retain more of their award, giving additional financial security

Customers can contact the Department if they are experiencing financial hardship to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment, depending on their financial circumstances, whilst work coaches can also signpost claimants to other financial support.

The information requested is provided in the attached spreadsheet.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Post Office Card Accounts are active in (a) Newcastle upon Tyne East constituency, (b) Newcastle upon Tyne and (c) the UK.

As of August 2021 there were less than 350k active Post Office Card Accounts. This is down from 1 million in 2019.

We do not hold information on Post Office card account customers in specific geographical areas as sought.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to reduce the time it takes to process personal independence payment applications.

We are committed to ensuring that people can access financial support through Personal Independence Payment in a timely manner. We always aim to make an award decision as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to review all available evidence.

We are currently operating within expected levels. Average clearance times from initial claim to a decision being made for new claims at the end of April 2021 is 19 weeks, which is the same as average clearance times achieved in March 2020, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to assist Post Office Card Account users transition from their cards in preparation for the end of universal credit, tax credit and State Pension payments into those accounts from November 2021.

The Department has a dedicated team, the Financial Inclusion Customer Contact Centre, to support all Post Office Card Account customers to transition to standard accounts. a new Payment Exception Service exists for customers who are unable to access a standard account to receive their payments.

The Department is actively contacting Post Office Card Account customers to support and advice on the future payment methods available.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will provide an estimate of the number of placements on the Kickstart scheme that will result in permanent employment in (a) England, (b) the North East and (c) Newcastle East constituency.

The aim of the Kickstart Scheme is to fund the direct creation of additional jobs for young people at risk of long-term unemployment. Kickstart provides young people with an opportunity to build their skills and confidence in the work place and gain experience that will improve their chances of finding long-term, sustainable work. No estimates have been made.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average length of time is between a job being approved through the government’s Kickstart scheme and the placement beginning in (a) England, (b) the North East and (c) Newcastle East constituency in the latest period for which that data is available.

When applying for funding from the Department for Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme, employers are able to choose when the funded jobs start in the life of the scheme. This means that the time between approval and start can vary greatly and will greatly affect any averages. A number of processes must be completed before a job can be started including the signing of a grant funding agreement and the referring of an eligible young person.

The average time between a job being made available for a young person to apply for and a young person starting in that position is less than 28 days. This is based on all jobs made available for young people to apply to since the Kickstart Scheme launched until the 20th May. This figure is the national average; we are currently unable to break this information down to the regional level or below.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many jobs have been (a) approved and (b) commenced under the Kickstart scheme in (a) England, (b) the North East and (c) Newcastle East constituency.

We are unable at present to provide data on the number of approved jobs by region, as at that stage in the process we do not hold information about the exact location of a job, only the head office of the employer.

For the most recently released information about the number of Kickstart jobs commenced by region I refer the honourable member to the answer given for PQ 546.

Delivering the Kickstart Scheme at pace has led to a limited data set which makes it harder to accurately present a snapshot of a smaller geographical area. We are continuing to develop our data, which may help in sharing constituency level information in due course

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Child Poverty Action Group’s 2021 Budget Representation, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the real terms reduction in child benefit since 2010 on child poverty in (a) Newcastle East constituency and (b) the UK.

No such assessment has been made.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending an estimated £112 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2020/21. This included around £7.4 billion of Covid-related welfare policy measures, including a temporary increase to the Universal Credit Standard Allowance of £20 per week

National Statistics on the number and percentage of children in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. Data for Newcastle East is unavailable due to insufficient sample size, however, data for the North East region is available.

The latest figures on the number of children who are in low income in the North East, and in the UK, covering up to 2019/20, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-2014-to-2020 , “children-hbai-timeseries-1994-95-2019-20-tables” in table 4.16ts (relative low income, before and after housing costs) and in table 4.22ts (absolute low income, before and after housing costs).

Across the UK, there were 100,000 fewer children in absolute low income, before housing costs in 2019/20 than in 2009/10.

The Department now publishes supplementary official statistics on the number of children in low income families at constituency level, including Newcastle East. Children in Low Income Families data is published annually.https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-2014-to-2020

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what fiscal steps his Department is taking to reduce child poverty in Newcastle East constituency.

This Government is wholly committed to tackling child poverty. Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been to protect family incomes by spending £407 billion to protect jobs, keep businesses afloat and help families get by. This includes spending an additional £7.4 billion last year to strengthen the welfare system for those most in need, taking our total expenditure on welfare support for people of working age to an estimated £112bn in 2020/21. Our Covid Winter Grant Scheme has provided £229m to Local Authorities in England to enable them to support people with food and essential utility bills during the coldest months. Building on this, we have now introduced the £40m Covid Local Support Grant which will run to the 20th June. For Newcastle upon Tyne District Council this means funding of £1,817,131.52.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help parents move into and progress in work as quickly as possible, based on clear evidence around the importance of parental employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty. The In-Work Progression Commission will report this year on the barriers to progression for those in persistent low pay and set out a strategy for overcoming these.

We are investing over £30 billion in our ambitious Plan for Jobs which is already delivering for people of all ages right across the country. We have fulfilled our commitment to recruit 13,500 extra Work Coaches who through our Jobcentre network will provide people with the tailored support they need to move into work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to reduce child poverty in working households.

This Government is wholly committed to tackling child poverty. Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been to protect family incomes by spending £407 billion to protect jobs, keep businesses afloat and help families get by. This includes spending an additional £7.4 billion last year to strengthen the welfare system for those most in need, taking our total expenditure on welfare support for people of working age to an estimated £112bn in 2020/21. Our Covid Winter Grant Scheme has provided £229m to Local Authorities in England to enable them to support people with food and essential utility bills during the coldest months. Building on this, we have now introduced the £40m Covid Local Support Grant which will run to the 20th June. For Newcastle upon Tyne District Council this means funding of £1,817,131.52.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help parents move into and progress in work as quickly as possible, based on clear evidence around the importance of parental employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty. The In-Work Progression Commission will report this year on the barriers to progression for those in persistent low pay and set out a strategy for overcoming these.

We are investing over £30 billion in our ambitious Plan for Jobs which is already delivering for people of all ages right across the country. We have fulfilled our commitment to recruit 13,500 extra Work Coaches who through our Jobcentre network will provide people with the tailored support they need to move into work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish the level of child poverty in Newcastle East constituency in each of the last five years.

The Department publishes official statistics on the number of children in low income families at constituency level, including Newcastle East. Children in Low Income Families data is published annually.https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-2014-to-2020

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the planned reduction in universal credit from October 2021 on child poverty in (a) Newcastle East constituency and (b) the UK.

No such assessment has been made.

This Government has long championed the principle of work as the best route out of poverty and towards financial independence. This approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty and in improving long-term outcomes for families and children.

Getting people back to work and supporting them to progress is therefore at the heart of our approach to tackling poverty and building back better. Our Plan for Jobs is already delivering for people of all ages right across the country and includes investing over £7 billion on new schemes such as the £2 billion Kickstart Scheme, the Restart Scheme and our Job Entry Targeted Support Scheme.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that there is capacity at local GP practices or other providers to deliver covid-19 vaccines to people who are housebound.

Every adult in England has now been offered a COVID-19 booster vaccination, including all those who are housebound. To ensure these patients can access vaccines and booster doses, general practitioners work alongside community teams, based on their knowledge of the patient and circumstances. Some patients may be able to attend Primary Care Network (PCN) designated sites with assistance and discussions should be held with families and/or carers to facilitate this. For those who are unable to travel, vaccinations will be delivered via roving units directly to an individual’s home.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the answer of 17 November to Question 73745 on Ophthalmic Services: National Clinical Directors, what his timetable is for appointing the National Clinical Director for Eye Care.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are planning to commence the recruitment process for a National Clinical Director for Eye Care in the new year.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with NHS England on the appointment of a National Clinical Director for Eye Care.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently developing a role description for a National Clinical Director for Eye Care to support recovery and provide clinical leadership to NHS England’s work to transform eye care services. A national recruitment process will be launched in due course.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to work with NHS England to appoint a National Clinical Director for Eye Care, and formulate the responsibilities held in this role.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently developing a role description for a National Clinical Director for Eye Care to support recovery and provide clinical leadership to NHS England’s work to transform eye care services. A national recruitment process will be launched in due course.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the (a) appeal and (b) availability of (i) e-cigarettes and (ii) other nicotine products to children.

E-cigarettes in the United Kingdom are regulated by the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR) and the Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015 (NIP). These regulations aim to reduce the risk of harm to children and include restrictions on mainstream television and radio advertising; requirements on the packaging and labelling of e-cigarettes, prevent sale to under 18s; and limit both tank sizes and nicotine content.

We are currently undertaking a post implementation review of TRPR to assess if the regulations are meeting their objectives. The Government aims to publish its response by the end of the year. The post implementation review on the Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015 is available at the following link:

Tobacco legislation coming into force between 2010 and 2015: post implementation review - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the level of smoking in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Local authorities are responsible for deciding the services required to meet the needs of their local populations, this includes stop smoking services and campaigns. In 2011 the adult smoking rates in the Newcastle upon Tyne area were 23% and in 2019 at 13%, below the current England average of 13.9%. The local authority is part of the collaboratively funded Fresh North East tobacco control programme, providing additional stop smoking campaigns and service support across the North East.

The Government is committed to making the country Smokefree by 2030 and will publish a new tobacco control plan to support this ambition which will have an even sharper focus on tackling health disparities.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which Minister is responsible for improving the (a) prevention and (b) treatment of sight loss conditions.

I am the Minister with responsibility for primary eye care services, including the National Health Service sight testing service, which can detect conditions that can lead to sight loss.

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Vaccines and Public Health (Maggie Throup MP) is responsible for prevention which includes the diabetic retinopathy screening programme and tackling known causes of sight loss such as smoking and obesity.

In addition, my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Health (Edward Argar MP) is responsible for hospital services, including hospital eye care services which provides treatment for sight loss conditions.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answers of 28 October 2021 to Questions 62622 and 62623, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of implementing (a) community testing, (b) point-of-care testing and (c) wider antiviral treatment into the flu pathway.

The Department is currently assessing the scope to include testing for Influenza alongside existing community testing for SARS-CoV-2.

We are not currently assessing the potential merits of implementing point-of-care testing for flu and we have not made an assessment of the potential merits of implementing wider antiviral treatment into the flu pathway.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what planning his Department has undertaken to reduce flu transmissions in the community in winter 2021-22.

The Department has planned for over 35 million people to be offered a free flu vaccine during the upcoming winter season. We have also secured a central stock of flu vaccines in addition to local supplies.

We have expanded the children’s vaccination programme to include secondary school children up to year 11, to protect children and prevent onward transmission to vulnerable members of the community.

We have launched a marketing campaign encouraging eligible cohorts to book their flu vaccine. NHS England and NHS Improvement have recommissioned the national call and recall service to target groups of eligible individuals, informing them of their flu vaccination eligibility and remind them to make an appointment.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what measures his Department is considering other than vaccination to help mitigate a winter flu outbreak in winter 2021-22.

The National Health Service continues to recommend hand washing, using tissues to catch coughs and sneezes and using a bin to catch tissues as quickly as possible to help reduce the risk of flu. However, influenza vaccination remains a cost-effective measure to protect those at risk and reduce hospitalisations.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many pre-registration student midwives (a) have started their training and (b) were at any stage of their training in each of the last five academic years for which figures are available.

The Department does not hold information on the number of midwives in any stage of training. The following table shows the number of student acceptances to midwifery courses in England. Acceptances are a widely used proxy for the number of students who start training each year.

Academic year

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-2021

Number of acceptances

2,395

2,600

2,680

3,105

3,630

Source: The Universities and Colleges Admission Service end of cycle data, 2020

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many individuals graduated from pre-registration midwifery training courses as qualified midwives in each of the last five academic years for which figures are available.

The Department does not hold this information.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support National Eczema Week.

Where appropriate, patients can be referred to specialists in psychodermatology. the treatment of skin diseases using psychological techniques, through a network of specialised clinicians. The specialised dermatology Clinical Reference Group is currently reviewing the standards of care for psychodermatology, working closely with Psychodermatology UK. As part of the Mental Health Recovery Action Plan, the Government is accelerating key commitments in the NHS Long Term Plan, investing £110 million to expand Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. IAPT - Long Term Conditions services have been established across the country to support integrated pathways between IAPT services and physical health pathways for people with long term conditions, including eczema.

Whilst we had no specific events related to National Eczema Week, we recognise and commend the work of the voluntary and community sector organisations, who continue to raise awareness of eczema and the issues facing those living with the condition.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase mental health services for those suffering with eczema.

Where appropriate, patients can be referred to specialists in psychodermatology. the treatment of skin diseases using psychological techniques, through a network of specialised clinicians. The specialised dermatology Clinical Reference Group is currently reviewing the standards of care for psychodermatology, working closely with Psychodermatology UK. As part of the Mental Health Recovery Action Plan, the Government is accelerating key commitments in the NHS Long Term Plan, investing £110 million to expand Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. IAPT - Long Term Conditions services have been established across the country to support integrated pathways between IAPT services and physical health pathways for people with long term conditions, including eczema.

Whilst we had no specific events related to National Eczema Week, we recognise and commend the work of the voluntary and community sector organisations, who continue to raise awareness of eczema and the issues facing those living with the condition.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of dermatologists in England.

The next Spending Review will set out further details of the Government’s spending plans for the National Health Service workforce, including dermatologists.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish (a) the latest data on waiting times for a dermatology appointment in England and (b) comparable data for the last three years.

The following table shows the median waiting times in the last three years for National Health Service dermatology services in England.

Month

Median waiting time in weeks

July 2018

6.1

August 2018

6.7

September 2018

7.2

October 2018

6.9

November 2018

6.9

December 2018

7.8

January 2019

7.6

February 2019

6.1

March 2019

6.2

April 2019

6.6

May 2019

6.9

June 2019

6.6

July 2019

6.5

August 2019

7.4

September 2019

7.6

October 2019

7.7

November 2019

8

December 2019

8.8

January 2020

8.7

February 2020

7.4

March 2020

8.9

April 2020

12.2

May 2020

14.9

June 2020

16.6

July 2020

12.9

August 2020

9.5

September 2020

9

October 2020

9

November 2020

8.7

December 2020

9.7

January 2021

10.5

February 2021

10.4

March 2021

8

April 2021

7.7

May 2021

7.7

June 2021

7.6

July 2021

8.4

Source:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/rtt-waiting-times/

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce waiting times for a dermatology appointment in England.

We continue to support the National Health Service to increase activity to tackle waiting lists for treatment caused by the pandemic. We have provided £2 billion this year to reduce waiting times, including for patients waiting for dermatology appointments.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the availability of CT and MRI scans for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

No such assessment has been made.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to run a regular national audit of specialist dementia diagnostic services, extending beyond the existing National Memory Clinic Audit.

The National Memory Clinic Audit began this month and is managed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. There are currently no plans to run additional regular national audits of specialist dementia diagnostic services. However, regions may decide to undertake local audits independently.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance is available for non-residential social care providers not covered by mandatory covid-19 vaccination requirements.

The Standard Operating Procedure for vaccination of frontline health and social care staff who do not work in a care home for older adults is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2021/01/C1037-COVID-vacc-deployment-SOP_community-based-care-workers-14-January-2021.pdf

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support for prescription costs is available for women experiencing the menopause.

Women experiencing the menopause are not included in the list of people entitled to free prescriptions. Eligibility depends on having a qualifying medical condition, the patient’s age, whether they are in qualifying full-time education, whether they are pregnant or have recently given birth, or whether they are in receipt of certain benefits or a war pension.

However, people on a low income who do not qualify for an exemption may be eligible for full or partial help with prescription charges through application to the NHS Low Income Scheme. People who need a number of prescriptions each month can buy a prepayment certificate which can help reduce costs significantly. A holder of a 12-month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just over £2 per week.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what target his Department has for responding to correspondence from hon. Members; and what recent assessment he has made of his Department's performance against that target.

The Department's target for correspondence from hon. Members is to reply to 90% of cases within 18 working days. The recently published cross-Government league tables for 2020 are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/data-on-responses-to-correspondence-from-mps-and-peers

During 2020 we received 31,509 cases from hon. Members compared to 10,467 in 2019. Our performance against the target was 18% in 2020 compared to 67% for 2019. The Department is currently working to improve response times for 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his policy to ensure that in any booster vaccine programme third doses of covid-19 vaccines are prioritised for people who are immunosuppressed in (a) Newcastle upon Tyne and (b) other areas with a number of cases.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recognises that some individuals who are severely immunosuppressed due to underlying health conditions or medical treatment may not achieve the same full immune response to the initial two dose COVID-19 vaccination course as those who are not immunosuppressed. The committee has therefore advised on 1 September that as a precautionary measure those with severe immunosuppression at or around the time of their first or second dose of COVID-19 vaccination should receive a third dose. The aim is to raise the level of immunity in these individuals closer to the level of immunity as the non-immunosuppressed achieve from two doses in Newcastle upon Tyne and other areas.

The Government has accepted this advice, which will be applied at a national level. Severe immunosuppression at the time of vaccination is defined using guidance and timings outlined at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/third-primary-covid-19-vaccine-dose-for-people-who-are-immunosuppressed-jcvi-advice/joint-committee-on-vaccination-and-immunisation-jcvi-advice-on-third-primary-dose-vaccination

The purpose of the separate potential booster programme is to maximise protection in those who are most vulnerable to serious COVID-19 ahead of the winter months. The JCVI published interim advice on a potential Covid-19 booster vaccination programme on 30 June 2021, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jcvi-interim-advice-on-a-potential-coronavirus-covid-19-booster-vaccine-programme-for-winter-2021-to-2022/jcvi-interim-advice-potential-covid-19-booster-vaccine-programme-winter-2021-to-2022

Final decisions on the timing and scope and cohort eligibility of any COVID-19 vaccine booster programme will be confirmed once the JCVI has provided their final advice.

It is expected that severely immunosuppressed individuals will become eligible for a booster dose as part of any routine booster programme from around six months after their third dose, pending further advice.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the scientific reasoning is behind the Government’s policy of a person who is fully vaccinated against covid-19 still having to self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

Continuing with close contact isolation until 16 August 2021 will allow more time for people to receive their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Higher population immunity will mitigate against the small risk of onward transmission from fully vaccinated, but infected, close contacts. Maintaining contact self-isolation will contribute to transmission reduction and aligns with the principle of gradual resumption of pre-pandemic behaviours following step four of the roadmap.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies’ modelling suggests a period of extremely high prevalence of infection lasting until at least the end of August 2021, which increases exposure risk, even in vaccinated individuals. This modelling is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1001160/S1300_SAGE_93_minutes_Coronavirus__COVID-19__response__7_July_2021.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of residential care home beds in the North East of England.

Local authorities are best placed to understand and plan for the care needs of their populations and to develop and build local market capacity. Under the Care Act 2014, local authorities have the duty to shape their local markets, ensure that people have a range of high-quality, sustainable and person-centred care and support options available to them. This includes adequate provision of care home beds to meet local needs. This Government is supporting local authorities to develop their local markets by providing them with over £1 billion of additional funding for social care in 2021/22.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the demand for adult social care in (a) the North East of England and (b) Newcastle upon Tyne East constituency over the next decade.

We have made no such estimate as local authorities are best placed to understand and plan for the care needs of their local populations.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to promote to health professionals the Reading Well social prescribing scheme available free from public libraries as part of a Government-funded covid-19 recovery initiative.

Social prescribing link workers (SPLWs) can connect those who are referred to them by health professionals to community groups and agencies for practical, social and emotional support, such as libraries and the Reading Well initiative. SPLWs work closely with local partners across health, local authorities, the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, communities and other partners to identify and nurture community assets, such as local libraries and to raise awareness of the range of support available, such as the Reading Well resources.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the Reading Agency to share their resources and the role of local libraries via its social prescribing bulletin, its collaborative platform and via regional networks and will continue to work with Reading Well to share its resources, including via the new cross Government green social prescribing programme. The National Academy of Social Prescribing has promoted the Reading Well programme via a blog post and via their Thriving Communities programme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of deaths that were attributed to air pollution in (a) Newcastle upon Tyne, (b) the North East and (c) England in each of the last five years.

Of the last five years, data estimates are available are for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. The following table shows the fraction of adult mortality attributable to long-term exposure to human-made particulate air pollution in Newcastle upon Tyne, the North East and England.

2016

2017

2018

2019

Newcastle upon Tyne

3.6%

3.7%

3.8%

3.5%

North East

3.6%

3.7%

3.8%

3.6%

England

5.4%

5.1%

5.2%

5.1%

Source: https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/search/air%20pollution

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of air pollution on the health of people living in (a) deprived areas compared with (b) other areas.

Although air pollution can be harmful to everyone, some people are more affected because they live in a polluted area, are exposed to higher levels of air pollution or are more susceptible to air pollution exposure. The most vulnerable face all of these disadvantages. Groups that are more affected by air pollution include older people, children, individuals with existing cardiovascular or respiratory disease, pregnant women, communities in areas of higher pollution, such as close to busy roads low-income communities.

Public Health England has developed a five-year cleaner air programme of work, which aims to reduce people’s exposure to air pollution particularly for the most vulnerable groups.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for his policies of the impact of (a) sanctions and (b) reduction in official overseas development aid for civilians living in Syria.

UK Syria sanctions carefully target the Assad regime and its cronies, not the civilian population. Sanctions are imposed for specific purposes. They play an indispensable role in countering breaches of international law, proliferation, staunching the flow of arms into war zones, combatting human rights abuses, and targeting spoilers of peace processes. The UK does not sanction medicine, medical equipment or medical assistance, and items required to fight the COVID-19 pandemic are not subject to direct restrictions on export, supply, financing or use in Syria. To further guard against unintentional humanitarian impact, UK sanctions provide for a range of exceptions, in order not to obstruct humanitarian activity, or export of medicines or other humanitarian goods.

As the third largest bilateral donor to the Syria Crisis, the UK is at the forefront of the international response, helping those most in need and encouraging the wider international humanitarian response to do the same. To date, the UK has committed over £3.7 billion in response to the regional Syria Crisis, our largest humanitarian response. In financial year 2020/21, UK Aid helped deliver 11,077 food rations, 552,496 people with clean drinking water, 202,004 vaccines, 133,367 relief packages, 1,350,048 medical consultations and 244,739 pupils with access to formal education, inside Syria. The UK remains a force for good at times of crisis, and we will continue to support the Syrian people.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what enforcement action his Department takes on companies which issue minimum spend card payment charges.

It remains the individual merchant or retailer’s choice whether to set a certain ‘minimum spend’ for a certain type of payment instrument, and whether to accept or decline any form of payment.

Surcharging, the practice of merchants or retailers charging a fee to the customer for using a certain payment instrument (e.g., a debit card or credit card) has been banned since 2018 through amendments made to the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012. For most UK retail payments, these Regulations ban merchants from charging a fee in addition to the advertised price of a transaction on the basis of a consumer’s choice of payment instrument payments.

The Regulations give consumer enforcement authorities (including local authority Trading Standards and the Northern Ireland Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment) the power to take civil enforcement action against traders who breach the Regulations. Customers are also entitled to receive a refund of any unlawful surcharge they have paid and, if necessary, to take legal action to recover any such surcharge.

For further information on surcharging, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has published guidance at the following webpage: www.gov.uk/government/publications/payment-surcharges

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support he is making available for small businesses paying high bank card processing fees to prevent them reverting to cash-only transactions.

The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) was established in 2015, with statutory objectives to promote competition, innovation, and to ensure that payment systems are operated in a way that considers the interests of all the businesses and consumers that use them.

The PSR is currently carrying out a market review into card acquiring services to examine how effectively competition is working in the provision of these services. This includes an assessment of the fees that small and medium-sized businesses pay, including card scheme and interchange fees, and the quality of service they receive. The Government looks forward to the final PSR report and recommendations later this year.

Furthermore, the Government has legislated to ensure the interchange fees businesses pay remain capped for all UK domestic card transactions where both the card issuer and acquirer are located in the UK. This was facilitated through the Interchange Fee (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 made under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. UK interchange fee caps are therefore at the same levels as before the end of the Transition Period.

It remains the individual retailer’s choice as to whether to accept or decline any form of payment, including cash or card.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether there have been bilateral discussions between the UK Government and individual EU states on cross-border workers, similar to agreements between France and partners on exemptions to Article 13 of EC Regulation 883/2004.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has been working with the EU to protect the social security position of workers moving between the UK and the EU. Reciprocal arrangements have been put in place covering all EU member states which allow HMRC to disregard changes to individuals’ work locations caused solely by COVID-related restrictions when deciding where these workers pay their social security contributions.

This includes multi-state workers who are covered by Article 13 of Regulation (EC) 883/2004 under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement or by Article SSC.12 of the Protocol on Social Security Coordination in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has taken steps to establish exemption rules with the EU for cross-border workers during the covid-19 pandemic from Article SSC.12 of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement Protocol on Social Security Coordination.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has been working with the EU to protect the social security position of workers moving between the UK and the EU. Reciprocal arrangements have been put in place covering all EU member states which allow HMRC to disregard changes to individuals’ work locations caused solely by COVID-related restrictions when deciding where these workers pay their social security contributions.

This includes multi-state workers who are covered by Article 13 of Regulation (EC) 883/2004 under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement or by Article SSC.12 of the Protocol on Social Security Coordination in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

24th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that cash machines in deprived areas are free to use.

LINK (the scheme that runs the UK's largest ATM network) has commitments to protect the broad geographic spread of free-to-use ATMs and is held to account against these commitments by the Payment Systems Regulator.

Specifically, LINK has committed to protect free-to-use ATMs more than one kilometre away from the next nearest free ATM or Post Office, and free access to cash on high streets (where there is a cluster of five or more retailers) that do not have a free-to-use ATM or a Post Office counter within one kilometre. Furthermore, LINK's members have made £5 million available to fund ATMs at the request of communities with poor access to cash.

More broadly, the Government recognises that cash is important to the daily lives of millions of people across the UK, and has therefore committed to legislating to protect access to cash for those who need it and ensuring that the UK's cash infrastructure is sustainable for the long term.

The Government made legislative changes to support the widespread offering of cashback without a purchase by shops and other businesses as part of the Financial Services Act 2021, and has announced that it will consult this summer on further legislative proposals for protecting cash for the long term.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to respond to correspondence dated 8 September 2021 from the Rt Hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne East.

The correspondence from the Rt Hon. Member of 8 September was not received by the Home Secretary or the Home Office, which has led to a delay in response. A copy of the Rt Hon. Member’s correspondence has now been retrieved from his office, prioritised for response and I will respond shortly.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to respond to the (a) eight cases between February and May 2021 and (b) seven cases between June and August 2021 relating to UKVI raised with her Department by the hon Member for Newcastle upon Tyne East.

The Home Office has responded to 18 of the Rt Hon Member’s written enquiries between February and August 2021 and will provide substantive responses to any outstanding enquiries as quickly as possible

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Minister for Crime and Policing’s letter of 3 June 2021 on the Safer Streets Fund, where the 10 re-deployable CCTV cameras, 137 secure doors and 350 crime prevention packs will be distributed in Newcastle upon Tyne East constituency.

On 3 June, we announced 50 projects have been awarded a total of £18.4 million from the second round of the Safer Streets Fund to invest in crime prevention projects to tackle neighbourhood crimes, such as burglary, vehicle theft and robbery.

Newcastle City Council was successful in receiving £431,967 of funding to target the area of Byker located in the east of Newcastle, an area disproportionately affected by neighbourhood crimes. Proposed interventions will be delivered over the 2021/22 financial year.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of means-testing the spouse visa fee.

Immigration and nationality fees are kept under review and we ensure they are within the parameters agreed with HM Treasury and Parliament, as set out in Section 68 (9) of the Immigration Act 2014. Full details can be reviewed via the following link:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/22/section/68.

These include the cost of processing the application, the wider cost of running the migration, borders and citizenship system and the benefits which are likely to accrue from a successful application.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect of covid-19 legislation, including enforcing social distancing and mask-wearing, on levels of violence and abuse experienced by shop workers.

There are no official figures on the number of assaults in a retail setting.

This Government recognises that the abuse and physical violence faced by shop staff can have a significant impact on their health, not only physically but mentally and emotionally. These crimes are unacceptable, and the Home Office is working closely with retailers and trade organisations through the National Retail Crime Steering Group to reduce violence and abuse in retail settings.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, what steps the Government is taking to assist Afghans who have themselves, or their family members, provided service to UK armed forces and who remain the country and face violence from the Taliban.

We owe a debt of gratitude to interpreters and other locally employed staff who risked their lives working alongside UK forces in Afghanistan and the Government has already supported more than 1,380 former Afghan staff and their families to create new lives in the UK.

The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) launched on 1 April 2021. It acknowledges and reflects the fact that the situation in Afghanistan has changed, and with it the potential risk to current and former locally employed staff who worked for the UK Government over the past twenty years.

Under the new policy, any current or former locally employed staff who are assessed to be under serious threat to life are offered priority relocation to the UK regardless of their employment status, rank or role, or length of time served. Locally Employed Staff who have worked in roles which could have exposed their identities and placed them at risk of reprisals as a result of their work for the UK Government are relocated to the UK by default at their request.

We are significantly accelerating the pace of relocations in parallel with the military withdrawal, but our commitment to those who are eligible under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), and the process to deliver it, is not time-limited and will endure.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment he has made of the planned timescale of an application to the Building Safety Fund from the technical assessment stage to a decision being made.

Detailed information on the different stages of the Building Safety Fund application process and estimated timelines, can be found in the Building Safety Fund application guidance and application process guidance available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the email from the Building Safety Fund’ of 14 June 2021, if he will provide details of the technical assessment stage of the Building Safety Fund’s application process.

Detailed information on the different stages of the Building Safety Fund application process and estimated timelines, can be found in the Building Safety Fund application guidance and application process guidance available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne East of 20 April 2021 on unsafe cladding at St Ann’s Quay in Newcastle upon Tyne East constituency.

A reply to the Rt Hon Member was issued on 21 June.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 27 May 2021 to Question 6197 on unsafe cladding, whether leaseholders in buildings between 11 and 18 metres will be compensated for costs already billed to them for remediation work on unsafe cladding.

We are working to develop the underpinning details of the finance scheme to ensure it protects leaseholders, prioritising affordability and accelerating remediation.  Further detail on the finance scheme will be made available as soon as possible.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Written Statement of 13 April 2021, HCWS913 on Building Safety Monthly Update, when his Department plans to publish details of the finance scheme for leaseholders in buildings between 11 and 18 metres that will ensure that those leaseholders do not have to pay more than £50 a month for cladding removal; and when that scheme will become operational.

Public safety is our first priority and we are working to ensure unsafe cladding is remediated as swiftly as possible. We will publish further details of the finance scheme as soon as we are in a position to do so.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department has plans to provide support for people who are experiencing mental health problems as a result of financial hardship due to the costs of remedial works to unsafe cladding on their building not covered by Government funding.

MHCLG has regular engagement with leaseholder groups and recognises the effect on residents living in high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding. That is why the Government is investing over £5 billion to remediate high rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding.

Mental health is one of the Government’s top priorities and we are working across Government to ensure that all people, regardless of their residential situation, get the help and support they need. Where residents of buildings fitted with flammable cladding need mental health support, they should make contact with their GP to discuss these issues so they may be referred to mental health services as appropriate. In addition, we are working with the NHS, Public Health England and MIND, to provide a toolkit, signposting all residents to key services to help those concerned about their mental health and financial situation.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make it his policy to facilitate the eventual termination of all imprisonment for public protection sentences in response to the recommendation of the Prison Reform Trust.

The Government has no plans to legislate to terminate existing IPP sentences.

The focus is on ensuring, via a joint HMPPS/Parole Board action plan, that IPP prisoners have every opportunity to progress towards safe release. This approach is working, with high numbers of unreleased IPP prisoners achieving a release decision each year. Indeed, as of 30 June this year there were 1,722 offenders serving the IPP sentence in prison who have never been released, down from over 6,000 when the sentence was abolished for new offences in December 2012. All IPP prisoners are by law entitled to have their continued detention reviewed by the independent Parole Board at least once every two years.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the equity of law firms being able to recover different rates of legal costs against the other side based on their location rather than the complexity of the case.

I refer the Rt Hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne East to the previously answered PQs 8554 and 10168 in June this year on legal costs recovery: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-27/8554; https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-04/10168.

On 30 July 2021, the Civil Justice Council (CJC) published its final report proposing revisions to the Guideline Hourly Rates (GHR): https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Civil-Justice-Council-final-report-on-guideline-hourly-rates.pdf. These revisions have been accepted by the Master of the Rolls: https://www.judiciary.uk/publications/master-of-the-rolls-accepts-recommended-changes-to-guideline-hourly-rates/. The process for recovering costs is the same throughout England and Wales.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the equity of the ability of law firms based in London to recover from the losing side higher rates of legal costs than firms based in the North East of England.

I refer the Rt Hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne East to the previously answered PQs 8554 and 10168 in June this year on legal costs recovery: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-27/8554; https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-04/10168.

On 30 July 2021, the Civil Justice Council (CJC) published its final report proposing revisions to the Guideline Hourly Rates (GHR): https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Civil-Justice-Council-final-report-on-guideline-hourly-rates.pdf. These revisions have been accepted by the Master of the Rolls: https://www.judiciary.uk/publications/master-of-the-rolls-accepts-recommended-changes-to-guideline-hourly-rates/. The process for recovering costs is the same throughout England and Wales.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to encourage solicitors to practice in the North East of England.

Under the framework established by the Legal Services Act 2007, the legal profession in England and Wales, and the bodies that regulate it, are independent from government. We continue to ensure that legal aid advice remains accessible to those who need it, and the Legal Aid Agency keeps market capacity under continual review to ensure adequate provision across England and Wales.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to ensure the regional equity of legal hourly rates recovery.

In England and Wales, the general position as to recovery of legal costs in civil litigation is that the losing party pays the costs of the winning party. If these costs are not agreed, then they are assessed on principles and bases set out in the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR), which apply equally across England and Wales.

Under CPR 44.4, the place where the work was done is one of the factors to be taken into account by the court in deciding the amount of costs.

Guideline Hourly Rates (GHR), published by the Master of the Rolls, provide a starting point for the summary assessment of costs, based on the experience and the location of the lawyer undertaking the work.

In January 2021, the Civil Justice Council (CJC), chaired by the Master of the Rolls, issued a draft report for consultation on proposed revisions to the GHR: https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/20210108-GHR-Report-for-consultation-FINAL.pdf. The consultation closed on 31 March 2021.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)