Nicola Richards Portrait

Nicola Richards

Conservative - West Bromwich East

Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
2nd Mar 2020 - 16th Jan 2021


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 19th October 2021
09:25
Nationality and Borders Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
19 Oct 2021, 9:25 a.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 19th October 2021
09:30
Education Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Children's Homes
19 Oct 2021, 9:30 a.m.
At 10.00am: Oral evidence
Victoria Langer - Interim Chief Executive at Become
Patrick Ward - Chair at National Association of Virtual School Headteachers (NAVSH), and Headteacher at Lewisham Virtual School
Mark Russell - Chief Executive at The Children’s Society
Hannah McCowen - Manager at National Care Leavers Benchmarking Forum, and Catch 22
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 19th October 2021
14:00
Nationality and Borders Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
19 Oct 2021, 2 p.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 20th October 2021
14:00
Women and Equalities Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Pre-appointment hearing with the Social Mobility Commission
20 Oct 2021, 2 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
Katharine Birbalsingh CBE - the Government's preferred candidate for Chair at Social Mobility Commission
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 21st October 2021
11:30
Nationality and Borders Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
21 Oct 2021, 11:30 a.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 21st October 2021
14:00
Nationality and Borders Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
21 Oct 2021, 2 p.m. View calendar
Division Votes
Wednesday 22nd September 2021
Compensation (London Capital & Finance plc and Fraud Compensation Fund) Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 286 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 52 Noes - 292
Speeches
Monday 20th September 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

15. What steps his Department is taking to help support jobs in the defence sector. (903512)

Written Answers
Friday 10th September 2021
Israel: Hamas
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Tuesday 1st June 2021
1. Employment and earnings
Until 6 May 2021, Councillor, Dudley Metropolitan Borough, 1 Priory Road, Dudley DY1 1HF. (Registered 09 January 2020; updated 27 …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Nicola Richards has voted in 296 divisions, and 3 times against the majority of their Party.

19 Jan 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Nicola Richards voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 34 Conservative No votes vs 319 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 319 Noes - 308
23 Jun 2020 - Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme - View Vote Context
Nicola Richards voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 45 Conservative Aye votes vs 235 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 243 Noes - 238
17 Jun 2020 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Nicola Richards voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 104 Conservative Aye votes vs 124 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 253 Noes - 136
View All Nicola Richards 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
Rishi Sunak (Conservative)
Chancellor of the Exchequer
(8 debate interactions)
Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker)
(5 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(5 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(15 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(14 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Nicola Richards's debates

West Bromwich 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).

Petitions with highest West Bromwich East signature proportion
Petitions with most West Bromwich East signatures
Nicola Richards has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Nicola Richards

Nicola Richards has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Nicola Richards, 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.


Nicola Richards has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Nicola Richards has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Nicola Richards has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Nicola Richards has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


29 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
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what progress her Department has made in tackling discrimination against people with hidden disabilities in (a) West Bromwich East and (b) England to ensure that they feel valued in (i) the job market and (ii) society.

We are clear that the Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for an employer or potential employer to discriminate against a disabled person because of their disability. Specifically, the Act requires employers to make reasonable adjustments in relation to the disabled employee’s job or application for a job.

The Government has put in place a range of provisions to help disabled people find and stay in work across the country. Our programmes include Access to Work, Disability Confident, specialised employment support including the Work and Health Programme and the Intensive Personalised Employment Support Programme.

In addition, the Government is ensuring that disabled people, including people with hidden disabilities have access to public services, such as access to the Blue Badge scheme for parking, Changing Places toilet facilities, and accessible communications. The Government, via the Cabinet Office Disability Unit, is supporting the British Standards Institution, in its development of a public information symbol to support disabled people with non-visible disabilities.

We will publish a National Strategy for Disabled People to ensure that all disabled people can play a full role in society. The Strategy will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects and phases of life.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish details of his Department’s support for pubs and restaurants in areas under tier 3 covid-19 restrictions during the Christmas period.

We are providing hospitality businesses in Tiers 2 and 3 with a wide package of support to help them through the current crisis. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, government-backed loans, Local Restrictions Support Grants and additional funding provided to Local Authorities to support businesses. On 1 December, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister also announced an additional £1,000 Christmas grant for ‘wet-led pubs’ in tiers 2 and 3.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps to support residents in Living Well Street in Greets Green, West Bromwich to tackle slow internet speeds.

Living Well Street is currently not in any rollout plans via the local body, the Black Country LEP. While not eligible for our Rural Gigabit Vouchers, this helpful checker provides several local suppliers who are able to deliver to this area which residents may find useful (https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/#suppliers).

The government has the ambition of providing nationwide gigabit-capable connectivity as soon as possible. The government will continue to take action to remove barriers to commercial network rollout, and will ensure that those in the hardest to reach areas are not left behind. £5 billion of funding has been allocated to invest in the hardest to reach areas of the UK, ensuring that all residents will have access to the digital connectivity they need and deserve. Further details of the £5 billion programme will be published in due course. As of 27 August, 26% of UK premises have access to gigabit-capable speeds; however while this is good progress, I realise there is still much more to do.

The government also introduced the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) on 20 March 2020. The USO gives eligible premises in the UK the right to request a decent and affordable connection. The government has defined decent broadband as a service that can provide a download speed of 10Mbps and an upload speed of 1Mbps. Further information can be found at this address: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/broadband-uso-need-to-know.

However, the vast majority of premises in urban areas such as Living Well Street are likely to be able to access a 4G or 5G mobile data service that provides USO level speeds or higher and so therefore will not qualify for assistance under the Universal Service Obligation. According to the Ofcom mobile availability checker, residents in Living Well Street can access a 4G connection across all four of the mobile network operators.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what financial support his Department is providing to (a) self-employed and (b) freelance workers in the entertainment and events supply chain industry unable to return to work during the covid-19 outbreak.

DCMS recognises the crucial role that individuals play in the UK’s entertainment and events industry, and that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to many individuals operating in these sectors.

The Secretary of State announced a major £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will provide targeted support to organisations across a range of cultural and creative sectors which will benefit self-employed and freelance workers by providing support to music venues and many other organisations in the Creative Industries that host live events, to stay open and continue operating.

To complement the funding for organisations made available by Government, Arts Council England (ACE) have announced £95m of additional support for individuals, including freelancers. This involves:

  • An additional £75m in project grants. These will be focused on applications that maximise employment opportunities and those from under-represented groups. Freelancers and National Portfolio Organisations are eligible to apply.

  • A further round of the ACE programme ‘Discover Your Creative Practice’ will open in the autumn. This will make approximately £18m available for individuals looking to develop new creative skills that will help them to further develop their career.

  • ACE will also be adding £2m into relevant benevolent funds to support those less well supported by the programmes outlined above, including stage managers and technicians.

We are committed to continuing to work with the entertainment and events sectors to understand the difficulties they face and help them access support through these challenging times and through recovery.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department has provided to international students studying in the UK during the covid-19 outbreak to help mitigate for the diminished opportunities available to those students to undertake casual work alongside their studies.

The government recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak has had unparalleled impact on all elements of the global and UK economy, and this academic year has been difficult for all students.

To protect students at this unprecedented time, particularly those who may have been planning to undertake a part time job, we have made an additional £85 million of student hardship funding available to higher education providers in the 2020/21 academic year. This is in addition to the £256 million of government funded student premium funding already available to higher education (HE) providers to draw on for this academic year, 2020/21.

Providers have flexibility in how they distribute this funding to their students, in a way that best prioritises those in greatest need. Support can include help for students, including international students and postgraduates, facing additional costs arising from having to maintain accommodation in more than one location or assistance to help students access teaching remotely.

The current measures aim to target support for students in greatest need, and we have been consistently clear that if an international student needs to request access to hardship funds through their provider due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, they can be confident in expressing these concerns to their provider without any impact on their immigration status.

The HE sector has also led some valuable work in this area. For example, Universities UK international published guidance for universities to support international students in financial hardship, and in March they wrote to all UK-based embassies to ensure international students are aware of the support available to them if required. This guidance is available here: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Pages/guidance-support-international-student-hardship-pandemic.aspx/.

To further support students in finding work post-graduation, the department has worked with the HE sector to understand what more we can do to support graduates who are looking to enter the labour market at this challenging time. In response, we have developed the Graduate Employment and Skills Guide, which was published on Monday 10 May 2021 on the Office for Students website. The guide signposts graduates to public, private and voluntary sector opportunities, to help students build employability skills, gain work experience or enter the labour market, as well as providing links to further study options and resources on graduate mental health and wellbeing.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to introduce misogyny and the treatment of women onto the national curriculum in Personal, Social, Health and Economic education for children aged 11 to 16.

The Department wants to support all young people to lead happy, healthy and safe lives and to foster respect for other people and for difference. That is why the Department has made the new subjects of Relationships Education (for primary school pupils), Relationships and Sex Education (for secondary school pupils) and Health Education (for all pupils in state-funded schools) compulsory from September 2020.

The relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) statutory guidance specifically advises schools to be alive to issues such as sexism, misogyny, homophobia, and gender stereotypes, and to take positive action to tackle these issues. Statutory guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

In primary schools, age-appropriate relationships education involves supporting children to learn about what healthy relationships are and their importance, as well as how to develop mutually respectful relationships in all contexts, including online. In secondary schools, relationships education broadens to become age-appropriate relationships and sex education and will include factual knowledge around sex, sexual health, and sexuality, set firmly within the context of relationships.

Specifically, at secondary school pupils should be taught about the concepts of and laws relating to sexual consent, sexual exploitation, abuse, grooming, coercion, harassment, rape, domestic abuse, forced marriage, honour-based violence and female genital mutilation.

To support teachers to deliver these topics safely and with confidence we have produced RSHE Teacher Training Modules which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health. Each module covers safeguarding to make sure teachers, pastoral staff and the designated safeguarding lead are equipped to deal with sensitive discussions and potential disclosures.

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the amount of raw sewage being discharged into the UK's waterways.

Tackling the harm caused by sewer overflows is a top priority for this department.

I have met water company CEOs and made clear that the volume of sewage discharged into rivers and other waterways in extreme weather must be reduced.

To achieve this, the new Storm Overflows Taskforce - bringing together the Government, the water industry, regulators and environmental NGOs - has agreed to set a long-term goal to eliminate harm from storm overflows. The Taskforce is meeting regularly and working on plans to make progress towards that goal, and has commissioned research to gather evidence on the costs, benefits and feasibility of different options.

As announced on 11 May, we are putting forward amendments to the Environment Bill that will help to reduce the harm that storm overflows cause to our waterways. We are introducing new duties that will require the Government to publish a plan by September 2022 to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows and to report progress to Parliament on implementing that plan. We are also introducing duties requiring water companies and the Environment Agency to publish data on storm overflow operations on an annual basis. These legally binding obligations on water companies and the Government will reduce pollution in rivers – protecting wildlife and public health.

Water companies are currently committed in the 5-year business planning period (2020-25) to a significant programme of improvements to the monitoring and management of storm overflows at a cost of around £1.1 billion. This investment includes undertaking 800 investigations and 798 improvement schemes to provide environmental improvements by reducing spills from frequently spilling overflows.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on fresh flower sellers of potential tariff imposition in the event that an agreement is not reached on a future relationship with the EU by the end of the transition period.

The UK Government intends to achieve an FTA with the EU by December 2020. We therefore do not expect the UK Global Tariff (UKGT) to apply to EU imports. The Political Declaration sets an aim for “a zero tariff and zero quota FTA”. We would like to achieve that. Reducing the cost pressures and processes associated with trade is in the interests of people and businesses across the UK.

The Government wants a free trade deal, based on friendly cooperation. The UK is a significant importer of goods from the EU, and avoiding tariffs would be beneficial to both sides, given our shared commitment to high regulatory standards We will publish more analysis in the Taxation Information and Impact Note (TIIN) alongside the legislation, as is standard practice.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish the next stage of the NHS People Plan.

The NHS People Plan is a shared programme of work to grow the workforce, support new ways of working and develop a compassionate and inclusive workplace culture in order to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan.

We are working with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Health Education England and with systems and employers to determine our workforce and people priorities beyond April 2021 to support the recovery of National Health Service staff and services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to elderly residents in (a) West Bromwich East constituency and (b) the wider West Midlands who live alone in assisted living accommodation.

We have published national guidance for the public, which includes advice for older people and will be relevant for those who live alone in assisted living accommodation in West Bromwich East and the wider West Midlands. The guidance can be found at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19#older-people

In addition, the NHS Volunteers Responders Programme is a national scheme which provides companionship and support to those who may be isolated from contact with others, including through the check in and chat service. The Programme will continue to be available until at least March 2021.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 23 September 2020 to Question 91196 on NHS: negligence, what the steps the Government has taken to ensure that the claims and court process take into account the context of NHS staff working during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are committed to ensuring National Health Service staff have the support and resources they need to respond to the pandemic.

On 2 April, changes were announced to rules of court which gives guidance to judges to take into account the effect of COVID-19 when considering applications for extensions of time and adjournments in current cases. More information is available at the following link:

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/practice-direction-51za-extension-of-time-limits-and-clarification-of-practice-direction-51y-coronavirus

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of section 2(4) of the Law Reform (Personal Injuries) Act 1948 on the annual cost of clinical negligence claims against NHS England.

The costs of clinical negligence have been rising over several years at an unsustainable rate, eating into resources available for frontline care. This is despite our substantial safety programmes.

The Department is working with the Ministry of Justice, other Government departments and NHS Resolution, looking at a wide range of options to address the drivers of cost of clinical negligence claims, which includes the effect of section 2(4) of the Law Reform (Personal Injuries) Act 1948. This is a complex issue and the work is ongoing. We will update the House in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on the level of clinical negligence claims against the NHS of incidents that have occurred during its response to the covid-19 outbreak; and what plans he has to support frontline NHS staff in relation to the emotional consequences of prolonged litigation.

We are committed to ensuring National Health Service staff have the support and resources they need to respond to the pandemic. We established the Clinical Negligence Scheme for COVID-19 to handle pandemic claims not falling under existing indemnity schemes and we communicated these plans in a letter of 2 April to NHS staff and providers. We have also taken steps, working with the NHS, professional regulators and across Government to ensure that claims, complaints and court processes can appropriately take into account the unprecedented context NHS staff are working within in response to COVID-19.

Clinical negligence claims tend to lag incidents substantially and it will be some months or even years before we can begin to assess the impact of COVID-19 on clinical negligence claims. We and NHS Resolution, the body responsible for handling clinical negligence claims on behalf of NHS organisations and independent sector providers of NHS care in England, will continue to monitor this.

NHS employers, like other employers, have a moral and statutory duty to support their staff. Every employer in the NHS makes available occupational health and wellbeing support for their staff.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for regional security of alleged remarks by Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar that God has decreed that we must attack Tel Aviv.

Hamas' ongoing decision to embrace violence lies at the heart of the Gazan tragedy. We continue to call upon Hamas and other terrorist groups to permanently end their incitement and indiscriminate rocket fire against Israel. Hamas' military wing has been proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the UK since 2001 and the UK maintains a no contact policy with Hamas in its entirety.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if the Government will issue a condemnation of the planned Durban IV proceedings in September 2021 at the United Nations General Assembly, marking the 20th anniversary of the World Conference Against Racism held in Durban in 2001.

The United Kingdom is committed to combatting all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, both at home and abroad. We believe that one of the most effective ways to tackle injustices and advocate respect among different religious and racial groups is to encourage all states to uphold their human rights obligations. Some of the anti-Semitic actions and speeches in and around the Durban conference and its various follow-up events gave rise to serious concerns. We will consider UK attendance in the light of developments between now and the commemoration event, including the likelihood of any recurrence.

The Foreign Secretary recently reaffirmed the UK's condemnation to anti-Semitism during a debate in the House of Commons on 20 April 2021, and I raised my opposition to anti-Semitism during a Westminster Hall Debate on 26 November 2020. We also delivered a statement at the United Nations General Assembly in November expressing concern about the rise of anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination in the wake of Covid-19.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the upcoming events marking the 20th anniversary of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, what steps the UK is taking to prevent antisemitism within the United Nations.

The United Kingdom is committed to combatting all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, both at home and abroad. We believe that one of the most effective ways to tackle injustices and advocate respect among different religious and racial groups is to encourage all states to uphold their human rights obligations. Some of the anti-Semitic actions and speeches in and around the Durban conference and its various follow-up events gave rise to serious concerns. We will consider UK attendance in the light of developments between now and the commemoration event, including the likelihood of any recurrence.

The Foreign Secretary recently reaffirmed the UK's condemnation to anti-Semitism during a debate in the House of Commons on 20 April 2021, and I raised my opposition to anti-Semitism during a Westminster Hall Debate on 26 November 2020. We also delivered a statement at the United Nations General Assembly in November expressing concern about the rise of anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination in the wake of Covid-19.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the effect of the Indian Government's legislative reforms to farming on Punjabi and Sikh communities in India.

Our British High Commission in New Delhi monitors political, social and economic developments in India including agricultural reform. We are aware of concerns in India and here in the UK about how these reforms might affect farming communities. Agricultural reform is a domestic policy issue for the Indian authorities to address.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 23 November 2020 to Question 92026 on Palestinians: Schools, whether the final EU report on the previous Palestinian Authority curriculum will be published by the end of 2020; and if he will make a statement.

The independent review of the content in Palestinian textbooks, led by our European partners, is currently underway. We have regular discussions with European partners on the review, including on plans for publication. The UK has repeatedly lobbied the EU to push for publication, but this is ultimately a decision for the EU.

To ensure that the final report is representative, the study has been extended to include a sample of textbooks introduced for school year 2020-21. Consequently, the study will now be completed in early 2021.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to tackle financial crime and protect individuals and businesses from fraudulent investment schemes.

The UK has been recognised as world leading in its response to economic crime. Criminals, however, are continuously adapting their methods and we know there is more work to be done to tackle financial crime and fraud.

In 2019, the Government and private sector jointly published a landmark Economic Crime Plan. This Plan provides a collective articulation of 52 actions being taken by both the public and private sectors over the next three years to ensure the UK cannot be abused for economic crime.

The Government has also agreed an ambitious framework for a Fraud Action Plan, covering years 2022 to 2025. This will include the Government working with industry, the intelligence services, law enforcement, and all partners to tackle fraud. The Home Office are developing the Fraud Action Plan and the Government will publish this after this year’s spending review.

Regulation also plays an important part in reducing the risk of fraud to consumers. As part of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) responsibility to ensure the integrity of UK financial markets, the FCA requires all authorised firms to have systems and controls in place to mitigate the risk that they be used to commit financial crime. Whilst the police have primary responsibility for investigating fraud the FCA also has powers to take a variety of enforcement action against firms that carry out fraudulent activity. The Treasury continues to keep the legislative framework under review to ensure that it is effective in reducing the risk of fraud.

The Government takes fraud very seriously. We continue to work closely with industry to close down the vulnerabilities that fraudsters exploit and ensure members of the public have the information they need to spot a scam and stand up to fraudsters.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if his Department will take steps to ensure that an economic impact assessment is conducted before the VAT Retail Export Scheme ceases to be valid in the UK on 1st January 2021.

Ahead of the end of the transition period, the Government has announced the VAT and excise duty treatment of goods purchased by individuals for personal use and carried in their luggage arriving from or going overseas (passengers). The following rules will apply from 1 January 2021:

- Passengers travelling from Great Britain to any destination outside the United Kingdom (UK) will be able to purchase duty-free excise goods once they have passed security controls at ports, airports, and international rail stations.

- Personal allowances will apply to passengers entering Great Britain from a destination outside of the UK, with alcohol allowances significantly increased.

- The VAT Retail Export Scheme (RES) in Great Britain will not be extended to EU residents and will be withdrawn for all passengers.

- The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales for non-excise goods will be removed across the UK.

The Government published a consultation which ran from 11 March to 20 May. During this time the Government held a number of virtual meetings with stakeholders to hear their views and received 73 responses to the consultation. The Government is also continuing to meet and discuss with stakeholders following the announcement of these policies.

The detailed rationale for these changes are included in the written ministerial statement and summary of responses to the recent consultation: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-09-11/hcws448 and https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-duty-free-and-tax-free-goods-carried-by-passengers. A technical note has also been issued to stakeholders to expand on this document and to respond to issues raised by stakeholders.

HMRC estimate that VAT RES refunds cost around £0.5 billion in VAT in 2019 for around 1.2 million non-EU visitors. In 2019 the ONS estimate there were substantially more EU visitors (24.8 million) than non-EU passengers (16.0 million) to the UK. This implies an extension to EU residents would significantly increase the cost by up to an estimated £0.9 billion. This would result in a large amount of deadweight loss by subsidising spending from EU visitors which already happens without a refund mechanism in place, potentially taking the total cost up to around £1.4 billion per annum.

The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales currently affects airports that fly to non-EU destinations. The extension of duty-free sales to EU bound passengers will be a significant boost to all airports in England, Scotland and Wales, including smaller regional airports which have not been able to offer duty-free to the EU before.

HMRC estimate that around £150 million of VAT is not charged as a result of tax-free airside sales. As with the VAT RES, extending the relief to the EU would significantly increase the cost of the scheme and result in a large amount of deadweight loss by subsidising spending from EU-bound passengers which already happens.

The final costings will be subject to scrutiny by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility and will be set out at the next forecast.

The Government also recognises the challenges the aviation sector is facing as it recovers from the impacts of Covid-19 and has supported the sector throughout the pandemic, and continues to do so, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of current legislation at tackling illegal racing of motor vehicles on streets; and if she will undertake a review into how legislation can be strengthened to tackle that illegal practice.

We believe there are sufficient powers to address the racing of motor vehicles on streets.

It is for local authorities, forces and agencies to decide how best to use these powers depending on the specific circumstances as they are best placed to understand what is causing the behaviour in question, the impact that it is having, and to determine the most appropriate response.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the recent upsurge in catalytic converter thefts, if her Department will take steps to ensure that insurance companies do not impose higher excesses or premiums on future policies as a result of those crimes.

The Government recognises the negative impact these thefts cause to victims. That is why we continue to work closely with police and motor manufacturers through the National Vehicle Crime Working Group, established by the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for vehicle crime and overseen by the Government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce, to understand what more can be done to tackle the theft of catalytic converters. Representatives from the insurance industry continue to collaborate with us through the Working Group and are aware of the challenges faced by vehicle owners.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the threat posed by the British National Socialist Movement to the public; what representations she has received on the British National Socialist Movement; and if she will make a statement.

The British National Socialist Movement (which is also sometimes called the British Movement) is a white supremacist group that originated in 1968.

The Government is committed to tackling Right Wing Extremism (including white supremacist and neo-Nazi activity). This includes undertaking assessments of Right Wing Extremist activity by the Counter Extremism Insight and Analysis unit.

The Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSBT) programme brings people across England and Wales to tackle extremism at local level. Since the programme’s launch in 2016 it has supported over 240 civil society organisations.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of Hezbollah’s ability to raise funds within the UK.

The Government does not comment on intelligence matters.

Hizballah is a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK and is designated under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing Act 2010.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to regulate the market for nitrous oxide to restrict access for people wishing to use it as a psychoactive drug.

The Government takes the supply of substances for their psychoactive effect very seriously. There are legitimate uses for nitrous oxide, such as in medicine, dentistry and as a propellant for whipped cream canisters, but those who supply nitrous oxide for its recreational use, or who are reckless as to whether it is used for its psychoactive effect, will be subject to an offence under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. This includes a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment.

The Government has published guidance for retailers to satisfy themselves that they comply with the law, available on the gov.uk website. The guidance recommends that retailers, including those operating online, should pay particular attention to the potential for abuse of nitrous oxide, especially where customers seek to buy in bulk or large volumes.

We intend to establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator. The duty of care will ensure companies have appropriate systems in place to deal with harmful content on their internet services and keep users safe. Illegal and harmful activity online such as the supply of psychoactive substances for their psychoactive effect will fall within the scope of the planned legislation.

The Government published its initial response to the consultation on the Online Harms White Paper in February, giving more detail on the policy position and naming Ofcom as the Government’s preferred independent Online Harms regulator. We will publish a full response to the consultation in the coming months and aim to bring legislation before Parliament this session.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what support his Department is providing to armed forces personnel who have been discharged from service during the covid-19 pandemic.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 29 September 2020 to Question 95005 to the hon. Member for Halton (Derek Twigg).

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-24/95005

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the total amount of financial support provided to each local authority in England during the covid-19 outbreak.

MHCLG works with other government departments to ensure local authorities are fully supported to deliver their vital role in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, we have allocated over £8 billion so far to support local authorities during the pandemic. This includes £7.5 billion allocated directly to councils to address expenditure pressures, and over £500 million of payments from the first round of our sales, fees and charges compensation scheme. This does not include the £3 billion of additional financial support committed to councils for the COVID-19 response in 2021-22.

A full breakdown of the funding we have captured in this assessment is set out below:

Fund Name

Funding (£m)

COVID-19 2020/21 emergency unringfenced funding for LAs (Tranches 1-4)

4,607

Contain Outbreak Management Fund

978

Infection Control Fund

1,146

Adult Social Care Rapid Testing Fund

149

Workforce Capacity Fund for Adult Social Care

120

Local authority compliance and enforcement grant

30

Funding to support the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable

33

Reopening High Streets Safely Fund

50

Next Steps Accommodation Programme

92

Emergency Support for Rough Sleepers

3

Local Authority Emergency Assistance Grant for Food and Essential Supplies

63

Additional Funding for Home to School Travel

71

COVID Winter Grant Scheme

170

SFC Compensation Scheme (first round)

528

Total

8,040

Attached is a breakdown of this £8 billion of funding by region and by local authority. This reflects the department’s current best understanding and further payments will be made to local authorities this financial year in due course including: additional funding from further rounds of the sales, fees and charges scheme; and additional funding that will be provided through the Contain Outbreak Management Fund to tackle the spread of the virus – worth over £225 million a month during the national lockdown.

Also attached is a breakdown in relation to England’s ceremonial counties. For this, the following caveats apply:

  • Ceremonial counties do not necessarily cover the same area as county councils. The area covered by a ceremonial county will include all local authorities within that historical definition of the county. It will include the county council and shire districts, as well as any additional single-tier councils within the area.
  • A small number of standalone fire and rescue authorities cross ceremonial county borders. In these cases, funding is apportioned between the ceremonial counties covered by the fire authority according to population.


16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what progress his Department has made in contributing to the cross-government strategy on tackling the drivers behind the rising cost of clinical negligence cases; and what assessment he has made of potential legal reforms that can contribute to that strategy.

In 2017 the National Audit Office (NAO) published their report ‘Managing the costs of Clinical Negligence in Trusts’ which challenged the Government to publish a co-ordinated strategy to control the increasing cost of clinical negligence claims.

The Ministry of Justice continues to work jointly with the Department of Health and Social Care, the Treasury, Cabinet Office, NHS Resolution and others, to respond to the challenge from NAO. We are looking at all the drivers of costs and a wide range of options are being considered as part of the strategy to reduce clinical negligence costs.

This is a complex issue and the work is ongoing. The Department of Health and Social Care will bring forward a publication in due course.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)