Patricia Gibson Portrait

Patricia Gibson

Scottish National Party - North Ayrshire and Arran

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

(since February 2021)
4 APPG memberships (as of 21 Apr 2021)
Baby Loss, Cats, Consumer Protection, Green Deal Misselling
3 Former APPG memberships
Financial Crime and Scamming, Loneliness, Poverty
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Consumer Affairs)
20th Jun 2017 - 1st Feb 2021
Backbench Business Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Procedure Committee
13th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017


Oral Question
Monday 17th May 2021
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Oral Question No. 55
What recent assessment she has made of the potential effect of removing the £20 uplift to universal credit on recipients.
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Oral Question
Monday 17th May 2021
15:15
Department for Work and Pensions
Topical Question No. 21
If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities.
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Oral Question
Wednesday 19th May 2021
11:30
Wales Office
Oral Question No. 34
What recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the adequacy of the fiscal settlement
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Department Event
Monday 14th June 2021
14:30
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Oral questions - Main Chamber
14 Jun 2021, 2:30 p.m.
Housing, Communities and Local Government (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 28th April 2021
Immigration
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 44 Scottish National Party Aye votes vs 0 Scottish National Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 270 Noes - 358
Speeches
Tuesday 27th April 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

With the Prime Minister apparently determined to keep the VIP tax-break hotline open, and as questions remain over the No. …

Written Answers
Thursday 15th April 2021
Football Index
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans does he have to launch an …
Early Day Motions
Monday 12th April 2021
Football Index
That this House is deeply concerned about the recent collapse of the betting firm Football Index, following the suspension of …
Bills
Tuesday 13th September 2016
Unsolicited Marketing Communications (Company Directors) Bill 2016-17
A Bill to enable the Information Commissioner’s Office to take action against company directors for breaches of the Privacy and …
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
1. Employment and earnings
Payments from ComRes, Four Millbank, London SW1P 3JA, for completing surveys:
EDM signed
Monday 26th April 2021
Bahraini children abused and subjected to threats of rape and electric shock
That this House views with grave concern revelations made by the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy and Human Rights …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 19th July 2017
Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Prohibition) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Patricia Gibson has voted in 197 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Patricia Gibson Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(31 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
(14 debate interactions)
Nigel Evans (Conservative)
(13 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(39 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(26 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Patricia Gibson has not made any spoken contributions to legislative debate
View all Patricia Gibson's debates

Latest EDMs signed by Patricia Gibson

23rd September 2020
Patricia Gibson signed this EDM on Monday 26th April 2021

Relocation of aslyum seekers and refugees from Aegean Islands

Tabled by: Stuart C McDonald (Scottish National Party - Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
That this House recognises the deteriorating conditions faced by asylum seekers and refugees on the Aegean Islands and notes the recent fire at the Moria camp in Lesvos which has left 13,000 people without shelter; welcomes the fact that Germany, France and Norway have agreed to take some of those …
74 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 32
Labour: 21
Liberal Democrat: 10
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Alba Party: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Green Party: 1
9th February 2021
Patricia Gibson signed this EDM on Monday 26th April 2021

Glue traps

Tabled by: Mark Tami (Labour - Alyn and Deeside)
That this House calls for an urgent review into the use of glue traps as a means of pest control due to the inhumane suffering they cause animals; is deeply concerned by the cruel way in which they leave animals to face slow, painful deaths and strongly asserts that animals …
26 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 11
Labour: 10
Conservative: 2
Plaid Cymru: 1
Alba Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Patricia Gibson's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Patricia Gibson, 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.


Patricia Gibson has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Patricia Gibson has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Patricia Gibson


A Bill to enable the Information Commissioner’s Office to take action against company directors for breaches of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 relating to unsolicited marketing communications made by a company; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 13th September 2016

60 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Government plans to publish the Intelligence and Security Committee report on possible Russian interference or involvement in UK politics.

I refer the Hon. members to the answer given to PQ 40706 on 4 May 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent changes her Department has made to regulations on the safe transport of nuclear flasks.

The most recent amendments to the Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment 2009 made by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy implemented emergency preparedness and response requirements in Council Directive 2013/59/EURATOM.

Nuclear and radiation safety is a top priority for Government and our arrangements are kept under regular review. We have a well-respected regulatory system which reflects international best practice. All operators are answerable to a robust and independent regulator – the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). If the ONR considered that any nuclear site or nuclear transport was not safe or secure it would not be allowed to operate.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent changes her Department has made to the regulations on the carriage of nuclear materials.

The most recent amendments to the Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment 2009 made by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy relating to the transportation of class 7 (radioactive) goods came into effect in April 2020 (The Carriage of Dangerous Goods (Amendment) Regulations 2019 No. 598). The changes implemented emergency preparedness and response requirements in Council Directive 2013/59/EURATOM.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Data Communications Company has contracts in place for the provision of communications coverage to enable smart meter technology to be installed on the Isle of Arran.

The Data Communications Company (DCC), the organisation responsible for the national smart metering infrastructure, has contracts in place for the provision of communications coverage to at least 99.5% of premises across its ‘North Region’, which covers Scotland.

The DCC is also required by licence conditions to seek to provide communications services to all premises where it is practicable and cost proportionate and is also required to assess opportunities to increase the overall level of communications coverage.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of the UK Government's single market proposals on the movement of agricultural goods.

The UK Internal Market Bill ensures the UK can operate as a coherent internal market, guaranteeing UK companies can trade unhindered in every part of the UK while maintaining world-leading standards for consumers, workers, food and the environment.

The UK has some of the highest standards in the world on goods and some of the most robust standards on foods, with world-leading food, animal and plant health and animal welfare standards.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of converting loans under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme into grants for small businesses in the event that the money is used to rehire staff or pay commercial rent.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is part of a broad package of support for SMEs, including rates relief, grants and support for wage packages.

Businesses are not permitted to access more than one of either the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, CBILS, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme or the Covid Corporate Financing Facility Scheme at the same time. However, the eligibility criteria for the CBILS does not require lenders to take into account other forms of government support that SMEs may be benefitting from, e.g. business rate reliefs or grants unrelated to the CBILS.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the Government plans to publish guidelines on how to observe public health and safety in hair salons when they re-open following the covid-19 lockdown.

As stated in the Roadmap for Recovery, the Government anticipates that hair salons will be opened as part of Phase 3 in July, should the science confirm that it is safe to do so.

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

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

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending maternity leave by three months to allow time for bonding and socially engaging with other parents and babies and wider family members for mothers of babies born during the covid-19 outbreak.

We understand the impacts that the pandemic and social distancing have on new parents, such as not being able to introduce their new baby to family and friends or attend parent and baby groups. While this is of course extremely difficult for all those affected, we believe these measures are necessary to protect lives.

During this difficult time mothers retain their generous entitlement to 52 weeks of Maternity Leave, allowing them to bond and care for their new child and to recover from birth. We have no plans to extend Maternity Leave at this stage.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support consumers who are unlawfully refused refunds from travel companies.

Package travel agencies are required to comply with The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018, which protect consumers who have bought package holidays. Consumers are entitled to a refund?if forced to cancel a package holiday due to unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances, which should be issued?within 14 days, depending on the nature of the contract in place. BEIS officials have held regular discussions with travel and tourism sector representatives, travel businesses and consumer advocacy bodies to assess the impact of cancellations made in light of the covid-19 outbreak. Further information on the rights and responsibilities of consumers and businesses was published on 30 April by the Competition and Markets Authority who have also set up a covid-19 taskforce for consumers to register complaints.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department is having with travel companies which are unlawfully refusing to refund the cost of holidays to consumers.

Package travel agencies are required to comply with The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018, which protect consumers who have bought package holidays. Consumers are entitled to a refund?if forced to cancel a package holiday due to unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances, which should be issued?within 14 days, depending on the nature of the contract in place. Businesses are undoubtedly facing a significant and complex operational task in engaging with all their customers on refunds. The Government is working to find a balanced and a coordinated solution to the difficulties that have arisen as a result of covid-19 that supports the sector while protecting consumer rights.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans does he have to launch an independent public inquiry into the collapse of Football Index.

The government is taking the collapse of Football Index and the concerns of those affected by it very seriously, and the Secretary of State and I have met the Gambling Commission to receive urgent updates. We are particularly keen to understand both how this situation came about and what lessons we can learn from these events. Further details will be provided in due course.

DCMS officials were made aware of the challenges facing Football Index in March 2021 shortly before the Gambling Commission suspended the licence of BetIndex Ltd, the operator of Football Index. The Gambling Commission’s regulatory investigation is ongoing. While we have been in close contact with the Commission as it continues its investigation, its role as set out in the Gambling Act is to conduct investigations fully independent of Government. It is not for the government to direct independent regulatory bodies on individual cases.

Our Review of the Gambling Act 2005 is considering a range of questions around the regulation of gambling, including the powers and resources of the Commission and whether any changes to the legislation are required to make it fit for the digital age. The review will also consider whether an alternative system of consumer redress, such as an ombudsman, is needed. Our call for evidence closed on 31 March and we are carefully considering the responses received.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking in response to the suspension of Football Index's licence; what assessment he has made of the adequacy of regulation of the gambling industry in relation to Football Index; and what protection is available to people who have funds deposited with that company.

The government recognises the concerns of Football Index customers and is monitoring the situation closely. The Gambling Commission has suspended the operator’s licence while it carries out an investigation and has made clear it expects the operator to focus on treating customers fairly. Further information is available at: http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/News/information-notice-suspension-of-licence-betindex-limited

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress his Department has made on reducing the use of plastics.

Our target is to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste over the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan, and we have already made good progress. We have introduced one of the world’s toughest bans on microbeads in rinse-off personal care products, reduced sales of single-use carrier bags by over 95% in the main retailers through the 5p charge, and, since 1 October this year, have banned the supply of plastic straws, cotton buds, and stirrers, with exemptions. And we will not stop there. Next year we will extend the carrier bag charge to all retailers and increase the minimum charge to 10p, consult again on the introduction of a deposit-return scheme for drinks containers, and, from 2022, will introduce a tax on plastic packaging containing less than 30% recycled content.

Our landmark Environment Bill includes a number of measures that will enable us to further tackle plastic waste. These include measures to impose charges on single-use plastic items and make producers cover the costs of collecting and managing plastic packaging waste.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to help ensure that the new online system for Export Health Certificates for meat products dispatched from the UK is able to meet demand; and what steps his Department has taken to ensure that that system is operational by the end of 2020.

The Export Health Certificates (EHC) Online service has been available for trade with third countries since June 2020. It replaces the current manual process for applying for EHCs.

The 150 most frequently used third country EHCs (representing 80% of current throughput) are available via the EHC Online service. There will be further releases of third country EHCs on the online service before the end of 2020.

APHA plan to make EHCs for EU trade available via EHC Online from mid-October. This will offer traders visibility of the documentation they will be required to use at the end of the transition period.

The EHC Online service has been developed with the capability to meet future demand in export trade. Defra estimate that up to an additional 300,000 Export Health Certificates may be required annually to facilitate EU trade. The EHC Online system has been designed and stress tested to process transactions in excess of this.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that there will be sufficient numbers of qualified vets to inspect and sign off consignments of meat to be dispatched from the UK so that they can be issued an export health certificate after the end of the transition period.

The Government has increased the number of Official Veterinarians (OVs) holding the relevant qualification to certify exports of products of animal origin, including meat products, in Great Britain from approximately 600 in February 2019 to more than 1200 today. On 1 October 2020, we launched a new £200,000 funded training scheme to enhance OV capacity further. In parallel, we launched a £100,000 scheme to train Certification Support Officers (CSOs). CSOs can handle several preliminary and administrative tasks to prepare consignments for certification. This reduces the burden on OVs and Local Authority Certifying Officers. More than 100 CSOs have been authorised in GB to date.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to ensure that the Government's new health mark scheme allows groupage of exports from the UK to the EU; and when he plans to inform businesses who sell fresh and frozen meat to EU countries of the details of that scheme.

To help traders prepare for changes to export arrangements for animals and products of animal origin (POAO) from 1 January 2021, we are hosting a series of webinars from mid-October. Specimen Export Health Certificates and accompanying guidance notes for trade between Great Britain and the EU have been made available on the GOV.UK website, to enable exporters and certifiers to familiarise themselves with the detailed requirements.

A Groupage Export Facilitation Scheme was developed in consultation with industry to help facilitate the export of certain commodities with complex but stable supply chains, including composite products, meat products and meat preparations, for use from 1 January 2021.

The Food Standards Agency is finalising its new guidance to the food industry covering which health and identification marks should be used on POAO after the end of the Transition Period. We anticipate that this will be published shortly.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to seek the removal of US tariffs on Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Whisky liqueurs.

The Government takes the negative impact of US tariffs on Single-malt Scotch Whisky and Whisky liqueurs, resulting from the Airbus dispute, very seriously. These tariffs are unnecessary, unhelpful and harm industry and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic.

From the beginning, the UK has pressed the US for a fair and balanced settlement to the Airbus and Boeing disputes. Most recently, in early August, the Secretary of State for International Trade visited the US and raised this issue with US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, and pressed for the removal of all tariffs as soon as possible.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans DVSA has in place to deal with the backlog of driving tests due to covid-19 restrictions.

During the current lockdown, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is offering a limited theory test and practical test service in England and Wales to NHS health and social care workers, emergency services and local council workers who need to both drive as part of their job and respond to 'threats to life' as part of their job. Mobile emergency workers who have a valid compulsory basic training (CBT) certificate and wish to apply for a motorcycle licence would also be eligible.

Mobile emergency worker tests cannot be currently offered in Scotland due to Covid restrictions set by the Scottish Government.

The DVSA will continue to offer mobile emergency worker tests once the current lockdown restrictions have been lifted, and will keep that service under review.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has measures in place to increase practical driving tests when it is safe for testing to resume. These include offering overtime and annual leave buy back to examiners, asking all those qualified to conduct tests, but who do not do so as part of their current day job, to return to conducting tests, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays).

In addition, the DVSA has started a recruitment campaign to increase the number of examiners to increase testing capacity and reduce the backlog as quickly as possible, whilst maintaining a COVID-secure service for customers and examiners.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the DVSA has plans to prioritise driving tests for critical workers in (a) Scotland and (b) the rest of the UK as covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

During the current lockdown, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is offering a limited theory test and practical test service in England and Wales to NHS health and social care workers, emergency services and local council workers who need to both drive as part of their job and respond to 'threats to life' as part of their job. Mobile emergency workers who have a valid compulsory basic training (CBT) certificate and wish to apply for a motorcycle licence would also be eligible.

Mobile emergency worker tests cannot be currently offered in Scotland due to Covid restrictions set by the Scottish Government.

The DVSA will continue to offer mobile emergency worker tests once the current lockdown restrictions have been lifted, and will keep that service under review.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has measures in place to increase practical driving tests when it is safe for testing to resume. These include offering overtime and annual leave buy back to examiners, asking all those qualified to conduct tests, but who do not do so as part of their current day job, to return to conducting tests, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays).

In addition, the DVSA has started a recruitment campaign to increase the number of examiners to increase testing capacity and reduce the backlog as quickly as possible, whilst maintaining a COVID-secure service for customers and examiners.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what arrangements are in place to ensure that theory driving tests for critical workers can take place during covid-19 restrictions.

In Scotland, The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 require the suspension of all driving tests and lessons in areas under protection level 4. Currently this includes all of mainland Scotland and the Western Isles. Therefore, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is not able to offer key worker tests in Scotland.

The DVSA is working with its theory test contract provider, Pearson VUE, to respond to requests for theory tests in England and Wales from organisations such as Ambulance Authorities on behalf of frontline mobile emergency workers who require a driving licence to carry out duties in their employment role.

The DVSA is in the process of planning for the resumption of services and increasing test capacity when it is safe to do so. Arrangements will be announced in due course.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to extend Driving Theory Test certificates, in view of the fact that many learner drivers find their certificates will expire before the current period of lockdown is likely to end.

The maximum duration of two years between passing the theory test and a subsequent practical test is in place for road safety reasons; to ensure that a candidate’s knowledge is current. This validity period is set in legislation and the Government has no current plans to lay further legislation to extend it.

It is important that road safety knowledge and hazard perception skills are up to date at the critical point that they drive unsupervised for the first time. Those with theory test certificates expiring may have taken their test in early 2019. Since then, their lessons and practice sessions will have been significantly curtailed during recent lockdowns and it is likely that their knowledge base will have diminished. Research suggests that this would be particularly harmful for hazard perception skills, a key factor in road safety.

Ensuring new drivers have current relevant knowledge and skills is a vital part of the training of new drivers, who are disproportionality represented in casualty statistics. Taking all this into consideration, the decision has been made not to extend theory test certificates and learners will need to pass another theory test if their certificate expires.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the role of hydrogen in the strategy to decarbonise transport.

Government is committed to tackling climate change and delivering our net zero commitment and Ministers regularly discuss this with Cabinet colleagues.

Last week we announced that Tees Valley will be the UK’s first Hydrogen Transport Hub, bringing together industry, academia and government to accelerate UK’s take up of green hydrogen. This aligns with wider plans to driver forward progress by funding 19 new hydrogen powered refuse trucks in Glasgow and starting trials for Britain’s first hydrogen powered train. We are committed to exploring all the options for green hydrogen across freight, buses, trains, maritime and aviation and ensuring the UK can leads the world in its deployment and use in transport applications.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will include the safety of motorcyclists in the review of the Highway Code.

The Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy Safety Review Call for Evidence, published in March 2018, gathered information on how to tackle the safety issues that cyclists and pedestrians face, or perceive, when travelling on our roads, to support the Government’s aim of increasing cycling and walking.

The subsequent Government response set out a two-year plan of action which identified reviewing the guidance in The Highway Code to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians as a top priority. The review of The Highway Code is therefore a direct response to that action.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps is he taking to support commercial seafarers that are stranded on board ships and unable to disembark in the United Arab Emirates.

You may be aware that the UK has not placed restrictions on the transit and transfer of seafarers and I have written to the International Maritime Organisation, the International Labour Organisation and the World Health Organisation on 23 March 2020, confirming that the UK will continue to meet its international obligations related to the transit and transfer of seafarers and highlighted that the UK is fully committed to the welfare of all seafarers regardless of their nationality, asking other States to follow this example.

I appreciate that restrictions remain in place, making it difficult for seafarers to reach their destination for crew change. I assure you that we are doing what we can to address those issues, working in partnership with industry, other Government Departments and overseas administrations to enable the freedom of movement needed to keep the industry operating.

I welcomed the framework recently developed by the International Chamber of Shipping and other organisations, which has been supported and circulated by the International Maritime Organisation and fully understands the need for safe crew changes around the world.

I am keen to see a resolution to this issue and understand that it is not possible to keep extending seafarers contracts, as this could have a detrimental impact on their health and well-being and potentially puts the flow of goods at risk. Whilst the safety and security of seafarers is the responsibility of the vessel’s operators, the Government is continuing to monitor the welfare of all UK seafarers and is working to support employers in their repatriation efforts for all non-essential staff.

25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of introducing a £20 a week supplement to carers with an entitlement to Carer’s Allowance.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave on the 24th February 2021 to question number 155395.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Home Secretary on the effect of her Department's frozen overseas pension policy on members of the Windrush generation.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues, including the Home Secretary, on a range of issues.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will hold discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of making sunscreen exempt from VAT to improve affordability for consumers and help reduce incidences of skin cancer.

No such discussions have taken place or are planned to be held in the near future.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Government's proposed health marks for meat are finalised and in use by the end of the transition period.

Competent Authorities responsible for the application of the health mark, are aware of the new form of the mark to be applied after the 31 December 2020 and have already taken steps to ensure new health marks are available to officials working in United Kingdom approved slaughterhouses.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made in ensuring that (a) very ill children and (b) other patients who benefit from prescription cannabis are able to access it.

The latest guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends two prescription medicines - Sativex – for the treatment of spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis patients, and Epidyolex – for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare forms of epilepsy. These are licensed cannabis-based products, which may be prescribed by specialist doctors, in cases where it is clinically appropriate and funded on the National Health Service in England. NICE is clear that there is a need for more evidence to support routine prescribing and funding decisions for unlicensed cannabis-based products on the NHS.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that NHS (a) apps and (b) other digital NHS platforms being used throughout the UK provide people with covid-19 information and advice that is relevant to the rate at which the lockdown is being eased in (i) England and (ii) the rest of the UK.

The National Health Service app and NHS website are being updated with relevant COVID-19 information throughout this pandemic, drawing on central guidance from the Cabinet Office, which has a cross-Government Guidance Coordination Team to ensure the most up-to-date and relevant information is made available, representing the latest scientific advice. All health and care content is driven through that process to our national products / platforms. In addition, the NHS website team continuously reviews content, both new and existing to reflect any changes in guidance or where required, to reflect ways the public can access health and care services during this crisis and take steps to limit the spread of infection.

The NHSX COVID-19 contact tracing app will assist with a well-established technique of contact tracing and works alongside the wider Test and Trace programme, which will help ease the lockdown in England and the rest of the United Kingdom. The NHS COVID-19 app provides proximity data for contact tracing - with the goal of slowing the spread of the virus by alerting people who may have been exposed to infection so they can take action to protect themselves, the people they care about and the NHS. We believe this could be important in helping the country return to normality, as we start to look to easing lockdown measures.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason UK citizens returning from overseas are not being quarantined.

On 12 March 2020 the Prime Minister announced that the COVID-19 response was moving from the contain to delay phase. This phase has been initiated as there is now community transmission of the virus in the United Kingdom, i.e. transmission not directly related to travel; this has made interventions in ports of less relative importance. With the shift to the delay phase and commensurate policy changes the Public Health England port health approach has changed to a ‘warn and inform focus’.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what progress the Government has made on discussions to secure the expansion of visa-free travel between the UK and EU.

The Government has discussed mobility arrangements across a number of areas as part of negotiations on our future relationship with the EU.

The EU has already legislated such that UK nationals will not need a visa when travelling to the Schengen area for short stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. This will apply from the end of the transition period to all UK nationals travelling to and within the Schengen area for purposes such as tourism.

This is the standard length of stay that the EU provides to the nationals of eligible third countries that offer visa-free travel access for EU citizens, in line with existing EU legislation.

As things stand, stays beyond the EU's 90/180 day visa-free allocation from 1 January 2021 onwards will be for individual Member States to decide and implement through domestic entry rules and visa arrangements for non-EU citizens. UK nationals will need to discuss the specifics of their situation with the relevant Member State authorities and should be prepared to provide any extra documentation that may be required.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Bahrain Government on the death sentences of Mohammed Ramadhan and Husian Moos; and if the Government will cease to provide financial support to Bahrain in response to that country's breaches of human rights.

We are deeply concerned that the death penalty verdicts imposed on Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa by Bahrain's Court of Cassation have been upheld. Lord Ahmad, who is the Minister of State responsible for human rights, reinforced this position in his tweet of 14 July. We have raised both cases at senior levels with the Government of Bahrain. The Bahraini Government is fully aware that the UK opposes the death penalty, in all circumstances, as a matter of principle.

Our assistance is designed to support Bahrain-led reform in areas including human rights. It is provided in line with international standards and fully complies with our human rights obligations and the Overseas Security and Justice Assistance process.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent steps his Department has taken to ensure that people can continue to access cash; and if he will publish the Government's timeframe for bringing forward legislative proposals to protect access to cash.

The Government has committed to legislate to protect access to cash and ensure that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable for the long term. To progress this work, the Government published a Call for Evidence on Access to Cash in October 2020. The Call for Evidence sought views on the key considerations associated with cash access, including deposit and withdrawal facilities, cash acceptance, and regulatory oversight of the cash system. The Government is considering responses to the Call for Evidence and will set out next steps in due course.

The Government created the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group in 2019, which has provided a forum for the public bodies to formally co-ordinate respective approaches to access to cash. This is chaired by HM Treasury and attended by the Bank of England, Payment Systems Regulator and Financial Conduct Authority. The members published an update on the actions of its members in July 2020. This included work led by the PSR and FCA to develop a comprehensive picture of cash access infrastructure across the UK.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Treasury has been working closely with regulators and industry to ensure customers continue to have access to essential banking services, including cash, while also protecting the safety of staff and customers. This has meant the vast majority of people have been able to access cash through the pandemic.

With regards to ATMs, LINK (the scheme that runs the UK’s largest ATM network) has existing arrangements in place to protect free-to-use ATMs that do not have another free-to-use ATM or Post Office within one kilometre. LINK’s members have also made £5 million available to fund ATMs at the request of communities with poor access to cash. The Payment Systems Regulator has powers to regulate LINK and is holding it to account over its commitment to protect the broad geographic spread of free-to-use ATMs.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of Which?’s recent research showing a nationwide reduction in free-to-use cashpoints; and if he will publish the Government's timeframe for bringing forward legislative proposals to protect access to cash.

The Government has committed to legislate to protect access to cash and ensure that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable for the long term. To progress this work, the Government published a Call for Evidence on Access to Cash in October 2020. The Call for Evidence sought views on the key considerations associated with cash access, including deposit and withdrawal facilities, cash acceptance, and regulatory oversight of the cash system. The Government is considering responses to the Call for Evidence and will set out next steps in due course.

The Government created the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group in 2019, which has provided a forum for the public bodies to formally co-ordinate respective approaches to access to cash. This is chaired by HM Treasury and attended by the Bank of England, Payment Systems Regulator and Financial Conduct Authority. The members published an update on the actions of its members in July 2020. This included work led by the PSR and FCA to develop a comprehensive picture of cash access infrastructure across the UK.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Treasury has been working closely with regulators and industry to ensure customers continue to have access to essential banking services, including cash, while also protecting the safety of staff and customers. This has meant the vast majority of people have been able to access cash through the pandemic.

With regards to ATMs, LINK (the scheme that runs the UK’s largest ATM network) has existing arrangements in place to protect free-to-use ATMs that do not have another free-to-use ATM or Post Office within one kilometre. LINK’s members have also made £5 million available to fund ATMs at the request of communities with poor access to cash. The Payment Systems Regulator has powers to regulate LINK and is holding it to account over its commitment to protect the broad geographic spread of free-to-use ATMs.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals on protecting access to cash; if he will publish the Government's timeframe for bringing forward those proposals; and what plans the Government has to ensure that cash remains a viable payment method for people who are reliant on it.

The Government has committed to legislate to protect access to cash and ensure that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable for the long term. To progress this work, the Government published a Call for Evidence on Access to Cash in October 2020. The Call for Evidence sought views on the key considerations associated with cash access, including deposit and withdrawal facilities, cash acceptance, and regulatory oversight of the cash system. The Government is considering responses to the Call for Evidence and will set out next steps in due course.

The Government created the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group in 2019, which has provided a forum for the public bodies to formally co-ordinate respective approaches to access to cash. This is chaired by HM Treasury and attended by the Bank of England, Payment Systems Regulator and Financial Conduct Authority. The members published an update on the actions of its members in July 2020. This included work led by the PSR and FCA to develop a comprehensive picture of cash access infrastructure across the UK.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Treasury has been working closely with regulators and industry to ensure customers continue to have access to essential banking services, including cash, while also protecting the safety of staff and customers. This has meant the vast majority of people have been able to access cash through the pandemic.

With regards to ATMs, LINK (the scheme that runs the UK’s largest ATM network) has existing arrangements in place to protect free-to-use ATMs that do not have another free-to-use ATM or Post Office within one kilometre. LINK’s members have also made £5 million available to fund ATMs at the request of communities with poor access to cash. The Payment Systems Regulator has powers to regulate LINK and is holding it to account over its commitment to protect the broad geographic spread of free-to-use ATMs.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of aligning the retail price index with the consumer prices index on pensions for (a) women and (b) people on defined benefit pension schemes.

On 25 November 2020, the Government and UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) published their response to the consultation on the timing of reform to the Retail Prices Index (RPI). Owing to shortcomings in its calculation, UKSA intends to bring the methods and data sources of the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) into RPI.

The Government and UKSA are mindful of the widespread use of RPI in the economy, and, as such, sought views in the consultation on the broader impacts of reform. The Government and UKSA received approximately 550 responses from members of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes whose benefits are linked to RPI.

It is apparent that some DB pension scheme members will be affected by UKSA’s reform. The effect of reform on the members of such schemes will depend on whether their benefits are linked to RPI under the trust deed and rules of the scheme. As noted in the consultation response document, the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) estimates that the average reduction in lifetime income from an individual’s RPI-linked pension post-retirement could be 4 per cent for a woman and 5 per cent for a man. However, the PPI estimates that women will generally experience a greater lifetime reduction in overall pension benefit, as they live longer than men on average.

The announcement in the response by the Chancellor and UKSA Chair means that reform will not be implemented before 2030. The Government keeps the occupational pensions system under review and will continue to do so.

In making its decision (with regard to the timing of reform) the Government has had due regard to and complied with the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty as laid out in the Equality Act 2010

For further information please see the consultation response at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-the-reform-to-retail-prices-index-rpi-methodology.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has had discussions with his Cabinet colleagues on extending the hospitality sector's temporary reduction of VAT from 20 to 5 per cent to the service sector.

The temporary reduced rate of VAT was introduced on 15 July to support the cash flow and viability of over 150,000 businesses and protect 2.4 million jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors, and will run until 31 March 2021.

This policy will cost over £2 billion. The Government keeps all taxes under review, and any future decisions on tax policy will be made at Budget.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to review the recent reduction of Private Residence Relief to take into account the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on (a) home viewings and sales and (b) the time taken for the conveyancing process.

Within the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) system, private residence relief (PRR) exempts from CGT the gain a person may make when they sell a residential property that they have lived in as their main home.

In April, changes were made to reduce the final period exemption, in which a previous main residence always qualifies for CGT PRR, from 18 months to 9 months. This change was to better target the relief at owner occupiers and reduce the instances where people can accrue relief on two properties simultaneously.

The Government has no plans to change the length of the CGT Private Residence Relief (PRR) final period exemption.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to provide financial support or compensation to homeowners who are mortgage prisoners with Northern Rock Asset Management.

We remain committed to supporting as many borrowers as possible with inactive lenders move to a cheaper deal. The government has worked with the FCA to implement rule changes to its mortgage lending rules, removing the regulatory barrier that prevented some customers, who otherwise may have been able to switch, from accessing new products. Inactive lenders have now started contacting borrowers who have been struggling to switch, setting out that options may be available for them on the active market. I will monitor the situation and hope to see even more options available over the coming months.

The FCA recently confirmed additional options to support borrowers, including making intragroup switching easier and extending the window in which interest-only borrowers coming to the end of their term can continue making interest payments, without paying down the capital. These modified rules came into force on 23 October 2020. More information can be found here: https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/fca-confirms-measures-support-closed-book-and-interest-only-part-and-part-mortgage-borrowers.

UK Asset Resolution (UKAR) – the owner of the Northern Rock Asset Management mortgage portfolio - has worked to help customers looking for a better deal with another lender by;

  • waiving all early redemption charges;
  • providing an online ‘Deal Finder’ tool which allows customers to search the market to find and compare mortgages from other lenders;
  • partnering with Mortgage Force who have a panel of brokers who can give impartial, whole of market mortgage advice; and
  • referring customers to specialist brokers, such as HUB Financial Solutions, where advice fees are waived.

It is also worth noting that Norther Rock Asset Management’s Standard Variable Rate (SVR) has always been set in line with the SVRs of active lenders.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he plans to take with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to reclassify sunscreen as an essential healthcare item which would be exempt from VAT to help reduce the incidence of skin cancer.

Under the current VAT rules, sun protection products are subject to the standard rate of VAT. High-factor sunscreen is on the NHS prescription list for certain conditions and is provided VAT free when dispensed by a pharmacist.

Expanding the scope of the current VAT relief would come at a cost to the Exchequer. While all taxes are kept under review, there are currently no plans to reduce VAT on sunscreen products.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with cabinet colleagues on exempting household cleaning products from VAT during the covid19 outbreak.

Cleaning products are subject to the standard rate of VAT. Providing an exemption for these products would come at a considerable cost to the Exchequer and is not possible under the current legal framework. Although the Government keeps all taxes under review, there are no current plans to change the VAT treatment of these products.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason (a) tax free shopping for all passengers travelling from the UK and (b) the VAT refund scheme for foreign tourists are being withdrawn.

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 passengers travelling to the EU 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 has also continued to meet and discuss with key 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.

In 2019 HMRC estimate that VAT RES refunds cost around £0.5billion in VAT for around 1.2million 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 £0.9billion. 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 £1.4billion 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 Edinburgh and Glasgow and 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.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of the withdrawal of tax free shopping on the competitiveness of UK airports.

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 passengers travelling to the EU 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 has also continued to meet and discuss with key 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.

In 2019 HMRC estimate that VAT RES refunds cost around £0.5billion in VAT for around 1.2million 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 £0.9billion. 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 £1.4billion 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 Edinburgh and Glasgow and 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.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what impact assessment his Department made on the decision to withdraw tax free shopping for all passengers travelling from the UK.

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 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 United Kingdom, with alcohol allowances significantly increased.

- The VAT Retail Export Scheme in Great Britain will not be extended to passengers travelling to the EU 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 has also continued to meet and discuss with key stakeholders following the announcement of these policies.

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 Edinburgh and Glasgow and smaller regional airports which have not been able to offer duty-free to the EU before.

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.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of (a) withdrawing tax free shopping for all passengers travelling from the UK and (b) the VAT refund scheme for foreign tourists on wider international tourism spending.

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 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 United Kingdom, with alcohol allowances significantly increased.

- The VAT Retail Export Scheme in Great Britain will not be extended to passengers travelling to the EU 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 has also continued to meet and discuss with key stakeholders following the announcement of these policies.

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 Edinburgh and Glasgow and smaller regional airports which have not been able to offer duty-free to the EU before.

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.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of the decision to (a) withdraw tax free shopping for all passengers travelling from the UK and (b) the VAT refund scheme for foreign tourists on the Government's policy to promote a Global Britain.

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 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 United Kingdom, with alcohol allowances significantly increased.

- The VAT Retail Export Scheme in Great Britain will not be extended to passengers travelling to the EU 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 has also continued to meet and discuss with key stakeholders following the announcement of these policies.

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 Edinburgh and Glasgow and smaller regional airports which have not been able to offer duty-free to the EU before.

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.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to enable people facing financial difficulties during the covid-19 outbreak to draw down more than one quarter of their pension early without incurring 40 per cent tax.

The Government wishes to encourage pension saving, to help ensure that people have an income, or funds on which they can draw, throughout retirement. This makes pensions tax relief one of the most expensive reliefs in the personal tax system. In 2017/18 income tax and employer National Insurance Contributions relief cost £54 billion.

The Government therefore imposes a charge on early withdrawals, which can be from 40% to 55% depending on the circumstances, both to recoup its investment through tax relief and to provide individuals with a strong incentive to save through their pension for the long-term.

It is for these reasons that the Government does not have any plans to remove tax on pension payments in response to this outbreak. As with all tax policy, this will be kept under review.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps small business owners should take whose insurers are deducting the £10,000 Coronavirus Small Business Grant from insurance payouts indicating that businesses have already been compensated by the Government.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector regarding their contribution to the handling of this unprecedented situation. The Government is also working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ensure that the rules are being upheld during this crisis.

The FCA rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and promptly; provide reasonable guidance to help a policyholder make a claim; not reject a claim unreasonably; and settle claims promptly once settlement terms are agreed. In addition, the FCA has said that, in light of COVID-19, insurers must consider very carefully the needs of their customers and show flexibility in their treatment of them.

Customers who feel that they have not been treated fairly should first make a formal complaint to their insurer. If they then feel that their complaint has not been dealt with satisfactorily, they are able to refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), an independent body set up to provide arbitration in such cases. The FOS can help micro-enterprises with annual turnover sheets that do not exceed €2 million, and small businesses with turnover that does not exceed £6.5 million. The decision of the FOS is binding on insurers up to £350,000.

If customers would like to make a general complaint about the practice of deducting small business grants from the value of insurance settlements, the FCA would be happy to hear from them through their consumer support service.

While the FCA can’t resolve individual disputes and will not normally be able to discuss their investigations or findings with the person making the complaint, they can take any information provided into account as a part of their wider monitoring of practices in the sector.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will take steps to ensure that travel agents are eligible for full refunds for transaction fees in the event that holidays are cancelled as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government remains committed to helping businesses and workers through the present very difficult time, and has announced unprecedented support, including a range of grant and tax deferral schemes, and £300 billion of guarantees, equivalent to 15 per cent of UK GDP.

The terms on which transaction fees for card purchases may be refunded are a commercial arrangement between businesses and their acquirers (the financial services firms which process card payments on behalf of businesses). Some acquirers are taking voluntary measures to support their business customers, for example through waiving fees, and the Government welcomes such action.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will review the tax liability for Benefit in Kind vehicles not registered before 6 April 2020 as a result of covid-19 restrictions which under the Worldwide Harmonized Light Duty Vehicles Test Procedure will be liable for an average increase in tax of £18 per month.

The Government recognizes the challenges faced by households as a result of COVID-19. This is why the Government has announced unprecedented support for public services, businesses and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency.

The Government has not delayed the introduction of WLTP. WLTP strengthens the link between the vehicle tax system and the true environmental impact of car purchasing decisions as well as allowing consumers to make more informed decisions between model variations. From 1 January 2021 only WLTP emissions figures will be shown on registration documents for new cars.

However, to ease the transition to WLTP, company car tax appropriate percentages for effected vehicles have been reduced for two years so company car drivers do not see a significant increase in their tax liabilities.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to ensure continued tax relief for seafarers unable to take to sea due to the covid-19 pandemic.

The Seafarer’s Earnings Deduction (SED) offers a 100 per cent reduction in income tax on maritime employment income for UK and EEA resident seafarers who have a qualifying period of time absent from the UK. The qualifying period must be made up of at least 365 days, but return visits to the UK during that time up to a maximum of 183 consecutive days can count towards the qualifying period. This is among the most generous reliefs available to seafarers worldwide.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented interruption to many industries and businesses, and the Government has announced a broad range of support including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and mortgage holidays for homeowners and landlords.

The Government will keep all taxes under review.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
VAT
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of applying a credit for the 2020-21 financial year to VAT accounts of £17,000.

The Government has announced a range of measures to help individuals and businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic, including grants, loans and relief from business rates worth more than £300 billion. On 20 March, the Government announced that UK VAT registered businesses can defer VAT payments due with their VAT returns in the deferral period until March 2021.

While the Government keeps all taxes under review, there are currently no plans to apply a credit to VAT accounts.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
VAT
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of calculating VAT payable only from a turnover of £85,001 and above.

The Government consulted in 2018 on how the design of the VAT registration threshold, currently set at £85,000, could incentivise growth better.

The results of the call for evidence did not present a clear option for reform.

While there are no plans to make changes to the design of the VAT threshold, the Government continues to keep all taxes under review.

Details of the call for evidence are available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/vat-registration-threshold-call-for-evidence.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the reduction in the number of free cash machines.

In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of ministerial discussions are not normally disclosed.

Treasury ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors, including banks, as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

The Government recognises that widespread free access to cash remains extremely important to the day-to-day lives of many consumers and businesses in the UK.

The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) regulates LINK, the scheme that runs the UK’s largest ATM network. The PSR has used its powers to hold LINK to account over its commitments to protect the broad geographic spread of free-to-use ATMs in the UK.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what information he holds on the number of military personnel who assisted with covid-19 testing in Liverpool who are currently in isolation at Catterick Garrison; and what representations he has received on the standard of catering services in that location for those personnel affected.

Of the Service personnel who assisted with COVID-19 testing in Liverpool, which ended in November 2020, none are currently in isolation at Catterick Garrison.

At present, neither the chain of command nor the catering department at Catterick Garrison have received negative comments from personnel in isolation. Spot checks on meals are conducted daily by duty personnel, and menus are routinely monitored by Food Service Warrant Officers to guarantee appropriate standards are maintained.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)