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Written Question
National Insurance: Children in Care
Thursday 30th June 2022

Asked by: Steve Baker (Conservative - Wycombe)

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to ensure that children in care receive National Insurance numbers at the same time as children living with their biological parents; and if she will make a statement.

Answered by Lucy Frazer - Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)

It is HMRC policy to issue National Insurance numbers to all children where HMRC hold current personal details. For some children who are in care, a special process exists for social workers to confirm the details so that the young person can receive their National Insurance number on time.
Written Question
Bounce Back Loan Scheme
Wednesday 22nd June 2022

Asked by: Steve Baker (Conservative - Wycombe)

Question to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will hold discussions with the National Audit Office about the production of a follow-up to the report on the Bounce Back Loan Scheme: an update.

Answered by Paul Scully - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The National Audit Office (NAO) is independent of Government and sets its own agenda for investigations. It should be noted the Comptroller and Auditor General of the NAO has complete discretion in determining which areas of public spending to scrutinise.


Written Question
Food: Advertising
Tuesday 21st June 2022

Asked by: Steve Baker (Conservative - Wycombe)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 6 June 2022 to Question 9876, on Food: Advertising, what recent assessment his Department has made of the extent of (a) the additional costs to businesses of HFSS placement restrictions and (b) the cost to consumers if businesses pass on those costs.

Answered by Maggie Throup - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

The costs to businesses were considered in the Government’s impact assessment for the placement restrictions, published in December 2020. The impact assessment shows that the costs for businesses are expected to be £423 million per year, with transition costs in the first year expected to be £47 million. The impact assessment of the location restrictions shows that while there is a possibility of businesses passing on the cost of the regulations to consumers, due to the competitive pressures of retailers it is unlikely this would occur.

We recognise the costs associated with implementing this policy. However, the costs of obesity to individuals, society and the National Health Service are considerable and the benefits from reducing calorie intakes across the population are substantial. We are encouraging retailers to adjust the balance of promotions towards healthier options and maximise the availability of healthier products available on promotion. The impact assessment shows that this policy is expected to deliver significant health benefits of £58 billion and additionally provide savings to the NHS of over £4 billion, over a 25-year period.


Written Question
Food: Advertising
Tuesday 21st June 2022

Asked by: Steve Baker (Conservative - Wycombe)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact on consumers of businesses substituting products high in fat, salt and sugar in prominent supermarket locations for alternatives as a result of HFSS placement restrictions.

Answered by Maggie Throup - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

The costs to businesses were considered in the Government’s impact assessment for the placement restrictions, published in December 2020. The impact assessment shows that the costs for businesses are expected to be £423 million per year, with transition costs in the first year expected to be £47 million. The impact assessment of the location restrictions shows that while there is a possibility of businesses passing on the cost of the regulations to consumers, due to the competitive pressures of retailers it is unlikely this would occur.

We recognise the costs associated with implementing this policy. However, the costs of obesity to individuals, society and the National Health Service are considerable and the benefits from reducing calorie intakes across the population are substantial. We are encouraging retailers to adjust the balance of promotions towards healthier options and maximise the availability of healthier products available on promotion. The impact assessment shows that this policy is expected to deliver significant health benefits of £58 billion and additionally provide savings to the NHS of over £4 billion, over a 25-year period.


Written Question
Driving Tests: High Wycombe
Monday 20th June 2022

Asked by: Steve Baker (Conservative - Wycombe)

Question to the Department for Transport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had discussions with (a) Buckinghamshire Council and (b) DVSA on the re-opening of High Wycombe's Driving Test Centre.

Answered by Trudy Harrison - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) was served notice by its landlords at High Wycombe driving test centre, which meant that testing there had to end on 29 April 2022. This short notice closure was outside of the DVSA’s control.

As part of its initial site search for an alternative driving test location from which to conduct practical driving tests, the DVSA had discussions with Buckinghamshire Council. The DVSA is now conducting a detailed suitability assessment of alternative locations and will announce further details once that has concluded.


Written Question
Food: Advertising
Monday 6th June 2022

Asked by: Steve Baker (Conservative - Wycombe)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of HFSS placement restrictions on the cost of living.

Answered by Maggie Throup - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

The Government’s impact assessment shows the placement of products within stores significantly affects household spending, with end of aisle displays increasing sales of soft drinks by over 50%.


Written Question
India: Religious Freedom
Friday 27th May 2022

Asked by: Steve Baker (Conservative - Wycombe)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has had any recent discussions with Narendra Modi on the Bharatiya Janata Party's persecution of Muslims in India.

Answered by Vicky Ford - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief for all and promoting respect and tolerance between different religious and non-religious communities. We condemn any instances of discrimination because of religion or belief, regardless of the country or faith involved. We engage with India on a range of human rights matters and where we have concerns, we raise them directly with the Government of India, including at Ministerial level. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia, also regularly speaks to the High Commissioner of India, and human rights including freedom of religion or belief forms part of that dialogue.

The British High Commission in New Delhi and our network of Deputy High Commissions will continue to follow reports of violence and discrimination closely, while recognising that these are matters for India. It is for the Indian Government to address the concerns of all Indian citizens, regardless of faith. Our network of High Commissions across India also regularly meet religious representatives and have run projects supporting minority rights. For example, we have hosted Iftars to celebrate the important contribution Indian Muslims and other communities have made to Indian society. Moreover, we have supported a UK-India Interfaith Leadership Programme for a cohort of emerging Indian leaders of diverse faith backgrounds, creating an opportunity to exchange UK-India experiences on leading modern, inclusive communities.


Written Question
Schools: Finance
Friday 27th May 2022

Asked by: Steve Baker (Conservative - Wycombe)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it is his policy to increase funding for schools where English is a second language for a significant proportion of pupils; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Robin Walker - Minister of State (Education)

Overall, core schools funding is increasing by £4 billion in the 2022/23 financial year, a 7% increase in cash terms per pupil from the 2021/22 financial year. This includes an increase in mainstream school funding for 5 to 16 year olds of £2.5 billion, which is equivalent to an average 5.8% cash increase, or an average of £300 per pupil.

Through the English as an additional language (EAL) factor in the national funding formula (NFF), schools attract funding for pupils who are classed as having EAL and who have started in the state-funded education system in England within the last three years. This equates to an additional £565 per primary school pupil and £1,530 per secondary school pupil in the 2022/23 financial year, meaning the NFF will distribute a total of £410 million through the EAL factor.

At present, the NFF is used to determine how much funding is provided to each local authority in England, and it is for each local authority, to set a local formula to distribute it between schools. Individual authorities can decide whether to include an EAL factor in their local formulae, and where they do, how much that factor should distribute. The government has made clear its intention to move to a ‘direct NFF’, which will determine schools’ budgets directly rather than through local formulae. This includes requiring all local authorities to use the NFF methodology of EAL3, meaning that all pupils with EAL that have entered the school system during the last three years will attract this funding. This will ensure that all schools in England will be guaranteed to receive funding in respect of their pupils with EAL.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Contact Tracing
Thursday 26th May 2022

Asked by: Steve Baker (Conservative - Wycombe)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the purpose is of the UK Health Security Agency's contact tracing contract with SERCO, entitled Provision of Contact Centre Services for The Single Service Centre SERCO Contract, beginning 16 February 2022 for £211,876,932.

Answered by Maggie Throup - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

The purpose of the contract is to provide positive case tracing, contact tracing, isolation follow-up, international translation services, surge capacity for test enquiries and bookings and Tier 1 119 services. The supplier may be requested to undertake additional services if required.


Written Question
General Practitioners: Wycombe
Monday 23rd May 2022

Asked by: Steve Baker (Conservative - Wycombe)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve access to GP services in Wycombe.

Answered by Maria Caulfield - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

During the pandemic, we have made £520 million available to improve access and expand general practice capacity. In October 2021, we published measures to allow more patients to see or speak to general practitioners and primary care teams during the winter, supported by the Winter Access Fund. Between November 2021 and March 2022, this supported Wycombe’s Primary Care Networks to offer more than 7,900 additional appointments.

We have committed £1.5 billion to create an additional 50 million general practice appointments a year by 2024 by increasing and diversifying the workforce. In the Buckingham Clinical Commissioning Group area, there were on average an estimated 10,900 appointments per working day in March 2022 excluding COVID-19 vaccination appointments, compared to 10,300 in March 2021. NHS England and NHS Improvement have advised that six practices will receive funding for new advanced telephony systems, with a further three practices already in receipt of funding for existing advanced systems. This will provide more capacity, flexibility for patients and enable more efficient use of existing practice staff.