Taiwo Owatemi Portrait

Taiwo Owatemi

Labour - Coventry North West

Taiwo Owatemi has no previous appointments


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 22nd June 2021
09:00
Health and Social Care Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Children and young people's mental health
22 Jun 2021, 9 a.m.
At 9.30am: Oral evidence
Nadine Dorries MP - Minister of State for Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and Patient Safety at Department of Health and Social Care
Professor Tim Kendall - National Clinical Director for Mental Health at NHS England
Claire Murdoch - National Mental Health Director at NHS England
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Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 23rd June 2021
14:00
International Trade Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: UK Export Finance
23 Jun 2021, 2 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
Graham Stuart MP - Minister for Exports at Department for International Trade
Louis Taylor - Chief Executive at UK Export Finance
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Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 24th June 2021
09:30
International Trade Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: UK-EU trading relationship
24 Jun 2021, 9:30 a.m.
At 10.00am: Oral evidence
Professor Catherine Barnard - Professor of European Union and Labour Law at Cambridge University
Dr Brigid Fowler - Senior Researcher at Hansard Society
Georgina Wright - Head of the Europe Program at Institut Montaigne
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Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Protecting the Public and Justice for Victims
was Teller for the Ayes
Tally: Ayes - 223 Noes - 0
Speeches
Wednesday 16th June 2021
Coronavirus

When I spoke to my fellow healthcare professionals in my local hospital vaccination centre weeks ago, many expressed their concerns …

Written Answers
Monday 14th June 2021
Dangerous Driving: Sentencing
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether the Government plans to increase sentences for people who cause death …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 21st April 2021
Fur Trade (Prohibition) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to prohibit the import, export, purchase and sale of fur and fur products; and for connected purposes.
MP Financial Interests
Monday 14th June 2021
1. Employment and earnings
From 5 June 2021 until further notice, Locum Pharmacist for Tesco, Shire Park, Kestrel Way, Welwyn Garden City AL7 1GA. …
EDM signed
Wednesday 14th April 2021
100 years of the National Pharmacy Association
That this House congratulates the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) as it celebrates 100 years of serving community pharmacies in the …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021
A Bill to impose duties on certain education and training providers in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Taiwo Owatemi has voted in 286 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Taiwo Owatemi 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
Chris Philp (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
(5 debate interactions)
Gavin Williamson (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Education
(5 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(4 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(12 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(9 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(8 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Taiwo Owatemi's debates

Coventry North West Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Coventry North West signature proportion
Petitions with most Coventry North West signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

The Government should explore using the new sanctions regime that allows individuals and entities that violate human rights around the world to be targeted, to impose sanctions on members of the Nigerian government and police force involved in any human rights abuses by the Nigerian police.

If nurseries are shut down in view of Covid-19, the Government should set up an emergency fund to ensure their survival and ensure that parents are not charged the full fee by the nurseries to keep children's places.

The prospect of widespread cancellations of concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions due to COVID-19 threatens to cause huge financial hardship for Britain's creative community. We ask Parliament to provide a package of emergency financial and practical support during this unpredictable time.

The cash grants proposed by Government are only for businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Relief, or for particular sectors. Many small businesses fall outside these reliefs desperately need cash grants and support now.

For the UK government to provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry, who are suffering unforeseen financial challenges that could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of people employed in the sector.

After owning nurseries for 29 years I have never experienced such damaging times for the sector with rising costs not being met by the funding rates available. Business Rates are a large drain on the sector and can mean the difference between nurseries being able to stay open and having to close.

As we pass the COVID-19 Peak, the Government should: State where the Theatres and Arts fit in the Coronavrius recovery Roadmap, Create a tailor made financial support mechanism for the Arts sector & Clarify how Social Distancing will affect arts spaces like Theatres and Concert Venues.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak there are travel bans imposed by many countries, there is a disastrous potential impact on our Aviation Industry. Without the Government’s help there could be an unprecedented crisis, with thousands of jobs under threat.

To extend the business rate relief to all dental practices and medical and aesthetics clinics and any small business that’s in healthcare

Zoos, aquariums, and similar organisations across the country carry out all sorts of conservation work, animal rescue, and public education. At the start of the season most rely on visitors (who now won't come) to cover annual costs, yet those costs do not stop while they are closed. They need help.


Latest EDMs signed by Taiwo Owatemi

12th April 2021
Taiwo Owatemi signed this EDM on Wednesday 14th April 2021

100 years of the National Pharmacy Association

Tabled by: Lisa Cameron (Scottish National Party - East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow)
That this House congratulates the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) as it celebrates 100 years of serving community pharmacies in the UK; notes that the NPA has helped its members through enormous change, including the formation of the NHS in 1948, the overhaul of medicines regulations in 1968, the massive expansion …
15 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 5
Labour: 3
Conservative: 2
Independent: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
Green Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
14th January 2021
Taiwo Owatemi signed this EDM on Monday 18th January 2021

Godfrey Colin Cameron

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House is deeply saddened by news of the death of Godfrey Colin Cameron, a hardworking member of Parliamentary security staff and member of the PCS trade union who passed away aged just 55 after contracting covid-19; extends our sincere condolences to his devoted wife Hyacinth, children Leon and …
139 signatures
(Most recent: 8 Feb 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 117
Scottish National Party: 15
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Alba Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Taiwo Owatemi's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Taiwo Owatemi, 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.


Taiwo Owatemi has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Taiwo Owatemi has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Taiwo Owatemi


A Bill to prohibit the import, export, purchase and sale of fur and fur products; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 21st April 2021
(Read Debate)

125 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Attorney General, what recent discussions he has had with the Director of Public Prosecutions on ensuring more effective prosecutions of cases involving rape and other sexual offences.

I regularly engage with the Director of Public Prosecutions on all criminal justice issues, including rape. Rape and sexual offences are devastating crimes that can have a significant and profound impact on victims. All cases are dealt with by specially trained CPS Rape and Serious Sexual Offences lawyers, and the CPS is committed to bringing perpetrators of these horrific crimes to justice.

The CPS has accepted all recommendations made in the HMCPSI Rape Report, published in December 2019, and a joint action plan with the police is already underway. This work aims to improve performance in key areas including case progression, digital capability and disclosure, and supporting victims.

The ongoing cross-Government review into this complex area will offer comprehensive findings across the whole criminal justice system, and I look forward to its completion

Michael Ellis
Attorney General
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the average timescale is for cases submitted to the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman to be assigned to a dedicated caseworker in the most recent period for which figures are available; and what steps he is taking to re-introduce pre-covid-19 outbreak targets for assigning such cases.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) is independent of Government and is accountable to Parliament through the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee for its performance. The PHSO will therefore reply separately to this question by letter.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the timetable is for discussions between the Government and victims and families of the contaminated blood scandal on a framework for compensation.

In January 2020, the then Minister for the Cabinet Office and the Minister for Patient Safety met campaigners representing the people infected and affected, and campaigners raised a number of issues about the support that would assist them outside of the Inquiry process. Ministers have committed to looking at these issues carefully, including to consider a request to look at a framework for compensation before the Inquiry reports, and to report back on where progress can be made. The Paymaster General is the lead Minister for the Inquiry and is taking forward these actions.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans the Government has to improve veterans’ employment prospects.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to Oral Questions 4 and 21 on 27 February 2020 (Official Record, Vol.672 Col 451).

17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the localised administration of the Additional Restrictions Grant, what mechanism exists for people whose place of business and home address fall under the jurisdictions of different local authorities.

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) allows Local Authorities to put in place discretionary business support. Local Authorities are free to provide support that suits their local area, including to support those businesses not required to close but which have had their trade severely affected by the restrictions, and those businesses that fall outside the business rates system such as market traders. At Budget on 3 March, the Chancellor announced an additional £425 million would be made available via the ARG, meaning that more than £2 billion has been made available to Local Authorities since November 2020.

Businesses can apply for a grant from the Local Authority to which it pays business rates. Businesses that do not pay business rates can apply to the Local Authority where the business is located. For example, if a business is based in Derby but registered in a different Local Authority, then it would apply for a grant from Derby City Council.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Government's coronavirus taskforce on the (a) potential merits of ceasing all work on construction sites and (b) ensuring that companies are supported to ensure construction workers are furloughed during the high level of transmission of covid-19.

Construction workers play a crucial role in supporting our public services, maintaining vital infrastructure, and providing and maintaining safe, decent homes for people to live in. Throughout the pandemic, the Government has been clear that construction activity should continue, where it can take place safely.

The Government has worked with the Construction Leadership Council’s Coronavirus Task Force, construction firms, and other stakeholders to develop guidance on safer working on construction sites. This is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/construction-and-other-outdoor-work.

The construction industry has also developed Site and Branch Operating Procedures for firms and merchants, as well as guidance for small firms and mineral products suppliers. These provide advice as to how construction firms can apply the Government guidance on safer working.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is designed to help employers whose operations have been severely affected by Coronavirus, to retain their employees and protect the UK economy. All employers, including construction companies, are eligible to claim under the CJRS.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether pubs are allowed to sell alcohol in sealed containers for people to take home during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown period.

Hospitality venues are not allowed to sell alcohol for takeaway under the new National Lockdown restrictions, although they are allowed to continue to sell food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of (a) the end of the transition period and (b) covid-19-related border restrictions on the Government's ability to procure covid-19 vaccines.

The UK has put in place a number of measures to facilitate trade with the European Union to avoid impact to vaccine supply beyond 1 January 2021.

The UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, alongside the Department of Health and Social Care, have worked with COVID-19 vaccine suppliers to support them with robust contingency plans. This includes considering the use of alternative supply routes and Government procured freight capacity, in line with current Government advice.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to ensure customers who choose green electricity tariffs can (a) locate and (b) verify the renewable power plant from which the electricity company purchase its power.

The current legislation and licence conditions which underpin green electricity tariffs are based on the regulator (Ofgem) administering the Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) certificate accounting scheme to verify the proportion of renewable energy sourced by supplier.

Consumers are able to consult the publicly available Ofgem REGO register to interrogate which certificates their supplier holds and from which renewable power plants they were sourced.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that people with pre-existing health conditions living in an area under Tier (a) One and (b) Two covid-19 restrictions do not have to go to a workplace environment that is not covid-secure.

The Government has provided employers with comprehensive guidance on safer working which complements the Department of Health and Social Care’s guidance to clinically extremely vulnerable people. The safer working guidance is clear that employers must be mindful of their responsibilities. We highlight that failure to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and put in place sufficient control measures to manage the risk may be considered a breach of health and safety law. Any issues identified by a worker can be escalated according to the steps in the guidance.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential economic benefit of exempting certain business travellers from self-isolation after travel from countries outside England’s travel corridors.

This exemption facilitates a limited amount of business activity where the individual has a reasonable belief that the activity would be more likely than not to create or preserve 50 UK jobs or provide equivalent value.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) pharmacists, (b) suppliers and (c) other outlets do not profiteer from the price of hand sanitisers.

On 5 March, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued a public statement to reassure businesses and consumers that it is monitoring retail practices during the Coronavirus outbreak. If required, the CMA will take direct enforcement action or advise the Government to take additional measures.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to guarantee an adequate supply of isopropyl alcohol for the manufacture of hand sanitiser during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have a growing effort to secure the supply of hand sanitiser. The Department of Health and Social Care has hand sanitiser in storage and further deliveries are being made. We are working rapidly with wholesalers to ensure a longer-term supply is available.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to encourage relevant manufacturing companies to switch production to the manufacture of (a) personal protective equipment and (b) hand sanitiser or its key ingredients.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chancellor is chairing a regular Economic and Business Response Committee with Ministers from across the Government. The Committee will respond to the impact on businesses, supply chains, and the wider economy caused by the pandemic, and will request advice and support from industry where necessary.

Secretaries of State will also hold sector-specific roundtables, including with theaviation, retail, manufacturing, food, insurance, financial services, sport, entertainment and events, and tourism and hospitality industries.

Any business who is able to help should get in touch at: gcfcovid19enquiries@cabinetoffice.gov.uk.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if her Department will take steps to support employees affected by the closure of IKEA's store in Coventry.

This will be a concerning time for employees and their families, and we are in contact with IKEA regarding the closure. I can equally assure you that Jobcentre Plus through its Rapid Response unit will work with IKEA to understand the level of employee support required and help all affected employees get back into employment as soon as possible.

Jobcentre Plus’s Rapid Response Service is able to provide tailored support and can include some or all the following:

  • Help with job searches, CV writing and interview skills
  • Help to identify transferable skills and skills gaps, linked to the labour market
  • Training to update skills, learn new ones and gain industry certification that will improve employability
  • Help to overcome barriers to attending training, securing a job or self-employment, such as childcare costs, tools, work clothes and travel costs.
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he is having with Cabinet colleagues on tackling the spread of disinformation on social media about the covid-19 outbreak.

Ministers have regular meetings and discussions with their ministerial colleagues on a range of issues, including tackling the spread of Covid-19 disinformation on social media. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the GOV.UK website.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support the arts and culture industry in Coventry as they begin to commemorate Coventry as the city of culture 2021.

The Government recognises the huge contribution the arts and culture sector makes, not only to the economy and international reputation of the UK, but also to the wellbeing and enrichment of its people. It is for this reason that we have invested an unprecedented £1.57 billion, the biggest ever one-off cash injection, into UK culture to tackle the crisis facing our most loved arts organisations and heritage sites across the country including Coventry, which will be our next City of Culture. The Culture Recovery Fund has awarded over £6 million in funding to arts and heritage organisations in Coventry to help support them through the current Covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has supported Coventry City of Culture Trust (the organisation responsible for planning and delivering the programme) with an investment of £15m for capital and resource projects. In addition, Arts Council England, has allocated £3.4m to support Coventry’s success as City of Culture.

The arts and cultural sector is instrumental to Coventry’s success and the Trust has employed local arts freelancers, invested in cultural infrastructure and, during the first lockdown, initiated a £100k resilience fund for the local arts community. In addition, through its programming, the Trust has provided a much needed injection of funding into the sector and supported artists in the region, nationally and internationally.

Coventry North West has received four awards totalling £221,063 from the Culture Recovery Funds: Mercurial Arts Limited received £64,548; The Highlife Centre received 2 amounts of £79,515 and £61,000; and the Canal and River Trust received £16,000.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of the arts, entertainment and recreation workforce (a) was been eligible for and (b) received support from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in each month since the introduction of that scheme.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been one of the key ways we have provided support, with the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (AER) sector receiving £1.974bn of support from the initiative so far (claims made to 31 October). The CJRS has now been further extended to 30 April 2021. From 1 November, the UK Government will pay 80% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

The latest figures published by HMRC show that as at 31 October 2020, there were 660,900 eligible employments and 40,000 eligible employers for CJRS in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector.

As at 31 October, the proportion of the workforce eligible for furlough that were actually furloughed in AER sector was 24%. 45% of eligible employers in the AER sector were using the furlough scheme at the end of October.

As at 30 September, the take up rate of eligible employments was 28% in the AER sector, with 49% of eligible employers in the sector using the scheme.

As at 31 August, 40% of eligible employments were furloughed and 54% of eligible employers were using the scheme in the AER sector.

As at 31 July, 52% of eligible employments in the AER sector were furloughed, with a take up rate of 61% of eligible employers in the sector.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of employers in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector accessed the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in each month since the introduction of that scheme.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been one of the key ways we have provided support, with the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (AER) sector receiving £1.974bn of support from the initiative so far (claims made to 31 October). The CJRS has now been further extended to 30 April 2021. From 1 November, the UK Government will pay 80% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

The latest figures published by HMRC show that as at 31 October 2020, there were 660,900 eligible employments and 40,000 eligible employers for CJRS in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector.

As at 31 October, the proportion of the workforce eligible for furlough that were actually furloughed in AER sector was 24%. 45% of eligible employers in the AER sector were using the furlough scheme at the end of October.

As at 30 September, the take up rate of eligible employments was 28% in the AER sector, with 49% of eligible employers in the sector using the scheme.

As at 31 August, 40% of eligible employments were furloughed and 54% of eligible employers were using the scheme in the AER sector.

As at 31 July, 52% of eligible employments in the AER sector were furloughed, with a take up rate of 61% of eligible employers in the sector.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many and what proportion of (a) music festivals have accessed and (b) the number of roles in music festivals have been supported by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to date.

The Government has worked closely with music and cultural sector representative bodies to maximise the survival of businesses and employee retention in the sector, through the extensive range of support the Government has provided to businesses and the self-employed.

The Government has not made an assessment of the extent to which music festivals have accessed the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

As at 30 September, the sector with the highest proportion of its workforce eligible and receiving the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme support was arts, entertainment and recreation at 23%. In all, 45% of employers in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector were using the furlough scheme at the end of September.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the provision of youth centres.

This government is investing £500 million over five years through the new Youth Investment Fund. The fund will be used to build new youth centres, refurbish existing youth facilities, provide mobile facilities for harder to reach areas, and invest in the youth work profession and frontline services.

Government is also funding up to £7 million this financial year through the Youth Accelerator Fund that will expand existing successful projects delivering positive activities, and address urgent needs in the youth sector. The charity UK Youth have launched a small grants programme to distribute funding to deliver extra sessions in youth clubs and youth groups across England.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps he has taken to improve access to the arts and culture in the regions and nations of the UK.

As cultural funding and policy is a devolved issue, I will focus on the work we do across England.

Through the Arts Council England (ACE), we are investing and promoting the arts and culture all around the country and will continue to do so. There continues to be a shift in ACE's National Portfolio funding outside London, increasing from 53.8% outside London in 2012-15 to 60.3% in 2018-22.

As part of this, ACE expects the organisations they fund to ensure that their cultural offer is accessible to as many people as possible. A great example of this is the Royal Shakespeare Company’s increasing number of “relaxed performances” which make the theatre more accessible to a neurodiverse audience.

In October 2019, the Government also announced a £250m Cultural Investment Fund (CIF) - of which £125m will be invested in regional libraries and museums across the country, helping these cultural institutions to enhance their offer and benefit every more people.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what level of funding is provided by his Department for Black supplementary schools.

​The Department recognises that supplementary schools provide enriching activities and education for children in many subjects including arts, language, music, sport, and religion. We do not currently provide direct funding for any supplementary schools.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Turing Scheme will be an international exchange programme.

The £110 million Turing scheme will provide funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting in September 2021. This global scheme will have levelling-up at heart so that this life-changing educational opportunity is opened up to more students and pupils across the country.

The Turing Scheme is the UK’s global programme to study and work abroad. We are funding UK-based providers so that their students, learners and pupils can go on mobilities abroad and we expect overseas partners to do the same in return thereby facilitating international exchanges. The UK is a very attractive destination for international students, the most attractive in the world after the USA. It is clear that we have considerable appeal as a destination and partner in international mobilities and exchanges, not just within the EU, but across the world.

For all students participating in the Turing Scheme, we expect tuition fees to be waived by host institutions, as is typical under Erasmus+ and other exchange programmes. This is a matter for individual institutions to agree, and something that universities do as a matter of course when they form exchange partnerships with international providers.

All participating students will receive grants to contribute towards their cost of living, which will be dependent on the destination country. Under Erasmus+, HE students can receive a maximum of 540 Euros per month for cost of living in programme countries, including the disadvantaged supplement. For an Erasmus+ study placement, this includes 370-420 Euros per month for cost of living plus 120 Euros per month disadvantaged uplift. Under the Turing Scheme, participants can receive the equivalent of a maximum of 573 Euros per month. This includes equivalent to 392-445 Euros per month for cost of living plus 129 Euros per month disadvantaged uplift. These rates are based on an exchange rate of 1.17 Euros to 1 Sterling Pound. Students can continue to apply for student finance.

For schools and colleges, all participants will receive travel funding. For disadvantaged students in HE, the Turing Scheme will provide travel costs to all destinations. Disadvantaged participants in all sectors can receive additional funding for visas, passports, insurance and other travel-related costs. We would cover up to 100% of actual costs. More information on funding available can be found at www.turing-scheme.org.uk.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Turing Scheme will cover the (a) tuition fees, (b) travel costs and (c) cost of living for participants in that programme; and whether those costs will be means-tested.

The £110 million Turing scheme will provide funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting in September 2021. This global scheme will have levelling-up at heart so that this life-changing educational opportunity is opened up to more students and pupils across the country.

The Turing Scheme is the UK’s global programme to study and work abroad. We are funding UK-based providers so that their students, learners and pupils can go on mobilities abroad and we expect overseas partners to do the same in return thereby facilitating international exchanges. The UK is a very attractive destination for international students, the most attractive in the world after the USA. It is clear that we have considerable appeal as a destination and partner in international mobilities and exchanges, not just within the EU, but across the world.

For all students participating in the Turing Scheme, we expect tuition fees to be waived by host institutions, as is typical under Erasmus+ and other exchange programmes. This is a matter for individual institutions to agree, and something that universities do as a matter of course when they form exchange partnerships with international providers.

All participating students will receive grants to contribute towards their cost of living, which will be dependent on the destination country. Under Erasmus+, HE students can receive a maximum of 540 Euros per month for cost of living in programme countries, including the disadvantaged supplement. For an Erasmus+ study placement, this includes 370-420 Euros per month for cost of living plus 120 Euros per month disadvantaged uplift. Under the Turing Scheme, participants can receive the equivalent of a maximum of 573 Euros per month. This includes equivalent to 392-445 Euros per month for cost of living plus 129 Euros per month disadvantaged uplift. These rates are based on an exchange rate of 1.17 Euros to 1 Sterling Pound. Students can continue to apply for student finance.

For schools and colleges, all participants will receive travel funding. For disadvantaged students in HE, the Turing Scheme will provide travel costs to all destinations. Disadvantaged participants in all sectors can receive additional funding for visas, passports, insurance and other travel-related costs. We would cover up to 100% of actual costs. More information on funding available can be found at www.turing-scheme.org.uk.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the factors that would determine the safe reopening of schools after covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

On Wednesday 27 January 2021, the Government confirmed that education attendance restrictions should continue post-half term meaning that vulnerable children and the children of critical workers can still attend school or college in person, but all other pupils will continue to learn remotely from home.

This follows my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4 January 2021 of national restrictions and that the position would be kept under review during January 2021.

Following an in-depth analysis of both the virus prevalence data and the data on NHS capacity, it has been concluded that school and college attendance must continue to be limited to help support the reduction in the overall number of social contacts in communities.

Education attendance restrictions are to be reviewed again in mid-February and will remain in place until 8 March 2021 at the earliest, and the Government has committed to publishing a plan for leaving lockdown by the end of February 2021.

Headteachers, teachers, and staff of schools, colleges and nurseries have been doing an extraordinary job under difficult circumstances. For those still attending school, the system of protective measures means that any risks are well managed and controlled.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) adequacy of the standard of food parcels issued to families with children eligible for free school meals and (b) the long-term effect of those parcels on levels of child hunger.

The continuing provision of free school meals to children from out of work families or those on low incomes is of the utmost importance to this government.

School leaders know their communities best and have flexibility to select the most appropriate support for their pupils.

The pictures of food parcels circulating are not acceptable and not in line with guidance. On 13 January 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, met the leading school food suppliers and caterers to insist on urgent action to make sure lunch parcels meet the standards we expect. I’m grateful to those firms who are working hard with schools to provide nutritious, balanced lunches for children.

School catering contracts are agreed locally, and the department does not hold a contract with any provider to provide free school meals of lunch parcels to children. We have guidance in place allowing schools to decide the best approach for supporting free school meal pupils who are at home. This can be through lunch parcels, local vouchers or the national voucher scheme which was available from Monday 18 January 2021.

If a parent is concerned about the standards of their lunch parcel, they should speak directly with their school. If a parent cannot resolve their concern through their school, they can contact the Department. The Department will make contact with suppliers where concerns are escalated, to ensure they are following the good practice guidance we have set out. We will also alert the school to confirm appropriate contract management arrangements are in place, so that immediate improvements are made.

Schools and caterers have been provided with extensive guidance from the department and from LACA on what each food parcel should include. They should follow our school food standards to ensure they are healthy, nutritious and sufficient. They should:

  • contain food items rather than pre-prepared meals due to food safety considerations;
  • minimise the fridge and freezer space that schools and families will need to store foods
  • contain items which parents can use to prepare healthy lunches for their child/children across the week;
  • not rely on parents having additional ingredients at home to prepare meals;
  • not contain items restricted under the school food standards, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/standards-for-school-food-in-england;
  • cater for pupils who require special diets, for example, allergies, vegetarians or religious diets - schools should ensure there are systems in place to avoid cross-contamination;
  • and contain appropriate packaging sizes for household use, rather than wholesale sizes.

The government will continue to provide schools with their expected funding throughout this period. To recognise the additional cost of provision for pupils at home, schools will be able to claim additional funding:

  • up to £3.50 per eligible pupil, per week, where lunch parcels are being provided, to top up the £11.50 they already receive to provide lunches;
  • and up to £15 per eligible pupil, per week, where vouchers for local shops or supermarkets are being provided.

As was the case over Christmas, vulnerable children and families will continue to receive meals and other essentials over February half term via councils through the £170 million Covid Winter Grants Scheme launched last year. Local authorities understand which groups need support, and are best placed to ensure appropriate holiday support is provided – which is why the funding will be distributed by them, rather than schools, who will continue providing meals to disadvantaged children during term-time. Families who need support should speak to their local authority.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will review the equity of the level of university tuition fees as a result of students no longer being able to access important in-person resources under lockdown.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and the government is working with the sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies. The Government’s clear and stated expectation is that universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and seek to ensure that all students regardless of their background have the resources to study remotely. This is more important than ever at the moment with the vast majority of students studying solely online.

Universities are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees, up to a maximum of £9,250 for approved (fee cap) institutions. The Office for Students (OfS), as regulator for higher education (HE) providers in England, has made it clear that HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and academic standards, which set out requirements to ensure that courses are high-quality, that students are supported and achieve good outcomes and that standards are protected, regardless of whether a provider is delivering its courses through face-to-face teaching, remote online learning, or a combination of both.

The OfS is taking very seriously the potential impacts of COVID-19 on teaching and learning and is regularly engaging with all registered providers. It is actively monitoring providers to ensure: that they maintain the quality of their provision; that it is accessible for all; and that they have been clear in their communications with students about how arrangements for teaching and learning may change throughout the year. The OfS is also following up directly with providers where they receive notifications from students, parents or others raising concerns about the quality of teaching on offer and requiring providers to report to them when they are not able to deliver a course or award a qualification. If the OfS has concerns, it will investigate further.

Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund of fees will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between the provider and student. If students have concerns, there is a process in place. They should first raise their concerns with their university. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

The OIA website is available via the following link: https://www.oiahe.org.uk/

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds affected by COVID-19. This sets out the CMA’s view on how the law operates to help consumers understand their rights and help businesses treat their customers fairly. This is available via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-to-investigate-concerns-about-cancellation-policies-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-consumer-contracts-cancellation-and-refunds.

The Office for Students has also published guidance on student consumer protection during the COVID-19 outbreak, which is available via the following link: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/for-students/student-and-consumer-protection-during-coronavirus/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the new covid-19 variant VUI-202012/01, what plans his Department has for remote online learning for schools to protect staff and students from January 2021.

From Wednesday 6 January, a new national lockdown came into effect and schools should already be following the new rules. Schools should only allow vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to attend face-to-face education. All other pupils are being taught remotely.

The Department knows that receiving face-to-face education is best for children’s mental health and for their educational achievement, and we will keep the restrictions on schools under review. Limiting attendance at this time is about reducing the number of contacts that people have with other households given the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and the intense pressure on the NHS.

Our get help with remote education portal provides information, guidance, and support on educating pupils and students remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak. The portal can be accessed here: https://get-help-with-remote-education.education.gov.uk.

Although the recently identified variant of COVID-19 appears to be more transmissible in general, there is currently no firm evidence that it disproportionately affects children and young people, nor is there evidence that the new strain causes more serious illness in either children or adults.

For those pupils and staff still attending school, the system of protective measures that we have asked schools to implement continues to mean that any risks and well managed and controlled.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment the Government has made of the transmissibility of the VUI-202012/01 covid-19 variant by school-aged children; and what effect that assessment has on the return of schools in 2021.

From Wednesday 6 January, a new national lockdown came into effect and schools should already be following the new rules. Schools should only allow vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to attend face-to-face education. All other pupils are being taught remotely.

The Department knows that receiving face-to-face education is best for children’s mental health and for their educational achievement, and we will keep the restrictions on schools under review. Limiting attendance at this time is about reducing the number of contacts that people have with other households given the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and the intense pressure on the NHS.

Our get help with remote education portal provides information, guidance, and support on educating pupils and students remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak. The portal can be accessed here: https://get-help-with-remote-education.education.gov.uk.

Although the recently identified variant of COVID-19 appears to be more transmissible in general, there is currently no firm evidence that it disproportionately affects children and young people, nor is there evidence that the new strain causes more serious illness in either children or adults.

For those pupils and staff still attending school, the system of protective measures that we have asked schools to implement continues to mean that any risks and well managed and controlled.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the new strain of covid-19, what plans his Department has for remote online learning for schools to protect staff and students in England from January 2021.

From Wednesday 6 January, a new national lockdown came into effect and schools should already be following the new rules. Schools should only allow vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to attend face-to-face education. All other pupils are being taught remotely.

The Department knows that receiving face-to-face education is best for children’s mental health and for their educational achievement, and we will keep the restrictions on schools under review. Limiting attendance at this time is about reducing the number of contacts that people have with other households given the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and the intense pressure on the NHS.

Our get help with remote education portal provides information, guidance, and support on educating pupils and students remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak. The portal can be accessed here: https://get-help-with-remote-education.education.gov.uk.

Although the recently identified variant of COVID-19 appears to be more transmissible in general, there is currently no firm evidence that it disproportionately affects children and young people, nor is there evidence that the new strain causes more serious illness in either children or adults.

For those pupils and staff still attending school, the system of protective measures that we have asked schools to implement continues to mean that any risks and well managed and controlled.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the new strain of covid-19, whether his Department has made an assessment into the transmissibility of the virus on school-aged children; and what effect the new strain of the virus will have on the return of schools in 2021.

From Wednesday 6 January, a new national lockdown came into effect and schools should already be following the new rules. Schools should only allow vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to attend face-to-face education. All other pupils are being taught remotely.

The Department knows that receiving face-to-face education is best for children’s mental health and for their educational achievement, and we will keep the restrictions on schools under review. Limiting attendance at this time is about reducing the number of contacts that people have with other households given the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and the intense pressure on the NHS.

Our get help with remote education portal provides information, guidance, and support on educating pupils and students remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak. The portal can be accessed here: https://get-help-with-remote-education.education.gov.uk.

Although the recently identified variant of COVID-19 appears to be more transmissible in general, there is currently no firm evidence that it disproportionately affects children and young people, nor is there evidence that the new strain causes more serious illness in either children or adults.

For those pupils and staff still attending school, the system of protective measures that we have asked schools to implement continues to mean that any risks and well managed and controlled.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what comparative assessment he has made of the cost to the public purse of the Erasmus scheme and proposed Turing Scheme.

The UK is already a significant net contributor to Erasmus+. The government estimates that the UK’s notional contribution to the current (2014-2020) programme over its seven-year duration will be around €1.8 billion, whilst the UK expected to receive around €1 billion in receipts over the course of the programme.

The budget for the next programme is nearly doubling from €14 billion to €26 billion. In order to participate in Erasmus+, the EU proposed new terms of participation for the UK which included a participation fee in addition to a GDP-based contribution. The only terms on offer to the UK for Erasmus+ participation would mean that we would likely make a gross contribution in the region of £600 million per annum and pay in around £2 billion more than we would get out over the course of the next programme. We obviously respect the right of the EU to set the terms for participation in its programmes but, in this case, we did not believe those terms represented value for money for the UK taxpayer.

Therefore, as an independent and sovereign country, it is also right that we will proceed with the introduction of a new international educational exchange scheme that has a genuinely global reach. The government remains committed to international education exchanges and that is why we have committed to funding the Turing scheme.

The Turing scheme will be backed by over £100 million for the academic year. This includes the costs of administering the scheme, and I am pleased to confirm that the new scheme will be administered by the same consortium of British Council and Ecorys, which have been delivering Erasmus+ in the UK for a number of years, drawing on their experience of working with education providers across the UK, and ensuring continuity. This will fund similar levels of student outbound mobilities as under Erasmus and provide funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on study and work placements overseas, starting in September 2021.

The Turing scheme will also go further than Erasmus+ by including countries across the world, while delivering greater value for money to taxpayers.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help safeguard (a) staff and (b) pupils from rising cases of covid-19 infection in schools and colleges.

At each stage of its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has listened to and acted on the latest medical and scientific advice. As the prevalence of COVID-19 across the country and our communities changes, the Government has always been clear that it will not hesitate to take swift and decisive action to control the COVID-19 outbreak and save lives.

The Department has worked closely with Public Health England to publish comprehensive guidance based on a ‘system of controls’ which, when implemented in line with a revised risk assessment, create an inherently safer environment for staff, pupils and students where the risk of transmission of the infection is substantially reduced. This provides a framework for schools and colleges to put in place proportionate protective measures to manage risk effectively. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.

To safeguard the health of the teaching workforce and keep as many staff and pupils in school and college as possible, we will be making rapid-result COVID-19 tests available to schools and colleges in the new year. This will help identify asymptomatic cases, which make up a third of all cases, limiting the spread of the virus. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-asymptomatic-testing-in-schools-and-colleges/coronavirus-covid-19-asymptomatic-testing-in-schools-and-colleges.

In addition to the asymptomatic testing programme, from 4 January 2021, all secondary schools and colleges will also be able to offer staff and pupils a round of free COVID-19 testing, helping deliver the national priority of keeping as many staff and pupils as possible in school and college and fighting the spread of COVID-19.

We continue to provide information to schools and colleges on our guidance, and any changes to it, through regular departmental communications.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the evidential basis is for keeping schools open a week before they break up for the Christmas period; and what the basis is for potential Government legal action against schools that wish to resume remote learning for the final week of term.

Returning to school full time has been vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. The leaders and staff of schools have been doing an extraordinary job to remain open, keep schools safe and provide education. Schools have implemented a range of protective measures to minimise risk of transmission. The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school. Senior clinicians, including the Chief Medical Officers of all four nations, still advise that school is the very best place for children to be.

Our approach, including advising schools to consider making Friday 18 December a non-teaching day, has been informed by advice from Public Health England and seeks to balance the asks on schools to help in the national effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 with the important need for staff need to rest and recharge over the Christmas break.

Under Schedule 17 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 the Secretary of State may make a direction to require schools to enable all pupils to attend full time. If a school fails to comply with a direction the Act enables the Secretary of State to seek an injunction from the court in order to enforce the direction.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has assessed the effect of remote schooling during the covid-19 outbreak on levels of student learning.

The Department is continuing to do everything in its power to ensure that children and young people can continue to attend school and college safely, as this is the best place for them to be for their education, development, and wellbeing. However, we recognise that for some pupils and students, remote education will be an essential component in the delivery of the school curriculum this year, alongside on-site teaching. The Department’s guide to remote education good practice is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/remote-education-good-practice/remote-education-good-practice.

Understanding the impact of COVID-19 disruption on attainment and progress is a key research priority for the Government, and we have commissioned an independent research and assessment agency to consider catch up needs and monitor progress over the course of this academic year. The ongoing research is based on a large sample of pupils from Years 1-11, and will allow the Department to understand how best to support the sector and identify which groups of pupils have been most affected by time out of school – including the most disadvantaged. This research is based on assessments that schools are already choosing to use this year, so adds no additional burden on schools and does not require pupils to sit any additional assessments.

The Department has also commissioned a mixed-methods research study that will examine schools’ recovery approaches to lost time in education as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, since the Spending Review 2020, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor on a potential pay-rise for teachers in college, primary and secondary School settings.

The Department for Education and Her Majesty’s Treasury have had ongoing discussions regarding teacher pay as part of the spending review process. These discussions have also informed the remit to the School Teachers’ Review Body, asking for recommendations on school teachers’ pay and conditions in maintained schools for the 2021/22 academic year, which was published on Tuesday 15 December.

Although my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a temporary pause on pay rises for the majority of public sector workers, workers earning less than median earnings of £24,000 will receive an increase of at least £250: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spending-review-2020-documents/spending-review-2020. School teachers will also continue to be eligible for performance related pay progression and pay rises from promotion. Academies will retain the freedom to set their own pay policies. Further Education and Sixth Form Colleges are independent organisations and, as such, are responsible for setting their own pay and conditions.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
5th May 2020
What steps he is taking to ensure that the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers does not widen during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government has already committed over £100 million to boost remote education, including by providing devices and internet access to vulnerable children who need it most.

Schools also continue to receive the pupil premium – worth around £2.4 billion annually – to help them support their disadvantaged pupils.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of students from Europe studying in the UK through the Erasmus+ programme, at each university.

The Department for Education has made no estimate of the number of students from Europe studying in the UK through the Erasmus+ programme by university. While the European Commission (EC) records the number of incoming mobilities to the UK on the Erasmus+ programme this is not broken down by sub-national, regional or institutional level.

The number of incoming Higher Education students, trainees and staff to the UK on the Erasmus+ programme from 2014/15 to 2017/18 can be found here:

https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/about/factsheets_en.

The EC publishes more data on Erasmus+ in their statistical annexes:

https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/about/statistics_en.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to improve attainment in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools.

The Department is determined to continue driving up academic standards.

86% of schools are now good or outstanding, compared to 68% in 2010. Since the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) performance measure was first introduced in 2010, the proportion of pupils entering the EBacc has increased from just 22% in 2010 to 40% in 2019. These are subjects which keep pupils’ options open and provide a great basis for future study and employment. Against this background of rising standards, disadvantaged pupils are catching up with their peers. Since 2011, the attainment gap at the end of primary school has narrowed by 13% and the gap at the end of secondary school has narrowed by 9%.

To continue the focus on attainment and standards we are now investing £10 million to establish 'behaviour hubs' so that schools with a track record of effectively managing pupils' behaviour can share what works with schools that need it. The first hubs are planned to launch in September 2020 and will run for an initial period of 3 years.

The Department is also providing funding to ensure that all schools have the right investment to deliver an outstanding education. A total additional investment of £14 billion across three years – the largest funding boost in a decade – will allow for a cash increase of £2.6 billion to core schools funding from April 2020, with increases of £4.8 billion and £7.1 billion in 2021-22 and 2022-23 respectively, compared to 2019- 20.

There a number of initiatives in place to improve attainment in specific subjects in the West Midlands and Coventry. These include the establishment of teaching hubs - two English hubs and three mathematics hubs, with plans for an additional new mathematics hub which will be operational from September 2020 (focusing on Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull). In addition to these hubs, we have established two Science Learning Partnerships in the area.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to improve educational attainment in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) the UK.

The Department is determined to continue driving up academic standards.

86% of schools are now good or outstanding, compared to 68% in 2010. Since the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) performance measure was first introduced in 2010, the proportion of pupils entering the EBacc has increased from just 22% in 2010 to 40% in 2019. These are subjects which keep pupils’ options open and provide a great basis for future study and employment. Against this background of rising standards, disadvantaged pupils are catching up with their peers. Since 2011, the attainment gap at the end of primary school has narrowed by 13% and the gap at the end of secondary school has narrowed by 9%.

To continue the focus on attainment and standards we are now investing £10 million to establish 'behaviour hubs' so that schools with a track record of effectively managing pupils' behaviour can share what works with schools that need it. The first hubs are planned to launch in September 2020 and will run for an initial period of 3 years.

The Department is also providing funding to ensure that all schools have the right investment to deliver an outstanding education. A total additional investment of £14 billion across three years – the largest funding boost in a decade – will allow for a cash increase of £2.6 billion to core schools funding from April 2020, with increases of £4.8 billion and £7.1 billion in 2021-22 and 2022-23 respectively, compared to 2019- 20.

There a number of initiatives in place to improve attainment in specific subjects in the West Midlands and Coventry. These include the establishment of teaching hubs - two English hubs and three mathematics hubs, with plans for an additional new mathematics hub which will be operational from September 2020 (focusing on Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull). In addition to these hubs, we have established two Science Learning Partnerships in the area.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the effect of the ban on burning coal in domestic settings on the (a) availability and (b) price of sized and washed lump coal for use in steam locomotives.

The measures included in the Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020 will not apply directly to steam locomotives. Although the domestic coal market represents less than 5% of national coal demand, we acknowledge that our plans may impact on the supply of fuels to some organisations. We have listened to the concerns raised by heritage bodies during our consultation on these measures, and we have engaged with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Heritage Rail’s enquiry. This did not quantify the direct costs to this sector from a ban on the sale of domestic coal but did recommend that a longer transition period be included in Government plans. We have taken this into account in our proposals, with a longer transition period being given to the phasing out of direct deliveries of loose coal via approved coal merchants, allowing organisations time to adjust to the change in legislation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the restriction on selling alcohol in Tier 2 pubs without an accompanying substantial meal on levels of food waste.

Defra has not made assessment of the impact of food waste levels as a result of this policy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on ensuring that communities have a balance between green spaces and infrastructure.

The Secretary of State has had no formal discussions with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) about balancing the provision of green spaces and infrastructure in communities in the past six months. Defra is working closely with the Ministry of HCLG on a number of projects seeking to ensure that green space and wider ‘green infrastructure’ is an integral part of communities. This includes developing revised planning guidance on open space, design guidance covering green spaces and green infrastructure standards for new development.

The Environment Bill makes biodiversity net gain mandatory for development granted permission under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. This will mean that developments must demonstrate a measurable biodiversity net gain of at least 10% above pre-development biodiversity value. This will help to ensure that new development in England enhances the environment, contributes to our ecological networks and conserves our precious landscapes.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, for what reason her Department approved an export license to Sri Lanka for military helicopters on 4 March 2020 with a value of £149,724; and what assessment was made of the risk of those items being used in violations of international humanitarian law.

Whatever the destination, HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’), including if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK and these reports contain detailed information, including the overall value, the type (e.g. Military, Other), and a summary of the items covered by these licences.

This information is available at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data (opens in a new tab) and the related quarterly publication was on 14th July 2020, covering the period 1st January to 31st March 2020.

As the above report shows, no licences for military helicopters were issued for Sri Lanka in this period. A licence authorising the export of ‘components for NBC protective/defensive equipment’ (control entry ML7) with a value of £149,725 was issued for Sri Lanka, on 4th March 2020. On the same day, we also issued a licence authorising the export of ‘components for military helicopters’ (control entry ML10) with a value of £161,477 for Sri Lanka. In both cases, these licences were for goods for incorporation in other products and the items were ultimately destined for third countries.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure commuters are adhering to the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown restrictions and avoiding non-essential travel.

Everyone must stay at home and only leave their home and travel for limited reasons permitted in law, for example, a medical appointment or work that cannot be done from home. You must also not travel at all if you are experiencing coronavirus symptoms, self-isolating or sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms.

To manage the new restrictions, the police are stepping up their visibility and will continue to engage with the public. On the railway network, additional British Transport Police officers have been deployed to ensure those who need to take essential journeys can travel safely.

Where people are not complying with the rules to stay at home unless for one of the reasons set out in the regulations, the police will explain and encourage them to follow the rules and issue a direction or a fixed penalty notice of £200 for the first offence, if needed.

Where passengers do need to use the public transport network for a permitted reason, our safer travel guidance sets out the steps they should take, including wearing a face covering unless exempt and maintaining social distancing.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is taking to monitor and ensure people travelling to and from Tier 4 covid-19 lockdown areas have legitimate travel exemptions when travelling (a) on public transport and (b) in their cars.

The Tier 4 rules, which were in place from 2 December to 4 January were clear that people must stay at home unless for an exempted purpose, such as education, work or accessing amenities that remain open. This means that people living within Tier 4 areas should not be travelling unless for those reasons.

The police have the powers to direct people to return home and to issue a fixed penalty notice, if they have left home without a valid exemption as set out in the regulations. The breach is leaving home, by any means including walking or cycling, rather than specifically travelling by either public transport or by car. Therefore, the Department does not hold data for breaches of these regulations where police have enforced the measures upon car drivers or those travelling on public transport.

The same applies to the national lockdown rules announced on 4 January 2020, which came into force on 6 January 2020.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce regional disparities in transport funding.

We have made clear our ambition to invest in our infrastructure and level up opportunity across the country. We’ve already taken steps to do this, including developing the Midlands Rail Hub, pledging £500m to start to reverse the Beeching cuts and announcing £5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links for every region outside London. As we look ahead we will continue to focus on levelling-up as we deliver an infrastructure revolution for the whole country.

12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to increase the number of people using buses.

The Bus Services Act 2017 introduced new powers for local authorities and operators to work together to grow bus passenger numbers.

The £220 million Better Deal for Bus Users package provides new funding to help transform bus services and a series of complementary commitments, including a National Bus Strategy, which together will detail measures to increase bus usage.

On top of the £1 billion spent by the Government on concessionary travel for eligible older and disabled people, around £250 million is paid every year to support bus services in England to keep fares lower.

There is £5billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links for every region outside London. This package of investment will boost bus services by focusing on a range of priorities, set to include: higher frequency services, new priority schemes will make routes more efficient, more affordable simpler fares and at least 4,000 new Zero Emission Buses.

12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that people in Coventry benefit from High Speed Two.

HS2 will result in increased availability of seats for passengers travelling from Coventry to other inter-city destinations, and will also release capacity on existing routes in the West Midlands for additional local and regional commuter services.

HS2 will also form the backbone of the Midlands Rail Hub which will further strengthen connectivity between Coventry and cities of the Midlands and provide greater access to HS2 services.

I will ensure that HS2 Ltd continues to support Local Growth and Transport plans which maximise regeneration opportunities and improve connectivity between HS2 and other regional and national transport modes to enable quick and easy access to high speed services.

The West Midlands will be at the heart of the new high-speed rail network and my Department and HS2 Ltd will continue to work with regional stakeholders to ensure that the region, including Coventry, achieves the full potential of HS2.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential effect of the policy of limiting welfare benefits to two children on abortion rates since (a) that policy’s implementation and (b) the beginning of the covid-19 outbreak.

DWP has made no such assessment.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2020
What assessment her Department has made of the effect of the roll-out of universal credit on referrals to food banks.

The Department does not keep official statistics on food bank use, so no such assessment has been completed.

There are many reasons people use food banks and their growth cannot be linked to a single cause.

Some food aid providers produce statistics on the number of food parcels distributed, but the Government has no plans to require individual food banks to keep records, as this would place a significant burden on charitable organisations.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants of personal independence payment who were assessed at home have had successful mandatory reconsideration claims in (a) Coventry North West constituency, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England.

The information requested is not available.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the next phase of the covid-19 vaccination programme will include people living with sufferers of blood cancers to protect that high-risk group.

Phase two of the vaccination programme will cover all adults under 50 years old not already included in phase one. Interim advice has been published by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommending an age-based approach which the Government has accepted in principle.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans for an above-inflation increase in dental charges.

No decision has been made on changes to dental patient charges for the 2021/22 financial year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) availability and (b) suitability of personal protective equipment tested to FFP1, 2 and 3 standards.

All personal protective equipment (PPE) must undergo vigorous checks to ensure they meet the safety and quality required, as per the published technical specification for PPE on GOV.UK. By December 2020, we had established a four-month stockpile of all COVID-19 critical PPE. We are confident that we have secured enough supply for this winter period and that we have the processes and logistics in place to distribute PPE to where it is needed.

The recommendations on what PPE is required in which settings, is set out in the ‘COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control’ (IPC) guidance, which was last updated on 21 January 2021. This guidance does not include the use of FFP1 masks and these are not distributed by the Department. These recommendations are agreed by an expert group of clinicians and scientists from across all four nations of the United Kingdom. They are consistent with World Health Organization guidance, are based on the latest clinical evidence and are kept under constant review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that care workers in private companies have access to regular covid-19 testing during the covid-19 outbreak.

Regular testing is available for all staff working in registered care homes, including agency staff. Regular testing is also available for domiciliary care staff, and those working in higher risk extra care and supported living settings. Testing on the door is also available for visiting professionals to care homes.

We have now sent out over 20 million test kits to care homes. On 25 January 2021 we announced the approval for care home staff to conduct lateral flow tests at home before they arrive at the care home to start work and therefore further increasing the capacity for regular COVID-19 testing. We will continue to review our social care testing strategy for adult social care in light of the latest evidence and available capacity.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government has taken to tackle (a) misinformation and (b) disinformation about the covid-19 vaccine among people from BAME backgrounds.

We are working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to help social media platforms identify and take action against incorrect claims about the virus in line with their terms and conditions. This includes anti-vaccination narratives that could endanger people’s health. The Counter Disinformation Unit looks for trends on social media platforms so that it can work with them and other partners to respond to misleading content rapidly.

Senior clinicians, Ministers and officials are also holding regular briefing sessions with stakeholders, medical charities, faith groups and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community leaders about the vaccines we have authorised for use and the vaccine rollout. Additionally, the Government is sponsoring content on social media channels and a range of news media outlets to provide information and advice to communities across the community.

The communications plan includes targeted information and advice via TV, radio and social media and is being translated into 13 languages. Print and online material, including interviews and practical advice has appeared in 600 national, regional, local and specialist titles including BAME media for African, Asian, Bangladeshi, Bengali, Gujarati, Jamaican, Jewish, Pakistani and Turkish communities.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to open additional mortuary facilities.

As part of the Government's contingency planning and preparation for the reasonable worst-case scenario this winter, the Department for Health and Social Care has worked closely with the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure resilience in the capacity of the system. The Cabinet Office and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have built significant additional capacity through the provision of temporary body storage units. There are units at local resilience forums across England. Throughout the pandemic, this additional capacity has been available for NHS England to use in the unlikely event that they should require it. Communications to local resilience forums have also emphasised that these are available to the private funeral sector should their own resources be put under pressure.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what rate of covid-19 infection will be used to justify the opening of the Birmingham Nightingale hospital.

The Nightingale hospital in Birmingham stands ready to provide support to local NHS services and accept patients if needed based on local clinical advice. The National Health Service has flexed hospital capacity throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so, including staffing Nightingale hospitals as needed.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency guidance does not allow care staff to take lateral flow tests at home.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued an exceptional use authorisation to the Department, who have taken on the role of legal manufacturer, for lateral flow self-tests ‘to find’ COVID-19 positive cases in asymptomatic individuals. The Exceptional Use Authorisation (EUA) was issued on 22 December 2020, MHRA reference, DEU/012/2020/003. EUAs are published on GOV.UK and is updated regularly

Tests cannot be deployed until the legal manufacturer has accepted and addressed the conditions of the EUA and this has been agreed with MHRA. It is the responsibility of the organisation procuring and deploying medical devices including tests to satisfy themselves that the test will perform and intended and meets their requirements.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to increase the number of Tier 4 beds available for inpatients within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in England.

NHS England and NHS Improvement commission a range of inpatient beds for children and young people experiencing mental health difficulties. The NHS Long Term Plan commits to reducing the reliance upon and need for these beds by further investing in and developing a range of community services for children and young people with more complex needs.

Additional funding has been made available to support a number of schemes that aim to either reduce the need for admission or reduce the length of stay. NHS England remains committed to considering opportunities to increase and improve their inpatient provision to meet the needs of the local population.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to open nightingale hospitals in response to increased demand on hospital beds in England.

Patients are currently being treated in Nightingale hospitals in Manchester and Exeter with the Bristol and Harrogate sites supporting elective services. The London Nightingale site is also being readied for operation so it is available to support the National Health Service hospital bed capacity.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the criteria is for an area to given a Tier 4 covid-19 lockdown designation.

Decisions on tiers are made by Ministers based on public health recommendations from senior clinical and scientific advisors, guided by five key indicators - the case detection rate in all age groups, case detection rates among the over 60 year olds, the rate at which case rates are rising or falling, positivity rate and pressures on the National Health Service. Final decisions on tiering are made by the COVID-19 Operations Committee.

As of 6 January, all areas have been moved into tier 4 and the Government will review the tiering allocations every 14 days.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance he plans to put in place for people who are shielding in Tier 4 covid-19 lockdown areas.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4 January, a new national lockdown has been introduced to help tackle the large rise in cases of COVID-19. In addition to the new rules that apply to everyone, the Government is also advising all clinically extremely vulnerable people to shield to further protect themselves during this period.

Current guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people is to stay at home as much as possible, apart from going outside for exercise or to attend health appointments. They are advised not to go to the shops and should work from home where possible. If unable to work from home, they should not attend the workplace.

Further details are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Government was made aware of the existence of the VUI-202012/01 covid-19 variant.

Ministers were informed of the new VUI-202012/01 COVID-19 variant on 11 December 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the letter sent to pharmacists by NHS England on 27 November 2020, when pharmacists will be given contracts to administer the covid-19 vaccine.

Following NHS England and NHS Improvement’s letter on 27 November 2020 all pharmacies that had applied to become a designated vaccination site received letters regarding their application on 18 December 2020 as planned.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of covid-19 vaccines on the mutated second covid strain.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is effective against the COVID-19 variants that are dominant in the United Kingdom. There are 147 confirmed and probable cases of the South African variant in the UK, which is a small proportion of total cases. So far, we understand this vaccine should be effective against severe disease and death for other variants. We continue to consider a range of evidence and advice, with research and evaluation ongoing.

On 5 February, we announced a new vaccines partnership with CureVac, which will enable us to respond rapidly to develop additional vaccines for COVID-19 variants if needed. The UK has placed an initial order for 50 million doses of new vaccines that can protect against these variants, which will be delivered later this year if they are required. This is in addition to the broader portfolio of 407 million doses we have already secured to date.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications of the lateral flow test pilot programme having taken place in local authority areas with lower transmission rates for his policy on enabling safe public interaction in areas with higher transition rates.

Extensive clinical evaluation from Public Health England and the University of Oxford show lateral flow tests are accurate and sensitive to be deployed for mass testing, including for asymptomatic people. We are identifying how to best utilise this new technology at scale through a series of different field tests and pilots.

Targeted community testing is available for all local authorities in tier 4, tier 3 and those in tier 2 at risk of going into tier 3, with authorities invited to submit their application.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the (a) financial and (b) logistical strain on care homes from the introduction of lateral flow testing to facilitate visits.

We understand that the pandemic continues to impose significant pressures on the social care sector and we keep funding under review. The Infection Control Fund (ICF) is available for care homes to use for additional COVID-19 related infection prevention and control costs. apply for support in reducing the rate of COVID-19 transmission. The ICF has been extended until March 2021, with an extra £546 million for the care sector to improve infection prevention and control, including enabling providers to put in place measures to support safe visiting.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of potential options for alleviating demands on NHS services to help maintain the provision of elective services in (a) Coventry and (b) Warwickshire in Winter 2020-21.

Extensive, system-wide measures have been put in place across Coventry and Warwickshire, to support patient flow through the acute hospitals and maintain elective services through winter, with a particular focus on:

- Extra care home capacity to support discharge from hospital;

- Additional acute capacity;

- Additional investment in primary care and mental health;

- Concentrating on enhanced discharge practises to maintain patient flow;

- 111 first pathway to divert patients from accident and emergency departments where appropriate and encourage use of services to seek help early to avoid need for admission; and

- Enhanced care home services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the High-value Business Travelers Exemption policy on (a) public health and (b) the rate of covid-19 transmission.

From 18 January, the exemption was removed along with all travel corridors meaning that these people will need to self-isolate on arrival until 10 days have passed since they last left a country outside of the Common Travel Area.


When in place, the exemption was narrowly designed such that individuals were only exempt when undertaking business activities that qualify for the exemption. They were otherwise required to self-isolate at all other times. Specific guidance was developed for this exemption which set out the steps to be taken to ensure that public health risks are minimised.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of inconsistent lateral flow tests on the adequacy of testing undertaken to facilitate visits in care homes.

Extensive testing has shown that lateral flow devices are suitable for use in care homes. They can identify individuals who are the most likely to spread the virus further and prevent transmission of the disease from staff and visitors. The rapidity of the result from lateral flow devices allows for more frequent testing of staff and visitors, increasing the chances of an infectious positive case being picked up.

Testing is only one part of the protect and contain strategies. It is critical that visitors wear personal protective equipment and follow all infection control methods to keep their loved ones, other residents and staff safe. We want to bring an end to the pain of separation and help care homes bring families and loved ones together. The launch of visitor testing is a crucial step to making that happen.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the NHS will not face a medicine shortage in the coming months.

The country is well prepared to deal with any impacts of COVID-19 and we have stockpiles of generic drugs, in the event of any supply issues or significant increases in demand.

The Department is working closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

The steps being taken to protect the United Kingdom’s supplies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak were set out in the Department’s press statement issued on 11 February 2020. This statement is available at the following:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-monitor-impact-of-coronavirus-on-uk-medicine-supply

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to manufacture more active pharmaceutical ingredients in the UK to prevent medicine shortages.

The Government has no plans to create facilities in the United Kingdom to manufacture further active pharmaceutical ingredients. There are 16,000 medicines on the market in the UK. Whilst some of these are manufactured in the UK, most are manufactured abroad. Where medicines are manufactured here, the active ingredients and excipients for those medicines may be manufactured abroad. It is not realistic to manufacture all 16,000 medicines and the active ingredients and excipients needed for these medicines in the UK.

The production of medicines is complex and highly regulated, and materials and processes must meet rigorous safety and quality standards. Supply problems can affect a wide range of medicines and can arise for various reasons, such as manufacturing issues, problems with the raw ingredients and batch failures. These problems arise regardless of where in the world the manufacture takes place.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to apply stress tests to the NHS medicine supply in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The country is well prepared to deal with any impacts of COVID-19 and we have stockpiles of generic drugs, in the event of any supply issues or significant increases in demand.

The Department is working closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

The steps being taken to protect the United Kingdom’s supplies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak were set out in the Department’s press statement issued on 11 February 2020. This statement is available at the following:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-monitor-impact-of-coronavirus-on-uk-medicine-supply

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there is a type of protective face mask that protects people from contracting covid-19; and what assessment his Department has made of whether face masks protect people from contracting covid-19.

The Government, informed by professionals, has published new guidance about personal protective equipment (PPE) for National Health Service teams who are likely to come into contact with patients with COVID-19. This is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control

The guidance recommends the safest level of PPE to protect NHS healthcare workers and specifies the type of PPE that should be worn in the various healthcare settings.

The World Health Organization recommends the use of FFP2 masks but the United Kingdom has gone further and recommends the use of FFP3 masks. However, we are clear that FFP2 have been approved by the WHO and can be used safely if necessary.

Face masks play a very important role in clinical settings, such as hospitals, but there is very little evidence of widespread benefit from their use outside of these clinical settings. Facemasks must be worn correctly, changed frequently, removed properly and disposed of safely in order to be effective.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that pharmacies have adequate stocks of hand sanitiser to meet demand.

The Department is working with wholesalers to ensure a longer-term supply of all aspects of personal protective equipment, including gloves, aprons, facemasks and hand sanitiser. For future personal protection equipment (PPE) requirements, health and social care providers should order PPE from their usual suppliers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of A&E waiting times (a) at University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire and (b) in England.

Accident and emergency (A&E) attendances have increased both nationally and locally on the previous year, December 2019 A&E attendances were 6.5% up nationally over December 2018, the position at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) was up by 6.6% (4.1% year to date). Latest published performance data for January against the 4 hour A&E performance standard was 77.9% for UHCW compared to 84.6% in January 2019. The latest published national performance for January against the standard was 79.8% compared to 84.5% in January 2019.

The large growth in attendances has had an impact on delivery of the four hour A&E performance standard. The NHS Long Term Plan’s Urgent and Emergency Care reform agenda will look to address this through:

- Urgent Treatment Centres that will reduce attendance at, and conveyance to, A&E;

- Same Day Emergency Care which will increase the proportion of acute admissions discharged on the day of attendance from a fifth to a third; and

- To reduce the number of patients that have unnecessary long lengths of stay (+21 days) in hospital and Delayed Transfer of Care - where patients are still in hospital once medically fit to be discharged back into the community.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of waiting times for (a) children and (b) adults at University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire since 2010.

This information is not available in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase staffing levels at University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire.

The interim NHS People Plan, published on 3 June 2019, puts the workforce at the heart of the National Health Service and will ensure we have the staff needed to deliver high quality care. The final NHS People Plan will be published in early 2020.

The Government recently pledged to increase nurse numbers by 50,000 in England over the next five years, and has begun to expand undergraduate medical school places in England by 1,500. The final additional places will have been made available by universities by September 2020.

It is the responsibility of NHS trusts to have staffing arrangements in place that deliver safe and effective care. This includes recruiting the staff needed to support these levels and meet local needs

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans he has to work with the US administration improve support for (a) women’s health and (b) the work of sexual reproductive rights organisations.

The UK is a proud champion of sexual and reproductive health and rights. We look forward to working with the US government on this shared priority that saves lives and empowers women and girls around the world to claim their rights. This year the UK will use its G7 Presidency to spearhead international action on gender equality.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he is having with his Ugandan counterpart on the home imprisonment of presidential candidate, Bobby Wine.

I [Minister Duddridge] tweeted on 19 January about the treatment of Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, and our High Commissioner in Kampala pressed the Ugandan authorities to end these unacceptable restrictions on his liberty. I [Minister Duddridge] welcome the High Court of Uganda's decision of 25 January that the detention of Kyagulanyi was unconstitutional and unlawful and that these restrictions have been lifted. The British High Commissioner in Kampala continues to meet political actors from all parties and met Kyagulanyi on 27 January. They discussed the political situation in Uganda, the restrictions to political freedoms before and after the elections and the electoral process. The High Commissioner has urged all parties to reject violence, engage in peaceful dialogue and follow due process to address any electoral irregularities. As a long-standing partner to Uganda, and a steadfast advocate for Ugandan democracy, the UK will continue to follow post-election developments closely.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure the protection of human rights defenders imprisoned and at risk from covid-19, throughout the world.

The UK strongly supports human rights defenders worldwide to enable them to carry out their work safely and without fear. We regularly assess how we can enhance our ability to make a positive difference, including in the context of the increased risks posed by the Covid-19 outbreak.

In July 2019, the UK set out its ongoing dedication to support and protect human right defenders in the document "UK Support for Human Rights Defenders". The publication makes clear that our diplomatic network will work with and alongside Non Governmental Organisation representatives and human rights defenders to address the challenges they face. This includes human rights defenders who are detained, on trial or imprisoned.

On 4 June 2020, the UK joined human rights Ambassadors from six other European nations to issue a statement highlighting the importance of ensuring a safe enabling environment for human rights defenders. The statement made clear that states have a responsibility to ensure that any emergency powers in place to combat Covid-19 are not used as tools to repress civil society, marginal groups or populations as a whole.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what documentation British citizens will require to qualify for a travel exemption to countries that have banned travel from the UK as a result of the emergence of the VUI-202012/01 covid-19 variant.

International travel is increasingly restricted in the UK. Different rules apply in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For example, in England you must not leave home including to travel abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so, such as for essential work purposes. British nationals, who are intending to travel on the basis of a legally permitted reason, should check and monitor FCDO travel advice for the country they are planning travel to, including local restrictions. Travel Advice will be updated as soon as possible when there are changes to entry restrictions overseas, however, these are sometimes implemented with little prior warning.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in Saudi Arabia on the alleged inhumane treatment of African and other migrants in Saudi Arabian detention centres.

We are concerned by reports of conditions in migrant detention centres. I raised our concerns on migrant detention centres with the Saudi Ambassador to the UK on 16 November. We are monitoring the situation closely, as we always do on human rights issues.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will hold discussions with his Polish counterpart on what steps the Polish Government plans to take to help protect members of the LGBTIQ+ community in that country from attacks and harassment.

The UK is implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination and committed to promoting and protecting the rights and freedoms of LGBT people in all circumstances. Our Embassy in Warsaw is working actively on this agenda: it is engaged in dialogue with both civil society and the Polish Government, as well as with our diplomatic partners. It will continue to work with the LGBT community in Poland to identify opportunities to tackle discrimination and promote inclusion.

The Embassy has established itself as one of the diplomatic missions in Warsaw that is most active on the LGBT agenda. During last year's Pride season, it brought the diplomatic community in Warsaw together to endorse a joint letter to the Polish Prime Minister expressing support for LGBT equality and respect for human rights, which over 50 diplomatic missions signed. In January,?it?hosted?a roundtable on the role of business and NGOs in promoting LGBT rights, bringing the Polish business and LGBT communities together to discuss how to jointly build a more inclusive society. This year, the Embassy flew the rainbow flag over the weekend of 20/21 June as part of its activity to promote Pride month.?Our Embassy continues to work closely with NGOs such as the Campaign?Against?Homophobia and Polish Society for Anti-Discrimination Law on projects to improve the situation of LGBT people in Poland.?We will continue to work through our Embassy in Warsaw and through international organisations, including the UN, OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Commonwealth, to promote tolerance and to fight discrimination against LGBT people.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to encourage the Polish Government to remain a signatory to the Istanbul Convention.

The UK accords a high priority to promoting gender equality and women's rights across the world. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office officials regularly raise gender issues, including domestic violence, in multilateral fora such as the UN and the Council of Europe. The UK signed the Istanbul Convention in 2012, signalling its strong commitment to tackling violence against women and girls; this Government remains committed to ratifying it. We encourage the Polish Government, too, to maintain its commitment to the Convention. The British Embassy in Warsaw is active on this agenda and supports NGOs working on women's rights. Later this month, the Embassy will be hosting a public webinar with British and Polish experts on lessons learned in dealing with domestic violence during the Covid-19 pandemic and will follow this with smaller group workshops with NGOs from the UK and Poland at which they will share experiences.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps the UK Embassy in Poland is taking to help support human rights defenders in that country.

Our Embassy in Warsaw actively promotes human rights and helps prevent discrimination. It works closely with human rights defenders, including on media freedom, LGBT rights and freedom of religion or belief. The Embassy has established itself as one of the diplomatic missions in Warsaw that is most active on the LGBT agenda. During last year's Pride season, it brought the diplomatic community in Warsaw together to endorse a joint letter to the Polish Prime Minister expressing support for LGBT equality and respect for human rights. It works with NGOs such as the Campaign Against Homophobia and Polish Society for Anti-Discrimination Law on projects to improve the situation of LGBT people. The British Ambassador in Warsaw regularly meets Dr Adam Bodnar, Poland's Human Rights Commissioner; we will continue to work with NGOs through the Embassy and through international organisations, including the UN, OSCE, and the Council of Europe, to promote tolerance and non-discrimination.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to support less economically developed countries with tackling COVID-19.

To prioritise international support, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has assessed which countries are most at risk of the importation of cases and how prepared they are for a potential outbreak. The UK assessment is that Covid-19 poses an immediate health risk to less economically developed countries as well as secondary health and socio-economic impacts. Diseases are global threats and to save lives around the world we need a strong international response. The UK has announced up to £241 million of UK aid funding to support the global efforts to combat the outbreak of Covid-19 and to support multilateral actors, including the WHO and the IMF, to mitigate the impacts for low- and middle-income countries.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Chinese counterpart on the arrests and detentions of (a) Pastor Wang Yi and (b) Mrs Jiang Rong.

British diplomats met with Chinese officials in January 2019, to express concern about the pressures facing Christians in China, and directly raised Pastor Wang's case. Reports suggest Jiang Rong was released in June 2019, after six months imprisonment. We have not raised her case directly with the Chinese authorities. On 2 January, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad issued a statement expressing serious concerns about the recent sentencing of Pastor Wang Yi to nine years in prison following a secret trial and called on China to uphold the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by China's constitution and international law. The freedom to practice, change or share ones faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a human right that all people should enjoy.

7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the government in Myanmar on the authorities treatment of (a) Kachin Christians and (b) Rohingya Muslims in that country.

The UK continues to make representations to the Government of Myanmar about the need to protect the Kachin, Rohingya and other minority groups in Myanmar. We agree with the UN Fact Finding Mission's report that the Myanmar Military is responsible for serious human rights violations in Rakhine and Kachin State.

In September 2019, Baroness Sugg raised the Rakhine Advisory Commission (RAC) recommendations with the Rakhine State Government. If properly implemented, the RAC recommendations would improve the lives of the Rohingya currently in Myanmar and create the conditions for the Rohingya in Bangladesh to return to Myanmar in a safe, dignified, voluntary and sustainable way. On 23 January, I encouraged the Government of Myanmar to abide by the International Court of Justice's provisional measures and implement the recommendations of the Independent Commission of Enquiry in order to protect the Rohingya and to bring the perpetrators of atrocities to justice. The British Ambassador to Myanmar reinforced these points with the Myanmar Minister for International Co-operation, Kyaw Tin.

We remain concerned by restrictions on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Myanmar. We have raised our concerns about destruction of places of worship and discriminatory provisions within citizenship laws. In July 2019, The British Ambassador to Myanmar raised the issue of religious persecution and expressed concern at reports of forced conversions (to Buddhism) with the Myanmar Minister of Religious and Cultural Affairs.

25th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will allocate additional resources to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to help clear the backlog of cases awaiting investigation.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s funding is decided by Parliament and sanctioned by HM Treasury. Any additional funding will be a matter for the forthcoming spending review.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
17th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of whether the suppliers of Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services recovering VAT will potentially inflate prices to the NHS.

Transport services for sick or injured persons in vehicles specially designed for that purpose, such as ambulances, are exempt from VAT. The law also allows the supply of transport services in any vehicle with seating to carry 10 or more passengers (including the driver) to be a zero-rated supply. Other supplies of patient transport services are subject to VAT.

NHS spending settlements cover all relevant costs, including any VAT that is not otherwise recoverable.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Government has plans to bring forward legislative proposals to update regulations on the trading of financial instruments and assets through mobile applications to prevent unfair practices and price manipulation by those means.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the UK’s financial markets conduct regulator and is responsible for protecting consumers, ensuring market integrity and promoting effective competition

As set out in the FCA’s statement of 29 January, broking firms are not obliged to offer trading facilities to clients and may withdraw or suspend services if it is necessary or prudent to do so. The FCA statement also said that they would take appropriate action wherever they see evidence of UK firms or individuals causing harm to UK consumers or markets.

The Government recognises that the pace and creativity of innovation in UK financial services creates new opportunities for businesses and consumers to participate in markets through technologies such as app-based platforms. However, investors should be aware that investing in securities comes with risks. The FCA’s statement of 29 January noted that any losses that result from such investments are unlikely to be covered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason HMRC do not accept Commonwealth, EU or other overseas passports as proof of identification for people completing their self-assessment tax returns online.

HMRC do not have access to other countries’ passport databases so they are unable to check the validity of overseas passports in the same way as they can with UK passports.
Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if HMRC will take steps to ensure all patient transport services as zero-rated for VAT purposes.

Under the current rules, transport services for sick or injured persons in vehicles specially designed for that purpose, such as ambulances, are exempt from VAT. The Government also allows the supply of transport services in any vehicle with seating to carry 10 or more passengers (including the driver) to be a zero-rated supply. Introducing a zero rate on all patient transport services would come at a cost to the Exchequer. While the Government keeps all taxes under review, there are no current plans to change the VAT treatment of patient transport services.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial support the Government is making available to businesses entering Tier 4 covid-19 lockdown areas.

Throughout this crisis, the Government has sought to support businesses, jobs and public services up and down the UK. That is why it has spent over £280 billion to make a package of support available for businesses which has included billions in wage support, loans, tax deferrals, Business Rate reliefs and general and sector-specific grants.

As measures to control the virus change, it is right that government support should also evolve. However, the Tier 4 restrictions introduced in December to control the spread of the virus were broadly similar to those implemented nationwide in November. As such, the existing financial support measures for businesses entering Tier 4 were maintained.

The Government recognises that the latest national lockdown, while necessary to save lives and protect the NHS, will lead to further challenges for businesses. That is why we are providing additional funding for businesses worth £4.6 billion across the UK. All businesses in England which are legally required to close as a result of this lockdown will receive one-off grants of up to £9,000. We are also providing all English local authorities with an additional £500m of discretionary business grant funding.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what additional financial support he has made available for employers and employees in Tier 4 covid-19 lockdown areas.

Following further national restrictions announced on 4 January, the Government introduced further support over and above existing measures worth £4.6 billion across the UK. More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/46-billion-in-new-lockdown-grants-to-support-businesses-and-protect-jobs

This support will help businesses get through the difficult period through to the Spring. The Government will take further decisions about its economic response to coronavirus and how best to support the economy, businesses and jobs at the Budget.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grants have been paid to furloughed workers who lost income due to an inability to carry out additional, part-time self-employment.

The information requested is not available.

Statistics on the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are available from https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/self-employment-income-support-scheme-statistics-august-2020 and https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-august-2020 respectively.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department plans to take steps to change licensing rules to enable pharmacists to produce hand sanitiser.

HMRC are now prioritising applications to receive and use denatured alcohol in the production of sanitising hand gel. This includes putting in place new targets to reduce the time taken to process such requests from within 45 working days to within five working days.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people accused of murder have been successfully extradited to India since the signing of the UK-India Extradition Treaty in 1992.

From the available information, there has been one extradition to India for an individual accused of murder during this timeframe. There have been three extraditions from India to the UK for the same offence during this period.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Leave to Remain family and private life applications were processed within six months in (a) 2019 and (b) 2020.

Family and Private Life leave to remain applications are captured as part of the data referred to as “HR Complex” here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-protection-data-february-2021

Family and Private Life applications are not currently subject to a service standard; this is due to their complexity, relying as they tend to on human rights claims. Each application is considered carefully on its own individual merits and with reference to the supporting documents provided.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Leave to Remain private life applications were processed within six months in (a) 2019 and (b) 2020.

Private life is an element within Family and Private Life applications, which is collectively captured as part of the data referred to as “HR Complex” here;

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-protection-data-february-2021

Private Life is not recorded as a discrete category of application and therefore it is not possible to separate this element out.

We are unable to provide the number of Private Life applications processed within six months during 2019 and 2020 because to do so would result in publication of unassured data.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will conduct an assessment of police use of tasers on (a) Black, Asian and minority ethnic children and (b) other children.

The Government is clear that all use of force must be reasonable, proportionate and necessary and that no one should be subject to use of force based on their race or ethnicity.

All Officers receive comprehensive training in assessing the potential vulnerabilities of a person, including their size age and size.

When police officers take the difficult decision to use force, they are accountable through the law for their actions.

The Home Office publishes annual statistics on the use of force to allow for scrutiny of police use of force including taser and other less lethal weapons.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department has made of the potential economic merits of building naval support vessels in UK shipyards.

This Government is acutely aware of the significant contribution to the economy by the shipbuilding enterprise. The National Shipbuilding Strategy recognises the economic value that naval shipbuilding brings to the UK through design, build, and the supply chain. Economic assessments are made on all major Ministry of Defence procurements in line with Her Majesty's Treasury guidelines on value for money.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
19th Apr 2021
What recent steps his Department has taken to tackle regional inequality.

Government is tackling regional inequality through our commitment to level up all corners of the United Kingdom. Our actions include establishing the Levelling up Fund; the UK Community Renewal Fund; the Community Ownership Fund; creating Freeports whilst empowering our regions by devolving money, resources and control away from Westminster.

Alongside this, the Government has also committed over £35 billion to help councils support their communities and local businesses during the pandemic.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reason his Department has not reissued the guidance to local authorities that initiated the Everybody In scheme, including the sections that covered people who have No Recourse To Public Funds.

This Government has taken unprecedented steps to protect rough sleepers during the pandemic. This work has not stopped, and through Everyone In, by November we had supported around 33,000 people with nearly 10,000 in emergency accommodation and over 23,000 already moved on into longer-term accommodation.

Given the new variant of COVID-19, and the new national lockdown, we are redoubling our efforts to ensure that people who sleep rough are kept as safe as possible and that we do everything we can to protect the NHS. This is backed by £10 million to protect rough sleepers and ensure their wider health needs are addressed.

We have written to all local authorities, to ensure that even more rough sleepers are safely accommodated, and to ask that this opportunity is actively used to make sure that all rough sleepers are registered with a GP where they are not already and are factored into local area vaccination plans, in line with JCVI prioritisation for COVID vaccinations.

As we set out in that letter the law on eligibility relating to immigration status, including for those with No Recourse to Public Funds, remains in place. Local authorities must use their judgement in assessing what support they may lawfully give to those who might otherwise be ineligible for support as a result of immigration status. This should be carried out on an individual basis, considering that person’s specific circumstances and support needs. Local authorities already make similar judgements on accommodating otherwise ineligible individuals during extreme weather, for example, where there is a risk to life.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
11th Jan 2021
What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the funding allocated to local authorities to make discretionary payments to people needing to self-isolate as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The policy and funding for the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme is the responsibility of the Department for Health and Social Care. Of course, MHCLG ministers and officials regularly engage with their counterparts in a range of departments, including DHSC and the Treasury, as well as with local authorities on matters relating to local government finance.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to calculate accurately the number of ex-service personnel nationally who are (a) homeless and (b) sleeping rough.

Our veterans have played a vital role in keeping our country safe and we owe them a duty to ensure they are provided with all the support they need.

In 2018, my Department introduced the Homelessness Case Level Information Collection (H-CLIC), a new data collection tool to improve the information we collect from local authorities on homelessness


The figures for people that served in the armed forces identified as statutory homeless from 2018 onwards can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-homelessness

The Homelessness Reduction Act requires certain public authorities to refer members of the regular forces in England they consider to be homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days to a local housing authority, with the individual’s consent. A person who is vulnerable as a result of having been a member of Her Majesty’s regular armed forces has a priority need for accommodation.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that homeless people have access to (a) shelter, (b) financial support and (c) mental health services during winter 2020-21.

We have taken unprecedented action this year to protect vulnerable people. The ongoing 'Everyone In' campaign has helped to protect thousands of lives during the pandemic - by September it had supported over 29,000 vulnerable people, with over 10,000 in emergency accommodation and nearly 19,000 provided with settled accommodation or move on support.

We recognise the challenges that cold weather poses for local authorities in terms of rough sleeping. That is why we have launched a third year of the Cold Weather Fund. This £10 million fund is available to all local authorities to provide a robust, local response to support rough sleepers off the streets over the winter period, including providing self-contained and Covid-secure accommodation and support.

We have also provided a £2 million Homelessness Winter Transformation Fund (HWF) for faith and community groups to provide alternative provision this winter. This is on top of our 'Protect Programme' launched in November which is the next step in the ongoing targeted support to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our communities from Covid-19. A further £15 million will be provided to support the ongoing efforts to provide accommodation for rough sleepers during the pandemic. This programme will help areas that need additional support most throughout winter.

We recognise that rough sleeping is not just a housing issue and that many people need additional support. £23 million this year will be used to provide substance misuse treatment services for rough sleepers. This funding will provide the necessary support needed to many vulnerable individuals experiencing rough sleeping, including those accommodated under the Government's response to Covid-19. This will enable them to rebuild their lives and move towards sustaining long-term accommodation. Public Health England (PHE) has published guidance to assist commissioners, managers and staff in addressing Covid-19 in drug and alcohol services.

The Department of Health and Social Care has secured £30 million to meet the mental health needs of people sleeping rough, as part of the NHS England Long Term Plan - until 2023/24. This will ensure better access to specialist homelessness NHS mental health provision, integrated with existing outreach services, for the parts of England with the highest levels of need.

Taken together, the overall amount we are spending on rough sleeping and homelessness this year is over £700 million.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to protect green spaces from development.

We updated the National Planning Policy Framework in July 2018. This includes a policy on the designation of Local Green Space, under which communities can identify and protect local green spaces of particular importance to them. The Framework also sets out that existing open space should not be built on unless it is shown to be surplus to requirements, or the loss would be replaced by alternative provision.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to end the use of no fault evictions.

The Government is committed to enhancing renters’ security and improving protections for short-term tenants by abolishing 'no-fault' evictions through repeal of Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. As announced at Queen’s Speech, we will bring forward a Renters' Reform Bill to deliver this commitment


The Government recently consulted on how?the?new system should?operate, once Section 21 is removed. The responses to the consultation will inform the legislation and the Government will respond in due course.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether the Government plans to increase sentences for people who cause death by careless driving while not under the influence of drink or drugs.

The government keeps offences and penalties under revew. We have no current plans to increase the maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to safeguard (a) barristers, (b) solicitors, (c) court staff and (d) visitors against covid-19 infection and spread.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service has well entrenched safeguards to ensure safety of all people in its buildings. This includes members of the legal profession, HMCTS staff (including agency staff and contractors) and all court users.

The range of safety measures and controls in place have been developed in line with and are validated against, relevant public health standards to ensure court and tribunal buildings are Covid secure. The measures have all been reviewed in light of continually developing circumstances. This has enabled HMCTS to deliver its vital public services, including jury trials, throughout the period affected by pandemic-related restrictions.

The approach here is set out transparently in the HMCTS Organisational Risk Assessment. Data suggests that the level of Covid infections amongst Court staff has been in line with the national averages. Among the measures embedded across the court and tribunal estate are significantly enhanced cleaning regimes, the provision of washing facilities and sanitiser throughout buildings for users as well as staff and judiciary, social distancing measures implemented, and a requirement for face coverings throughout our buildings. Site-specific assessments are reviewed at least weekly, and are required to be undertaken in collaboration with staff and trade union colleagues. Court and Tribunal users can request copies of these assessments and engage local managers on the detail where appropriate.

HMCTS has published, and regularly updates, a full suite of information on its Covid-secure practices. Weekly updates are now sent direct to a range of key stakeholders, social media tools are routinely used to try to reach ever-wider audiences, and in all court and tribunal venues, clear signage is displayed to promote and explain our safety measures. Our senior team also participate in webinars and other tailored events for staff members, and engages regularly with professional representatives, contractor and system partners to address issues and concerns.

We have invested considerable effort to assure ourselves as to compliance on the ground, through management systems and independent audits. We also have responsive complaints and escalation procedures in case they are necessary. We ask all users of the courts and tribunals – including but not limited to jurors – to take personal responsibility, for adhering to the simple and well-understood hands/face/space protocols prevalent across society generally.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the rate of covid-19 infection in prisons.

The safety of our staff and those under our supervision remains our top priority. We have taken quick and decisive action – backed by Public Health England and Wales – to limit the spread of the virus.

Our measures have included restricting regimes, minimising inter-prison transfers and compartmentalising our prisons into different units to isolate the sick, shield the vulnerable and quarantine new arrivals. A comprehensive regular testing regime of both staff and prisoners is also in place and is key in helping to prevent the spread of the virus. We are also working closely with the NHS to support the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccinations for eligible groups in custody. Our experience and evidence gathering provides an indication that these measures have had a positive impact on limiting deaths and the transmission of the virus in prisons.

Due to the current risk level posed by Covid-19, all adult prisons are currently operating a Stage Four regime, as outlined in our National Framework (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-national-framework-for-prison-regimes-and-services). This involves restrictions to reduce contact between people and therefore reduce the chance of transmission. We are keeping the level of restriction necessary under close review. We must continue to respond in a measured way in line with public health advice to ensure our approach is proportionate and legitimate, as we have done throughout.

This is now a familiar way of working for the operational line and wider stakeholders, and it also appropriately balances our different risks, including the physical and mental health of staff and prisoners; violence and major disorder; and the loss of staff confidence.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what progress his Department has made on implementing the recommendations from its report of June 2020, Assessing Risk of Harm to Children and Parents in Private Law Children Cases.

The report identified a number of long-standing, systemic issues that require fundamental reform. The Family Justice Reform Implementation Group (FJRIG) is overseeing delivery of the reform agenda.

We are making good progress against several of the commitments outlined in our Implementation Plan published alongside the report. We have launched the review into the ‘presumption of parental involvement’ in private law children cases, and we are developing the ‘Independent Domestic Abuse Courts’ (IDAC) pilot. We are also implementing changes within the Domestic Abuse Bill, including the prohibition of cross examination of victims by perpetrators or alleged perpetrators and automatic eligibility for special measures in the Family Court.

A more detailed delivery updated will be published in the new year.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he has held discussions with the Attorney General on the reasons for the decline in the rate of convictions for rape since 2010.

The Secretary of State for Justice and the Attorney General meet regularly to discuss critical issues which cut across the criminal justice system, including how the system responds to rape, and most recently met in early February.

More needs to be done to support rape victims and bring perpetrators of these appalling crimes to justice. That’s why we’re recruiting 20,000 more police offices, investing £85 million in more prosecutors and building 10,000 extra prison places to ensure that dangerous offenders are locked up. We’re also investing more in victim support, with an extra £5 million announced last autumn to recruit more Independent Sexual Violence Advisors and fund rape support centres.

But we want to do more, which is why the Criminal Justice Board is working with experts across the system and in the third sector to understand what processes can be improved to ensure more cases reach court.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)