Thangam Debbonaire Portrait

Thangam Debbonaire

Labour - Bristol West

Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

(since May 2021)

Department Event
Thursday 28th October 2021
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Select Committee Meeting
Monday 1st November 2021
09:30
Department Event
Thursday 4th November 2021
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Department Event
Thursday 18th November 2021
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Department Event
Thursday 25th November 2021
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Department Event
Thursday 2nd December 2021
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Department Event
Thursday 9th December 2021
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Thursday 16th December 2021
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Division Votes
Tuesday 26th October 2021
Judicial Review and Courts Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 165 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 321 Noes - 220
Speeches
Thursday 21st October 2021
Business of the House

I thank the Leader of the House for the forthcoming business.

May I join him in his tributes to two …

Written Answers
Monday 25th October 2021
Travel Restrictions: Ecuador
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason Ecuador remains on the covid-19 travel red list.
Early Day Motions
Monday 11th July 2016
TREATMENT OF NON-UK CITIZENS AND REFUGEES AND EU REFERENDUM
That this House notes with deep concern that the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) noted a five-fold increase in the …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 20th September 2021
1. Employment and earnings
Payment of £170 expected for a survey completed on 8 September 2021. Hours: 25 mins. (Registered 09 September 2021)
EDM signed
Thursday 27th May 2021
Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (S.I., 2021, No. 161) (No. 2)
That this House believes no child in care should be placed in unregulated accommodation; welcomes measures to ban unregulated accommodation …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Thangam Debbonaire has voted in 303 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Thangam Debbonaire Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(47 debate interactions)
Christopher Pincher (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
(13 debate interactions)
Robert Jenrick (Conservative)
(11 debate interactions)
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View all Thangam Debbonaire's debates

Bristol 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 Bristol West signature proportion
Thangam Debbonaire has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Thangam Debbonaire

27th May 2021
Thangam Debbonaire signed this EDM as a sponsor on Thursday 27th May 2021

Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (S.I., 2021, No. 161) (No. 2)

Tabled by: Keir Starmer (Labour - Holborn and St Pancras)
That this House believes no child in care should be placed in unregulated accommodation; welcomes measures to ban unregulated accommodation for children aged 15 and under; and regrets the failure of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (S.I., 2021, No. 161) to extend this ban …
12 signatures
(Most recent: 7 Jun 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 9
Green Party: 1
Independent: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
24th March 2021
Thangam Debbonaire signed this EDM on Monday 12th April 2021

Immigration

Tabled by: Keir Starmer (Labour - Holborn and St Pancras)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Immigration (Guidance on Detention of Vulnerable Persons) Regulations 2021 (S.I., 2021, No. 184), dated 23 February 2021, a copy of which was laid before this House on 25 February 2021, be annulled.
82 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 40
Scottish National Party: 24
Liberal Democrat: 8
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Thangam Debbonaire's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Thangam Debbonaire, 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.


2 Urgent Questions tabled by Thangam Debbonaire

Wednesday 22nd July 2020

Thangam Debbonaire has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Thangam Debbonaire has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Thangam Debbonaire has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


501 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
7 Other Department Questions
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether the rules on buildings above 18 metres tall and with potentially combustible cladding apply to those buildings originally under 18 metres tall, which are subsequently extended vertically to above 18 metres.

Details of the scope of the ban on combustible materials are provided in the circular letter which accompanied the amendments of the Building Regulations and associated amended guidance. The circular letter is available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/924452/29112018_Circular_Letter.pdf.

In summary existing blocks of flats originally under 18m tall which are subsequently extended vertically to above 18m would be undergoing a material change of use defined in regulation 5(k). In these cases, Regulations 5(k) and 6(3) provide that the construction of the external walls, and specified attachments, must be investigated and, where necessary, work must be carried out to ensure they meet the requirements of the ban.

We have published the following circular letter dealing specifically with upward extensions and the application of the Building Regulations requirements in August 2020.

The circular letter is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/924449/Building_regs_circular_032020.pdf.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, on what date successful applicants to the Community Renewal Fund will be notified; and whether he plans for the fund to extend beyond March 2022.

There has been significant interest in the UK Community Renewal Fund across the four investment priorities and bids are being assessed in line with the published assessment process. Outcomes will be announced shortly and bidders informed. We will provide further guidance on UK Community Renewal Fund as soon as possible, to enable bidders to plan for delivery once decisions have been announced.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he plans to make of the environmental impact of the proposed Whitehaven Coal Mine in Cumbria, in response to the publication of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In March of this year, the then Secretary of State called in the planning application for the proposed Whitehaven Coal Mine. A public inquiry is currently sitting, overseen by an independent planning Inspector. That inquiry will consider all relevant planning considerations, including the environmental effect of the proposal. Following the close of the inquiry, a report and recommendation will be prepared for Ministers to consider.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to tackle discrimination against people with children.

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for employers, public authorities or service providers to discriminate or harass a person because of or for reasons related to the protected characteristic of ‘sex’, or victimise them for bringing a complaint, in any of the areas covered by the Act. The prohibition on indirect discrimination may provide protection for parents – for example, it is unlawful discrimination for an employer to apply a provision, criterion or practice which puts women, who are more likely to have childcare responsibilities, at a particular disadvantage unless it can be justified.

However, as far as providing specific protection for parents under the Act - for example by making parenthood a protected characteristic – is concerned, my assessment is that a change of this sort to equality law would risk providing additional rights for some groups at the expense of others and should therefore be treated with caution as having a potentially divisive effect. We have no plans to do this.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 3 June 2020 to Question 46100 on Equality Act 2010, what the timeframe is for identifying the additional costs that local authorities may incur.

Section 36 of the Equality Act cannot commence for private companies before an assessment of local authority costs is made. This is because Section 36 applies to all types of landlords; commencement of Section 36 may require local authorities to meet additional costs regardless of the type of landlord. Departments continue to engage on quantifying additional costs.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to Answer of 3 June 2020 to Question 46100, what the timescale is for her Department to quantify the additional costs that may be incurred by local authorities.

Section 36 of the Equality Act cannot commence for private companies before an assessment of local authority costs is made. This is because Section 36 applies to all types of landlords; commencement of Section 36 may require local authorities to meet additional costs regardless of the type of landlord. Departments continue to engage on quantifying additional costs.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the consequences of the choice of date for the covid-19 lockdown in autumn 2020 and how this compared with projected consequences based on the lockdown recommendations of SAGE at that time.

Throughout the pandemic the Government has carefully balanced the economic and social implications of restrictions with the need to protect public health. This has required many difficult judgements.

The Government has always listened carefully to the views of the scientific community when making decisions; in particular, the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its sub-groups.

Advice published in SAGE 66 was that: ‘if well-adhered to, the lockdown measures due to start in England on 5th November are likely to reduce R to less than 1. If this is sustained until 2nd December, the number of hospital admissions and deaths would be expected to fall until at least the second week of December.’

The subsequent data clearly shows that the national measures the Government put in place from 5 November until 2 December 2020 increased precautionary behaviours and reduced prevalence, which in turn reduced rates of hospitalisation and mortality.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to extend the voting franchise for local elections in England to include all resident foreign nationals holding leave to remain under the Immigration Act 1971.

British citizens, qualifying Commonwealth citizens, citizens of the Republic of Ireland, and EU citizens, are entitled to vote in local elections in England (provided they are also resident here and meet other eligibility criteria). The Government has no plans to extend the franchise for local elections to include any other resident foreign nationals.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that Government information on covid-19 is communicated effectively to people with autism.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to PQs 109552, 107140 and 907859.

We have an ongoing programme of engagement designed to reach vulnerable audiences and those who are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 guidance is available across multiple channels in a range of alternative formats, and can be found through the gov.uk accessibility statement. We have supported third parties and local support networks to deliver more detailed information for bespoke enquiries. For example, when the wearing of face coverings became mandatory for certain indoor environments, the Government produced and shared new communications to aid public understanding of groups who might be exempt. These measures were taken to ensure appropriate enforcement of regulations and to mitigate potential abuse of disabled people for perceived non-compliance.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the criteria is for adding an ethnicity to the options in the national census.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of ring-fencing advertising slots bought by Public Health England for use on community radio and for non-profit local TV broadcasters.

Further to the answers given to PQs 37724 and 37725 on 27 April 2020, in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government has developed a national campaign to provide information, guidance and reassurance to the public.

The campaign spans owned, earned and paid-for channels, including local radio and TV, to maximise reach and engagement. We are constantly reviewing our use of each of these channels and amending campaign activity accordingly to ensure our messaging reaches as many people as possible.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to provide guidance to retailers on accommodating the needs of customers who use assistance dogs.

The disability provisions in the Equality Act 2010 require providers of services and facilities to the public to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ so that disabled people are not placed at a “substantial disadvantage” compared to non-disabled people.

This means that people who provide goods, services and facilities to members of the public are expected to anticipate the requirements of disabled customers and the adjustments that may have to be made for them. The Equality and Human Rights Commission have published advice and guidance for businesses selling products, such as shops and petrol stations.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons the Government has terminated its supply agreement with Valneva for their covid-19 vaccine.

As any responsible government does, we manage our vaccine supply to meet our projected needs and to offer the best protection to those who need it, when they need it. Delays to Valneva’s contracted delivery schedule have meant that their ability to deliver an effective vaccine in the timeframe contracted for was unachievable. As such the vaccine no longer aligns with its planned use in our vaccination programme. Given the maturity of the UK’s vaccination programme, and with over 80% of the UK population now double vaccinated and now an alternative (in the absence of Valneva's product) autumn/ winter vaccination campaign underway, the government has therefore taken a decision to cancel the agreement with Valneva. Due to commercial sensitivities, we cannot disclose the details of our commercial discussions with them.

UK Government officials are engaged in constructive discussions with Valneva now to seek to reach a mutually beneficial resolution to the matters.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to bring forward additional regulations on the sale and safe use of fireworks in response to the distress caused to animals from fireworks.

The Government takes the issues associated with the sale and use of fireworks seriously and we understand the concerns that some people have about the potential for distress caused to animals.

We have no current plans to place further restrictions on the sale of fireworks to the public. Through our public awareness campaign for the 2021 fireworks season, we are working with a variety of stakeholders, including animal welfare groups, to promote the safe and considerate use of fireworks to the general public, to ensure that those using them do so safely and considerately.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the environmental impact of new fossil fuel exploration projects, such as the Cambo oil field, in the context of the publication of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The development proposal from Cambo is being scrutinised in line with robust regulatory procedures and no decision has yet been taken.

All previously licensed fields, such as Cambo, are accounted for in terms of projected production and estimated emissions and we are confident that they can be developed, even as we seek to achieve our commitment to net zero by 2050. Domestic production of oil and gas out to 2050 remains below that which we will consume in a Net Zero world, according to the Climate Change Committee’s scenarios.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to regulate the (a) addition and (b) labelling of perfumes in menstrual products.

The UK has a comprehensive consumer safety and protection regulatory framework that covers menstrual and sanitary products, this requires producers and distributors to ensure their products are safe before they are placed on the market.

The safety of menstrual and sanitary products is regulated by the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR). Under the GPSR, manufacturers are not required to list ingredients for their product.

These regulations are within scope of the review of the Product Safety Framework which is being carried out by the Office for Product Safety and Standards. This work will ensure that the UK product safety framework continues to be fit for purpose and adequately protects consumers so that our product safety system remains one of the best in the world.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the Government's timeframe is for local authorities to issue final payments for the Local Restrictions Grant and the Additional Restriction Grant; and if he will consider extending the final payment date for those schemes.

The Government continues to provide financial support via Local Authorities for businesses that are required to close, or which are severely affected by the restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives.

At the Budget, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer further extended the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme, providing top-up funding for Local Authorities to distribute to businesses. Final payments of the ARG must be made by 31 March 2022.

Local Authorities were expected to pay eligible businesses the full allocation of the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) (Closed) as soon as possible after receipt of the funding. They must issue payments for the second round of the 2021 LRSG (Closed) by 30 June 2021. The first round of LRSG (Closed) payments, from 5 January, must be paid out by 30 April 2021.

There are currently no plans to extend these deadlines.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the number of Green Heat Grant Installers needed to meet the Government's implementation target for the Green Homes Grant scheme.

The Government is working closely with industry to ensure there are enough installers to meet demand. More than 1,100 companies are registered with TrustMark and are able to carry out measures aligned to the Green Homes Grant Scheme, with more registering every day.

BEIS officials are working actively with TrustMark scheme providers and certification bodies to support installers to get certified as quickly as possible.

Furthermore, the Department launched a £6.9m skills competition to provide training opportunities for energy efficiency and low carbon heating supply chains to deliver works and scale up to meet additional consumer demand. Funding will be provided to support training individuals with existing skills and those new to the sector in energy efficiency and clean heat measures, along with support for installation companies to gain required PAS 2030 or MCS accreditation.

The competition recently closed and the bids are currently being assessed. Training will commence once successful applicants have been informed.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Green Homes Grant scheme, how many installers had signed up to be a Green Heat Grant Installer by September 2020.

As of 2nd November, there were 1,141 businesses that are TrustMark registered and certified to install measures under the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme. BEIS will continue to monitor installer applications as the scheme progresses.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 8 October 2020 to Question 97618 on Housing: Heating, what date his Department plans to publish the Heat and Buildings Strategy; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is developing options for a how a long-term framework of policy approaches, including regulation, can combine to provide a clear direction-of-travel for industry and accelerate the uptake of low-carbon heat, initiate a transformation of our building stock, and set us on a path to decarbonising all homes and buildings. Our Heat and Buildings Strategy will be published in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which local authorities applied to the green homes grant local authority delivery scheme.

BEIS are in the process of agreeing grant offers for 57 successful projects under the Local Authority Delivery scheme that will upgrade the energy efficiency of around 11,000 low-income households across England. Once grant offers have been finalised with those Local Authorities, a list will be published on GOV.UK.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which local authorities have been allocated funding through the green homes grant local authority delivery scheme.

I refer the hon Member to the answer I gave on 22 October to Question UIN 105421.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding has been allocated in the form of vouchers under the Green Homes Grant scheme to date.

As of 16:00 on 20 October 2020, the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme had received 20,903 grant applications. Applications are currently being processed and checked for compliance with the scheme rules.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the level of demand for grants under the Green Homes scheme.

The Green Homes Grant opened to applications on the 30 September 2020. As of 16:00 on 20 October 2020, 20,903 grant applications have been received, reflecting the high levels of consumer interest there are in the scheme. BEIS will continue to monitor application data as the scheme progresses.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households have applied for grants under the Green Homes Grant scheme to date.

As of 16:00 on 20 October 2020, the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme had received 20,903 grant applications.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the incentives to improve the energy efficiency of (a) private rented accommodation and (b)(i) council-owned and (ii) housing association-owned socially rented accommodation.

The latest tranches of Energy Company Obligation (ECO2 and ECO3) are currently being evaluated, with an evaluation report expected to be published in due course. We will also be reviewing in due course the effectiveness of our recently launched incentives of the Green Homes Grant and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the announcement of 30 September 2020 on the Green Homes Scheme, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to increase the fines for non-compliance with energy efficiency requirements for landlords in the private rented sector.

The Department has recently launched a consultation on improving the energy efficiency performance of privately rented homes. As part of the consultation, we are proposing to raise the maximum financial penalty per property and per breach of the regulations from £5000 to £30000.

The consultation, published on GOV.UK at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/improving-the-energy-performance-of-privately-rented-homes, will run till the end of December 2020.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the number of homes expected to be fitted with low carbon heating systems by 2030.

There are a number of options with the potential to play an important role in decarbonising heat, including heat networks, heat pumps, hydrogen and biogas. Given the diversity of heat demand, no one solution can provide the best option for everyone - a mix of technologies and customer options will need to be available to decarbonise heat at scale.

The Government is planning to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course, which will set out the immediate actions we will take for reducing emissions from buildings. These actions include the deployment of energy efficiency measures and low carbon heating as part of an ambitious programme of work required to enable key strategic decisions on how we achieve the mass transition to low-carbon heat and set us on a path to decarbonising all homes and buildings.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring construction businesses to hold public liability insurance that covers work experience students.

Work experience students are considered to be employees, and will be covered by the employers' liability insurance policy of a business, provided the insurer is a member of the Association of British Insurers, or Lloyds.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to support small breweries.

We fully recognise the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on small businesses, including breweries. That is why we introduced an economic package to help small businesses, such as grants, loans and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The Government is continuing to work with the hospitality sector during the pandemic, including regular engagement with representatives from the industry.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he will take to ensure the skills of engineers who are made redundant at Airbus are utilised as part of the economic recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

We are working closely with Airbus to help the company through Covid-19 and into recovery. I appreciate this is a worrying time for workers at Airbus who may be affected; the Government will do all that we can to support affected workers through the Department for Work and Pensions and Job Centre Plus in England, and in Wales through the services offered through the ReAct programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to monitor the effect on disabled people of the new covid-19 related rules on shopping.

The Government took into account people with disabilities when developing the guidance.

The safer workplaces guidance provides some suggestions to help employers make their workplaces COVID-19 secure for their employees, visitors and customers. We expect all businesses to approach reopening in a sensible way, taking account of the Government’s guidance and discussing with neighbouring businesses and their local authorities where applicable.

Our guidance does not replace existing employment, health and safety or equalities legislation. It provides information to employers on how best to meet these responsibilities in the context of COVID-19.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what criteria the Government is using to decide which retail businesses can open on 1 June 2020; and if he will make a statement.

Since 1 June, outdoor markets and car showrooms have been able to open. The transmission of the virus is lower outdoors and in open spaces and the COVID-secure guidelines can be more easily followed.

All other non-essential retail will be able to reopen from 15 June if the scientific and medical advice allows and they are able to follow the COVID-secure guidelines. This provides shops and other retail branches enough time to put in place the necessary social distancing measures and hygiene standards.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of applying to remove the EU State Aid cap on the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Scheme for sectors that are not affected by state aid rules.

The Government keeps its business support schemes including the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality scheme under constant review. This is why we have updated guidance to Local Authorities administering the scheme, and why, based on feedback from our stakeholders, we launched the Discretionary Grant Scheme to allow Local Authorities to support businesses which did not meet the criteria for the Small Business Grant Fund or Retail Leisure and Hospitality scheme.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when Bristol City Council will receive guidance on the top up to local business grants scheme announced on 2 May 2020.

The Government has announced that up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants as part of the suite of Business Support grants supporting businesses and local economies across England. Guidance, intended to support Local Authorities in administering the Discretionary Grants Fund, was published 13th May.

Guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding

This will not replace existing guidance for the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) or the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

Guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-business-support-grant-funding-guidance-for-businesses

The additional Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs. We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.

Local Authorities are responsible for defining precise eligibility for this fund and may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need, subject to those businesses meeting the specific eligibility criteria. Businesses seeking information should refer to their Local Authority for further information on their discretionary scheme. Businesses already in receipt of the SBGF, RHLGF or Self-employed Income Support Scheme are not eligible.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 6 April 2020 to Questions HL2882, what steps the package travel sector has agreed to take as a result of Government engagement with that sector on its legal obligations to customers whose holiday or travel has been cancelled as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Sector representatives are aware that the law has not changed in relation to refunds. Businesses in the sector are offering consumers refund credit notes but this must be the choice of the consumer who retains the right to a cash refund.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to waive bankruptcy fees for people who become bankrupt as a result of the economic effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

Government has no plans at this time to waive bankruptcy fees.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what (a) financial and (b) practical help he is providing to ensure that (a) people (i) self-isolating and in a (ii) vulnerable or shielded group and (b) other people who use coin-operated energy meters are able to maintain power supply during the lockdown.

The Department reached a voluntary agreement with all domestic energy suppliers to a set of principles to support energy customers impacted by COVID-19. These principles include support for prepayment meter customers, who primarily use electronic tokens, keys or cards to top up their meters. Based on individual circumstances, the support available to prepayment meter customers could include:

  • extending discretionary/ friendly credit or sending out a pre-loaded top up card;
  • enabling customers to nominate a trusted third party to be able to pick up discretionary credit sent to a shop on their behalf;
  • switching smart prepayment meters into credit mode, or extending non-disconnection periods, and;
  • taking reasonable steps to contact prepayment customers with advice on what to do in the event of self-isolation.

Many energy suppliers have provided additional support for their customers.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that protective equipment is provided for people working in food shops during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is clear that we must support people in work to follow PHE guidance during the Covid-19 outbreak. We have taken an evidence-based approach to the use of PPE. For people working in supermarkets, based on current evidence, practising good hand hygiene and social distancing is key to minimising the risk of infection.

We are in regular conversations with industry, including the British Retail Consortium and supermarket CEOs, to ensure it is well prepared to deal with a range of scenarios and operations remain in line with the latest health guidance.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance his Department has issued to shop owners on protective measures for front line food retail staff during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Government is clear that we must support people in work to do the right thing during a Covid-19 outbreak. We are in regular conversations with industry, including the British Retail Consortium and supermarket CEOs, to ensure it is well prepared to deal with a range of scenarios and operations remain in line with the latest health guidance.

We need everyone to do their bit to stop the spread of the virus. We all have a responsibility to keep a distance from others – including while shopping.

Food shops that remain open will be expected to comply with requirements on people to keep a distance from each other. We will continue working closely with supermarkets to help them meet the demand for online deliveries. We’re also working with local authorities to deliver essential items to those who are most vulnerable.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) representatives of the insurance industry on compensation for businesses affected by the outbreak of covid 19.

The Government is well prepared for this type of outbreak. The Department is frequently communicating with business representative organisations, including the Association of British Insurers, to gain current intelligence on Covid-19 and its impact on businesses.

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Chancellor of the Exchequer are currently working together to take all necessary steps to understand the effect of Covid-19 and to respond.

Last week, the Government confirmed that for those businesses which do have a policy that covers pandemics, the Government’s action is sufficient and will allow businesses to make an insurance claim against their policy.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to bring forward regulations on the amount that companies can charge when their services automatically renew; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to tackling so-called subscriptions traps and other business practices that harm consumers.

In response to specific complaints about these practices in telecoms, insurance, and cash savings, regulators (Ofcom and the FCA) are taking action to ensure that longstanding customers are not charged more. For example, Ofcom has agreed with most major mobile and broadband providers to give discounts to customers that have been paying high “out of contract” prices in mobile and broadband.

The Government will consult on stronger enforcement powers to ensure harmful trading practices like these are tackled.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the BBC on the effect of TV Licensing enforcement activities on people with (a) dementia and (b) autism; and if he will publish the minutes of those meetings.

The government meets regularly with the BBC to discuss a wide range of topics.

However, the BBC Board and TV Licensing are responsible for the enforcement and collection of the TV licence as set out in the Charter.

In relation to the BBC’s changes to the over 75 concession, the BBC has provided assurances that it will deliver the most sensitive possible handling for those who may be affected, including elderly people with complex illnesses like dementia.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether galleries that are both a retail gallery and have an accredited museum status can open at stage 2 of the Government's lockdown roadmap.

In Step 2 non-essential retail is allowed to reopen. Schedule 2, 13(5)(m) of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 sets out clearly that in Step 2 indoor attractions at museums and galleries must remain closed, but this does not include retail galleries where the majority of the art on display is for sale.

Indoor attractions at museums and galleries will be able to reopen in Step 3, no earlier than 17 May.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to direct more of the next allocation of the Culture Recovery Fund to smaller local cultural organisations and programmes.

The government has put in place one of the most comprehensive packages of business support in the world, including for the cultural sector, an announcement of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF).

The CRF has seen over £1.2 billion awarded to nearly 5,000 organisations and sites since October last year, with 70% of grant funding going outside of London. A wide range of organisations from independent cinemas to heritage sites, nightclubs, local theatres, grassroot music venues and many others have been saved that otherwise would have been lost forever.

In the 2021 Budget the Chancellor announced a further £300 million for the CRF. This funding will continue to support key cultural organisations; to bridge the sector as audiences begin to return; and continue to ensure a vibrant future for the culture sector as the nation recovers from the pandemic. Further details will be announced in due course and we will continue to work closely with the sector to ensure it remains supported.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps to ensure that the criteria for the next allocations of the Cultural Recovery Fund will allow applications from organisations which exist within a wider commercial group structure.

Last year the government announced the unprecedented £1.57 billion support package for the culture sector. To date, over £1.2 billion has been allocated from the Culture Recovery Fund, reaching over 5000 individual organisations and sites.

In the 2021 Budget the Chancellor announced a further £300 million for the CRF. This funding will continue to support key cultural organisations; to bridge the sector as audiences begin to return; and continue to ensure a vibrant future for the culture sector as the nation recovers from the pandemic. Further details on this funding and its criteria will be announced in due course and we will continue to work closely with the sector to ensure it remains supported.

15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to publish guidelines on the ventilation of galleries, museums and other cultural venues open to the public ahead of their reopening as covid-19 restrictions ease.

Public Health England has published guidance on the ventilation of indoor spaces which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-ventilation-of-indoor-spaces-to-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus/ventilation-of-indoor-spaces-to-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus-covid-19

The Health and Safety Executive has published guidance on ventilation and air conditioning here:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation/index.htm

There are no plans for the Government to publish separate guidelines on ventilation of galleries and museums and other cultural venues; however, such venues are advised to have due regard to the the published guidance together with the Art Council England’s Government Indemnity Scheme advice, which can be found here: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/protecting-cultural-objects/government-indemnity-scheme#section-1

Good practice guidance for reopening museums published by the National Museum Directors’ Council with support from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport can be found here:

https://www.nationalmuseums.org.uk/coronavirus-update/nmdc-good-practice-guidelines-opening-museums/

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the effect on Gross Value Added in the event that festivals and other mass participation events cannot take place in summer 2021 due to the covid-19 outbreak.

We appreciate the important role that the festival sector plays in the UK’s economy, and that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to this sector. We have been working closely with the festival sector to understand the challenges it faces and to keep the situation under review.

The festival sector has estimated the total GVA for festivals to the UK economy is £1.76bn. The industry has also estimated that widespread cancellation of festivals in the summer could lead to a drop in GVA of £1bn (between June and August 2021).

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will provide sector-specific support to (a) events and festivals and (b) companies in the events supply chain where covid-19 restrictions and guidance remain in force.

We are aware that COVID-19 and related restrictions have severely impacted these sectors and their supply chains. We continue to engage with stakeholders through the Tourism Industry Council, the Festival and Outdoor Events Working Group and the Venues Steering Group. These groups include representatives from leading sector organisations and other experts to develop action plans for how we can best support the sector’s safe reopening. Pilots will run as part of the Events Research Programme to examine how such events can take place without the need for social distancing using other mitigations such as testing.

The live events and festival sectors have been eligible to access Government COVID-19 support. This includes various government-backed loans, business grants, reduction in VAT and the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes. The recently announced discretionary Local Restrictions Support Grant and Additional Restrictions Grant provides local authorities with funds to support businesses that meet the eligibility criteria. On 5th January the Chancellor announced one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring.

These sectors have also benefited from the Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF). Over £1 billion worth of funding has now been allocated across the UK, including over £800 million to almost 3800 arts, culture and heritage organisations and sites in England. Supply chain organisations were eligible for the CRF. They are recognised as a critical part of the sector. An additional £300 million was announced at Budget on 3 March for the CRF.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to make available funding from the Youth Investment Fund; and how the £30 million allocated to capital investment for 2021-22 will be distributed across the UK.

The Youth Investment Fund remains a manifesto commitment for transformative levelling up across England over the course of the parliament. In the recent announced Spending Review £30m of this was committed as capital investment for 2021-22. This will provide investment in new and refurbished safe spaces for young people, so they can access support youth workers, and positive activities out of school, including sport and culture. Further details of the timetable for allocation and how the funding will be distributed will be announced in due course.

Government recognises the significant impact of Covid-19 on young people, particularly the most vulnerable, and on the youth services that support them. A £16.5m Youth Covid-19 Support Fund has been announced which will protect the immediate future of grassroots and national youth organisations across the country.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to bring forward (a) fines for and (b) criminal prosecutions against social media companies in the event that voluntary agreements do not result in a reduction in misinformation about the covid-19 vaccine on those companies' platforms.

We are working closely with social media platforms to help them identify and take action to remove incorrect claims about the virus, particularly around the potential Covid-19 vaccine in line with their revised terms and conditions, and to promote authoritative sources of information.

The Online Harms White Paper highlighted disinformation as potentially being in scope of the regulatory framework, and set out a list of potential steps that platforms could take ahead of regulation. Further details about how the legislation and the regulator will tackle disinformation will be published in the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper. The regulator will have strong enforcement powers to deal with non-compliance, including the power to issue notices, warnings and fines.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on what date he plans to enable singing in (a) choirs, (b) audiences and (c) religious congregations as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We are committed to getting the performing arts sector fully back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so. It is a priority of my department to work with the arts and cultural sectors to address the challenges of reopening. We have released guidance to support the performing arts sector resume activity in line with the roadmap announced by the Secretary of State last month. In addition, the Government is supporting a number of studies that are currently underway to understand more about the risks associated with these activities. The findings from these studies will inform further changes in the guidance.

Singing, especially in groups, such as in choirs or in audiences - in religious settings or otherwise, is considered a higher risk activity because of the potential for aerosol production and the absence presently of developed scientific analysis to assess this specific risk. The evidence is being developed rapidly. Whilst further evidence is being developed, we advise that non-professional groups should not sing in at this stage and should only do activities in line with government guidance on social mixing.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps is taking to enable singing in (a) choirs, (b) audiences, and (c) congregations as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We are committed to getting the performing arts sector fully back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so. It is a priority of my department to work with the arts and cultural sectors to address the challenges of reopening. We have released guidance to support the performing arts sector resume activity in line with the roadmap announced by the Secretary of State last month. In addition, the Government is supporting a number of studies that are currently underway to understand more about the risks associated with these activities. The findings from these studies will inform further changes in the guidance.

Singing, especially in groups, such as in choirs or in audiences - in religious settings or otherwise, is considered a higher risk activity because of the potential for aerosol production and the absence presently of developed scientific analysis to assess this specific risk. The evidence is being developed rapidly. Whilst further evidence is being developed, we advise that non-professional groups should not sing in at this stage and should only do activities in line with government guidance on social mixing.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will produce guidance to support (a) festivals and (b) other outdoor events to reopen safely as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Events Industry Forum has published Covid-19 secure guidance on outdoor events which has been developed with input from DCMS. Event organisers should take account of government guidance on performing arts when organising outdoor events with live performances.

We will continue to work with the festivals and the outdoor events sector to develop Covid-19 secure guidance that reflects the latest government regulation and policy.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating additional financial support to the (a) We, The Curious centre in Bristol and (b) other science education centres to mitigate the financial effects of the covid-19 lockdown.

We recognise that these are extremely difficult conditions for those science education centres like We, The Curious, which also operate as visitor attractions. These organisations educate and entertain visitors of all ages on what science is.

We do not have any plans to make an assessment of the merits of allocating additional support to the We, The Curious centre, or to other science education centres. Visitor attractions will benefit from the reduced rate of VAT which the Government will temporarily apply to attractions, accommodation and hospitality from 15 July 2020-12 January 2021.

In addition, the Department for Education is funding a range of science institutions to support high-quality science education. This includes funding STEM Learning to deliver high quality CPD for teachers of science through the national network of 33 Science Learning Partnerships. STEM Learning also deliver Project Enthuse, which provides DfE-funded bursaries for teachers to attend CPD classes.

The Department for Education also funds the Institute of Physics to run the Stimulating Physics Network to provide support to schools to improve progression to physics A level, particularly by girls.

The DfE has been working with its providers to agree how to modify their science education programmes in light of the current situation. This has involved ensuring all activity prioritises the safety of staff, teachers and pupils, while continuing to support schools and teachers where possible.

Businesses and workers in the science education centre sector can also access the Government’s comprehensive economic support package. This includes the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Bounce Back Loan scheme, VAT payment deferrals for firms and £330bn worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the tourism industry in Bristol.

We recognise the COVID-19 crisis has significantly impacted tourism across the UK, including in Bristol. DCMS and VisitEngland remain in regular contact with tourism stakeholders and Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) to closely monitor the situation and to assess the economic effects in all regions.

The Chancellor has announced a host of measures to support businesses and individuals through the crisis, including those in the tourism sector. This includes the recently extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Bounce Back Loans scheme.

Through VisitEngland, we announced a £1.3 million scheme to provide financial support to DMOs at risk of closure due to COVID-19. The DMO Resilience Fund has supported a number of DMOs in the South West, including £22,400 support for Visit Bristol, helping them to continue their vital business support work.

From 4 July, people will be allowed to enjoy holidays in England. To help tourism businesses prepare, we have published reopening guidance on Gov.uk for the visitor economy as well as hotels and other guest accommodation.

We will continue to engage with stakeholders - including through the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and the Visitor Economy Working Group - to assess how we can most effectively support tourism’s recovery across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the tourism industry in the UK.

We recognise that these are extremely difficult conditions for tourism businesses across the country. DCMS and VisitEngland remain in regular contact with tourism stakeholders and Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) to assess the economic effects on the industry.

I encourage affected tourism businesses to continue to explore the Government’s economic support package, which includes the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Bounce Back Loans scheme.

Through VisitEngland, we announced a £1.3 million scheme to provide financial support to DMOs at risk of closure due to COVID-19.

In preparation for parts of the sector reopening on 4 July, we have published reopening guidance on Gov.uk for the businesses in the visitor economy as well as hotels and other guest accommodation. VisitEngland have also introduced an industry standard quality mark that tourism businesses can acquire if they are compliant with COVID-19 secure guidance.

We will continue to engage with stakeholders - including through the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and the Visitor Economy Working Group - to assess how we can most effectively support tourism’s recovery across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the number of short-term lets in Bristol.

We recognise that these are extremely difficult conditions for hospitality businesses across the country, including short term lets. My officials and I continue to engage with short term holiday accommodation stakeholders to monitor the impact. No specific assessment has been made on COVID-19’s effect on the number of short term lets in Bristol.

In preparation for parts of the sector reopening on 4 July, we have published reopening guidance on Gov.uk for hotels and other guest accommodation, including short term holiday lets.

We will continue to engage with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support tourism’s recovery across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the number of short-term lets in the UK.

We recognise that these are extremely difficult conditions for hospitality businesses across the UK, including those in the short term lets market. We also greatly appreciate this market’s work in housing key workers and vulnerable groups during this crisis.

My officials and I continue to engage with short term holiday accommodation stakeholders to monitor the impact. No specific assessment has been made on COVID-19’s effect on the number of short term lets in the UK.

We have worked very closely with accommodation stakeholders to prepare reopening guidance for hotels and other guest accommodation, including short term holiday lets.

As the sector reopens from 4 July onwards, we will continue to engage with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support tourism’s recovery across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on charities and voluntary organisations working with and for disabled people.

Charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises across the country undertake incredibly important work with and for disabled people. This work has become even more critical during this unprecedented crisis.

Many organisations, including those working with and for disabled people, are experiencing significant pressures due to Covid-19, through either, or both, a loss of income and increasing demand for services increases.

This is why the government has made an unprecedented £750 million package of support available, specifically for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. The £200m Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF) forms a central part of this package, and is being distributed to organisations through the National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF). Organisations, including those who work with and for disabled people, should visit the TNLCF website to learn more about how to submit an application (www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk).

Furthermore, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced a £6 million fund to support charities working with people with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to support independent local (a) print, (b) online and (c) broadcast news providers during the covid-19 outbreak.

To support the vital role of local news outlets, the government has clarified that all journalists including broadcast journalists, and other ancillary staff, are ‘key workers’ for the purposes of access to childcare and educational places. The government also issued guidance to local authorities on the importance of newspaper delivery, which has been critical to the continued dissemination of public interest news.

News publishers in particular are facing existential pressures due to the steep drop in advertising revenues resulting from the impacts of Covid-19. The government has therefore sought to maximise advertising opportunities for the sector, implementing a public information campaign to ensure the distribution of authoritative, up-to-date information about Covid-19, while also alleviating publishers’ financial pressures.. The current partnership brings together over 600 titles across the UK, of which the vast majority are local papers.

For online media outlets, the government has taken steps to ensure the use of ‘keyword blocklisting’ technology is not inadvertently damaging news publishers’ online advertising revenues for Covid-19 related stories. Additionally, the Chancellor brought forward the commencement of zero-rating of VAT on e-newspapers in order to bring savings to readers and support digital publishing.

We are in regular dialogue with stakeholders about ensuring the support offered to local news outlets is as effective as it can be. Ministers are also engaged with national and local broadcasters on a regular basis to understand the impacts of Covid-19 on their day to day operations, including broadcast news provision.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will increase the Community Radio Fund for 2020-21 to provide additional support to community radio stations experiencing financial hardship as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The government is strongly supportive of the community radio sector and recognises the great value that it offers to communities across the United Kingdom, in terms of providing quality local news, information and entertainment.

The government has today announced that the £400,000 Community Radio Fund administered by Ofcom will be used to provide a lifeline for radio stations hit hardest by the coronavirus. Relevant stations will be invited to bid for emergency grants through Ofcom to help meet their core costs.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he is having with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the provision of temporary financial assistance for organisations in the creative industries who are affected by covid-19.

Last week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced additional measures to support businesses and organisations that have been impacted by the pandemic.

This includes the Government stepping in to help pay people’s wages – a scheme which is one of the most generous of any in the world – paying grants to support as many jobs as necessary. Any employer in the country who promises to retain their staff, can apply for a grant to cover most of the cost of paying people’s wages. Government grants will cover 80 per cent of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month, with this limit set well above the median income. The cost of wages will be backdated to 1st March and will be open for at least three months. The Government will consider extending the scheme for longer if necessary.

We are also deferring the next three months of VAT, a direct injection of £33 billion of cash to employers which means no business will pay any VAT in March, April or May; and they will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will now be interest free for twelve months, an extension from the initial announcement of six months. We have already introduced and announced an extension to the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which is for small and medium-sized businesses. On Tuesday, the Chancellor expanded the amount that can be borrowed from £1.2 million to £5 million.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if the Government will introduce a compensation scheme for performers, events organisers and others affected by the cancellation of performances and festivals as a result of covid-19 pandemic.

Last week, the Secretary of State and Minister for Digital and Culture took calls with the creative and cultural sectors amongst others to understand the challenges that they are facing. Officials are continuing to engage with organisations daily in order to best understand how Government can support the cultural and creative sectors and regular Ministerial engagement is taking place.

Arts Council England also announced measures in support of it’s funded organisations last week. More information for those this may apply to can be found here: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19#section-2

Businesses that experience increased costs and disrupted cash flow as a result of Coronavirus are being supported. The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has already announced a host of measures to help businesses in this period with £330bn worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses across the UK, delivered through two schemes:

  • Support for liquidity amongst large firms, with a major new scheme being launched by the Bank of England to help them with any disruption to their cash flows through loans.

  • Increasing the amount businesses can borrow through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £1.2m to £5m and ensuring businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as the Government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.

£20bn of direct fiscal support for businesses in England through tax relief and cash grants to help business manage cash flow. This includes:

  • Cash grants of up to £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000.

  • Cash grants of £10,000 for several hundred thousand small businesses eligible for business rate relief and rural rate relief.

  • Entirely removing all eligible properties in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector from business rates, so that no pub, hotel, or high street shop will pay business rates for 12 months.

  • This comes on top of compensation for businesses having to cover Statutory Sick Pay that the Chancellor announced in the Budget.

As part of the government’s emergency legislation measures, Statutory Sick Pay will be available from day one for those affected by coronavirus. Anyone on zero-hour contracts who may not be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay will be able to claim Universal Credit or New Style Employment and Support Allowance, dependent on their circumstances.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will hold discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the exemption from business rates to ensure that waiver covers studios, performance spaces and other venues which are part of the creative industries even if they have a rateable value of more than £51,000 if they have to be closed as a result of Covid 19.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced last week additional measures to support businesses and organisations that have been impacted by the pandemic. Guidance for businesses can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Last week, both the Secretary of State and Minister for Digital & Culture took calls with the cultural and creative industries sector amongst others to understand the challenges that they are facing as they respond to Government advice regarding Covid-19. Ministers have been representing DCMS sectors through COBRA committees.

Officials are continuing to engage with organisations daily in order to best understand how the Government can provide further guidance and support following the announcement of these measures, and regular Ministerial engagement is taking place.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that event organisers that have been required to cancel their event due to the covid-19 outbreak will receive compensation.

Government recognises that multiple aspects of the events sector are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, including event organisers, conference centres and event suppliers.

We are taking a number of steps to make sure that the events sector is financially supported through the coronavirus crisis. My Department regularly engages with stakeholders in the sector and across Government on this developing issue. We will continue to monitor its impact on the sector and would urge events businesses to share information with VisitBritain via their Tourism Industry Emergency Response group.

The Chancellor has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency. This includes a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, tax relief and cash grant measures, plus £330bn worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses across the UK. I am also writing to the Chancellor to provide clarity guidance for the events sector on business rate relief.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to publish the outcome of discussions with the Department of Health and Social Care on providing an exemption to the student finance equivalent or lower qualification rules for paramedicine.

The Department for Education continues to work closely with the Department of Health and Social Care on the possibility of extending the equivalent or lower qualification exemption to those studying paramedic science degrees.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department is issuing to universities on continuing study abroad programmes for students for the academic year 2021-22.

For any forthcoming international mobility in education, regardless of how it is funded, we expect all universities, colleges and schools managing these to follow the relevant Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice for the destination country and to highlight this to their participants, being aware that the situation can change.

We suggest anyone who may be affected discuss their placement with their provider, being conscious that their placement may not be able to continue as originally planned, but there may be opportunities for it to start at a later date if the situation changes and this is feasible. Participants should be ready to comply with local isolation, testing or quarantine requirements, and will need to rely on the local health system.

Turing Scheme and Erasmus+ mobilities will both be in operation during the 2021/22 academic year.

Current government guidance for Turing Scheme, Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps travel is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#travel-guidance-for-erasmus-and-european-solidarity-corps-exchanges.

FCDO travel advice per country can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when applications will open for students to apply for postgraduate student loans for the academic year 2021-22.

The Student Loans Company launched its application system for postgraduate loans for the 2021/22 academic year on 28 June 2021.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that students taking GCSEs and A Levels have access to set texts for upcoming assessments.

Students should have confidence in their grades this year. Awarding organisations have provided assessment materials, guidance, and training to support centres to make fair, consistent, and evidence based decisions which are without bias. Ofqual has also published information for centres about making objective judgements this year.

For the 2021 summer series, reasonable adjustments for disabled students and access arrangements should have been in place when evidence was generated. Where they were not, centres should take that into account when coming to their judgement. Teachers have had the flexibility to substitute or discount evidence where reasonable adjustments were not applied. For all assessments completed in the summer term, centres should have ensured students had access to reasonable adjustments. Special circumstances that may lead a teacher to disregard a piece of evidence or to replace it with another piece of evidence would cover instances where students were not provided with their approved access arrangements or reasonable adjustments when completing their work. This also applies where temporary illness or injury, bereavement, or some other event outside of the student’s control might have temporarily affected their performance.

This year, teachers have assessed their students based on what they were taught, not what they missed. Regarding the use of set texts, the Department expects students to have been assessed on the specific texts taught by their schools. Schools should follow their own processes for ensuring students have access to set texts, as they would in any other year.

Centres should follow the schools operational guidance on equipment when using classroom based resources, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#system-of-controls.

Where schools have taught remotely, they should follow the guidance on remote education, which refers to the provision of resources, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#system-of-controls.

Where only some of the text has been taught, teachers had the flexibility to focus their assessments on the proportion taught.

Deadline for centres to submit their teacher assessed grades was 18 June so centres have therefore completed their assessments for the 2021 series.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has issued to schools to ensure that the individual circumstances of pupils can be taken into consideration and discretion exercised in awarding GCSE grades.

Students should have confidence in their grades this year. Awarding organisations have provided assessment materials, guidance, and training to support centres to make fair, consistent, and evidence based decisions which are without bias. Ofqual has also published information for centres about making objective judgements this year.

For the 2021 summer series, reasonable adjustments for disabled students and access arrangements should have been in place when evidence was generated. Where they were not, centres should take that into account when coming to their judgement. Teachers have had the flexibility to substitute or discount evidence where reasonable adjustments were not applied. For all assessments completed in the summer term, centres should have ensured students had access to reasonable adjustments. Special circumstances that may lead a teacher to disregard a piece of evidence or to replace it with another piece of evidence would cover instances where students were not provided with their approved access arrangements or reasonable adjustments when completing their work. This also applies where temporary illness or injury, bereavement, or some other event outside of the student’s control might have temporarily affected their performance.

This year, teachers have assessed their students based on what they were taught, not what they missed. Regarding the use of set texts, the Department expects students to have been assessed on the specific texts taught by their schools. Schools should follow their own processes for ensuring students have access to set texts, as they would in any other year.

Centres should follow the schools operational guidance on equipment when using classroom based resources, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#system-of-controls.

Where schools have taught remotely, they should follow the guidance on remote education, which refers to the provision of resources, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#system-of-controls.

Where only some of the text has been taught, teachers had the flexibility to focus their assessments on the proportion taught.

Deadline for centres to submit their teacher assessed grades was 18 June so centres have therefore completed their assessments for the 2021 series.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what research his Department has carried out or commissioned on the effect of hunger and poverty on children's ability to learn effectively.

The government supports the provision of nutritious food in schools, which ensures that pupils are well nourished, develop healthy eating habits and can concentrate and learn. Under the benefits-related criteria, there are currently 1.6 million pupils eligible for and claiming a free school meal, and a further 1.4 million infant-aged children who benefit from our Universal Infant Free School Meals policy.

The government also funds breakfast clubs in over 2,450 schools to support more than a quarter of a million children in the most disadvantaged areas of the country. Up to £24 million will be available to extend our support for school breakfast clubs until 2023, to make sure that thousands of children in disadvantaged areas have a healthy start to the day. We know that breakfast clubs can bring a wide range of benefits for children. An evaluation by the Education Endowment Foundation found that supporting schools to run a free-of-charge, universal breakfast club before school delivered an average of 2 months’ additional progress for pupils in key stage 1 with moderate to low security. Breakfast club schools also saw an improvement in pupil behaviour and attendance.

Backed by an investment of up to £220 million, the Holiday Activities and Food programme ran nationwide throughout the Easter holiday period and will run during the summer and Christmas holidays in 2021, supporting disadvantaged pupils with enriching activities, providing them with healthy food, helping them to learn new things and improving socialisation. This programme builds on pilots of the scheme since 2018, including last summer’s programme, which supported around 50,000 children across 17 local authorities. We have developed this programme, as we know that disadvantaged children are more likely to experience unhealthy holidays (in terms of nutrition and physical exercise), are less likely to take part in enriching activities and can experience isolation during the holidays.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether a student who receives a positive result on a school-based lateral flow test may return to school and stop self-isolating, if they receive a negative result on a PCR test.

In January, confirmatory PCR testing for pupils and students taking lateral flow tests in an assisted setting at school or college was paused. This was the same across all other sectors and NHS Test and Trace set out at the time that this was expected to be a temporary measure until prevalence was reduced. NHS Test and Trace and Public Health England have kept the changing clinical circumstances under review and have now advised that, due to the ability for PCR to now detect and track new variants and the lower prevalence of COVID-19, confirmatory PCR testing should now be reintroduced.

If you conduct a lateral flow test at home or receive a supervised school/college-based lateral flow test (LFT) as part of the rapid asymptomatic testing programme and it is positive then you, your close contacts, and other members of your household should self-isolate immediately in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance. All positive results from rapid tests, whether conducted at home or at a school or college, will then need to be confirmed with a PCR test within two days of the positive LFT. This should be booked immediately either online or by calling 119. Whilst awaiting the PCR result, you and your close contacts should continue to self-isolate. If the PCR test is negative, provided it was taken within two days of the positive LFT, it overrides the LFT and you can return to school or college and you, your close contacts, and other members of your household can stop self-isolating.

NHS Test and Trace guidance is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what specific support his Department will provide to help enable current in Year 10 pupil to be adequately prepared for GCSEs at the end of next academic year.

The Government recognises that extended school and college restrictions have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s education and are committed to helping pupils make up lost education due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

We know that it is important that pupils in this cohort are able to obtain a grade safely and fairly and we will continue to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on all pupils to ensure that those due to take exams in 2022 are supported to move on to the next stage of their lives fairly.

The Department has appointed Sir Kevan Collins as Education Recovery Commissioner to oversee the long-term plan to help schools support pupils make up their education over the course of this Parliament. Sir Kevan will engage with parents, pupils, and teachers in the development of this broader approach and review how evidence-based interventions can be used to address the impact the COVID-19 outbreak has had on education. We will share further details in due course.

As an immediate step, on 24 February 2021, the Department committed an additional £700 million to support summer schools, tutoring, early language interventions and additional support to schools to help pupils make up their education. This builds on the £1 billion catch-up package announced in June 2020, which included a Catch-up Premium, shared across state primary and secondary schools to support schools to make up for lost teaching time over this academic year. It also includes the National Tutoring Programme which provides schools with access to high-quality, subsidised tuition in this academic year and next.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of offering the same provision of catch-up support available to state maintained schools to schools run by Community Interest Companies for pupils with state maintained places.

In June 2020, the Government announced a £1 billion catch up package that included a £650 million catch up premium. Independent schools with pupils who have an education, health and care plan or special educational needs and disability support funded by the local authority attract catch up premium funding at a rate of £240 per pupil. Mainstream schools attract funding of £80 per pupil. We have applied additional weighting to specialist schools, recognising the significantly higher per pupil costs they face.

In February 2021, the Government announced a further £700 million Education Recovery plan. As well as a range of measures to support all pupils to recover lost education, the plan includes significant funding aimed at addressing the needs of disadvantaged pupils. This includes a one-off £302 million recovery premium for the next academic year that will be allocated to schools on the same methodology as the pupil premium. This will provide each mainstream school with £145 for each eligible pupil and special (including special units within a mainstream school), alternative provision and hospital schools with £290 per pupil across the 2021-22 academic year.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that teacher assessed grades for the 2020-21 academic year are equitable in the (a) state and (b) private sector; and if he will publish guidance on that matter.

Pupils are working hard in preparation for their GCSEs, AS and A levels this year and teachers have made tremendous efforts to provide high quality education both in the classroom and remotely. Given the ongoing disruption to education caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, we announced in January that GCSE, AS and A level exams will not go ahead as planned this summer. Fairness to young people is fundamental to the Department and Ofqual’s decision making. We want to ensure all young people have the confidence that, despite exams not going ahead, they will receive a grade that reflects their ability and enables them to progress.

This year, teachers will not be asked to judge the grade a pupil might have achieved if the COVID-19 outbreak had not occurred. They will be asked to make an evidence-based judgement of the grade each pupil is performing at. Guidance will be provided to teachers by the end of March 2021, to support them in making assessments fairly and consistently.

Schools and colleges will have a range of supporting materials available to help them in marking and awarding grades. There will also be a process for both internal and external quality assurance to support teachers to do what is needed and ensure as much consistency as possible. Head teachers will have to confirm to the exam boards that the requirements for quality assurance have been met at the time of submitting the grades for their centre. Exam boards quality assurance will check the evidence to support grades submitted at a sample of centres, to ensure consistency in approach between centres. The sample of centres subject to these checks will be drawn to ensure representation of all types of centres, including state and private schools and colleges.

As part of their quality assurance process, schools and colleges will be given guidance on the use of previous performance data for their centre to help benchmark their results. The use of previous performance data is intended for guidance only and will not limit grades awarded for a student if supported by evidence.

We understand that whilst some independent schools choose to take qualifications regulated by Ofqual, many also choose international GCSEs, which are not regulated by Ofqual and are not part of the arrangements for summer 2021 that apply to GCSEs, A/AS levels and VTQs. We have worked closely with the exam boards who have confirmed that exams in England for their international GCSEs will not go ahead and pupils will be awarded grades using teacher assessment.

26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of an educational recovery plan to support all pupils that have had their education disrupted as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to helping all children and young people make up learning lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In January 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, committed to work with parents, teachers and pupils to develop a long-term plan to help pupils make up their learning over the course of this Parliament. As an immediate step to support early years settings, schools and colleges, on 24 February, we committed an additional £700 million to support summer schools, tutoring, early language interventions and additional support to schools to help pupils make up their learning. This builds on the £1 billion from last year and brings the total available to £1.7 billion.

We have also appointed Sir Kevan Collins as the Education Recovery Commissioner to advise on this broader plan. The objectives of the Education Recovery Commissioner as outlined in the terms of reference are to advise on the design and implementation of potential interventions that will help students catch up learning lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The terms of reference for the Education Recovery Commissioner is published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/960070/Terms_of_reference.pdf#:~:text=Education%20Recovery%20Commissioner%3A%20role%20specification%20and%20terms%20of,approach%20for%20education%20recovery%2C%20with%20a%20particular%20focus.

The Department will continue to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on pupils and their catch-up needs to help target support across the system effectively.

26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2021 to Question 96101 on Coronavirus: Children, what steps his Department is taking to monitor common covid-19 symptoms in children; and how the data on the most common covid-19 symptoms in children is taken into account when setting covid-19 testing criteria for children.

Monitoring of COVID-19 symptoms and criteria for Test and Trace are clinical issues, and therefore fall within the responsibility of the Department of Health and Social Care. As part of the return to face-to-face education from 8 March, all secondary school and further education college students will be offered regular asymptomatic testing for COVID-19, receiving four tests on their return with three of these on site. Thereafter, students will receive twice-weekly home tests.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to monitor schools' ability to include education on gender stereotyping as required by the statutory guidance on Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education.

The new subjects of Relationships Education (for primary aged pupils), Relationships and Sex Education (for secondary aged pupils) and Health Education (for all pupils in state-funded schools) became mandatory from September 2020. The statutory guidance sets out the content to be covered for each subject, which includes teaching about treating everyone with respect regardless of their background and characteristics, and how stereotypes can cause damage or might encourage prejudice.

As with other aspects of the curriculum, schools have flexibility over how they deliver the content of the new subjects so they can develop an integrated approach that is sensitive to the needs of all of its pupils. In light of challenges faced by schools because of the impact of COVID-19 and school closure, schools may choose to focus this year’s RSHE teaching on the immediate needs of their pupils, with particular attention to the importance of positive relationships, as well as mental and physical health, introducing a more comprehensive RSHE programme in September 2021.

All schools must follow the principles of the Equality Act 2010 – the need to eliminate discrimination, to promote equality of opportunity and to foster good relations between different groups in society.

In September 2020, the Department published a support package to help all schools increase their confidence and the quality of their RSHE teaching practice. This includes teacher training modules, non-statutory implementation guidance, and training for teachers led by Teaching Schools.

Ofsted’s routine graded school inspections are currently suspended. When those inspections resume, inspectors will take account of the relationships education taught in each school as part of its evaluation of pupils’ personal development.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 22 January 2021 to Question 137960 on pupil premium allocation, how many pupils in (a) mainstream and (b) special educational needs schools (i) were eligible for the Pupil Premium as of 1 October 2020 and (ii) became eligible for Free School Meals between 2 October 2020 and 21 January 2021.

The January 2021 census will be used to determine pupil premium eligibility for alternative provision and pupil referral units for the financial year 2021-22. Pupil premium eligibility for mainstream and special schools will be based on the October 2020 census. The Department will confirm pupil premium allocations for the financial year 2021-22 in June 2021.

Data on the number of pupils who have become eligible for free school meals since 2 October 2020 is currently being collected in the spring school census and is not yet available.

The Department publishes information on pupil premium allocations and the number of pupils eligible annually. The most recent publicly available figures can be found via this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make financial support available to playscheme and breakfast club providers during the covid-19 outbreak.

We appreciate that the wraparound childcare sector, like many sectors, is facing unprecedented financial pressures as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is for this reason that the government has made a range of financial packages of support available for businesses to access throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes tax relief, business loans or cash grants through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, as well as a £594 million discretionary fund for councils and the devolved administrations to support local businesses that may not be eligible for other support, during the current national lockdown. More information on this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.

Additionally, we have encouraged all local authorities to consider which local grants could be used to bolster this part of the childcare sector in their areas, to safeguard sufficient childcare provision for children of critical workers and vulnerable children. This includes funding streams such as the holiday activities and food programme. The expanded programme, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities, will be expanded to reach all local authority areas over the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021.

The National School Breakfast Programme continues to be funded, and our suppliers Family Action along with Magic Breakfast are working closely with participating schools to make sure that children can still receive healthy breakfasts during this period, including for children staying at home.

Family Action have reported that more than 1,000 schools in disadvantaged areas are registered to receive breakfast deliveries from this programme during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will support further education colleges to provide safe in-person practical exams where necessary.

Following the recent announcement by the government that it is no longer viable for some exams and assessments to go ahead this academic year, exams and assessments for vocational and technical qualifications that require a student to demonstrate professional or occupational competence can continue to proceed in February and March 2021, with protective measures in place in line with Public Health England’s measures. The position on exams and assessments scheduled for April 2021 onwards is being considered in our joint consultation with Ofqual.

Where exams and assessments can continue, public health guidance has been produced for all exam centres on the arrangements they should have in place to deliver exams and assessments, including those of a practical nature: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/responsibility-for-autumn-gcse-as-and-a-level-exam-series/public-health-arrangements-for-autumn-exams.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 21 January 2021 to Question 137964 on Further Education: Computers, by which date further education providers will have (a) received invitations to order devices for students as part of the Government’s Get Help with Technology Programme and (b) received those devices.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.

As of 1 February 2021, this includes over 927,000 laptops and tablets that were delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities.

Education settings for 16 to 19 year olds, including schools with sixth forms, further education (FE) and sixth form colleges, and other FE institutions will be able to order laptops and tablets to further support disadvantaged students to access remote education. The vast majority of settings with eligible pupils have already been invited to do so. Orders are currently being fulfilled within 5 working days.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the mass asymptomatic testing in schools and colleges, what support his Department is providing to schools to carry out serial testing to all close contacts after finding a positive case of covid-19.

The Department has currently paused daily contact testing, previously known as serial testing, in all but a small number of secondary schools and colleges, where it will continue alongside detailed evaluation. This is following updated advice from NHS Test and Trace and Public Health England which concluded that, in light of the higher prevalence and rates of transmission of the new variant of the virus, further evaluation work is required to make sure that daily contact testing is achieving its aim of breaking chains of transmission.

We will be working closely with the small number of secondary schools and colleges that will be continuing daily contact testing as part of the evaluation.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to mass asymptomatic testing in schools and colleges, what support his Department has provided for school staff to carry out track and trace for students and staff who test positive for covid-19.

In collaboration with the Department of Heath and Social Care and NHS Test and Trace, the Department has provided help and support to all schools and colleges in scope. This support can vary, depending on the settings, but at a minimum all schools and colleges have had access to the following:

  1. Published guidance including: Handbook, How to Guide, Standard Operating Procedure, FAQs.
  2. We have run a number of webinars to help educational settings understand what is required and how best to implement test and trace.
  3. Provided access to an online training package.
  4. Access to a dedicated Department for Education Helpline.
  5. Supplies of lateral flow antigen test kits and PPE.

Additionally, state funded secondary schools, further education colleges and special schools have been able to access further support to help with setting testing sites up, which includes:

  1. Through a triage process, additional support in setting up the testing sites, which in some cases may be on the ground support from the military.
  2. Funding is also being provided to help with the set up costs of the testing sites within the educational settings.

The Department is also liaising with the Community Testing Programme to ensure that those educational settings that are not within scope can access this programme.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, by what date all laptops are planned to be delivered to schools in Bristol West constituency that have not yet received their allocation.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, by securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. As of Monday 25 January 2021, over 870,000 laptops and tablets had been delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities across England, who are responsible for distributing them onward to disadvantaged children and families.

Regional figures for delivery of devices are currently not available for the period requested and figures by Parliamentary constituency are also not available.

All schools, academy trusts and local authorities have now been given the opportunity to order devices. Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, academy trusts or local authorities to lend to the children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Figures on the number of devices delivered, broken down by Local Authority and Academy Trust are available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data/2021-week-4.

Where schools need additional devices above their allocations, they should contact the Department for Education’s service team at covid.technology@education.gov.uk. They should include the number of disadvantaged children in years 3 to 11 who require support and an explanation of how they have gathered this evidence.

We have also partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data for the academic year to help disadvantaged children get online. We are grateful to EE, O2, Smarty, Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, and Vodafone for their collaboration.

We have also delivered 54,000 4G wireless routers for pupil and care leavers without connection at home.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support he plans to provide to schools in Bristol West constituency that need more laptops provided than their current allocation in order to ensure that all students can access online learning during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, by securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. As of Monday 25 January 2021, over 870,000 laptops and tablets had been delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities across England, who are responsible for distributing them onward to disadvantaged children and families.

Regional figures for delivery of devices are currently not available for the period requested and figures by Parliamentary constituency are also not available.

All schools, academy trusts and local authorities have now been given the opportunity to order devices. Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, academy trusts or local authorities to lend to the children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Figures on the number of devices delivered, broken down by Local Authority and Academy Trust are available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data/2021-week-4.

Where schools need additional devices above their allocations, they should contact the Department for Education’s service team at covid.technology@education.gov.uk. They should include the number of disadvantaged children in years 3 to 11 who require support and an explanation of how they have gathered this evidence.

We have also partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data for the academic year to help disadvantaged children get online. We are grateful to EE, O2, Smarty, Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, and Vodafone for their collaboration.

We have also delivered 54,000 4G wireless routers for pupil and care leavers without connection at home.

14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when further education institutions will receive further information on the (a) Government provision of laptops for students and (b) date by which those institutions should expect to receive the laptops which have been allocated to them.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.

For those learners aged 16-19 in both schools and further education (FE) settings, we had existing means of supporting disadvantaged learners through the 16-19 bursary fund. We, therefore, asked schools and FE providers to use this to meet the tech needs of their most disadvantaged students.

During the summer, we enabled schools and FE providers’ to boost their bursary funds to meet any extra costs for student technology needs.

Many FE providers have reported challenges in procuring devices due to the current global shortage caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Procurement and distribution of devices by Government provides a reliable supply of devices.

We have now extended the Get Help with Technology programme to provide disadvantaged 16 to 19 year olds with technological support. This is part of the £400 million investment to help children and young people continue their education at home and to get any online social care services they need. We expect to be able to invite most eligible FE providers, including colleges, sixth form colleges and school sixth forms, to order devices before the end of January. Other FE providers, such as independent training providers and special post-16 institutions will also be in scope if they have learners receiving free meals.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason his Department's policy is that from April 2021 pupil premium allocations will be calculated based on the number of eligible pupils recorded by schools in their census in October 2020 and not the January 2021 census.

On 17 December 2020 we confirmed that the pupil premium will continue in 2021-22 with the same per pupil funding rates as in 2020-21. This is expected to increase pupil premium funding to more than £2.5 billion in 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals.

For mainstream and special educational needs schools, we will base eligibility for the 2021-22 pupil premium funding on the October 2020 census. In previous years, we have used the January census to determine pupil premium eligibility. Moving to the October census brings the administration of the pupil premium in line with the rest of schools’ core budgets (most notably the national funding formula, and local school funding formulae), which calculate schools’ budgets for the coming year on the basis of the October census. The move to the October census simplifies the school funding system, and provide both schools and the Department with greater certainty around future funding levels earlier in the year.

Alternative Provision and Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) will continue to be funded based on the January census, since there is no census for alternative provision in October, and the October census is not representative of the number of pupils in PRUs across a full academic year.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) devices and (b) 4G wireless routers had been allocated to schools in Bristol West to support education requirements as at 24 October 2020.

The Department has invested over £195 million to support remote education and access to online social care. This includes delivering over 220,000 laptops and tablets during the summer term for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise have access to a digital device. The Department is adding to this support by making over 340,000 additional laptops and tablets available this term to support disadvantaged children that might experience disruption to their education. Since September 2020, over 100,000 of these have been delivered to schools. This represents an injection of over half a million laptops and tablets by the end of the year.

Summer term delivery data, which includes Bristol Council, can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/912888/Devices_and_4G_wireless_routers_progress_data_as_of_27_August_2020.pdf.

Current delivery data, as of 22 October 2020, can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/929064/Ad-hoc_stats_note_shipped_data_231020_FINAL.pdf.

A summary of attendance in education settings during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

The Get Help With Technology scheme is intended to enable schools to support disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 who do not have access to a laptop or tablet privately or through school. Support is provided when schools report disruption to face-to-face education. Schools can order laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children across all year groups who are shielding as a result of official or medical advice, for all year groups who attend hospital schools, and for those completing their Key Stage 4 at a further education college. Subject to availability, we expect to deliver orders within 48 hours of the ordering being received.

The Department allocated a number of devices to each school. To arrive at this allocation, the Department has used data on the number of pupils eligible for free school meals in each school. The Department expects that pupils’ device needs will be met to some extent by existing school laptops and tablets.

The Department estimated the number of disadvantaged pupils without access to an internet connection using data on pupils eligible for free school meals in each school, taking into consideration estimations by Ofcom and reflecting that some pupils would already have access to a private internet connection.

In the context of significant demand, we have updated our allocation process to more accurately align orders with the number of students typically self-isolating, ensuring as many children as possible benefit from receiving a device this term.

Schools, local authorities, and academy trusts can request additional devices if their allocation from the Department does not meet their needs. These requests can be submitted to: covid.technology@education.gov.uk.

Laptops and tablets are owned by the local authority, academy trust, or school who can lend unused laptops and tablets to children and young people who need them most, and who may experience disruption to face-to-face education due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of school pupils (a) self-isolating in Bristol and (b) self-isolating elsewhere who need a device and 4G wireless router as of 17 November 2020.

The Department has invested over £195 million to support remote education and access to online social care. This includes delivering over 220,000 laptops and tablets during the summer term for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise have access to a digital device. The Department is adding to this support by making over 340,000 additional laptops and tablets available this term to support disadvantaged children that might experience disruption to their education. Since September 2020, over 100,000 of these have been delivered to schools. This represents an injection of over half a million laptops and tablets by the end of the year.

Summer term delivery data, which includes Bristol Council, can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/912888/Devices_and_4G_wireless_routers_progress_data_as_of_27_August_2020.pdf.

Current delivery data, as of 22 October 2020, can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/929064/Ad-hoc_stats_note_shipped_data_231020_FINAL.pdf.

A summary of attendance in education settings during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

The Get Help With Technology scheme is intended to enable schools to support disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 who do not have access to a laptop or tablet privately or through school. Support is provided when schools report disruption to face-to-face education. Schools can order laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children across all year groups who are shielding as a result of official or medical advice, for all year groups who attend hospital schools, and for those completing their Key Stage 4 at a further education college. Subject to availability, we expect to deliver orders within 48 hours of the ordering being received.

The Department allocated a number of devices to each school. To arrive at this allocation, the Department has used data on the number of pupils eligible for free school meals in each school. The Department expects that pupils’ device needs will be met to some extent by existing school laptops and tablets.

The Department estimated the number of disadvantaged pupils without access to an internet connection using data on pupils eligible for free school meals in each school, taking into consideration estimations by Ofcom and reflecting that some pupils would already have access to a private internet connection.

In the context of significant demand, we have updated our allocation process to more accurately align orders with the number of students typically self-isolating, ensuring as many children as possible benefit from receiving a device this term.

Schools, local authorities, and academy trusts can request additional devices if their allocation from the Department does not meet their needs. These requests can be submitted to: covid.technology@education.gov.uk.

Laptops and tablets are owned by the local authority, academy trust, or school who can lend unused laptops and tablets to children and young people who need them most, and who may experience disruption to face-to-face education due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how schools can contact his Department urgently to request additional laptops or other connectivity devices to assist children who cannot attend school as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; what the waiting time is for delivery of those devices; and what the eligibility requirements are for schools to request additional devices.

The Department has invested over £195 million to support remote education and access to online social care. This includes delivering over 220,000 laptops and tablets during the summer term for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise have access to a digital device. The Department is adding to this support by making over 340,000 additional laptops and tablets available this term to support disadvantaged children that might experience disruption to their education. Since September 2020, over 100,000 of these have been delivered to schools. This represents an injection of over half a million laptops and tablets by the end of the year.

Summer term delivery data, which includes Bristol Council, can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/912888/Devices_and_4G_wireless_routers_progress_data_as_of_27_August_2020.pdf.

Current delivery data, as of 22 October 2020, can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/929064/Ad-hoc_stats_note_shipped_data_231020_FINAL.pdf.

A summary of attendance in education settings during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

The Get Help With Technology scheme is intended to enable schools to support disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 who do not have access to a laptop or tablet privately or through school. Support is provided when schools report disruption to face-to-face education. Schools can order laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children across all year groups who are shielding as a result of official or medical advice, for all year groups who attend hospital schools, and for those completing their Key Stage 4 at a further education college. Subject to availability, we expect to deliver orders within 48 hours of the ordering being received.

The Department allocated a number of devices to each school. To arrive at this allocation, the Department has used data on the number of pupils eligible for free school meals in each school. The Department expects that pupils’ device needs will be met to some extent by existing school laptops and tablets.

The Department estimated the number of disadvantaged pupils without access to an internet connection using data on pupils eligible for free school meals in each school, taking into consideration estimations by Ofcom and reflecting that some pupils would already have access to a private internet connection.

In the context of significant demand, we have updated our allocation process to more accurately align orders with the number of students typically self-isolating, ensuring as many children as possible benefit from receiving a device this term.

Schools, local authorities, and academy trusts can request additional devices if their allocation from the Department does not meet their needs. These requests can be submitted to: covid.technology@education.gov.uk.

Laptops and tablets are owned by the local authority, academy trust, or school who can lend unused laptops and tablets to children and young people who need them most, and who may experience disruption to face-to-face education due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) effect on school budgets of the cost of supply teachers as a result of staff and (b) capability of schools to meet the costs of staff absence.

Following last year’s Spending Review, core school funding is increasing by £2.6 billion in the financial year 2020-21 and will increase by £4.8 billion and £7.1 billion in 2021-22 and 2022-23 respectively, compared to 2019-20. On average, schools are attracting 4.2% more per pupil this year compared to 2019-20.

Schools have continued to receive their core funding allocations as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and this has ensured they have been able to continue to pay for staff and meet their other regular financial commitments.

The Department for Education’s Guidance for schools on full opening sets out the options available for schools seeking to manage staffing capacity and absences as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools. In addition to using supply teachers and other temporary staff, schools can also consider using existing staff more flexibly, including support staff and Initial Teacher Training trainees, or volunteers, as would usually be the case.

As stated in our guidance, schools should continue to use their existing resources to manage staffing capacity. Where schools do hire agency workers, we recommend they consider using the Department’s and the Crown Commercial Service’s agency supply deal, as this offers a list of preferred suppliers that must be transparent about the rates they charge. This is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/deal-for-schools-hiring-supply-teachers-and-agency-workers.

The Department continue to work with stakeholders and representative bodies to understand staffing capacity and are keeping the situation under close review.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the number of pupils missing school as a result of staff absence for covid-19 related reasons.

Schools remain open during the period of the new national restrictions. Where schools implement the system of controls outlined in the published schools guidance, in line with their own workplace risk assessment, Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirm that these measures create an inherently safer environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced.

As a result, on current evidence, PHE and DHSC advise that schools are not currently considered high risk settings when compared to other workplace environments.

It is therefore appropriate for teachers and other school staff to attend the workplace. Accordingly, we expect that staff – apart from the clinically extremely vulnerable who should work from home during the period of national restrictions – will attend school.

The Department for Education’s guidance for schools on full opening sets out the options available for schools seeking to manage staffing capacity as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

In addition to using supply teachers and other temporary or peripatetic teachers, schools can also consider using existing staff more flexibly, including support staff and Initial Teacher Training trainees, or volunteers, as would usually be the case.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to clarify Government guidance on higher education team sport during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

Arrangements for sporting activities in higher education (HE) during the period of national restrictions are set out in this guidance document: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-new-national-restrictions-guidance.

Where sporting activities are part of an educational course, students can continue those activities and providers will need to ensure that these take place in a COVID-secure way. Similarly, programmes for elite athletes in HE may also continue. Unless team sporting activities are part of educational courses or elite performance programmes, they would not be possible.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department is providing to students who are (a) care leavers and (b) estranged from their families during the covid-19 outbreak.

I wrote to universities and other higher education (HE) providers on 20 March, at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, to highlight the vulnerability of care leavers and estranged students, and asked them to prioritise these groups for additional support.

Last month, I met with a group of 12 care leavers and estranged students to formally discuss the issues that they face in both entering and succeeding in HE. Following that discussion, I asked officials to make sure that the end-of-term Christmas guidance, which will be published shortly, pays particular attention to the needs of vulnerable students.

The government has worked closely with the Office for Students (OfS) to help clarify that HE providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. Providers were able to use the OfS’s Student Premium funding worth around £23 million per month for April to July this year and £256 million for the academic year 2020/21, starting from August, towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of mental health support.

The government also invested over £100 million to help provide laptops and devices for disadvantaged children and young people so they can access education and social care services remotely. As part of this, we have provided devices for care leavers, including those who are studying at university.

Care leavers attending HE courses are treated as independent students when their entitlement to living costs is assessed. This means that, in nearly all cases, they will qualify for the maximum loan for living costs. Care leavers undertaking HE also qualify for a £2,000 HE bursary from their local authority.

Additional bursaries are offered by some HE providers for care leavers, and students estranged from their families.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he will take to ensure that there is adequate home-school provision and support for children who are unable to return to school in September 2020 because they are shielding.

We now know much more about COVID-19 and so in future there will be far fewer children and young people advised to shield whenever community transmission rates are high. Therefore, the majority of pupils will be able to return to school. Shielding advice for all adults and children will pause on 1 August, subject to a continued decline in the rates of community transmission of COVID-19.

This means that even the small number of pupils who will remain on the shielded patient list can also return to school, as can those who have family members who are shielding.

Where a pupil is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical and/or public health advice, we expect schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education. Schools should monitor engagement with this activity.

Further information is available in our guidance on the full reopening of schools:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will work with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to provide the (a) We the Curious centre in Bristol and (b) other science education centres with additional financial support in response to revenue lost as a result of the covid-19 lockdown.

The Department for Education (DfE) is funding a range of science institutions to support high-quality science education. This includes funding STEM Learning to deliver high quality continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers of science through the national network of 33 Science Learning Partnerships. STEM Learning also deliver Project Enthuse, which provides DfE-funded bursaries for teachers to attend CPD at the National STEM Learning Centre in York. In addition to this, we fund the Institute of Physics to run the Stimulating Physics Network to provide support to schools to improve progression to physics A level, particularly by girls.

The DfE has been working with its providers to agree how to modify their science education programmes in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This has involved ensuring all activity prioritises the safety of staff, teachers and pupils and exploring what can be delivered remotely.

The Government has provided a range of financial support to charities during the COVID-19 outbreak. Information on the range of financial support, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, available to charities can be can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-vcse-organisations-to-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

The DfE does not provide funding to We the Curious. Funding for charities is a matter for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing children to repeat a year in school if their parents feel they have fallen behind as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We do not currently anticipate that, as a general rule, children and young people will need to repeat a school year as a consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, it remains possible for headteachers to agree this in individual cases, if they think it is appropriate. It is important for parents to remember that all children in any year group will be in the same position and schools will be planning carefully to take this into account in their teaching and their support for pupils as they return.

We have announced a package of support worth £1 billion to ensure that schools have the support they need to help children and young people make up for lost teaching time, with extra support in the form of a tutoring programme for those who need it most. This package of measures includes:

  • A universal catch up premium for schools of £650 million to help them make up for lost teaching time.
  • A new £350m National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils.

Once a child has been admitted to a school it is for the headteacher to decide how best to educate them.

22nd May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Command Paper 239 entitled Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government's Covid-19 recovery Strategy, if he will consider allowing community spaces such as church halls and community centres to offer space for groups for pre-school age children due to move to primary school in September.

From 1 June, places of worship and community centres are allowed to open for providers on the early years register which usually use those premises. Information about this can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

Providers should ensure they are acting in line with the protective measures and safe working guidance as well as the planning guide for early years and childcare settings. They should also ensure they are managing risks related to other users of the premises.

Guidance on protective measures and safe working guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

The planning guide for early years settings can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-early-years-and-childcare-settings-from-1-june.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to provide (a) financial and (b) other support to students who have lost income and are struggling to pay their rent during the covid-19 outbreak.

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Government guidance makes clear how important it is that institutions operate a non-eviction policy, so that no student is required to leave halls if their contract is up, if their rental agreement does not cover holiday periods or if they are unable to pay their rent. This is particularly important in the case of international students, care leavers and students estranged from their families.

Students will continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year.

We have worked closely with the Office for Students to enable higher education providers to draw on existing funding to increase hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. As a result, providers will be able to use the funding worth around £23 million per month for June and July, towards student hardship funds.

Students with a part-time employment contract should speak to their employer about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19), which has been set up to help pay staff wages and keep people in employment. We have also asked that higher education providers pay particular attention to the additional financial hardships that are being faced by student staff who have been reliant on income from campus-based jobs at this time.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to provide Statutory Sick Pay to (a) teachers and (b) other staff supplied to schools by agencies in the event that schools close as a result of covid-19.

The Government is asking all schools to close from Friday 20 March until further notice, except for children of critical workers and vulnerable children, as part of the country’s ongoing response to coronavirus.

Schools will continue to be fully funded. That will ensure that they are able to continue to pay all their staff, and meet their other regular financial commitments, throughout these difficult times.

The Government has announced changes to statutory sick pay to support those affected by coronavirus. Details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that schools have the funds and access to supplies to ensure continuous provision of soap, gel and other hygiene materials required to respond to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department understands the sector’s concerns about the additional cost pressures associated with COVID-19, especially following our announcement on 18 March, about schools only remaining open to make provision for vulnerable children and the children of key workers.

The Department recognises that schools may face additional costs as a result of COVID-19. We are working with other Government departments and public sector buying organisations with the aim of prioritising schools. All schools will continue to receive core funding payments as normal, and we will put in place a new process to reimburse schools for exceptional costs that they face as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department will discuss how best to deliver this funding with stakeholders over the next few days. We will publish details of the scheme shortly and we trust that this will give head teachers the reassurances they need to enable them to concentrate on their vital role in supporting the nation through this crisis.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of banning the export licensing of Paraquat.

We take our trade and international obligations for human health and the environment seriously and continue to monitor action in other countries and learn from their experiences.

The export of paraquat from Great Britain (GB) is regulated under the GB Prior Informed Consent (PIC) regulatory regime for the export and import of certain hazardous chemicals. Companies intending to export any of these chemicals from the GB must notify the importing country via the exporter’s Designated National Authority. For GB, the Designated National Authority is The Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Paraquat additionally requires the explicit consent of the importing country before export can take place. The exchange of information that PIC provides allows the importing countries to make informed decisions on the import of those chemicals and on how to handle and use them safely. This process is kept under review.

We believe it is essential that the use of actives that are known to be hazardous to human health or the environment should be subject to scientific risk assessment, mitigation and regulatory protections. That is why we support notification of the export of Paraquat under GB PIC and support its listing under the Rotterdam convention.

We also believe in evidence based international policy making through the use of scientific committees, such as the Chemical Review Committee, and support the strengthening of the international science:policy interface for chemicals and pesticides to support global decision making.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has for the licensing of genetically modified crops for use in the UK.

Currently no genetically modified (GM) crops are being grown commercially in the UK, but GM products are marketed as food and feed.

Defra is committed to following a science-based approach to GM crop approval. Under current rules, GM crops and the products derived from them must be authorised before they can be used. This authorisation is dependent on a favourable risk assessment from our independent scientific experts. Defra’s policy is to maintain high standards that protect people, animals and the environment.

Defra is currently reviewing the responses to the Government’s recent consultation on genetic technologies, which included early engagement to start gathering views on wider GM reform. The consultation ended on 17 March and a Government response will be published within three months of it closing.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of setting specific targets for biodiversity recovery in the UK; and whether the Government has plans to introduce targets for biodiversity recovery.

Domestic biodiversity policy is devolved in the UK and each nation is bringing forward its own plans and policies, while we continue to collaborate on UK-wide approaches to biodiversity recovery.

The Environment Bill creates a power to set long-term, legally binding environmental targets for England. It requires the Government to set, and achieve, at least one target in each of four priority areas, including biodiversity.

In our policy paper published in August 2020, we set out the objectives for targets currently under consideration. These include improving the condition of our protected sites, increasing species populations, and restoring and improving the quality of habitats, which together would recover biodiversity.

Legally binding long-term targets will be supported by interim targets, covering up to five years. These will allow for an ongoing assessment of whether the Government is on track to meet its long-term targets.

We will want to ensure that, for biodiversity, these targets align with international goals and targets to be set through the Convention on Biological Diversity for 2030.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the recommendations of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature UK Peatland Programme, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of banning the burning of peat.

While there continues to be scientific debate over aspects of the environmental impact of managed burning, there is a large and increasing body of literature that provides evidence that overall managed burning is damaging to peatland. This literature includes a systematic evidence review published by Natural England in 2013 synthesising the findings from 124 studies.

We have always been clear of the need to phase out rotational burning of protected blanket bog to conserve these vulnerable habitats. This is why we have brought forward legislation that will limit burning of vegetation on protected deep peat.

This legislation represents a crucial step in meeting the Government’s nature and climate change mitigation and adaptation targets, including the legally binding commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

We will be setting out further measures to restore, protect and manage England’s peatlands this year as part of a package of measures to protect England’s landscapes and nature-based solutions.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support the Northern Ireland Executive to increase the level of woodland planting to match the rest of the UK.

We are committed to increasing tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this parliament.

Forestry policy is a devolved matter. Many sector organisations operate at UK level, and we continue to engage with the devolved administrations on these issues.

Northern Ireland Environment Minister Edwin Poots announced in 2020 the next stage of the Forests for our Future programme by launching a grant scheme to encourage and help landowners plant woodlands. This will help to meet Northern Ireland’s pledge to plant 18 million trees by 2030 and create 9,000 hectares of new woodland.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure supermarkets do not run out of food as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. Our retailers already have highly resilient supply chains and they are working around the clock to ensure people have the food and products they need. Industry is adapting quickly to any changes in demands, and food supply into and across the UK is resilient.

The Secretary of State is in regular dialogue with industry, including the British Retail Consortium and supermarket chief executives to discuss any additional support the Government can provide. To help supermarkets respond to this unprecedented demand we have already introduced new measures to keep food supply flowing. We have issued guidance to local authorities to allow extended delivery hours to supermarkets so that shelves can be filled up quicker, and we have implemented extensions to drivers’ hours.

We fully recognise the additional pressures on our food supply chain as a result of recent events. The UK’s major supermarkets have last weekend issued a statement to encourage everyone to shop as they normally would and pull together to support those staying at home.

We will continue to work closely with the industry over the coming days and months.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has in place to ensure that water utility companies (a) repair leaks in their networks and (b) take other steps to reduce water waste.

The Government welcomes the water industry commitment of a 50% leakage reduction by 2050. This commitment forms part of a target set by Ofwat which is bound to financial penalties or rewards based upon performance as part of the Price Review (PR) process.

In PR19 Ofwat set out a £51 billion five-year investment package for the 2020-25 period, including requirements for water companies to cut leaks by 16% and reduce mains bursts by 12%

Water companies provide data to the Environment Agency on water losses. In 2018-19 reporting period 1570.5 Ml/d was lost.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 5 May to Question 39526 on Equality Act 2010, what criteria her Department used to decide on the timeframe for the commencement of the provisions of the Equalities Act 2010.

My Department and others involved are working to quantify the additional costs that a commencement of the remainder of Section 36 of the Equality Act 2010 may require local authorities to meet. Agreement on this figure, and whether and how best such costs can be met, will be a key factor in determining the timescale for commencement.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions his Department has had with the Angolan Government on the recent droughts in that country.

Southern Africa is facing an urgent humanitarian crisis due to drought and other climate-related and economic factors. In southern Angola over 500,000 people are experiencing crisis-level food insecurity. The UK is pushing to put this crisis on the international agenda. On a recent visit to the country, I met with Angola’s Minister for Environment and discussed the drought and more broadly the humanitarian situation facing the wider region.

DFID is supporting the regional response through our contributions to multilaterals, notably the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The CERF has so far allocated just over £4.8 million to the response in Angola. Through Regional Vulnerability Analysis and Assessment (RVAA) programme, led by the Southern Africa Development Community, the UK is supporting assessments to inform humanitarian and resilience responses, including in Angola.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to support people affected by recent droughts in Angola.

Southern Africa is facing an urgent humanitarian crisis due to drought and other climate-related and economic factors. In southern Angola over 500,000 people are experiencing crisis-level food insecurity.

The UK is pushing to put this crisis on the international agenda. DFID is supporting the regional response through our contributions to multilaterals, notably the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The UK is the largest overall contributor to the CERF since its inception. The CERF has so far allocated approximately £4.8 million to the response in Angola.

Through Regional Vulnerability Analysis and Assessment (RVAA) programme, led by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the UK is supporting assessments to inform humanitarian and resilience responses, including in Angola.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason Ecuador remains on the covid-19 travel red list.

Ecuador has been on the red list since 15 January 2021 due to the ongoing presence of variants of concern. Government scientists will continue to engage with countries still on the red list and keep the evidence on variants of concern, especially Lambda and Mu, under close review in order to ensure the UK’s approach remains proportionate.

Decisions on red country assignment and associated border measures will continue to be taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments alongside wider public health factors.

The data for all countries and territories will be kept under regular review and the Government will not hesitate to take action where a country’s epidemiological picture changes.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress he has made on plans to complete the electrification of the Great Western Railway line between Bath and Bristol.

Electrification of the railway between Bath and Bristol has been recognised as a priority in Network Rail’s Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy. We are working with Network Rail to consider how decarbonisation priority investment proposals are taken forward through the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions the Government has had with representatives of (a) Cathay Pacific Airways and (b) the Aircrew Officers Association Europe on Cathay Pacific's proposal to close its Heathrow pilot base.

I have met with representatives from Cathay Pacific Airways to understand the rationale for the base closure and discuss alternative options, including what support could be offered to the pilots who may be affected by the commercial decision the airline is proposing. Moreover, I met with representatives of the Aircrew Officers Association Europe, including pilots who may be directly affected by the closure of the Heathrow pilot base.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to monitor the effect of the recent industrial dispute at the DVLA in Swansea on (a) employees of that organisation and (b) the public; and if he will make a statement.

The safety and welfare of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) staff is of paramount importance as it has been throughout the pandemic. Extensive measures are in place to support the wellbeing of staff and information on the services available to staff is regularly communicated.

The DVLA’s online services remain available and are the quickest and easiest way to transact. Motorists are strongly advised to use these channels where possible. Paper applications are taking longer to process because of reduced numbers of staff on site. The ongoing industrial action by the Public and Commercial Services union is inevitably harming some of the most vulnerable in society, as these are often the people who rely on less automated services which require DVLA staff to be working on site.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department plans to publish the outcome of its consultation on Electric Vehicle Charging in Residential and Non-residential Buildings that closed in October 2019.

We are analysing the feedback from respondents and aim to make an announcement early next year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Answer of 17 May 2019 to Question 252001 on Bus Service Operators Grant, by what date he plans to bring forward plans to reform the Bus Service Operators Grant.

At the present time it is still our intention to proceed with plans to reform the Bus Service Operators Grant, however due to the ongoing pandemic these plans have temporarily been placed on hold and no specific date is envisaged at this time. The digitalisation of the grant process has also been placed on hold, however the department is committed to delivering this as part of the Governments Digital by Default Agenda and we aspire to resuming this before the end of the year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure the provision of medical examinations to maintain an adequate level of certified Heavy Goods Vehicle drivers.

The Government has temporarily waived the requirement for bus and lorry drivers to provide a medical report when renewing their licences. This change was announced on 17 April 2020 for those applying to renew licences that expire on or after 1 January 2020.

It remains a legal requirement for drivers to notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency of the onset or worsening of a medical condition that may impact their driving.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what changes he is making to the requirement for heavy goods vehicle drivers to be periodically tested for a Certificate of Professional Competence while test centres are closed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Most professional lorry and bus drivers must complete 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years to maintain their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification. This is evidenced by a Driver CPC card (sometimes called a ‘driver qualification card’ or ‘DQC’).

Periodic training is available remotely from commercial providers, via online video platforms. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency encourages drivers to continue to undertake training wherever possible, but not as an activity that needs extra travel and only in compliance with general government advice.

The validity of DQCs with expiry dates from 1 February 2020 to 31 August 2020 have been extended by 7 months.

Drivers will not be issued with a new card to reflect the new expiry date, and must continue to carry their DQC.

Drivers who have a DQC that has an expiry date from 1 September 2020 must not drive until it is renewed.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of pay increases for each level of staff employed in Highways England in the last ten years.

Highways England was established on 1 April 2015. The Department for Transport has not carried out an assessment of the adequacy of pay increases for each level of staff in Highways England over the period since its establishment.

Responsibility for setting pay levels within Highways England sits with the Company, overseen by its Remuneration Committee. Annual pay increases within Highways England are based on a number of factors, including affordability and guidance from the Department for Transport and the Cabinet Office.

I would like to assure you that the Secretary of State is placing significant focus on pay in the Department’s arm’s length bodies.

20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of financial support requirements of people with long covid.

This government has a strong safety net that helps people who are facing hardship and are unable to support themselves financially, and we have taken steps to strengthen that safety net as part of the government’s response to the pandemic.

Disability benefits do not include or exclude by condition, instead they look at the needs arising from a long-term health condition or disability. People living with a condition arising from exposure to the Covid-19 virus can access the financial support that is available through Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit, New Style ESA or Pension Credit depending on individual circumstances. They are also able to access Personal Independence Payment in the same way as other people with long-term conditions or disabilities.

As research into the long-term health symptoms and impacts of Covid-19 is ongoing, we are collaborating across Government to monitor emerging evidence and consider our response.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the impact on UK economic growth and economic productivity of the decrease in the proportion of defined benefit pensions scheme assets invested in company equities and increase in the proportion invested in government debt over the period 2008 to 2020.

It is for trustees to decide how funds in defined benefit (DB) occupational pension schemes are invested. They have a fiduciary duty to do so in the best interest of all their members. As most DB schemes are now closed, and the time available before benefits must be paid is reducing, a gradual shift towards investment in lower risk assets is to be expected.

It is the responsibility of the sponsoring employer to fund the promised benefits in a DB scheme, and these are not dependent on investment performance.

While DB provision has been in long term decline, since the introduction of Automatic Enrolment in 2012, defined contribution pension schemes have grown rapidly. As they are typically much less mature than DB schemes, they will tend to invest in higher proportions of return seeking assets such as equities. This Government is removing barriers to schemes investing directly in the UK economy through private markets, including by encouraging consolidation and requiring schemes to publish the net returns of their default arrangements.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the impact on defined benefit pension scheme members' (a) costs and (b) returns of the decrease in the proportion of defined benefit pensions scheme assets invested in company equities and increase in the proportion invested in government debt over the period 2008 to 2020.

It is for trustees to decide how funds in defined benefit (DB) occupational pension schemes are invested. They have a fiduciary duty to do so in the best interest of all their members. As most DB schemes are now closed, and the time available before benefits must be paid is reducing, a gradual shift towards investment in lower risk assets is to be expected.

It is the responsibility of the sponsoring employer to fund the promised benefits in a DB scheme, and these are not dependent on investment performance.

While DB provision has been in long term decline, since the introduction of Automatic Enrolment in 2012, defined contribution pension schemes have grown rapidly. As they are typically much less mature than DB schemes, they will tend to invest in higher proportions of return seeking assets such as equities. This Government is removing barriers to schemes investing directly in the UK economy through private markets, including by encouraging consolidation and requiring schemes to publish the net returns of their default arrangements.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the HMRC data errors that created incorrect pension information on the check your state pension online service in 2019 have now been fully corrected.

DWP has worked closely with HMRC since issues were first raised around forecasts for State Pension. A change to the Check your State Pension forecast service was applied in April 2021.

This change ensures that individuals who are at greatest risk of having errors or omissions on their National Insurance record that may affect their State Pension forecast, are identified at the point where they request a State Pension forecast. Such individuals are advised that HMRC will take the corrective action needed in order to update their National Insurance record. Once this work is completed, a State Pension forecast will be made available.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to establish an inquiry into the (a) governance of and (b) role of the Pensions Regulator in the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

No. The Pensions Regulator was created in 2004 by the then Labour Government to be independent.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information she holds on the number of households in (a) in Bristol West constituency and (b) the UK who used a (i) food bank, (ii) food club and (iii) similar organisation for the first time during the covid-19 outbreak.

Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations and the Department for Work and Pensions does not have any role in their operation. There is no consistent and accurate measure of food bank usage at a constituency or national level.

We take the issue of food insecurity seriously, which is why we added internationally used food security questions to the Family Resources Survey in 19/20 and published the data in March this year. (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/family-resources-survey-financial-year-2019-to-2020). Food insecurity data from the Family Resources survey for 20/21 is not yet available.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending an estimated £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2020/21. This included around £7.4 billion of Covid-related welfare policy measures.

We introduced our Covid Winter Grant Scheme providing funding to Local Authorities in England to help the most vulnerable children and families stay warm and well fed during the coldest months. It will now run until June as the Covid Local Support Grant, with a total investment of £269m.

We are investing up to £220m in the Holiday Activities and Food programme which has been expanded to every local authority across England this year. Children eligible for benefits-related Free School Meals will have the option to join a holiday club programme that provides healthy food and enriching activities during the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays in 2021. We also increased the value of Healthy Start Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25 in April.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help people move into and progress in work as quickly as possible based on clear evidence around the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty in all its forms. We are investing over £30 billion in our ambitious Plan for Jobs which is already delivering for people of all ages right across the country.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will review the adequacy of financial support available for self-employed people who are adopting children.

The Government recognises that it is crucial to the success of an adoption placement that an adopter is able to take time off work to care for and bond with their child.

We recognise that affordability may limit the time away from work that some self-employed adopters can take which is why statutory adoption guidance says that Local Authorities should consider making a payment - equivalent to Maternity Allowance - in cases where adopters do not qualify for any statutory payment because of their self-employed status.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to Answer of 13 July 2020 to Question 69600 and Answer of 1 July 2020 to Question 63208, what progress has been made on implementing the decision of the court of appeal on 22 June 2020 on universal credit systems taking account of the day that a monthly salary is paid.

On 20th October I laid secondary legislation in response to the Court of Appeal Judgment made on 22 June in the case of Johnson, Woods, Barrett and Stewart, which concerned claimants who receive two calendar monthly payments of earnings in one Universal Credit assessment period. This will allow us to reallocate a payment of earnings reported via the Real Time Information service to a different Universal Credit assessment period, either because it was reported in the wrong assessment period or (in the case of calendar monthly paid employees) it is necessary to maintain a regular payment cycle. This will mean that claimants who are paid calendar monthly will therefore have one salary payment taken into account in each assessment period. It also means that certain claimants will also benefit from any applicable work allowance.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 22 July 2020 to Question 905164, what new and existing data sources her Department is monitoring to understand the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on people who are (a) disabled or (b) have a health condition; and if she will publish her Department's analysis of that data.

We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people and those with health conditions using a range of sources. There will however be a period until the data needed to fully assess the impact becomes available.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is publishing a rolling programme of data and articles relating to the social and economic impacts of COVID-19, with specific outputs on disabled people in Great Britain.

The ONS also publishes quarterly statistics on the labour market status of disabled people.

The Department for Work and Pensions publishes statistics annually on the employment of disabled people. The first report was published in March 2020, including data from the Labour Force Survey, Annual Population Survey and Understanding Society.

Research into the long-term health symptoms and impacts of COVID-19 and the number of people likely to be experiencing them is ongoing.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will carry out a review into deaths of benefits claimants.

The Department interacts with millions of people, and among them are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. There are many reasons why people pass away whilst claiming a DWP benefit and it would not be appropriate for the Department to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of every individual. This is a consideration and decision for a Coroner.

As a department we want to do all we can to ensure people get the support they need. We are striving towards becoming a learning organisation, for example through the Serious Case Panel, which considers themes and systemic issues that come out of serious cases and makes recommendations for improvements.

Where the Department is made aware of a death and there is a suggestion or allegation that the Department’s actions or omissions may have negatively contributed to the customer’s circumstances an Internal Process Review will be conducted. Internal Process Reviews are not designed to identify or apportion blame, but to look at whether processes were followed correctly and what learning we can derive from this.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 14 July to Question 69599, what steps she is taking to bring the performance at the Bristol personal independence payment assessment centre back to the published service standard of 90% of claimants being examined within 30 minutes of their appointment time; and if she will make an estimate of when that standard will be achieved.

All face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits are currently suspended in line with public health advice. During the Covid-19 period we continue to assess people based on written evidence alone, where that is possible, and have introduced telephone assessments. Telephony-based assessments do not fall within the same waiting time criteria. Once face-to-face assessment are reinstated we will work closely with suppliers to improve the waiting times whilst maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 5 May 2020 to Question 40669 on universal credit, prior to raising the local housing allowance to the 30th percentile, what assessment she made of the levels of need this would match.

Raising the local housing allowance (LHA) rate to the 30th percentile ensured over 1 million households will see an increase, on average, of £600 this year.

This increase means that 30% of properties in each broad rental market area charge a rent within the LHA rate, with the exception of 15 rates in central and inner London where the national maximum caps continue to apply. The national caps have also been increased and are now based on the Outer London LHA rate plus 20%.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the timescale is for changing universal credit systems and processes to reflect the ruling by the Court of Appeal on 22 June 2020 on the need to take account of the day that a monthly salary is paid.

I refer the Rt.Hon Member to the answer I gave on 1 July 2020 to Question UIN 63208:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-06-23/63208/

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the performance figures are for the Bristol assessment centre against the consultation centre target that 90 per cent of all claimants are seen within 30 minutes of their consultation time, for the last 12 months.

For the last 12 months, the percentage of individuals seen at the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Bristol Assessment Centre within 30 minutes of their appointment time is 77.9%. This covers the period July 2019 to the 17 March 2020 when face-to-face assessments were suspended. We continue to work closely with suppliers to improve the waiting times whilst maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Health and Safety Executive inspectors are operating in Bristol.

There are currently 40 full-time equivalent (FTE) Inspectors based in Bristol.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 13 May 2020, HCWS234 on Construction update, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of staffing at the Health and Safety Executive to (a) monitor and (b) enforce the guidance provided in that written statement.

Individual employers and those in control of construction sites have a legal responsibility of ensuring appropriate measures are in place to protect workers from Covid-19 on construction sites. Nevertheless, the Government recognises the important role that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) plays as Great Britain’s health and safety regulator and has announced that additional funds are being made available to support them in their regulatory work relating to Covid-19. HSE is currently developing plans for carrying out proactive checks of workplaces including construction sites to ensure that appropriate measures are in place. In addition, HSE continues to address reported workplace concerns with employers, including those relating to Covid-19.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the proportion of new claimants of universal credit whose housing costs are not covered by the local housing allowance set at the 30th percentile.

No such assessment has been made.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to introduce benefits for self-employed people whose work is reduced because of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Chancellor has announced a Self-Employed Income Support Scheme that will help millions of people across the UK, with those eligible receiving a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years. This covers 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment.

The scheme brings parity with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, whereby the Government committed to pay up to £2,500 each month in wages of employed workers who are furloughed during the outbreak.

We have temporarily relaxed the application of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for all self-employed claimants affected by the economic impact of COVID-19 to ensure that the self-employed can access UC at a more generous rate and those applying for Contributory ESA will be able to claim from day 1 – as opposed to day 8 - without the need for a face-to-face assessment.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what funding is being provided for bereavement support for people whose family members have died from covid-19.

Since March 2020, the Government has given over £10.2 million to mental health charities, including bereavement support charities, to support adults and children struggling with their mental wellbeing due to the impact of COVID-19. We continue to take a cross-Government approach to assess what is needed to provide support to bereaved individuals during this incredibly difficult time, whether they have been bereaved due to COVID-19 or other causes.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing (a) a single, established dataset to monitor referrals for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) assessments and treatments and (b) b) a maximum waiting time standard from referral for an assessment of ADHD to the point of diagnosis.

We have no plans to do so.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence do not recommend a maximum waiting time standard from referral for an assessment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to the point of diagnosis.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing healthcare support for people with long covid.

COVID-19 is a new disease and we continue to increase our understanding of the physical, psychological and rehabilitation needs for those experiencing long-term effects of the virus. On 15 June, NHS England and NHS Improvement published a new 10-point plan and announced an additional £100 million expansion of care for patients, taking the total investment in ‘long’ COVID-19 support in England to £134 million. This includes £70 million to facilitate the expansion of Post-Covid Assessment Clinics and £30 million for an enhanced service for general practice.

Fourteen paediatric hubs have been established in England to provide advice and help coordinate care for children and young people up to the age of 18 years old. Also, the ‘Your COVID Recovery’ online service, provides a digital, interactive, personalised recovery programme for people recovering from COVID-19.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what impact assessment he has carried out on the policy of requiring travellers to the UK from EU countries who are fully vaccinated against covid-19 to isolate when a member of their party has tested positive for covid-19.

No separate impact assessment has been made. Travellers to the United Kingdom are treated in the same way as any other individual. All those testing positive must self-isolate, regardless of vaccination status or where they were vaccinated. If they have been fully vaccinated in the UK, they are exempt from self-isolation if identified as a close contact. If they were vaccinated abroad, regardless of whether they received a vaccine approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, they are required to self-isolate if identified as a close contact.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that people who were participants in the Valneva vaccine trial have their vaccination status recognised by foreign countries for the purpose of international travel.

The Government continues to make the case internationally, including through groups such as the G7, G20, European Commission and the World Health Organization, that anyone on a COVID-19 vaccine trial should be treated the same in terms of certification as someone who has received a deployed vaccine. Ultimately it is for Governments to set their inbound travel policy, including for clinical trial participants on Valneva and other trials.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 13 July 2021 to Question 28233 on General Practitioners: Software, what steps he is taking to reduce the time taken to correct superannuation deductions that are double deducted, incorrectly deducted or not deducted through the new Primary Care Support England (PCSE) system.

Primary Care Support England (PCSE) Online is in its post-implementation support phase, which is intended to ensure that any early issues are identified and resolved. NHS England continues to work with PCSE, NHS Pensions and other stakeholders, including general practitioner practices, to rapidly identify and resolve any outstanding issues that have emerged since the new system has come into operation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of the use of personalised vaccines as a treatment for brain tumours.

At present, no vaccine therapies are licensed for use as a treatment for brain cancer. Such treatments are used within either experimental or early stage trial settings, therefore they are not routinely available to patients.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the cancer treatment drug Sacituzumab Govitecan, also known as Trodelvy, will be available for prescription and use in the NHS.

Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan) does not yet have a marketing authorisation for use in Great Britain and is not yet available for routine prescribing. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is currently considering a marketing authorisation application for Trodelvy through the accelerated process for Project Orbis medicines.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is also currently developing guidance for the National Health Service on whether Trodelvy represents a clinically and cost effective use of NHS resources. It expects to publish draft guidance in spring 2022. Interim access arrangements may be considered for medicines licensed through the Project Orbis pathway where NICE guidance is not anticipated to be published in line with the three month timeframe. NICE and NHS England and NHS Improvement are actively engaging with Gilead to see how interim access arrangements may be applied.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 28 June 2021 to Question 20431 on Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme, for what reason providing breastmilk and establishing an attachment with a premature baby is classified as a family visit and not a medical reason for being in hospital under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s guidance sets out the support and access for partners and parents of babies in neonatal critical care should be provided by National Health Service trusts. Parents of babies in neonatal critical care are partners in their baby’s care and neonatal units should identify how to safely facilitate parental presence at all times of day.

Eligibility for the full or partial payment of NHS travel expenses depends upon being in receipt of a qualifying benefit, being named on an NHS Low Income Scheme and referral by a primary care provider to receive non-primary care services. If these criteria are met individuals would be recompensed for their travel costs. Additionally, trusts have discretion to make a payment if they deem it appropriate.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of pancreatic cancer patients were prescribed pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy in England in (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017, (d) 2018 and (e) 2019.

The information requested is not held centrally. While the NHS Business Services Authority holds prescription data relating to drugs dispensed within a community setting, no data is collected on the clinical condition of the patient.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to modify the labelling of topical steroid medications to include clear warnings against over-use.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is conducting a review of topical steroid withdrawal. The review is discussing alterations to labelling, guidance and communications with health care professionals. We have consulted on these topics with healthcare experts in the field including those in the National Health Service, patient representatives and other stakeholders. We are considering updates to the product information and further communications to health care professionals and the MHRA expects to issue more information on this in the next few months.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the NHS on guidance for GPs and patients on the correct use and dosage of topical steroids.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is conducting a review of topical steroid withdrawal. The review is discussing alterations to labelling, guidance and communications with health care professionals. We have consulted on these topics with healthcare experts in the field including those in the National Health Service, patient representatives and other stakeholders. We are considering updates to the product information and further communications to health care professionals and the MHRA expects to issue more information on this in the next few months.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with stakeholders on the recognition of topical steroid withdrawal as an official condition by the NHS.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is conducting a review of topical steroid withdrawal. The review is discussing alterations to labelling, guidance and communications with health care professionals. We have consulted on these topics with healthcare experts in the field including those in the National Health Service, patient representatives and other stakeholders. We are considering updates to the product information and further communications to health care professionals and the MHRA expects to issue more information on this in the next few months.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure pancreatic cancer patients are considered for pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy at the point of diagnosis in England.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Slough (Mr Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP) on 10 June 2021 to Question 11722.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the prescription rates of pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy for inoperable pancreatic cancer patients in England who are not treated in specialist centres.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Slough (Mr Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP) on 10 June 2021 to Question 11722.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to improve the speed and consistency of information and payments to GP practices using the new Primary Care Support England (PCSE) payment software.

Primary Care Support England (PCSE), a service operated by Capita on behalf of NHS England and NHS Improvement, implemented a new general practitioner payment and pensions system, PCSE Online, on 1 June 2021. Since June the new payments system has successfully processed over 187,000 payment lines, totalling £970 million. Payments to general practice are made on a set schedule in line with contractual deadlines and NHS England and NHS Improvement has advised that all expected payments have been made, including any corrections that were made in-month to ensure that all contractual deadlines were met. PCSE has advised that it continues to work with stakeholders to monitor the new system and address any issues.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme to include the travel costs of parents visiting their newborn babies in neonatal units.

The Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS) is part of the NHS Low Income Scheme and was set up to provide financial assistance to those patients in receipt of a qualifying benefit who do not have a medical need for ambulance transport, but who require assistance with their travel costs. The HTCS is not setup to provide financial assistance to people visiting hospital inpatients.

There are currently no plans to extend the remit of the HTCS. Other possible sources of help with travel expenses for patients and visitors include hospital endowment funds, education departments, adult social care department and charities such as the Family Fund. Additionally, some trusts provide accommodation for parents in hospital.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on providing young people with information about HIV and reducing anti-HIV stigma as part of the Sex and Relationships elements of Personal, Health and Social Education lessons.

There have been no recent discussions. However, as part of the Government’s commitment to reaching zero new HIV transmissions in England by 2030, the Department is currently developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan, which are planned for publication later this year. Officials continue to engage with the Department of Education the consideration of issues relating to HIV and how they are covered in the statutory curriculum in schools, as part of the ‘intimate and sexual relationships’ lessons under Personal, Health and Social Education.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his the Government is taking to increase public awareness of HIV prevention through HIV testing campaigns.

HIV Prevention England (HPE), the national HIV prevention campaign funded by Public Health England (PHE) and delivered by the Terrence Higgins Trust, aims to promote HIV testing and other safer sex interventions amongst black African communities, men who have sex with men and other groups in which there is a higher or emerging burden of infection. HPE operate an annual campaign promoting HIV testing during National HIV Testing Week.

PHE’s Reproductive Health, Sexual Health and HIV Innovation Fund has supported a range of projects between 2017 and 2020 that deliver new approaches to HIV testing among the most affected populations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will reintroduce NHS ear wax syringing services.

Decisions about the funding and provision of health services, including ear wax removal, are the responsibility of local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). They should plan services to meet the needs of local communities including continuing to ensure there is appropriate access to ear wax services.

General practitioner (GP) practices are increasingly recommending self-care methods as the primary means to support the safe removal of ear wax.

However, if a GP practice considers removal clinically necessary, the procedure should either be undertaken at the practice, or the patient should be referred to an appropriate local service depending on the arrangements in place in the local area.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government has taken to address discrepancies between life expectancy in different wards of birth.

The Government will publish a white paper later this year, setting out bold new policy interventions to improve living standards in all parts of the country.

The new Office for Health Promotion support collaboration across Government on the wider determinants of health. We will reinforce the role of local authorities as champions of health in their communities and enhance the National Health Service’s public health responsibilities on prevention.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of funding for specialist support for services to support children with eating disorders in the South West; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating additional funding for those specialist support services to that region.

We have made no specific assessment.

The funding made available to support the 2021/22 National Health Service operational planning and contracting round is ongoing. Through this process, local systems will work with their partner organisations, including clinical commissioning groups and local authorities in the South West, to agree their mental health finance planning for financial year 2021/22, which will include funding for eating disorders services. NHS England and NHS Improvement will review the plans against expected trajectories such as on waiting times targets for children and young people’s eating disorder services, seek assurance on any major divergences and establish recovery plans where needed.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that there is adequate funding for support services for children and young people with eating disorders in the South West at (a) community services, (b) in-patient services and (c) psychiatry services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s programmes of work for children and young people’s mental health, including eating disorders, are focussed on community mental health services and inpatient services.

The funding and provision of health services, including mental health services, are the responsibility of local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) which have the flexibility to allocate funding according to local need. CCGs are required to meet the mental health investment standard (MHIS), which means increasing the spending on mental health by at least as much as their overall budget increases and therefore increase their spend on mental health. Latest data shows that 99% of CCGs are on track to meet the MHIS in 2020/21.

Under the NHS Long Term Plan, funding for children and young people’s mental health services will grow faster than both overall National Health Service funding and total mental health spending. This means that children and young people’s mental health services will for the first time grow as a proportion of all mental health services, which will themselves also be growing faster than the NHS overall.

We have also announced an extra £79 million in 2021/22 to significantly expand children’s mental health services, including allowing 2,000 more children and young people to access eating disorder services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to improve rates of early diagnosis of HIV.

We recognize the importance of HIV testing for improving early diagnosis and will set out our plans for its wider access in the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and the HIV Action Plan, planned to be published this year.

Access to and provision of HIV testing, including online and self-sampling services, is the responsibility of local authorities. There is no comprehensive data available on the number of local authorities that provide HIV self-sampling services. Public Health England’s framework for the national HIV self-sampling service was set up in 2015 and is used by many local authorities.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing free at-home HIV testing that is available nationwide all year round.

We recognize the importance of HIV testing for improving early diagnosis and will set out our plans for its wider access in the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and the HIV Action Plan, planned to be published this year.

Access to and provision of HIV testing, including online and self-sampling services, is the responsibility of local authorities. There is no comprehensive data available on the number of local authorities that provide HIV self-sampling services. Public Health England’s framework for the national HIV self-sampling service was set up in 2015 and is used by many local authorities.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of ensuring that (a) student finance and (b) NHS bursaries are available to people who already have a degree and who wish to study for an undergraduate five-year medicine degree.

Student finance and National Health Service bursaries are already available, subject to certain conditions, for people who have a degree and who wish to study for an undergraduate five-year degree in medicine.

Those who wish to undertake a standard five year course in medicine and who already hold an equivalent or higher qualification that does not meet eligibility requirements for a four-year graduate entry medical programme, can apply for a partially means-tested maintenance loan and supplementary grants from Student Finance England (SFE) for the first four years of their course. Students will usually be expected to self-fund their annual tuition fees for those first four years. In year five of their course, they can also apply for a reduced rate, non-means tested maintenance loan from SFE.

Provided these students meet the NHS Business Services Authority eligibility criteria, they can apply for an NHS Bursary for the fifth year of study.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will make pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) available at pharmacies.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is now routinely available in the specialist sexual and reproductive health services throughout the country.

The settings in which PrEP to be made available outside of sexual health services, such as pharmacies, will be considered as part of our ongoing work on the development of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and the HIV Action Plan, which we plan to publish later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to review the provision of NHS dentistry.

The Department has asked NHS England and NHS Improvement to work with the British Dental Association, to build on the learning from the dental contract reform programme to bring forward implementable proposals, and address the key challenges facing the delivery of National Health Service dentistry.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of ensuring that (a) student finance and (b) NHS bursaries are available for people who already have a degree who wish to study for an undergraduate (five-year) medicine degree.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the Government requires social care workers entering the UK to pay for PCR tests on day 2 and day 8 after arrival when those tests are available to UK-based social care workers free of charge.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to end the disparity in maternal health outcomes between white women and black, asian and minority ethnic women.

We have established the Maternity Inequalities Oversight Forum to bring together experts to address the inequalities for women and babies from different ethnic backgrounds and socio-economic groups. Additionally, the Chief Midwifery Officer for England is leading work to understand why mortality rates are higher, consider evidence about what will reduce mortality rates and take action to improve equity in outcomes and experience of care for mothers and their babies.

Under measures set out in the 2021/22 Planning Guidance, most women from black, Asian and mixed ethnicity backgrounds will be placed on a continuity of carer pathway by March 2022. This will ensure that thousands of women receive safe and personal maternity care, improving outcomes for both mother and baby and reducing health inequalities.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18 March 2021 to Question 166476, what equality impact assessment has been done on HIV prevention drug PrEP only being available in sexual health services; and what assessment he has made of the (a) benefits and (b) risks for diverse communities of PrEP being available in (i) GP practices, (ii) pharmacies, and (iii) other NHS services.

No equality impact assessment has been completed. Public Health England, in collaboration with stakeholders, is currently developing a monitoring and evaluation framework for the routine commissioning of the HIV prevention drug pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). This will use established surveillance systems and include measures of PrEP need and use among key population groups to inform equitable delivery and access. The provision of PrEP, including the settings in which PrEP should be made available outside of specialist sexual health services, will be considered as part of the development of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan, which we plan to publish in 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that pharmacies are being supported to remain financially viable throughout the covid-19 outbreak.

Discussions are ongoing with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee about additional funding for costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of its ongoing assessment of COVID-19 costs incurred by the sector the Government will take account of the £370 million increased advance payments paid to community pharmacies.

The support package for community pharmacy also included general COVID-19 business support, funding for Bank Holiday openings, social distancing measures and the medicine delivery service to shielded patients, free personal protective equipment and non-monetary support including the removal of some administrative tasks, flexibility in opening hours and the delayed introduction of new services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that HIV/AIDS support services are available throughout the country.

We are developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan, which we plan to publish in 2021. We will consider issues relating to the role and future need for HIV support services in England as part of the process to develop both the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to develop a Patient Group Direction so that the HIV prevention drug PrEP can be made available in pharmacies.

In March 2020, we announced that the HIV prevention drug pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) would be routinely available across England in 2020/21. This year we provided £11 million to local authorities for routine commissioning of PrEP and this is now in place in the majority of areas in the country. Routine commissioning of PrEP, alongside other measures, will take us closer to our ambition of zero new HIV transmissions in England by 2030.

Provision of PrEP, including the settings in which PrEP should be made available outside of specialist sexual health services, will be considered as part of the development of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan, which we plan to publish in 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to include the HIV prevention drug PrEP in the Core GP contract.

In March 2020, we announced that the HIV prevention drug pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) would be routinely available across England in 2020/21. This year we provided £11 million to local authorities for routine commissioning of PrEP and this is now in place in the majority of areas in the country. Routine commissioning of PrEP, alongside other measures, will take us closer to our ambition of zero new HIV transmissions in England by 2030.

Provision of PrEP, including the settings in which PrEP should be made available outside of specialist sexual health services, will be considered as part of the development of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan, which we plan to publish in 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to implement a new public health campaign to support ending HIV-related stigma.

HIV Prevention England (HPE) is the national HIV prevention campaign funded by Public Health England and currently delivered by the Terrence Higgins Trust. One of HPE’s core aims is to reduce levels of HIV related stigma within black African communities for both men and women, men who have sex with men and in the community more widely. As part of the Government’s commitment to end new HIV transmissions in England by 2030, we will be developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan, which we plan to publish in 2021. We will consider issues related to HIV stigma as part of this process.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to (a) implement and (b) publish a timetable for the implementation of the recommendations of the HIV Commission's report entitled How England will end new cases of HIV, published in 2020.

We will be considering the recommendations set out in the HIV Commission to help shape our upcoming Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan on reaching the zero new transmissions by 2030 target, which we plan to publish in 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle health inequalities experienced by people with HIV and AIDS.

The Government has committed to developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan, which we plan to publish in 2021. We will consider issues related to health inequalities experienced by people living with HIV, tackling stigma and discrimination and other relevant issues as part of the process to develop the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether a parent or carer of a child told to isolate as part of the Self-Isolation Service Hub at education settings are eligible for the Test and Trace payment support if they must stay at home to care for their child; and how that adult can obtain a reference number from Track and Trace to apply for support from the local authority.

The Government has expanded eligibility for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme to include a parent or guardian who has to stay off work to look after a child who is self-isolating. We are working closely with all 314 local authorities in England to implement this change as quickly as possible, including establishing the best way in which that parent or guardian can prove that their child has been told to self-isolate if they are not informed by NHS Test and Trace.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has commissioned an assessment of the effect on vaccine take-up of materials promoting covid-19 vaccines in languages other than English.

No such assessment has been commissioned.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has commissioned an assessment of the level of engagement with materials promoting the covid-19 vaccination campaign in languages other than English.

No such assessment has been commissioned.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the guidance published on 6 January 2021 on A testing service for homecare workers in England, when he plans to publish guidance on access to covid-19 testing for domiciliary care workers not registered with the Care Quality Commission and other personal assistants.

Access to regular testing for personal assistants in England began on 17 February 2021. Personal assistants are responsible for ordering test kits every 28 days or an employer can order test kits for them. Detailed guidance on testing for personal assistants is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-personal-assistants

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data is being shared with local authorities on local take-up of covid-19 vaccines, by ethnicity.

Public health teams have access to vaccination event data for the sustainability and transformation partnerships (STP) for their local authority. This is presented in the validated vaccination events dashboard and the COVID-19 vaccination equalities tool.

The dashboard provides views of all vaccination activity at all sites within a STP by delivery model, site, dose, vaccine type and vaccination uptake across ethnicity, age and other key Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation cohorts. The tool allows local authorities to track age cohort by ethnicity and Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) compared to a national average and an adjustable uptake target. It also identifies gaps between uptake targets and current vaccinations in each age cohort, both by ethnicity and IMD group. Additionally, local authorities can access a daily dataset to view testing and case data. This data is only available for age cohorts over 70 years of age and for lower tier local authorities includes data by detailed ethnic group.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which languages (a) written and (b) video materials promoting covid-19 vaccines have been translated into.

Our communications include targeted information and advice via TV, radio and social media. This has been translated into 19 languages including Bengali; Chinese; Filipino; Gujarati; Hindi; Mirpur; Punjabi; Urdu; Turkish; Tagalog; Spanish; Somali; Romanian; Polish; Nepali; Kurdish; Farsi; Arabic; and Albanian. Public Health England has also published British Sign Language, braille, and large print versions. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-what-to-expect-after-vaccination

Print and online material, including interviews and practical advice has appeared in over 600 national, regional, local and specialist titles including media for Asian, Bangladeshi, Bengali, Gujarati and Pakistani communities.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of vaccine recipients have (a) stated an ethnicity on their vaccination form, (b) explicitly refused to do so and (c) have not responded.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently publishing weekly vaccinations by ethnicity. This includes a ‘Not stated/Unknown’ category. We do not collect data on those who refuse to state their ethnicity.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department is collecting on people who refuse covid-19 vaccinations.

The Department does not collect data on people who refuse COVID-19 vaccinations.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how may patients are on the NHS England waiting list for time critical heart surgery.

This data is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients have died whilst waiting for heart surgery in England since March 2020.

This information is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many heart operations have been carried out by NHS England since March 2020.

The latest data shows that 215,127 heart operations were carried out between March and December 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and have severe needle phobia to receive the covid-19 vaccine.

Vaccinators have received the appropriate training to make sure everyone feels safe. The process is overseen by clinicians who if required would be able to provide further assistance. We recommend that individuals with a needle phobia contact the vaccination centre directly prior to attendance to determine what mitigations they have for relevant patients and if any special arrangements could be identified to help the recipient feel more comfortable.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that parents and carers of children who are clinically extremely vulnerable are able to receive the covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is the independent body made up of scientists and clinical experts who advise the Government on prioritisation of vaccines at a population level. At present, there is very limited data on vaccination in adolescents, with no data on vaccination in younger children. The JCVI advises that only those children at very high risk of exposure and serious outcomes, such as older children with severe neuro-disabilities that require residential care, should be offered vaccination as part of phase one.

The Public Health England Green Book, which provides guidance for health professionals and immunisation practitioners, also sets out that children under 16 years of age, even if they are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV), are at low risk of serious morbidity and mortality, and given the absence of safety and efficacy data on the vaccine, are not recommended for vaccination.

Parents and carers of children who are CEV will be prioritised for vaccination if they are frontline health or social care workers, or if they are an unpaid carer who is in receipt of carers allowance or are the sole or primary carer for a child who is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. All other parents and carers will be vaccinated alongside other adults of the same age, or earlier if they have an underlying health condition themselves which makes them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 21 January 2021 to Question 137961 on Paramedical Staff: Students, by what date his Department and the Department for Education plan to reach a decision through those discussions.

Discussions with the Department for Education on the student finance equivalent or lower qualification rules for paramedicine are ongoing. A decision will be dependent on business planning for the 2021/22 financial year following the outcome of Spending Review 2020.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there will be an increase in the number of student medicine places in the 2021-22 academic year.

The Government temporarily lifted the cap on medical school places for students who completed A-Levels in 2020 and who had an offer from a university in England to study medicine, subject to their grades. This ensured a place in 2020 or 2021 for every eligible student and meant that the overall number of domestic training places available for those applying to a medical school for the 2021/22 academic year remains unchanged.

The Government currently has no plans to increase the number of places beyond this. However, we are committed to ensuring that the number of medical school places reflect England’s workforce requirements and continues to monitor the effectiveness of current arrangements.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people in England employ their own personal assistants for health and social care at home.

Data from Skills for Care’s ‘Individual Employers and the Personal Assistant Workforce’ report estimates that in 2019/20, approximately 70,000 people in England employed their own personal assistant/s (PAs) with funding from social care direct payments, dispersed by local authorities. The Department does not hold data on numbers of individuals who employ PAs outside of social care direct payments.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how personal assistants providing home social and/or health care for their clients who also employ them directly will be notified of their appointment to receive the covid-19 vaccine.

Local authorities and employers are working together to identify and instruct frontline social care workers that are eligible to receive the vaccine, including personal assistants as outlined in the Government’s recently published Standard Operating Procedure.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's guidance, updated on 6 January 2021, A testing service for homecare workers in England, for what reason personal assistants were excluded from the guidance on regular testing for care workers.

On 23 November, we extended asymptomatic testing to all registered domiciliary care workers to help protect staff and people who receive care. Offering routine asymptomatic testing to directly employed or self-employed individual staff, such as personal assistants, presented additional logistical challenges which we worked to overcome.

Regular weekly polymerase chain reaction testing for personal assistants launched on 17 February 2021. Personal assistants can order four test kits every 28 days from the Government’s test portal.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the guidance for eligibility for regular covid-19 testing for (a) personal assistants providing social and health care in the homes of their clients and (b) people working for agencies not registered with CQC is planned to be updated.

On 23 November 2020, we began offering Care Quality Commission registered domiciliary care organisations access to regular, weekly COVID-19 testing for their carers looking after people in their own homes. We have also extended testing to personal assistants.

Agency staff working for care homes or domiciliary care organisations should access regular testing through the organisation they are working for. Agency staff working for an individual receiving care will be able to access testing in the same way as personal assistants.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the ethical implications for people who received a first dose of the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine, but had their second dose postponed or cancelled.

The four United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers agree with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation that prioritising the first doses of vaccine for as many people as possible on the priority list will protect the greatest number of at risk people overall in the shortest possible time. It will have the greatest impact on reducing mortality, severe disease and hospitalisations and protect the National Health Service and equivalent health services.

On 11 January, NHS England set out operational guidance on the need to reschedule all appointments to receive the second dose in the twelfth week. This will help deliver the public health duties identified above and to vaccinate as many people, as quickly as possible, including frontline health and care workforce.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when social care providers will receive access to the £149 million grant to support the roll out of rapid lateral flow testing for covid-19 for residential care workers; and how that funding can be accessed.

On 23 December we announced £149 million to support the rollout of lateral flow testing in care homes. On 15 January, we announced the details of how this additional grant can be used to cover expenditure from 2 December 2020 to 31 March 2021. The grant will be paid to local authorities in a single instalment in January 2021.

Local authorities should pass 80% of this funding to care homes within their geographical area on a ‘per beds’ basis. The remaining 20% can be allocated at the local authority’s discretion to support the care sector to implement increased lateral flow testing.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what modelling has been undertaken on the optimal strategy for the national covid-19 vaccination programme; and if he will publish that modelling.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination is based on a range of evidence including a review of United Kingdom epidemiological data on the impact of the pandemic so far and data on demographic and clinical risk factors for mortality and hospitalisation from COVID-19. The JCVI takes account of a range of scientific information including modelling work and this is cited in the minutes and published statements from the Committee. These are available at the following link:

https://app.box.com/s/iddfb4ppwkmtjusir2tc

The modelling work by Warwick University which informed phase one advice is available at the following link:

http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/149402/1/WRAP-Modelling-optimal-vaccination-strategy-SARS-CoV-2-2021.pdf

The modelling work which informed the advice for extending the interval between the first and second dose is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prioritising-the-first-covid-19-vaccine-dose-jcvi-statement

The modelling work that informed the JCVI’s phase two interim advice is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/university-of-warwick-covid-19-vaccine-impact-forecast-13-january-2021

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of ensuring that local vaccine centres are able to offer covid-19 vaccines at risk of expiring to non-priority groups.

No vaccines should be wasted. All vaccination centres should have a backup list people in the cohorts currently being vaccinated, who can be called in case doses would be wasted. If no members of the currently vaccinated cohorts are available, it is recommended that members of the priority cohorts next in line be vaccinated.

In the unlikely case the above is not possible, and where the general practitioner practice can demonstrate exceptional circumstances showing that it is clinically appropriate and where resources would otherwise have been wasted, then individuals present on site should be vaccinated based on clinical judgement. This is in line with the Enhanced Service Specification for the COVID-19 vaccination programme 2020/21.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of ensuring that student finance is available for people who already have a degree who wish to study for a degree in paramedic science, as is the case with medicine and allied subjects.

The Department of Health and Social Care is in discussions with the Department for Education about providing an exemption to the student finance equivalent or lower qualification rules for paramedicine. This would allow paramedic students with a degree to access both tuition fee and maintenance loan payments subject, as with all students, to the individual’s eligibility whilst undertaking a second degree.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will provide weekly figures on the number of covid-19 vaccination doses which were wasted as a result of (a) supply chain issues and (b) appointment no-shows.

Data on wastage of vaccination doses is not currently held centrally. Work is ongoing across the vaccination programme to standardise and increase the information available for management purposes. However, no vaccines should be wasted. All vaccination centres should have a reserve list of people in the cohorts currently being vaccinated who can be called in case doses would be wasted. If no members of the currently vaccinated cohorts are available, it is recommended that members of the priority cohorts next in line be vaccinated.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to respond to the letter from the Hon Member for Bristol West reference ZA6937 sent by email to the Minister for Health, Suicide Prevention and Patient Safety on 28 October 2020 and resent on 1 December 2020.

We are working to provide all Members and external correspondents with accurate answers to their correspondence, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The hon. Member’s letter will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that asymptomatic domiciliary care workers providing intimate care for clinically extremely vulnerable people and others with vulnerabilities are able to access regular covid-19 testing.

On 23 November 2020, we began offering domiciliary care organisations access to regular, weekly COVID-19 testing for their carers looking after people in their own homes from an online portal.

Domiciliary care workers are able to access weekly PCR tests to administer at home, which will help identify more asymptomatic cases and protect care recipients who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the evidence base was for the Government's decision to allow health services to delay the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine; and for what reason the Government's policy on that matter differs to the advice of the manufacturer and the World Health Organization.

The United Kingdom’s decision to delay the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine has been taken based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination Immunisation (JCVI), as well as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

After studying the available data, it’s clear both vaccines provide substantial protection within two to three weeks of vaccination from severe COVID-19 disease. The Government is advised on the safety, efficacy and strategy for the vaccines by independent scientists including those from the JCVI and the Commission on Human Medicines Expert Advisory Group. While we are monitoring different countries’ vaccination plans and rollouts, the approach taken in the UK is based on the advice of the world’s leading clinicians and scientists.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to reply to named day Question 114249, tabled by the hon. Member for Bristol West on 11 November 2020.

We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold the Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s question will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to communicate (a) covid-19 risks, (b) guidance and (c) mitigation measures to non-English language speakers.

Since March 2020, Public Health England has translated key public guidance on COVID-19 in multiple languages including Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (traditional), Chinese (simplified), French, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi and Urdu. These include shielding guidance in Bulgarian, Hindi and Nepali. Examples of guidance documents that have been translated are available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

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

Local councils have also produced translations into various community languages.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for how long European Health Insurance Cards remain valid in respect of people travelling to an EU country before 31 December 2020 and who do not return before the end of the transition period.

The Withdrawal Agreement protects United Kingdom and European Union nationals, including UK insured individuals, who find themselves in a ‘cross-border situation’ over 31 December 2020. For example, someone whose holiday begins before, but ended after, the 31 December 2020 would be covered. People in this situation will be able to continue to use their European Health Insurance Card to access ‘needs-arising treatment’ until they leave that country by travelling to another EU Member State or returning to the UK.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to enable single-parent carers of adult disabled children to form a bubble during the covid-19 outbreak with another household as is permitted for cared-for people under the age of 18.

The Government knows that social distancing restrictions are difficult for everyone, especially those with caring responsibilities. We have tried to reduce the impact of restrictions so that carers, including those with adult children with disabilities, continue to receive support during this time. From 2 December, if someone is the only adult in their household who does not need continuous care as a result of a disability, they can form a support bubble with another household of any size.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure the supply of flu vaccinations for all people eligible for NHS flu vaccinations in Bristol West.

General practitioners (GPs) and community pharmacists are responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults, with deliveries phased through the season. The Department has procured additional doses of seasonal flu vaccine to ensure more flu vaccines are available this winter. GPs, community pharmacists and trusts who have exhausted their own supply are now able to order from this central stock.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with local areas to ensure that local providers are supported to meet increased demand for the flu vaccination this winter. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has granted dispensation to allow the movement of vaccines locally between practices and other National Health Service provider organisations this season, to help address local shortages.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of enabling parent and child groups for pre-school age children to continue during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

Reducing social contact is the most important factor in driving down transmission. However, the Government knows that rules about social distancing are difficult for everyone, especially those with young children.

Support groups for new parents can continue to be held, as can support groups for new parents in community settings, such as a place of worship, community centre or hall, or library, that are essential to deliver in person. These groups can continue with up to 15 participants where the purpose is to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. Where these are held in Ofsted registered settings, they should follow Government guidance on COVID-19 for early years and childcare providers which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures

Informal groups, such as those organised by a parent, need to comply with the gathering and household mixing rules. In practice during the period of national restrictions this means these groups should only meet virtually.

When national restrictions apply, in determining the limit of 15 participants, children under the age of five are not counted towards the limit.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of defining soft tissue therapy as a health service for the purposes of covid-19 restrictions.

No specific assessment has been made.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to section 3.4 of his Department's publication of 13 October 2020 on COVID-19: provision of night shelters - Operating principles for commissioners and providers of night shelters for people experiencing rough sleeping, whether cohorting is recommended as a response for a person who is (a) symptomatic of, (b) tested positive and (c) is identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive for covid-19 in any context other than accommodation for people experiencing rough sleeping.

The document ‘COVID-19: provision of night shelters - Operating principles for commissioners and providers of night shelters for people experiencing rough sleeping’ was published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and recommends cohorting in communal night shelters where isolation is not immediately possible. This approach is intended to mitigate some of the health risks when people do not have access to accommodation that helps to keep them safe from COVID-19, or who need care if they have symptoms or a positive test.

For people in accommodation where they are able to self-isolate, the relevant guidance is available in ‘Stay at home: Guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19’ at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what use NHS Test and Trace is making of information from credit checking agencies.

In order to request a Home Test, a user must first verify their identity using a service provided by TransUnion. Identity verification is built into the process in order to minimise the risk of fraudulent ordering.

If an individual is not willing or able to undertake the identity verification provided by TransUnion, they should call 119 for further assistance, or seek to book an appointment at a regional test site or mobile testing unit, where a member of staff will confirm their identity in person.

TransUnion provides identity verification checks as part of the registration process for a home test kit. This is not a credit check and will not affect an individual’s credit score.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many of the local covid-19 lockdown restrictions introduced by the Government to date have included restrictions on entering premises which have been introduced through legislation.

No local COVID-19 regulations have included specific restrictions on entering premises.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to highlight the common symptoms of covid-19 in children that differ from those commonly seen in adults.

Evidence suggests that while children can contract COVID-19, it is less often than adults and appears to take a milder course.

The National Health Service has published general COVID-19 advice on symptoms which is available at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/

The NHS has published specific advice for parents and carers of very young children regarding when to seek medical help if the child has a raised temperature. This is available at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/coronavirus-in-children

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he will allow young people of school age to access a covid-19 test in the event that they have (a) gastrointestinal symptoms, (b) sore throat and (c) runny nose, which are commonly found in young people with covid-19.

Children should only have a test if they have any of the three COVID-19 symptoms:

- a high temperature;

- a new continuous cough; and

- a loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste.

Parents and guardians who are unsure about whether to get a test should check the official list of symptoms which are available at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending the period for new mothers to receive (a) free prescriptions and (b) dental care due to the restrictions places on health facilities during the covid-19 lockdown.

The Government has made no such assessment and there are currently no plans to extend the period of maternity exemption certificates.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will review the (a) effect and (b) adequacy of the guidance on the use of electro-convulsive therapy on women.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidelines for the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) based on the most up to date available clinical evidence. NICE has also produced guidance, ‘Depression in adults: recognition and management’, which includes recommendations on when to use of ECT for complex and severe depression. The Department expects commissioners and providers of services to pay due regard to these guidelines. NICE keeps its guidance under regular review


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is tightly regulated under the Mental Health Act 1983 and practitioners should only administer the treatment when all other options have been exhausted. The Mental Health Act 1983: Code of Practice provides statutory guidance on the usage of ECT to ensure patients are treated with dignity and respect.

The Independent Review of the Mental Health Act made 154 recommendations, including proposing further safeguards on the use of ECT. We have committed to publishing a White Paper which will set out the Government’s response to Sir Simon Wessely’s Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983 and pave the way for reform of the Act.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Maternal, Newborn and Infant Clinical Outcome Review Programme's 2019 publication entitled Saving Lives, Improving Mothers' Care, on the elevated risk of maternal death for Black and Asian women.

Analysis of maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths, undertaken by MBRRACE-UK, shows that poor outcomes are much higher for mothers and babies from Black/Black British and Asian/Asian British ethnic groups and women living in the most deprived areas of the country.

Work to reduce health inequalities around maternal and perinatal mortality rates is being led by Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent OBE, Chief Midwifery Officer. This includes understanding why mortality rates are higher, considering evidence about what will reduce mortality rates and taking action to reduce mortality rates. The work is multi-disciplinary and involves a range of stakeholder groups, including users of maternity services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy that ethnic information should be included on death certificates.

The recent Public Health England report ‘Beyond the Data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups’ recommended the mandatory collection of ethnicity data at death certification. How to take this forward is being considered by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) as part of the wider work she is leading to improve the quality of data on ethnic disparities and COVID-19.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to improve maternal mortality rates for Black women.

Analysis of maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths, undertaken by MBRRACE-UK, shows that poor outcomes are much higher for mothers from Black/Black British and Asian/Asian British ethnic groups and women living in the most deprived areas of the country.

Work to reduce health inequalities around maternal mortality rates is being led by Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent OBE, Chief Midwifery Officer. This includes understanding why mortality rates are higher, considering evidence about what will reduce mortality rates and taking action to reduce mortality rates. The work is multi-disciplinary and involves a range of stakeholder groups, including users of maternity services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department uses to assess the suitability of companies for involvement in the NHS test and trace service for covid-19; what contractual obligations those companies have; and how those obligations are monitored.

Guidance on how contracting authorities should respond to COVID-19 was published on 18 March at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0120-responding-to-covid-19

Authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. Available options include direct award due to extreme urgency; direct award due to absence of competition or protection of exclusive rights; call off from an existing framework agreement or dynamic purchasing system; call for competition using a standard procedure with accelerated timescales and extending or modifying a contract during its term.

The Department assesses the suitability of companies against information already held if they are on a Government framework contract or through direct discussions and information exchanges if they are not. Contracts are placed in line with Departmental terms and conditions which include clauses for contract management.

The Department has a contract management function which supports operational contract managers within the business and the Test and Trace contracts follow the same approach.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is using NHS volunteers to help with the covid-19 track and trace programme; and if he will make a statement.

The new NHS Test and Trace service was launched on 28 May across England. 27,000 contact tracing staff have been recruited to support this service with staff being a mix of paid call handlers and health professionals. They are in addition to existing public health experts from Public Health England and local government.

As these roles are professional paid roles, NHS Volunteer Responders are not currently being used to support the programme.

To increase self-isolation compliance, the Test and Trace programme ensures that people who are contacted to self-isolate are aware of the support offered by NHS Volunteer Responders which includes volunteers being able to help with food shopping, medication delivery and check in and chat phone calls.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the continued supply of epilepsy medication in the event that the UK exits the transition period without a trade agreement with the EU.

The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January and is now in a Transition Period until 31 December 2020. During this time, it remains our objective to negotiate a future relationship with the EU and in our respective published negotiating documents, we have both stated objectives to reach an agreement on trade in goods. The UK’s published approach sets out how we want to facilitate trade in medicinal products and support high levels of patient safety.

The Department has well-established procedures to deal with medicine shortages, whatever their cause, and will always work closely with the pharmaceutical industry and National Health Service to help ensure patients continue to have access to the medicines and treatments they need, including epilepsy medication, under all scenarios.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to extend or amend the training of doctors as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Health Education England (HEE) is leading the Future Doctor Programme to support the ambitions of the NHS People Plan and establish a clear view of what the National Health Service, patients and the public require from future doctors. The Programme will identify requirements for reform of medical education and training and will incorporate lessons from the response to COVID-19.

Through the ongoing Annual Review of Competency Progression, HEE is reviewing junior doctor training progress and the impact of COVID-19, to ensure programmes can be amended or extended and any gaps in training addressed where necessary. HEE has also worked with the General Medical Council and Royal Medical Colleges to minimise the need for training extensions due to the impact of cancelled exams.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government has taken through monitoring to ensure that personal protective equipment used in the NHS and social care sector is not manufactured in conditions that breach human rights.

The Government has a robust triage process which ensures that we discard orders that do not meet technical assurance standards, commercial due diligence and checks for risk and fraud.

The Government ensures that the modern slavery clause is in our personal protective equipment contracts and we undertake factory inspections to ensure compliance.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government has taken to ensure that health guidance on covid-19 for people with underlying conditions has been made available in community languages.

Public Health England provides health guidance for the public on households with possible COVID-19 infection and shielding advice for COVID-19 for people with underlying health conditions. This information has been translated into the following languages: Bengali, French, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Simplified Chinese - Mandarin, Traditional Chinese - Cantonese, Urdu and Welsh.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued to care homes on the (a) clinical and (b) other criteria that should be taken into account on whether a resident with symptoms of covid-19 should be taken to hospital for treatment.

Guidance on supporting care home residents who may require hospital care is set out in the ‘Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home’ guidance published on 2 April 2020. This includes assessing the appropriateness of hospitalisation as per the resident’s treatment plan, following infection prevention and control guidelines for patient transport, and informing the receiving healthcare facility that the incoming patient has COVID-19 symptoms.

Our Adult Social Care Action Plan, published on 15 April 2020, confirms that where a care home resident is suffering from more severe COVID-19 symptoms, the individual may need to be admitted to hospital. Decisions should always be made in line with clinical need.

Additionally, on 1 May 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement published a letter: ‘COVID-19 response: Primary care and community health support care home residents.’ The letter reiterates that secondary care providers should accept referrals and admissions from care home residents where clinically appropriate.

This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we will continue to review our guidance in line with the latest scientific advice.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people aged over 70 who had no underlying health conditions have (a) needed hospital treatment, ( b) needed ICU treatment or (c) died as a result of covid-19.

Information on the number of people aged over 70 with no underlying health conditions who have needed hospital or intensive care unit treatment as a result of COVID-19 is not held in the format requested.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) provides monthly data on deaths involving the COVID-19, by age and pre-existing health conditions. These figures include deaths where COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate. For age group 70 and over, 2,445 deaths that occurred in March and April 2020 had no pre-existing health conditions. The ONS defines a pre-existing condition as any condition that either preceded the disease of interest (in this instance, COVID-19) in the sequence of events leading to death, or was a contributory factor in the death, but was not part of the causal sequence.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the maintenance of an adequate provision of paediatric bladder and bowel services during the covid-19 outbreak for people that are (a) subject to protection plans, (b) looked after and (c) that are subject to high levels of professional concern.

Throughout the pandemic the National Health Service has encouraged children, young people and their families to continue accessing services should they need it. The NHS is working to ensure that services continue to be available for patients. This includes access the paediatric bladder and bowel services.

Using the Child Protection Information System (CPIS), NHS England and NHS Improvement can track children who have a protection plan or looked after status. However, it should be noted that CPIS does not have a specific medical diagnosis for bladder or bowel conditions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating funding to Rett UK to enable it to maintain the provision of providing support to people with Rett syndrome.

On 8 April 2020 the Chancellor announced £750 million to support the charity sector in response to COVID-19. This fund comprises three elements:

- £360 million will be allocated by central government to charities in England based on evidence of service need. This will include up to £200 million support for hospices, with the rest going to organisations like St John Ambulance and the Citizens Advice Bureau as well as charities supporting vulnerable children, victims of domestic abuse, or disabled people. The Department of Health and Social Care is working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and HM Treasury to work through which voluntary sector organisations are making an essential contribution to the COVID-19 response and may be eligible for funding;

- £370 million will support charities working with vulnerable people. In England, this support will be provided through the National Lottery Community Fund. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working with the National Lottery Community Fund to develop eligibility, application and assessment criteria for this part of the fund, which will be launched imminently. Applicants will be assessed on the extent to which they meet the objectives of the fund, which are to reduce temporary closures of essential charities and to reduce the burden on the public services, including the National Health Service; and

- The Government will match the public donations to the BBC Big Night In fundraising event, which took place on 23 April, starting with a contribution of at least £20 million to the National Emergencies Trust appeal.

Charities can also access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme; and, they are able to benefit from the three-month VAT deferral scheme. Charity shop premises will benefit from the new enhanced retail rate relief at 100%.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when she plans to publish the Government's response to its consultation on reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

We have listened closely to all those who engaged with our consultation and we plan to publish our response this summer, subject to the Government's COVID-19 response.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of testing all healthcare workers and GPs for covid-19 even if they are not displaying symptoms.

We are now testing all National Health Service workers and patients without symptoms where there is a clinical need. This is in line with NHS England guidance. Used in the correct circumstances, testing of asymptomatic individuals can have a number of benefits, including:

- Developing understanding of prevalence and incidence of infection and how both change over time;

- Exploring key vectors of transmission and effectiveness of public health interventions; and

- Supporting infection control, providing an ability to proactively identify those who are yet to develop COVID-19 symptoms.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care how many student nurses are being used to work on wards caring for patients with covid-19; to what extent hours worked on those wards by student nurses will count towards their required placement hours; and if those student nurses are being recompensed for hours worked beyond their placement requirements.

As of 23 April 2020, 21,287 second and third year student nurses opted to work in the National Health Service during the COVID-19 emergency. These students are starting to be deployed and Health Education England will start to report on the number from the beginning of May 2020.

The hours that students who opt to work on the wards during the emergency period will count towards the required number of placements hours, these students will receive a salary and have automatic NHS pension entitlement at the appropriate band.

Alongside receiving a salary these students will continue to receive their student maintenance loan and NHS Learning Support Fund payments.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what contractual terms his Department has agreed with providers of private hospitals being used for NHS purposes during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the independent sector to increase capacity and resource within the National Health Service, adding around 8,000 beds and 20,000 clinical staff. This will ensure that more facilities are available for patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Under the agreement, the independent sector will be reimbursed at cost.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure pharmacies do not run out of medical supplies as a result of 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.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department used to approve Calea UK Ltd as the supplier of total parenteral nutrition to the NHS.

The criteria used to approve manufacturers is set out in the “guide to good manufacturing practices” and is monitored via inspection processes performed by the Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA). If a company has met these standards, an “authorize to manufacture” is granted. If upon routine re-inspections, the manufacturing processes do not meet the acceptable standard, further actions are taken, as with the case of Calea UK Ltd.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Commercial Medicines Unit (CMU) is responsible for awarding framework agreements for England, in line with procurement regulations, for parenteral nutrition. All suppliers including Calea UK Ltd are required to provide available production capacity, satisfy quality, safety, finance and governance requirements and evidence that they hold a licence with the MHRA and meet its regulatory requirements.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what monitoring his Department undertakes on the compliance of Calea UK Ltd with improvements agreed between the company and the Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority in their provision of Total Parenteral Nutrition to NHS patients.

The Department is in regular dialogue with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and they have advised it continues to work closely with the company to ensure that they make the necessary changes. The MHRA Inspectors have made on-site technical visits, carried out further inspections and its senior management has met with the company on a number of occasions to discuss the improvements which need to be implemented. The MHRA has recently advised that progress is being made and it is currently awaiting the results of a third-party audit, carried out on behalf of the company, which will independently assess the measures implemented to date. Once the MHRA has reviewed the outcome of this audit they anticipate carrying out further inspections to confirm that the company has implemented the necessary changes to bring their aseptic procedures into compliance.

In addition to Calea UK Ltd, there are four commercial operations authorised to provide Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) to the National Health Service. There are a number (approximately 40) of NHS units also authorised by the MHRA for manufacture and supply of TPNs across the NHS.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether Calea UK Ltd is the sole provider of total parenteral nutrition to the NHS.

The Department is in regular dialogue with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and they have advised it continues to work closely with the company to ensure that they make the necessary changes. The MHRA Inspectors have made on-site technical visits, carried out further inspections and its senior management has met with the company on a number of occasions to discuss the improvements which need to be implemented. The MHRA has recently advised that progress is being made and it is currently awaiting the results of a third-party audit, carried out on behalf of the company, which will independently assess the measures implemented to date. Once the MHRA has reviewed the outcome of this audit they anticipate carrying out further inspections to confirm that the company has implemented the necessary changes to bring their aseptic procedures into compliance.

In addition to Calea UK Ltd, there are four commercial operations authorised to provide Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) to the National Health Service. There are a number (approximately 40) of NHS units also authorised by the MHRA for manufacture and supply of TPNs across the NHS.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Health and Social Care, how many people detained at an immigration detention centre were assessed for a mental illness in 2019.

The information is not available in the requested format.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the availability of naloxone for preventing death caused by heroin overdose.

No assessment has been made on the adequacy of the availability of naloxone for preventing death caused by heroin overdose.

Local authorities are responsible for assessing local needs and commissioning drug prevention, treatment and harm reduction services to meet these needs. This includes making sure they have sufficient coverage of naloxone to prevent drug-related deaths.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the trends in the level of heroin-related deaths in (a) the UK and (b) Bristol.

Spending on health care, including drug treatment services is a devolved matter. In England, local authorities are responsible for the commissioning and uptake of drug treatment services. They are funded to do so through the public health grant. In 2019-20, £3.1 billion has been provided for public health services, including drug treatment.

Any death related to drug use is an avoidable tragedy. Heroin-related deaths are rising across the United Kingdom, including in Bristol. This increase is linked to an ageing group of older heroin users with multiple and complex needs and in increasingly poor health. Half of opiate-related deaths occur among those who have never – or have not for several years – been in drug treatment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what level of funding his Department has made available for drug addiction treatment in (a) the UK (b) Bristol.

Spending on health care, including drug treatment services is a devolved matter. In England, local authorities are responsible for the commissioning and uptake of drug treatment services. They are funded to do so through the public health grant. In 2019-20, £3.1 billion has been provided for public health services, including drug treatment.

Any death related to drug use is an avoidable tragedy. Heroin-related deaths are rising across the United Kingdom, including in Bristol. This increase is linked to an ageing group of older heroin users with multiple and complex needs and in increasingly poor health. Half of opiate-related deaths occur among those who have never – or have not for several years – been in drug treatment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the standard and adequacy of covid-19 quarantine arrangements for UK citizens on arrival in specific countries when publishing travel guidance on those countries.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Travel Advice provides information to help British nationals make informed decisions about foreign travel and remains under constant review to ensure it reflects our latest assessment of risks to British nationals. The border entry requirements in overseas destinations are the responsibility of host governments. FCDO Travel Advice pages have an entry requirements section that reflects the current rules at each destination. We encourage British nationals to monitor our travel advice when planning their trip.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what process she is establishing for evacuating from Afghanistan people who have Family Reunion Visas to join relatives with leave to remain in the UK.

We stand by our commitment to help all remaining British nationals, and those Afghans eligible to come to the UK to travel by whatever routes are available. We are clear that the Taliban must ensure safe passage for these people out of Afghanistan and any engagement with them will emphasise this first and foremost. We have been in frequent contact with neighbouring countries and Rapid Deployment Teams (RDT) have been sent to Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to reinforce our Embassy staff to process arrivals from Afghanistan. An RDT also deployed to Doha to help those in transit via Qatar. The Home Office are currently working to develop the eligibility criteria for the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), which will be announced in due course.
Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the reduction in the overall aid budget, what steps he is taking to help ensure that organisations in the UK that are funded by Government to provide development assistance overseas are able to plan their work for the next three years.

We know that aid organisations, like many others, are facing challenges as a result of the pandemic. We will work together with these organisations to work through the implications for them and their work of the temporary reduction to Overseas Development Assistance (ODA). FCDO's planned budget allocations for Financial Year 2021/22 will be published in our Annual Report later this year. FCDO cannot publish multi-year budgets at present as the government has not yet concluded a multi-year Spending Review.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has plans to negotiate a six month tourist visa for travellers from the UK to the EU.

During negotiations with the EU, the Government discussed arrangements for British Citizens travelling to the Schengen Area. Regrettably, the EU consistently maintained that British Citizens will be treated as third-country nationals under the Schengen Borders Code from 1 January 2021. This means that British Citizens are able to travel visa-free for short stays for up to 90 days in a rolling 180-day period. This is the standard length of stay that EU offers to nationals of eligible third countries that offer visa-free travel for EU citizens, in line with existing EU legislation.

British Citizens planning to stay longer will need permission from the relevant Member State(s). This may require applying for a visa and/or permit. Information about travel to Europe is available on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021

The UK's Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU notes that both the UK and EU currently provide for visa-free travel for short-term visits for each other's nationals in accordance with their respective laws. The detail of those arrangements is set by domestic law, reflecting the UK's position as a non-Member State. Negotiations with the EU have concluded and the Government is focused on the smooth, robust and effective implementation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The Government does not typically enter into bilateral agreements on visa-free travel.

The ending of the free movement of persons between the UK and the EU is a consequence of the UK's exit from the EU. The Government made clear that free movement of persons would end once the UK ceased to be a Member State of the EU, and left the EU single market. This fulfilled the Government's commitment to the British public to take back control of our borders and introduce a single, global immigration system.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what provision is being made for UK citizens who are residing overseas and in priority categories for covid-19 vaccination.

We are closely following other countries' plans to roll out vaccines. We are providing information through Travel Advice pages and 'Living In' guides on gov.uk to inform British Nationals of healthcare options available to them and how they can receive a vaccine locally. The UK is playing a leading international role to ensure global access to vaccines. For example we are contributing the equivalent of £330m a year, totalling £1.65bn, for the next five years to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance that provides equitable access to safe and effective vaccines for 190 economies.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what effect reports of human rights violations by Sri Lanka's security forces have on the extent of UK programmes operating in that country.

We are concerned about the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, including instances of harassment, intimidation and surveillance of civil society groups and human rights defenders. The Minister of State for South Asia and Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, has raised these concerns with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. The UK Government made our concerns clear in statements delivered on behalf of the Core Group on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in February, June and September, as well as reiterating our ongoing commitment to justice and accountability for victims of conflict and human rights violations.

Our programmes in Sri Lanka are designed to promote peacebuilding and reconciliation. These include the resettlement of victims of conflict, support to civil society and human rights organisations, and work to build the capacity of the security forces to support vulnerable groups, for example our work on sexual and gender based violence with the Sri Lanka Police Service.

All UK assistance is subject to robust Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) assessments that analyse the potential human rights, international humanitarian law, political and reputational risks of any proposed assistance to ensure that it supports our values and is consistent with our domestic and international human rights obligations.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when his Department next plans to publish the annual report on human rights and democracy abroad.

We intend to publish the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's 2019 Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report before Parliament rises for the summer recess.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department plans to provide repatriation flights for British citizens stranded in Sudan during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has committed up to £75 million to help thousands of British people return home from priority countries where there is the greatest need. We have so far helped 27 British nationals return from Sudan to the UK on three separate commercial charter flights. Through our embassy in Khartoum, officials are in regular contact with those British nationals who have expressed a desire to return to the UK. Our travel advice and social media pages are also regularly updated to ensure that those wishing to return are aware of further developments. We will continue to work to bring British nationals back to the UK where commercial options do not exist, focusing on the most vulnerable. We are still working through future plans, identifying where needs are greatest, and where charter flights will have the greatest impact on vulnerable British nationals overseas.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department plans to provide repatriation flights for British citizens stranded in Panama during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has committed up to £75 million to help thousands of British people return home from priority countries where there is greatest need. As of 30 April, we have brought back more than 21,000 people on 102 flights organised by the Foreign Office from 21 different countries and territories. We have helped 85 British nationals in Panama access commercial repatriation flights, including a group of 46 people who were attending the Tribal Gathering festival. Our Embassy in Panama City has provided domestic transportation, safe passage documentation, and secure access to multiple exceptional departure options.

We will continue working to bring British nationals back to the UK where commercial options do not exist, focusing on the most vulnerable. We are still working through future plans, identifying where needs are greatest, and where charter flights will have the greatest impact on vulnerable British nationals overseas. British Embassy Panama City's Travel Advice and social media channels are updated frequently with information on lockdown measures and departure options, where available. Those affected can contact the Embassy directly by emailing BEPanama.CV@fco.gov.uk.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many British citizens are waiting to be allocated a repatriation flight from India; and what steps his Department is taking to secure sufficient repatriation flights for British citizens.

Repatriations from India is one of our largest Covid-19 repatriation operations, based on the number of Britons there and the absence of commercial options. The scale of the challenge is immense. As all of India is under lockdown, we continue to engage with state authorities to enable British Nationals (BN) to reach airports.

As of 5 May, we have chartered 52 flights from 11 Indian cities including Delhi, Goa, Mumbai and others in Punjab, Gujarat and Bengal. Over 12,000 people have returned home on UK charter flights and we continue to work day and night to return more on daily flights from across India. The UK Government has arranged a fifth round of special charter flights departing from Amritsar from 5 May to 11 May.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in Cyprus on a pardon for the woman convicted of lying to police following allegations of rape in Ayia Napa on 17 July 2019; and if he will make a statement.

Whilst I am unable to go into the details of the case I can confirm that consular staff continue to provide assistance to the family.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the cost of taxi trips for care home staff that were paid for by the Infection Control Grant are treated by HMRC as a benefit in kind for employees and so are taxable; and if he will instruct HMRC to publish updated guidance on that matter.

The provision or reimbursement of the costs of taxis, or similar road transport, for travel between an employee’s home and workplace will not be taxed if all the following conditions are met:
  • the employee has to work later than usual, and until at least 9pm,
  • this happens irregularly,
  • by the time the employee finishes work, either public transport has stopped, or it would not be reasonable to expect them to use public transport.

Where the employer funds the provision or reimbursement of costs of transport using the Infection Control Grant, the same conditions apply.

Where the conditions are not met, the provision of transport or reimbursement of the costs of transport to employees for travel between the employee’s home and workplace will be taxable.

HMRC updated its guidance on paying or refunding transport costs during coronavirus (COVID-19) on 23 March 2021: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-treat-certain-expenses-and-benefits-provided-to-employees-during-coronavirus-covid-19#paying-or-refunding-transport-costs

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to provide support for people who have lost money in the Premier FX collapse.

Premier FX, an authorised payment institution, was placed into administration in August 2018 on the application of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and subsequently entered insolvency.

An FCA investigation, which reported in February 2021, found that Premier FX had misled its customers by informing them that it was able to hold their funds indefinitely, that their funds would be held in secure, segregated client accounts and that their funds would be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. As a result, the FCA has publicly censured Premier FX for breaches of the Payment Services Regulations. The FCA continues to investigate whether there were breaches of its rules by other parties and, if so, will take action, including steps to recover redress for any breaches that may have caused of contributed to losses from customers.

The Government has great sympathy for the creditors of Premier FX and encourages them to continue to engage with the insolvency process.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will review the level of VAT levied on the Cycle to Work scheme following the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

There are no current plans to change the VAT rate on the Cycle to Work Scheme. VAT registered businesses are normally able to reclaim any VAT incurred on the purchase of bicycles and safety equipment provided to their employees under the scheme.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a government-backed insurance scheme for festivals and events.

On 22nd February, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England, including an ambition to lift restrictions on large events in Step 4, subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme.

Officials are considering the most appropriate way to support the events sector to safely reopen, informed by the findings of the research programme in the Spring.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what proportion of people who have benefitted from stamp duty relief for first time buyers have been women in each year since the introduction of that relief.

HM Revenue & Customs do not directly hold information on the sex or gender of first-time buyers, as this information is not a mandatory requirement for the independent calculation of the amount of Stamp Duty Land Tax liable on the purchase of a property.
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 22 February 2021 to Question 153293, on Buildings: Insulation, what additional funding the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish governments will receive through the Barnett formula as a result of the £3.5 billion announced on 10 February 2021 for the removal of unsafe cladding on buildings over 18 metres.

The Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government made an oral statement to the House of Commons on building safety on 10 February 2021.

The Barnett formula is applied to changes in departmental funding. Therefore, the level of Barnett will be confirmed at future fiscal events and spending reviews when there are changes to the level of funding for MHCLG.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
17th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of retaining the Museums and Galleries Exhibitions Tax Relief sunset clause beyond its current expiration date of April 2022.

Since the Museums and Galleries Exhibitions Tax Relief (MGETR) was introduced in 2017, the Government has provided a total of £20 million of support to 1,345 exhibitions.

The Government has committed to reviewing MGETR before its expiry in 2022. Further information will be provided in due course.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the announcement of 10 February 2021, Government to bring an end to unsafe cladding with multi-billion pound intervention, what the Barnett consequentials are from that announcement of funding.

The Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government made an oral statement to the House of Commons on building safety on 10 February 2021.

The devolved administrations will receive additional funding through the Barnett formula at future fiscal events and spending reviews, except where new departmental spending is funded by an England-only levy. The devolved administrations can implement their own levies should they choose to do so.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment the Government has made of the effect of the UK's withdrawal from the European Customs Union on businesses in the UK that import goods from third countries via the EU.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) ensures there will be zero tariffs or quotas on trade between the UK and the EU, where goods meet the relevant rules of origin, and also includes provisions to facilitate trade and address non-tariff barriers. At the same time, it takes the UK out of the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market and enables the UK to develop an independent trade policy and take full advantage of the new international trading opportunities available.

Rules of origin are a standard feature of trade agreements and serve to protect UK industry from unfair competition by ensuring that products from third countries cannot unduly benefit from the TCA. The rules of origin in the TCA were developed in close consultation with stakeholders to reflect the needs of UK-EU supply chains.

The Government has always been clear that leaving the Single Market and Customs Union will result in new customs processes for businesses trading with the EU. There will also necessarily be some circumstances where goods do not satisfy rules of origin requirements, including where products contain significant inputs from countries outside the UK or EU. The Government has published detailed guidance on rules of origin in the TCA and is working with businesses and trade associations to ensure that businesses understand any new requirements.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will negotiate with the EU to ensure that businesses in the UK importing goods from the EU which originate from non-EU countries do not have to pay duty if the goods have had the duty paid in the EU.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) ensures there will be zero tariffs or quotas on trade between the UK and the EU, where goods meet the relevant rules of origin, and also includes provisions to facilitate trade and address non-tariff barriers. At the same time, it takes the UK out of the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market and enables the UK to develop an independent trade policy and take full advantage of the new international trading opportunities available.

Rules of origin are a standard feature of trade agreements and serve to protect UK industry from unfair competition by ensuring that products from third countries cannot unduly benefit from the TCA. The rules of origin in the TCA were developed in close consultation with stakeholders to reflect the needs of UK-EU supply chains.

The Government has always been clear that leaving the Single Market and Customs Union will result in new customs processes for businesses trading with the EU. There will also necessarily be some circumstances where goods do not satisfy rules of origin requirements, including where products contain significant inputs from countries outside the UK or EU. The Government has published detailed guidance on rules of origin in the TCA and is working with businesses and trade associations to ensure that businesses understand any new requirements.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure lenders extend the repayment period for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans from six to 10 years in the event that such requests are made by borrowers.

As part of the Winter Economy Plan, the Chancellor announced our intention to allow lenders to extend the repayment period for CBILS loans where this is needed, to a maximum of 10 years. Since then, we have worked at pace alongside BEIS and the British Business Bank to implement this policy, in line with EU State Aid rules. I can confirm that the British Business Bank has now begun updating scheme documentation with lenders to allow for the extension of a CBILS facility in this way – this process is expected to complete shortly.

I should be clear that CBILS term extensions will be offered at the discretion of lenders, unlike the “Pay As You Grow” options for Bounce Back loans. Extensions will be limited to those borrowers that lenders assess are in difficulty and will benefit from the extension, and only for the duration required, meaning that lenders may offer an extension to 7 years, for example, rather than the maximum 10 years allowed.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of owner-occupiers of residential properties who have deferred mortgage payments during the covid-19 outbreak who (a) have received payments through the (i) Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and (ii) Self- Employed Income Support Scheme, (b) have not received payments through either of those schemes and are not claiming benefits, (c) have not received payments through either of those schemes and are not eligible for benefits and (d) are still in paid work.

The Government announced the availability of the 3-month payment holiday in March. Since then over 2 million mortgages have been granted a payment holiday. The Government does not hold data regarding the employment status of those borrowers that have taken a payment holiday.

So far, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has helped 1.2 million employers across the UK furlough 9.6 million jobs, protecting people’s livelihoods (as at midnight 16 August 2020). The value of the scheme is £35.4bn.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of Exchequer, what discussions he has had with representatives of the mortgage sector on the availability to first-time buyers of mortgages requiring a minimum deposit of (a) 10 per cent, (b) 15 per cent and (c) 20 per cent.

The Chancellor and I are in regular discussions with mortgage lenders regarding the availability of competitive mortgage products on the market (including high loan-to-value mortgages).

There has been a reduction in the number of products at all loan-to-value (LTV) levels as lenders have focused resources towards their existing customers requiring support. While this has limited the availability of higher LTV lending some products do remain available, and overall mortgage lending is recovering, with the number of mortgage approvals approaching pre-Covid levels.

Ultimately the availability of mortgage products are commercial decisions and lenders make decisions on their own risk appetite, considering factors such as market conditions and the funding they possess.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing additional support to wet-led pubs based in town centres that will not benefit from the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and who have reduced revenues as a result of people working from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

The hospitality sector, including wet-led pubs, continues to have access to a range of government support measures including, but not limited to:

  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England, saving around 350,000 ratepayers a combined £10bn.
  • A VAT deferral for up to 12 months
  • Measures to make it easier to claim back duty on spoiled beer, wine and cider.
  • A business grant worth £10,000 or £25,000 for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which has supported 1.4 million jobs across the hospitality sector and which runs until October
  • Protection for commercial leaseholders against automatic forfeiture for non-payment until September 30, 2020
  • Access to affordable, government backed finance through Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBLS) for and larger firms, along with the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises.

In addition to this unprecedented package of support for businesses, the Summer Economic Update announced a VAT rate reduction from 20% to 5% - worth £4.1bn – for hospitality, accommodation and attractions, and the £500m Eat Out to Help Out scheme which entitles every diner to a 50% discount of up to £10 per head on their meal, at any participating restaurant, café or pub on Monday to Wednesdays throughout August. Over 85% of pubs serve food and will benefit from both schemes. All pubs, including wet-led pubs will also benefit from the proposed regulatory easements in the Business and Planning Bill, which will make it easier, quicker and cheaper to set up furniture in adjacent outdoor spaces and to automatically convert all current licenses to allow pubs to sell off-licence.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with representatives of the insurance industry on the payment of business interruption insurance for business operations in relation to the covid-19 restrictions.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector to understand and influence its response to this unprecedented situation. The Government is also working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ensure that the rules are being upheld during this crisis.

For those businesses which have an appropriate policy that covers government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable diseases, the Government’s social distancing instructions are sufficient to allow businesses to make a claim against their insurance, provided the other terms and conditions in their policy are met.

Furthermore, to resolve uncertainty for customers making business interruption claims, on 1 May the FCA outlined its intention to seek a court declaration, on an agreed and urgent basis, for a selected number of key issues. Subsequently on 1 June, the FCA announced the policy wordings that would be tested in the court action and insurers it had invited to participate directly, along with an initial list of policy wordings and insurers that will potentially be impacted by the Court’s decision on the representative sample. The FCA expects to publish a final list of all the relevant insurers and policies that may have impacted wordings shortly, and expects a court hearing to take place in late July.

However, most businesses have not purchased insurance that covers losses from COVID-19. Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.

The Government recognises that businesses who do not have appropriate insurance cover will require support from elsewhere. As such, businesses should explore the full package of support set out by the Chancellor, which includes measures such as business rates holidays, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and wage support.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with representatives of the insurance industry on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on small training colleges that provide industry-specific qualifications.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector to understand and influence its response to this unprecedented situation. The Government is also working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ensure that the rules are being upheld during this crisis.

For those businesses which have an appropriate policy that covers government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable diseases, the Government’s social distancing instructions are sufficient to allow businesses to make a claim against their insurance, provided the other terms and conditions in their policy are met.

Furthermore, to resolve uncertainty for customers making business interruption claims, on 1 May the FCA outlined its intention to seek a court declaration, on an agreed and urgent basis, for a selected number of key issues. Subsequently on 1 June, the FCA announced the policy wordings that would be tested in the court action and insurers it had invited to participate directly, along with an initial list of policy wordings and insurers that will potentially be impacted by the Court’s decision on the representative sample. The FCA expects to publish a final list of all the relevant insurers and policies that may have impacted wordings shortly, and expects a court hearing to take place in late July.

However, most businesses have not purchased insurance that covers losses from COVID-19. Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.

The Government recognises that businesses who do not have appropriate insurance cover will require support from elsewhere. As such, businesses should explore the full package of support set out by the Chancellor, which includes measures such as business rates holidays, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and wage support.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether rubber gloves manufactured by Malaysian company Top Glove have been imported into the UK in the last six months.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are responsible for the collection and publication of data on UK imports and exports of goods to and from the UK. HMRC release this information monthly, as a National Statistic: the Overseas Trade in Goods Statistics.

The trade data collected does not enable HMRC to determine the manufacturer of goods.

There is aggregated trade data available for the goods and the periods requested on the uktradeinfo.com website, under ‘Build your own data tables’. The site also contains a ‘Help’ function with information on how to extract trade data.

Trade data relating to the value of rubber gloves imported from Malaysia can be searched for using commodity codes 4015110000 for surgical gloves and 4015190000 for other rubber gloves. These data sets may include gloves manufactured outside but imported through Malaysia, and exclude gloves manufactured within Malaysia but imported indirectly through other countries.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Answer of 29 November 2017 to Question 115096 on Revenue and Customs: Disability, what recent assessment he has made of whether HMRC's Regional Centre in 3 Glass Wharf, Bristol meets the 2018 edition of British Standard 8300.

HMRC aim to deliver excellent workplaces for all of their staff. This means allowing people to access and work in their buildings confidently, independently and with dignity regardless of their age, disability, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

3 Glass Wharf, Bristol meets building regulations required by law. Building Standard 8300 (BS8300) brings together a further range of inclusive design guidance, with the previous 2009 edition being revised in 2018. The 2009 version sought provision well beyond those required by building regulations, with the 2018 edition going still further. Planning permission was granted and construction commenced before the 2018 revision.

Standards are considered voluntary guidance, without the force of law, and are not retrospective. However, HMRC have decided to go further than what is required by law and have additional reasonable work planned at 3 Glass Wharf, beyond the 2009 version, in relation to the 2018 edition of BS8300.

HMRC have a number of policies and processes in place that are designed to ensure the needs of colleagues requiring adjustments are met. Health Related Special Leave is one element. As a person’s health and medical conditions are sensitive, HMRC’s HR systems do not record the reason for granting special leave. The reason for an individual’s Special Leave is only recorded by their manager and is not collated as part of a data set.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Answer of 29 November 2017 to Question 115096 on Revenue and Customs: Disability, how many HMRC staff have been granted Health Related Special Leave because they are awaiting reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 to be made at the HMRC Regional Centre in 3 Glass Wharf, Bristol.

HMRC aim to deliver excellent workplaces for all of their staff. This means allowing people to access and work in their buildings confidently, independently and with dignity regardless of their age, disability, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

3 Glass Wharf, Bristol meets building regulations required by law. Building Standard 8300 (BS8300) brings together a further range of inclusive design guidance, with the previous 2009 edition being revised in 2018. The 2009 version sought provision well beyond those required by building regulations, with the 2018 edition going still further. Planning permission was granted and construction commenced before the 2018 revision.

Standards are considered voluntary guidance, without the force of law, and are not retrospective. However, HMRC have decided to go further than what is required by law and have additional reasonable work planned at 3 Glass Wharf, beyond the 2009 version, in relation to the 2018 edition of BS8300.

HMRC have a number of policies and processes in place that are designed to ensure the needs of colleagues requiring adjustments are met. Health Related Special Leave is one element. As a person’s health and medical conditions are sensitive, HMRC’s HR systems do not record the reason for granting special leave. The reason for an individual’s Special Leave is only recorded by their manager and is not collated as part of a data set.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Answer of 29 November 2017 to Question 115096 on Revenue and Customs: Disability, how many HMRC staff have been granted Health Related Special Leave (formerly Disability Adjustment Leave) because they are awaiting reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 to be made at the HMRC Regional Centre in 3 Glass Wharf, Bristol, since September 2019.

HMRC aim to deliver excellent workplaces for all of their staff. This means allowing people to access and work in their buildings confidently, independently and with dignity regardless of their age, disability, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

3 Glass Wharf, Bristol meets building regulations required by law. Building Standard 8300 (BS8300) brings together a further range of inclusive design guidance, with the previous 2009 edition being revised in 2018. The 2009 version sought provision well beyond those required by building regulations, with the 2018 edition going still further. Planning permission was granted and construction commenced before the 2018 revision.

Standards are considered voluntary guidance, without the force of law, and are not retrospective. However, HMRC have decided to go further than what is required by law and have additional reasonable work planned at 3 Glass Wharf, beyond the 2009 version, in relation to the 2018 edition of BS8300.

HMRC have a number of policies and processes in place that are designed to ensure the needs of colleagues requiring adjustments are met. Health Related Special Leave is one element. As a person’s health and medical conditions are sensitive, HMRC’s HR systems do not record the reason for granting special leave. The reason for an individual’s Special Leave is only recorded by their manager and is not collated as part of a data set.

12th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether self-employed people who have No Recourse To Public Funds as an immigration condition are able to apply for the Self-employed Income Support Scheme.

The revised guidance published alongside the legal direction is clear that grants under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) are not counted as ‘access to public funds’ and that taxpayers on all categories of visa can claim the SEISS grant. This treatment of SEISS grant payments aligns with that of payments from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the insurance industry on compensating (a) hospitality, (b) events and (c) entertainment businesses for lost business resulting from the outbreak of covid 19.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector about its contribution to handling this unprecedented situation.

In addition, the Chancellor has made clear that, for those businesses which have an appropriate policy that covers pandemics, government’s medical advice of 16th March is sufficient to allow businesses to make a claim against their insurance, provided the other terms and conditions in their policy are met.

The FCA’s rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and promptly; provide reasonable guidance to help a policyholder make a claim, and appropriate information on its progress; not reject a claim unreasonably; and settle claims promptly once settlement terms are agreed.

However, most businesses have not purchased insurance that covers pandemic related losses. As such, any affected businesses should note the government’s full package of support.

The Chancellor has announced two packages to support the people and businesses of the UK. A three-point plan providing £12 billion of support for public services, individuals and businesses whose finances are affected by the outbreak, and a package to provide further support for businesses and individuals totalling £350bn.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to his Department's news story entitled, Off-payroll review launched, published on 7 January 2020, what the timeframe is for the publication of the findings of that review.

The Government launched a review of reform to the off-payroll working rules on 7 January 2020 to determine if there were further steps that could be taken to ensure the smooth and successful implementation of the reform, which will come into force in April 2020.

The review of the off-payroll working reform has now concluded and the outcome of the review was published on 27 February 2020.

27th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) sole traders and (b) people working in the gig economy are not adversely affected by changes to IR35 legislation.

The IR35 rules were introduced in 2000. They only apply to individuals who are working like employees under the current employment status tests, and do not apply to the self-employed or sole traders.

The Government will introduce a legal requirement for clients to implement a status disagreement process to allow individuals to challenge their status determination directly and in real time. This right is an additional statutory layer of protection for off-payroll workers.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that people on low incomes have local access to a free-to-use ATM.

The Government is committed to supporting digital payments whilst safeguarding access to cash for those who need it. To support this, the Government has launched the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy (JACS) Group – which brings together the Payment Systems Regulator, Financial Conduct Authority and Bank of England – to ensure a comprehensive oversight of the UK’s overall cash infrastructure.

The Government expects industry to play a crucial role in protecting access to cash. As part of its Financial Inclusion Programme, LINK, the scheme that runs the UK’s largest ATM network, has introduced premiums of up to £2.75 per transaction that support ATMs in the most deprived areas of the UK and runs an initiative for local areas to request an ATM.

The Government-established Payment Systems Regulator regulates LINK, and is holding LINK to account over their commitments to maintain the broad geographic spread ATMs that are free at the point of use.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has plans to update birth certificates to enable parents of the same sex to register the birth of their child.

The Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953, and associated regulations, prescribes the information to be recorded in a birth entry in England and Wales. The information collected during a birth registration relates to the event as it happened at the time the child was born and includes information about the mother who has carried and given birth to them.

Same-sex female couples can register their child’s birth to include both their names, subject to certain conditions being met. There are no current plans to change the information relating to parents recorded in a birth entry in England and Wales, however same-sex male couples can obtain a parental order from the court to be registered as parents.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many criminals and terrorists have been identified as applying for the support available to victims of modern slavery since 2016.

There is more information on referrals available at: Modern Slavery: National Referral Mechanism and Duty to Notify statistics UK, end of year summary 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

There is also information available on issues (including modern slavery) raised by people in immigration detention available at: Issues raised by people facing return in immigration detention - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2021 to Question 20434, what impact assessment she has conducted on people being unable to retrospectively amend their birth certificates to include two same-sex parents.

The birth certificate records the facts as collected at the time of registration.

The General Register Office has not therefore conducted an impact assessment on people being unable to retrospectively amend their birth certificates

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to enable birth certificates to be retrospectively amended to include both parents who are of the same sex; and if she will make a statement.

There are no current plans to assess the merits of retrospectively amending birth certificates for this purpose.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of amending the Licensing Act 2003 guidance in order to make a licence for the sale of alcohol contingent on the requirement for the licensee to have a policy on responding to risk of or actual sexual misconduct and assault in premises.

The Government is committed to tackling and preventing all forms of sexual misconduct and assault.

Under the Licensing Act 2003, all licensed premises must comply with four statutory licensing objectives, one of which is the prevention of crime and disorder. Where there are concerns about an application for a licence arising from the way the premises propose to operate, the customers it will attract, or the incidence of sexual offences in its area, a licensing committee may decide to place conditions on its licence requiring measures to prevent sexual offending.

We continue to focus on establishing effective partnerships between the police, local authorities, local partnership schemes and businesses to take effective actions against alcohol-related crime in the night time economy and on licensed premises.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration findings in his inspection of the use of contingency hotel accommodation and from site visits to Penally Camp and Napier Barracks of 15 February 2021, what mental health support is being provided to asylum seekers who are or were residents of either of those sites.

The use of contingency accommodation continues to be essential as we work to fix the broken asylum system. We must ensure our statutory obligations can always be met and ensuring we treat all asylum seekers humanely and with the dignity they deserve.

Penally provided emergency capacity in response to pressures put on the asylum estate during the pandemic. As those pressures have eased, we have decided not to extend emergency planning permission beyond six months and close Penally. Napier Barracks will remain in operation in accordance with current needs.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration announced an inspection of contingency asylum accommodation on 25 January 2021. The department acknowledges the ICIBI’s decision to publish on 8 March the initial findings from site visits to Napier Barracks and Penally.

The ICIBI’s inspection continues and a full inspection report will follow. The duration of the inspection is a matter for the ICIBI and upon its conclusion, following standard procedure set out in the UK Borders Act 2007, the Department will issue a formal response alongside the inspection report as it is laid before Parliament and published on Gov.UK.

Napier is being used to accommodate single, adult males. All asylum seekers are subject to an initial screening process by UK Visas and Immigration, which includes security and safeguarding checks and we are taking great care to ensure those with identified vulnerabilities are moved to appropriate accommodation. We will also take swift action in relation to any new safeguarding issues as they emerge (for example the identification of previously unknown vulnerabilities). Further checks are made, to confirm suitability for transfer to the accommodation, before individuals are moved to sites and asylum seekers will be briefed by the accommodation provider in advance of their move.

We work closely with our accommodation providers to ensure all asylum seekers in supported accommodation are aware of, and have access to, Migrant Help’s helpline. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, if individuals need help, advice or guidance, including signposting to relevant mental and medical health services.

Regular welfare checks are conducted on individuals, including behavioural monitoring of those who show signs of vulnerability, and where appropriate safeguarding referrals are made to relevant bodies.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration's key findings from site visits to Penally Camp and Napier Barracks on 15 February 2021, what the safeguarding procedures and requirements are for housing asylum seekers in contingency accommodation.

The use of contingency accommodation continues to be essential as we work to fix the broken asylum system. We must ensure our statutory obligations can always be met and ensuring we treat all asylum seekers humanely and with the dignity they deserve.

Penally provided emergency capacity in response to pressures put on the asylum estate during the pandemic. As those pressures have eased, we have decided not to extend emergency planning permission beyond six months and close Penally. Napier Barracks will remain in operation in accordance with current needs.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration announced an inspection of contingency asylum accommodation on 25 January 2021. The department acknowledges the ICIBI’s decision to publish on 8 March the initial findings from site visits to Napier Barracks and Penally.

The ICIBI’s inspection continues and a full inspection report will follow. The duration of the inspection is a matter for the ICIBI and upon its conclusion, following standard procedure set out in the UK Borders Act 2007, the Department will issue a formal response alongside the inspection report as it is laid before Parliament and published on Gov.UK.

Napier is being used to accommodate single, adult males. All asylum seekers are subject to an initial screening process by UK Visas and Immigration, which includes security and safeguarding checks and we are taking great care to ensure those with identified vulnerabilities are moved to appropriate accommodation. We will also take swift action in relation to any new safeguarding issues as they emerge (for example the identification of previously unknown vulnerabilities). Further checks are made, to confirm suitability for transfer to the accommodation, before individuals are moved to sites and asylum seekers will be briefed by the accommodation provider in advance of their move.

We work closely with our accommodation providers to ensure all asylum seekers in supported accommodation are aware of, and have access to, Migrant Help’s helpline. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, if individuals need help, advice or guidance, including signposting to relevant mental and medical health services.

Regular welfare checks are conducted on individuals, including behavioural monitoring of those who show signs of vulnerability, and where appropriate safeguarding referrals are made to relevant bodies.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress her Department has made in ending the use of former barracks to accommodate people seeking asylum.

The use of contingency accommodation continues to be essential as we work to fix the broken asylum system. We must ensure our statutory obligations can always be met and ensuring we treat all asylum seekers humanely and with the dignity they deserve.

Penally provided emergency capacity in response to pressures put on the asylum estate during the pandemic. As those pressures have eased, we have decided not to extend emergency planning permission beyond six months and close Penally. Napier Barracks will remain in operation in accordance with current needs.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration announced an inspection of contingency asylum accommodation on 25 January 2021. The department acknowledges the ICIBI’s decision to publish on 8 March the initial findings from site visits to Napier Barracks and Penally.

The ICIBI’s inspection continues and a full inspection report will follow. The duration of the inspection is a matter for the ICIBI and upon its conclusion, following standard procedure set out in the UK Borders Act 2007, the Department will issue a formal response alongside the inspection report as it is laid before Parliament and published on Gov.UK.

Napier is being used to accommodate single, adult males. All asylum seekers are subject to an initial screening process by UK Visas and Immigration, which includes security and safeguarding checks and we are taking great care to ensure those with identified vulnerabilities are moved to appropriate accommodation. We will also take swift action in relation to any new safeguarding issues as they emerge (for example the identification of previously unknown vulnerabilities). Further checks are made, to confirm suitability for transfer to the accommodation, before individuals are moved to sites and asylum seekers will be briefed by the accommodation provider in advance of their move.

We work closely with our accommodation providers to ensure all asylum seekers in supported accommodation are aware of, and have access to, Migrant Help’s helpline. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, if individuals need help, advice or guidance, including signposting to relevant mental and medical health services.

Regular welfare checks are conducted on individuals, including behavioural monitoring of those who show signs of vulnerability, and where appropriate safeguarding referrals are made to relevant bodies.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent estimate her Department has made of the number of applicants who are unable to book a free biometric residence permit enrolment appointment; and what plans her Department has to increase the provision of those appointments.

UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) centres are run by Sopra Steria Ltd (SSL) on behalf of UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI).

The Home Office produces intake forecasts for immigration applications which are used to inform business and appointment capacity planning with SSL; forecasts vary across the year and our service is designed to respond and meet fluctuating demand. As part of UKVI’s ongoing operational forecasting activities we regularly review and refresh the number of applications we expect from all routes which in turn inform UKVCAS capacity planning.

Demand for appointments to enrol biometrics at a UKVCAS service point is not wholly predictable and is dependent on customer behaviour. All chargeable appointments are optional. Estimates of how many customers are unable to book a free appointment is not possible; many of our customers choose to book chargeable appointments for reasons of convenience, cost and time benefits which enhanced service points or out of hours appointments provide alongside additional services they are able to access within a chargeable appointment, such as document checking and scanning, which are not included with free appointments.

UKVCAS appointment levels have now returned to above the levels they were in March 2020, prior to COVID-19 disruption. Although UKVCAS are still currently experiencing very high demand for all appointments and the ongoing impact of measures to maintain COVID-secure facilities is limiting the ability to quickly expand capacity. Nevertheless, appointment capacity, including free appointment capacity will continue to increase over the coming months.

Work is ongoing with SSL not only to ensure enough free appointments are available, but also to ensure family groups have access to them, and access is fairly balanced across the four nations. SSL have successfully recently trialled the introduction of group booking slots at some of the core service points, including Cardiff which is the closest core site to Bristol, and are now in the process of increasing the number of group slots at other sites.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 10 February 2021 to Question 148830, on Immigrants: Coronavirus, whether in-person reporting requirements at Patchway Police Centre in Bristol have been changed in response to public heath considerations relating to the outbreak of the Brazilian variant of covid-19 in South Gloucestershire.

Initially, there was a temporary suspension on in-person reporting for those who would otherwise be required to report, which was applied from 17 March 2020. Following the introduction of large-scale testing and a reduction in the rates of transmission, and in light of the scientific advice as to the measures that could be implemented to enhance public safety, reporting centres then re-opened, initially through two pilot schemes commencing on 20 July 2020, and then through other centres. COVID-19 risk assessments and safe systems of working were introduced, together with other safety measures, including, where appropriate, an adjustment of the time slots for reporting.

As a result of further national restrictions in January 2021 and November, the Home Office’s approach was reviewed and revised, as reflected in the latest COVID-19 interim guidance, “Reporting and offender management – interim guidance” (Version 2.0, 25 January 2021).

Significant changes have been made to bail conditions, and in particular to reporting requirements, in light of the evolution of the current pandemic. We continue to monitor closely and react accordingly to the government’s response to COVID-19 variants and any future local or national restrictions implemented as a result. At present we remain in a state of national lockdown, and our current approach to in-person reporting remains appropriate for this level of restriction on movement.

Currently only individuals within four priority cohorts are expected to report in-person at reporting centres, or in some locations Police stations, these groups are categorised as:

  • foreign national offenders (FNOs)/High Harm/Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) or other security cases. Persons who are on Restricted Leave.
  • those who have shown a willingness to return home voluntarily and where reporting will aid the process of return.
  • those who have not returned home and who have not engaged with our Voluntary Return programme – including delivery of a Detention on Reporting (DOR).
  • those identified for removal.

The position is kept under on-going review, having regard to public health considerations as well as the public interest in the maintenance of immigration control.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the timescale is for the closure of initial asylum hotel accommodation; and what the timescale of the notice period will be for residents and local authorities to be notified of such closures.

Increased asylum intake, alongside measures taken to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, has meant that the Home Office has had to deal with growing demand for asylum support and accommodation services.

We recognise that hotel accommodation, as a method to deal with increased intake and temporary COVID measures can only ever be a short-term solution to meet our immediate statutory need.

We have set up a recovery programme to work with our accommodation providers to procure sufficient dispersed accommodation so that we can eliminate the use of hotel contingency accommodation. Our accommodation providers are also working to maximise procurement opportunities throughout the UK. However, we can only do that where Local Authorities agree to us procuring accommodation.

We remain committed to working collaboratively with communities and stakeholders and are doing our utmost to ensure those affected by decisions regarding asylum accommodation are properly consulted, despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to extend the provision of free biometric enrolment services to include a Core Service Point in the City of Bristol.

UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) centres are run by Sopra Steria Ltd (SSL) on behalf of UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI). SSL operate a core service point, offering free appointments in Cardiff Bay, approximately one hour away from Bristol. SSL also operate an enhanced service point in Bristol, the Kingswood enhanced service point, where customers can choose to enrol their biometrics and avail themselves of the other services included within the additional charge.

It is not economically viable to have a core UKVCAS site offering free appointments in every region. When the UKVCAS service was incepted, SSL undertook market research to identify service point locations; they found c.62% of customers will, on average, have to travel less than 25 miles to visit a core service centre, with 78% travelling less than 50 miles.

Whilst there are no immediate plans to open a UKVCAS core site in Bristol, service point locations are not fixed and are designed to evolve with demand. Where SSL find there is excess demand for appointments, they work to increase capacity at existing sites and open new sites in the region to ensure all customers are able to book an appointment. Since the start of the contract, several new sites have opened to meet customer demand.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 10 February 2021 to Question 148830, on Immigrants: Coronavirus, how many and what proportion of the reporting population in Bristol are required to report at Patchway Police Centre in Bristol.

Initially, there was a temporary suspension on in-person reporting for those who would otherwise be required to report, which was applied from 17 March 2020. Following the introduction of large-scale testing and a reduction in the rates of transmission, and in light of the scientific advice as to the measures that could be implemented to enhance public safety, reporting centres then re-opened, initially through two pilot schemes commencing on 20 July 2020, and then through other centres. COVID-19 risk assessments and safe systems of working were introduced, together with other safety measures, including, where appropriate, an adjustment of the time slots for reporting.

Following the introduction of further national restrictions in November 2020 and January 2021, the Home Office’s approach was reviewed and revised again, as reflected in the latest COVID-19 interim guidance, “Reporting and offender management – interim guidance” (Version 2.0, 25 January 2021).

Significant changes have been made to bail conditions, and in particular to reporting requirements, in light of the evolution of the current pandemic. We do not routinely publish the information you have requested, however, based on recent data only a very small percentage of the reporting population are currently required to report in-person as a condition of bail at this time.

Currently only individuals within four priority cohorts are expected to report in-person at reporting centres, or in some locations Police stations, these groups are categorised as:

  • foreign national offenders (FNOs)/High Harm/Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) or other security cases. Persons who are on Restricted Leave.
  • those who have shown a willingness to return home voluntarily and where reporting will aid the process of return.
  • those who have not returned home and who have not engaged with our Voluntary Return programme – including delivery of a Detention on Reporting (DOR).
  • those identified for removal.

The position is kept under on-going review, having regard to public health considerations as well as the public interest in the maintenance of immigration control.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January to Question 142016 on Immigrants: Coronavirus, what comparative assessment the Government has made of the effect on the transmission rate of covid-19 of the decision to (a) to continue in-person reporting of migrants to immigration reporting centres during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021 and (b) the decision to close immigration reporting centres during the covid-19 lockdown announced in March 2020; and what assessment she has made of the effect of those decisions on migrants.

Initially, there was a temporary suspension on in-person reporting for those who would otherwise be required to report, which was applied from 17 March 2020. Following the introduction of large-scale testing and a reduction in the rates of transmission, and in light of the scientific advice as to the measures that could be implemented to enhance public safety, reporting centres then re-opened, initially through two pilot schemes commencing on 20 July 2020, and then through other centres. COVID-19 risk assessments and safe systems of working were introduced, together with other safety measures, including, where appropriate, an adjustment of the time slots for reporting.

Following the introduction of further national restrictions in November 2020 and January 2021, the Home Office’s approach was reviewed and revised again, as reflected in the latest COVID-19 interim guidance, “Reporting and offender management – interim guidance” (Version 2.0, 25 January 2021)

Significant changes have been made to bail conditions, and in particular to reporting requirements, in light of the evolution of the current pandemic. Based on recent data, only a very small percentage of the reporting population are currently required to report in-person as a condition of bail at this time

The position is kept under on-going review, having regard to public health considerations as well as the public interest in the maintenance of immigration control.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2021 to Question 142010, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of moving all in-person reporting to immigration reporting centres to electronic for the duration of the national covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

On Tuesday 17 March 2020, following Public Health and Government guidance relating to COVID19 and the developing situation, we paused immigration reporting and sent an SMS text message to reportees with a valid mobile telephone number on our systems informing them of this.

On Tuesday 24 March we maintained the decision to close reporting centres and police reporting temporarily following the Prime Minister’s address to the nation. This was because we were not confident that we could practice safe social distancing and operate within a COVID secure environment.

Immigration Enforcement recommenced face to face reporting in July and August for limited, priority cohorts of people. We have implemented Safe Systems of Working (SSOW) and Risk Assessments in all our Reporting Centres where we have put in place robust social distancing measures; health screening questions are asked as a person enters; face masks are offered to those who have travelled without them; and one-way systems and sanitiser stations are placed throughout our buildings. We continue to review our current reporting arrangements in line with any new local and national COVID restrictions that are put in place.

Following the announcement on Monday 4 January 2021 we decided to maintain face to face reporting for priority cohorts of people. Our robust Safe Systems of Working and Risk Assessments remain in place and still adhere to current Government guidance. Those that are required to report at this time are covered for movement under The Health Protection Regulations 2020 where movement is permitted for the purpose of fulfilling a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or to participate in legal proceedings.

We continue to keep in contact with the overall reporting population by telephone to update individuals on the current reporting position. An SMS text or email/letter is sent to those required to recommence reporting informing them of the date and time they should report, along with relevant advice on COVID. We have also updated the reporting pages on GOV.UK for those who report and their representatives. This information includes how to travel most safely by public transport, avoiding both busy transport hubs and traveling at peak times; advice on reporting alone where possible; and what to do if those reporting have symptoms or are shielding and how to contact their local reporting centre.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to Question 137959, what support her Department is providing to help children who live in initial asylum hotel accommodation who (a) are enrolled in a local school to access space, an internet connection and the devices necessary for home learning and (b) are to be enrolled in a local school.

The Home Office and its providers are taking the steps to ensure that children are able to access education as quickly as possible, including liaising with local authorities to source and provide educational activity packs and securing tablets and Wi-Fi to ensure that service users are able to access online resources.

We prioritise the dispersal of families with children from hotels to ensure that children can attend school in the locality of where they will live.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 19 January 2021 to Question 137958 and with reference to in-person reporting of migrants to immigration reporting centres during the covid-19 lockdown, if she will publish her Department's (a) risk assessment undertaken as part of that decision and (b) assessment of the potential merits of continuing in-person reporting during the covid-19 lockdown.

On Tuesday 17 March 2020, following Public Health and Government guidance relating to COVID19 and the developing situation, we paused immigration reporting and sent an SMS text message to reportees with a valid mobile telephone number on our systems informing them of this.

On Tuesday 24 March we maintained the decision to close reporting centres and police reporting temporarily following the Prime Minister’s address to the nation. This was because we were not confident that we could practice safe social distancing and operate within a COVID secure environment.

Immigration Enforcement recommenced face to face reporting in July and August for limited, priority cohorts of people. We have implemented Safe Systems of Working (SSOW) and Risk Assessments in all our Reporting Centres where we have put in place robust social distancing measures; health screening questions are asked as a person enters; face masks are offered to those who have travelled without them; and one-way systems and sanitiser stations are placed throughout our buildings. We continue to review our current reporting arrangements in line with any new local and national COVID restrictions that are put in place.

Following the announcement on Monday 4 January 2021 we decided to maintain face to face reporting for priority cohorts of people. Our robust Safe Systems of Working and Risk Assessments remain in place and still adhere to current Government guidance. Those that are required to report at this time are covered for movement under The Health Protection Regulations 2020 where movement is permitted for the purpose of fulfilling a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or to participate in legal proceedings;

We continue to keep in contact with the overall reporting population by telephone to update individuals on the current reporting position. An SMS text or email/letter is sent to those required to recommence reporting informing them of the date and time they should report, along with relevant advice on COVID. We have also updated the reporting pages on GOV.UK for those who report and their representatives. This information includes how to travel most safely by public transport, avoiding both busy transport hubs and traveling at peak times; advice on reporting alone where possible; and what to do if those reporting have symptoms or are shielding and how to contact their local reporting centre.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 19 January 2021 to Question 137958 on in-person reporting of migrants to immigration reporting centres during the covid-19 lockdown, on what basis his Department made a different decision to that made on 24 March 2020 to close reporting centres following the announcement of the covid-19 lockdown in March 2020.

On Tuesday 17 March 2020, following Public Health and Government guidance relating to COVID19 and the developing situation, we paused immigration reporting and sent an SMS text message to reportees with a valid mobile telephone number on our systems informing them of this.

On Tuesday 24 March we maintained the decision to close reporting centres and police reporting temporarily following the Prime Minister’s address to the nation. This was because we were not confident that we could practice safe social distancing and operate within a COVID secure environment.

Immigration Enforcement recommenced face to face reporting in July and August for limited, priority cohorts of people. We have implemented Safe Systems of Working (SSOW) and Risk Assessments in all our Reporting Centres where we have put in place robust social distancing measures; health screening questions are asked as a person enters; face masks are offered to those who have travelled without them; and one-way systems and sanitiser stations are placed throughout our buildings. We continue to review our current reporting arrangements in line with any new local and national COVID restrictions that are put in place.

Following the announcement on Monday 4 January 2021 we decided to maintain face to face reporting for priority cohorts of people. Our robust Safe Systems of Working and Risk Assessments remain in place and still adhere to current Government guidance. Those that are required to report at this time are covered for movement under The Health Protection Regulations 2020 where movement is permitted for the purpose of fulfilling a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or to participate in legal proceedings;

We continue to keep in contact with the overall reporting population by telephone to update individuals on the current reporting position. An SMS text or email/letter is sent to those required to recommence reporting informing them of the date and time they should report, along with relevant advice on COVID. We have also updated the reporting pages on GOV.UK for those who report and their representatives. This information includes how to travel most safely by public transport, avoiding both busy transport hubs and traveling at peak times; advice on reporting alone where possible; and what to do if those reporting have symptoms or are shielding and how to contact their local reporting centre.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that all children of school age and who live in initial asylum accommodation are receiving access to education during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

Initial accommodation is short term accommodation and previously children would not be enrolled in school until they have been dispersed, however, during the pandemic families have been in initial accommodation for longer than usual. To ensure children are able to have access to education our provider staff are signposting parents to how to obtain a school place with the local authority.

We are prioritising families with children for dispersal from Initial Accommodation to longer term dispersed accommodation.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 19 January 2021 to Question 137959, how many and what proportion of school age children living in initial asylum hotel accommodation have lived in hotel accommodation for over three months; and how many of those children are enrolled in local schools.

We do not publish data on length of time spent in Initial Accommodation.

We do not hold information about children enrolled in local schools.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will suspend the in-person reporting of migrants to immigration reporting centres for the duration of the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

On Tuesday 17 March 2020, following Public Health and Government guidance relating to COVID19 and the developing situation, we paused immigration reporting and sent an SMS text message to reportees with a valid mobile telephone number on our systems informing them of this.

On Tuesday 24 March we maintained the decision to close reporting centres and police reporting temporarily following the Prime Minister’s address to the nation. This was because we were not confident that we could practice safe social distancing and operate within a COVID secure environment.

Immigration Enforcement recommenced face to face reporting in July and August for limited, priority cohorts of people. We have implemented Safe Systems of Working (SSOW) and Risk Assessments in all our Reporting Centres where we have put in place robust social distancing measures; health screening questions are asked as a person enters; face masks are offered to those who have travelled without them; and one-way systems and sanitiser stations are placed throughout our buildings. We continue to review our current reporting arrangements in line with any new local and national COVID restrictions that are put in place.

Following the announcement on Monday 4 January 2021 we decided to maintain face to face reporting for priority cohorts of people. Our robust Safe Systems of Working and Risk Assessments remain in place and still adhere to current Government guidance. Those that are required to report at this time are covered for movement under The Health Protection Regulations 2020 where movement is permitted for the purpose of fulfilling a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or to participate in legal proceedings;

We continue to keep in contact with the overall reporting population by telephone to update individuals on the current reporting position. An SMS text or email/letter is sent to those required to recommence reporting informing them of the date and time they should report, along with relevant advice on COVID. We have also updated the reporting pages on GOV.UK for those who report and their representatives. This information includes how to travel most safely by public transport, avoiding both busy transport hubs and traveling at peak times; advice on reporting alone where possible; and what to do if those reporting have symptoms or are shielding and how to contact their local reporting centre.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will ensure that all school age children in initial asylum hotel accommodation have access to adequate (a) space, (b) internet connections and (c) other equipment to continue with online learning during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

It is our aim to move asylum-seeking families with school-age children to suitable dispersed accommodation as quickly as possible. Due to the temporary nature of accommodating families in hotels, it is unlikely that children will have been enrolled in a local school before being moved to dispersal accommodation.

However, in our wider accommodation estate, the Home Office and its providers are taking the steps to ensure that children are able to access education as quickly as possible, including liaising with local authorities to source and provide educational activity packs and securing tablets and Wi-Fi to ensure that service users are able to access online resources.

Wi-Fi is also available throughout hotels and data SIM cards are provided in core initial accommodation where needed.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what most recent estimate she has made of the timescale for moving asylum seekers in Bristol from the hotel accommodation to which they were transferred back to appropriate accommodation.

The current global pandemic has presented us with significant challenges when it comes to the provision of asylum accommodation, including sourcing sufficient suitable accommodation to meet demand.

The use of hotels and wider government facilities are a short-term measure and we are working to move people to longer-term dispersal accommodation as soon as it becomes available.

Our accommodation providers are working with Local Authorities across the UK to identify additional dispersal accommodation as part of their recovery plans.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 110853, on the rapid review of initial accommodation for asylum seekers, if (a) all information and data collected on asylum seekers is treated as confidential and will be anonymised before handed to the Home Office, and (b) participants are given access to legal advice and representation throughout the process.

The Home Office is reviewing the recommendations of the rapid review and, as previously stated, will seek to publish a summary of the recommendations. We will also hold round tables with stakeholders to discuss the recommendations, actions taken and proposed next steps.

Asylum seekers’ views were sought as part of the review process. Participation was entirely voluntary and confidential. These views fed into the overall findings and recommendations. No identifying or confidential information was shared with the Home Office.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 110853 on the internal review on initial accommodation for asylum seekers, if her Department will publish (a) the report in full, (b) the date at the end of the month when the summary of recommendations will be publicly available, and (c) the sites chosen for the review.

The Home Office is reviewing the recommendations of the rapid review and, as previously stated, will seek to publish a summary of the recommendations. We will also hold round tables with stakeholders to discuss the recommendations, actions taken and proposed next steps.

Asylum seekers’ views were sought as part of the review process. Participation was entirely voluntary and confidential. These views fed into the overall findings and recommendations. No identifying or confidential information was shared with the Home Office.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment the Government has made of the potential effect of changes to immigration rules after the transition period on the number of businesses going into liquidation; and what support his Department plans to make available to prevent businesses going into liquidation after the transition period.

The Government is introducing a new global points-based immigration system which works in the interests of the whole of our United Kingdom.

We recognise this will mean a change for some businesses, which is why we have continued to support them through extensive communications and engagement to build awareness and promote understanding.

In April, the Government published an Impact Assessment to accompany what is now the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020 which considers the expected impact of the future immigration system.

We will continue to review and assess the operation of the new system and the experiences of users.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether young people from EU countries will be allowed to continue to pursue unpaid short-term work placements in the UK without a work permit after the transition period.

Free Movement will end on 31 December 2020 with the end of the Transition Period. Following the end of the Transition Period EEA and Swiss nationals will be able to continue to travel to the UK for holidays or short-term trips, without needing a visa.

We have set out plans to introduce a future points-based immigration system, which together with our generous list of Permitted Paid Engagements and Activities within the visitor route, will provide a route for workers within the Charity sector to undertake voluntary work within the Tier 5 route.

We have also indicated our desire to negotiate a youth mobility arrangement with the EU, or with individual countries within it, if a collective agreement is not possible. This may also provide a viable route for EU nationals to come to the UK to work on a voluntary basis.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish the (a) terms of reference, (b) timetable and (c) scope of hotels and military barracks selected for the internal review into risk in relation to asylum seekers staying in hotels and military barracks.

The terms of reference for the review of initial asylum seeker accommodation during the Covid-19 pandemic are to:

  • Conduct a rapid review of initial accommodation for single adult asylum seekers, including hotels and former military barracks, and provide assurance of compliance with public health guidelines to prevent the transmission of Covid 19.??This will include interviews with a wide range of interested parties including Local Authorities, Strategic Migration Partnerships, commercial providers, non-governmental organisations, asylum seekers and Government officials.

  • Provide advice and guidance to the Home Office,?providers and individual accommodation units?on best practice to prevent transmission of Covid 19

This is a rapid review to assure ourselves of the health and safety of asylum seekers during the Covid 19 pandemic. A report is due by the end of the month and we will seek to publish a summary of the recommendations.

We chose sites across the UK that would best inform our national approach going forward. This has augmented our business as usual activity on risk and assessment of accommodation during this time of crisis.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish the decision-making process for the choice of hotels and military barracks selected for the internal review into risk in relation to asylum seekers staying in hotels and military barracks during the covid-19 pandemic.

The terms of reference for the review of initial asylum seeker accommodation during the Covid-19 pandemic are to:

  • Conduct a rapid review of initial accommodation for single adult asylum seekers, including hotels and former military barracks, and provide assurance of compliance with public health guidelines to prevent the transmission of Covid 19.??This will include interviews with a wide range of interested parties including Local Authorities, Strategic Migration Partnerships, commercial providers, non-governmental organisations, asylum seekers and Government officials.

  • Provide advice and guidance to the Home Office,?providers and individual accommodation units?on best practice to prevent transmission of Covid 19

This is a rapid review to assure ourselves of the health and safety of asylum seekers during the Covid 19 pandemic. A report is due by the end of the month and we will seek to publish a summary of the recommendations.

We chose sites across the UK that would best inform our national approach going forward. This has augmented our business as usual activity on risk and assessment of accommodation during this time of crisis.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what provision she is making for the education, health and mental welfare of unaccompanied asylum seekers detained in the Kent Intake Unit.

The Home Office takes its responsibility for the welfare of children seriously and we have very stringent statutory and policy safeguards in place.? We have seen record numbers of arrivals on the south coast in recent weeks and are working hard to make sure every unaccompanied child receives appropriate support.

Unaccompanied children arriving in Dover?are cared for in the Kent Intake Unit (KIU) before being placed in appropriate social services care. Those claiming asylum are only in the KIU whilst their claims are registered; it is not an immigration removal centre.

Children are always prioritised and supported there for as short a period as possible. The KIU also includes a non-detained waiting area where children can await the arrival of local authority social workers. Support is also provided on-site by the Refugee Council. Once a child is in the care of a local authority, they are afforded the same rights as all other looked-after children

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what (a) safeguarding and (b) other training her Department makes available to (i) provider staff and (ii) hotel staff working in hotels which house asylum seekers.

The Government demands the highest standards from contractors and their accommodation and monitor them closely to ensure this is maintained.

Details of the providers training programme that all staff including volunteers and subcontractor agents who are likely to have direct contact or have access to Service users details are set out in the contracts with the accommodation providers; specifically the “Statement of Requirements”, which can be found at: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-1112/AASC_-_Schedule_2_-_Statement_of_Requirements.pdf

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in what circumstances her Department will use its discretion to waive the requirement for applicants with settled status applying for British citizenship to have had Comprehensive Sickness Insurance in order to satisfy the requirement that they have been legally residing in the UK.

To meet the statutory requirements for naturalisation, a person of any nationality must have been in the UK lawfully during the residential qualifying period.

EEA regulations set out the requirements which individuals need to follow if they wish to reside here lawfully on the basis of free movement. In the case of students or the self-sufficient – but not those who were working here – the possession of comprehensive sickness insurance has always been a requirement.

The British Nationality Act allows us to exercise discretion over this requirement in the special circumstances of any particular case. We cannot therefore prescribe when discretion will or will not be exercised. UKVI consider cases sensitively, taking into account the nature and reasons for any period of unlawful residence alongside other information relevant to the individual.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether it is her Department's policy to serve eviction notices to people who have been granted refugee status to leave their asylum accommodation before the ban on evictions ends due to the covid-19 outbreak; and what discussions she had had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on accommodation needed for people facing eviction in order to prevent them from becoming homeless.

Asylum seekers who are granted refugee status are normally given notice that they must leave any accommodation that has been provided to them by the Home Office within 28 days, as they may now take employment and have access to mainstream benefits and housing assistance from their local authority. Whilst this process was paused on 27 March for a period of three months, we are currently reviewing plans about appropriate timing to resume issuing notices in individual cases in a carefully phased and measured way and have been having discussions with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Local Authorities and others on the arrangements.

The timing of those decisions is not affected by the current restrictions on evicting tenants from private rental properties. Those arrangements do not apply to those in asylum support accommodation. This is confirmed in paragraph 2.2 of the Government’s guidance to landlords and tenants, which can be found at: MHCLG guidance (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888843/Updated_Landlord_and_Tenant_Guidance.pdf)

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has received legal advice on whether the ban on evictions due to the covid-19 outbreak applies to people who have been granted refugee status and are living in accommodation for asylum-seekers.

Asylum seekers who are granted refugee status are normally given notice that they must leave any accommodation that has been provided to them by the Home Office within 28 days, as they may now take employment and have access to mainstream benefits and housing assistance from their local authority. Whilst this process was paused on 27 March for a period of three months, we are currently reviewing plans about appropriate timing to resume issuing notices in individual cases in a carefully phased and measured way and have been having discussions with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Local Authorities and others on the arrangements.

The timing of those decisions is not affected by the current restrictions on evicting tenants from private rental properties. Those arrangements do not apply to those in asylum support accommodation. This is confirmed in paragraph 2.2 of the Government’s guidance to landlords and tenants, which can be found at: MHCLG guidance https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888843/Updated_Landlord_and_Tenant_Guidance.pdf

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether police officers are required to wear personal protective equipment during stop-and-search enquires during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the importance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all of those on the frontline and has published guidance on appropriate PPE for emergency workers, including the police.

The NPCC and the College of Policing have issued operational guidance to all forces on the use of PPE tailored to their unique role to ensure officers and staff are protected sufficiently. The guidance covers how, when and what type of PPE to wear across a range of scenarios, including close contact with the public such as when using stop and search, and where social distancing is not available.

The guidance is available online here: https://www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/COVID-19/Documents/Personal-Protective-Equipment-Operational-Guidance-1.pdf

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what status and rights au pairs will have in the Government's new immigration policy.

The UK’s points-based immigration system will not offer a dedicated route for au pairs, as has been the case since 2008. However, there are other immigration routes which will exist for people who may wish to take up these roles, such as the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS).

We have indicated our desire to negotiate a YMS with the EU, or with individual countries within it, ensuring young people can continue to enjoy the social, cultural and educational benefits of living in the EU and the UK.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether settled status is admissible as evidence of lawful residence in the UK for the purpose of making an application for British citizenship.

Settled status is a grant of Indefinite Leave to Remain. It can therefore be used to demonstrate the date on which an applicant became free from immigration time restrictions under the Immigration Rules.

Additional evidence may be required to demonstrate an individual meets the statutory requirements for naturalisation.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that access to (a) WiFi, (b) smartphones and (c) other digital devices are provided for asylum seekers living in National Asylum Support Service supplied accommodation during the covid-19 outbreak.

Asylum seekers receiving support under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 are generally provided with accommodation and a cash allowance to cover other essential living needs. The level of the cash allowance provided take into account communication needs, including the cost of buying and using a mobile phone. As a result of the Covid-19 crisis a higher proportion of asylum seekers than usual are being accommodated in full-board hostels and hotels. We are looking at practical ways of providing internet access to this group and other ways to enable them to communicate effectively. Our accommodation providers can and have provided mobile phones to those who do not have one.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking with the Department for Education to ensure that the required (a) equipment and (b) technology to participate in school work is provided to asylum-seeking families with children living in National Asylum Support Service supplied accommodation during the covid-19 outbreak.

The children of asylum seekers have access to the same educational services as all other children living in the UK.

The government has committed over £100 million to support remote education. We are providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access. This specifically includes: children in Year 10 who are preparing for examination; children receiving support from a social worker, including pre-school children; or care leavers.

In addition, where individuals in these groups do not have internet connections, we will be providing them 4G wireless routers to ensure they can learn at home.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when the Government plans to commence section 36 of the Equalities Act 2010.

Section 36 of the Equality Act 2010 was commenced in part following Royal Assent to that Act. An announcement will be made in due course on commencement of the remaining parts of this Section.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that asylum seekers have adequate space and facilities to self isolate if those people have symptoms of covid-19 while living in shared Home Office-provided accommodation for asylum-seekers.

We are carefully following PHE Guidance which recommends that separate rooms should be provided for symptomatic people, or they should be moved to hotels.

Those with underlying health conditions and people over 70 years of age should also be moved to the appropriate hotel accommodation following PHE guidance, unless individuals do not wish to be moved. We are reviewing each case on an individual basis and continue to work with our providers to ensure the guidance is followed. If an asylum seeker enters the country displaying symptoms we have dedicated , sole use accommodation that allows them to self-isolate before moving into the asylum accommodation estate

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to pursue deportation proceedings during the covid-19 outbreak.

Removals of foreign national offenders and those who have no lawful basis to stay in the UK are still taking place where routes are available, and Immigration Enforcement are following the latest guidance from Public Health England.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Windrush Compensation Scheme claimants died after making an application.

It is hugely regrettable that a claimant passes away before a compensation award can be made or an apology sent to them.

The Windrush Compensation Scheme staff are working hard to ensure that where they are aware of claimants with critical or life shortening illnesses, that their cases are prioritised.

In the deeply unfortunate circumstances where a claimant has passed away after submitting a compensation claim, but before the claim is fully resolved, the team continues to work closely with the appointed representative, usually members of the family, to ensure the compensation payment is made as quickly as possible.

We are aware of five unfortunate cases to date where the claimant has passed away after having submitted a claim but before receiving compensation. We are working closely with the families and legal representatives to determine the right person to whom the compensation can be paid.

To help family members during this distressing time, we have provided links to Government websites that provide information on how to deal with bereavement and we have offered assistance from our claim’s assistance provider Citizens Advice which is well versed in dealing with the financial implications of bereavement.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Windrush Compensation Scheme claimants died before receiving compensation.

It is hugely regrettable that a claimant passes away before a compensation award can be made or an apology sent to them.

The Windrush Compensation Scheme staff are working hard to ensure that where they are aware of claimants with critical or life shortening illnesses, that their cases are prioritised.

In the deeply unfortunate circumstances where a claimant has passed away after submitting a compensation claim, but before the claim is fully resolved, the team continues to work closely with the appointed representative, usually members of the family, to ensure the compensation payment is made as quickly as possible.

We are aware of five unfortunate cases to date where the claimant has passed away after having submitted a claim but before receiving compensation. We are working closely with the families and legal representatives to determine the right person to whom the compensation can be paid.

To help family members during this distressing time, we have provided links to Government websites that provide information on how to deal with bereavement and we have offered assistance from our claim’s assistance provider Citizens Advice which is well versed in dealing with the financial implications of bereavement.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the findings of the report entitled A Call to Action for a Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Strategy, published in January 2020.

Tackling domestic abuse continues to be a key priority for this Government..

The Domestic Abuse Bill, which we intend to bring forward as soon as practicable, includes provision for new domestic abuse protection orders, placing restrictions and other requirements on perpetrators in order to better protect victims. Such requirements may include engagement with a perpetrator behavioural change programme, an alcohol or substance misuse programme or mental health treatment.

We welcome the work of the expert organisations involved in developing ‘A Call to Action for a Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Strategy’. We are currently considering this as part of our ongoing work to understand what more we can do to tackle perpetrators and their harmful actions.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 23 January 2020 to Question 3789 on Immigration: EU Nationals, whether her Department has used the electoral roll to contact EU citizens on applying for (a) settled or (b) pre-settled status.

The Home Office has not used the electoral roll to contact EU citizens about applying for settled or pre-settled status. In order to ensure that resident EEA nationals and their family members understand how and by when to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office has put in place a comprehensive communications and engagement plan, using all available channels to reach our audiences – such as marketing, presentations, email updates, toolkits and webinars.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of EU citizens over the age of 65 living in the UK that have not applied for settled status.

Published information on EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) applications and concluded applications by the applicant’s age to 31 December 2019, can be found in the Home Office’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme quarterly statistics’, statistics tables, tables EUSS_02 and EUSS_04 respectively, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/eu-settlement-scheme-quarterly-statistics-december-2019.

The published figures refer specifically to applications made to the EUSS and cannot be directly compared with Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates of the resident population of EU/EEA nationals in the UK. The published EUSS figures include non-EEA family members, Irish nationals, and eligible EEA citizens not resident in the UK, none of whom are usually included in ONS estimates of the resident EU population. Furthermore, the population estimates do not take account of people’s migration intentions and will include people who have come to the UK for a range of purposes, including some who have no intention to settle in the UK.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 23 January 2020 to Question 3789 on Immigration: EU Nationals, how many people that applied for settled status have been granted pre-settled status.

Published information on EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) conclusions by outcome type can be found in the Home Office’s fifth ‘EU Settlement Scheme statistics’, monthly statistics tables, table 2, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics-december-2019.

Applicants to the EUSS who choose to provide their National Insurance Number as part of the application process are asked to confirm whether they agree with the status that the automated checks with the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs confirm they are eligible for.

In cases where the applicant does not agree the level of status offered, caseworkers work with the applicant to identify the evidence needed to be granted the status they claim to be eligible for. Nobody has been granted pre-settled status without first being offered the opportunity to submit evidence that they qualify for settled status.

With regard to the accuracy of decision making, all cases in which an applicant is being granted a status other than that claimed are subject to a secondary supervisory check.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 23 January 2020 to Question 3789 on Immigration: EU Nationals, what assessment her Department has made of the accuracy of decision-making on granting pre-settled status to EU citizens that applied for settled status.

Published information on EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) conclusions by outcome type can be found in the Home Office’s fifth ‘EU Settlement Scheme statistics’, monthly statistics tables, table 2, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics-december-2019.

Applicants to the EUSS who choose to provide their National Insurance Number as part of the application process are asked to confirm whether they agree with the status that the automated checks with the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs confirm they are eligible for.

In cases where the applicant does not agree the level of status offered, caseworkers work with the applicant to identify the evidence needed to be granted the status they claim to be eligible for. Nobody has been granted pre-settled status without first being offered the opportunity to submit evidence that they qualify for settled status.

With regard to the accuracy of decision making, all cases in which an applicant is being granted a status other than that claimed are subject to a secondary supervisory check.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to her oral contribution of 9 January 2020, Official Report, column 588, whether she has received a response to her letter of 22 October 2019 to the European Commission on arrangements for refugee family reunion from 1 January 2021.

Whilst the Home Secretary wrote to the EU Commission on 22 October 2019, the Commission have not yet responded.

The Prime Minister made clear in his written statement to Parliament on 3 February that the UK is ready to discuss cooperation on asylum, including family reunion, with the EU.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people detained at immigration detention centres disclosed that they were victims of torture in 2019.

Individuals who disclose they are victims of torture whilst in an Immigration Removal Centre are managed under Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001. Data on the number of reports made by a medical practitioner under Rule 35 is published quarterly in the Immigration Enforcement transparency data (table DT_03) online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-transparency-data

The Home Office does not however hold central records which make the distinction between those accepted and not accepted as being victims of torture within the Rule 35 process. We cannot therefore report on the number of individuals referred for a Rule 35 assessment that were subsequently accepted as victims of torture without reviewing individual case files, which could only be done at disproportionate cost.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people detained in immigration detention centres were assessed for being victims of torture in 2019.

Individuals who disclose they are victims of torture whilst in an Immigration Removal Centre are managed under Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001. Data on the number of reports made by a medical practitioner under Rule 35 is published quarterly in the Immigration Enforcement transparency data (table DT_03) online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-transparency-data

The Home Office does not however hold central records which make the distinction between those accepted and not accepted as being victims of torture within the Rule 35 process. We cannot therefore report on the number of individuals referred for a Rule 35 assessment that were subsequently accepted as victims of torture without reviewing individual case files, which could only be done at disproportionate cost.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people detained at an immigration detention centre attempted suicide in 2019.

Staff at all immigration removal centres are trained to identify those at risk of self-harm so that action can be taken to minimise the risk. All incidents of self-harm are treated very seriously and every step is taken to prevent incidents of this nature. Formal risk assessments on initial detention and systems for raising concerns at any subsequent point feed into established self-harm procedures in every IRC, which are in turn underpinned by the Home Office Operating Standard on the prevention of self-harm and Detention Services Order 06/2008 Assessment Care in Detention Teamwork (ACDT).

The Home Office requires immigration removal centre suppliers to record management information on the number of detainees being monitored in line with self-harm and suicide prevention procedures (ACDT) and the number of incidents of self-harm that have required medical treatment. The intent of a self-harm attempt, if disclosed by an individual, is not recorded centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of the provision of drug safety testing at music festivals.

No assessment has been made of the effectiveness of the provision of drug testing at festivals.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many police officers sustained injuries as a result of attending an incident on their own in 2019.

The Home Office collects and publishes statistics on the number of assaults with injury on constables in England and Wales. These are published quarterly and can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-recorded-crime-open-data-tables

However, it is not possible to separately identify injuries sustained as a result of attending an incident on their own. Furthermore, data on injuries sustained for reasons other than assault are not collected.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of resources available to Avon and Somerset police service to respond to knife crime.

This Government is committed to tackling knife crime and serious violence and making our streets safer.

The police funding settlement for 2020/21 sets out the biggest increase in funding for the policing system since 2010. Avon & Somerset will receive an increase of £22.6m, or 7.4%, provided they utilise their full precept flexibility., The force has been allocated 137 additional officers from the 6,000 to be recruited by the end of March 2021, meaning more police on the streets to help tackle violent crime and keep our communities safe.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress her Department has made on developing a preventative approach to (a) knife and (b) violent crime involving young people.

As announced in the Queen’s Speech we are introducing the Serious Violence Bill, which will put a duty on police, councils and health authorities to prevent and reduce serious violence. We have announced an additional £25 million of targeted investment to increase our efforts to tackle county lines, including expanding the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre.

Through the Serious Violence Fund we have provided £100million in 2019/20 to the 18 police force areas worst affected by serious violence. A further £35 million was announced for Violence Reduction Units for 2020/21 on 29 December 2019.

We have invested £220 million in early intervention and prevention initiatives to support children and young people at risk of exploitation and involvement in serious violence, through the £22 million Early Intervention Youth Fund and £200 million Youth Endowment Fund, and have put in place a landmark review into drug misuse. The first grant round of the Youth Endowment Fund took place in 2019-20. 23 successful projects located across England and Wales will share £17.1m over 2 years.

This Government is also recruiting 20,000 more police officers over the next three years and increasing sentences for violent criminals. We have made it easier for the police to use enhanced stop and search powers and we will introduce a new court order to make it easier for the police to stop and search those who have been convicted of knife crime.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people applied for asylum from detention in 2019.

Migrants, including asylum claimants, may be detained for immigration purposes only in accordance with Home Office detention policy, as set out in Detention general guidance and adults at risk in immigration detention. The detention decision must always be made on the basis of the individual’s particular circumstances and eligibility for detention.

If at any time it is concluded that a particular detainee’s ongoing detention would not be appropriate, the individual must be released, with bail conditions appropriate to their particular circumstances.

Most people detained under immigration powers spend only short periods in detention. At any one time, 95% of those liable to be detained, are instead managed in the community.

We do not currently hold the data in the format you have requested, however published data on the number of Asylum claims made can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-september-2019

The great majority of asylum claims are processed in the non-detained system, with claimants living in the community. Only a small minority of claimants are detained whilst their claim is considered.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many fresh asylum applications were submitted in 2019 by individuals who had previously been refused asylum in the UK.

Home Office records indicate that a total of 6,273 further submissions were lodged on protection grounds between 01/01/2019 and 30/09/2019, by individuals who had previously been refused asylum in the UK.

Home Office records indicate that the five most common nationalities of asylum applicants lodging further submissions on protection grounds between 01/01/2019 and 30/09/2019, and the volume of applications submitted by these nationalities, are:

Nationality

Number of applications

Iran (Islamic Republic of)

985

Pakistan

704

Iraq

680

Bangladesh

510

Afghanistan

433

Total

3,312

When people who have previously been refused asylum in the UK wish to make representations in support of a fresh asylum applications these are recorded as Further Submissions. Only where those submissions have been considered and it has been decided not to grant any leave is it considered whether the Further Submissions amount to a fresh asylum application.

The above data relates to main applicants who lodged Further Submissions between 01/01/2019 and 30/09/2019 which is the latest reportable period in line with immigration statistics. The data is a count of the number of Further Submissions lodged. Some people may have lodged more than one submission during the period.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the five most common nationalities of asylum applicants making fresh claims to the UK were in 2019; and how many fresh asylum applications those nationalities submitted.

Home Office records indicate that a total of 6,273 further submissions were lodged on protection grounds between 01/01/2019 and 30/09/2019, by individuals who had previously been refused asylum in the UK.

Home Office records indicate that the five most common nationalities of asylum applicants lodging further submissions on protection grounds between 01/01/2019 and 30/09/2019, and the volume of applications submitted by these nationalities, are:

Nationality

Number of applications

Iran (Islamic Republic of)

985

Pakistan

704

Iraq

680

Bangladesh

510

Afghanistan

433

Total

3,312

When people who have previously been refused asylum in the UK wish to make representations in support of a fresh asylum applications these are recorded as Further Submissions. Only where those submissions have been considered and it has been decided not to grant any leave is it considered whether the Further Submissions amount to a fresh asylum application.

The above data relates to main applicants who lodged Further Submissions between 01/01/2019 and 30/09/2019 which is the latest reportable period in line with immigration statistics. The data is a count of the number of Further Submissions lodged. Some people may have lodged more than one submission during the period.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department have taken to contact EU citizens resident in the UK who have not yet applied for settled or pre-settled status, in order to regularise their residency in the UK after the UK leaves the EU.

The latest published information shows that more than 2.7 million (2,756,100) EU Settlement Scheme applications had been received up to 31 December 2019. The latest figures can be found in the Home Office’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme monthly statistics’ available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics-december-2019

The published figures refer specifically to applications made to the EU Settlement Scheme and cannot be directly compared with estimates of the resident population of EU/EEA nationals in the UK. The published figures include non-EEA family members, Irish nationals, and eligible EEA citizens not resident in the UK, none of whom are usually included in estimates of the resident EU population. Furthermore, the population estimates do not take account of people’s migration intentions and will include people who have come to the UK for a range of purposes, including some who have no intention to settle in the UK.

In order to ensure that resident EEA nationals and their family members understand how and by when to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office has put in place a comprehensive communications and engagement plan, using all available channels to reach our audiences – such as marketing, presentations, email updates, toolkits and webinars.

The Home Office has delivered a £4 million marketing campaign to encourage resident EEA nationals to apply and further campaign activity is planned. Alongside this campaign activity, we have also undertaken extensive engagement and outreach with stakeholder groups, including employers, local authorities and community organisations. No-one will be left behind, which is why we are working in partnership with representatives of vulnerable groups and other experts to make sure everyone knows what they need to do and has the right level of support.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate her Department has made of the number of EU citizens resident in the UK that have not applied for (a) settled (b) pre-settled status.

The latest published information shows that more than 2.7 million (2,756,100) EU Settlement Scheme applications had been received up to 31 December 2019. The latest figures can be found in the Home Office’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme monthly statistics’ available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics-december-2019

The published figures refer specifically to applications made to the EU Settlement Scheme and cannot be directly compared with estimates of the resident population of EU/EEA nationals in the UK. The published figures include non-EEA family members, Irish nationals, and eligible EEA citizens not resident in the UK, none of whom are usually included in estimates of the resident EU population. Furthermore, the population estimates do not take account of people’s migration intentions and will include people who have come to the UK for a range of purposes, including some who have no intention to settle in the UK.

In order to ensure that resident EEA nationals and their family members understand how and by when to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office has put in place a comprehensive communications and engagement plan, using all available channels to reach our audiences – such as marketing, presentations, email updates, toolkits and webinars.

The Home Office has delivered a £4 million marketing campaign to encourage resident EEA nationals to apply and further campaign activity is planned. Alongside this campaign activity, we have also undertaken extensive engagement and outreach with stakeholder groups, including employers, local authorities and community organisations. No-one will be left behind, which is why we are working in partnership with representatives of vulnerable groups and other experts to make sure everyone knows what they need to do and has the right level of support.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that any unaccompanied child refugee or asylum-seeker in another European country with an adult relative in the UK has been contacted in order to reunite them with their family member.

The UK maintains close operational links with EU Member States in order to transfer those children who are assessed to be eligible to transfer under the Dublin III Regulation.

It is the responsibility of the EU Member State where the unaccompanied child resides to identify those children who would be eligible for transfer to another Member State under the Dublin III Regulation. The Home Office does not have access to the personal details of all unaccompanied children present in other EU Member States.

The Home Office publishes annual data on the Dublin III Regulation in the Immigration Statistics. This includes data on the number of requests to transfer into and out of the UK and the number acceptances and transfers into and out of, broken down by article and Member State requesting. The latest data, covering up to 2019, can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#dublin-regulation

Instructions on how to use the data can be found in the ‘Notes’ sheet.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate the Government has made of the number of children in refugee camps in Greece who have an adult relative in the UK.

The UK maintains close operational links with EU Member States in order to transfer those children who are assessed to be eligible to transfer under the Dublin III Regulation.

It is the responsibility of the EU Member State where the unaccompanied child resides to identify those children who would be eligible for transfer to another Member State under the Dublin III Regulation. The Home Office does not have access to the personal details of all unaccompanied children present in other EU Member States.

The Home Office publishes annual data on the Dublin III Regulation in the Immigration Statistics. This includes data on the number of requests to transfer into and out of the UK and the number acceptances and transfers into and out of, broken down by article and Member State requesting. The latest data, covering up to 2019, can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#dublin-regulation

Instructions on how to use the data can be found in the ‘Notes’ sheet.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will review his Department's defence engagement programme with Sri Lanka in light of reported human rights abuses in that country.

Our Defence Engagement programme with Sri Lanka is to encourage the development of a modern, accountable and human rights compliant military. Promoting adherence to international humanitarian law and human rights compliance is integral to our engagement. We constantly review our relationship with the Government of Sri Lanka and continuously monitor the context and viability of the approach, to ensure that UK assistance and engagement is in line with our values and is consistent with our domestic and international human rights obligations.

The UK Government will continue to work with international partners and press for truth, reconciliation, accountability and justice following the conflict in Sri Lanka, to ensure all communities can live peacefully.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of withdrawing the UK's resident Defence Advisor from Sri Lanka in response to reported human rights abuses in that country.

As we seek to influence change, the UK's resident Defence Advisor's engagement with the Government of Sri Lanka forms an important contribution to our efforts to hasten the development of a modern, accountable and human rights compliant military. We carefully consider our engagement with individuals accused of human rights violations against the operational urgency and essential nature of the discussion. Recent engagement with key Sri Lankan officials has been to discuss urgent Covid-19 operational issues, including the safe return of British nationals to the UK and the welfare safeguarding of the remaining British nationals in Sri Lanka.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 22 June 2021 to Question 15286 on Buildings: Insulation, whether there is a list of HPL cladding products approved by his Department; and where that list is located.

High Pressure Laminate (HPL) panels can have a wide range of fire performance and so the Department has not published a list of approved HPL products.

However, following the test carried out by the Department in 2019, an advice note was published to provide advice to building owners on the fire performance of HPL cladding system. This advice note was then included in the Consolidated Advice Note which is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/869532/Building_safety_advice_for_building_owners_including_fire_doors_January_2020.pdf

The Secretary of State has confirmed that we will shortly retire the consolidated advice note in favour of the development of new more risk-proportionate guidelines for fire risk assessors including PAS 9980 which will include information on HPL.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the deadline of 30 September 2021 for the start of remedial works to be paid for under the Building Safety Fund, whether there will be flexibility in the application of that deadline in the event that a decision has been delayed as a result of the appeals process.

The timelines for the Building Safety Fund were intended to incentivise building owners to speed up plans to identify and remediate unsafe buildings. The Building Safety Fund Application Guidance requests that applicants work to meet the deadlines set out by the fund wherever possible. We recognise, however, that meeting these deadlines may not be possible in all circumstances, for instance where applicants find that they do not have sufficient time to complete a robust and satisfactory procurement process or are still going through the appeals process. More time may be permitted on a case by case basis, providing applicants continue to keep delivery partners and residents fully informed and provide them with realistic timetables. Building safety remains the responsibility of the building owner, and they must take swift action to remediate safety issues, without passing on costs to leaseholders.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether Trespa Meteon FR cladding has been subject to fully independent, government-recognised fire tests; what assessment his Department has made of whether that cladding is fire-safe; and whether his Department has plans to commission independent tests for individual cladding products.

Trespa Meteon FR is a High Pressure Laminate (HPL). In the summer of 2019, the Department commissioned a large scale (BS 8414) test of an external wall system which included an FR HPL (Class B-s1, d0) and mineral wool insulation (class A1). The test was successful as the system met the criteria of BR 135 Fire performance of external thermal insulation for walls of multistorey buildings. The results can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-test-report-mhclg-bs-8414-hpl.

The Department also commissioned research into the burning behaviours of a range of non-ACM cladding materials including HPL. The aim was to identify if there were other types of cladding that burn like the type of metal composite material which was present on the Grenfell Tower, which was an aluminium composite material (ACM) with an unmodified polyethylene core (called ACM PE, or 'ACM category 3'). The research was published in March 2020 and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-performance-of-cladding-materials-research.

The findings of both the large-scale test and the aforementioned research supported the advice provided by the Expert Panel – notably building safety advice for building owners, including around fire doors – that ACM PE presents the most significant fire hazard. The consolidated advice note, including the expert panel advice with regards to HPL, can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/869532/Building_safety_advice_for_building_owners_including_fire_doors_January_2020.pdf.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish in full the membership of all working groups convened by the Government to develop its proposals for changes to the planning system.

Since the close of the 'Planning for the Future' consultation, we have continued to hear from a range of representatives from across the planning sector as we continue to develop and refine our ideas for reform. We look forward to continuing to engage with a wide range of interests as we take the programme forward.

We will publish a response to the consultation setting out our next steps which will provide a basis for further engagement with the sector.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much has been recovered from those responsible for the presence of unsafe ACM cladding to date.

More than half of private sector high-rise residential buildings with unsafe ACM cladding have had their remediation costs paid for by warranties, developers or the building owner. Where this is not happening or is not happening at a quick enough pace the Government has made £600 million of funding available to building owners to remediate unsafe ACM cladding in residential buildings 18m and over. As part of the funding agreement applicants are required to demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to recover the costs of replacing the unsafe cladding from those responsible through insurance claims, warranties or legal action.

Where applicants have successfully recovered funding for part of the costs of remediation this will be reflected in their grant from the relevant fund, which will be lower than it would have been if the full costs needed to be covered. Our latest data shows this amounts to savings to the taxpayer of over £27 million across the Private Sector ACM Fund, Social Sector ACM Fund and Building Safety Fund as of end February 2021. However, given the recovery of funding from those responsible for the presence of unsafe cladding can be a lengthy and complex process we expect it to take some time to see money returned in cases where a grant covering the full cost of remediation has been made.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Government's National Design Guide and the Agent of Change principle, what the process is for pursuing developers if issues of conflict arise between developers and residents post-development.

Where problems arise post-development due to a breach of planning control (including where suitable mitigation measures have not been provided to enable effective integration of a development with other uses), there are a range of powers available to a local authority. However, it is for the authority to decide what course of action to take depending on the circumstances.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the Government plans to publish updated guidance on the principles in their 2019 National Design Guide in relation to rapidly developing urban areas.

The National Design Guide sets out ten characteristics of well-designed places which can be applied to all types of location, including rapidly developing urban areas. We recently consulted on a draft National Model Design Code, which builds on guidance in the National Design Guide, providing tools to local councils to enable them to establish well designed and beautiful places. We are currently considering the consultation responses, and will be announcing our next steps on the National Model Design Code.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 20 April to Question 181317, how much investment has been delivered by Homes England through the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund Forward Funding, by local authority.

Information regarding the Housing Infrastructure Fund is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/housing-infrastructure-fund.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent targets his Department has set for the number of new homes designed specifically for older people.

The Government is investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over 5 years, the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade. This includes the new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, under which 10 per cent of delivery over the course of the programme will be used to increase the supply of much needed specialist or supported housing, including for older and disabled people. As set out in our National Planning Policy Framework, local authorities should already assess the types of specialist housing needed for older and disabled people in their areas, and that this should be reflected in their planning policies. 

We have also given councils guidance on options they should consider, such as housing with improved accessibility, so the most vulnerable get the support they need. The Government also recently consulted on options to raise the accessibility of new homes, recognising the importance of suitable homes for older and disabled people.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 apply to mortgage as well as landlord possession actions.

Yes. The regulations restricting the serving and execution of writs and warrants of possession by bailiffs apply to mortgage and landlord repossessions. Landlords and mortgage lenders are able to issue a claim and obtain a possession order, however bailiff enforcement in mortgage and landlord repossession cases is restricted by the terms of these Regulations until 31 May. Limited exemptions exist to enable landlords to take enforcement action in the most serious cases.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many applications his Department received to the Waking Watch Relief fund (a) in total and (b) by local authority.

The Waking Watch Relief Fund opened for applications for buildings in England, except private sector buildings in London, on 31 January 2021 and closed on 14 March. Applications received are currently being processed. For private sector buildings in London the Fund opened on 18 March 2021 and remains open until 30 April. We will publish complete data on the Waking Watch Relief Fund, including the number of applications.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress the Government has made in implementing the 2019 National Design Guide.

The National Design Guide became planning practice guidance in 2019, meaning that it became a material consideration in the determination of planning applications. The draft National Model Design Code expands on this guidance further, providing the tools for councils to produce local design codes in consultation with communities. We are currently considering responses to the consultation on the draft National Model Design Code and National Planning Policy Framework which closed on 27 March, and we will be announcing a way forward.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much of the Housing Infrastructure Fund has been allocated, by local authority.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reforming full repairing and insuring leases for small business premises.

The Government will launch a review of the commercial landlord and tenant relationship later this year.

This is in response to growing concerns that the current commercial leasehold legislation has not kept pace with the realities of the sector, and will seek views on how to ensure a flexible and fit-for-purpose system that enables sustainable occupation of thriving high streets and town centres as we recover from the pandemic and beyond.

It will consider a broad range of issues including the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 Part II, different models of rent payment, and the impact of Coronavirus on the market. The Government will make further announcements on the detail, including a timeline and full scope, in due course.

The Government has also recently launched a Call for Evidence on commercial rents to help monitor the overall progress of negotiations between tenants and landlords. This call for evidence will support the Government’s decision making on the best way to withdraw or replace existing legislation preventing eviction and insolvency measures, while preserving tenant businesses and the millions of jobs that they support. We welcome responses by 11:45pm on 4 May 2021.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the review of the Decent Homes Standard, whether the Government plans to provide funding to local authorities and other social housing providers to meet the new standard.

The Social Housing White Paper announced a review of the Decent Homes Standard to consider whether it needs to be updated to ensure it is delivering what is needed for safety and decency now, including on energy efficiency and green spaces.

As a first step, the review will consider the case for change. If the evidence demonstrates that we need to revise the Standard, we will consider new criteria as a second stage of the review.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the New Homes Quality Board is planned to include considerations affecting fire safety in its work putting together a Code of Conduct for the building industry.

The New Homes Quality Board is independent of Government and was established through an industry-led initiative. The Government had no role in making appointments to the Board or the appointment of the Chair. The Board brings together a wealth of relevant experience from across the housing industry and includes consumer protection groups. We are supportive of the Board’s aims and we have been kept appraised of its work, including on a code of practice. However, the Government has not been involved in the code’s development.

The Government is bringing forward legislation, through the Building Safety Bill, to provide for the New Homes Ombudsman which will resolve disputes, provide effective protection for new build home-buyers and will set out the arrangements for the New Homes Ombudsman scheme. Legislation will also underpin a developers’ code of practice to cover the standards of conduct and quality of work expected of developers, including fire safety issues.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the process was for selecting members of the New Homes Quality Board, including appointment of the Chair.

The New Homes Quality Board is independent of Government and was established through an industry-led initiative. The Government had no role in making appointments to the Board or the appointment of the Chair. The Board brings together a wealth of relevant experience from across the housing industry and includes consumer protection groups. We are supportive of the Board’s aims and we have been kept appraised of its work, including on a code of practice. However, the Government has not been involved in the code’s development.

The Government is bringing forward legislation, through the Building Safety Bill, to provide for the New Homes Ombudsman which will resolve disputes, provide effective protection for new build home-buyers and will set out the arrangements for the New Homes Ombudsman scheme. Legislation will also underpin a developers’ code of practice to cover the standards of conduct and quality of work expected of developers, including fire safety issues.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reason appointments to the New Homes Quality Board were not subject to open applications.

The New Homes Quality Board is independent of Government and was established through an industry-led initiative. The Government had no role in making appointments to the Board or the appointment of the Chair. The Board brings together a wealth of relevant experience from across the housing industry and includes consumer protection groups. We are supportive of the Board’s aims and we have been kept appraised of its work, including on a code of practice. However, the Government has not been involved in the code’s development.

The Government is bringing forward legislation, through the Building Safety Bill, to provide for the New Homes Ombudsman which will resolve disputes, provide effective protection for new build home-buyers and will set out the arrangements for the New Homes Ombudsman scheme. Legislation will also underpin a developers’ code of practice to cover the standards of conduct and quality of work expected of developers, including fire safety issues.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the (a) bailiff enforced eviction ban and (b) protection from eviction during the covid-19 outbreak applies to mortgage as well as landlord possession actions.

The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) Regulations 2021 prevents the serving and execution of writs or warrants of possession by bailiffs up to 31 May 2021. Landlords and mortgage lenders are able to issue a claim and obtain a possession order, but the ban prevents bailiff enforcement. Limited exemptions exist to enable landlords to take enforcement action in the most serious cases.

The Coronavirus Act 2020 requires landlords to provide six months’ notice before seeking possession through the courts except in the most serious cases. The notice periods do not apply to mortgage lenders when seeking possession from homeowners. A pre action protocol is in place to ensure mortgage lenders only take court action as a last resort. If a lender takes possession of a property and wishes to seek possession from sitting tenants, they will need to provide the relevant period of notice before they can seek possession through the court.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the building safety fund registration statistics, what is classified as basic information to assess whether an application is eligible.

The criteria used to assess the eligibility of registrations for the Building Safety Fund is set out in the prospectus. The Building Safety Fund prospectus, as well the annex with the registration questions (Prospectus Annex B), can be found at: www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#prospectus---outlining-eligibility-for-the-fund .

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to his letter to building control bodies on the retraction of three tests carried out on Kingspan K15 insulation, what contribution Kingspan is planned to make to the cost of remediation of buildings with Kingspan insulation, where that is required.

We have announced that we will be introducing a levy and tax on developers to contribute to righting the wrongs of the past. The proposed levy will be targeted and apply when developers seek permission to develop certain high-rise buildings in England.

It is also clear that further measures must be put in place to prevent unsafe products being placed on the market and there must be action against companies which advertise and sell unsafe products, or who game the testing regime.

That is why we have brought forward proposals to strengthen the regulation of construction products in the draft Building Safety Bill. We have also announced in January a new national regulator for construction products, which will be based in the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), and who are receiving up to £10 million in 2021/22 to set it up. A review of the system for testing construction products was announced in January and will report its findings later this year. The Government will act where we see standards falling short.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the RICS EWS1 form guidance published on 8 March 2021, what estimate he has made of the number of buildings over 18m where there are balconies that which stack vertically above each other and either (a) both the balustrades and decking are constructed with combustible materials or (b) the decking is constructed with combustible materials and the balconies are directly linked by combustible material.

This information is not held.

The department has published estimates regarding EWS1 requirements on residential buildings in England and these estimates are available online here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-safety-programme-estimates-of-ews1-requirements-on-residential-buildings-in-england/building-safety-programme-estimates-of-ews1-requirements-on-residential-buildings-in-england.

The analysis is based on information provided by local authorities and housing associations who are conducting a data collection exercise as part of a programme to build a more complete picture of high-rise residential buildings and the variety of external wall systems in use.

To speed up valuations where EWS1 forms are justified, the Government is providing nearly £700,000 funding to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors to train up to 2,000 more assessors in 2021. This training commenced in January and there are over 700 candidates on the course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)