Tom Hunt Portrait

Tom Hunt

Conservative - Ipswich

5 APPG memberships (as of 21 Apr 2021)
Bangladesh, Cricket, Dyspraxia, Micromobility, Philanthropy and Social Investment
Test Committee
7th Jan 2019 - 1st Feb 2020


Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 27th May 2021
14:30
Petitions Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Brain tumour and childhood cancer research
27 May 2021, 2:30 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
Peter Realf - Campaigner at Brain Tumour Research
Amanda Mifsud - Founder at Abbie's Army
Fiona Govan - Petition Creator at Private citizen
Ian Walker - Executive Director of Policy, Information and Communications at Cancer Research UK
Sue Farrington Smith - Chief Executive at Brain Tumour Research
Richard Gilbertson - Chair at Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission
Chris Jones - Professor of Childhood Brain Tumour Biology at Institute of Cancer Research
The Lord Bethell - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Department of Health and Social Care
Helen Campbell - Portfolio Manager at Department of Health and Social Care
Mike Batley - Deputy Director of Research Programmes at Department of Health and Social Care
View calendar
Division Votes
Wednesday 28th April 2021
National Security and Investment Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 357 Conservative Aye votes vs 1 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 358 Noes - 269
Speeches
Thursday 22nd April 2021
Business of the House

Over the past few weeks, I have been knocking on quite a few doors in the Chantry area of Ipswich, …

Written Answers
Thursday 29th April 2021
Ipswich Hospital: Colchester Hospital
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
2. (a) Support linked to an MP but received by a local party organisation or indirectly via a central party organisation
Name of donor: United and Cecil Club
Address of donor: Abbatt Group, New Penderel House, 283-287 High Holborn, London WC1V …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Tom Hunt has voted in 268 divisions, and 6 times against the majority of their Party.

22 Mar 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 33 Conservative No votes vs 320 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 253
13 Oct 2020 - Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 42 Conservative No votes vs 298 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 299 Noes - 82
24 Jun 2020 - Demonstrations (Abortion Clinics) - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 43 Conservative No votes vs 56 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 213 Noes - 47
27 Apr 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 31 Conservative No votes vs 320 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 320 Noes - 256
27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 77 Conservative No votes vs 222 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
28 Apr 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 32 Conservative No votes vs 321 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 256
View All Tom Hunt 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
(21 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
(10 debate interactions)
Nigel Evans (Conservative)
(8 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(24 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(20 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(18 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(17 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Tom Hunt's debates

Ipswich 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 Ipswich signature proportion
Petitions with most Ipswich signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

The government should allow BTEC students to achieve teacher predicted grades rather than being forced into a system that is unethically downgrading thousands of students grades.

Please don’t send students back until we know we have had the priority groups vaccinated such as the elderly, the extremely clinically vulnerable, and those with underlying health conditions.

Cancel all standardise testing for year 11 and year 12 students in 2021. By replacing tests with smaller amounts of course work and teacher assessment, students would have a fair chance at achieving their target grades and it would relieve stress for teachers and students.

Schools can be a breeding ground for the spread of coronavirus. Children are mingling at schools and returning to families who are potentially vulnerable, keeping rates high.

It's only been since schools opened that infection rates have been high in Kent, and keeping them open may keep it high.

The Home Secretary said what happened to victims of child sexual exploitation gangs was “one of the biggest stains on our country’s conscience.” Last year local authorities identified 18,700 suspected victims of child sexual exploitation. We want an independent public inquiry into Grooming Gangs.

The Government is refusing to release official research on the characteristics of grooming gangs, claiming it is not in the “public interest”.

We, the British public, demand the release of the official research on grooming gangs undertaken by the Government in full.

Legislate to allow parents to have the option to remove their children from school if there is a pandemic e.g. Coronavirus or similar without negative action by schools or local authorities. They shouldn’t lose the child’s place in the school or face any kind of prosecution.

Pet Theft Reform 2020: Revise the sentencing guidelines in the Theft Act 1968 to reclassify pet theft as a specific crime. Ensure that monetary value is irrelevant for the categorisation of dog and cat theft crime for sentencing purposes. Recognise pet theft as a category 2 offence or above.

Illegal immigrants are entering the UK in many different ways, including small boats from France which are not stopped by either French or British forces.

I would like the government to review and increase the pay for healthcare workers to recognise the work that they do.

We would like the government to support and regard social care: financially, publicly and systematically on an equal par as NHS. We would like parliament to debate how to support social care during COVID-19 and beyond so that it automatically has the same access to operational and financial support.

To revoke the Immigration Health Surcharge increases for overseas NHS staff. The latest budget shows an increase of £220 a year for an overseas worker to live and work in the UK, at a time when the NHS, and UK economy, relies heavily on them.

Give NHS workers who are EU and other Nationals automatic UK citizenship if they stay and risk their own lives looking after the British people during the COVID crisis.


Latest EDMs signed by Tom Hunt

Tom Hunt has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Tom Hunt, 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.


Tom Hunt has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Tom Hunt has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Tom Hunt has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Tom Hunt has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


64 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take urgent steps to ensure that floating bar and restaurant businesses that are not eligible for business rates are able to access the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund has been designed to support smaller businesses in some of the sectors which have been hit hardest by the measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The scheme has been tied to the business rates system and rating assessments, which together provide a framework for Local Authorities to make payments as quickly as possible.

On 1 May 2020 the Business Secretary announced that a further up to £617 million is being made available to local authorities. This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs such as rents rather than business rates. We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in a range of shared workspaces, 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 may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need.

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 make St George's Day a bank holiday.

The Government regularly receives requests for additional bank and public holidays to commemorate a variety of occasions – such as cultural, history, military and religious events.? The current pattern on public and bank holidays is well established and acknowledged throughout the country.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will (a) refund community radio stations' Ofcom transmitter and relay licence fees to support those stations during the covid-19 outbreak and (b) take steps to ensure that those stations do not incur those costs in future.

This is a matter for Ofcom, who are responsible for setting and collecting licence fees from radio broadcast licence holders, including those payable by community radio stations.

Ofcom have taken steps to engage with community radio stations that are struggling to meet fees, and have made arrangements with a number of broadcast licence holders that are having difficulties. Community stations should contact Ofcom if they have fees that they are unable to pay as the result of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to make the flying of the Union Flag compulsory at all schools.

Schools play an important role in preparing pupils for life in modern Britain. This involves supporting pupils to understand the society in which they grow up and developing their sense of British identity.

Schools are free to display the national flag of the United Kingdom and it is a matter for individual schools to decide. The Department for Education does not provide specific guidance or restrictions on this.

Whilst the Government has a policy on flying the Union Flag above government buildings, this does not extend to schools.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of increasing financial support to pre-schools during the covid-19 outbreak to help prevent the closure of those pre-schools.

The government recognises the importance of supporting the early years sector financially during the COVID-19 outbreak.

That is why on 20 July 2020 we announced that we will continue to fund childcare at the same level as before the COVID-19 outbreak, until the end of the calendar year. This will give nurseries and childminders another term of secure income, regardless of how many children are attending. Early years settings will continue to benefit from a planned £3.6 billion funding in the 2020-21 financial year to create free early education and childcare places for children.

In addition to this, the government has provided a package of support for individuals and businesses which are directly benefitting providers of childcare. This includes business rates relief and grants, the extended Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Job Retention bonus and the extended Job Retention scheme, which will remain open until December 2020, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.

Around £60 million per year of supplementary funding is also being provided to local authorities, to enable them to protect maintained nursery schools’ funding. On 24 August 2020, we announced that we will continue to provide this for the whole of the 2020-21 academic year.

We continue to work closely with both local authorities and the early years sector organisations to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the sector.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure schools are covid-19 secure during winter 2020-21 when ensuring ventilation in classrooms and outdoor socialising for pupils could become more difficult.

On 2 July we published guidance to help schools prepare for all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term. The guidance can be viewed at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

The above guidance sets out a ‘system of controls’ which provides a framework for school leaders to put in place a range of proportionate protective measures for children and staff, which also ensure that all pupils receive a high quality education that enables them to thrive and progress. Measures include minimising contacts between groups and maintaining distance where possible, encouraging regular handwashing, and enhanced cleaning.

This includes advice that once the school is in operation, it is important to ensure good ventilation and maximising this wherever possible, for example, by opening windows and propping open doors, as long as they are not fire doors, where safe to do so (bearing in mind safeguarding in particular). Arrangements for ventilation will vary in each setting based on individual circumstances.

Advice on this can be found in Health and Safety Executive guidance on air conditioning and ventilation during the coronavirus outbreak available at https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation.htm.

Whilst schools are encouraged to utilise outdoor space, this may be less practical throughout the winter months. The use of outdoor spaces is one element of the protective measures that schools have available to limit the transmission of coronavirus. There cannot be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, and school leaders will be best placed to understand the needs of their schools and communities and to make informed judgments about how to balance delivering a broad and balanced curriculum with the measures needed to manage risk.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support the mental health of students affected by summer 2020’s exam results.

On Monday 17 August, Ofqual confirmed that there no longer would be a standardisation process for AS and A levels or GCSEs. Instead, all students will be awarded the centre assessment grade submitted by their school or college, unless it is lower than their calculated grade, in which case the calculated grade will stand. Unless there is evidence that a processing error has been made, these grades will be final. This means that students can be certain about their grades as a basis for the next steps in their lives.

Individual young people's mental wellbeing is affected in different ways by issues in their lives. It is important that they receive support where they need it, including from their school. The government has provided a wide range of training and resources to schools and colleges to help them support the wellbeing of their pupils. This includes launching the Wellbeing for Education Return programme which is providing £8 million to local authorities to provide schools and colleges all over England with the knowledge and practical skills they need to support teachers, students and parents, to help improve how they respond to the emotional impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The training materials include examples of supporting students around loss and disappointment, including over exam results.

This is additional to longer term work to improve support, including the new mental health support teams that we are rolling out across the country, linked to schools and colleges.

The Office for Students (OfS) have provided up to £3 million to fund the Student Space platform to bridge gaps in mental health support for students. Student Space is a collaborative mental health resource to support students at English and Welsh universities through the unique circumstances created by the COVID-19 outbreak. It provides a range of information, access to dedicated support services (phone or text), details of the support available at each university, and tools to help students manage the challenges of student life.

The government has also worked closely with the OfS to help clarify that higher education providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. Providers are able to use the OfS student premium funding worth around £256 million for 2020-21 academic year starting from August towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of mental health support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support prospective apprentices while apprenticeship opportunities are reduced as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover and grow. This government is committed to ensuring people of all ages can continue to benefit from the high-quality training that an apprenticeship offers. Through our ‘Plan for Jobs’, a total of £1.6 billion is to be invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships.

To help support employers to offer new apprenticeships, employers are now able to claim £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for those 25 and over. We have introduced flexibilities to enable apprentices to continue to train during the outbreak and we encourage employers to take advantage of these flexibilities and the new payments. For apprentices who need to find a new employer, due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have launched the Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices, providing clear, accessible advice and guidance to individuals, while supporting their next steps. This includes our vacancy sharing service which works with employers to identify new apprenticeship opportunities which these apprentices can apply for.

We are supporting those who may be interested in an apprenticeship in the future, promoting apprenticeships in schools through our Apprenticeship Support & Knowledge programme, and tripling the scale of our traineeship programme to help young people progress onto an apprenticeship or other employment. We have also announced £101 million for a new offer to give 18 and 19-year-old school and college leavers the opportunity to study high value level 2 and 3 courses when there are not employment opportunities available to them.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to help ensure that student renters and university accommodation providers reach agreement to refund rental payments where students have not been in residence in that accommodation as a result of the covid-19 lockdown.

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.

The government urges universities and private hall providers to be fair in their decisions about rent charges for this period. A number of universities and large companies have waived rents for the summer term or released students early from their contracts. Students who are tenants with individual private landlords can discuss with them the possibility of an early release from their tenancy agreement.

It is important to stress that accommodation providers should not have instructed any student to return home. If any accommodation provider did formally instruct a student to leave the property then it would be unacceptable to continue to charge student rents.

Students will continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the current 2019/20 academic year. Government guidance makes clear that tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability during the Covid-19 outbreak.

If a student thinks that their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice as long as their provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/; https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and: https://www.rla.org.uk/about/nrla-code-of-practice.shtml.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to monitor the welfare of vulnerable children who are not attending school 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.

Our latest guidance on supporting vulnerable children is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

We are committed to ensuring the safety and protection of vulnerable children and young people, particularly during the current period. Schools and other educational settings remain open for these children and local authorities are maintaining contact with them. Our guidance explains how education providers can support vulnerable children, including to monitor and encourage attendance.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State has written to all educational establishments and Directors of Children’s Services in England to encourage attendance for these children. He also stressed the need for schools, local authorities and social workers to maintain contact and support services throughout this period. Officials in the department and re-deployed Ofsted Inspection teams are working with local authorities directly to ensure systems and processes for maintaining contact with vulnerable children are robust in every local authority in England, and to share good practice. We have asked local authorities and educational settings to ensure every vulnerable child knows that their setting is there to support them.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to allocate additional (a) funding and (b) resources to special educational needs provision in (a) Suffolk and (b) England.

As part of the boost to school funding, announced at the spending round last year, mainstream schools in Suffolk will attract £433.1 million this coming year, which will help them provide resources for their pupils with special educational needs. In England the overall increases for schools will be £14.6 billion over 3 years - £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23.

For 2020-21, these overall increases include £780 million additional high needs funding, bringing the total funding for children and young people with the most complex needs to £7.2 billion. Every local authority will see an increase in high needs funding of at least 8% per head of population aged 2 to 18. Suffolk county council will receive £75.5 million of high needs funding in 2020-21, 11.1 million more than in 2019-20. This increase will help the council and other local authorities with the resources they need to support those young people who need the most support, including those with education, health and care plans.

Allocations for high needs in 2021-22 and 2022-23 will be announced in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that teacher training courses provide for an adequate understanding of special educational needs.

The quality of teaching is the most important in-school factor for improving the educational achievements for all children and that this is particularly important for pupils with additional needs.

The new Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework ( ITT CCF), published on 1 November 2019, has been designed to ensure the training of teachers includes the support for all pupils to succeed, including those pupils identified within the four areas of need set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) code of practice. The ITT CCF is based on the best evidence of what works. The framework therefore deliberately does not detail approaches specific to particular additional needs, but what makes the most effective teaching.

When developing the framework, the Department held stakeholder consultations, events and meetings, including SEND themed events. While there were a range of views about things that could or should be included in the framework, there was consensus that our approach of ‘quality-first teaching’, would be the best way to improve outcomes for all children, particularly those with special educational needs.

In addition to the mandated minimum set out in the ITT CCF, the Department expects ITT providers and their partners to continue to tailor their curricula to the needs of their trainees and the children in the schools where they train and will work.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that roles in seasonal agricultural work are advertised to people in the UK to limit the need to import foreign workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The ongoing impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak have meant that there will be a shortfall in the numbers of workers who usually travel to the UK from Europe to work during the harvest season, with the demand for workers peaking from late May through the summer.

Farming leaders have already kick-started a recruitment drive for work on farms, with thousands of British people already expressing an interest in picking up seasonal agricultural work over the coming weeks and months. With many British workers furloughed from their jobs, and students having to put their summer plans on hold, the Government is supporting industry efforts to help farmers bring in this year’s harvest, working to build on these numbers.

The majority of roles for the early part of the harvest season have already been filled. We are closely monitoring the situation and we will shortly be launching a public- facing campaign to highlight the roles available from late May onwards and to encourage people to apply. The Government has confirmed that those who have been furloughed from their jobs due to coronavirus, and who are contractually allowed to work for another employer, can take on this seasonal work.

A new Government-industry digital hub for seasonal work information and job opportunities has been launched to provide guidance on getting into farm work and links to the available jobs and recruiters. The website can be found at pickforbritain.org.uk and will be updated regularly over the coming weeks to help match jobs to workers as the demand grows.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will introduce legislative proposals to ban best before labels on food items.

The term ‘best before’ is used to indicate to consumers that the quality of the food may not be at its best after the date has expired. When used appropriately, and in line with the most recent guidance from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), ‘best before’ helps ensure that consumers are able to make the best use of food and reduce waste.

The Government supports the valuable work done by WRAP in the UK to reduce food waste, which includes providing clear, thoroughly researched, sector-specific guidance on the application of ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates. WRAP’s recommendations are based on a large body of evidence and their work with food businesses, retailers and consumers.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many accidents have occurred between Junction 55 and Junction 57 of the A14 trunk road which have resulted in its closure in each year from (a) 2010 to (b) 2020.

The attached table contains the number of traffic collisions reported by Highways England from 2015 for the A14 between junctions 55 and 57, which resulted in a lane closure being implemented:

Date from previous years is not readily available.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will remove the requirement that 10 to 15,000 homes be provided in addition to the homes contained within the Suffolk local plans in order for funding to be allocated for the proposed Ipswich Northern Bypass.

I understand the Cabinet of Suffolk County Council has taken the decision to cease development of the proposed Ipswich Northern Bypass scheme, removing it from consideration for funding as part of the Major Road Network and Large Local Majors Programme. Should this remain a priority and development of the scheme resumes, there will be further opportunities for funding.

However, local planning and housing decisions are outside of the Department’s purview and it is not the Department’s policy to specify planning requirements for road schemes to be funded. The Department would simply require a local financial contribution to this scheme.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps Network Rail plans to take to ensure that disruption is minimised for rail users in Ipswich when closing sections of track from Ipswich to London at weekends to carry out engineering works.

Carrying out engineering works is essential to ensure that the railway remains safe for passengers and staff and changes can be made to improve passenger journeys, for example to prevent infrastructure failures that cause delays. Network Rail seeks to minimise the impact this essential work has on passengers. This includes planning to carry out as much work as possible overnight or while trains are running during the day. Where possible, Network Rail also divert trains from their usual routes (as was done through Colchester area while track improvements to improve reliability were delivered over Christmas and New Year). Where sections of the railway have to be closed, Network Rail seeks to maximise the amount of work undertaken to reduce the number of times an area needs to be closed. They also work with operators to provide passengers with advance notice so they know how their journeys will be affected and what alternatives are available.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he plans to take with Highways England to prevent the need for the Orwell Bridge in Suffolk to be closed during periods of high wind.

Highways England is aware of the impact any closure of the Orwell Bridge has during high winds. Any decision to close it is not taken lightly and is made on safety grounds alone.

Highways England commissioned a study in October 2018 which will help determine whether the current closure threshold is appropriate. Highways England has meetings planned with stakeholders later this month to present and discuss the findings and next steps. The study will then be published on Highways England’s website.

19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the merger of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals on (a) the effectiveness of Ipswich hospital and (b) the adequacy of the services it provides to users in Ipswich.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.
Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of supporting grassroots initiatives to improve mental health in local communities.

The Government is supportive of grassroots initiatives to improve the mental health of local communities.

The Department is providing £5.23 million in grant funding to Mind to administer the Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund, which is helping local and national voluntary and community sector organisations support people who are experiencing mental ill-health.

As part of this work, the National Survivor User Network is administering a smaller fund to support community and user-led groups and organisations which might not otherwise be eligible for a grant. Grants of up to £2,000 were made available to support community action, peer support, mutual aid and other activities.

We are also providing £12.5 million of funding between 2016/17–2020/21 to the Time to Change mental health anti-stigma campaign which empowers people with lived experience of mental health to work with schools and employers to implement local grassroots mental health anti-stigma campaigns.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of a two-site improvement option which would allow Ipswich Hospital to continue to provide orthopaedic surgery in proposals to remove elective orthopaedic surgery from Ipswich Hospital to a new centre in Colchester.

It is for local commissioners to determine how to best deliver services to meet local needs. It is right that decisions on local services and service models are made by local commissioners, who can best assess how to meet the needs of people in their area. For any significant system reconfiguration, we expect all local parts of the system to be talking to the public and stakeholders regularly — it is vital that people can shape the future of their local services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of effect of the proposals to remove elective orthopaedic surgery from Ipswich Hospital on (a) Ipswich patients' ability to get to and from surgery at a new centre in Colchester and (b) the delivery of trauma services remaining at Ipswich Hospital.

It is for local commissioners to determine how to best deliver services to meet local needs. It is right that decisions on local services and service models are made by local commissioners, who can best assess how to meet the needs of people in their area. For any significant system reconfiguration, we expect all local parts of the system to be talking to the public and stakeholders regularly — it is vital that people can shape the future of their local services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the proposals to make Ipswich Hospital the only general hospital in the East of England not to offer elective orthopaedic surgery on access to such surgery in that region.

It will always be for local commissioners to determine how to best deliver services to meet local needs. It is right that decisions on local services and service models are made by local commissioners, who can best assess how to meet the needs of people in their area.

NHS Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT), is a national clinically-led quality improvement programme that has made recommendations for improving orthopaedic services. These recommendations include the establishment of robust regional networks with regional centres to ensure appropriate critical mass for complex and low volume cases. There is good evidence that these centres offer patient excellent results.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure available university resources are being used to develop tests for covid-19.

The Department is working closely with the universities sector to ensure any available university resources are being deployed in the national testing effort. As a result of our engagement several universities are now conducting research to develop novel solutions and testing methods as well as providing expertise, equipment and workforce to laboratories for COVID-19 testing purposes.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of equipping frontline NHS staff with general service respirators from military and civilian authority stocks during the covid-19 outbreak.

The United Kingdom Government and devolved administrations are committed to ensuring that those on the frontline in responding to COVID-19 are provided with the critical personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to do their job safely.

The UK holds stocks of PPE, including respirators through national stockpiles. We are doing everything we can to increase levels of critical PPE through buying as much available product from existing global markets and working with suppliers to make more products. This includes increasing capacity amongst existing PPE manufacturers wherever possible and working with businesses across the economy to divert their manufacturing capacity to PPE products. A technical assurance process is in place, supported by the Health and Safety Executive, Public Health England, and other regulatory bodies so that new and alternative products are checked for effectiveness and safety.

On 10 April 2020, the plan for a national effort on PPE was published at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/879221/Coronavirus__COVID-19__-_personal_protective_equipment__PPE__plan.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what progress has been made on negotiating a new international agreement restricting Iran's (a) nuclear programme, (b) ballistic missile programme and (c) financial support for terror groups.

The UK is committed to finding a diplomatic way forward that brings the US back into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), returns Iran to compliance with its commitments, and restores the benefits of the deal. Our diplomats are working hard to negotiate a solution and we welcome the constructive discussions in Vienna so far. But we have always been clear that any sustainable solution will need to address a range of issues, in particular Iran's nuclear programme but also regional security concerns, including Iran's ballistic missile programme and destabilising activity throughout the region. This includes political, financial and military support to a number of militant and proscribed groups. We are committed to engaging regional partners in any future negotiations on regional security.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the reforms to the curriculum to strengthen anti-extremist education in Jordan since 2015.

We frequently engage with the Government of Jordan on countering violent extremism, and Jordan has - in recent years - improved the content of its curriculum. We do not assess that the Jordanian curriculum contains materials that promote engagement with Daesh or other extremist groups, or promotes violent extremist behaviour.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of Freeport East on (a) skills and (b) employment opportunities in (i) Ipswich and (ii) the Ipswich area.

Freeports will increase trade, create employment and attract investment. The Government announced eight Freeports, including Freeport East, at the Budget. Each will now prepare their business cases, to agree with Government their plans and expected impacts.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what further assessment his Department has made of the effect of plans to introduce a reverse VAT charge for building and construction services on the (a) liquidity of mid-market construction firms and (b) Government's infrastructure plans.

The Government remains committed to introducing the VAT reverse charge for building and construction. VAT fraud in this sector still presents a significant risk to the Exchequer.

There are several UK anti-fraud reverse charge measures and their impact on business and supply chains is now well understood and explained in the Impact Assessment. The Government has listened carefully to industry concerns regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and has further delayed the introduction of the reverse charge by a period of five months from 1 October 2020 until 1 March 2021.

HMRC will continue to work closely with the construction industry, providing support and communications to ensure that businesses are fully aware and can prepare for cashflow challenges ahead of the implementation date.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to allow access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for businesses where HMRC had not received the necessary Real Time Information submissions through no fault of the businesses; and what steps he is taking to put in place an appeals system to deal with such cases.

Employees furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) must have been on their employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and HMRC must have received an RTI (Real Time Information) submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020.

The Government set up the CJRS to operate at significant scale and with limited manual intervention. The eligibility requirements are designed to ensure as many people as possible are included in the scheme while allowing HMRC to verify claims using RTI data, mitigating the risk of fraud. Processing claims for the CJRS in cases where HMRC did not have RTI data would significantly slow down the system and increase the risk of fraud.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions officials in her Department are having with representatives of the College of Policing on removing the obligation on police forces to record non-crime hate incidents.

Officials regularly meet College of Policing representatives to understand how practices and policies can improve.

The Home Secretary also recently wrote to the College of Policing on this important issue.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking to intercept boats crossing the English channel before the arrival of those boats onshore.

These are dangerous and unnecessary crossings, which are often illegally-facilitated and which we are determined to end. We are working closely with the French to prevent these crossings and to go after the criminality that profits from them.

Those efforts have seen numbers of gendarmes reservists doubled, enabling wider ranging deployment. Technology and intelligence capabilities are also being used to prevent crossing attempts and to inform operational responses on beaches and inland. Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is paramount in the approach taken by both ourselves and the French once migrant vessels are at sea. The French continue to stop the majority of those attempting to cross, and over twice as many crossings have been prevented so far in 2021 compared to the same point in 2020.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many fines for exceeding the speed limit have been issued between Junction 55 and Junction 57 of the A14 trunk road for each year from (a) 2010 to (b) 2020.

The Home Office collects and publishes data on the number of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) issued for speed limit offences. These data can be found in the ‘Police Powers and Procedures, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin, which can be accessed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/police-powers-and-procedures-england-and-wales

Detailed information on the location where the offence took place is not collected or held by the Home Office.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Nov 2020
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 better protect shop workers from abuse and violence in the workplace as set out in the British Retail Consortium's Shopworkers' Protection Pledge, published in September 2020; and what steps her Department is taking to help reduce the number of incidences of abuse and violence towards shop workers in the workplace (a) at all times and (b) during the covid-19 outbreak.

The existing Sentencing Assaults guidelines by the Sentencing Council already requires courts to treat the fact that an offence was committed against those working in the public sector or providing a service to the public as an aggravating factor, making the offence more serious. The Government does not consider that a change to the law is required

The Government is working closely with retailers through the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) co-chaired by the British Retail Consortium to deliver a programme of work which aims to provide better support to victims, improve reporting, increase data sharing and raise awareness of this despicable crime.

Following the outbreak of Covid-19, the Sentencing Council published interim guidance in April that clarifies that, when sentencing assault offences relating to the transmission of Covid-19, the courts should treat this as meriting a more severe sentence.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the lack of a specific offence of pet theft on (a) the police's ability to record pet theft and (b) the incentives for the police to investigate pet theft with regard to the severity of sentences upon successful prosecution.

The Government understands the distress caused by the theft of a pet, which is already a criminal offence under the Theft Act 1968 and carries a maximum penalty of 7 years’ imprisonment. We expect the police to record all such crimes reported to them so that they can determine how best to investigate

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the cost of Government-arranged accommodation for international arrivals who have not arranged accommodation in which to quarantine for 14 days will be paid for from the public purse.

Where people arrive and are non-symptomatic, they are expected to have arranged their own accommodation.

If for some reason they require different accommodation, they can use the government organised hotel booking service where all costs will fall to the traveller.

Existing immigration rules allow for a traveller who has insufficient funds to support themselves during a visit to be refused entry to the UK.

Where people arrive and are symptomatic, and they do not have suitable accommodation to self-isolate, the government will provide suitable accommodation until such time as they either complete the 14 day period, recover from their symptoms or have a test which confirms they do not have the virus. In this circumstance the traveller will be expected to cover all other expenditure during the period they are in a government quarantine facility.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of preventing people from arriving in the UK if they do not have pre-arranged accommodation in which to spend 14 days in quarantine.

The Government will require all international arrivals not on a short list of exemptions to self-isolate in their accommodation for fourteen days on arrival into the UK. Where international travellers are unable to demonstrate where they would self-isolate, they will be required to do so in accommodation arranged by the Government.

All international arrivals will be required to supply their contact and accommodation information and they will also be strongly advised to download and use the NHS contact tracing app.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to (a) prevent illegal arrivals through unauthorised crossings of the English Channel and b) remove those people that entered the UK illegally.

Keeping our border secure is the Government’s highest priority and it is committed to doing everything it can to stop these dangerous Channel crossings which are putting vulnerable lives at risk.

Through joint-working with France, the UK has funded the continued deployment of gendarme reservists along the coast of northern France, who are patrolling constantly in order to detect attempted crossings by migrants. Funding has been allocated, among other projects, for further improvements at ports in northern France and on the ground, this now includes drones, specialist vehicles and detection equipment to stop small boats leaving European shores.

Intelligence flows are also key to dismantling the organised crime groups behind crossings. We have restructured and repurposed our approach to support the growing intelligence feeds which is used to inform and direct how and where resource is deployed.

The majority of countries who are signatories to the Dublin Regulations which governs the return of those seeking asylum in the UK to a third country have announced temporary suspension of transfers to and from all EU Member States due to the Coronavirus. Returns to third-countries can still take place where there is a suitable route of return.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of reducing foreign nationals' air access to the UK to help tackle the spread of covid-19.

Our approach to international travel and checks at the border must be informed by the scientific and medical evidence and advice provided by SAGE and Public Health England. Any decision to implement additional restrictions on international travel to the UK or on arrival at ports/airports will be made by Ministers based on the consideration and advice of SAGE/PHE.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to encourage recently retired police officers back to service to deal with additional pressures on the force during the covid-19 outbreak.

On 22 April, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury made a written statement confirming that the relevant tax rules are temporarily suspended. This means that that retired officers who re-join the police to support Government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak will not be subject to punitive tax charges which may otherwise deter officers from returning to serve during this period.

The written ministerial statement is available at https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2020-04-22/HCWS196/

The Government is committed to ensuring that police forces and officers have the support and resources they need to meet the increased demands of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to purchase water cannons for use in public disorder situations.

There are no plans to introduce water cannon into UK policing. The Home Office works closely with the National Police Chiefs Council on police capability and the measures that can be used in response to public disorder.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if her Department will take steps to ensure that the College of Policing's Hate Crime Operational Guidance is amended to remove the requirement that police forces record non-crime hate incidents.

The College of Policing has revised its operational guidance on hate crime to help provide clarity on responding to non-crime hate incidents, among other things. The College has consulted on this draft revised operational guidance and plans to publish this in due course to support forces dealing with hate crimes and hate incidents.

The College of Policing is independent from Government and its role is clear: setting high professional standards; sharing what works best; acting as the national voice of policing; and ensuring police training and ethics is of the highest possible quality.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she will take to ensure equitable funding for Suffolk constabulary by changing the police funding formula.

The Government is committed to supporting the police, including through the 20,000 additional officers announced in the Chancellor’s September 2019 statement.

The funding formula will be considered in the context of the next Spending Review.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will identify the 17 buildings in Suffolk affected by unsafe cladding; and what steps he is taking to ensure tenants in those buildings are aware that their homes have unsafe cladding.

The Government does not disclose the names and locations of individual buildings with unsafe cladding out of concerns for public safety. It should be noted that the owners of each of the affected buildings have been informed, who we expect will ensure that their residents are kept fully informed as part of their responsibilities.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress his Department has made on identifying solutions to support leaseholders with (a) the incidental costs of waking watches and (b) other incidental costs with the exception of remediation incurred as a result of dangerous cladding having been installed on their leasehold properties.

The most effective way to make buildings with unsafe cladding safe and eliminate the need for interim measures and associated costs is to have the unsafe cladding removed as quickly as possible. That is why we are prioritising £1.6 billion public subsidy on remediation of unsafe cladding. However, we recognise residents’ concerns about the cost of waking watch measures and the lack of transparency of these costs. That is why we have collected and published information on waking watch costs. This will enable those that have commissioned it to make comparisons and challenge providers on unreasonable costs. The data is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-safety-programme-waking-watch-costs.

The Government also welcomes the National Fire Chiefs Council's update to its guidance on Simultaneous Evacuation published in October (available at: www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Simultaneous-evacuation-guidance). We have asked the Fire Protection Board to advise Fire and Rescue Services on how best to operationalise the revised guidance including looking into other measures such as installing building-wide fire alarm systems to reduce the dependency on waking watches wherever possible.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a funding mechanism whereby the Government (a) covers the up front cost of all urgent remediation works for dangerous cladding and (b) subsequently recovers the cost of that work over a period of time from those responsible for installing the cladding.

The Government is making £1.6 billion available to support the remediation of unsafe cladding but this does not absolve building owners of their responsibility to ensure their buildings are safe. The remediation of over 50 per cent of privately owned high-rise residential buildings with unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding will be paid for by building owners and developers, or through warranty or insurance claims - without passing the cost to residents and leaseholders. We expect building owners and developers to step up in a similar way for other kinds of unsafe cladding.

The Government has asked Michael Wade to accelerate work with leaseholders and the financial sector to develop proposals to protect leaseholders from unaffordable costs of remediating historic defects. The Government is determined to remove barriers to fixing historic defects and identify financing solutions that protect leaseholders from unaffordable costs; but we must also ensure that the bill does not fall on taxpayer. It?is likely?our solution will?be a combination of options as there is no one quick fix.?We will update leaseholders as soon as we can, and before the Building Safety Bill returns to Parliament.

For both the Private Sector ACM Fund and the Building Safety Fund 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 and/or legal action. Where they are able to successfully recover damages relating to the removal and replacement of unsafe non-ACM cladding, Government will require building owners to repay any amounts recovered which relate to the removal and replacement of the unsafe cladding up to the amount provided through the funding.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the potential benefits of implementing the recommendations in the Law Commission’s Commonhold Report on (a) flat owners’ ability to make key decisions about the management and costs of their building and (b) preventing the exploitation of leaseholders by landlords.

The Government wants to see commonhold reinvigorated as an alternative tenure to leasehold for flats, which is why we asked the Law Commission to look at how this could be done and what changes to legislation are required to support a wider take up of the tenure in the future.

The Law Commission report on commonhold was published in July, alongside reports on enfranchisement and Right to Manage. They are comprehensive and thorough reports and we will now take the time to consider these in detail and set out our preferred way forward in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what support his Department is providing to local homeless charities during the covid-19 outbreak.

Charities, and the thousands of people who volunteer with them, make a real difference to vulnerable people’s lives. We all need to work together to break the homelessness cycle and we are committed to drawing on as much expertise and experience as we can. Many of the projects we fund involve joint working with voluntary organisations as delivery partners, and in response to Covid-19 we have worked in partnership with the voluntary sector and faith and community groups.

MHCLG announced £6 million of emergency funding to provide relief for frontline homelessness charitable organisations who are directly affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. This is part of a £750 million package of government support for UK charities who may have been impacted by the pandemic. This Covid-19 Homelessness Response Fund was delivered by Homeless Link and applications closed on Wednesday 27 May.

Following a successful bidding process, over 130 charities across England benefitted from the £6 million emergency Fund. Further detail regarding the organisations who have been funded can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/charities-to-benefit-from-support-for-rough-sleepers-during-pandemic.

The Department also funds work to support a wide range of the homelessness sector – including voluntary organisations and independent providers of learning:

  • Homeless Link are funded £800,000 to support the work of the single homelessness sector. This includes a leadership programme for leaders and managers of single homelessness services; the provision of practical support for frontline workers; maintaining the Homeless England database; and a research programme.
  • The National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS), which is run by Shelter, is funded by MHCLG to provide free training and expert advice to local authority and public authority staff including those with a duty to refer. For 2020/21 the Department has committed £1.95 million of grant funding to NHAS to ensure that frontline staff have the right skills and legal knowledge effectively to support individuals at risk of homelessness or rough sleeping.
  • MHCLG has funded StreetLink, a service run by Homeless Link and St Mungo’s, since its inception in 2012.
  • In 2020/21 MHCLG provided £200,000 of grant funding to Housing Justice. This fund works to equip faith and community night shelters to develop good practice and to help faith and community groups to be more coordinated and linked-in with other homelessness provision (statutory, commissioned and other third sector) and provide a route away from the street.
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the (a) ban on evictions for renters and (b) mortgage holidays for landlords during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make it the Government's policy that landlords and tenants work together to establish an affordable repayment plan for rent arrears.

Any decision to alter the duration of the emergency measures brought in to support landlords and tenants during this time will be informed by Public Health England guidance. The Government will take further action, including extending the measures, if necessary


The Government is constantly monitoring the measures it has announced in response to COVID-19, including mortgage holidays. If, following the three-month mortgage holiday, a landlord is unable to begin paying their mortgage, they should reach out to their lender to discuss their options.

The Government has delivered unprecedented financial support to assist tenants with living costs, including rental payments. We have?also?been clear?in guidance?that there is a need for landlords to offer support and understanding to tenants – and any guarantor – who may see their income fluctuate.?This could include reaching a temporary agreement not to seek possession action for a period of time and instead, pause payments or accept a lower level of rent, or agree a plan to pay off arrears at a later date.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure the allocation of the additional £1.6 billion support for local authorities is adequate for borough councils in two-tier systems.

MHCLG continues to work with local agencies, including local authorities, on their preparedness to manage a Covid-19 outbreak.

Allocations of the additional £1.6 billion support for councils to respond to coronavirus were announced on Tuesday 28 April. This is a significant package of support which responds to the range of pressures councils have told us they are facing and takes the total amount provided to local councils to over £3.2 billion. Across both waves of funding, almost 70 per cent of district councils will receive £1 million or more in support, whilst 90 per cent of the funding will go to social care authorities. These allocations provide more funding to lower tier authorities than the first wave of funding.

13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that local planning authorities accelerate the delivery of housing set out in their local plans.

In 2018 we introduced a Housing Delivery Test and published the 2019 measurement on 13 February 2020.

On 12 March the Secretary of State set out this Government's plans for housing and planning following the announcements at Budget. This includes continuing to raise the Housing Delivery test threshold to 75 per cent in November 2020, setting a deadline for all local authorities to have an up-to-date local plan by December 2023, and consulting on reforming the New Homes Bonus to reward delivery.

In addition, in the Spring we will be publishing bold and ambitious Planning White Paper which will propose measures to accelerate planning.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to extend the community housing fund for five years.

The Community Housing Fund provides the principal source of Government support for the community-led housebuilding sector. The Fund is delivered outside London by Homes England and within London by the Greater London Authority. Capital and revenue grants are available to community-based groups wishing to take forward schemes to build locally affordable housing.

The Community Housing Fund is currently scheduled to close in March 2020. Ministers are considering all budgets in the round and allocations for 2020/21 will be confirmed through a business planning exercise. Allocations for future years will be considered at the next fiscal event.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will allocate additional funds for the replacement of (a) aluminium composite material and (b) high pressure laminate cladding.

The Government has committed £600 million for the removal and replacement of unsafe ACM cladding on high-rise residential buildings. Government intervention is wholly exceptional, and is based on the unparalleled fire risk ACM poses. We are aware of concerns leaseholders have about meeting the cost of remediation of fire safety issues other than ACM cladding remediation on high-rise buildings. Building safety is the responsibility of the building owner, and they should consider all routes to meet costs, protecting leaseholders where they can – for example through warranties and recovering costs from contractors for incorrect or poor work.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to (a) abolish the Greater Cambridge City Deal and (b) transfer the functions and funding allocated to that deal to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

Government has no plans to abolish the Greater Cambridge City Deal. The Greater Cambridge City Deal Investment Funds are subject to a 5-yearly Gateway Review process. We are currently undertaking this review with the Greater Cambridge Partnership and expect to conclude it by the end of the financial year.

If the local area wants to propose changes to governance arrangements, they should bring forward proposals, agreed by all the signatories, and my officials could consult with the relevant departments to consider Government’s response.

10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans the Government has to create an East Anglian Mayor and combined authority to cover Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

The Government wants to see more devolution across the country, and we welcome locally backed proposals. The English Devolution White Paper will provide further information on our plans for full devolution across England, increasing the number of mayors and doing more devolution deals.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating funding from the Stronger Towns Fund to Ipswich based on the work of the Ipswich Vision Board.

We are pleased to confirm that Ipswich has been selected as one of the first 100 places to benefit from the £3.6 billion Towns Fund. We have been in touch with colleagues in Ipswich and will be working with them to develop their Town Deal. I hope you will continue to play an active role in shaping their plans.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people convicted of pet theft offences have been awarded a prison sentence in each of the last three years; and what the average length was of those sentences.

The Government is sympathetic to the emotional trauma which the theft of a much-loved pet can cause. The Sentencing Council’s guidelines on theft now take account of the emotional distress on the victim caused by any theft offence, including theft of a pet, meaning that the courts will now take this into account when considering the appropriate sentence.

There are different theft offences under the Theft Act 1968 any of which could relate to the theft of pets depending on the individual circumstances of the case. Centrally held information on theft offences does not identify if a pet specifically was stolen. The information may be held on court records but to be able to identify cases in which pets were stolen would require access individual court records which would be of disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that (a) pet sentience and (b) emotional harm to pet owners is considered in sentencing for pet theft offences.

The Government is sympathetic to the emotional trauma which the theft of a much-loved pet can cause. The Sentencing Council’s guidelines on theft now take account of the emotional distress on the victim caused by any theft offence, including theft of a pet, meaning that the courts will now take this into account when considering the appropriate sentence.

There are different theft offences under the Theft Act 1968 any of which could relate to the theft of pets depending on the individual circumstances of the case. Centrally held information on theft offences does not identify if a pet specifically was stolen. The information may be held on court records but to be able to identify cases in which pets were stolen would require access individual court records which would be of disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to ensure that the use of coronavirus as a weapon is treated as an aggravating factor in sentencing.

It is vital that offenders using coronavirus to threaten others during this pandemic face the full force of the law.

Such behaviour is an assault and where this is directed at an emergency worker we have recently doubled the maximum penalty for assault from 6 to 12 months’ imprisonment. We have already seen significant sentences imposed on those using coronavirus as a threat.

Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for our independent Courts. On 8 April 2020, the Sentencing Council also published interim guidance for sentencers in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The interim guidance clarifies that, when sentencing common assault offences involving threats or activity relating to transmission of Covid-19, courts should treat this as an aggravating feature of the offence, meaning a more severe penalty could be imposed than would have been the case absent the aggravating factor (subject always to the maximum penalty for the offence).

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to ensure that inmates found to have used social media in prison are punished appropriately.

We do not tolerate the use of mobile phones in our prisons and will seek to punish those responsible.

The Prison Service’s Digital Media Investigations Unit (DMIU) works with prisons to identify offenders accessing websites and shuts these down quickly. In 2019, 387 social media profiles were removed.

Prisoners found guilty of using phones or other devices to upload information to social media websites can face punishments including prosecution in court which can result in sentences of up to two years’ further imprisonment.

We are investing an extra £100 million across the prison estate to fund additional staff, X-ray body scanners, baggage scanners and drug detection technology at prison gates, so that we can stop phones from entering prisons. The same investment will fund cutting-edge phone detection and blocking technology so that we can stop phones that do enter from working, or detect and retrieve them. Additionally, we are building a new digital forensics facility, which will enhance our capability to exploit intelligence from seized phones.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)