Tommy Sheppard Portrait

Tommy Sheppard

Scottish National Party - Edinburgh East

First elected: 7th May 2015

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)

(since September 2023)

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitutional Affairs)
1st Feb 2021 - 12th Dec 2022
Finance Committee (Commons)
9th Mar 2020 - 1st Mar 2021
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
7th Jan 2020 - 1st Feb 2021
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)
20th Jun 2017 - 7th Jan 2020
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (House of Lords)
20th Jun 2017 - 7th Jan 2020
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
20th May 2015 - 7th Jan 2020
Scottish Affairs Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee on Privileges
28th Oct 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Committee on Standards
9th Sep 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Committee of Privileges
28th Oct 2015 - 3rd May 2017


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Tommy Sheppard has voted in 538 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Tommy Sheppard 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)
(74 debate interactions)
Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker)
(13 debate interactions)
James Cleverly (Conservative)
Home Secretary
(6 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Leader of the House
(50 debate contributions)
Scotland Office
(36 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(34 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(17 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Tommy Sheppard's debates

Edinburgh East 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).

Petition Debates Contributed

We want the UK to be neutral in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and withdraw offers of support for Israel.

We want the Government to seek a ceasefire and also seek to address the root cause of the current conflict by promoting dialogue and advocating for the end of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The UK Government should urge the Israeli Government to stop the blockade of Food, Fuel and Electricity to the already impoverished city of Gaza

Recognise the state of Palestine to help stop the conflict from Israel. Not recognising the Palestinian state allows Israel to continue their persecution of the Palestinians.

The Government should introduce sanctions against Israel, including blocking all trade, and in particular arms.


Latest EDMs signed by Tommy Sheppard

26th March 2024
Tommy Sheppard signed this EDM on Tuesday 26th March 2024

Referral of matters of 21 February 2024 to the Committee of Privileges

Tabled by: William Wragg (Independent - Hazel Grove)
That this House notes the Speaker’s decision on selection and calling of amendments on 21 February 2024 was not in accordance with the established precedent for Opposition days; and accordingly considers that, notwithstanding the Resolution of this House of 6 February 1978, the matter of whether undue pressure was placed …
58 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Mar 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 42
Conservative: 13
Independent: 2
Plaid Cymru: 1
19th March 2024
Tommy Sheppard signed this EDM on Thursday 21st March 2024

Government legal advice on Israeli Government actions and international law

Tabled by: Richard Burgon (Labour - Leeds East)
This House notes the remarks by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on 19 March 2024 that the Israeli Government’s restrictions on humanitarian aid for Gaza may amount to the use of starvation as a method of war, which is a war crime; is alarmed at the mounting …
42 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Mar 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 24
Scottish National Party: 8
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Alba Party: 1
Workers Party of Britain: 1
View All Tommy Sheppard's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Tommy Sheppard, 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.


Tommy Sheppard has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Tommy Sheppard has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Tommy Sheppard


A Bill to require the Secretary of State to declare problem drug use a public health emergency; to require the Secretary of State to review the effects of welfare sanctions on people who use drugs; to make the Department for Health and Social Care the lead department for drugs policy; to require the Secretary of State to respond publicly to recommendations of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs; to amend the classification of drugs in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971; to make provision for safe drug consumption facilities; to decriminalise the possession of small quantities of drugs for personal use; to make provision about the stigmatisation of problem drug use; to amend the Equality Act 2010 to recognise drug dependence as a health condition; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 29th September 2020
(Read Debate)

Latest 50 Written Questions

(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
17th May 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to Answer 162222 of 14 March 2023, on Veterans: LGBT+ People, if he will take steps to publish the Government's response to the independent review into LGBT veterans in a timely way manner once that review is published.

This Government is committed to understanding, acknowledging and where appropriate addressing the effect that the pre-2000 ban on homosexuality in the UK Armed Forces has had on veterans. In line with the terms of the Independent Review, we will carefully consider the findings and then publish the report and the Government’s response in due course.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the independent review into the service and experience of LGBT veterans who served between 1967 to 2000 will assess the reasons for which people with HIV were discharged in that period; and whether this will be assessed in the Government's response to that review.

This Government is committed to ensuring that the service of every veteran is understood, valued and recognised.

The Cabinet Office and MoD have therefore commissioned an independent review to look at the impact of the pre-2000 ban on LGBT personnel serving in the Armed Forces. Whilst HIV status was not explicitly part of the independent review's terms of reference, the content of the final report will be a matter for the Review. The final report is due by 25 May, and we will publish the report and the Government’s response in due course thereafter.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
12th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the report by Sir Robert Francis QC entitled, Compensation and Redress for the Victims of Infected Blood, Recommendations for a Framework, what steps his Department is taking to implement paragraph 9.136, which recommends that arrangements should be made immediately for an interim lump sum payment of compensation to be made to every eligible living infected person.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer given to PQ 16932 on 20 June.

20th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government receives financial information from the Duchy of Lancaster beyond that published in their annual public accounts.

The Government does not receive financial information beyond that published by the Duchy in their annual public accounts.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many contracts for polling public attitudes his Department has commissioned from Hanbury Strategy in each of the last three years.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQs 82315 and 82316.

Cabinet Office commissioned Hanbury Strategy to carry out work in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. Two contract documents were signed, the first contract is for nil value, and the services provided to the Cabinet Office by Hanbury were delivered under the contract published on Contracts Finder here: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/8c6ca477-cbfc-49b7-bb59-0fb1ce1475c9. No other contracts have been commissioned in the last three years.

The Government remains committed to scrutiny and transparency. Details of Government contracts above £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the (a) cost to the public purse was of refitting and (b) annual facilities budget is for Queen Elizabeth House Edinburgh.

Details of departmental expenditure are published on GOV.UK. Details of estates costs are published in departmental accounts.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many contracts worth under £25,000 his Department commissioned in each of the last twelve months on polling the general public on their attitudes towards the union.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQs 82315 and 82316 on 9 September 2020.

17th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much his Department spent in each of the last twelve months on polling the general public on their attitudes to the union.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQs 82315 and 82316 on 9 September 2020.

8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has received legal advice on the operations of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd at sites in the UK; and if she will conduct a review to ensure that imports and exports of arms and components are not being used in violations of international law.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against our Strategic Export Licensing Criteria, including with regard to international humanitarian law.

All licences are kept under careful and continual review and the Government is able to amend, suspend, refuse or revoke licences as circumstances require.

The Secretary of State for Business and Trade receives legal advice as appropriate, on all matters related to import and export licensing, as part of advice from officials.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
5th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, for what reason she chose 29 February 2024 as the closing date of her Department's consultation on a transitional support mechanism for large-scale biomass generators.

Government considered the closing date of 29 February to provide an appropriate and reasonable length of time for interested parties to respond to the consultation.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding UK Research & Innovation (a) has allocated to work on long covid by financial year to date and (b) will allocate to that matter in the next five financial years.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have funded around £31 million in long Covid awards to date.

Detailed allocations for specific programmes for this Spending Review period will be set out in due course.

14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding has been allocated through UK Research and Innovation to research into cholangiocarcinoma.

Funding into cholangiocarcinoma has been allocated through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Medical Research Council (MRC), National Centre for the Replacement Refinement and Reduction in Animals in Research (NC3Rs) and Innovate UK.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has allocated £1.8 million of funding to research related to the understanding, treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of Cholangiocarcinoma since 2018/19.

14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the increase in energy supply standing charges.

The standing charge is a fixed charge that suppliers pass on to their customers to cover the cost of providing a live supply. One component of these costs relates to transmission and distribution costs, which have increased recently as the Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) levy is paid via network costs. The SoLR levy covers the unrecoverable costs of a supplier taking on the customers of a failed supplier and reflects the significantly higher costs of purchasing wholesale energy since August. The standing charge is passed on to consumers as a flat rate per day rather than as a percentage charge based on how much energy they use.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he was consulted by Royal Mail on the voiding of existing stamps in 2023 before the decision was taken.

The development of stamp products is an operational matter for Royal Mail and not an issue in which the Secretary of State has a role.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress (a) her Department and (b) the Office for Product Safety and Standards have made on assessing the potential merits low noise fireworks.

In response to issues raised around noise and disturbance, the Office for Product Safety and Standards commissioned research to test the decibel level of commonly used fireworks. The objective of the testing work is to help us understand the decibel level associated with a range of fireworks and whether they are compliant with the regulations.

The testing work was delayed due to covid impacting the laboratory’s ability to carry out the necessary testing, but the results will be available in due course.

27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether UK Research and Innovation plans to increase its funding for research on mental health in the 2021-22 Parliamentary session.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funds a range of research programmes and activities focussed on mental health. For example, the recently announced £24m investment in seven adolescent mental health research programmes that will run for four years from September 2021, and a £2m investment in a mental health data research hub in partnership with Health Data Research UK. These and wider programmes and networks funded through UKRI will continue to develop our understanding of mental health.

UKRI’s overall budget is set by BEIS for each financial year as part of the R&D allocations process. The allocations for financial year 2021-22 were published on 27 May 2021.

New funding in this area will be subject to UKRI’s overall budget following the R&D allocations process for financial year 2022-23.

24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of potential conflicts of interest of the members of the Committee on Climate Change.

BEIS carries out thorough due diligence exercises on each new board member of the Climate Change Committee (CCC), prior to approving their appointment, to identify conflicts of interest so that they can be managed appropriately on appointment. As part of due diligence checks, the Government considers anything in the public domain related to potential members’ conduct or professional capacity. In some cases, it will not be appropriate to offer a role if the conflict is too great.

All Committee members are required to recognise and disclose activities on an ongoing basis, that might give rise to actual or perceived conflicts of interest. The CCC secretariat will review each case to determine whether an individual needs to step down from the Committee to avoid an actual or perceived serious conflict of interest arising or to decide on how to manage whilst remaining in role.

The CCC’s conflicts of interest policy, along with a register of interests for Committee members – both of which are annually updated – and the minutes of each Committee meeting are published in the Transparency section of the CCC’s website at: https://www.theccc.org.uk/about/transparency/.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government will take to ensure people do not lose their energy supply if they cannot purchase a top up card for a pre-payment meter during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government announced on 19 March that we have secured a voluntary agreement with domestic energy supply companies to support customers impacted by Covid-19.

Under the terms of this agreement, energy suppliers will seek to identify and prioritise customers at risk, support customers who are impacted financially, and support prepayment meter customers to stay on supply.

The support offered will be based on the individual circumstances of the customer and the systems, processes and capability of the supply company. It could include extending discretionary or friendly credit, or sending out a pre-loaded top up card for prepay customers who are unable to leave home to top up.

6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what additional support she will give to the tourist sector in response to covid-19 restrictions on travel to the UK.

The Government has put in place a measured and proportionate set of restrictions to continue to support the tourism sector. To support businesses through this next phase, the ‘Working Safely’ guidance will continue to provide advice on sensible precautions employers can take to manage risk and support their staff and customers.

Hospitality businesses are exempt from enforcing customers to wear masks and this assessment has been made from a practical point of view as the nature of hospitality visits is to eat and drink.

The Government has worked to strike a balance with introducing new measures.

The Government has introduced a new temporary business rates relief in England for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties for 2022-23, worth almost £1.7 billion. The VAT rate for goods and services supplied by the tourism and hospitality sector has also been cut, and will remain at the reduced rate of 12.5% until 31 March 2022, to help businesses manage the transition back to the standard rate.

The recent changes demonstrate the government’s focus on protecting the UK from the most dangerous variants while supporting the travel sector’s safe reopening.

We are continuing to listen to stakeholders during this time.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what representations he has made to FIFA on the reported deaths of workers during the building of infrastructure for the Qatar 2022 world cup.

Hosting the 2022 World Cup has seen an increased focus on human rights in Qatar, particularly the welfare of migrant workers. We welcome the concrete steps Qatar has taken on this matter, including the significant legislative reforms earlier this year. The UK continues to press for the swift implementation of these measures. We stand ready to further assist and support Qatar’s continued efforts to implement change.

We continue to engage regularly with the International Labour Organisation and explore areas of their work where the UK can add particular value.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken to ensure that the British Film Institute fulfils its responsibilities to support the Scottish film sector.

My department continues to work closely with its Arm’s Length Body, the British Film Institute, to ensure it meets the full range of its responsibilities, including to support the film sector nationwide. In its ongoing support for the Scottish film sector, the Government has worked with the BFI to ensure a wide range of funding and initiatives are available across Scottish talent development, production and heritage. In addition, recent Covid-secure guidance has been developed with input from across the nations to support in safely producing films in Scotland. Screen Scotland have been part of the Screen Sector Taskforce looking at the impact of Covid and recovery measures for the sector, in collaboration with DCMS and BFI.

Examples of support that have been given to the Scottish film industry include the BFI Audience and Film Funds, which offer funding covering development, production, distribution and promotion, supporting Scottish films and Scottish audiences; and Film Hub Scotland, which receives an annual BFI Lottery award as part of the BFI Film Audience Network to increase and diversify Scottish audiences. In addition, young people in Scotland have access to the BFI Film Academy and Future Film offer, with four Scottish partners delivering short courses in 20/21 and a well-established annual Screen Craft Skills residential. Furthermore, Film City Futures and Glasgow Film were recently awarded £1m from the BFI and Screen Scotland to support new and emerging talent.

Finally, in recent years the BFI worked in partnership with the Scottish Screen Archive in the Unlocking Film Heritage programme, which resulted in substantial digitisation of films from and about Scotland.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps to provide additional financial support to music venues in response to the open letter of June 2020 to the Government from the UK’s Grassroots Music Venues organisation.

We appreciate that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to the grassroots music sector, which is why Government has put in place unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency. These include:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme;

  • The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme;

  • The Bounceback Loan Scheme;

  • Expanding eligibility for the business rates reliefs.

We continue to speak with HM Treasury colleagues to ensure that the full spectrum of government support reaches the UK's world-leading music industry. Our recovery work for this sector is being delivered via the ministerially-chaired Events and Entertainment Working Group, which was established to support the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce. The Music Venue Trust is an active and valued member of the Working Group, the focus of which is to produce sector-led guidance for the safe reopening of a range of creative industries sectors, including live music venues and music recording and rehearsal studios.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres’ Proposal for an Emergency Resilience Fund for UK Science Centres; and if he will make a statement.

Science and discovery centres around the country have an important role in educating, inspiring and entertaining visitors of all ages on what science is and the important discoveries over the centuries that have changed all our lives.

Science centres in England have access to the unprecedented support the Government has announced for business and workers, to protect them against the current economic emergency. This includes the Job Retention Scheme, which science centres have benefited from, VAT payment deferrals, and £330bn worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses. The Chancellor has also announced a Bounce Back loan scheme to help small businesses access loans of up to £50,000, with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders. Additionally some of the members of the ASDC - specifically cultural institutions like museums - may be eligible to apply for support as part of the £1.57 billion investment announced earlier this month.

Science centres outside England may be eligible for further support from the devolved governments for example some centres in Scotland may eligible for additional support from the Scottish Government.

24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the prevalence of illegal hunting at events described as trail hunting.

We recognise it is possible that dogs used for trail hunting may on occasion pick up and follow the scent of live foxes during a trail hunt. If this occurs it is the responsibility of the huntsman and other members of hunt staff to control their hounds.

Failure to prevent dogs from chasing or killing a fox may be taken as intent to break the law. Anyone who believes that an offence has taken place should report the matter to the police, as the police deal with complaints of illegal hunting.

24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she plans to take further steps to prevent illegal hunting at events described as trail hunting; and if she will make a statement.

We recognise it is possible that dogs used for trail hunting may on occasion pick up and follow the scent of live foxes during a trail hunt. If this occurs it is the responsibility of the huntsman and other members of hunt staff to control their hounds.

Failure to prevent dogs from chasing or killing a fox may be taken as intent to break the law. Anyone who believes that an offence has taken place should report the matter to the police, as the police deal with complaints of illegal hunting.

20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what guidance they provide to owners of legacy ivory artefacts who wish to dispose of them but are unable to sell due to the provisions of the Ivory Act 2018.

The Ivory Act will not affect the ownership of ivory items, but where an owner no longer wants to own an item, they may gift, donate, or bequeath the item. We will explain to owners what options are available to them as part of our awareness raising campaign.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he expects to complete the implementation of the Ivory Act 2018.

Once commenced, the Ivory Act will introduce one of the toughest bans on elephant ivory sales in the world by banning the dealing in items made of or containing elephant ivory, regardless of their age, unless they fall within one of the narrow and carefully defined exemptions.


We plan to implement the Ivory Act this winter and for the ban to come into force in spring 2022.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for the wellbeing of rescue animals of the decision by Eurotunnel to limit the number of pets able to travel through its facility; and what discussions his Department has had with Eurotunnel on that issue.

The regulations governing the non-commercial movements of cats, dogs and ferrets stipulate that people cannot bring more than 5 pets per person into the UK unless they are attending or training for a competition, show or sporting event (and written evidence of registration is required). However, dogs imported into the UK for rescue or rehoming must be moved under the commercial 'Balai Directive' regulations, which has different requirements. These regulations place no limits on consignment sizes. Any decisions made by the carriers (such as ferries and trains) to restrict consignment sizes in ways not required by the regulations are commercial decisions to which the Government is not party.

Anybody wishing to move animals into the UK during these unprecedented times must plan all journeys carefully, ensuring that the proposed journey is realistic and complies with all relevant regulations and legislation around the movement of animals throughout the animals' entire journey, including welfare in transport, as well as relevant COVID-19 legislation.

The end of the Transition Period may open up new opportunities for managing our own commercial and non-commercial import and pet travel arrangements. The Government will be considering our pet travel and import arrangements (including for puppies and kittens) as part of cracking down on puppy smuggling in line with our manifesto commitment.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions he has had with his counterparts throughout the world on ensuring that universal health coverage is a central focus of the replenishment period and strategy review of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Achieving universal health coverage is a UK priority and an overarching goal for DFID’s contribution to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The UK’s £1.44 billion of support to Gavi between 2016-2020 has saved 1.4 million lives from vaccine-preventable diseases in 68 of the world’s poorest countries.

The UK is proud to be hosting the Gavi Replenishment Conference on 3-4th June, to secure Gavi the funds it needs to immunise 300 million more children and save at least 7 million lives between 2021 and 2025. The UK’s commitment to Gavi is central to our work to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-borns and children by 2030.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking to end preventable child deaths by 2030.

The UK is a leading player in global health and as announced in October 2019 has made it a priority to step up efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborn babies and children in the developing world by 2030. This is in line with our commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The UK is proud of this ambitious commitment and will bring together a range of investments in health (such as health research, global health initiatives and programmes delivered in specific countries) behind a common goal, working with others to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children.

For example; as hosts of the Gavi Replenishment Conference this year, the UK government are committed to help secure the $7.4 billion that Gavi needs to deliver its life-saving work in the next five years. This funding will allow Gavi to vaccinate 300 million more children and save 7-8 million lives from preventable deaths by 2025. We will be publishing a paper in due course setting out our aims and objectives for reaching this goal by 2030.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if he will (a) increase the funding allocated to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and (b) support that funding increase by taking steps to strengthen health systems in developing countries.

The UK is proud to be hosting the Gavi Replenishment Conference on 3-4th June, to secure Gavi the funds it needs to immunise 300 million more children and save at least 7 million lives between 2021 and 2025.

We recognise the importance of the UK’s funding to Gavi; our £1.44 billion of support to Gavi between 2016-2020 has saved 1.4 million lives from vaccine-preventable diseases in 68 of the world’s poorest countries. The UK’s commitment to Gavi is also central to our work to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-borns and children by 2030.

Gavi’s next strategic period is critically important for the UK as we work together to improve intra-country equity and coverage. Immunisation is often a child’s first point of contact with their health service. By extending routine immunisation to reach the underserved, particularly zero-dose children who have never been vaccinated, Gavi is building a foundation for stronger national health systems. The UK will also prioritise ensuring our investment in Gavi is sustainable by supporting countries to effectively transition from Gavi support to increased domestic funding.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many applications for licences for export of arms to Saudi Arabia have been rejected on the grounds that they were inconsistent with the EU and National Arms Export Consolidated Criteria since the outbreak of war in Yemen in late 2014.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data and the most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April – 30th June 2020.

Whilst no Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs) have been refused since 2015, 11 Open Individual Export Licences (OIELs) have been rejected for military rated exports to Saudi Arabia.

22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 July 2021 to Question 31379 on Road Traffic Offences, whether his Department plans to commission a review into road traffic offences within the next 12 months.

The Government takes road safety seriously and keeps the law under regular review. However, we do not currently have any plans to commission a review into road traffic offences within the next 12 months.

15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason great aunts and great uncles may not claim Specified Adult Childcare Credits; and if he will publish his Department’s rationale for the eligibility criteria for those Credits.

Prior to the introduction of SACC in 2011, a consultation was undertaken (15/10/2010 to 26/11/2010) seeking views. The Government response to the consultation, including the original consultation itself, can be found by visiting www.gov.uk/government/consultations/national-insurance-credits-changes.

Specified Adult Childcare Credits (SACC) were introduced to recognise the contribution that family members make by providing childcare and enabling the primary carer to work. The policy intention was to make as many family members as possible eligible to claim SACC whilst being consistent that the child and adult be related by blood or parental relationship.

While understanding that caring relationships vary widely between families, the position taken with the definition of a “family member” is consistent across several pieces of legislation. Great Aunts and Uncles do not fall under this definition.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will reconsider her plans to close 41 of her Department's processing sites, as announced in March 2022.

The Department has too much estate. There is currently capacity for over 158,000 people across the Department’s estate, against a requirement for space for approximately 90,000. We therefore need to reduce our estates capacity, while retaining our national footprint. The Department’s plans for transformational change will support delivery of the Government priorities for getting people back into employment, deliver long-term savings and meet Government modernisation commitments. Reshaping how, when and where the Department works, will result in a smaller, greener and better estate.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants have been asked to pose with photos of street signs and the day's local newspaper to establish their identity.

Asking claimants to upload photographs is a targeted approach to verify evidence in cases where we have intelligence to suggest there is a medium to high risk of fraud.

We do not hold exact figures on the number of cases where photographs have been requested with prescribed background settings, but I can confirm that this only affects a very small proportion of claimants.

This approach is proving to be an effective measure in our efforts to identify and stop fraudulent claims. With overall benefit fraud costing the taxpayer £6.3bn in 2020/21, taking appropriate preventative action is the right thing to do.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to raise awareness of bereavement support payment in order to increase uptake of that benefit.

Bereavement Support Payments (BSP) can provide vital support for those who are eligible to receive them and our communications are directly targeted at this group. The department staff, including those in Jobcentres, are trained to ensure correct support is offered to all customers and can assist with the process of applying for BSP as we appreciate applications are made at a difficult time.

We also produced a step by step guide to help bereaved people understand what to do after a death. It provides information on where to get help, which agencies to approach and which benefits they may be able to claim; while also signposting them to GOV.UK for the latest information. We have improved the information available on GOV.UK about BSP and Funeral Expenses Payment and are continually exploring ways to join up Bereavement Services and the Cross-Government Tell Us Once service.

We continue to promote BSP to relevant external stakeholders through regular meetings, newsletters and ministerial engagement.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many new applications for universal credit have been received since 23 March 2020; how many of those claims resulted in an existing legacy benefit claim ending, and what steps her Department is taking to ensure that no recipient of legacy benefits is financially disadvantaged as a result of making a new application for universal credit.

It has always been the case that, where claimants’ circumstances change significantly, their entitlement will be recalculated based on a new set of rules under a new benefit.

Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, DWP’s communications team has reacted quickly and across multiple platforms and mediums to help as many people as possible navigate the range of new and existing financial support available from the Government. This includes launching a new microsite within the “Understanding Universal Credit” website to help people understand the eligibility criteria of different support schemes and benefits and the interaction between the different support offers. Since this new content was launched in early March, it has received over 1.8 million page views.

The Department continually makes improvements to the UC service in response to feedback and user research. Therefore, on 3 June we introduced a check-through box to remind claimants to check their eligibility before making a claim and to remind them that legacy benefits will cease when the UC claim is submitted and that they will not be able to return to them in the future, even if the claimant is not entitled to UC.

DWP cannot advise individual claimants whether they would be better off moving to UC or remaining on legacy benefits. For this reason, prospective claimants are signposted to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK.

From 22 July 2020, a two-week run on of Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance (IR) and Jobseeker’s Allowance (IB) will be available for all claimants whose claim to UC ends entitlement to these benefits to provide additional support for claimants moving to UC. This is in addition to the Transition to UC Housing Payment, a two-week extension of Housing Benefit, that is already in place.

Data surrounding Universal Credit caseload growth at national, regional and constituency level is published at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

The latest Management Information on declarations to Universal Credit was published on 16 June 2020. It can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-declarations-claims-and-advances-management-information

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support (a) full time students and (b) other people who are not entitled to social security but who are not able to work due to the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on their employment.

Students who do not ordinarily have entitlement to Universal Credit (UC) and who receive a maintenance loan or grant through the student finance system, will continue to be able to draw upon this financial support until the end of this academic year.

Those who do not receive student finance and who would ordinarily not have entitlement to UC, such as those undertaking a part-time course which would otherwise not be considered as compatible with the requirements for them to look for and be available for work, will have entitlement to UC. We have disapplied UC and both legacy and new style JSA work preparation, work search and availability requirements and related sanctions. This will initially be for a three-month period. After three months, consideration will be given as to whether a further extension is required.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has in place to protect people working (a) freelance and (b) without a contract whose work is reduced or ended as a result of the effect of covid-19 on the business they work for.

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 also 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.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department will take to (a) identify and (b) support people with mental health problems during the migration to universal credit.

Our processes to move claimants over to Universal Credit will be co-designed with stakeholders, to ensure that we have listened and understood claimants’ experiences – we want a process that works well for everyone. The Managed Migration regulations provide the flexibility and fail-safes to protect vulnerable claimants. We are not moving everyone at once and we are designing a process to ensure a smooth transition with continuous support.

Universal Credit provides unprecedented personalised support for people by simplifying benefits. People receive tailored support through work coaches, who know each person’s case.

Work Coaches are trained to support claimants with mental health conditions and identify those who need support when transitioning to Universal Credit. The Department has developed an enhanced mental health training programme, which has been delivered to all work coaches, as well as other colleagues who may benefit from it, such as case managers and team leaders. We have also enhanced the role of the Disability Employment Advisers, who are actively providing advice and guidance on what works for claimants with disabilities, including those with mental health issues.

Additionally, a commitment was made for monthly transitional payments to be made to eligible former Severe Disability Payment claimants who have already moved to Universal Credit due to a change in circumstances and to provide a lump sum arrears payment, where appropriate. This includes those who suffer from severe mental health conditions.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants of universal credit (a) are classed as vulnerable and (b) have a mental health condition.

The data requested is not available.

Health conditions are not categorised into either physical and mental conditions. Vulnerabilities can include a range of complex needs and differing personal circumstances and so there is no definitive definition of the term vulnerable.

We do however publish the breakdown of Universal Credit claimants with different work related requirements. This is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/jsf/login.xhtml

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

We have listened to feedback on how we can improve Universal Credit to support our claimants and acted quickly, making improvements such as extending advances, removing waiting days, and introducing housing benefit run on. These changes are giving support to those who need it most, whilst at the same time helping people get into work faster.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much (a) on average and (b) in total her Department pays in adjustments for universal credit claimants with (i) identified vulnerabilities and (ii) mental health conditions.

Data surrounding claimants in receipt of different elements of Universal Credit is published online and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons the sanction rate for claimants of universal credit is higher than the sanction rate for claimants of (a) jobseekers allowance and (b) employment and support allowance.

Whilst the same methodology has been used to produce these statistics, the benefits themselves are very different and require interpretation based on the rules of the specific benefit. It is for this reason that the sanction rate in Universal Credit cannot be compared with the sanction rates in other benefits. For example, under Jobseekers Allowance if a claimant fails to attend a Work Coach meeting their claim would be closed after 5 days if no contact is made. Under Universal Credit, the claimants standard allowance is reduced but they continue to receive other elements of their Universal Credit award which may cover childcare and housing amongst other things. This is to ensure that all payments are not terminated.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants with mental health conditions in Scotland of (a) universal credit, (b) employment and support allowance and (c) jobseekers allowance have had their payments sanctioned in each year since 2015.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

However, the honourable member can find statistics on the number of individuals in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) with a primary disabling condition in the category Mental or Behavioural Disorder and who received an adverse sanction decision they are available and published at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/.

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the financial effect on mixed-aged couples where the older member of the couple reaches pension age and the couple are unable to claim pension credit or pension age housing benefit and must instead claim universal credit.

In 2012 both houses of Parliament debated at length and then agreed changes to the welfare policies. This resulted in the Welfare Reform Act of 2012.

Under provisions in the Welfare Reform Act 2012, Parliament decided that pension-age income-related benefits would no longer be available to couples before both partners have reached State Pension age. These changes took effect from 15 May 2019.

The average weekly reduction in the amount of income related benefit received amongst the estimated number of couples who would have been entitled to Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit without the policy change is estimated to be approximately £70 per week (to the nearest £10) in 2019/20.

The estimated average weekly notional reduction is calculated by taking the estimated annual expenditure savings from the policy change and dividing by the estimated number of mixed age couples who would have been entitled to Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit without the policy change.

No mixed age couples who were receiving Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit immediately before the implementation date of 15 May 2019, would see a reduction in the amount of benefit they receive as a result of the policy change (unless their entitlement to both those benefits subsequently ends).

An annual notional reduction would depend on the length of time in a year that an individual couple would have claimed Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit, as well as any difference in a couple’s level of support on Universal Credit compared to pensioner income-related benefits, both of which will reflect individual circumstantial changes and behavioural choices.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)