Virendra Sharma Portrait

Virendra Sharma

Labour - Ealing, Southall

International Development Sub-Committee on the Work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact
13th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
International Development Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Panel of Chairs
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committees on Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee)
10th Feb 2016 - 3rd May 2017
International Development Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Committees on Arms Export Controls
10th Feb 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Human Rights (Joint Committee)
2nd Nov 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Health and Social Care Committee
12th Jul 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
International Development Committee
9th Mar 2009 - 6th May 2010
Human Rights (Joint Committee)
9th Nov 2007 - 6th May 2010
Justice Committee
6th Nov 2007 - 25th Jan 2010
Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill (Joint Committee)
1st May 2008 - 22nd Jul 2008


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
None available
Speeches
Wednesday 20th July 2022
Anti-social Behaviour Awareness Week
Before we start the debate, while the heat remains at this exceptional level, I am content for Members not to …
Written Answers
Thursday 28th July 2022
Gynaecology: Health Services
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish examples from within the NHS …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 18th May 2022
Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
That this House recognises the importance of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre of 1919 for its importance as a turning point …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 28th February 2022
1. Employment and earnings
24 February 2022, payment of £220 from Ipsos MORI, 3 Thomas More Square, London E1 1YW, for an opinion survey. …
EDM signed
Tuesday 12th July 2022
Specialist Huntington’s Disease Services
That this House notes that Huntington’s Disease is a rare, hereditary and incurable neurological condition that slowly robs patients of …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021
A Bill to impose duties on certain education and training providers in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Virendra Sharma has voted in 438 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Virendra Sharma 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
Justin Tomlinson (Conservative)
(8 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(6 debate interactions)
Rishi Sunak (Conservative)
(6 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(20 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(16 debate contributions)
Home Office
(14 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Virendra Sharma's debates

Ealing, Southall 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

Undocumented Migrants are suffering in silence, with no access to adequate Financial support, or any help. The Government should grant an urgent Amnesty of 5years to those with no criminal record so that they could live their lives as normal human beings and pay tax to help the UK economy.

The Government should class in-person interaction with family members and unmarried partners abroad as an essential reason to travel.

The Government must make a public statement on the #kissanprotests & press freedoms.

India is the worlds largest democracy & democratic engagement and freedom of the press are fundamental rights and a positive step towards creating a India that works for all.


Latest EDMs signed by Virendra Sharma

17th May 2022
Virendra Sharma signed this EDM on Tuesday 12th July 2022

Specialist Huntington’s Disease Services

Tabled by: Hilary Benn (Labour - Leeds Central)
That this House notes that Huntington’s Disease is a rare, hereditary and incurable neurological condition that slowly robs patients of their ability to walk, talk, eat, drink, make decisions and care for themselves; notes that a University of Aberdeen study, published in the Journal of Neurology, highlights that the number …
81 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Jul 2022)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 38
Labour: 18
Liberal Democrat: 10
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Alba Party: 2
Conservative: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
4th July 2022
Virendra Sharma signed this EDM on Tuesday 5th July 2022

VAT and electric vehicle charging

Tabled by: Sarah Olney (Liberal Democrat - Richmond Park)
That this House notes there is a discrepancy between VAT on residential off-street electric vehicle charging which is charged at 5 per cent and VAT on public charging which is charged at 20 per cent; urges the Government to scrap this discrepancy and reduce VAT on public charging to 5 …
24 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Jul 2022)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 11
Scottish National Party: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Labour: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Virendra Sharma's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Virendra Sharma, 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.



425 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
1 Other Department Questions
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when her Department plans to bring forward legislative proposals to ban conversion therapy in the UK.

The Government is committed to bringing forward legislation, when Parliamentary time allows, to ban conversion therapy. We are currently analysing responses to our recent public consultation.

The Government’s actions to protect people from conversion therapy extend beyond legislating. We are procuring a support service for victims and those at risk via a helpline and website which will provide initial pastoral support, and signposting to services such as counselling and advice about emergency housing.

The Government has reluctantly taken the decision to cancel this summer’s Safe To Be Me conference. We have been proud to work alongside civil society partners, businesses and others to develop ambitious plans for the conference and appreciate the time and effort that all stakeholders have put into this.

We are disappointed that the conference will no longer be going ahead and remain committed to strengthening LGBT rights and freedoms. We will continue to support human rights defenders globally and to influence and support countries on the path to decriminalisation.

26th May 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the CPS in ensuring access to justice for the victims of crime.

In 2021, the CPS prosecuted: 69 alleged terrorists of which 63 were convicted. Over 19,000 alleged violent crimes, with a conviction rate of over 75%. Over 10,000 hate crimes, nearly 11,000 domestic abuse crimes and in that same year the Government introduced a Victims Code to ensure that victims are placed at the heart of the criminal justice system and that their voices are heard.

23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many outstanding (a) emails and (b) letters he has from the public as of 23 February 2022; and what criteria he uses to determine which enquiries he responds to.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 7 February to PQ 113707.

Michael Ellis
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 28 February 2022 to Question 128229, how many outstanding (a) emails and (b) letters he has from the public as at 28 February 2022.

The Government attaches great importance to the effective and timely handling of correspondence from members of the public. The Cabinet Office aims to respond to all correspondence within 20 working days.

As of 28 February 2022, the Cabinet Office had 1719 outstanding emails or letters from members of the public. 94% of these were received in the 20 working days prior to 28 February 2022 and were therefore within the departmental target.

Michael Ellis
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the overpayment of pensions contributions by civil servants.

Civil servants are not overpaying pension contributions. Member contribution rates are set via the Cost Control element of the Valuation. The 2016 Valuation was completed on 17 December 2021. It found that there was no ‘breach’ in the Cost Control element, meaning there was no need to adjust benefits or contributions.

A consultation, which included suggested member contribution rates for the period 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023, ran from 22 November 2021 to 17 January 2022. The consultation response is expected to be published in late February 2022 and will set out member contribution rates for 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.

Michael Ellis
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)
17th Dec 2020
What guidance he has provided to Cabinet colleagues on the timescale for responding to written questions.

My Right Honourable Friend, the Leader of the House, has been clear to the House on this issue, he expects written questions to be answered and dealt with in good time.

Furthermore, my Right Honourable Friend has written to all members of the Cabinet to remind them of the importance of timely and helpful responses.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the review into Supply Chain Coordination Limited; and what plans he has to hold a public consultation during that review; and if he will make a statement.

In line with successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not usually disclosed.

5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to take steps to phase out North Sea oil and gas developments.

The UK still needs oil and gas for heating, cooking, transport and electricity generation during the energy transition. In meeting net zero, the UK’s use of both these fuels is set to reduce significantly.

The production of natural gas from the UK Continental Shelf creates under half the greenhouse gas of imported Liquefied Natural Gas. Turning off the UK’s domestic source of oil and gas now would put energy security and British jobs and industries at risk. Therefore, the North Sea Transition Authority plans to launch another licensing round this autumn, taking into account the forthcoming climate compatibility checkpoint.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding his Department made available for neurological research in each year from 2012-13 to 2020-21.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funds a variety of research within this broad-ranging area. The UKRI Gateway https://gtr.ukri.org/ provides data on publicly funded research and innovation which is searchable by year and subject area.

19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to respond to the letter of 25 February 2022 to the Minister for Science, Research and Innovation from the hon. Member for Ealing, Southall.

I have been in touch with the hon. Member on 20 April 2022 to organise a meeting.

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to increase the proportion of energy generated by renewable sources; and by what year he estimates that the UK will generate all of its energy from renewable sources.

The Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme is the Government’s flagship scheme for supporting new renewable electricity generation projects in Great Britain. The latest round aims to secure more capacity than the three previous rounds combined by supporting an expanded number of renewable technologies including offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, tidal and floating offshore wind. The next CfD round will be brought forward to March 2023, and future rounds will run annually from now on. These steps will help drive forward the deployment of renewable power. The Government has committed to fully decarbonise the electricity system by 2035, subject to security of supply.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on increasing spending on dementia research.

The Government will invest at least £375 million in neurodegenerative disease research over the next five years to fund projects into a range of diseases including dementia.

The Government is working to finalise outcomes from the Spending Review and to identify ways to boost dementia research. We will be setting out our plans on dementia for England for future years in 2022. This will include our ambitions for dementia research and boosting dementia research funding.

28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department is taking steps to legislate for more energy efficient homes.

The Government remains committed to the Clean Growth Strategy ambition to upgrade as many homes as possible to EPC Band C by 2035, where practical, cost-effective and affordable.

In the Net Zero Strategy, the department committed to consult on phasing in higher minimum standards across all sectors to meet this ambition.

The Government has already consulted on raising the energy performance standard in domestic private rented sector to EPC Band C and how mortgage lenders could support homeowners in making upgrades. The Government will publish its response in due course.

The Government will then seek primary powers to enable a long-term regulatory framework to improve the energy performance of homes.

Huge progress is already being made to increase the energy efficiency of UK homes. In 2008, just 14% had an Energy Performance of C or above, however it is now at 46% and rising.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much of the £20 billion in funding for research and development announced in the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021 will be allocated to TB treatments and vaccines.

Following the Spending Review, BEIS is currently working to set detailed R&D budgets through to 2024/25. Further details of how this funding will be allocated will be announced in due course.

24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure labour rights are enforced for all workers regardless of immigration status.

All workers who are legally working in the UK enjoy the full protection of UK employment law. Migrant workers are also entitled to the same protections under health and safety legislation as any other worker.

While most employment rights are enforced by an individual through an employment tribunal, the state has an important role to play in protecting the most vulnerable workers from exploitative practices.

We spend over £35million a year on enforcement covering:

  • National Minimum and Living Wages – enforced by HMRC;
  • Employment agencies and employment businesses - enforced by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS);
  • Labour exploitation and modern slavery, and the gangmasters licensing scheme for suppliers of labour in agriculture and fresh fruit supply chains - Gangmaster and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).

The Government has also now committed to establish a single enforcement body for employment rights, which will bring together the three existing bodies to better protect vulnerable workers and create a level playing-field for the majority of employers complying with the law.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to ensure installers can undertake their commitments as part of the Green Homes Grant scheme during the covid-19 outbreak; and what penalties are in place to ensure installers undertake work they have committed to do.

Based on the latest advice from my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister, tradespeople may continue to work if they are unable to do so from home. Installers registering and participating in the Green Homes Grant Scheme must agree to the Installer Terms and Conditions. As stated in paragraph 13f under General Obligations:

‘At all times when participating in the Scheme...the Installer must: comply, and ensure that its officers, employees, agents and subcontractors comply, with UK Government best practice “Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)” when working at or in any Customer’s property’.

We understand that COVID-19 restrictions may affect the ability to install measures in households. We will not be imposing any penalties for installers who are unable to undertake work they have committed to as a result of the current restrictions but, as ever, vouchers will only become redeemable once scheduled works have been completed.

The extension to the scheme will allow more flexibility for when installations can take place, and we are working to ensure that voucher validity period reflects the coronavirus situation where necessary.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the (a) value of the cash in transit industry to the UK economy and (b) number of people employed in that industry.

Secure collection and delivery of money, receipts and other valuable items is an activity undertaken by private security firms alongside many other activities rather than being a specific industry itself. These include security guard services, installation of security equipment, security consultancy and investigation activities. Therefore, we are unable to allocate value and employment to this particular activity. Private security and investigation activities as a whole contributed £3.3bn in Gross Vale Added to the UK economy in 2019 and accounted for nearly 230,000 jobs.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to support the cash-in-transit industry.

UK Businesses, including those within the cash in transit industry, may be eligible to access the business support packages launched by the Government during the coronavirus outbreak. This includes Business Interruption Loans, and potentially the discretionary grant fund administered by local authorities.

Our network of 38 growth hubs also provide tailored support free of charge to firms based in England, covering sources of business finance, as well as training and networking opportunities. Firms in the devolved administrations will be able to access similar services.

All business support and advice is listed on the GOV.UK website.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Jun 2020
What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on retaining jobs in the airline industry.

The Government continues to work closely with the airline industry. We have put unprecedented levels of support in place to help industry, including airlines, who have drawn down £1.8billion of loan support through the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) to help them continue activities.

In addition, my Rt Hon Friend, the Secretary of State for Transport, is leading an International Aviation Task Force, to help put measures in place to kickstart the sector – helping to restore jobs, trade, and opportunities for travel.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many times he has (a) spoken to or (b) requested to speak to (i) Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group and (ii) Alex Cruz, chief executive of British Airways since the start of the 2020.

The Department has undertaken extensive engagement with businesses across a range of sectors since the start of 2020, particularly in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the Department for Transport has historically maintained regular engagement with British Airways and the International Airlines Group as important industry stakeholders.

In recognition of the challenging times that the aviation sector continues to face due to Covid-19, the Government has kept an open dialogue with UK airlines, including British Airways and the International Airlines Group.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when she plans to publish her Department's White Paper on the future of the Gambling Act; and whether that White Paper will include recommendations relating to the collapse of the Football Index.

The Government will publish a white paper setting out next steps regarding the Gambling Act Review in the coming months. We are considering all the evidence carefully, including the conclusions of the independent review of the regulation of BetIndex Ltd, the operator of Football Index, which we published in September.

1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department is taking steps to support the simplification of terms and conditions required by digital and technology companies when accessing their websites or applications.

Under upcoming Online Safety legislation, companies that enable sharing of user-generated content and search services will need to create clear and accessible terms of service for how they will protect users from harmful content on their platform, and enforce these consistently. The draft Online Safety Bill is currently undergoing pre-legislative scrutiny and the government will introduce it to Parliament as soon as parliamentary time allows.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department and associated regulatory authorities are taking to reduce nuisance automated marketing calls.

Companies that make marketing calls are regulated by both the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). The PECR was designed to complement the DPA and impose strict obligations on organisations that make marketing calls to individuals in the UK.

The Government has taken a number of actions to tackle nuisance and automated marketing calls through amendments to the PECR. This includes introducing director liability and working with the Ministry of Justice and HM Treasury to ban cold calls from personal injury firms and pension providers. We also secured over £1 million to provide vulnerable people with call blocking devices.

The regulators Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office have developed a joint action plan to tackle the harm to consumers caused by nuisance calls and communications. This can be found at:

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/information-for-industry/policy/tackling-nuisance-calls-messages

We continue to work with regulators and the telecoms industry in a joined up effort to tackle the issue of nuisance marketing communications.

15th Oct 2020
5G
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of (a) households and (b) land area have 5G coverage.

All four Mobile Network Operators have now launched 5G networks, with 5G services now available in over 100 towns and cities across the UK.

Ofcom, as the UK’s telecommunications regulator, collects mobile coverage data for its Connected Nations reports. Ofcom does not currently report on 5G coverage figures but we will be working with them to agree how best to report 5G coverage data as it becomes more widespread.

Matt Warman
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many households do not have access to high speed internet; and what his Department's definition is of high speed internet.

The department does not use the term “high speed internet”, but uses the term “superfast” to denote speeds capable of 24Mbps and more. There are c.30 million households across the UK, and the superfast coverage against the 24Mbps definition is 96.8%. Against the EU definition, which is 30Mbps and above, coverage across the UK is 96.5%.

In regard to households that do not have access to high speed internet, Ofcom have defined a “decent broadband” connection as being able to access 10Mbps download speed and 1Mbps upload. According to Thinkbroadband as of 16 October, 1.4% of UK premises have speeds of less than 10Mbps.

Matt Warman
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that all communities can access (a) park tennis courts and (b) other (i) free and (ii) low-cost open spaces and sporting facilities.

As we set out in the government sport strategy, Sporting Future, sport and physical activity should be accessible to all. It is so important to the health of the nation - in terms of both physical and mental wellbeing.

As announced on 9 July, from 25 July indoor gyms, leisure centres (including tennis courts) and swimming pools in England should be able to reopen. These facilities will be able to offer on-site services to customers, provided they are COVID-secure and follow Government guidance.

Sport England have announced a £195 million package of support to help community clubs through this crisis. It recently boosted its Community Emergency Fund by a further £15 million to meet the demand, taking the total up to £210 million.

The income scheme announced on Thursday 2 July by the Secretary of State for Local Government, aims to support local authorities who have incurred irrecoverable loss of income from sales, fees and charge which they had reasonably budgeted for. Further guidance will follow on the principle of the scheme.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate his Department has made of the contribution to the UK economy of the event catering industry; and what estimate he has made of trends in the level of contribution from that sector in each of the next five years.

The hospitality sector is hugely important to the UK economy, supporting 3.2 million jobs across the country and representing almost 10% of the country’s total employment. My Department has not made an estimate of the current or future contribution of the event catering industry to the broader hospitality sector.

We have been encouraged by the industry’s commitments to develop new hospitality career opportunities as part of the Tourism Sector Deal - including boosting apprenticeships and developing a new mentoring scheme.

We recognise that the COVID-19 crisis has significantly impacted multiple parts of the hospitality industry. We remain in regular contact with stakeholders, including UKHospitality, and will continue to monitor the situation. Hospitality businesses and workers can access the Government’s economic support package, including the recently extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan scheme.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support adoptive parents with the educational needs of their child.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to promote the achievement of previously looked-after children, including those who have left care through adoption. They must appoint an officer, the Virtual School Head, who discharges this duty through the provision of expert advice and information to those with parental responsibility, designated teachers and educators.

Previously looked-after children have priority access in school admissions, alongside looked-after children, and schools are required to appoint a designated teacher to promote their achievement. These pupils attract pupil premium plus funding of £2,410 per annum, which is managed by the school. Statutory guidance on the role of the designated teacher sets a clear expectation for schools to involve parents and guardians in deciding how best the funding is used to support their child.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent progress his Department has made on bringing forward legislative proposals to introduce a compulsory register of home education children.

As outlined in the children not in school consultation response, which was published on 3 February 2022, the government is committed to a form of local authority register for children not in school. We continue to engage with stakeholders on these proposals and we hope to legislate on this measure at the earliest suitable opportunity. The consultation response is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/children-not-in-school.

17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of children's centres that closed in each of the last 12 years; and what steps his Department is taking to help ensure there is adequate capacity in children's centres.

Based on the information supplied by local authorities, as of 18 March 2022[1], there were 2,966 children’s centre sites open to families and children, providing children's centre services as part of a network.

The attached table shows the number of children’s centres sites that have closed in each year since 2011[2].

The government is committed to championing the family hub model. Between 2019 and 2021, it announced £39.5 million in support of this commitment, including:

  • A national centre for family hubs to provide expert advice and guidance. This is run by the Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families.
  • A £12 million family hubs transformation fund, which will support at least 12 local authorities in England to transform to a family hub model of service delivery. Local authorities were invited to apply for up to £1 million to pay for the change process through both programme and capital funding. The deadline to apply has now passed and the department is currently reviewing applications.

As part of the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021, the government announced a further £82 million to create a network of family hubs. This is part of a wider £300 million package to transform services for parents, carers, babies, and children in half of council areas across England.

Children’s centres can form part of a family hub network. The National Centre for Family Hubs will work to ensure that councils understand how they can best be incorporated where it is appropriate.

[1] Source: This is based on information supplied by local authorities to Get Information about Schools (GIAS) database: https://www.get-information-schools.service.gov.uk and internal management information held by the department on historical children’s centre closure dates as of 18 March 2022. These figures may be different to previous answers, and could change again in future, since local authorities may update their data at any time. The GIAS collects data on children’s centres that local authorities have closed on a permanent basis. It does not collect data on children’s centres that local authorities may have closed temporarily in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

[2] No closures have been reported in 2022.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what data his Department collects on the number of businesses offering apprenticeships; and what steps his Department is taking to encourage more businesses to offer apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships provide people with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start an exciting career or boost their skills in a wide range of industries. The department wants more employers to offer high-quality apprenticeships.

In the 2019/20 academic year, there were 66,900 unique enterprises in England, with at least one matched start for apprenticeships. Of these, small enterprises with 0-49 employees represented 71.2% (47,633), medium enterprises with 50-249 employees represented 15.3% (10,236), and large enterprises with 250+ employees represented 13.5% (9,031). Further data breakdowns for apprenticeship employers' industry characteristics is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-in-england-by-industry-characteristics/2019-20.

To support employers in all sectors to offer apprenticeships, the department is increasing funding for apprenticeships in England to £2.7 billion by the 2024/25 financial year. We are also encouraging the use of more flexible training models, such as front-loaded and accelerated training and flexi-job apprenticeships to ensure that apprenticeships work for employers in all sectors.

We are also engaging with employers through our Join the Skills Revolution campaign. The campaign aims to increase small and medium-sized enterprises’ awareness and consideration of apprenticeships and other skills programmes, such as traineeships and T Level industry placements, to drive action to increase uptake.

15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many apprenticeship starts there were in the (a) London Borough of Ealing or (b) lowest level data set available in each of the last four reporting periods; and what the average number of those starts was in (a) London and (b) England.

The number of apprenticeship starts for Ealing, Southall constituency, the London Borough of Ealing, London and England in the previous four academic years are presented in the table below, along with an average of those four years and figures for the first quarter of the current academic year.

2017-28

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

Average

Q1 (Aug – Oct) 2021-22

Ealing, Southall Constituency

420

480

380

380

410

140

London Borough of Ealing

1,360

1,500

1,190

1,230

1,320

450

London

36,830

40,750

33,890

36,930

37,100

13,070

England

375,760

393,380

322,530

321,440

353,280

130,240

Please note:

  1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
  2. Total values for England include a small number of learners living outside England where a home address is not known.
  3. Source: Individualised Learner Record
  4. Geography is based upon the home postcode of the learner.

Further information on apprenticeship starts can be found in the Apprenticeships and traineeships statistics publication:https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships.

8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve ventilation in the classroom to help ensure the safety of pupils during the covid-19 outbreak.

As the Department’s guidance outlines, when a school is in operation, it is important to ensure that it is well ventilated and that a comfortable teaching environment is maintained. This can be achieved through a variety of measures, including using mechanical ventilation systems and/or natural ventilation, such as opening windows. In all cases, actions should be taken to encourage fresh air into the building, whilst striking a balance with thermal comfort.

The Department continues to review ventilation guidance, including considering whether monitoring carbon dioxide (CO2) levels would be appropriate. The Department is working with Public Health England (PHE) and ventilation experts on a pilot project to measure CO2 levels in typical classrooms and exploring options to help improve ventilation where needed. As new evidence or data emerges, the Government updates its advice accordingly to ensure that all schools, colleges and nurseries have the right safety measures in place.

The Department has worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and PHE to revise our guidance for schools, colleges and nurseries from Step 4 of the roadmap. The Department’s aim is to balance the risks associated with COVID-19 whilst moving to a ‘steady state’ that minimises both the burden of implementing protective measures on staff and parents and the effect those measures have on young peoples’ educational experiences.

The Department will continue keep these measures under review, in partnership with health experts and informed by the latest scientific evidence and advice.

The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of special provisions in the Behaviour Hubs programme for pupils with ADHD and other neurodiverse conditions.

The behaviour hubs programme is designed to support the development and implementation of positive whole-school behaviour cultures which benefit all children, including those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other neurodiverse conditions.

The behaviour hubs programme pairs lead schools and multi academy trusts (MATs) that have exemplary behaviour practices with partner schools or MATs who want and need to improve pupil behaviour.

Lead schools and MATs have been selected from across the school sector, and include primary, secondary, alternative provision, special schools and MATs. This provides partner schools and MATs with access to good practice across different types of provision, including specialist provision. Experienced senior leaders and executive teams that have implemented strong, positive behaviour cultures within their schools will be able to support the specific challenges that a partner school is facing, including those relating to pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

All schools on the programme have access to training on specific issues, common problems, and effective approaches led by expert advisers that can be implemented in their school context. Training modules have been developed and reviewed by experts from across the school sector. The training includes a mandatory module on SEND, which covers how to ensure behaviour policies and practices are inclusive and take reasonable adjustments into account, including any adjustments required for those who are neurodiverse.

The programme is designed and delivered by the Department’s taskforce of behaviour advisers. The behaviour advisers bring experience from across the school sector, including alternative provision and special schools, providing broad representation of all schools and their specific needs, including SEND.

The Department has procured an independent evaluator to assess the effectiveness of the programme. Where possible, analysis from all components of the evaluation will seek to provide insights by school type (such as secondary, alternative provision and special schools) and characteristics of the schools and the pupils at those schools (for example the proportion of pupils with SEND or eligible for free school meals).

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make a statement on the ways in which early years provision will feature as part of the covid-19 catch-up recovery strategy; and how opportunities for play will be (a) encouraged, (b) supported and (c) facilitated.

On 2 June 2021, as part of the government’s announcement on providing an additional £1.4 billon for education recovery, we announced a £153 million investment for high-quality professional development for early years practitioners. This includes new programmes focusing on key areas such as speech and language development, and physical and emotional development for the youngest children, of which play is an important part. This is in addition to the £18 million announced in February 2021 and the £9 million announced in June 2020 to support early language development for children in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The package will build on our early years foundation stage reforms, which support more effective early years curriculum and assessment, and reducing unnecessary assessment paperwork, so that practitioners and teachers can spend more time engaging children in rich activities, including through play, to support their learning.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase teacher recruitment.

The number of teachers remains high, with more than 453,000 working in schools across the country – over 12,000 more than in 2010.

The Department recognises, however, that more needs to be done to ensure that this level of recruitment is maintained. One of the Department’s top priorities is to ensure that we continue to attract and retain high-quality teachers, for example through transforming the support and professional development teachers receive, as well as helping create the right climate for head teachers to establish supportive school cultures.

The teacher pay increases in recent years are making a substantial difference to the competitiveness of the early career pay offer (for example, this academic year, teacher starting salaries have increased by 5.5%).

In terms of attracting new trainees into teaching, there has been an increase in the number of new trainees this year – in the academic year 2020/21, 41,472 new trainees were recruited overall – over 7,000 (23%) more than in 2019 – which shows that teaching continues to be an attractive career option.

Additionally, in the academic year 2020/21, 14,994 postgraduate trainees were recruited to EBacc subjects – 1,987 more trainee teachers than the previous year.

The quality of this year’s trainee teachers remains high, with 23% of postgraduate entrants holding a first-class degree in the academic year 2020/21, which is 3 percentage points higher than the previous year.

The Department is committed to ensuring that these recruits receive the best training possible. From this September, new trainee teachers will be entitled to at least three years of evidence-based professional development and support, starting with the new Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework, followed by a two-year induction based on the Early Career Framework (ECF).

The ECF is the biggest teaching reform in a generation and will give early-career teachers access to high-quality training and mentoring. In addition to this, the Department is launching new National Professional Qualifications for teachers and school leaders at all levels, from those who want to develop expertise in high-quality teaching practice to those leading multiple schools across trusts.

The Department recognises that there is further to go in some subjects. That is why a range of measures have been put in place, including bursaries worth up to £24,000 and scholarships worth up to £26,000, to encourage talented trainees to key subjects such as chemistry, computing, mathematics, and physics. There are also training bursaries available as part of the Subject Knowledge Enhancement programme, which helps trainees in seven EBacc subjects to gain the depth of subject knowledge needed to train to teach their chosen subject.

The Department is taking action to ensure recent success in increasing ITT recruitment is maintained. For example, the Department is launching a new one-stop ITT application system. The ‘Apply’ service will be fully rolled out by October 2021.

Additionally, the Department is taking steps to make it easier for schools to recruit teachers. ‘Teaching Vacancies’ is a free, national job listing service that is saving schools money and attracting high-quality candidates: https://teaching-vacancies.service.gov.uk/?_ga=2.204282384.1894025638.1594023142-892610644.1591690663. This service can help schools to quickly list vacancies for both permanent and fixed-term teaching staff.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the School Rebuilding Programme will prioritise the replacement of CLASP schools to ensure teachers and schoolchildren are safe from the health effects of asbestos.

The Department for Education takes the issue of asbestos in schools very seriously and is committed to supporting schools, local authorities and academy trusts to fulfil their duty to manage asbestos safely. Expert advice from the Health and Safety Executive is that if asbestos is unlikely to be damaged or disturbed then it is best managed in situ. We are clear that if asbestos does pose a safety risk and cannot be effectively managed in situ, then it should be removed from schools.

Since 2015, the Department has allocated over £9.5 billion, including an additional £560 million in 2020-21, to those responsible for school buildings for essential maintenance and improvements, including removing or encapsulation when it is the safest course of action to do so.

In February, we announced the first 50 schools to benefit from the new School Rebuilding Programme as part of a commitment to 500 projects over the next decade. School Rebuilding Programme investment is targeted based on a buildings condition. A full explanation of the methodology used to prioritise the first 50 schools has been published at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-rebuilding-programme.

We intend to consult later this year on the approach to prioritising schools for the longer-term programme.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what advice has been made available to schools in areas with a high covid-19 infection rate on reopening.

On 22 February 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, confirmed that, based on the Government’s assessment of the current data against its 4 tests for relaxing restrictions, it will be possible for children to return to schools from 8 March 2021. The latest data suggests that COVID-19 infection rates have fallen across all ages, including in children and young people.

Schools should continue to implement the system of controls. These are the measures that schools have been using since the start of the autumn term. We have strengthened the system of controls in secondary schools by recommending that staff and pupils wear face coverings anywhere in the school where social distancing is not possible. More information is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964351/Schools_coronavirus_operational_guidance.pdf.

Our programme of rapid COVID-19 testing is going to continue to be an important part of how we keep COVID-19 infection rates down within schools and across the wider community. Since January 2021, we have been delivering rapid testing kits to secondary schools and colleges to help identify pupils or staff who are infected with COVID-19 but may not yet show any symptoms. Pupils returning to secondary schools from 8 March will be strongly encouraged to take a rapid test for COVID-19 before their face-to-face teaching re-starts. Staff in both primary and secondary schools are now also going to be able to be tested twice a week, whether they are showing COVID-19 symptoms or not. This means that we can ask those with positive results to self-isolate and further reduce the spread of the virus.

In the event that COVID-19 restrictions in schools are needed to help contain the spread of the virus, the Government may ask schools to change how they are delivering education for a short period of time. To assist with this, on 22 February, we published a revised contingency framework, which outlines how schools should operate in the event of any restrictions. The contingency framework is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-contingency-framework-for-education-and-childcare-settings/contingency-framework-education-and-childcare-settings-excluding-universities#contingency-framework-principles.

The contingency framework is different from the processes for managing COVID-19 cases or outbreaks in individual schools and the process for alleviating operational challenges including staff shortages. Existing processes and roles for school leaders and Directors of Public Health in addressing those issues are unchanged.

Any decision that attendance at education or childcare settings should be restricted will not be taken lightly. The Department will work with other Government Departments, the Chief Medical Officer, the Joint Biosecurity Centre, Public Health England, the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS Test and Trace and relevant local authorities to ensure the decision is informed by the available evidence and recent data. These will be ministerial decisions made on an area-by-area basis in the light of all available evidence, public health advice and local and national circumstances.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) delaying schools reopening and (b) blended learning in areas with the highest rates of covid-19.

The Government has been committed to getting all pupils back into schools full-time, as soon as the public health picture allows. In doing so, the Department is guided by the scientific and medical experts. Data and evidence are considered regularly, including by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), the Joint Biosecurity Centre, Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officers.

On 22 February 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, confirmed that, based on the Government’s assessment of the current data against its 4 tests for relaxing restrictions, it will be possible for children to return to schools from 8 March 2021. The latest data suggests that COVID-19 infection rates have fallen across all ages, including in children and young people.

Missing face-to-face education has severe impacts for children and young people, with clear evidence that further time out of education is detrimental for cognitive and academic development, health and wellbeing.

There should be no need to reduce occupancy in schools by implementing rotas or providing blended learning. Instead, everyone should follow the system of controls set out in our published guidance, which have been strengthened and are the correct measures for minimising the risk of transmission within schools: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963541/Schools_coronavirus_operational_guidance.pdf.

In the event that restrictions in schools are needed to help contain the spread of the virus, the Government may ask schools to change how they are delivering education for a short period of time. To assist with this, on 22 February, we published a revised contingency framework, which outlines how schools should operate in the event of any restrictions. The contingency framework is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-contingency-framework-for-education-and-childcare-settings/contingency-framework-education-and-childcare-settings-excluding-universities#contingency-framework-principles.

The contingency framework is different from the processes for managing COVID-19 cases or outbreaks in individual schools and the process for alleviating operational challenges including staff shortages. Existing processes and roles for school leaders and Directors of Public Health in addressing those issues are unchanged.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what advice he has received on reducing the risk of increasing covid-19 infection rates when schools reopen; and what the key recommendations of that advice were.

The Department continues to work closely with other Government departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector. We ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, and we continue to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the impact and effectiveness of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

As new evidence or data emerges, the Department updates its advice accordingly to ensure that all our schools have the right safety measures in place. On 22 February 2021, we updated our guidance to support the full opening to education from 8 March, which includes updated advice on face coverings. The guidance can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964351/Schools_coronavirus_operational_guidance.pdf.

We know that the predominant new variant of COVID-19 is more transmissible. PHE advice remains that the way to control this virus is with the ‘system of controls’, even with the current new variants. The ‘system of controls’ measures outlined in our guidance create an environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. Schools need to continue to implement these controls to the fullest extent possible.

While it is not possible to ensure a totally risk-free environment, there is no evidence that children transmit the disease any more than adults. The Department recently published 'Evidence summary: COVID-19 - children, young people and education settings', which can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963639/DfE_Evidence_summary_COVID-19_-_children__young_people_and_education_settings.pdf.

Based on the recent Office for National Statistics data, the risks to education staff are similar to those for most other occupations. This data can be found at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/articles/coronaviruscovid19infectionsinthecommunityinengland/characteristicsofpeopletestingpositiveforcovid19inengland22february2021.

The Department will continue to keep our guidance and advice to schools under review to help ensure they remain as safe as possible.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to (a) distribute clear face masks to schools and colleges, and (b) help schools make reasonable adjustments for those children who suffer from hearing loss.

The Department’s guidance on face coverings can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education/face-coverings-in-education.

As the guidance outlines, during national lockdown, in schools and colleges where Year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by adults (staff and visitors), pupils and students when moving around indoors, outside of classrooms and other teaching environments, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Based on current evidence and the measures that schools and colleges are already putting in place, such as the system of controls and consistent bubbles, face coverings will not generally be necessary in the classroom.

Children in primary schools do not need to wear a face covering.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This includes people who cannot put on, wear, or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate. The same legal exemptions that apply to the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport also apply in schools and colleges.

Face coverings can make it more difficult to communicate with pupils and students with additional needs or those who many rely on lip reading or facial expressions for understanding. We expect staff to be sensitive to these needs when teaching and interacting with pupils and students.

Schools can get advice and support for children with hearing impairments from specialist teachers of the deaf. These teachers support children and young people with hearing impairment, and their families, from the point of diagnosis. The Department for Education also funds the whole school special educational needs and disability consortium (£1.9 million per annum), hosted by National Association for Special Educational Needs, to provide schools with access to resources and tips for the classroom, including for hearing impairment.

We continue to provide information to the sector on our guidance, and any changes to it, through regular departmental communications. We will also continue to work with Public Health England, as well as stakeholders across the sector, to monitor the latest scientific and medical advice and understand the impact of the system of controls on staff, pupils and parents.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to Answer of 18 January 2020 to Question 137170 on Children: Computers, by which date his Department expects that every child in need of a device for remote learning during the covid-19 lockdown will have adequate access to that device.

All primary schools, secondary schools and colleges in England are now expected to provide remote education for the majority of their pupils and students. To support this, the Government is investing over £400 million, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. This includes over 800,000 laptops and tablets that were delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities by 17 January. Schools already owned around 2 million laptops and 1 million tablets before the COVID-19 outbreak, and they have been invited to order more devices to help meet demand.

Delivery of devices is continuing over the course of this term. The Get Help with Technology scheme will email schools with information on the number of additional devices allocated to them, and when they will be able to order.

We have estimated the number of laptops and tablets needed by disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 using data on the number of pupils eligible for free school meals data and external estimates of the number of devices that schools already own. Schools, local authorities and academy trusts are able to request additional devices if their original allocation does not meet their needs.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January to Question 137170 on Children: Computers, what assessment he has made of (a) the number of children remote learning during the covid-19 lockdown, (b) how many devices those children require, and (c) how much funding his Department will allocate to provide those devices.

All primary schools, secondary schools and colleges in England are now expected to provide remote education for the majority of their pupils and students. To support this, the Government is investing over £400 million, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. This includes over 800,000 laptops and tablets that were delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities by 17 January. Schools already owned around 2 million laptops and 1 million tablets before the COVID-19 outbreak, and they have been invited to order more devices to help meet demand.

Delivery of devices is continuing over the course of this term. The Get Help with Technology scheme will email schools with information on the number of additional devices allocated to them, and when they will be able to order.

We have estimated the number of laptops and tablets needed by disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 using data on the number of pupils eligible for free school meals data and external estimates of the number of devices that schools already own. Schools, local authorities and academy trusts are able to request additional devices if their original allocation does not meet their needs.

14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it is his Department's policy that free school meals should not cover the February 2021 half-term.

During the period of national lockdown, schools should continue to provide meal options for all pupils who are in school. Meals should be available free of charge to all infant pupils and pupils who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals who are in school. Schools should also continue to provide free school meal support to pupils who are eligible for benefits related free school meals and who are learning at home. Schools are free to decide the best approach for their free school meal pupils. They can provide lunch parcels, locally arranged vouchers, or they can use the national voucher scheme which re-opened on Monday 18 January 2021.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, on what date he estimates that every child in need of a device for remote learning will have adequate access such a device during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education, and on Tuesday 12 January the Department announced that it will be providing a further 300,000 laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. This is on top of our previous commitment to provide a million devices. We are delivering devices as quickly as they are available, during a time of unprecedented global demand. We have based our allocation of devices on recent data on free school meal eligibility, to ensure that they reach the children and young people that need them most.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to fairly assess GCSE and A-Level students who were scheduled to retake their exams in 2021 and having left their school or college are no longer able to receive a teacher assessment.

The Department concluded a successful Autumn exam series, allowing pupils who were unhappy with the grades they received in Summer 2020 the opportunity to sit them again. The Department understands, however, that some pupils may have decided to wait until the Summer 2021 series to take their exams.

In light of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department will not be asking pupils to sit GCSE, AS and A level exams this summer as planned. It is important therefore that there is a clear and accessible route for private candidates, and those not in school this year, to be assessed and receive a grade.

A rapid consultation on how to fairly award all pupils a grade that ensures they can progress to the next stage of their lives will be launching shortly. The Department will continue to engage with a range of relevant stakeholders when developing plans for our policy on GCSE, AS and A level assessments in 2021, as will the exams regulator Ofqual. A full equalities impact assessment, informed by the results of the consultation, will be published in due course.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of closing nurseries and early years settings as a result of the exponential rise in covid-19 transmission among children.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister announced on 4 January 2021 that early years settings remain open for all children during the national lockdown.

Details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Schools have been restricted because additional measures are needed to contain the spread of the virus. The wider significant restrictions in place as part of the national lockdown to contain the spread of the virus in the community enable us to continue prioritising keeping nurseries and childminders open, supporting parents and delivering the crucial care and education needed for our youngest children.

Early years settings remain low risk environments for children and staff. Current evidence suggests that pre-school children (0 to 5 years) are less susceptible to infection and are unlikely to be playing a driving role in transmission. There is no evidence the new strain of the virus causes more serious illness in either children or adults and there is no evidence that the new variant of COVID-19 disproportionately affects young children.

PHE advice remains that the risk of transmission and infection is low if early years settings follow the system of controls, which reduce risks and create inherently safer environments. This report from PHE shows that, at present under 5s have the lowest confirmed case rate of all age groups: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-flu-and-covid-19-surveillance-reports.

Early years settings have been open to all children since 1 June and there is no evidence that the early years sector has contributed to a rise in virus cases within the community. Early modelling evidence from SAGE evidenced in the report: Modelling and behavioural science responses to scenarios for relaxing school closures showed that early years provision had a smaller relative impact on transmission rate when modelled with both primary schools and secondary schools. The report is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/886994/s0257-sage-sub-group-modelling-behavioural-science-relaxing-school-closures-sage30.pdf.

Early years childcare providers were one of the first sectors to have restrictions lifted last summer, in recognition of the key role they play in society. Childminders and nursery staff across the country have worked hard to keep settings open through the COVID-19 outbreak so that young children can be educated, and parents can work. The earliest years are the most crucial point of child development and attending early education lays the foundation for lifelong learning and supports children’s social and emotional development. We continue to prioritise keeping early years settings open in full because of the clear benefits to children’s education and wellbeing and to support working parents. Caring for the youngest age group is not something that can be done remotely.

These plans are being kept under review in the light of emerging scientific evidence. We are working with the scientific community to understand the properties and dynamics of the new variant VUI-202012/01 in relation to children and young people.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional support he has made available to support teachers to help return pupils' attainment back to the national standard after their attainment declined during the summer term and summer holiday during the covid-19 outbreak.

All children and young people have had their education disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. In order to support schools, the Government has committed to a catch-up package worth £1 billion.

This funding includes a universal catch-up premium worth £650 million to support schools to deliver any additional activities required to make up for lost teaching time. To help schools make the best use of this funding, the Education Endowment Foundation has published a support guide for schools with evidence-based approaches to catch up, and a School Planning Guide, developed in partnership with expert school leaders from across the country, to support school leaders with their planning for the 2020/21 academic year.

Alongside this, the catch-up package includes a new £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. This will increase access to high-quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people, further helping to tackle the attainment gap. Research shows high quality individual and small group tuition can add up to five months of progress for disadvantaged pupils.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the number of children without access to an internet enabled device enabling them to participate in remote education.

It is vital that pupils have access to high quality and consistent remote education. The Government believes that through the hard work of teachers and staff, pupils will continue to receive the education they deserve, whatever the circumstances.

As part of over £160 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care, the Department has already provided over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers, during the summer term, for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise have access.

These devices are owned by schools, academy trusts and local authorities who can lend these to disadvantaged children and young people who need them most. We are now supplementing this support by making an additional 250,000 laptops and tablets available this term to support disadvantaged children who may experience disruption to face-to-face education.

The Department estimated the number of disadvantaged pupils without access to a suitable device or the internet using data on pupils eligible for Free School Meals in each school, taking into consideration that some pupils would already have access to a private device or internet connection.

The Department is also working with the major telecommunications companies to improve internet connectivity for disadvantaged and vulnerable families who rely on a mobile internet connection. We are piloting an approach where mobile network operators are providing temporary access to free additional data, offering families more flexibility to access the resources that they need the most. In the pilot, schools, academy trusts, and local authorities identified children who need access to free additional data.

8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support clinically extremely vulnerable children who cannot attend school; and what support is available to the children of clinically extremely vulnerable people to enable safe and effective learning out of classrooms.

This government will always prioritise the health and welfare of staff and pupils.

Being in nursery, school and college is vital for children and young people’s education and for their wellbeing. Time out of nursery, school and college is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development.

Current evidence suggests schools are not high-risk settings when compared to other workplace environments. The risk to children of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is very low and there are negative health impacts being out of school.

We are clear about the measures that need to be in place to create safer environments within schools. That is why the Department for Education published guidance, endorsed by Public Health England, which provides a framework for schools to put in place proportionate protective measures for children and staff. The guidance also ensures that all pupils receive a high-quality education that enables them to thrive and progress. If schools follow this guidance, they will effectively reduce risks in their school and create an inherently safer environment for pupils, families and staff. The guidance for the full opening of schools available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

The national shielding programme for all adults and children was paused on 1 August 2020 (except areas in local lockdown). Clinically extremely vulnerable children should attend education settings in line with the wider guidance on the reopening of schools and guidance for full opening, including special schools and other specialist settings. Children who live with those who are clinically extremely vulnerable or clinically vulnerable can attend school. If parents or carers of learners remain concerned, we recommend schools discuss their concerns and provide reassurance of the measures they are putting into place. The guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19.

Where a pupil is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical or public health advice, we expect schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education. Our guidance has a dedicated section on remote education support which outlines our expectations, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#res.

Pupils no longer required to shield but who generally remain under the care of a specialist health professional are likely to discuss their care with their health professional at their next planned clinical appointment. Further advice from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health is available here: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-talking-children-families-about-returning-school-guiding-principles.

For disadvantaged children who are unable to attend school on clinical or public health advice and do not have access to a suitable device or the internet, their school can request support through the 'Get help with technology' service. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-laptops-and-tablets-for-children-who-cannot-attend-school-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

Keeping children safe online is essential. The statutory guidance 'Keeping Children Safe in Education' provides schools and colleges with information on what they should be doing to protect their pupils online. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to help protect older and more vulnerable students at greater risk from covid-19 infection when attending reopened further education colleges in September 2020.

The guidance published on the 2 July and updated on 15 July sets how Further Education colleges can reopen safely for all learners, including those that are older or vulnerable, in September 2020. It has been developed in close consultation with the sector and medical experts from Public Health England. It sets out in detail the steps colleges should take to protect their staff and learners with a requirement to undertake full health and safety COVID-19 risk assessments and implement the September reopening protective measures. These risk assessments must consider groups that are most at risk, including learners with protected characteristics. The guidance also provides advice on supporting young vulnerable learners and recognises that young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) may need careful preparation for a return to full time attendance.

We have also produced guidance for specialist education settings including special post-16 institutions. This sets out the actions special education setting leaders should take to minimise the risk of transmission in their setting, highlighting additional or different considerations for special education settings.

We are doing everything we can to make sure colleges and other providers are as safe as possible for learners and staff, and will continue to work closely with the country’s best scientific and medical experts to ensure that is the case. We will keep guidance under review as we continue to monitor the situation over the summer and we will adjust and adapt our approach as necessary if more evidence becomes available to us.

The guidance is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision/what-fe-colleges-and-providers-will-need-to-do-from-the-start-of-the-2020-autumn-term.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many requests he has received to meet with the The Black Curriculum; and what plans he has to meet with that organisation.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education received a request directly from The Black Curriculum organisation asking for a meeting and a response has been sent. At this stage, the Department’s work responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and other diary pressures make it difficult for the Secretary of State to arrange a meeting. However, the Secretary of State’s reply makes clear that officials have met with the organisation previously and are happy to meet with them again to discuss these matters.

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will create a standardised home learning framework to help maintain educational standards throughout England during the covid-19 outbreak.

Getting more children back in school is vital for their education and their wellbeing – particularly for the most disadvantaged children. Time out of school leads to lost education now but will also affect children’s ability to learn in future.

We believe the very best place for children to be from the Autumn is back in schools. For the vast majority of children, the benefits of being back in the classroom far outweigh the very low risk from COVID-19 and schools can take action to reduce that risk even further. On Thursday 2 July we published guidance for schools reopening to all pupils. This sets out key principles for curriculum planning so that all pupils – particularly disadvantaged, special educational needs and disability (SEND) and vulnerable pupils – are given the catch-up support needed to make substantial progress by the end of the academic year. This includes a section on remote education and can be found here:

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

Whilst children are unable to attend school, we are committed to ensuring that all children can continue to learn remotely in a number of ways, and as such are supporting sector-led initiatives such as the Oak National Academy. This new enterprise has been created by 40 teachers from schools across England. It will provide 180 video lessons for free each week, across a broad range of subjects, for every year group from Reception through to year 10. By 28 June, 4.1 million unique users had accessed the Oak National Academy website and 14.7 million lessons had been viewed. Further remote education support can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-practice-for-schools-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to allocate funding from the public purse for the provision of summer schools for children in the state sector during the 2020 summer holidays.

The Government have announced a universal catch-up premium of £650 million which will be shared between all state-funded primary, secondary, and special schools in England. This premium will be in addition to schools’ core budgets for the 2020/21 academic year.

The universal catch-up premium has been set up to support schools to provide catch-up provision for those who need it most as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is for schools to decide how to allocate it in the most effective way, as they will know best their specific needs.

Provision could include, for example, intervention programmes, extra teaching capacity, access to technology and / or the provision of summer schools. The Education Endowment Foundation have published a COVID-19 Support Guide for Schools to make best use of this funding: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/covid-19-support-guide-for-schools/. This includes advice on summer schools and links to the Teach First Toolkit that is specifically focussed on the provision of summer schools.

In addition, the government has confirmed £9 million of funding to support Holiday Activity and Food programmes in 17 local authorities across England.

A wide range of charities, youth and sports providers will also be offering developmental programmes for young people over the summer including, for example, the National Citizen Service (NCS). NCS will be providing a range of activities to further education colleges and schools over the summer and autumn to support young people develop life knowledge and re-engage with education.

The Government understands the importance of holiday activities in providing opportunities that allow children to socialise and interact with others outside of their household whilst promoting their wellbeing. The Department for Education has therefore published guidance for providers of community activities, holiday and after-school clubs as well as other out-of-school provision for children over the age of 5, which sets out the protective measures that need to be in place to ensure that such settings can open as safely as possible.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Alongside this, the Department has published guidance for parents and carers on the precautions they should be taking if they are thinking of sending their child to any provision over the summer period.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-of-children-attending-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-of-children-attending-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding has been allocated to schools in the London Borough of Ealing in relation to (a) online tuition and (b) teaching materials.

Ealing is receiving an extra £10.1 million for schools this year, an increase of 3.7% per pupil taking total funding for 2020-21 in Ealing to £250.8 million.

It is up to each school to determine how to deliver education to its pupils, and how best to use their funding. We recognise that many schools have already shared resources – both online and printed resources – for children who are at home, and we are committed to ensuring that all children can continue to learn remotely in a number of ways during these very difficult circumstances.

We are committed to ensuring that all children can continue to learn remotely in a number of ways for as long as they are unable to attend school, and are supporting sector-led initiatives such as the Oak National Academy. By 21 June, 3.9 million unique users had accessed the Oak National Academy website and 13.2 million lessons had been viewed.

The Government has also committed over £100 million to boost remote education. This includes: providing devices and internet access for those who need it most, ensuring every school that wants it has access to free, expert technical support to get set up on Google for Education or Microsoft’s Office 365 Education, and offering peer support from schools and colleges leading the way with the use of education technology.

The Government have announced a package of support of £1 billion to ensure that schools have the support they need to help children and young people make up for lost teaching time, with extra support in the form of a tutoring programme for those who need it most. We will provide more information on exactly how this funding will be distributed in due course.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department plans to take to reduce the gap in provision between state and private schools after the covid-19 outbreak.

We are committed to ensuring that all pupils continue to learn remotely where they cannot attend school due to COVID-19. The Department has published guidance to support state-funded schools in providing online lessons, and using high quality digital and printed curriculum resources.

To support state schools to provide education online, the Government has committed over £100 million to boost access to remote education. This includes providing laptops and tablets and internet access for those who need it most, ensuring every school that wants it has access to free, expert technical support to get set up on Google for Education or Microsoft’s Office 365 Education, and offering peer support from schools and colleges leading the way with the use of education technology.

The Department is also supporting sector-led initiatives such as Oak National Academy. This new enterprise has been created by 40 teachers from schools across England. It will provide 180 video lessons for free each week, across a broad range of subjects, for every year group from Reception through to year 10. By 21 June, 3.9 million unique users had accessed the Oak National Academy website and 13.2 million lessons had been viewed. Additionally, the BBC has developed resources for families as part of a comprehensive new education package, which is now available on TV, BBC iPlayer and online at BBC Bitesize.

We expect all pupils to return to school in September, and the Department published guidance on Thursday 2 July. Given the possibility that groups of pupils need to self-isolate, such as for a local lockdown, all schools will be expected to have remote education contingency plans in place. The guidance sets out what is expected from schools for their remote education provision.

We are also providing a package of support worth £1 billion to support catch up for all pupils in state schools next academic year, including extra support for the most disadvantaged.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the additional number of pupils that can attend school in the event that social distancing guidelines are lower to one metre.

We want to get all children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn. We know how important it is for their wellbeing to have social interactions with their teachers and friends. Our intention is for all children to return to school from September.

We have published further information and guidance to help schools prepare for September. The guidance is available here:

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

We will be guided by the latest scientific advice and are working with the sector to ensure our guidance provides schools with the further details they need. Any protective measures that may be necessary to keep children and teachers as safe as possible, advice on group sizes, staffing advice and transport considerations can be found in the guidance.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to split primary and secondary classes into multiple bubbles to minimise the risk of covid-19 transmission.

We want to get all children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn. We know how important it is for their wellbeing to have social interactions with their teachers and friends. Our intention is for all children to return to school from September.

We have published further information and guidance to help schools prepare for September. The guidance is available here:

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

We will be guided by the latest scientific advice and are working with the sector to ensure our guidance provides schools with the further details they need. Any protective measures that may be necessary to keep children and teachers as safe as possible, advice on group sizes, staffing advice and transport considerations can be found in the guidance.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to take steps to weight the exam results of children from less affluent households that have not had access to IT equipment during the covid-19 outbreak and whose parents have not attended higher education to reflect those disadvantages.

We recognise that students who are studying GCSE, A level or equivalent courses, and are due to take exams and assessments in 2021, will have experienced disruption to their education. We are working with Ofqual and the awarding organisations to develop our approach to next year’s exams and assessments in light of this.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to tackle unequal access to education as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Schools are continuing to receive additional funding in the form of the pupil premium – worth around £2.4 billion annually – to help them support their disadvantaged pupils. This includes those who have been in receipt of free school meals at any point in the last six years, and looked after and previously looked after children.

The government has also committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers. The department has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets for vulnerable and disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examination in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver.

We are providing over 50,000 4G wireless routers to disadvantaged children with a social worker in secondary school, care leavers and children in Year 10 who do not have access to a suitable internet connection through other means. We are also working with the country’s major telecommunications providers to make it easier for children in vulnerable and disadvantaged families, who are relying on mobile data, to access online educational resources.

To support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education, 40 teachers have come together to develop the brand-new Oak National Academy, launched at the start of the summer term. The Oak Academy provides 180 video lessons for free each week, across a broad range of subjects, for every year group from Reception through to Year 10. Education resources are also available offline. Children will be able to draw on support from the BBC, which is broadcasting lessons on television, and may choose to access the many hard copy resources offers which have been produced by publishers across the country.

We recognise that, for some children, there will be a need for additional support where they have not been able to learn in the same way that we would have expected this term. We are working with a range of partners, including the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), to establish how schools can best help their pupils – including those from disadvantaged backgrounds – to make up lost ground. In particular, we are very supportive of the work being taken forward by the EEF and other organisations to pilot online tutoring for disadvantaged pupils during the summer term.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has taken steps to monitor the potential effect of care proceedings on children who have had their contact with their birth family suspended.

The potential effect of care proceedings on children who have had their contact with their birth family suspended will continue to be considered by judges as part of individual care proceedings.

The department has published guidance on children in care and contact with their families while the government’s social distancing guidance remains in force. The guidance makes clear that contact between looked-after children and their birth parents must continue but may be more appropriate to take place virtually at this time: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care.

We are also aware that the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory commissioned an urgent new research project, Understanding how children’s connections to birth families are being managed during social isolation. This showed that those taking part in our study reported widespread use of video calls by and for children in residential, foster and kinship care.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many individuals in foster care are in contact with their birth family.

The information requested on the number of children in foster care who are in contact with their birth family is not held centrally.

We expect that contact between children in care and their birth relatives will continue during the COVID-19 outbreak. It is essential for children and families to remain in touch at this difficult time.

Operational guidance published by the department sets out the expectation that contact arrangements are assessed on a case by case basis taking into account a range of factors including the government’s social distancing guidance and the needs of the child. It may not be possible, or appropriate, for the usual face-to-face contact to happen at this time and keeping in touch may need to take place virtually. We expect the spirit of any contact orders made in relation to children in care to be maintained and will look to social workers to determine how best to support those valuable family interactions based on the circumstances of each case.

The operational guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care.

Social distancing guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps he has taken to ensure that contact arrangements between (a) foster children and (b) adopted children and their birth families are maintained.

The information requested on the number of children in foster care who are in contact with their birth family is not held centrally.

We expect that contact between children in care and their birth relatives will continue during the COVID-19 outbreak. It is essential for children and families to remain in touch at this difficult time.

Operational guidance published by the department sets out the expectation that contact arrangements are assessed on a case by case basis taking into account a range of factors including the government’s social distancing guidance and the needs of the child. It may not be possible, or appropriate, for the usual face-to-face contact to happen at this time and keeping in touch may need to take place virtually. We expect the spirit of any contact orders made in relation to children in care to be maintained and will look to social workers to determine how best to support those valuable family interactions based on the circumstances of each case.

The operational guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care.

Social distancing guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support private nurseries that are facing a loss of revenue as a result of restrictions implemented during the covid-19 outbreak to maintain places.

The government has set out specific measures to support childcare providers, including:

  • Funding for the government’s early years entitlements will continue being paid to local authorities
  • Nurseries being among the businesses eligible for a business rates holiday for one year from 1 April

Childcare providers will also benefit from the wider measures the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced to support the people and businesses of the UK:

  • A three-point plan announced in the Budget providing £12 billion of support for public services, individuals and businesses whose finances are affected by the outbreak
  • A package to provide additional support for businesses and individuals totalling £350 billion
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms continue to keep people in employment. This means that businesses can put workers on temporary leave and the government will pay them cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, providing they keep the worker employed
  • The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to enable those eligible to receive a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years.

More details on the support available are included in the latest guidance for early years settings, which can be found here:

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

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

We continue to work closely with the early years sector and remain committed to doing all we can to support childcare providers through this uncertain period. We will publish further guidance where appropriate.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help protect bee habitats.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 14 June 2022 to the hon. Member for Strangford, PQ 13132.

14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential impact on puppy smuggling and similar crimes of introducing visual checks on dogs and other animals entering the country via the Pet Travel Scheme.

We operate one of the most rigorous and robust pet travel checking regimes in Europe. All non-commercial cats, dogs and ferrets entering Great Britain on approved routes (every route other than Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Crown Dependencies) under the pet travel rules undergo 100% documentary and identity checks by authorised pet checkers.

To enter Great Britain pets must have been implanted with a microchip or have a legible tattoo imprinted prior to 3 July 2011. A pet's identity is checked by ensuring that the microchip or tattoo details correspond to the details in the pet's documentation. Carriers can refer suspected non-compliances to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). APHA staff are highly trained to deal with intercepted shipments.

APHA works collaboratively with Border Force and other operational partners at ports, airports and inland, sharing intelligence to enforce the pet travel rules, disrupt illegal imports, safeguard the welfare of animals and seize non-compliant animals.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June 2021 and will progress as soon as parliamentary time allows. The Bill allows us to further protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on the low welfare movements of pets into Great Britain and includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the progress of the Animals Abroad Bill; and what his Department's timeframe is for bringing forward further legislative proposals on animal welfare.

In the last year we have already introduced our Animal Sentience and Kept Animals Bills to Parliament and published the Government's Action Plan for Animal Welfare. The Action Plan for Animal Welfare demonstrates this Government's commitment to a brighter future for animals both at home and abroad.

We are moving forward with our plans to deliver one of the toughest bans in the world on the import of hunting trophies from thousands of endangered and threatened species. We are firmly committed to the ban and this will be brought forward as soon as Parliamentary time allows. We are also looking at further measures to protect animals abroad, including banning the import and export of detached fins, and taking action against low welfare animal experiences.

The Kept Animals Bill completed Commons Committee Stage in November. Since introduction, the Government has added a new pet abduction offence to the Bill and extended the primates measure to Wales. We have also consulted on the use of powers in the Bill to tackle puppy smuggling. The Government is committed to this Bill and it will progress in its current form as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to take steps to ensure that no raw sewage is discharged into (a) the Thames, (b) English rivers and (c) the sea in 2022.

This Government has made improving water quality a priority, and has been clear that the current use of storm overflows is completely unacceptable. However, storm overflows are a historic infrastructure issue and stopping their usage today would lead to sewage backing up into homes and businesses during the next heavy rainfall event.

This Government is the first to take steps to tackle sewage overflows, but we know that this is extremely challenging and costly, as it will require significant infrastructure upgrades including separating pipes across the country. We will therefore shortly be publishing a Storm Overflow Discharge Reduction Plan for consultation, to gather views from the public on our proposed approach and the trade-offs between ambition and pace of change, and disruption and costs to consumers.

The Government has a duty to produce this plan under the landmark Environment Act 2021 which introduces a raft of duties to reduce the adverse effects of storm overflows on the environment and public health, including a report setting out the actions that would be needed to completely eliminate discharges from storm overflows in England. We will outline further detail on this shortly.

9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of banning imports of fur in 2022 on animal welfare.

Fur farming has been banned in the UK for over 20 years. Now we have left the EU, the Government is able to explore potential further action in relation to animal fur.

The recent call for evidence published by Defra on the fur trade in Great Britain was a key step in helping us to meet the commitment set out in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare to better understand the fur sector in Great Britain and gather evidence from those with an interest in it.

We received around 30,000 responses from businesses, representative bodies and individuals, demonstrating the strong public interest in this area. We are reviewing the evidence gathered both from our Call for Evidence and wider engagement with the fur trade and stakeholders, and a summary of responses setting out the results and key findings will be published soon.

4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of expanding access to countryside provisions in the Agriculture Act 2020.

The 25 Year Environment Plan sets out the ambition to connect more people from all backgrounds with the natural environment for their health and well-being, and the commitment to supporting people to access and enjoy outdoor spaces. The priority is for this to happen in a way that is safe for people and animals, and in line with published regulations and guidance.

Support for increasing access into the countryside will be made through existing schemes and support mechanisms already in place.

Access is currently provided for under the Countryside Stewardship scheme’s Higher Tier and Mid Tier. The scheme funds land managers for both the instalment of capital items to promote access, such as gates and stiles, as well as providing educational visits which offer school pupils and care farming clients the opportunity to visit farms to learn, understand and engage with farming and the environment. This year we have introduced a new woodland supplement, Access for people, which aims to create alternative outdoor activities, encourage engagement with nature and create further educational opportunities.

We are still considering our approach to support for increasing and maintaining access to the countryside in our future schemes including our environmental land management schemes.

To boost investment in the meantime, we have launched a new Farming in Protected Landscapes programme in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – this includes opportunities for farmers and land managers to provide new or easier access, links to the Public Rights of Way network, and interpretation of farming, nature and heritage.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will bring forward legislative proposals to place Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 on Global Food Loss and Waste into law to help the UK tackle food waste.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 11 January 2022 to the hon. Member for Putney, PQ UIN 97159.

26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has plans to bring forward a ban on trail hunting on Government land.

The Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt a wild mammal with dogs except where it is carried out in accordance with the exemptions in the Act. The Government will not amend the Hunting Act 2004.

Issuing a licence or giving permission for trail hunting is an operational matter for the landowner and those organisations with a land lease or agreement in place for Government land.

21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to update breed-specific legislation and the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to help prevent unnecessary suffering in dogs.

The primary purpose of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is public protection. The Government must balance the views of those who want to repeal or amend the breed specific legislation relating to the Pit Bull terrier, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro and the Japanese Tosa with that responsibility.

Historically, pit bull types are powerful dogs which have been traditionally bred in the UK for dog fighting. Data gathered from 2005 onwards on fatal dog attacks show that pit bulls were involved in around one in six tragic incidents, despite the prohibitions that we have in place that have significantly limited the numbers of pit bulls in the UK.

The Government considers that a lifting of the restrictions on these types of dogs would more likely result in an increase in dog attacks, rather than contributing to any reduction in such incidents. This position is supported by the police.

Despite the general prohibitions on these types of dog, individual prohibited dogs can be kept by their owners if a court considers certain safety criteria to be met.

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 also gives enforcement bodies the power to take action in cases where a dog is considered to be dangerously out of control and has attacked another dog.

In December 2021, Defra published research in collaboration with Middlesex University to look at responsible ownership across all breeds of dog. The report will provide the basis for the consideration of reform in this area and the Government is already working with the police, local authorities, and stakeholders to consider the recommendations further.

2nd Dec 2021
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward a standalone clean air Bill.

We know that air pollution is the greatest environmental hazard to health, and we have taken significant action to clean up our air. Emissions of nitrogen oxides are now at their lowest levels since records began. But there is more to do. The landmark Environment Act includes a clear duty to set new targets for air quality.

The Environment Act ensures local authorities have strengthened powers to tackle air pollution and more. This builds on our Clean Air Strategy.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the number of ash trees felled in the last period for which data is available.

Most parts of the country are now experiencing the impacts of ash tree decline, although the speed and severity of the disease is variable at a local level. The Government does not collect data on the number of ash trees that have been felled, including those affected by ash dieback, but of the 2700 applications approved to date in 2021, the Forestry Commission has recorded 1564 felling licence applications containing ash (as a tree species planned for felling). This is very similar to the felling licence application figures for 2020.

The felling licences approved in 2020, and which contain ash as a tree species, cover just under 20,000 hectares of land, including land outside woodland, and contain an estimated 950,000 m3 of timber, and this is approved for felling within the next five to ten years, depending on the length of the felling licence.

Where appropriate, approved felling licences carry legally enforceable restocking conditions to ensure any trees felled are replaced using suitable means and to ensure tree and woodland cover is maintained for future generations.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February 2021 to Question 145762 on the Soil and Groundwater Technology Association, if he will make an assessment of the independence of the Soil and Groundwater Technical Association.

The Soil and Groundwater Technical Association is a not-for-profit membership organisation focused on the issue of contaminated land. It is formed of UK organisations representative of this focus. There are currently no plans to assess the independence of the Soil and Groundwater Technical Association.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the independence of the Soil and Groundwater Technical Association.

No assessment has been made of the independence of the Soil and Groundwater Technical Association.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when the Category 4 screening levels (C4SL) Phase 2 Project Steering Group last met; and what the names are of the members of that group.

The Category 4 Screening Levels Phase 2 Project Steering Group last met on Wednesday 27 January 2021.

The members of that group come from local authorities, Government departments and arm’s length bodies, not-for-profit membership organisations and trade organisations. This includes Defra, the Environment Agency and the Welsh Government.

A full list of the attendees for the last meeting has been made available to the hon. Member.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which (a) environmental consultants and (b) advisors his Department has consulted in the last year on pollution standards and controls.

Defra has consulted with the following environmental consultants in the last year on pollution standards and controls:

Ricardo

Enviro Technologies

Air Monitors

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what legislative proposals on pollution he plans to bring forward in this Parliament.

The Environment Bill will bring forwards legislative proposals for tackling pollution.

It will drive significant environmental improvement and tackle pollution by setting and achieving legally-binding, long-term targets in key areas including air quality, water, and resource efficiency and waste.

Some of the leading measures in the Bill to support the delivery of targets include:

  • Air Quality: The Bill introduces a duty on the government to set at least two air quality targets by October 2022:

o To reduce the annual average level of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in ambient air

o A further target to improve air quality

  • Water: The Bill makes drainage and sewerage management planning, through which companies develop the capacity of their networks, a statutory duty.
  • Resource Efficiency and Waste Reduction – The Bill will enable Government to make waste producers cover the cost of collecting and recycling packaging waste, introduce deposit returns schemes, and introduce charges for single-use plastic items.
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of UK environmental protections; and what assessment he has made of the areas in which protections need to be (a) more rigorous, (b) equally rigorous and (c) less rigorous than EU standards.

The Government is committed to leaving the environment in a better state than we found it and has been clear that we will realise the benefits of leaving the EU, including implementing new ways of delivering better levels of environmental protection. The Government continuously looks for opportunities to improve the effectiveness of environmental protections and has already brought forward a number of measures to drive forward standards and to help assess the adequacy of environmental legislation in future.

For example, the Environment Bill sets a new legal foundation for Government action to improve the environment and is part of the wider Government response to the clear and scientific case for a step-change in environmental protection and recovery. As part of the provisions in the Bill, the Government must have an Environmental Improvement Plan which sets out the steps it intends to take to improve the environment and review it at least every five years. The 25 Year Environment Plan will be adopted as the first statutory Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP) in the Environment Bill.

The Bill also establishes a new, independent statutory body - the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) - which will have a statutory duty to monitor and report on the Government's progress in improving the natural environment in accordance with the EIP. The OEP’s annual report may provide recommendations on how to improve progress towards meeting targets or environmental improvement, to which Government must respond.

In many cases, we will be going further than the EU. For example, the approach taken in the Environment Bill towards environmental principles goes further than the EU by ensuring that Ministers across Government are obliged to consider the principles in all policy development where it impacts the environment. Through the Bill’s targets framework, we are seeking to develop a comprehensive suite of targets across the entire natural environment which is novel and not something developed at an EU level. The OEP’s enforcement powers are different from those of the European Commission, as the OEP will be able to liaise directly with the public body in question to investigate and resolve alleged serious breaches of environmental law in a more targeted and timely manner.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of moving hedgehogs to schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to allow them greater protection.

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) has recently commenced the seventh Quinquennial Review of schedules 5 and 8 (protected species) to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The JNCC will, late next year, make evidence-based recommendations to the Secretary of State as to which species warrant additional legal protections to secure their future conservation. It is not possible, at this time, to confirm which species, including hedgehogs, may be included in these proposals.

2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of banning the import of shark fins into the UK.

The UK has a strong track record in marine conservation and places great importance on ensuring that appropriate protection and management is in place for all shark species.

The UK Government is strongly opposed to shark finning, the practice of removing the fins of a shark and discarding the body at sea. The UK has already banned the act of shark finning and has enforced a Fins Naturally Attached policy in order to combat illegal finning of sharks in UK and EU waters. This means that shark fins from sharks fished in UK and EU waters can only be retained and utilised provided they are still attached to the shark when landed at port by fishing vessels.

Following the end of the Transition Period we will explore options consistent with World Trade Organization rules to address the importation of shark fins from other areas, to support efforts to end illegal shark finning practices globally.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what plans her Department has to develop guidelines on how to ensure a public return on public investment on biomedical Research & Development investments in advance of the merger of her Department with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

DFID routes ODA funding for research into the development of drugs, vaccines and other medical tools, through Product Development Partnerships and other not-for-profit organisations. Product Development Partnerships are not for profit organisations that are jointly created and funded by international institutions, national governments, private foundations and industry. These act as platforms to bring together the best scientific expertise alongside resources, to prevent and address diseases that affect low and middle-income countries. Whereas industrial Research and Development is mostly driven by profit - Product Development Partnerships are primarily driven by patient needs and de-link the cost of a new product from the cost of its development. These third-party organisations have the expertise to ensure that, once developed, products are affordable and accessible to provide low and middle-income countries with the tools they need to tackle diseases in their country, maximising the public return on our health Research and Development investments. No additional guidelines are considered necessary.

Merging the Departments will bring together the best of what we do in aid and diplomacy and ensure that all of our national efforts including our aid budget and expertise are used to make the UK a force for good in the world. The work of UK Aid to reduce poverty will remain central to the new department’s mission.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether it remains the Government's policy to maintain the UK's funding for the replenishment of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program in 2020.

The UK plays a leading role in the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP). We keep all our aid spending under constant review. Because of the likely drop in Gross National Income we are assessing across the board how we will manage the resulting fall in ODA in the coming year.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, what steps she is taking to help prevent a (a) health and (b) global food security crisis in developing countries as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK contributes financially and plays a leading role in the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), It addresses the key dimensions of agriculture and food security in the poorest and most vulnerable countries and has already adapted all its active programmes to respond to COVID-19. GAFSP is improving the food and nutrition security of 13.4 million smallholder farmers and their families. By doing so, it is helping build resilience and prepare the ground for a sustainable recovery from the negative health and food security impacts of the pandemic.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with the Foreign Secretary on the maintenance of existing levels of support for nutrition programmes after the merger of her Department with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The UK remains committed to preventing and treating malnutrition as part of our commitment to end the preventable deaths of mothers, new-borns and children. Addressing poor nutrition is also critical in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Decisions on how UK aid is spent will be for the new department to make, informed by the outcomes of the Integrated Review, expected to conclude later in the year. The Review will define our ambition for the UK’s role in the world, including delivery of the manifesto commitments.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, for what reason the funding allocated to nutrition-specific investments in 2018 was 20 per cent lower than in 2017.

The reduction in nutrition-specific spend between 2017 and 2018 is the result of several standalone nutrition programmes coming to an end, with nutrition activities integrated into broader health investments.

Donor investments in nutrition-specific activities are currently tracked through the OECD DAC Creditor Reporting System using a single code: ‘basic nutrition’. Only programmes that are solely focused on nutrition appear in the Creditor Reporting System under the basic nutrition code. Over the past few years, we have actively promoted integration of nutrition services into health investments. However, this has meant that spend on nutrition-specific activities is reported against other health codes rather than basic nutrition.

Independent analysis of donor nutrition financing noted that – relative to other donors – DFID disburses a greater proportion of nutrition-specific aid through health codes other than basic nutrition. This was ascribed to us having a greater emphasis on addressing nutrition through integrated health programmes.

We remain committed to supporting the scale up of high-impact nutrition-specific services – including through our investments in the Power of Nutrition and through a new partnership with UNICEF.

We will also be applying the new OECD DAC policy marker for nutrition from 2020 onwards. This should help strengthen monitoring of the UK’s investments to prevent and treat malnutrition.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps the Government plans to take to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children under five through investments in global nutrition.

The UK remains committed to preventing and treating malnutrition as part of our pledge to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children. Continued investment to protect the nutrition of the poorest people in the world is even more important as countries face worsening levels of malnutrition in the face of COVID-19. We will continue to support programmes to address malnutrition beyond 2020 and will work with the Government of Japan to ensure the 2021 Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit is a success.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of Official Development Assistance; and if she will maintain a existing levels of support for sexual and reproductive health and rights and family planning services in (a) 2020 and (b) future budgets.

Our aid spending is linked to the growth of our economy.

We are working closely with the Treasury to understand the likely forecasts and to ensure that we can meet our 0.7% commitment.

The UK is committed to advancing and defending comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights and, as a leading global donor, we will continue to be a progressive voice on this issue to give women in developing countries the reproductive health choices they want and need.

We are working across Departments to ensure that we continue to drive UK aid spending and commit our Official Development Assistance to the world’s most vulnerable and poorest people.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the potential humanitarian and security effects on (a) Somalia and (b) other African countries of reductions in remittances as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises the vital role remittances play in supporting the incomes of millions of people around the world and the challenge posed by COVID-19 to these flows. Recent projections by the World Bank’s suggest that remittances to sub-Saharan Africa will fall by around 23% - or USD 11 billion – in 2020. In Somalia, remittances represented more than one quarter of GDP in 2019, and on average made up a third of total income for households that received them.

We are deeply concerned about the combined impacts of COVID-19 with ongoing conflict and climate-induced natural disasters in Somalia and other African countries, where millions of people already face food insecurity caused by humanitarian disasters and conflict. This situation will be compounded by a reduction in remittances.

We are working closely with our international partners to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on remittance flows. On Friday 22 May, the UK and Swiss Governments, with the support of the World Bank and other partners, launched a global Call to Action on remittances. This called on policymakers, regulators and remittance service providers to take action to keep remittances flowing during the crisis.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
28th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with UK banks on encouraging support for remittance companies operating in Africa to help tackle humanitarian disasters in (a) Somalia and (b) other African countries.

The Government recognises the vital role remittances play in supporting the incomes of millions of people around the world – including in Africa, where remittances can represent a significant proportion of GDP. In Somalia remittances represented more than one quarter of its GDP in 2019, and on average made up a third of total income for households that received them.

We are deeply concerned about the impact of COVID-19 in Somalia and other African countries, where millions of people already face food insecurity caused by humanitarian disasters and conflict. This situation will be compounded by a reduction in remittances. Recent projections by the World Bank’s indicate that remittances to sub-Saharan Africa will fall by around 23% – USD 11 billion – in 2020.

We are therefore working closely with our international partners to monitor and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on remittance flows. The UK-Somalia Safer Corridor Initiative brought together stakeholders including banks, remittance service providers, regulators and community representatives to tackle barriers in the UK-Somalia remittance corridor. The Government continues to engage regularly with these stakeholders to address the impact of COVID-19 on remittance flows.

The Government understands that UK banks play an important role in maintaining the flow of remittances from the UK to Africa. The Government and the UK’s regulatory authorities have regular engagement with the banking sector in the UK on a wide range of issues, including on the provision of banking services to remittance service providers. The decision to offer banking services is ultimately a commercial decision for banks, which are required by legislation to make these decisions in a proportionate and non-discriminatory way.

On Friday 22 May, the UK and Swiss Governments, with the support of the World Bank and other partners, launched a global Call to Action on remittances. This called on policymakers, regulators and remittance service providers to take action to keep remittances flowing during the crisis

The Government has already taken steps to support remittance service providers in the UK, including by enabling them to remain open through lockdown by including them on the list of essential businesses.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
28th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will take steps to encourage UK banks to provide further support to remittance companies working to provide humanitarian support from the UK to Africa.

The Government recognises the vital role remittances play in supporting the incomes of millions of people around the world – including in Africa, where remittances can represent a significant proportion of GDP. In Somalia remittances represented more than one quarter of its GDP in 2019, and on average made up a third of total income for households that received them.

We are deeply concerned about the impact of COVID-19 in Somalia and other African countries, where millions of people already face food insecurity caused by humanitarian disasters and conflict. This situation will be compounded by a reduction in remittances. Recent projections by the World Bank’s indicate that remittances to sub-Saharan Africa will fall by around 23% – USD 11 billion – in 2020.

We are therefore working closely with our international partners to monitor and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on remittance flows. The UK-Somalia Safer Corridor Initiative brought together stakeholders including banks, remittance service providers, regulators and community representatives to tackle barriers in the UK-Somalia remittance corridor. The Government continues to engage regularly with these stakeholders to address the impact of COVID-19 on remittance flows.

The Government understands that UK banks play an important role in maintaining the flow of remittances from the UK to Africa. The Government and the UK’s regulatory authorities have regular engagement with the banking sector in the UK on a wide range of issues, including on the provision of banking services to remittance service providers. The decision to offer banking services is ultimately a commercial decision for banks, which are required by legislation to make these decisions in a proportionate and non-discriminatory way.

On Friday 22 May, the UK and Swiss Governments, with the support of the World Bank and other partners, launched a global Call to Action on remittances. This called on policymakers, regulators and remittance service providers to take action to keep remittances flowing during the crisis

The Government has already taken steps to support remittance service providers in the UK, including by enabling them to remain open through lockdown by including them on the list of essential businesses.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
28th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of restarting the Safer Corridor Initiative in light of the recent reduction in remittances from the UK as a result of the covid-19 pandemic and reluctance from banks to support remittance companies.

The Government recognises the vital role remittances play in supporting the incomes of millions of people around the world – including in Africa, where remittances can represent a significant proportion of GDP. In Somalia remittances represented more than one quarter of its GDP in 2019, and on average made up a third of total income for households that received them.

We are deeply concerned about the impact of COVID-19 in Somalia and other African countries, where millions of people already face food insecurity caused by humanitarian disasters and conflict. This situation will be compounded by a reduction in remittances. Recent projections by the World Bank’s indicate that remittances to sub-Saharan Africa will fall by around 23% – USD 11 billion – in 2020.

We are therefore working closely with our international partners to monitor and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on remittance flows. The UK-Somalia Safer Corridor Initiative brought together stakeholders including banks, remittance service providers, regulators and community representatives to tackle barriers in the UK-Somalia remittance corridor. The Government continues to engage regularly with these stakeholders to address the impact of COVID-19 on remittance flows.

The Government understands that UK banks play an important role in maintaining the flow of remittances from the UK to Africa. The Government and the UK’s regulatory authorities have regular engagement with the banking sector in the UK on a wide range of issues, including on the provision of banking services to remittance service providers. The decision to offer banking services is ultimately a commercial decision for banks, which are required by legislation to make these decisions in a proportionate and non-discriminatory way.

On Friday 22 May, the UK and Swiss Governments, with the support of the World Bank and other partners, launched a global Call to Action on remittances. This called on policymakers, regulators and remittance service providers to take action to keep remittances flowing during the crisis

The Government has already taken steps to support remittance service providers in the UK, including by enabling them to remain open through lockdown by including them on the list of essential businesses.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to his Department's press release entitled, UK will step up efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children in the developing world by 2030 published on 19 October 2019, what steps his Department is taking to increase the quality of life for (a) children, (b) new-borns and (c) women living with life-threatening illness where death is not preventable.

The Secretary of State recently announced that the UK would step up efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children by 2030. Core to the UK's Preventable Deaths agenda, is how we can support low income countries to scale up quality health services. This includes the development of national maternal health policies, support for the delivery of services and work to strengthen health systems, the provision of skilled care at birth, emergency obstetric care, and improving access and quality of medicines. We invest at both the country level and through global programmes. An example is our recent £600m commitment to scale up access to a range of existing and new sexual and reproductive health supplies, which has the potential to expand access to misoprostol.

We recognise that not all deaths are preventable. We support countries in their development of national policies and service provision for those with ongoing illnesses, with focus on quality of care and access to medicines.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to his Department's press release entitled, UK will step up efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children in the developing world by 2030 published on 19 October 2019, what his policy is on the (a) integration of cervical cancer prevention and treatment services including HPV vaccination and screening to sexual and reproductive health services and (b) the WHO call to eliminate cervical cancer by May 2020.

The UK is a leading player in global health and is committed to stepping up efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborn babies and children in the developing world by 2030.

UK aid provides support to strengthen health systems in the world’s poorest countries, including provision of sexual reproductive health services and rights. Where possible an integrated package of sexual and reproductive health services are delivered, including the introduction of certain cervical cancer screening, prevention and treatments in some contexts.

We are the largest donor to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which supports HPV vaccination programmes in developing countries. Through Gavi support, 30 developing countries have taken their first steps toward HPV roll out, with the aim of vaccinating 40 million girls by 2020. The UK will also host the Gavi Replenishment Conference on 3-4 June 2020.

The UK supports the recently published WHO ‘Global strategy towards eliminating cervical cancer as a public health problem’, and the associated goals for the period 2020 to 2030.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to his Department's press release entitled, UK will step up efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children in the developing world by 2030 published on 19 October 2019, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that adolescent girls with disabilities can access sexual and reproductive health services.

The Secretary of State recently announced that the UK would step up efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children by 2030. Universal health coverage, including access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), is central to these efforts.

Our health and SRHR programmes aim to understand and overcome the barriers for excluded groups, to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable within society, including those with disabilities, are able to access services. All our SRHR programmes target adolescent girls. We also work to address the needs of ethnic groups in particular countries.

At the UN General Assembly in 2019, the Secretary of State for International Development announce funding of £600 million over 2020-2025 that will provide millions more women and girls with access to family planning.

The Women’s Integrated Sexual Health reproductive health programme uses innovative ways to identify and reach the poorest and most marginalised adolescent girls and women with essential services across 27 countries. Our support to the Robert Carr Fund, Amplify Change and the Safe Abortion Action Fund all support grassroots organisations to campaign for and promote access to the most marginalised populations’ sexual and reproductive health services and rights.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking to ensure that young women in developing countries who (a) unmarried and (b) are mothers can access contraceptive and sexual and reproductive health and rights services.

The Secretary of State recently announced that the UK would step up efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children by 2030. Universal health coverage, including access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), is central to these efforts.

Our health and SRHR programmes aim to understand and overcome the barriers for excluded groups, to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable within society, including those with disabilities, are able to access services. All our SRHR programmes target adolescent girls. We also work to address the needs of ethnic groups in particular countries.

At the UN General Assembly in 2019, the Secretary of State for International Development announce funding of £600 million over 2020-2025 that will provide millions more women and girls with access to family planning.

The Women’s Integrated Sexual Health reproductive health programme uses innovative ways to identify and reach the poorest and most marginalised adolescent girls and women with essential services across 27 countries. Our support to the Robert Carr Fund, Amplify Change and the Safe Abortion Action Fund all support grassroots organisations to campaign for and promote access to the most marginalised populations’ sexual and reproductive health services and rights.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking to ensure (a) indigenous women and (b) other minority groups in developing countries can access contraceptive and sexual and reproductive health and rights services.

The Secretary of State recently announced that the UK would step up efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children by 2030. Universal health coverage, including access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), is central to these efforts.

Our health and SRHR programmes aim to understand and overcome the barriers for excluded groups, to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable within society, including those with disabilities, are able to access services. All our SRHR programmes target adolescent girls. We also work to address the needs of ethnic groups in particular countries.

At the UN General Assembly in 2019, the Secretary of State for International Development announce funding of £600 million over 2020-2025 that will provide millions more women and girls with access to family planning.

The Women’s Integrated Sexual Health reproductive health programme uses innovative ways to identify and reach the poorest and most marginalised adolescent girls and women with essential services across 27 countries. Our support to the Robert Carr Fund, Amplify Change and the Safe Abortion Action Fund all support grassroots organisations to campaign for and promote access to the most marginalised populations’ sexual and reproductive health services and rights.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to his Department's press release entitled, UK will step up efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children in the developing world by 2030 published on 19 October 2019, what plans he has to support country-led plans to (a) provide skilled care at birth, (b) provide emergency obstetric care and (c) ensure availability of (i) medicines, (ii) commodities and (iii) equipment; and what plans he has to support the availability of misoprostol to prevent and treat postpartum haemorrhage and medical abortion.

The Secretary of State recently announced that the UK would step up efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children by 2030. Core to the UK's Preventable Deaths agenda, is how we can support low income countries to scale up quality health services. This includes the development of national maternal health policies, support for the delivery of services and work to strengthen health systems, the provision of skilled care at birth, emergency obstetric care, and improving access and quality of medicines. We invest at both the country level and through global programmes. An example is our recent £600m commitment to scale up access to a range of existing and new sexual and reproductive health supplies, which has the potential to expand access to misoprostol.

We recognise that not all deaths are preventable. We support countries in their development of national policies and service provision for those with ongoing illnesses, with focus on quality of care and access to medicines.

4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many trains ran on the rail network with fewer carriages than timetabled, in each of the last six months, for which data is available.

The number of trains operated on the rail network with less capacity than contractually required, for those operators for which data is available, is shown below:

Rail Period

12/12/21 - 8/1/22

9/1/22 - 5/2/22

6/2/22 - 5/3/22

6/3/22 - 31/3/22

1/4/22 - 30/4 22

1/5/22 - 28/5/22

1,090

685

754

471

682

572

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many trains ran on the rail network in each of the last six months, for which data is available, with fewer carriages than timetabled for each Train Operating Company.

The number of services operated by each operator with less capacity than contractually required, for those operators for which data is available, is shown below:

Train Operator

Rail Period

12/12/21 - 8/1/22

9/1/22 - 5/2/22

6/2/22 - 5/3/22

6/3/22 - 31/3/22

1/4/22 - 30/4 22

1/5/22 - 28/5/22

Abellio Greater Anglia (Peak)

5

0

18

7

10

N/A

c2c (Peak)

83

51

10

11

4

16

Chiltern Railway (All Day, Sun - Sat)

81

61

92

29

43

47

CrossCountry (All Day, Mon - Fri)

97

98

89

74

93

85

First TransPennine Express (All Day, Sun - Sat)

110

74

94

107

115

99

Govia Thameslink Railway (Peak)

121

199

225

87

78

62

LNER (All Day, Sun - Sat)

7

3

6

1

1

3

Northern Trains (Peak)

41

37

47

55

101

131

Southeastern (Peak)

14

18

14

5

8

7

South Western Railway (All Day, Sun - Sat)

404

73

66

27

68

41

West Midlands Trains (All Day, Sun - Sat)

127

71

93

68

161

81

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will introduce mandatory training for taxi and minicab drivers to ensure that people with sight loss are not discriminated against when using those services.

Effective disability awareness training can help ensure that taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers have the knowledge, skills and confidence to provide passengers with appropriate assistance, so that they can travel independently and with confidence.

On 28 March, we published a consultation on updated best practice guidance for local licensing authorities, which includes a stronger recommendation that every driver is required to complete disability awareness training.

We remain committed to introducing mandatory disability awareness training for taxi and PHV drivers through new National Minimum Standards for licensing authorities when Parliamentary time allows.

Trudy Harrison
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will take steps to help protect people with sight loss from collisions with e-scooters that are used illegally.

Safety ​will always be a top priority as we take forward steps to manage the impacts of e-scooters in the UK. There are existing penalties for illegal use of e-scooters, including using e-scooters on the pavements, and enforcement is a matter for the police. The Department has been in regular contact with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), who are developing a national strategy for enforcing the law around e-scooters to encourage a uniform approach to the issue.

Trudy Harrison
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the average time taken for the DVLA to process driving license applications was in each of the last five years for which data is available; and what the target time was for each of those years.

The average time taken for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to process driving licence applications in each of the last five years is shown in the table below.

Year

To dispatch a:

Average days to issue

2016/17

Ordinary driving licence

1.62

Vocational driving licence

1.39

2017/18

Ordinary driving licence

1.53

Vocational driving licence

1.81

2018/19

Ordinary driving licence

1.57

Vocational driving licence

2.33

2019/20

Ordinary driving licence

1.41

Vocational driving licence

2.42

2020/21

Ordinary driving licence online

2.00

Vocational driving licence online

2.00

Ordinary driving licence by post

14.34

Vocational driving licence by post

6.71

The processing of paper applications in 2020/21 was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Performance against targets is published annually in the DVLA’s annual report and accounts and is available online here.

Trudy Harrison
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to require people seeking to board international flights to provide a negative covid-19 test.

Pre-departure testing is already a requirement for anyone travelling to the UK. Once international travel resumes, passengers will need to check the requirements of their destination country as they may require proof of a negative Covid-19 test to travel abroad.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many times he has (a) spoken to and (b) requested to speak to (i) Willie Walsh, chief executive of the International Airlines Group and (ii) Alex Cruz, chief executive of British Airways since the start of the 2020.

It would not be appropriate to comment on individual engagements or their frequency. The Department for Transport has historically maintained regular engagement with British Airways/International Airlines Group as an important industry stakeholder. In recognition of the challenging times that the aviation sector continues to face due to Covid-19, we have kept an open dialogue with UK airlines, including British Airways/International Airlines Group, through regular structured and bilateral engagements at both Ministerial and official levels.

Kelly Tolhurst
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an estimate of the cost to local authorities of providing free home to school transport in (a) Ealing, (b) west London, (c) inner London boroughs, (d) outer London boroughs and (e) all of London; and if he will make a statement.

The £1.6bn provided to TfL to maintain services included conditions which were agreed to by TfL. These conditions included temporarily suspending free bus travel for under-18s as part of wider travel demand management measures. Any child eligible for free home to school travel under the Education Act 1996 will still be given free travel to and from school. It is for local education authorities to liaise with local transport providers on how they can fulfil their obligations for eligible children. The cost of providing travel for eligible children on TfL services will not fall on London boroughs.

4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will take steps to reinstate the pensions of Yemeni workers that worked in Britain and who have had their pensions stopped.

The Department is working closely with the banking sector to reinstate State Pension payments for Yemeni workers that worked in Britain and who have had their pensions stopped due to the banking issues in Yemen. Reinstatement of State Pension payment will be dependant on individual personal circumstances.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she is having with her Canadian counterpart on uprating British State Pensions paid to people living in Canada.

There are two separate social security arrangements in place between the UK and Canada, made in 1995 and 1998. The UK Government is not intending to change the social security relationship with Canada.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to encourage employers to pay above the statutory minimum for sick pay.

Occupational sick pay schemes are a contractual matter between employer and employee. Many employers pay more and for longer than the statutory minimum through occupational or contractual sick pay arrangements and we continue to encourage employers to do so.

There is information on type of sick pay paid normally from surveys of employers and employees. The most recent of these are a survey of employers conducted in 2018 (last published in 2021) and a survey of employees conducted in 2014 (published in 2015). Links to both of these surveys can be found below.

Sickness absence and health in the workplace: understanding employer behaviour and practice - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Health and wellbeing at work: a survey of employees, 2014 (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the number of workers that are entitled to sick pay at a rate higher than statutory sick pay.

Occupational sick pay schemes are a contractual matter between employer and employee. Many employers pay more and for longer than the statutory minimum through occupational or contractual sick pay arrangements and we continue to encourage employers to do so.

There is information on type of sick pay paid normally from surveys of employers and employees. The most recent of these are a survey of employers conducted in 2018 (last published in 2021) and a survey of employees conducted in 2014 (published in 2015). Links to both of these surveys can be found below.

Sickness absence and health in the workplace: understanding employer behaviour and practice - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Health and wellbeing at work: a survey of employees, 2014 (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 21 March 2022 to Question 143642, how many people are eligible for pension credit in Great Britain as of 24 March 2022.

According to the latest data, 2,260,000 people were eligible for Pension Credit in Great Britain for the financial year ending 2020. The published data tables can be accessed here: Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up: financial year 2019 to 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on potential steps to protect low income families from inflation.

Ministers in the Department for Work and Pensions engage regularly with their Ministerial counterparts in other Departments, taking a collective approach to the policies and interventions that can make a difference.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting low-income families, including through spending over £110 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22 and by increasing the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 from April 2022.

With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, our focus now is on continuing to support people into and to progress in work.  Our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which has recently been expanded by £500 million, will help people across the UK to find work and to boost their wages and prospects.

In addition, Universal Credit recipients in work are now benefitting from a reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate from 63% to 55%, while eligible in-work claimants can also benefit from changes to the Work Allowance. These measures represent, for the lowest paid in society, an effective tax cut of around £2.2b in 2022-23 and are now benefitting almost two million of the lowest paid workers by £1,000 a year on average.

We are helping people with energy bills through the Warm Home Discount, Cold Weather Payments and Winter Fuel Payments. We recognise that some people require extra support over the winter, which is why vulnerable households across the country can access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Household Support Fund provides £421 million to help vulnerable people in England with the cost of food, utilities and wider essentials. The Barnett Formula applies in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million.

To support low income families further we have increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25, helping eligible low income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins, and we are also investing over £200m a year from 2022 to continue our Holiday Activities and Food programme which is already providing enriching activities and healthy meals to children in all English Local Authorities.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support disabled employees during the covid-19 outbreak.

A range of DWP initiatives are supporting disabled people to stay in work. These include Access to Work, Disability Confident and support in partnership with the health system, including Employment Advice in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services. We have made it easier to access programmes which help disabled people to enter work, such as the Work and Health Programme and the Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme.

DWP has also put in place measures to ensure that its own staff, including those who require reasonable adjustments, have been able to safely work from home during the Covid-19 outbreak, or from COVID-safe departmental locations where necessary or if that is their preference. These measures include arranging for specialist furniture and equipment to be delivered to individuals’ homes; allowing individuals to purchase such items and then reimbursing them; and ensuring that DWP workplaces are COVID safe for those who use them.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of companies signed up to the Disability Confident scheme; and what assessment she has made of the effect of that scheme on employment rates for disabled people.

In 2017 the Government set a goal to see 1 million more disabled people in employment over the next 10 years. In the first three years of the goal (between Jan-Mar 2017 and Jan-Mar 2020) the number of disabled people in employment increased by 800,000. The rate of disabled people in employment also increased, by 4.4 percentage points to 53.4%, in the same period.

The Disability Confident scheme is a learning journey that aims to provide employers with the knowledge, skills, and resources that they need to attract, recruit, retain and develop disabled people in the workplace. No employer is too small or new to start the journey and even the most experienced employer will still find new techniques and best practice that can help them. As of 28th February 2021 over 19,900 employers had signed up to the scheme. Disability Confident is only part of a wider range of services that will support disabled employees into work and stay in work.

8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department is providing to people classed as clinically extremely vulnerable and who are unable to safely visit job centres or other assessment locations.

Jobcentre Work Coaches are trusted and empowered to engage with claimants by the best and most appropriate channel, giving careful consideration to a claimant’s personal circumstances and needs, such as any health conditions, and the local situation to determine whether or not this should be by phone, digital or face-to-face.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department made a number of changes to health and disability benefits to safeguard the health of claimants and staff and to prioritise new claims and continuity of awards. The changes included the suspension of all face-to-face assessments and the introduction of telephone-based assessments where suitable, in addition to paper-based assessments (paper-based assessments were in place for some claims prior to the Covid-19 pandemic).

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to protect people from pension scams and fraud.

In these unprecedented times we are committed to protecting people from pension scams and fraud. DWP is working with other Government Departments, the Pension Regulator, Financial Conduct Authority and other industry bodies to raise awareness and to monitor for evidence of an increase in pension related fraudster activity. We will continue to use evidence available, to identify what specific and proportionate measures may be necessary.

Government has introduced measures to tackle pension scams following the December 2016 Pension Scams: Consultation link. These include making it harder to open fraudulent schemes from 2018, and legislating to introduce a ban on cold calling in relation to pensions in January 2019.

DWP is also bringing forward legislation, through the Pension Schemes Bill which is currently passing through Parliament. These measures will give trustees’ assurance they will not be required to make statutory transfer, unless specified conditions are met.

The PPF, in collaboration with regulators and pensions bodies, recently published a guide,’COVID-19 and your pension: where to get help’, which answers common pension concerns and helps individuals find the right support. This includes guidance for individuals who are concerned about pension scams.

https://www.ppf.co.uk/covid-19-pensions

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of trends in the number of pension scams and fraud in each quarter of the last five years.

The Government is committed to protecting people from pension scams and fraud.

The quarterly data on pension scams and fraud does not exist.

Pensioners who suspect they have been a victim of a pension scam or fraud can report to Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber-crime. The DWP works with Action Fraud and other members of the police led organisation Project Bloom, which is cross-government and works with industry to monitor and respond to pension frauds, update prevention and respond to these changes.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) ensure that cancer patients in Ealing, Southall constituency begin their treatment within a maximum of 62 days of an urgent GP referral and (b) reduce average waiting times for cancer care treatment in that constituency.

London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust has established rapid diagnostic clinics to allow patients presenting with non-specific symptoms to obtain rapid diagnostics. This includes magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography scans to detect potential cancers at the earliest opportunity. Since April 2022, the Trust has focus on lower gastrointestinal care pathways to improve waiting time performance.

James Morris
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that NHS Trusts meet targets for cancer treatment waiting times.

The ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’ sets out how we aim to return the number of people waiting more than 62 days to start treatment following an urgent referral for suspected cancer to pre-pandemic levels by March 2023. We have committed a further £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25, in addition to the £2 billion Elective Recovery Fund and £700 million Targeted Investment Fund to increase capacity in elective services, including for cancer treatment.

James Morris
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to expand radiotherapy service capacity; and what assessment he has made of potential future demand for those services.

In 2022/23, NHS England intends to undertake a capacity and demand review of external beam radiotherapy capacity. This aims to support local systems to plan radiotherapy provision, including the replacement of equipment.

James Morris
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the UK 5-year action plan for antimicrobial resistance 2019-2024, whether he has had recent discussions with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs on the allocation of funding for (a) clean water, (b) sanitation and (c) hygiene in low and middle income countries to help prevent the spread of infections and the development of antimicrobial resistance.

The Department of Health and Social Care continues to engage with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to discuss the Government’s approach to addressing anti-microbial resistance (AMR). This includes the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s international investment of UK Aid into water, sanitation and hygiene programmes in low and middle-income countries to prevent infection, control its spread and reduce the need for antimicrobials. Between 2016 and 2020, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office supported 62.6 million people to gain access to clean water and/or sanitation.

In addition, international projects such as the Department of Health and Social Care’s Fleming Fund and the Commonwealth Partnerships for Antimicrobial Stewardship Scheme assist pharmacists in low and middle-income countries to participate in improving sanitation in healthcare settings.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish examples from within the NHS of (a) innovative care and (b) best practice for patients receiving treatment on NHS England’s General Surgery Service; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England’s Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme is designed to improve the treatment and care of patients through reviews of services, benchmarking and developing an evidence base to support change. Through the High Volume Low Complexity programme, the GIRFT team is working with systems and regions to assist the National Health Service recover performance in elective services and reduce the backlog of patients.

The GIRFT programme has published examples of best practice in treating patients for general surgery and trauma and orthopaedics in its Best Practice Library, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gettingitrightfirsttime.co.uk/bpl/

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish examples from within the NHS of (a) innovative care and (b) best practice for patients receiving treatment on NHS England’s Trauma and Orthopaedic Service; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England’s Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme and the Best MSK Health Collaborative have published examples of innovation and best practice in the treatment of orthopaedics, which are available through the Best Practice Library at the following link:

https://www.gettingitrightfirsttime.co.uk/bpl/

GIRFT is designed to improve the treatment and care of patients through an in-depth review of services and benchmarking and presenting an evidence base to support change. The Best MSK Health Collaborative aims to sustain the delivery of personalised, high-quality integrated healthcare in services such as orthopaedics and rheumatology in primary, secondary and community services. The Collaborative works with those with lived experience, patient groups and professional organisations to support integrated care systems to deliver innovative care and best practice. The Best MSK Health Collaborative works with GIRFT across trauma and orthopaedics treatment and surgery.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish examples from within the NHS of (a) innovative care and (b) best practice for patients receiving treatment on NHS England’s Cardiology Service; and if he will make a statement.

The National Health Service is accelerating the enhanced use of digital technology for cardiac rehabilitation and increasing the use of remote consultations. NHS England and NHS Improvement and Health Education England have developed e-learning to support primary care professionals to recognise the symptoms of heart failure, diagnose, manage and support heart failure patients.

The online Heart Age Test provided through the Better Health Campaign allows an immediate indication of a user’s potential cardiovascular risk by providing their estimated heart age, compared to their real age.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) develops evidence-based guidance for the NHS on best practice for those patients receiving cardiology treatment. NICE’s guidelines should be taken fully into account by healthcare professionals in the care and treatment of individual patients.

James Morris
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that doctors are adequately trained to (a) identify and (b) treat people with an eating disorder.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Coventry South (Zarah Sultana MP) on 27 June 2022 to Question 21300.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how the national dementia strategy will help people with Alzheimer’s disease receive a diagnosis.

We will set out plans for dementia in England for the next 10 years later this year, which will focus on the specific health and care needs of people living with dementia and their carers, including diagnosis. The strategy will be informed a range of experts, including those with dementia and their carers.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to legislative proposals to report the Mental Health Act 1983 announced in the Queens Speech 2022, if he will include provisions to meet the needs of children and young people; and what plans he has to (a) consult stakeholders on policy proposals on children and young people and (b) provide for pre-legislative scrutiny of those proposals.

The Government will publish a draft Mental Health Bill shortly. Pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Bill will then be a matter for Parliament.

The Government consulted on the proposals for legislation made by the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act in 2018 and through the ‘Reforming the Mental Health Act’ white paper, which received over 1,700 responses. We have also worked with charities to gather the views of people, including children and young people, who were either in inpatient services or had lived experience of the Act. The development of the draft Bill has been informed by these consultations.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to undertake a review of inequality in access to NHS-funded fertility services in England.

In 2021, the Department conducted an internal policy review on the variation in access to National Health Service fertility services. This review will inform future policy and the initial ambitions in the Women’s Health Strategy, due to be published later this year.

We expect local NHS commissioning bodies to commission fertility services in line with guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to ensure equitable access in England.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to prioritise miscarriage care and support in the forthcoming Women’s Health Strategy.

Fertility, pregnancy, pregnancy loss and post-natal care will be priority areas in the forthcoming Women’s Health Strategy, which will be published later this year.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that medical students are financially supported throughout their studies.

In years one to four of an undergraduate course, domestic students can access student loans from Student Finance England. From year five of an undergraduate course and year two of a graduate-entry course, NHS Bursary support can be accessed from the NHS Business Services Authority. This comprises payment for tuition fees, a non-means-tested grant and a further means-tested award. These funding arrangements are reviewed annually.

11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference his letter dated 20 April 2022 to the Rt hon. Member for South West Surrey, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a statutory strategy for early intervention and school- and community-based measures for the mental health support of children and young people; and what assessment he has made of the potential risks of non-statutory measures failing to meet their stated objectives as a result of (a) changing circumstances, (b) differing interpretations and (c) possible cancellation.

We have no plans to make a specific assessment. On 12 April 2022 we published a call for evidence to seek views on a range of issues from prevention to acute mental health care, which closes on 7 July 2022. This will support the development of a new 10-year cross-Government plan for mental health and wellbeing.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to take steps to increase the pay of junior doctors in line with inflation.

Junior doctors are currently in a collectively agreed four-year pay deal from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2023. The deal states that the investment in each year is a total of 2.3% in 2019/20 and 3% in 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23.

Of this, 2% each year was used to provide an annual pay uplift, whereas the remaining investment of approximately £90 million was used to fund other specific changes. These changes cover a new higher nodal point, an uplift to the weekend allowance, an enhanced rate of pay for shifts that finish after midnight and by 4am, a £1,000 a year less than full-time allowance, changes to the academic pay premia and extension of transitional pay protection. This was agreed by both staff side and employers as part of their negotiations. The Department continues to honour the agreement entered into with trades unions.

19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support health and care staff with the rising cost of living.

We have committed to give NHS workers a pay rise and are looking to pay review bodies for a recommendation.

The pay review bodies are independent so I cannot pre-empt their recommendations, but we will carefully consider them.

The majority of care workers are employed by private sector providers who set pay and conditions, independent of central government. It is the responsibility of local authorities to work with care providers to determine pay.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 12 April 2022 to Question 145835 on Coronavirus: Screening, what criteria are used to determine commercial sensitivity; and what his timescale is for publishing the number of lateral flow device tests issued to the public or used in healthcare settings since March 2020.

The specific expenditure on lateral flow device (LFD) tests is commercially sensitive as it could prejudice the Department’s future commercial relations with suppliers if this information were to be disclosed. On 14 April 2022, we published data on the number of LFD tests dispatched from September 2020 to February 2022, by use case. This information is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/weekly-statistics-for-nhs-test-and-trace-england-31-march-to-6-april-2022

Prior to September 2020 LFD tests were not in use.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential impact the removal of early medical abortion at home may have on the average gestation age at which abortion is carried out.

We assessed the evidence received from the responses to the Government’s consultation on whether the temporary approval should be made permanent. This included questions on the impact on the provision of abortion services including for the workforce, service delivery and value for money. The consultation asked about accessibility and safety for women and we received responses on reduced waiting times and gestation. The summary of these responses is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/home-use-of-both-pills-for-early-medical-abortion/outcome/home-use-of-both-pills-for-early-medical-abortion-ema-up-to-10-weeks-gestation-summary-of-consultation-responses

No specific assessment has been made of the World Health Organization’s recommendations of 9 March 2022. An amendment to the Health and Care Bill sought to make the temporary approval permanent. On 30 March 2022 Parliament approved the permanent home use of early medical abortion. Further detail on the measure coming into force will be set out in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of removing early medical abortion at home will have on the (a) financial and (b) human resources within the reproductive health sector.

We assessed the evidence received from the responses to the Government’s consultation on whether the temporary approval should be made permanent. This included questions on the impact on the provision of abortion services including for the workforce, service delivery and value for money. The consultation asked about accessibility and safety for women and we received responses on reduced waiting times and gestation. The summary of these responses is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/home-use-of-both-pills-for-early-medical-abortion/outcome/home-use-of-both-pills-for-early-medical-abortion-ema-up-to-10-weeks-gestation-summary-of-consultation-responses

No specific assessment has been made of the World Health Organization’s recommendations of 9 March 2022. An amendment to the Health and Care Bill sought to make the temporary approval permanent. On 30 March 2022 Parliament approved the permanent home use of early medical abortion. Further detail on the measure coming into force will be set out in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which organisations his Department consulted on ending early medical abortion at home; and what assessment his Department has made of the level of support that decision has among domestic abuse organisations.

Officials have regular meetings with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Care Quality Commission and abortion service providers where the impact of the approval of home administration of abortion medication is discussed.

We have assessed the level of support from domestic abuse organisations through the responses received to the Government’s consultation. Domestic abuse was raised as an issue on all sides of the public consultation. We will work with those in the violence against women and girls sector, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, professional bodies such as the Royal Colleges and safeguarding leads, to monitor the impacts of home-use.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the World Health Organization’s recommendations of 9 March 2022 on the delivery of safe abortion care, including for nations to make abortion available via telemedicine and outside a healthcare facility, what (a) assessment he has made of the recommendations and (b) plans he has to ensure services in England can be delivered in line with them.

We assessed the evidence received from the responses to the Government’s consultation on whether the temporary approval should be made permanent. This included questions on the impact on the provision of abortion services including for the workforce, service delivery and value for money. The consultation asked about accessibility and safety for women and we received responses on reduced waiting times and gestation. The summary of these responses is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/home-use-of-both-pills-for-early-medical-abortion/outcome/home-use-of-both-pills-for-early-medical-abortion-ema-up-to-10-weeks-gestation-summary-of-consultation-responses

No specific assessment has been made of the World Health Organization’s recommendations of 9 March 2022. An amendment to the Health and Care Bill sought to make the temporary approval permanent. On 30 March 2022 Parliament approved the permanent home use of early medical abortion. Further detail on the measure coming into force will be set out in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much he has committed to spend on dementia research this year; and what steps his Department is taking to increase spending on dementia research.

The Government has committed to invest £375 million in neurodegenerative disease research over the next five years to fund projects into a range of diseases, including dementia. The usual practice of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics. The NIHR and UK Research and Innovation rely on researchers submitting high-quality applications to access funding, therefore details of allocations in specific years are not currently available.

We will set out our ambitions for dementia research in the forthcoming dementia strategy. The strategy will set out our future plans for dementia in England and will be published later this year.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2022 to Question 128227, how much his Department has spent on lateral flow tests since March 2020; and how many lateral flow tests have been sent out to the public or used in healthcare settings since that date.

The UK Health Security Agency is unable to provide the information requested on expenditure on lateral flow device tests as it is commercially sensitive. The number of lateral flow device tests issued to the public or used in healthcare settings since March 2020 is currently being collated and validated and will be published in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to accelerate the approval of therapies and medicines that were approved by the European Medicines Agency but have not yet been approved for use in the UK by the MHRA.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is currently reviewing its licensing procedures, including optimising its processes, the deployment of skills and resource and how applications are differentiated based on risk to prioritise urgent applications. The MHRA is engaging with pharmaceutical companies to ensure early access to innovative medicines in the United Kingdom.

15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS Standard Contract 2022-23, what estimate his Department has made of the number of patients waiting 12 hours or more in emergency departments from time of arrival.

NHS Digital publishes the number of patients in accident and emergency (A&E) at more than 12 hours from arrival. In 2020/21, 302,784 patients spent more than 12 hours in A&E from arrival.

The NHS Standard Contract for 2022/23 includes a 12-hour standard from time as arrival as a national quality indicator. NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently considering the publication of reporting against this standard and further information will be provided in due course.

15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to NHS performance figures for February 2022, what estimate his Department has made of the number of patients waiting 12 hours or more in emergency departments from decision to admit.

NHS England and NHS Improvement publish the number of patients waiting in emergency departments for admission for 12 hours or more from decision to admit on a monthly basis. In February 2022, 16,404 patients waited over 12 hours from decision to admit to admission.

15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS Standard Contract 2022-23, in what format the 12-hour standard for maximum waits from the time of arrival in emergency departments will be published.

NHS Digital publishes the number of patients in accident and emergency (A&E) at more than 12 hours from arrival. In 2020/21, 302,784 patients spent more than 12 hours in A&E from arrival.

The NHS Standard Contract for 2022/23 includes a 12-hour standard from time as arrival as a national quality indicator. NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently considering the publication of reporting against this standard and further information will be provided in due course.

7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria are used to choose those selected for residency checks while applying for a UK Global Health Insurance Card; what assessment his Department has been made of the equity of those criteria; and whether a ministerial direction was issued in determining those criteria.

Applications for United Kingdom Global Health Insurance Cards (GHIC) are processed by the NHS Business Services Authority under the Healthcare (European Economic Area and Switzerland Arrangements) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. Applicants may be eligible for a GHIC if they are ordinarily resident in the UK and they do not have healthcare cover provided by a European Union country or Switzerland. UK residency was also an eligibility requirement under the previous European Health Insurance Card system.

To verify applications, the NHS Business Service Authority shares information with Indesser to establish a UK residential address. If an applicant’s residential address cannot be verified, the NHS Business Service Authority will request further evidence from the applicant. There is a wide range of documents which may be used to provide this evidence. This supports all eligible applicants in demonstrating their entitlement and no-one is disadvantaged. Applicants are asked to provide two of the following documents:

- one or more different utility service bills dated within the last three months;

- a local authority council tax bill dated for the current financial year;

- a valid housing association, council tenancy letter or rent agreement;

- a benefit award notice dated within the last three months;

- a letter from HM Revenue and Customs dated within the last three months;

- a bank, building society or credit union statement or passbook dated within the last three months;

- an electoral register entry dated for the current financial year;

- a letter from hospital or general practitioner on headed paper dated within the last three months;

- a mortgage statement from a recognised lender dated within the last three months;

- an HM Revenue and Customs self-assessment letter or tax demand dated for the current financial year; and

- a solicitor’s letter dated within the last three months that shows a recent house purchase or land registry including the address.

Applicants may also send alternative evidence showing their full name and address. The residency check was introduced to ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent on those who are eligible under the reciprocal healthcare agreements. There are no Ministerial Directions which relate to GHIC evidential requirements.

23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average cost of one seven day test covid-19 testing kit was in the last six months for which data is available.

We are unable to provide the information requested as it is commercially sensitive.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support the (a) retention and (b) recruitment of midwives in (i) London and (ii) England.

NHS England and NHS Improvement recently invested £95 million to support the recruitment of an additional 1,200 midwives and 100 obstetricians and for multi-disciplinary team training.

The NHS People Recovery Task Force and the NHS Retention Programme is also providing targeted interventions to understand the reasons why staff leave and support them to stay within the National Health Service. There are local initiatives to increase participation rates, convert agency workers to substantive staff and release clinical time. Target growth is allocated to regions based on the birth to midwife ratio in each region in order to meet midwifery workforce needs.

The Department has commissioned the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to develop a new workforce planning tool to improve how maternity units calculate staffing requirements. This is expected in June 2022 and will guide trust-level obstetrician numbers. NHS England and NHS Improvement have invested £10 million to support the delivery of local workforce initiatives or create non-clinical capacity to enable workforce growth. In London, this has included applications for funding for administrative recruitment capacity, rostering and deployment support and career development and supporting software.

21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential for fluoride to cause foetal brain damage through the amniotic fluid of pregnant mothers.

There are a number of authoritative reviews which concur that there is no convincing evidence that water fluoridation is harmful to health, including causing foetal brain damage, at the levels seen in water fluoridation schemes in the United Kingdom.

Fluoride is present throughout the natural world including in water supplies and there are areas of the country where levels of fluoride in drinking water are naturally at similar levels to those seen in artificial fluoridation schemes. We are required to monitor the effects of water fluoridation schemes on the health of people living in those areas and to produce reports every four years. The next report is due to be published in March 2022.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December 2021 to Question 84320 on Mental Health Services: Children, when his Department plans to publish the results of the NHS England and NHS Improvement consultation on the potential to introduce five new waiting time standards.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have piloted a four-week waiting time standard to inform the Department’s assessment of the merits of introducing a waiting time standard. NHS England and NHS Improvement consulted on the definition and introduction of five waiting time standards. The consultation closed on 1 September 2021 and found that more than 80% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the proposal to introduce additional mental health access and waiting time measures, including for children and young people presenting to community-based mental health services. The consultation’s report is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/2022/02/widespread-support-for-proposed-nhs-mental-health-access-standards-for-patients/

We will work with NHS England and NHS Improvement on the next steps for the proposed mental health access and waiting measures.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a waiting time standard for children’s mental health services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have piloted a four-week waiting time standard to inform the Department’s assessment of the merits of introducing a waiting time standard. NHS England and NHS Improvement consulted on the definition and introduction of five waiting time standards. The consultation closed on 1 September 2021 and found that more than 80% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the proposal to introduce additional mental health access and waiting time measures, including for children and young people presenting to community-based mental health services. The consultation’s report is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/2022/02/widespread-support-for-proposed-nhs-mental-health-access-standards-for-patients/

We will work with NHS England and NHS Improvement on the next steps for the proposed mental health access and waiting measures.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department uses to categorise (a) urgent and (b) very urgent cases for referral to mental health crisis services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s mental health clinically-led review of standards states that the specialist urgent mental health crisis service will determine whether a referral requires an urgent or very urgent response. For urgent referrals, this may include high risk behaviour due to mental health symptoms, new or increasing psychiatric symptoms that require timely intervention to prevent full relapse and/or significantly impaired ability for completing activities of daily living or vulnerability due to mental illness, expressing suicidal ideation but no plan or clear intent.

For very urgent referrals, this may include those who present a risk of harm to themselves or others, acute suicidal ideation with clear plan and intent, who have a rapidly worsening mental state, who do not require immediate physical health medical intervention, are not threatening violence to others.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to obtain additional resources to build capacity so that the NHS can tackle the cancer backlog.

At the Spending Review we announced an extra £5.9 billion of capital to support elective recovery, diagnostics, and technology over the next three years. This includes £2.3 billion to increase the volume of diagnostic activity and to roll out Community Diagnostic Centres to help clear backlogs of people waiting for clinical tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasounds and computerised tomography scans.

We announced a £1 billion Elective Recovery Fund at Spending Review 2020 to support elective and cancer recovery. As part of this, a £20 million investment was made available to Cancer Alliances to help speed up cancer diagnosis and help manage the high volume of referrals.

The Spending Review in 2020 provided £260 million to increase the National Health Service workforce and support commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan. This included £52 million in 2021/22 for Health Education England to further invest in the cancer and diagnostics workforce, including expanding training in key medical professions, offering training grants for 250 nurses wishing to become cancer clinical nurse specialists and for an additional 100 nurses wishing to become chemotherapy nurses.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made in the review that Amanda Pritchard has asked Dr Claire Fuller to lead on the matter of Primary Care Networks and how they will be supported under Integrated Care Systems.

Dr Claire Fuller has been asked to lead a review of how systems can enable more integrated primary care to improve the health of local communities. This will report later in the spring, ahead of the proposed establishment of integrated care boards and integrated care partnerships. It will provide advice to all integrated care systems on accelerating the implementation of the primary care, community and prevention ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan. The review is engaging with a range of stakeholders across primary care.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to review the role and scope of community diagnostic hubs; whether he has a timeline for that review; and what steps he plans to take to support public engagement with that review.

There are 71 community diagnostic centres (CDCs) currently operational. We have announced £2.3 billion to increase this to 160 sites by 2024/2025. We will regularly review the performance of existing CDCs and the future development of further locations.

The ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’ includes the ambitions for CDCs, developed with Royal Colleges, patient groups and health charities, to ensure the plan reflects population and service needs.

7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of children presenting with eating disorders compared to pre-covid-19 outbreak levels.

Data collected on waiting times for children and young people with eating disorders shows that there has been a significant increase in demand in the wake of the pandemic. This data can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/cyped-waiting-times/.

For urgent cases, latest figures (October to December 2021) show that 649 children and young people with an eating disorder started treatment, compared to pre-pandemic levels of 353 (January to March 2020). A further 203 children and young people were waiting to start treatment, compared with pre-pandemic levels of 18.

For routine cases, latest figures (October to December 2021) show that 2,460 children and young people with an eating disorder started treatment, compared to pre-pandemic levels of 1,850 (January to March 2020). A further 1,918 children and young people were waiting to start treatment, compared with pre-pandemic levels of 543.

Data for February 2022 is not yet available.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has any plans to develop a national strategy to support the delivery of diagnostic services (a) in general and (b) for allergies and other non-communicable chronic conditions.

The Elective Recovery Delivery Plan, published 8 February 2022, sets out the ambitions and plans for delivering diagnostic services to support elective recovery. At the Spending Review 2021, £2.3 billion of capital funding for National Health Service diagnostics was announced. This will be used to increase the number of Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs) to 160 in the next three years.

CDCs offer diagnostic testing such as imaging, pathology, endoscopy and physiological measurements. The types of testing include blood tests and echocardiograms and whilst no specific assessment has been made pertaining to the diagnosis of allergies, these tests will help diagnose a range of non-communicable chronic conditions and may help diagnose severe allergy cases.

There are currently no plans to develop an allergy strategy and no plans to establish allergy specific services in CDCs. Regions and systems will decide on the services each CDC will provide based on population needs. Most allergy testing is done in primary and community care settings, and in specifically in allergy testing clinics.

7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of community diagnostic hubs offering blood testing to support the diagnosis of allergy.

The Elective Recovery Delivery Plan, published 8 February 2022, sets out the ambitions and plans for delivering diagnostic services to support elective recovery. At the Spending Review 2021, £2.3 billion of capital funding for National Health Service diagnostics was announced. This will be used to increase the number of Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs) to 160 in the next three years.

CDCs offer diagnostic testing such as imaging, pathology, endoscopy and physiological measurements. The types of testing include blood tests and echocardiograms and whilst no specific assessment has been made pertaining to the diagnosis of allergies, these tests will help diagnose a range of non-communicable chronic conditions and may help diagnose severe allergy cases.

There are currently no plans to develop an allergy strategy and no plans to establish allergy specific services in CDCs. Regions and systems will decide on the services each CDC will provide based on population needs. Most allergy testing is done in primary and community care settings, and in specifically in allergy testing clinics.

2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with NHS England on updating the NHS Long Term Plan in response to the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the NHS.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement regularly monitor progress in the implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan, including considering the impacts of the pandemic. We intend to publish an update to the NHS Long Term Plan later this year, taking account of these impacts.

1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish details on which of the projects funded through the Targeted Investment Fund that will involve updating imaging and diagnostics equipment.

A range of investments to support elective recovery were made through the Targeted Investment Fund. A list of 35 schemes relating to the upgrading of imaging and diagnostic equipment is attached.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the announcement of 10 January 2022 from NHS England on an agreement for private hospitals to support NHS capacity during the covid-19 outbreak, what the total financial value of that deal is; what estimate he has made of the number of patients that will be treated under the terms of that agreement; and what activities each private provider has been asked to undertake for the NHS.

The information requested is not yet available as the period of these arrangements concludes on 31 March 2022, when the activity total will be reviewed and costed.

NHS England has estimated a minimum cost of £75 to £90 million per month whilst the ‘surge arrangements’ within the contract remain inactivated. This is equivalent to the value of elective activity delivered through approximately the same providers in Quarter 4 2020/21. In the absence of surge activation, additional costs will be related to increased volumes of activity or changes to higher priority cases. If surge arrangements are activated, NHS England has estimated the maximum cost of the arrangements to be £175 million per month. However, this is based on surge arrangements being activated nationally which is considered to be unlikely. To date, there have been no such activations.

The number of patients treated and the activities provided will be determined by National Health Service systems and independent sector providers dependent on the needs for both COVID-19 and non-COVID conditions locally and the capacity available in the area. NHS England is working closely with regions and systems to ensure the arrangements are being used to deliver effectively for patients.

26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of requiring care workers to receive the living wage.

All care workers aged 23 years old and over are entitled to the National Living Wage. An increase in the rate of the National Living Wage will mean many of the lowest paid care workers will benefit from a 6.6% pay rise effective from 1 April 2022.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to retain healthcare professionals within the NHS.

The NHS Retention Programme is working to understand why staff leave and targeting interventions to support staff. The National Health Service has established a People Recovery Task Force to ensure all staff are safe and supported as services recover from the impact of the pandemic. Health and wellbeing resources for staff include the implementation of 40 mental health hubs, a dedicated helpline and text service, support for flexible working and training for managers to hold wellbeing conversations with staff.

24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce delays in treatment for people diagnosed with TB.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed significant pressures on National Health Service’s, including the detection, control, and prevention of infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis (TB). The TB Action Plan 2021-2026 for England aims to drive forward improvements by first prioritising the recovery of services, and then the prevention, detection and control of TB and developing the healthcare workforce. It includes a list of actions, such as strengthening treatment of active and/or latent TB in higher risk groups.

The Government has made £2 billion available via the Elective Recovery Fund and £8 billion across the following three years to transform elective services, increase capacity and reduce waiting times. The funding aims to deliver the equivalent of nine million more checks, scans, and procedures and 30% more elective activity by 2024-2025 than pre-pandemic.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the increase in domestic cases of TB.

National statistics do not show evidence of an overall increase in domestic cases of tuberculosis (TB). In England, the number and rate of TB notifications has declined by approximately 43% since 2011. From 15.6 per 100,000 (8,280 cases) in 2011 to 7.3 per 100,000 (4,125 cases) in 2020.

In July 2021, the UK Health Security Agency in collaboration with NHS England and NHS Improvement published the ‘TB Action Plan for England 2021 to 2026’. The plan supports the United Kingdom to meet its commitment to the World Health Organisation elimination targets by supporting a year-on-year reduction in TB incidence. The TB Action Plan outlines five main priority areas and steps to reduce domestic cases of TB, including: recovery from COVID-19 through understanding and reporting the impact and learning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, TB prevention, TB detection, TB disease control, and workforce.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the reasons why people who were not born in the UK face a higher risk of contracting TB in the UK compared to people who were born in the UK.

The UK Health Security Agency undertakes analysis of tuberculosis (TB) trends in non-United Kingdom born individuals compared to UK-born individuals. Data to the end of 2020 shows that the rate of TB in non-UK born individuals is over 15 times greater than the rate in the UK-born population.

There is a higher risk of disease in individuals who are born in high prevalence areas and this elevated risk continues within settled migrant populations in England. This is a complex issue and the continued higher risk is in part explained by reactivation of latent or dormant disease and the higher rates of contact with the populations and countries with a high prevalence of disease. Effective targeted prevention programmes have been commissioned to address this risk, which includes new entrant and pre-entry screening of individuals from high prevalence countries.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the level of TB between 2019 and 2021.

The UK Health Security Agency has undertaken an analyses of tuberculosis (TB) trends in 2019 and 2020. This showed that the number of cases reported in England declined from 4,725 in 2019 to 4,125 in 2020. This represents an overall decline in the rates of TB to 8.4 per 100,100 in 2019 to 7.3 per 100,000 in 2020. An analysis for 2021 is still underway and will be published in October 2022.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the recently published Medical Technology Group’s Manifesto report.

Ensuring that patients in our health and social care system have the best possible outcomes is a priority for the Department. The medical technology directorate aim to do this by ensuring access to safe, effective, best-in-class medical technology in a way that is resilient, cohesive and uses taxpayer’s money to best effect. The Directorate is currently developing the strategy to create a vision that aligns with these values. As part of this work, we will consider the Medical Technology Group’s Manifesto report, along with other sources. We will also continue engagement with industry and other key stakeholders to consider various approaches to the product pathway for medical devices, including recognising valuable innovations and tackling the underlying causes of lack of adoption.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to implement recommendations from the recent Medical Technology Group’s Manifesto report to (a) prioritise the patient voice, (b) accelerate patient access to medical technology and (c) improve equitable and timely commissioning of medical devices.

Ensuring that patients in our health and social care system have the best possible outcomes is a priority for the Department. The medical technology directorate aim to do this by ensuring access to safe, effective, best-in-class medical technology in a way that is resilient, cohesive and uses taxpayer’s money to best effect. The Directorate is currently developing the strategy to create a vision that aligns with these values. As part of this work, we will consider the Medical Technology Group’s Manifesto report, along with other sources. We will also continue engagement with industry and other key stakeholders to consider various approaches to the product pathway for medical devices, including recognising valuable innovations and tackling the underlying causes of lack of adoption.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the challenges described in the Medical Technology Group’s Manifesto report to reduce the number of patients on the elective backlog.

The Department is taking steps to tackle waiting lists and to reduce the elective backlog through funding, innovation and technology.

The Department is providing a record amount of funding to the National Health Service (NHS), with an extra £34 billion to support health and care services. This includes £2 billion through the Elective Recovery Fund this year to help tackle the backlog that built up during the pandemic, supporting systems to drive up activity, plus £8 billion elective recovery funding over the next three years.

A further £5.9 billion of capital funding was announced in the October 2021 Spending Review to support elective recovery, diagnostics, and technology. This includes £1.5 billion towards elective recovery by expanding capacity through new surgical hubs, which will each provide new theatres for elective recovery. In addition, £2.3 billion has been announced to help increase the volume of diagnostic activity and further reduce patient waiting times, with ambitions to roll out at least 100 community diagnostic centres by 2024-25 to help clear backlogs of people waiting for clinical tests, such as MRIs, ultrasounds, and Computerised Tomography (CT) scans.

The Department has also supported the NHS to introduce virtual wards in over 90% of Integrated Care Systems, which allow patients to recover at home, whilst clinicians remotely monitor temperature, pulse and blood pressure. Through use of the £250 million Elective Recovery Technology Fund, the NHS plans to open more virtual wards, benefiting patients, increasing coverage and providing extra capacity.

30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, (a) how many children are waiting for emergency mental health treatment and (b) what steps he will take to help those children access that treatment as soon as possible.

No such estimate has been made, as there is not currently a waiting time standard for children’s mental health services.

However, NHS England and NHS Improvement have consulted on the potential to introduce five new waiting time standards. These include urgent referrals to community based mental health crisis services being seen within 24 hours from referral and very urgent referrals being seen within four hours. Additionally, children and young people presenting to community-based mental health services, should start to receive care within four weeks from referral. This consultation closed on 1 September 2021 and the outcomes will inform a recommendation to the Government in due course on whether and how to implement these new access standards.

We are investing an additional £79 million in 2021/22 to expand children’s and young people’s mental health services, including urgent or emergency care. The funding will allow around 22,500 more children and young people to access community health services, as well as accelerating the coverage of mental health support teams in schools and colleges. In addition, for those with severe needs or in crisis, all National Health Service mental health providers have established all-age 24 hours a day, seven days a week urgent mental health helplines. The NHS Long Term Plan commits to invest at least an additional £2.3 billion a year into mental health services in England by 2023/24. This will see an additional 345,000 children and young people accessing NHS-funded mental health support by 2023/24.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of children awaiting mental health treatment on the NHS.

No such estimate has been made, as there is not currently a waiting time standard for children’s mental health services.

However, NHS England and NHS Improvement have consulted on the potential to introduce five new waiting time standards. These include urgent referrals to community based mental health crisis services being seen within 24 hours from referral and very urgent referrals being seen within four hours. Additionally, children and young people presenting to community-based mental health services, should start to receive care within four weeks from referral. This consultation closed on 1 September 2021 and the outcomes will inform a recommendation to the Government in due course on whether and how to implement these new access standards.

We are investing an additional £79 million in 2021/22 to expand children’s and young people’s mental health services, including urgent or emergency care. The funding will allow around 22,500 more children and young people to access community health services, as well as accelerating the coverage of mental health support teams in schools and colleges. In addition, for those with severe needs or in crisis, all National Health Service mental health providers have established all-age 24 hours a day, seven days a week urgent mental health helplines. The NHS Long Term Plan commits to invest at least an additional £2.3 billion a year into mental health services in England by 2023/24. This will see an additional 345,000 children and young people accessing NHS-funded mental health support by 2023/24.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will make an assessment of the impact of covid-19 on adult uptake of vaccine preventable respiratory diseases.

We have no existing plans to make an assessment.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to set targets for adult vaccination for all diseases in the forthcoming vaccine strategy.

The Vaccine Strategy is being kept under review to reflect new developments from the COVID-19 vaccine and extended flu programme. Further detail on content and publication will be available in due course.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the forthcoming vaccination strategy will set a target of 75 per cent for adult pneumococcal vaccination coverage, in line with coverage targets set for influenza vaccination.

The Vaccine Strategy is being kept under review to reflect new developments from the COVID-19 vaccine and extended flu programme. Further detail on content and publication will be available in due course.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the forthcoming vaccination strategy will provide plans to enhance the UK’s vaccination infrastructure and human resource in the long-term, utilising alternative providers used during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Vaccine Strategy is being kept under review to reflect new developments from the COVID-19 vaccine and extended flu programme. Further detail on content and publication will be available in due course.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) role and (b) responsibilities the Medical Technologies Directorate will have in supporting the (i) uptake and (ii) use of innovative medical technologies.

The Medical Technologies Directorate within the Department was announced in May 2021. The Directorate’s role is to build a thriving sector in the United Kingdom and ensure the health and social care system can reliably access safe, effective, innovative and medical technologies for the delivery of high quality care and excellent patient outcomes. It is also responsible for overseeing the regulation of medical devices and supports regulatory practices which allow the adoption of new technology at speed and scale.

17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the (a) operational and (b) total cost is of the Medical Technologies Directorate.

The Medical Technologies Directorate was announced in May 2021. Staff are being recruited to the Directorate and will work in the following areas: supply resilience and engagement; strategy; policy and regulation; operations; and data and analysis. Information on the senior team will be made available once permanent staff have been recruited. The Directorate is currently led by Chris Stirling as Interim Director.

The primary costs of the Directorate will be approximately £1.8 million per annum for its staff.

17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish a list of (a) members, (b) roles and (c) other responsibilities of the Medical Technologies Directorate.

The Medical Technologies Directorate was announced in May 2021. Staff are being recruited to the Directorate and will work in the following areas: supply resilience and engagement; strategy; policy and regulation; operations; and data and analysis. Information on the senior team will be made available once permanent staff have been recruited. The Directorate is currently led by Chris Stirling as Interim Director.

The primary costs of the Directorate will be approximately £1.8 million per annum for its staff.

8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his department has had with the Department for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs on the diplomatic steps that may be taken to ensure the international recognition of Novavax trial participants to ensure that they are (a) exempt from quarantine and (b) not disadvantaged in comparison to those who have not taken part in the trial.

We have worked very closely with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and their diplomatic posts in other countries to ensure participants should not have to quarantine and should be treated as fully vaccinated. Discussions are ongoing with other countries, including through groups such as the G7, G20, the European Commission and the World Health Organisation to shape the approach taken around the world to sharing health status for travel, including vaccination status. However, there is currently no internationally agreed policy on clinical trial participants, although we are starting to see movement on this issue.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is aware of third-party representatives, including journalists and Interpol, being excluded from meetings of the Ninth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The Department has no plans to provide a submission to the Ninth Session of the Conference of the Parties' secretariat ahead of the Conference. The Deputy Director for Addictions and Inclusion Policy at the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities will lead the United Kingdom delegation with support from officials at the UK Mission in Geneva.

Applications to attend as an observer are a matter for the Conference secretariat and consequently, we are not aware of exclusions of third party representatives.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to set a delivery plan and timetable for the forthcoming Tobacco Control Plan for England; and if he will make a statement.

The Department is currently in the process of drafting a new Tobacco Control Plan. Once the Plan has been published, we will set out a delivery plan and timetable to monitor its progress, and to make sure we deliver our ambition to be smoke-free by 2030.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to help ensure that the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 are future-proofed to include emerging smokeless tobacco and nicotine products.

The Department is currently undertaking a post implementation review of the Tobacco and Related Product Regulations 2016 which will include measures related to emerging products. The Department is aiming to publish its response by the end of the year.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 6 September 2021 to Question 37414, on Heart Diseases: Medical Treatments, by what date (a) those nine centres will have been commissioned and (b) the clinical teams at those centres will have received sufficient training for those services to commence.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have not yet confirmed the date for commissioning the nine centres. Where services currently have insufficient clinical expertise to prepare for the commencement of those services, local cardiac networks will consider establishing a preceptorship programme with an established centre


There is currently no timeline for the commencement of formal provider selection. Each NHS England and NHS Improvement regional team has been asked to take responsibility for selecting a formal provider, supported by national clinical advisors. The selection process is expected to take at least three months, with each region working to their own prioritised timetable, taking into account local circumstances.

A proposal has been submitted to NHS England and NHS Improvement in relation to functional mitral regurgitation and is receiving consideration. It is anticipated that such a policy review could take at least 12 months for completion, taking into account clinical evidence and engagement with appropriate stakeholders

9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 6 September 2021 to Question 37409, on Heart Diseases: Medical Treatments, what timeline NHS England and NHS Improvement have set for the commencement of formal provider selection.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have not yet confirmed the date for commissioning the nine centres. Where services currently have insufficient clinical expertise to prepare for the commencement of those services, local cardiac networks will consider establishing a preceptorship programme with an established centre


There is currently no timeline for the commencement of formal provider selection. Each NHS England and NHS Improvement regional team has been asked to take responsibility for selecting a formal provider, supported by national clinical advisors. The selection process is expected to take at least three months, with each region working to their own prioritised timetable, taking into account local circumstances.

A proposal has been submitted to NHS England and NHS Improvement in relation to functional mitral regurgitation and is receiving consideration. It is anticipated that such a policy review could take at least 12 months for completion, taking into account clinical evidence and engagement with appropriate stakeholders

9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 6 September 2021 to Question 37413, on Heart Diseases: Medical Treatments, what timeline NHS England and NHS Improvement have set for the consideration of the commissioning of percutaneous mitral valve leaflet repair for functional mitral regurgitation.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have not yet confirmed the date for commissioning the nine centres. Where services currently have insufficient clinical expertise to prepare for the commencement of those services, local cardiac networks will consider establishing a preceptorship programme with an established centre


There is currently no timeline for the commencement of formal provider selection. Each NHS England and NHS Improvement regional team has been asked to take responsibility for selecting a formal provider, supported by national clinical advisors. The selection process is expected to take at least three months, with each region working to their own prioritised timetable, taking into account local circumstances.

A proposal has been submitted to NHS England and NHS Improvement in relation to functional mitral regurgitation and is receiving consideration. It is anticipated that such a policy review could take at least 12 months for completion, taking into account clinical evidence and engagement with appropriate stakeholders

7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that people are not denied access to NHS services as a result of a lack of access to internet or mobile phone devices.

One of the priorities of the phase three National Health Service response to COVID-19 is to help prevent digital exclusion. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s health inequalities improvement team is working closely with NHSX in developing a strategic plan to tackle digital inclusion and access.

All NHS organisations have been asked to ensure that no matter how people choose to interact with services, they should receive the same levels of access, consistent advice and the same outcomes of care.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms during Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month in September.

While no specific ovarian cancer awareness campaigns were run as part of Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month, NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England launched the latest ‘Help us, help you’ campaign targeting abdominal symptoms of cancer in August 2021. This includes bloating or discomfort for three weeks or more, as this could be a sign of ovarian cancer.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the NHS has to commission transcatheter tricuspid valve leaflet repair routinely.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have no plans to commission transcatheter tricuspid valve leaflet repair.

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the NHS plans to commission more centres to provide percutaneous mitral valve leaflet repair for primary degenerative mitral regurgitation, in line with NHS England’s commissioning policy of July 2019.

No specific assessment has been made. NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to provide access to mitral valve leaflet repair by commissioning on an interim basis from the three National Health Service trusts that supported the clinical evaluation of this procedure. All cardiology services in England were made aware they should continue to refer patients to these centres in advance of a formal provider selection taking place.

Data submitted to the National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes research (NICOR) registry indicates that 94 patients in 2018 and 175 patients in 2019 had mitral valve leaflet repair. Cardiology activity and completeness of NICOR data submissions were significantly impacted during 2020 due to COVID and therefore data is incomplete for that year. Overall, NHS England and NHS Improvement estimate that 4,000 patients may be considered for the mitral valve leaflet repair procedure and approximately 400 patients would be referred for the procedure per year after five years.


NHS England and NHS Improvement have confirmed the commissioning of a minimum of nine centres to provide percutaneous mitral valve leaflet repair for primary degenerative mitral regurgitation.

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of patients eligible for percutaneous mitral valve leaflet repair for primary degenerative mitral regurgitation annually; and how many patients have been treated with percutaneous mitral valve leaflet repair for primary degenerative mitral regurgitation in each year since the treatment was first commissioned by the NHS.

No specific assessment has been made. NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to provide access to mitral valve leaflet repair by commissioning on an interim basis from the three National Health Service trusts that supported the clinical evaluation of this procedure. All cardiology services in England were made aware they should continue to refer patients to these centres in advance of a formal provider selection taking place.

Data submitted to the National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes research (NICOR) registry indicates that 94 patients in 2018 and 175 patients in 2019 had mitral valve leaflet repair. Cardiology activity and completeness of NICOR data submissions were significantly impacted during 2020 due to COVID and therefore data is incomplete for that year. Overall, NHS England and NHS Improvement estimate that 4,000 patients may be considered for the mitral valve leaflet repair procedure and approximately 400 patients would be referred for the procedure per year after five years.


NHS England and NHS Improvement have confirmed the commissioning of a minimum of nine centres to provide percutaneous mitral valve leaflet repair for primary degenerative mitral regurgitation.

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the implementation of NHS England’s commissioning policy for percutaneous mitral valve leaflet repair for primary degenerative mitral regurgitation in adults, which was published in July 2019.

No specific assessment has been made. NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to provide access to mitral valve leaflet repair by commissioning on an interim basis from the three National Health Service trusts that supported the clinical evaluation of this procedure. All cardiology services in England were made aware they should continue to refer patients to these centres in advance of a formal provider selection taking place.

Data submitted to the National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes research (NICOR) registry indicates that 94 patients in 2018 and 175 patients in 2019 had mitral valve leaflet repair. Cardiology activity and completeness of NICOR data submissions were significantly impacted during 2020 due to COVID and therefore data is incomplete for that year. Overall, NHS England and NHS Improvement estimate that 4,000 patients may be considered for the mitral valve leaflet repair procedure and approximately 400 patients would be referred for the procedure per year after five years.


NHS England and NHS Improvement have confirmed the commissioning of a minimum of nine centres to provide percutaneous mitral valve leaflet repair for primary degenerative mitral regurgitation.

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the proportion of adults with mitral regurgitation who are ineligible for surgical repair.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have confirmed a minimum of nine centres to provide percutaneous mitral valve leaflet repair. Once these centres have been commissioned and clinical teams are trained in this procedure the service can commence. NHS England and NHS Improvement plan to consider the commissioning of percutaneous mitral valve leaflet repair for functional mitral regurgitation, in accordance with their methods for policy development. The proportion of adults with mitral regurgitation who are ineligible for surgical repair increases with age. In patients over 80 years old, approximately 50% may be ineligible for surgical repair.

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the NHS has to commission percutaneous mitral valve leaflet repair for functional mitral regurgitation.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have confirmed a minimum of nine centres to provide percutaneous mitral valve leaflet repair. Once these centres have been commissioned and clinical teams are trained in this procedure the service can commence. NHS England and NHS Improvement plan to consider the commissioning of percutaneous mitral valve leaflet repair for functional mitral regurgitation, in accordance with their methods for policy development. The proportion of adults with mitral regurgitation who are ineligible for surgical repair increases with age. In patients over 80 years old, approximately 50% may be ineligible for surgical repair.

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when clinicians can start mitral valve repair for primary degenerative mitral regurgitation in the newly commissioned centres, as set out in the NHS England commissioning policy of July 2019.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have confirmed a minimum of nine centres to provide percutaneous mitral valve leaflet repair. Once these centres have been commissioned and clinical teams are trained in this procedure the service can commence. NHS England and NHS Improvement plan to consider the commissioning of percutaneous mitral valve leaflet repair for functional mitral regurgitation, in accordance with their methods for policy development. The proportion of adults with mitral regurgitation who are ineligible for surgical repair increases with age. In patients over 80 years old, approximately 50% may be ineligible for surgical repair.

16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what annual budget has been allocated by his Department to the elimination of Hepatitis C in each of the last five years; how much of that budget has been used since the commencement of the NHSE Hepatitis C elimination tender; and whether NHS England plans to ringfence that same amount of funding over the next four years to ensure elimination of that disease by 2025 in England.

NHS England and NHS Improvement's national hepatitis C elimination programme’s total annual elimination initiative’s expenditure, for which information is available, is as follows:

- 2021/22 - £20 million (budgeted);

- 2020/21 - £15 million; and

- 2019/20 - £9 million.

Prior to 2019/20, there was no dedicated elimination initiative funding. Regions were funded based on expenditure incurred by their providers and allocated on a monthly basis. NHS England and NHS Improvement have confirmed the budget provided each year has allowed the needs of the elimination programme to be fully met and expects the required budget to be made available for the duration of the programme.

16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much (a) his Department and (b) NHS England has spent on Hepatitis C (i) medicines and (ii) elimination activities since the start of the NHS England Hepatitis C elimination tender in May 2019.

NHS England and NHS Improvement allocate funding to the hepatitis C elimination programme. Since May 2019, NHS England and NHS Improvement have spent £63 million in both 2019/20 and 2020/21 on medicines.

Since the strategic procurement was awarded in 2019/20, NHS England and NHS Improvement have spent £9 million in 2019/20 and £15 million in 2020/21 on elimination initiative costs.

16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much his Department has spent on Hepatitis C medicines in each of the last four years.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s spending is as follows:

- 2020/21 - £63 million;

- 2019/20 - £63 million;

- 2018/19 - £86 million; and

- 2017/18 - £260 million.

The figure for 2017/18 pre-dates NHS England’s hepatitis C elimination tender in 2019.

15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what minimum service standards apply to the quarantine exemption team; and how many and what proportion of requests are dealt with within the target response time.

There is no specific minimum standard for the exemptions team due to the different types of exemptions that exist and the large number of passengers entering into managed quarantine each week from ‘red list’ countries. Each exemption request is considered on an individual case by case basis. Due to the quantity and complexity of these requests the exemptions team are reviewing the current process to centrally validate data and enhance collation capabilities.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment and provision has been made to ensure that travellers from red list countries who are staying in quarantine hotels are provided with meals which are appropriate to their religious or ethical beliefs.

It is specified at the induction stage for managed quarantine hotels that the catering requirements must include delivery of menus to rooms and an understanding of individual needs for each meal; a variety of meals to meet nutritional, dietary, religious, and cultural needs; and the ability for guests to order additional food and beverage from a 24-hour room service menu.

Following the induction process, reviews are carried out with the hotels after two and 21 days. Every hotel has a 24 hours a day, seven days a week liaison officer to escalate any issues, in addition to their own customer service channels.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to reform social care; and what the timescale is for the publication of those plans.

The Government is committed to sustainable improvement of the adult social care system and will bring forward plans for reform in 2021. Our objectives for reform are to enable an affordable, high quality adult social care system that meets people’s needs, whilst supporting health and care to join up services around people.

We are working closely with local and national partners to ensure our approach to reform is informed by diverse perspectives, including of those with lived experience of the care sector. There are complex questions to address and it is important that we give these issues our full consideration in the light of current circumstances.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has secured the supply of rapid lateral flow tests necessary to meet projected demand.

NHS Test and Trace forecasts and monitors demand for testing on a weekly basis. The volume of rapid tests required to meet the anticipated demand was extensively modelled and sufficient supply and fulfilment capacity established.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of introducing less invasive lateral flow covid-19 tests for individuals seeking to take regular tests.

Test and Trace are aware that some existing methods can be uncomfortable for some user groups and will negatively affect test uptake and engagement. To address this, we are currently working with suppliers to provide lateral flow tests which use alternate methods of sample collection.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to require people attending large scale events to provide a negative covid-19 test result.

The Government is running a scientific Events Research Programme (ERP) to examine the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from attendance at a range of cultural, business and sporting events, including events with larger crowd sizes.

Attendees participating in ERP events will be required to provide a negative test result ahead of the event. They will also be tested afterwards to ensure any transmission of the virus is properly monitored.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department’s announcement on 5 April 2021 that everyone in England will be able to access free, regular rapid coronavirus testing from 9 April 2021, what recent estimate he has made of the number of tests that will be administered on a weekly basis.

The eligible population for testing is now above 50 million. Supply and demand forecasting is updated on a daily basis, including estimates of lateral flow tests administered, currently modelled at around 35 to 45 million tests per week in England.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using serology testing to establish the length of protection provided by covid-19 vaccines.

Public Health England (PHE) is evaluating the effectiveness and length of protection afforded by COVID-19 vaccines in terms of disease, hospitalisations and deaths as set out in the COVID-19 vaccine surveillance strategy.

Although serological testing is supporting the evaluation of COVID-19 vaccines, currently without a correlate of protection, serological testing by itself cannot provide estimates of the length of protection from COVID-19 vaccines.

PHE’s SIREN study, a prospective cohort study of almost 40,000 healthcare workers from 132 National Health Service sites, collects regular serum samples on participants following COVID-19 vaccination, to monitor antibody responses to vaccination which has the potential to establish a serological correlate of protection.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential role of serology testing in the Government's long term plan to tackle covid-19.

Serology testing is a key part of the Government’s testing programme. Specifically, antibody testing is routinely used in research and surveillance to improve our understanding of how the immune system responds to the virus that causes COVID-19. Whilst antibody testing is the core component of serology testing in response to COVID-19, other types of serology testing are also supported by the Government as part of research studies including analysing the role of immune cells not linked to antibodies.

Serology testing is vital for vaccine effectiveness monitoring, which is already taking place at scale through research studies. Public Health England will continue to gather the insights of these studies including through the use of antibody testing and integrate them into analysis to ensure up-to-date assessments of vaccine effectiveness as deployment continues.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to his Answer to Question 106294 of 20th October 2020, on Coronavirus: screening, in what format data relating to lost and compromised tests is held; and if he will publish it.

The latest data for void/unknown results on tests conducted between 28 May 2020 to 17 February 2021 is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-test-and-trace-england-statistics-11-february-to-17-february-2021

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including people in receipt of domiciliary care in their own homes in covid-19 vaccine priority group one.

Priority cohort one included residents in a care home for older adults and their carers. People who are supported by domiciliary care were prioritised in cohort four if they were categorised as clinically extremely vulnerable. They may also have been prioritised in cohort six if they have certain other health conditions which make them clinically vulnerable. Cohorts one to four also included those over 75 years old.

We have now offered a first vaccine dose to everyone in the top four priority groups.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve heart failure services.

Heart failure is a key priority in the NHS Long Term Plan and NHS England and NHS Improvement are taking action to improve heart failure services in line with this.

One of the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan is to raise awareness of the symptoms of heart failure and to ensure early and rapid access to diagnostic tests and treatment.

NHS England and NHS Improvement has a programme of work to support this ambition, overseen by the National Clinical Director for Heart Disease and supported by an Expert Advisory Group of clinical experts from across the country. This work remains a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of access to heart failure services during the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the pandemic, patients have been encouraged to come forward for the treatment that they require and urgent treatments continued to be delivered. Throughout the summer and autumn of 2020, the National Health Service has run an ongoing media campaign ‘Help Us Help You’ encouraging patients to seek urgent medical help when they are unwell, including clear messaging for patients with heart attack symptoms to call 999.

NHS England and NHS Improvement promoted restoration of services as a priority, including diagnostic and treatment services for patients with heart failure, as soon as the peak of the first wave of the pandemic began to decline.

NHS Long Term Plan heart failure work, including ensuring early and rapid access to heart failure diagnostic tests and treatment, remains a priority for NHS England and NHS Improvement during the pandemic.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the delivery of heart failure services in (a) community and (b) primary care.

NHS England and NHS Improvement promoted restoration of heart failure services as a priority as soon as the peak of the pandemic’s first wave began to decline. NHS England and NHS Improvement are also working with health professionals to support heart failure patients in the community through the roll-out of the NHS@Home self-management scheme.

NHS Long Term Plan work on improving heart failure services remains a priority for NHS England and NHS Improvement during the COVID-19 pandemic and NHS England and NHS Improvement’s work includes improving the early diagnosis and management of patients with heart failure in primary care.

General practice is open and people should continue to access services by phone, online or in person. Practices have been encouraged to deliver as much routine and preventative work as can be provided safely, and supporting patients at higher risk with ongoing care needs.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the variation in the availability and quality of heart failure services (a) in general and (b) that have occurred as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, NHS England published the NHS Long Term Plan, with heart failure a key priority. NHS Long Term Plan work on improving heart failure services, including reducing variation in the availability and quality of services as well as ensuring early and rapid access to heart failure diagnostic tests and treatment, remains a priority for NHS England and NHS Improvement during the pandemic.

As soon as the peak of the first wave of the pandemic began to decline, NHS England and NHS Improvement promoted restoration of services as a priority, including heart failure diagnostic and treatment services. The restoration of non-COVID-19 services is being prioritised at local level based on local demands. In October 2020 NHS England and NHS Improvement provided service protection plans to regional teams to ensure that critical services, such as cardiac surgery for patients with severe valvular disease, are maintained as far as possible during COVID-19 second wave.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) raise awareness of heart failure as a long-term condition amongst (i) system leaders and (ii) generalist healthcare professionals and (b) support them to deliver services that support people to live well with their condition.

To raise awareness of heart failure as a long term condition, NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with Health Education England to develop e-learning to support health care professionals to better recognise the symptoms of heart failure and to improve heart failure diagnosis, management and support.

In addition, NHS Long Term Plan work on heart failure, including raising awareness of heart failure symptoms, remains a priority for NHS England and NHS Improvement during the COVID-19 pandemic. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s work includes improving the early diagnosis and management of patients with heart failure in primary care.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has also published guidance, advice and quality standard products relating to heart failure that are aimed at commissioners, providers and healthcare professionals. NICE recognises the importance of this topic and has further plans to publish an impact report on cardiovascular disease management, including priority areas within heart failure diagnosis and management in the new year.

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 6 December 2020 to Question 106293 on Coronavirus: Contact Tracing, in what format his Department holds the data or related data requested; and if he will publish that data.

The data for void/unknown results 28 May 2020 to 17 February 2021 is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-test-and-trace-england-statistics-11-february-to-17-february-2021

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the £1 billion to tackle the elective surgery backlog announced in the Spending Review 2020, how that funding will be allocated.

We are working up detailed plans for making best use of the £1 billion funding to tackle the elective backlog and would expect to communicate the implications for National Health Service providers through NHS operational planning guidance in the usual way.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the £1billion announced in the Spending Review 2020 for tackling the elective surgery backlog, when that finding will be made available to NHS organisations; and whether that funding will be released (i) as a single block or (ii) via several smaller amounts at different times.

We are working up detailed plans for making best use of the £1 billion funding to tackle the elective backlog and would expect to communicate the implications for National Health Service providers through NHS operational planning guidance in the usual way.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to use criteria relating to (a) clinical area, (b) geographical region, (c) population size or (d) other metrics to determine the allocation of the £1bn for tackling the elective surgery backlog.

We are working up detailed plans for making best use of the £1 billion funding to tackle the elective backlog and would expect to communicate the implications for National Health Service providers through NHS operational planning guidance in the usual way.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether decisions on the allocation of the £1bn for tackling the elective surgery backlog will be made (a) centrally by Government Ministers, (b) by Executives at NHS England, (c) healthcare commissioners at local Clinical Commissioning Groups or (d) healthcare managers and practitioners at individual NHS providers.

We are working up detailed plans for making best use of the £1 billion funding to tackle the elective backlog and would expect to communicate the implications for National Health Service providers through NHS operational planning guidance in the usual way.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the £1bn for tackling the elective surgery backlog will be allocated (a) via block contracts or (b) through the NHS National Tariff payment system.

We are working up detailed plans for making best use of the £1 billion funding to tackle the elective backlog and would expect to communicate the implications for National Health Service providers through NHS operational planning guidance in the usual way.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people who have received a faecal immunochemical positive test result through bowel cancer screening are awaiting a diagnostic test for the most recent date at which that information is available.

This data is not held centrally.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the backlog in people waiting for (a) colonoscopy, (b) flexi sigmoidoscopy and (c) other diagnostic tests for bowel cancer.

In October the NHS issued £150 million in capital funding for investments in diagnostic equipment. Over £100 million of this has been allocated for endoscopy equipment, this will expand capacity to help to reduce the current waiting list.

Additionally, guidance published in June, has enabled endoscopy teams to use Faecal Immunochemical Testing to identify patients with the highest risk of bowel cancer so they can be prioritised for urgent colonoscopy.

6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what representations his Department has received from the British Society for Heart Failure on changes in the level of patients who are developing heart failure through not presenting at hospital with heart attack symptoms during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has not received any representations from the British Society for Heart Failure regarding this specific issue.

With a rise in COVID-19 activity, we have been clear that non-COVID-19 services will be maintained as far as possible and clinically urgent patients should continue to be treated first.

Throughout the summer and autumn of 2020, the National Health Service has run an ongoing media campaign ‘Help us to help you’, encouraging patients to seek urgent medical help when they are unwell, including clear messaging for patients with heart attack symptoms to call 999.

One of the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan is to raise awareness of the symptoms of heart failure and to ensure early and rapid access to diagnostic tests and treatment. This work remains a priority for NHS England and NHS Improvement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to accommodate a potential increase in cases of heart failure arising from delayed presentation and treatment for heart attack symptoms during the covid-19 outbreak; and what advice he has sought from heart failure specialists to inform his policy on that matter.

With a rise in COVID-19 activity, we have been clear that non-COVID-19 services will be maintained as far as possible and clinically urgent patients should continue to be treated first. In October 2020 NHS England and NHS Improvement provided service protection plans to regional teams to ensure that critical services, such as cardiac surgery for severe valvular disease patients, are maintained as far as possible.

NHS England and NHS Improvement promoted service restoration as a priority, including heart failure diagnostic and treatment services, as soon as the peak of the first wave of the pandemic began to decline.

In partnership with NHS England and NHS Improvement, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has also developed heart disease guidelines and evidence summaries with support from clinical specialists, the specialist societies and Royal Colleges, to help the National Health Service and social care respond quickly to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.

6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what research his Department is undertaking to identify the most vulnerable people to heart failure as a result of covid-19; and what community outreach measures are in place to ensure accessibility to treatment for the BAME patients who are vulnerable to heart failure.

The Department has not undertaken the specific research. However, NHS Digital, the National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research and the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership with NHS England and NHS Improvement, have been working on data collation and analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on cardiovascular disease services.

The use of national datasets enabled by this work will help inform decisions around those who are most at risk of heart failure as a result of COVID-19. This work will also increase our understanding of the longer-term impacts of COVID-19 on cardiovascular disease and inform future policy.

6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the ability of the (a) NHS and (b) CQC to ensure that BAME populations in deprived areas with (a) heart failure and (b) other long term conditions are represented in (A) audits, (B) guidelines, (C) clinical trials, and (D) medical research.

The specific assessment mentioned in the question has not been made. NHS England and NHS Improvement launched the independent NHS Race and Health Observatory with NHS Confederation this year, which will work to identify and tackle the specific health challenges facing black, Asian and minority ethnic populations in deprived areas. NHS England and NHS Improvement has a programme of work on cardiac conditions, and in common with NHS Long Term Plan objectives, this has a focus on reducing health inequalities, including using data from clinic audits to review and improve NHS services.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of potential merits of introducing a safe visiting scheme in care homes.

We recognise how important it is for care home residents to see their loved ones, especially for those at the end of their lives.

On Thursday 5 November we published guidance to enable COVID-19 secure visits to take place for care home residents while national restrictions are in place.

This guidance is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus

Plans are currently being developed to allow specific family and friends to visit care homes supported by testing. We have begun rollout of visitor testing, and aim to have nationwide visitor testing by Christmas.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to support care homes to enable them to offer safe visits to family carers.

Throughout the pandemic we have sought to ensure care home residents have been able to receive visits where it has been possible to do so safely. We have also acted quickly to protect vulnerable residents where it has been necessary, while still ensuring that visiting could continue to take place in some form.

We have regularly revised our guidance and have worked closely with the care home provider sector, public health professionals and others to support the effective implementation of the guidance. We have also supported care homes with the rollout of rapid lateral flow testing and personal protective equipment throughout December 2020 to enable more meaningful visits in tiers 1-3.

Unfortunately, in response to the new variant and rising population infection rates, it has been necessary from 6 January 2021 to enter a further period of national restrictions. We have again updated our guidance to make clear that visits to care homes can still take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed.

No visits, other than exceptional circumstances such as end of life, will be permitted in the event of an outbreak. This is due to the increased prevalence of COVID-19 in communities and the consequent risk to care home residents.

Recognising the importance of visiting for the wellbeing of residents and those who visit them we will work to enable more visiting in care homes as soon as it is safe to do so.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Women's Lives, Women's Rights: Strengthening Access to Contraception Beyond the Covid-19 Pandemic, published by the all party Parliamentary group on sexual and reproductive health on 10 September 2020, if he will include an assessment of public understanding of contraception, via national surveys, in the upcoming sexual and reproductive health strategy.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health’s report, ‘Women's Lives, Women's Rights: Strengthening Access to Contraception Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic’, has raised a number of important issues. The recommendations in the report will be considered as part of our upcoming work to develop the sexual and reproductive health strategy.

The Government has mandated local authorities in England to commission comprehensive open access sexual health services, including the provision of free contraception. Contraception is also widely available free of charge through general practice.

Public Health England have recently launched the National Framework for e-Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare. This new national framework will allow local authorities and service providers to purchase an expanded range of on-line services including emergency contraception and the contraceptive pill. The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare have also published clinical advice to support ongoing provision of effective contraception which health professionals should work to which is available at the following link:

https://www.fsrh.org/documents/fsrh-guidance-srh-services-second-wave-covid-october-2020/

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support practitioners fitting long-acting reversible contraception to maintain their competencies; and what steps his Department is taking to help ensure (a) women can access their choice of contraception and (b) availability of training for (i) general practitioners and (ii) general practice nurses to fit long-acting reversible contraception.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health’s report, ‘Women's Lives, Women's Rights: Strengthening Access to Contraception Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic’, has raised a number of important issues. The recommendations in the report will be considered as part of our upcoming work to develop the sexual and reproductive health strategy.

The Government has mandated local authorities in England to commission comprehensive open access sexual health services, including the provision of free contraception. Contraception is also widely available free of charge through general practice.

Public Health England have recently launched the National Framework for e-Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare. This new national framework will allow local authorities and service providers to purchase an expanded range of on-line services including emergency contraception and the contraceptive pill. The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare have also published clinical advice to support ongoing provision of effective contraception which health professionals should work to which is available at the following link:

https://www.fsrh.org/documents/fsrh-guidance-srh-services-second-wave-covid-october-2020/

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Women's Lives, Women's Rights: Strengthening Access to Contraception Beyond the Covid-19 Pandemic, published by the all party Parliamentary group on sexual and reproductive health on 10 September 2020, whether his Department has made an estimate of the number of women in England with an unmet need for contraception.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health’s report, ‘Women's Lives, Women's Rights: Strengthening Access to Contraception Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic’, has raised a number of important issues. The recommendations in the report will be considered as part of our upcoming work to develop the sexual and reproductive health strategy.

The Government has mandated local authorities in England to commission comprehensive open access sexual health services, including the provision of free contraception. Contraception is also widely available free of charge through general practice.

Public Health England have recently launched the National Framework for e-Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare. This new national framework will allow local authorities and service providers to purchase an expanded range of on-line services including emergency contraception and the contraceptive pill. The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare have also published clinical advice to support ongoing provision of effective contraception which health professionals should work to which is available at the following link:

https://www.fsrh.org/documents/fsrh-guidance-srh-services-second-wave-covid-october-2020/

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Women's Lives, Women's Rights: Strengthening Access to Contraception Beyond the Covid-19 Pandemic, published by the all party Parliamentary group on sexual and reproductive health on 10 September 2020, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of collecting data on women's experiences of accessing and using contraceptive methods as part of the forthcoming national sexual and reproductive health strategy.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health’s report, ‘Women's Lives, Women's Rights: Strengthening Access to Contraception Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic’, has raised a number of important issues. The recommendations in the report will be considered as part of our upcoming work to develop the sexual and reproductive health strategy.

The Government has mandated local authorities in England to commission comprehensive open access sexual health services, including the provision of free contraception. Contraception is also widely available free of charge through general practice.

Public Health England have recently launched the National Framework for e-Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare. This new national framework will allow local authorities and service providers to purchase an expanded range of on-line services including emergency contraception and the contraceptive pill. The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare have also published clinical advice to support ongoing provision of effective contraception which health professionals should work to which is available at the following link:

https://www.fsrh.org/documents/fsrh-guidance-srh-services-second-wave-covid-october-2020/

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure equity of access to breast screenings for women living in deprived areas when timed appointments are replaced with open invitations.

Breast screening services have a responsibility to reduce health inequalities. Local services have been able to choose whether to implement open appointments or maintain fixed timed appointments as they work to restore appointments following the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This choice takes into account the needs of the local population: the service must evidence that their given approach better supports the recovery of appointments as well as ensuring equity of access.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of people with diabetes meeting the NICE recommended HbA1c treatment target during the covid-19 outbreak.

Extra measures have been put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic so that people living with diabetes can continue to access support, including commissioning services to help people with diabetes of all ages self-manage their condition using online digital structured education programmes.

From 2020/21 through to 2023/24, a further £75 million of targeted funding is planned for allocation to sustainability and transformation partnerships and integrated care systems to support delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan commitments relating to the treatment and care of people living with diabetes which includes activities to improve achievement of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s recommended treatment targets.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to protect the health of (a) people with diabetes and (b) BAME communities during the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic diabetes care has remained a priority and general practitioners (GPs) have supported patients with long term conditions to access care and support.

Trusts, working with GP practices, have been asked to ensure that every patient whose planned care has been disrupted by COVID-19 receives clear communication about how they will be looked after, and who to contact if their clinical circumstances change. The focus is on accelerating the return of non-COVID-19 health services to near-normal levels, including making full use of available capacity between now and winter, whilst also preparing for winter demand pressures. This will be done alongside continued vigilance against further COVID-19 spikes locally and possibly nationally.

The NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Diabetes Programme Team has helped to develop a COVID-19 risk prediction model to support shared decision making between clinicians and patients based on more accurate information as well as discussions on how to reduce risk of COVID-19 for all, including those with diabetes.

Reflecting the fact that those of black and south Asian background are at both greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes and of in-hospital COVID-19 mortality, NHS England and NHS Improvement have developed a focused marketing and promotion campaign, aimed at those who are black and south Asian. This work is supported by deep insight work commissioned from Cultural Intelligence Hub to develop approaches for communications and engagement activity targeted at black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

The number of people with diabetes who died between 16 February and 12 October 2020 where COVID-19 was mentioned as a cause of death on the death certificate, by diabetes type and ethnicity is in the following table.

Ethnicity group

COVID-19 deaths where the person had type 1 diabetes

COVID-19 deaths where the person had type 2 or other diabetes

Asian

70

1,760

Black

60

1,075

Mixed

5

170

Other

15

240

Not stated/known

50

1,835

Coverage: England and Wales

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of people with diabetes from BAME groups who have died from covid-19.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic diabetes care has remained a priority and general practitioners (GPs) have supported patients with long term conditions to access care and support.

Trusts, working with GP practices, have been asked to ensure that every patient whose planned care has been disrupted by COVID-19 receives clear communication about how they will be looked after, and who to contact if their clinical circumstances change. The focus is on accelerating the return of non-COVID-19 health services to near-normal levels, including making full use of available capacity between now and winter, whilst also preparing for winter demand pressures. This will be done alongside continued vigilance against further COVID-19 spikes locally and possibly nationally.

The NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Diabetes Programme Team has helped to develop a COVID-19 risk prediction model to support shared decision making between clinicians and patients based on more accurate information as well as discussions on how to reduce risk of COVID-19 for all, including those with diabetes.

Reflecting the fact that those of black and south Asian background are at both greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes and of in-hospital COVID-19 mortality, NHS England and NHS Improvement have developed a focused marketing and promotion campaign, aimed at those who are black and south Asian. This work is supported by deep insight work commissioned from Cultural Intelligence Hub to develop approaches for communications and engagement activity targeted at black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

The number of people with diabetes who died between 16 February and 12 October 2020 where COVID-19 was mentioned as a cause of death on the death certificate, by diabetes type and ethnicity is in the following table.

Ethnicity group

COVID-19 deaths where the person had type 1 diabetes

COVID-19 deaths where the person had type 2 or other diabetes

Asian

70

1,760

Black

60

1,075

Mixed

5

170

Other

15

240

Not stated/known

50

1,835

Coverage: England and Wales

20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the difference was between number of covid-19 tests undertaken and number of test results sent to people who had been tested in each week during the last two months for which data is available.

We do not publish data in the format requested.

20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many samples were lost from the test and trace programme in each of the last four weeks for which data is available; how many samples given to that programme it was not possible to test during those periods; and how many results within that programme were not sent to people who had been tested during those periods.

We do not publish data in the format requested.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what target times his Department has set for the return of covid-19 test results.

Between 24 December and 30 December, the majority (63%) of in-person tests results were received the day after the test is taken. NHS Test and Trace is increasing staffing levels, the use of robotics and adding more capacity, meaning we can not only provide more tests, but also improve turnaround times. NHS Test and Trace publishes weekly data on individual capacity across all pillars in England on GOV.UK.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of covid-19 test results have been returned within (a) 24 hours, (b) 48 hours, (c) 72 hours, (d) 96 and (e) after 96 hours in the most recent period for which figures are available.

Data on the proportion of test results received within 24 and 48 hours for in person testing, home test kits and satellite test centres and results received within 72 hours for satellite test centres in England is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/nhs-test-and-trace-statistics-england-weekly-reports

Data on test results received after 96 hours or more is not collected.

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the availability of NHS specialist weight management services.

Through ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’, published in July, we are committed to looking at what further action can be taken to improve weight management services to better support people living with obesity to achieve a healthier weight.

The Department does not hold information on patient waiting times for general practitioner-led referrals to National Health Service specialist weight management services.

‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tackling-obesity-government-strategy/tackling-obesity-empowering-adults-and-children-to-live-healthier-lives

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average patient waiting times are for GP-led referrals for NHS specialist weight management services.

Through ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’, published in July, we are committed to looking at what further action can be taken to improve weight management services to better support people living with obesity to achieve a healthier weight.

The Department does not hold information on patient waiting times for general practitioner-led referrals to National Health Service specialist weight management services.

‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tackling-obesity-government-strategy/tackling-obesity-empowering-adults-and-children-to-live-healthier-lives

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients in England have undergone treatment for atrial fibrillation having reduced their weight to meet the inclusion criteria for that treatment.

Being overweight, especially if the person has sleep apnoea (interrupted breathing while sleeping) is a factor that increases risk of atrial fibrillation.

Information regarding the number of patients in England who have not met the criteria for treatment as a result of their weight or who have reduced their weight in order to be included for treatment for atrial fibrillation is not held centrally.

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients have not met the inclusion criteria for treatment for atrial fibrillation as a result of their weight, in England, in the last three years.

Being overweight, especially if the person has sleep apnoea (interrupted breathing while sleeping) is a factor that increases risk of atrial fibrillation.

Information regarding the number of patients in England who have not met the criteria for treatment as a result of their weight or who have reduced their weight in order to be included for treatment for atrial fibrillation is not held centrally.

2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the viability of exempting children aged 12 and under from the rule of six, in line with the policy of the devolved Administrations.

We have set out a clear and consistent six-person limit for social contact for all ages to make sure the rules are easy for the public to understand and for the police and public health officials. Public health is a devolved matter, and the devolved administrations are responsible for deciding what measures they put in place that are most appropriate for their local circumstances. We are working with our colleagues in devolved administrations to identify where United Kingdom-wide alignment in approach is appropriate and possible, to help provide a clear and consistent message to the public.

The Government keeps social distancing restrictions under continual review and will make changes if the data and science support it.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to tackle childhood obesity by making it mandatory to label the nutritional value of food in a way that is easy for consumers to understand.

In July, as part of ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’, we published a four-nation public consultation to gather views and evidence on our current front-of-pack ‘traffic light’ nutrition labelling scheme. We welcome and will consider all responses to the consultation. If evidence suggests that improvements are required, we will consult again on all policy options.

The consultation ‘Building on the success of front-of-pack nutrition labelling in the UK’ was open until 21 October and the outcomes will be published shortly.

30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to end the marketing of high-sugar and high-fat foods to infants and children.

‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’, published in July, sets out our intention to restrict the promotion and advertising of foods high in fat, salt and sugar. We have consulted on these measures and listened carefully to the feedback. We will publish full responses to the consultations as soon as possible.

We will also consult on proposals to improve the marketing and labelling of commercial food and drink products for infants and young children, so that parents and carers have clear and honest information that aligns with the Government’s advice on the products they feed their babies.

‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/tackling-obesity-government-strategy/tackling-obesity-empowering-adults-and-children-to-live-healthier-lives

25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) progress has been made on his Department’s review of Supply Chain Coordination Limited, (b) timelines he has applied to that review and (c) opportunities will be available for stakeholders to provide input into that review.

It is normal practice to review the performance of all companies owned by the Department, which includes Supply Chain Coordination Limited (SCCL), to assure operational performance and strategic fit. The Department is currently considering the conclusions of the internal review work that it has undertaken in respect of SCCL.

A number of stakeholders have been consulted in assessing the service, stakeholder requirements and opportunities for the Company’s strategic direction.

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the NHS is only paying a reasonable price for drugs.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is the independent body responsible for developing evidence-based recommendations for the National Health Service on whether new medicines represent an effective use of resources based on their clinical and cost-effectiveness.

The costs of branded medicines are controlled by the 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access and the statutory scheme for branded medicines.

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislation to give local authorities the power to enforce a minimum of one metre social distancing during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have always said there would be local outbreaks requiring local action. New powers came into force on 18 July, enabling local authorities to manage future outbreaks, which includes the power for local authorities to close individual premises or public outdoor spaces, and place restrictions on events.

These Regulations focus on local authorities’ powers, but the police will have a role to enforce the rules that the local authority puts in place, particularly in regard to closed outdoor public spaces

The Joint Biosecurity Centre will continue to provide local authorities with data on local infection rates and provide an early indication of potential outbreaks. We continue to be led by scientists and data, so remain ready to regulate, where there is clear evidence to do so.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the adequate capacity of mental health services in schools for the start of the next academic year.

We are implementing the core proposals in our response to the consultation ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision’ Green Paper including, where possible, adapting the support made available during the COVID-19 outbreak to the circumstances that schools and colleges and children and young people will face once the new academic year starts.

Where in place, new services such as mental health support teams, working alongside established services across health, education, children’s services and voluntary sector, will provide important support to children and young people experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people commenced treatment for hepatitis C in the financial year 2019-20, by operational delivery network area.

Public Health England publishes information on the numbers of individuals accessing hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment in their annual hepatitis C reports.

Data for the 2019-20 financial year for England are not yet available. The latest available data for 2018/19 financial year show that 11,756 people were reported to have accessed HCV treatment in England that year. The 2018/19 data can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hepatitis-c-in-the-uk

Treatment data by operational delivery network area are available for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years in the Hepatitis C Operation Deliver Network Profile Tool available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hepatitis-c-commissioning-template-for-estimating-disease-prevalence

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of including hepatitis C in the Public Health England Public Health Outcomes Framework.

During 2018/19 Public Health England undertook a review of all the indicators within the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF). A consultation on the proposed changes to the PHOF ran between 21 January 2019 to 22 February 2019. The response to this consultation informed the final changes to the indicators within the PHOF. The results of the consultation are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/public-health-outcomes-framework-proposed-changes-2019-to-2020

The PHOF is due for review every three years and hepatitis C, along with other policy areas, could be considered during the next refresh.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS posts in children and young people’s mental health service there were in each year and at each grade since 2014.

NHS Digital published the new mental health workforce definition on 21 March 2019.

As at October 2019, the latest available data there were 1,023 child and adolescent psychiatrists in National Health Service trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), 29 (3%) more since October 2014, full time equivalent (FTE).

As at September 2019, the latest available data there were 1,114,473 people working in NHS trusts and CCGs of which 114,539 (10.3%) people work in mental health, FTE.

NHS Digital’s mental health workforce data cannot be broken down into children’s posts because there is not an agreed definition of young people’s mental health services. For example a single psychiatrist may be providing mental health services to children and adults.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the NHS workforce is located within (a) mental health services and (b) young people’s mental health services.

NHS Digital published the new mental health workforce definition on 21 March 2019.

As at October 2019, the latest available data there were 1,023 child and adolescent psychiatrists in National Health Service trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), 29 (3%) more since October 2014, full time equivalent (FTE).

As at September 2019, the latest available data there were 1,114,473 people working in NHS trusts and CCGs of which 114,539 (10.3%) people work in mental health, FTE.

NHS Digital’s mental health workforce data cannot be broken down into children’s posts because there is not an agreed definition of young people’s mental health services. For example a single psychiatrist may be providing mental health services to children and adults.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to help support the strengthening of health systems in low- and lower-middle income countries.

As set out in the International Development Strategy, strengthening health systems is at the core of our long-term approach and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is working to deliver the objectives set out in our published Health Systems Strengthening policy paper. This includes the mainstreaming of a health systems strengthening approach across the UK's health influencing and diplomacy activities, country programmes, research portfolios, and our investments in multilateral partners such as the World Health Organization, Global Fund and Gavi.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to ensure pandemic preparedness efforts lead to investment in primary healthcare services and the strengthening of routine immunisation services globally.

The UK is shaping discussions on global learning from COVID-19 to improve future pandemic preparedness and response. Strengthening health systems is core, guided by FCDO's Health Systems Strengthening approach paper. The Prime Minister recently announced a £25 million UK contribution to a new "Financial Intermediary Fund" for pandemic preparedness. The UK will champion the importance of increased investment in primary healthcare in the design of this Fund.

The UK is the world's biggest funder of routine childhood vaccination, through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. We are working with partners to help recover the losses in routine immunisation caused by COIVD-19 and to strengthen the health systems that will both improve routine immunisation and provide a solid foundation for responding to the next pandemic.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure that backsliding in immunisation is a priority issue at the upcoming 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and the G20 Heads of State and Government Summit.

The pandemic has placed substantial strain on immunisation programmes, with increasing numbers of children not receiving even the most basic vaccinations. The UK is the top donor to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance's core mission. £1.65 billion of UK funding in 2021-25 will support countries to restore immunisation coverage and vaccinate children missed during the pandemic.

UNGA 77 and the G20 Summit represent important opportunities to maintain momentum and secure political commitments on global health. The UK will continue through both fora to champion health system strengthening and the critical role of strong, resilient and accessible health systems in supporting primary health care and essential services, including routine immunisation.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to help small-scale farmers in low-income countries access the funding pledged during COP26.

The UK Government remains committed to doubling our International Climate Finance to £11.6 billion between 2021/22 and 2025/26. This includes programmes specifically designed to help smallholder farmers in the most climate vulnerable countries access funding to adopt sustainable and resilient agricultural practices. For example, the £65 million Just Rural Transition Support Programme, announced at COP26 will support developing countries to design and implement approaches that help their farmers build resilience and drive investment into more sustainable methods of agriculture through repurposing agricultural policies and support. This programme will also include support to ensure that farmers, including smallholders, are involved in policy-making processes, for example through consultations, trials and pilot programmes for new technologies and approaches. We are also supporting the Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness programme to work with producer organisations and agri-businesses in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to increase sourcing of agri-food products from smallholder farmers and to help farmers adopt climate-smart and productivity-enhancing agriculture technologies.

As well as supporting developing countries through UK Aid funded programmes we, together with the World Bank, convene a Policy Dialogue on Accelerating Transition to Sustainable Agriculture through redirecting public policies and support and scaling innovation. This has brought more than 30 countries together from across the globe to share evidence and experience and collectively raise ambition.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps her Department has taken to meet target 3.7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals on universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services by 2030.

The UK Government is committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. We are proud to defend universal access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights as outlined in the International Development Strategy and Ending Preventable Deaths of Mothers, Babies and Children by 2030 approach paper. This includes our renewed support to life saving global health initiatives such as the Global Financing Facility and to the United Nations Population Fund Supplies programme to advance the availability of modern contraception in the world's poorest countries. The UK continues to work with like-minded partners to accelerate global progress, including by securing joint commitments at the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government and G7 Health Ministerial. This work is crucial to unlock the potential, agency and freedom of women and girls around the world.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Annex to the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, published in March 2022, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the finding that members of the Baha’i minority in Qatar have been reportedly subject to administrative deportations and blacklisting resulting in loss of employment, income, and separation of families.

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities.

The Foreign Secretary last visited Qatar in October 2021 where she had a number of discussions with key interlocutors, including His Highness the Amir. Human rights, including women and girls' issues were discussed, but the Baha'i community was not discussed. FCDO Officials, both in the UK and in Doha, have and will continue to engage with members of the Baha'i community in Qatar. Earlier this year, officials in Doha raised the challenges faced by some members of the Baha'i community with the Director for Human Rights from the Qatari Ministry of Interior and Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The UK Ambassador to Qatar has also raised the issue with Qatari Ministers, who agreed to look into the issue. We will continue to raise these issues with the Qatari Government, including in light of the Special Rapporteur's for Freedom of Religion or Belief's report 'Rights of persons belonging to religious or belief minorities in situations of conflict or insecurity' published in March 2022.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations she has received on the Baha’i community in Qatar; and if she will make a statement.

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities.

The Foreign Secretary last visited Qatar in October 2021 where she had a number of discussions with key interlocutors, including His Highness the Amir. Human rights, including women and girls' issues were discussed, but the Baha'i community was not discussed. FCDO Officials, both in the UK and in Doha, have and will continue to engage with members of the Baha'i community in Qatar. Earlier this year, officials in Doha raised the challenges faced by some members of the Baha'i community with the Director for Human Rights from the Qatari Ministry of Interior and Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The UK Ambassador to Qatar has also raised the issue with Qatari Ministers, who agreed to look into the issue. We will continue to raise these issues with the Qatari Government, including in light of the Special Rapporteur's for Freedom of Religion or Belief's report 'Rights of persons belonging to religious or belief minorities in situations of conflict or insecurity' published in March 2022.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of the Government's proposed reduction to the amount of overseas development aid channelled through multilateral organisations on outcomes in the efforts to eradicate global TB.

The UK is and will continue to be a leading donor on TB, in particular through our support to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and our ongoing research partnerships in TB, such as the LIGHT consortium led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, the TB Alliance and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics. The Global Fund provides 77% of all international financing for TB and the UK is the second largest donor to the Global Fund's 6th replenishment. We will continue to make financial and leadership contributions to the Global Fund's 7th replenishment in the Autumn.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the International Development Strategy, if she will make an assessment of the potential effect of increased trade between the UK and non-EU countries on TB outcomes for the world's poorest and most marginalised people.

The UK's independent trade policy supports developing partners to lift themselves out of poverty, to build back better after the global pandemic, and to reduce their dependency on aid. This includes ensuring the free flow of critical goods such as medical supplies.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if her Department will pledge £1.8 billion to the Global Fund's upcoming Seventh Replenishment campaign.

The Global Fund remains an essential partner for the UK in the fight against HIV, TB and malaria. The UK pledged £1.4 billion to the Global Fund's 6th replenishment (2020-2022), making us the 2nd largest donor. We are reviewing the Global Fund's investment case for the 7th replenishment and deciding our precise contribution in line with the new International Development Strategy. We will continue to make financial and leadership contributions to the Global Fund's 7th replenishment.
Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department plans to provide additional funding to support UK research and academic institutions to develop new tools to help effectively combat global TB.

The UK Government through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has been a leading supporter of TB research and Product Development Partnerships for many years, including the TB Alliance and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics.

Currently, FCDO Official Development Assistance allocations are being finalised to deliver the priorities set out in the International Development Strategy (IDS). In parallel, FCDO teams are developing business plans to deliver the IDS, which will include research and development on health technologies to combat TB.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department is taking steps to encourage other countries to ban conversion therapy.

The UK government is fully committed to ending the practice of Conversion Therapy. The UK, as current co-chairs of the Equal Rights Coalition (ERC) a grouping of 42 countries working to advance LGBTI equality, led on the drafting of the ERC's first five year Strategy. The Strategy launched in July 2021 and includes a commitment for all ERC Member States to work collaboratively to advance ending Conversion Therapy.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions her Department has had with the US Administration on designating Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva under the Global Human Rights (GHR) Sanctions regime.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is grateful for the submission by the International Truth and Justice Project on General Shavendra Silva. We keep all evidence and potential designations under close review. However, it is not appropriate to speculate on future designations under the Global Human Rights Sanctions regime, as to do so could reduce their impact. Sanctions are one response among a number of tools we can deploy.

The UK Government, alongside our partners in the Core Group on Sri Lanka including the US, has led international efforts to promote accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka. This effort includes the passing of Resolution 46/1 in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to promote and protect human rights, and truth, justice, reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka. We will continue to seek increased accountability and respect for human rights, including through activities funded under our Conflict, Security and Stability Fund programmes.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of information in the ITJP Submission to meet the required threshold to designate General Shavendra Silva under the Global Human Rights (GHR) Sanctions Regime established on 6 July 2020.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is grateful for the submission by the International Truth and Justice Project on General Shavendra Silva. We keep all evidence and potential designations under close review. However, it is not appropriate to speculate on future designations under the Global Human Rights Sanctions regime, as to do so could reduce their impact. Sanctions are one response among a number of tools we can deploy.

The UK Government, alongside our partners in the Core Group on Sri Lanka including the US, has led international efforts to promote accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka. This effort includes the passing of Resolution 46/1 in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to promote and protect human rights, and truth, justice, reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka. We will continue to seek increased accountability and respect for human rights, including through activities funded under our Conflict, Security and Stability Fund programmes.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what estimate her Department has made of the number of British citizens remaining in Ukraine.

We do not comment on our own internal planning assumptions, which are drawn from a variety of sources. We are advising British nationals to register their presence in Ukraine on gov.uk, which allows us to provide the latest information. The safety and security of British nationals is our top priority and therefore we are advising British nationals to leave Ukraine immediately if they judge it is safe to do so. British nationals who require consular assistance can call our 24 hour helpline: 44 (0) 1908 516666 or +380 44 490 3660.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of (a) the impact on the Russian invasion of Ukraine of British sanctions and (b) potential options for future sanctions and actions that the UK Government may take against Russia.

The Prime Minister has announced the largest and most severe package of economic sanctions Russia has ever seen. With our allies and partners, we have imposed the most punishing sanctions to inflict lasting impact. We will squeeze Putin's regime and all those close to him who are responsible for the appalling attack on Ukraine. The impact of sanctions has been significant. The big drop in the rouble in Russia suggests that investors expect the impact of sanctions on Russia to be huge. These sanctions send a clear message that nothing is off the table.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to prepare for the 2023 UN High Level Meeting on TB.

The UK is committed to tackling TB and to strengthening health systems to address all causes of ill health. We continue to build strong global partnerships to drive forward progress on TB including through the UN General Assembly. We are also continuing to engage on preparations for the 2023 High Level Meeting on TB.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if the Government will commit the full amount pledged to the Global Fund in 2019 for the 2022-23 financial year.

We pledged £1.4 billion in the 6th replenishment (2020-2022) to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, making us the 2nd largest donor towards the 6th replenishment and 3rd largest donor since the Global Fund's creation. We are on track to fulfil our 6th replenishment pledge. Our health investments help countries to build stronger and more inclusive health systems to address all causes of ill health.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government plans for a Minister to attend the Global Fund's Seventh Replenishment Conference in the US later this year.

We congratulate the US in hosting the Global Fund's 7th Replenishment in the Autumn and look forward to receiving an invitation in due course. We will take a decision on attendance once we have been informed of the date and have received an invitation.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when the Government will announce the latest round of funding for TB Reach.

Future funding, beyond our current commitments, will be determined as part of departmental business planning in line with departmental allocations announced in last year's Spending Review, and guided by the approaches set out in the Health Systems Strengthening Position Paper and Ending Preventable Deaths approach. TB Reach is a programme within the STOP TB Partnership, of which the UK is an active board member.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department plans to take to help end the global TB epidemic.

The UK is committed to tackling TB. This includes our funding to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, to which we pledged £1.4 billion in the sixth replenishment (2020-2022). We also invest in TB research and innovation to help people access new TB treatments and diagnostics. Our health investments help countries affected by TB to build stronger and more inclusive health systems to address all causes of ill health.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department has made an assessment of the impact of the recent reductions in Official Development Assistance on the provision of TB diagnostics, treatments and services.

The World Health Organisation's 2021 Global Tuberculosis Report provided an assessment of progress on TB in 2020. The report notes an 18% decline since 2019 in the reported number of people newly diagnosed with TB and a decline in TB treatment coverage from 72% in 2019 to 59% in 2020. The report attributes this to disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a fall in global spending on TB diagnostic, treatment and prevention services from $5.8 billion to $5.3 billion.

The majority of FCDO's funding to diagnostics, treatments and services for TB is through our investment in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The UK remains the second largest donor to the sixth replenishment (2020-2022) with a pledge of up to £1.4 billion. We also invest in TB research and innovation, to help people access new TB treatments and diagnostics, and to provide evidence on best practices to tackle the disease.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department has made an assessment of the impact of the recent reductions in Official Development Assistance on diagnostics, treatments and services for TB.

The World Health Organisation's 2021 Global Tuberculosis Report provided an assessment of progress on TB in 2020. The report notes an 18% decline since 2019 in the reported number of people newly diagnosed with TB and a decline in TB treatment coverage from 72% in 2019 to 59% in 2020. The report attributes this to disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a fall in global spending on TB diagnostic, treatment and prevention services from $5.8 billion to $5.3 billion.

The majority of FCDO's funding to diagnostics, treatments and services for TB is through our investment in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The UK remains the second largest donor to the sixth replenishment (2020-2022) with a pledge of up to £1.4 billion. We also invest in TB research and innovation, to help people access new TB treatments and diagnostics, and to provide evidence on best practices to tackle the disease.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to her plans to restore budgets for women and girls to levels from before reductions in Official Development Assistance, whether sexual and reproductive health and rights funding will be restored to UNFPA and its supply programme.

We are restoring funding for women and girls to pre-Official Development Assistance cut levels over the Spending Review period, focusing on giving more girls a quality education; ending the extremely harmful practice of female genital mutilation, supporting girls' health; and ending the abhorrent use of sexual violence around the world.

The UK is firmly committed to defending comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) globally - this includes family planning and maternal health, both central to the empowerment of women and girls. Any funding for SRHR will contribute to UK objectives to improve the lives of women and girls across the world. No decisions on funding to individual organisations have been made to date. This will be worked through as part of the FCDO's Business and Country Planning process over the coming months. Following the Spending Review, decisions on allocations and individual programmes will be published in the usual way.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what (a) organisations and (b) governments will have their development budgets for women and girls restored to the pre-Official Development Assistance reduction levels.

We are restoring funding for women and girls to pre-Official Development Assistance cut levels over the Spending Review period, focusing on giving more girls a quality education; ending the extremely harmful practice of female genital mutilation, supporting girls' health; and ending the abhorrent use of sexual violence around the world.

The UK is firmly committed to defending comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) globally - this includes family planning and maternal health, both central to the empowerment of women and girls. Any funding for SRHR will contribute to UK objectives to improve the lives of women and girls across the world. No decisions on funding to individual organisations have been made to date. This will be worked through as part of the FCDO's Business and Country Planning process over the coming months. Following the Spending Review, decisions on allocations and individual programmes will be published in the usual way.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when she plans to restore the women and girls development budget to what it was prior to the reduction in Official Development Assistance.

We are restoring funding for women and girls to pre-Official Development Assistance cut levels over the Spending Review period, focusing on giving more girls a quality education; ending the extremely harmful practice of female genital mutilation, supporting girls' health; and ending the abhorrent use of sexual violence around the world.

The UK is firmly committed to defending comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) globally - this includes family planning and maternal health, both central to the empowerment of women and girls. Any funding for SRHR will contribute to UK objectives to improve the lives of women and girls across the world. No decisions on funding to individual organisations have been made to date. This will be worked through as part of the FCDO's Business and Country Planning process over the coming months. Following the Spending Review, decisions on allocations and individual programmes will be published in the usual way.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what estimate her Department has made of the number of British nationals who (a) are in and (b) are wanting to leave Afghanistan as of 9 November 2021; and what estimate her Department has made of the number of British nationals who were in Afghanistan before August 2021.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Officer (FCDO) does not routinely ask British nationals to register with a British Embassy or High Commission overseas. Recognising the circumstances in Afghanistan, British nationals still in Afghanistan were asked to register their continued presence to allow the FCDO to maintain contact after the evacuation phase ended. British nationals continue to receive updates from the FCDO on the situation in Afghanistan.

Between 15-28 August over 8,300 British nationals and dependents were evacuated from Afghanistan. Since the end of Operation Pitting, the FCDO has assisted over 700 British nationals and their dependents back to the UK. This includes helping 210 British nationals and their dependents leave Afghanistan through Qatari Government charter flights. We continue to work to support British nationals and their eligible dependants to leave Afghanistan if that is their wish.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what funding will be allocated to the forthcoming ending preventable deaths action plan.

We plan to launch the Ending Preventable Deaths Action Plan this year, but exact dates have yet to be finalised. Ending the preventable deaths of mothers, newborn and children requires work across sectors to address the complex pathways leading to mortality. This includes provision of family planning, maternal and neonatal health, immunisation, nutrition, water and sanitation and health systems strengthening work.

The FCDO funds a range of mechanisms that support ending preventable deaths, such as the Global Financing Facility, Reproductive Health Supplies and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, as well as work at the country level through our bilateral programmes. Additional funding will be determined after the Spending Review. FCDO spend is calculated using OECD-DAC sector codes, details of which are available in the Statistics on International Development publication and DevTracker. We do not calculate spend on ending preventable deaths interventions in their totality. Broad donor Reproductive Maternal Newborn and Child Health (RMNCH) spend is calculated by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) using the internationally recognised Muskoka2 methodology, found here: https://gh.bmj.com/content/6/6/e006089.full

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when his Department plans to publish its action plan on ending preventable deaths.

We plan to launch the Ending Preventable Deaths Action Plan this year, but exact dates have yet to be finalised. Ending the preventable deaths of mothers, newborn and children requires work across sectors to address the complex pathways leading to mortality. This includes provision of family planning, maternal and neonatal health, immunisation, nutrition, water and sanitation and health systems strengthening work.

The FCDO funds a range of mechanisms that support ending preventable deaths, such as the Global Financing Facility, Reproductive Health Supplies and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, as well as work at the country level through our bilateral programmes. Additional funding will be determined after the Spending Review. FCDO spend is calculated using OECD-DAC sector codes, details of which are available in the Statistics on International Development publication and DevTracker. We do not calculate spend on ending preventable deaths interventions in their totality. Broad donor Reproductive Maternal Newborn and Child Health (RMNCH) spend is calculated by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) using the internationally recognised Muskoka2 methodology, found here: https://gh.bmj.com/content/6/6/e006089.full

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the impact of the Prime Minister's comment of 10 September 2021 on the UK being the Saudi Arabia of penal policy, on efforts by the UK and its allies to argue for a more ethical approach by Saudi Arabia to its political detainees.

Our views are well known by the Saudi Arabian authorities. The UK will continue to encourage further human rights reform in the Kingdom.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development, what steps he is taking to promote (a) girls’ education and (b) family planning in developing countries in light of COP26 presidency.

Climate change contributes to gender inequality, and disproportionately and differentially impacts on women and girls. The UK champions the right of all girls to twelve years of quality education, including through the new G7-endorsed global targets to get 20 million more girls reading by the age of 10, and 40 million more girls in primary and secondary schools in low and lower-middle income countries by 2026. The UK is also a strong defender of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) on the world stage and we advance progress on SRHR through global partnerships, such as the Global Financing Facility, FP2030 and UNFPA. We will continue to use the UK's leadership to highlight these important issues, as well as the critical role of climate resilient health and education systems, at COP26 and beyond.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report, published in 2014, which states the value of family planning and reproductive health services in regions of high climate vulnerability, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of changing eligibility for International Climate Finance on encouraging the implementation of adaptation and resilience programmes that are focused on removing barriers to those services.

UK International Climate Finance (ICF) reaches those most in need and we are committed to doubling our ICF to £11.6bn over the next five years. In our adaptation programming we prioritise locally-led action with a strong grounding in the local context and needs, targeting marginalised groups. We have also committed to increasing gender-responsiveness of climate finance through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Gender Action Plan agreed at COP25, which we are working to champion through our COP Presidency.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what proportion of the Department for International Development's Official Development Assistance budget was allocated to sexual and reproductive health and rights in (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019.

Detailed reports on UK Official Development Assistance up until financial year 2017-18 were given in the Gross Public Expenditure (GPEX) publication which ceased in August 2020. For data covering 2018 onwards, UK Aid by sector and calendar year has been published in the FCDO Statistics on International Development (SID) publication. 2020 data will be available in Autumn 2021.

FCDO official aid spend disaggregated by sector code for 2018 and 2019 can be found in the Statistics for International Development: Final UK Aid Spend 2019 pilot table at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/967648/SID_Pilot_Tables.ods

For previous years please refer to the Statistics on International Development: UK Gross Public Expenditure (GPEX) publication at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-on-international-development-uk-gross-public-expenditure-gpex

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will list the Department for International Development's bilateral expenditure directly targeting reproductive health under input sector codes 13010, 13021, 13022, 13030 and 13081 in financial years (a) 2017-18, (b) 2018-19 and (c) 2019-20.

Detailed reports on UK Official Development Assistance up until financial year 2017-18 were given in the Gross Public Expenditure (GPEX) publication which ceased in August 2020. For data covering 2018 onwards, UK Aid by sector and calendar year has been published in the FCDO Statistics on International Development (SID) publication. 2020 data will be available in Autumn 2021.

FCDO official aid spend disaggregated by sector code for 2018 and 2019 can be found in the Statistics for International Development: Final UK Aid Spend 2019 pilot table at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/967648/SID_Pilot_Tables.ods

For previous years please refer to the Statistics on International Development: UK Gross Public Expenditure (GPEX) publication at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-on-international-development-uk-gross-public-expenditure-gpex

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will list the Department for International Development's bilateral expenditure directly targeting HIV and AIDS under input sector codes 13041 and 13042 in financial years (a) 2017-18, (b) 2018-19 and (c) 2019-20.

Detailed reports on UK Official Development Assistance up until financial year 2017-18 were given in the Gross Public Expenditure (GPEX) publication which ceased in August 2020. For data covering 2018 onwards, UK Aid by sector and calendar year has been published in the FCDO Statistics on International Development (SID) publication. 2020 data will be available in Autumn 2021.

FCDO official aid spend disaggregated by sector code for 2018 and 2019 can be found in the Statistics for International Development: Final UK Aid Spend 2019 pilot table at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/967648/SID_Pilot_Tables.ods

For previous years please refer to the Statistics on International Development: UK Gross Public Expenditure (GPEX) publication at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-on-international-development-uk-gross-public-expenditure-gpex

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what contributions the Government made to the (a) core, and (b) non-core funding of (i) the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), (ii) the World Health Organization (WHO), (iii) the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), (iv) the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), (v) the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), (vi) Women and Children First UK, (vii) the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and (viii) the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) in (A) 2018, (B) 2019 and (C) 2020.

In recent years the UK has been a proud contributor to UNFPA, WHO, UNICEF, UNAIDS, IPPF (through the Women's Integrated Sexual Health Programme and the UK Aid Connect programme), Women and Children First UK, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and UN Women. Information on the UK's financial contributions can be found via the links provided.

  • UNFPA - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/920062/Table-A8.ods
  • WHO - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/920062/Table-A8.ods
  • UNICEF - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/920062/Table-A8.ods
  • UNAIDS - https://devtracker.fcdo.gov.uk/projects/GB-1-204036
  • IPPF - https://devtracker.fcdo.gov.uk/projects/GB-1-205241/transactions https://devtracker.fcdo.gov.uk/projects/GB-CHC-229476-ACCESS/transactions
  • Women and Children First UK - https://devtracker.fcdo.gov.uk/projects/GB-1-204266/transactions
  • The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/920062/Table-A8.ods
  • UN Women - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/920062/Table-A8.ods
Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
2nd Mar 2021
What assessment he has made of the effect of the proposed reduction in the Official Development Assistance budget on (a) universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights and (b) women and girls in the global south.

The UK is proud to defend universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights; these are fundamental to the empowerment of women and girls. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, UK aid helped over 25 million women and girls use modern methods of contraception.

Advancing gender equality and women’s rights are a core part of the UK Government’s work on development, including enabling girls to fulfil 12 years of quality education.

We are working through the implications of the ODA reductions for individual programmes and activities. No decisions on individual country or sectoral budgets have been made yet.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his Russian counterpart on (a) the recent abduction of two gay Chechen men in Western Russia by uniformed Chechen security officials and (b) the wider treatment of LGBT people in Russia.

We remain deeply concerned about the continuing persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya. Persecution for being LGBT, anywhere in the world, is abhorrent. As we state in our Travel Advice, there are credible reports of arrest, torture and extrajudicial killing of LGBT people in Chechnya. In December 2018 the UK was one of 16 countries to invoke the OSCE's Moscow Mechanism, requiring an independent OSCE investigation. The OSCE Moscow Mechanism's independent 2018 report confirmed allegations of serious human rights violations in Chechnya against LGBT people and other groups including unlawful detention, torture, and extrajudicial killings. We continue to urge Russia to implement the recommendations made in the Moscow Mechanism report and to end the climate of impunity for human rights abusers in Chechnya.

On 10 December 2020, we announced designations under our autonomous Global Human Rights sanctions regime, including those responsible for the ongoing torture and murder of LGBT people in Chechnya. We continue to raise our concerns about the persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya with the Russian Government at all levels. On 17 November 2020, I raised this with my counterpart, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Titov.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on the Middle East of the restoration of diplomatic relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit announcement on Tuesday 5 January is a significant development. We pay testament to Kuwaiti mediation efforts, and urge the parties to continue building on this positive dialogue. The UK has long encouraged all parties to find a resolution to this dispute. The GCC is our third largest export market outside of the EU. We look forward to continued collaboration with all our friends in the Gulf to strengthen our shared security and prosperity interests.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for Government policy on arms sales to Saudi Arabia of President-elect Biden’s pledge to end US support for the Saudi-led War in Yemen.

The UK takes its export control responsibilities and obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty extremely seriously and regularly calls on states which have not yet implemented various arms control instruments to accede to these instruments as soon as possible. We assess all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. The UK regularly raises, at senior level, the importance of complying with International Humanitarian Law and of conducting thorough and conclusive investigations into alleged violations with Saudi Arabia.

The Prime Minister spoke to President-elect Biden on 10 November to congratulate him. They discussed the close and longstanding relationship between our countries and committed to building on this partnership in the years ahead.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of working with the Biden Administration to encourage Saudi Arabia to release (a) Prince Turki Bin Abdullah, (b) human rights activists Loujain al-Hathloul and (c) other political detainees.

Our close relationship with Saudi Arabia allows us to raise our concerns about human rights, including on political detainees, in private and in public. We raise concerns about individual cases regularly, using a range of Ministerial and diplomatic channels, including our Embassy in Riyadh. The UK signed a statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September 2020. It noted our human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia, regretted the continued detention of at least five women's human rights defenders arrested in 2018, and called for the release of all political detainees. We continue to raise concerns at all levels and are monitoring the situation closely.

The Prime Minister spoke to President-elect Biden on 10 November to congratulate him. They discussed the close and longstanding relationship between our countries and committed to building on this partnership in the years ahead. The Prime Minister and President-elect also looked forward to working closely together on their shared priorities, from tackling climate change, to promoting democracy, and building back better from the coronavirus pandemic.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on the potential merits of ensuring that the release of uncharged political detainees and fair, transparent trials for those charged are conditions for agreeing free trade deals with Saudi Arabia.

We remain concerned over the continued detention of a number of individuals in Saudi Arabia, particularly those detained because of their political views. We raise concerns regularly and continue to call for political detainees to be given adequate legal representation. The UK signed a statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September 2020 that called for the release of all political detainees. At the current time, the UK is not negotiating a free trade deal with Saudi Arabia.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when he last made representations to his Saudi counterpart on the cases of (a) Prince Turki Bin Abdullah, (b) Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef and (c) other political detainees and women’s rights activists including Loujain al-Hathloul.

Our close relationship with Saudi Arabia allows us to raise our concerns about human rights, including on political detainees, in private and in public. We raise concerns about individual cases regularly, using a range of Ministerial and diplomatic channels, including our Embassy in Riyadh. The UK signed a statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September 2020. It noted our human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia, regretted the continued detention of at least five women's human rights defenders arrested in 2018, and called for the release of all political detainees. We continue to raise concerns at all levels and are monitoring the situation closely.

The Prime Minister spoke to President-elect Biden on 10 November to congratulate him. They discussed the close and longstanding relationship between our countries and committed to building on this partnership in the years ahead. The Prime Minister and President-elect also looked forward to working closely together on their shared priorities, from tackling climate change, to promoting democracy, and building back better from the coronavirus pandemic.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of fast-tracked approaches to vaccine development for covid-19; and what lessons can be learned from those approaches for the development of vaccines against (a) HIV/AIDS, (b) tuberculosis and (c) other global health challenges.

We are very encouraged by the progress of fast-tracked approaches to vaccine development for COVID-19. Several vaccine candidates have demonstrated very promising results in clinical trials, with one recently approved for use in the UK (Pfizer/BioNTech). Interim results for another candidate, developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, are also very encouraging and this vaccine is part of a portfolio of candidates funded by the UK-backed Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). We will need multiple safe and effective vaccines to control the pandemic in a range of populations and settings. CEPI is playing a vital role in enabling global access to successful vaccine candidates, especially in poorer countries.

Vaccine research for many global health challenges, including HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, is expensive, complex and high risk. The encouraging results on COVID-19 vaccines demonstrate the importance of international collaboration and having trials in multiple settings. It also highlights the need to address manufacturing capacity, accessibility and affordability at the same time as development of the vaccine, to ensure rapid access for poorer countries. The UK has been clear in its commitment to international collaboration in development and access to COVID-19 vaccines, as demonstrated by our significant financial commitments to CEPI and Gavi the Vaccine Alliance which are both under the COVAX facility.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if the Government will take steps to support the realisation of guaranteed access for frontline health workers globally by committing to share a portion of the vaccines they obtain through advanced purchase agreements with the COVAX Advance Market Commitment from the time of the first vaccine shipment.

Ensuring that frontline health workers across the world have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines will be a critical part of accelerating an end to the pandemic. The UK has supported this objective through funding of up to £548 million for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC). This funding will contribute to the supply of 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses for up to 92 developing countries by the end of 2021, subject to vaccines securing stringent regulatory approval.

The UK supports the role of the World Health Organisation in providing robust technical guidance on specific COVID-19 vaccine use strategies to ensure maximum public health, and wider impact. This includes prioritised access to vaccines for health and social care workers.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman on the release of (a) Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, (b) Prince Turki bin Abdullah and (c) other senior political figures detained without charge.

We will continue to monitor the cases of those detained in Saudi Arabia. The UK signed a statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September, which called for the release of all political detainees. We raise concerns about individual cases regularly, using a range of Ministerial and diplomatic channels, including our Embassy in Riyadh.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make UK attendance at the upcoming G20 in Riyadh contingent on the release of (a) Loujain al-Hathloul, (b) other human rights defenders, (c) Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, (d) Prince Turki bin Abdullah and (e) other political detainees.

The UK will participate in the G20 Summit, which is likely to focus on health, the global economic recovery and wider global challenges (including climate change, trade and development). It is a key part of international planning for a sustainable recovery from coronavirus. As current G20 President, Saudi Arabia will play a vital role in coordinating the global health and economic response. We hope that the international platform provided by the G20 Presidency encourages continued progress on domestic reforms.

Our close relationship with Saudi Arabia allows us to raise our concerns about human rights, including on political detainees, in private and in public. We have expressed significant concerns about reports of continuing arrests and arbitrary detentions in Saudi Arabia. We have raised detention cases, including Loujain al-Hathloul, at senior levels with the Saudi authorities. The UK signed a statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September. It regretted the continued detention of at least five women's human rights defenders, arrested in 2018, and called for the release of all political detainees. We continue to raise concerns at all levels and are monitoring the situation closely.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the CIA's assessment that Mohammad bin Salman ordered the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including Mohammed bin Salman in the next round of Magnitsky sanctions designations.

On 6 July the UK Government established the Global Human Rights ('Magnitsky') sanctions regime by laying regulations in Parliament under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. It is not appropriate to speculate on who may be designated under the Global Human Rights sanctions regime in the future. To do this could reduce the impact of the designations.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 on women and girls’ access to sexual and reproductive health services in Africa.

Evidence shows that women and girls' sexual and reproductive rights (SRHR) are under pressure as a result of COVID-19. Funded by the UK, the Guttmacher Institute estimated that a 10% decline in reproductive, maternal, new-born and child health services over the course of a year in low and low-middle income countries resulting from service disruption could lead to 49 million women with an unmet need for contraceptives and 15 million unintended pregnancies.

Women in Sub-Saharan Africa face interrupted access to SRH services. The supply of family planning commodities has faced major disruptions. We are in frequent touch with our NGO and UN partners to monitor the constraints and barriers women and girls face.

The UK will continue to show leadership internationally on this issue, and work with our partners through the crisis so they can continue to provide SRHR services. 'WISH', our flagship women's sexual & reproductive health programme, operates across 24 African countries. It has developed innovative ways to deliver services and supplies during COVID-19, while also supporting efforts to stop the spread of the disease.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help end preventable maternal deaths in Africa.

Investing in adolescent girls' equality, empowerment and 12 years of quality education is critical to breaking the intergenerational cycles of poverty, and this includes tackling the social norms that prevent them from realising their full potential.

The UK has provided a significant amount of support to adolescent girls in Africa. For example, our Women's Integrated Sexual Health (WISH) programme works across 24 countries in Africa to tackle the social norms that prevent girls and women from realising their sexual and reproductive health rights. Our flagship programme on child marriage has included targeted support in Ethiopia, Uganda, Mozambique, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Niger, Burkina Faso and Ghana. Since 2015 the programme has supported almost 8 million girls globally with schooling initiatives, skills training and girls' clubs to prevent and respond to child marriage. We will work to accelerate progress on a wider range of issues that hold girls back from accessing a quality education and achieving their potential.

The UK is co-leading the new global Generation Equality Action Coalition on gender-based violence to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action on Gender Equality. As part of this, FCDO is using evidence to help drive more concerted, coordinated global action across the international system to prevent and address violence against the most marginalised women and girls, with particular focus on adolescent girls.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help advance gender equality for adolescent girls and tackle harmful social norms in Africa.

Investing in adolescent girls' equality, empowerment and 12 years of quality education is critical to breaking the intergenerational cycles of poverty, and this includes tackling the social norms that prevent them from realising their full potential.

The UK has provided a significant amount of support to adolescent girls in Africa. For example, our Women's Integrated Sexual Health (WISH) programme works across 24 countries in Africa to tackle the social norms that prevent girls and women from realising their sexual and reproductive health rights. Our flagship programme on child marriage has included targeted support in Ethiopia, Uganda, Mozambique, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Niger, Burkina Faso and Ghana. Since 2015 the programme has supported almost 8 million girls globally with schooling initiatives, skills training and girls' clubs to prevent and respond to child marriage. We will work to accelerate progress on a wider range of issues that hold girls back from accessing a quality education and achieving their potential.

The UK is co-leading the new global Generation Equality Action Coalition on gender-based violence to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action on Gender Equality. As part of this, FCDO is using evidence to help drive more concerted, coordinated global action across the international system to prevent and address violence against the most marginalised women and girls, with particular focus on adolescent girls.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) girls’ education, (b) women’s economic empowerment, (c) the women, peace and security agenda and (d) other gender equality policies are a core priority for his Department.

Advancing gender equality and women's rights are a core part of the UK Government's mission, and Global Britain's role as a force for good in the world. The Government remains steadfast in its commitment to this agenda.

The new FCDO will continue to be a progressive force women and girls, including for their right to education, addressing the barriers to economic empowerment and promoting their meaningful participation in peace processes. We will work closely with partners across HMG to leverage the best development, diplomatic, defence and trade approaches to achieve maximum impact.

The UK International Development Act (Gender Equality) 2014 also makes a consideration of gender equality in all UK Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) a legal requirement. The Act puts our commitment to gender equality within ODA spend on a statutory footing and ensures that gender equality remains at the heart of our work.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will ensure continued UK leadership, investment, and evidence-based programming across the former Department for International Development's Strategic Vision’s five foundation areas of (a) violence against women and girls, (b) sexual and reproductive health and rights, (c) girls’ education, (d) women’s economic empowerment and (e) women’s political empowerment.

The UK is widely known as a world leader on gender equality. We fought successfully for a dedicated gender equality goal in the SDGs and targets on gender equality across the other goals. We continue to deliver results at scale. For example, between 2015 and 2020, we enabled 8.1 million girls gain access to a decent education, and in 2019-20 alone we supported 25.4 million women to access modern methods of family planning, helping to save thousands of lives.

The FCDO will build on this strong track record, bringing together our diplomacy and development expertise to be a progressive force for women and girls.

As part of the launch of the new Department, we will refresh and build on existing strategies, as well as develop new approaches, but we do not see the core ambitions of the Strategic Vision for Gender Equality changing. The challenges of advancing girls' education, sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR), women's political empowerment, women's economic empowerment and ending violence against women and girls (VAWG) are as acute now, if not more so, as when we published the strategy in 2018.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department will have staff dedicated to gender equality and sexual and reproductive health.

Advancing gender equality and women's rights are a core part of the UK Government's mission, and Global Britain's role as a force for good in the world. As part of this, we are committed to defending comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights and we will continue to be a progressive voice on this issue.

The merger fuses the best of our development expertise and world-leading diplomacy together, in a new department. All of the things that have made the UK a world leader in development will not change i.e. our thought leadership; the scale and quality of UK development programmes; and excellence of our analysis, long term perspective and staff.

Organisational plans for the new department are currently being shaped but I can confirm that gender has been specifically identified as an area of focus within the new leadership structure. The full details of the merger, including the structure of the new department, will be set out in due course.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy includes advancing gender equality as a key priority for his Department.

The UK remains fully committed to advancing gender equality and women's rights. The UK International Development (Gender Equality) Act makes consideration of gender equality in all UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) a legal requirement.

The Integrated Review and the creation of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) are evidence of the Prime Minister's commitment to a unified British foreign policy that will maximise our influence around the world, including on gender equality and women's rights. When the Prime Minister launched the Integrated Review, he was clear that it will set out the way in which the UK will be a problem-solving and burden-sharing nation. Our aim continues to be for an ambitious and bold Integrated Review that is guided by the UK's foreign policy, national security and development objectives. Advancing gender equality and women's rights are a core part of the UK Government's mission, and our role as a force for good in the world, including fulfilling every girl's right to 12 years of quality education. The Government remains steadfast in its commitment to this agenda.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Israeli counterpart on the killing of disabled Palestinian Eyad Hallaq by Israeli border police on 30 May 2020.

As the UK Consul General in Jerusalem and the UK Ambassador in Tel Aviv stated on 31 May, we are deeply saddened to hear about the death of Iyad Khairi Hallaq after he was shot by Israeli police in East Jerusalem. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family. We urge restraint in the use of live fire by the Israel Defense Forces. In instances where there have been accusations of excessive use of force, we have advocated swift, transparent investigations and if wrongdoing is found, that those responsible be held to account. The perpetual cycle of violence must end.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the transport of aviation fuel into Libya by Gulf Petroleum to forces allied to Khalifa Hiftar, what plans the Government has to (a) take legal action and (b) impose sanctions against companies found in violation of the arms embargo in Libya.

The UK is aware of allegations that aviation fuel was illicitly imported into Libya. The UK takes very seriously any reports of breaches of the UN Arms Embargo, which include imports of products such as aviation fuel destined for military use. These will be considered by the UN Sanctions Committee, which can decide to designate individuals or entities who undermine Libya's peace and security. The UK takes action against all individuals and entities so designated.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his overseas counterparts on removing host status of the 2020 Expo from the United Arab Emirates following that country's continued violation of the arms embargo to Libya.

We have been clear that external involvement in the Libya conflict is undermining UN efforts to end the fighting and bring the parties back to the negotiating table. We take very seriously all reports of violations of the UN arms embargo. The UK and the United Arab Emirates were amongst the participants in the 19 January Berlin conference on Libya, the conclusions of which were endorsed in UN Security Council Resolution 2510. This demanded that all UN Member States do not to intervene in the conflict, and fully comply with the UN arms embargo. We continue to make clear to all of the participants in the Berlin Conference that we expect them to live up to the commitments and support the UN political process.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure Khalifa Hiftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, is unable to illegally sell oil to international markets.

The Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation is the sole Libyan oil company with the authority to export Libyan oil. The UK condemns any attempts illicitly to export oil from Libya. In February, the UK led work to agree Security Council Resolution 2509 which extended the authorisations and measures imposed by Resolution 2146 relating to illicit oil exports. The resolutions enable the Sanctions Committee to designate vessels undertaking illicit oil exports and member states to interdict vessels so designated.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure continued support for the internationally recognised Government of National Accord in Libya.

The UK continues to support the Government of National Accord as the UN-endorsed government in Libya, and remains active in efforts to end the current fighting and to support a return to UN-led political talks. This month, I met separately with Libyan Prime Minister Serraj and with Interior Minister Bashaga. Ministers are also in regular contact on Libya with their European partners. The Prime Minister represented the UK at the Berlin Conference on Libya on 19 January, alongside other European and international leaders, and urged those present to respect the UN Arms Embargo and support a ceasefire. The conclusions of the Berlin Conference were endorsed by UK-drafted UN Security Council resolution 2510 (2020). In February, I attended the first meeting of the International Follow Up Committee to the Berlin Conference, in Munich.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on continued support for the internationally recognised Government of National Accord in Libya.

The UK continues to support the Government of National Accord as the UN-endorsed government in Libya, and remains active in efforts to end the current fighting and to support a return to UN-led political talks. This month, I met separately with Libyan Prime Minister Serraj and with Interior Minister Bashaga. Ministers are also in regular contact on Libya with their European partners. The Prime Minister represented the UK at the Berlin Conference on Libya on 19 January, alongside other European and international leaders, and urged those present to respect the UN Arms Embargo and support a ceasefire. The conclusions of the Berlin Conference were endorsed by UK-drafted UN Security Council resolution 2510 (2020). In February, I attended the first meeting of the International Follow Up Committee to the Berlin Conference, in Munich.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his Saudi Arabian counterpart on the recent arrests of (a) over 300 Government officials, (b) Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and (c) Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.

We will continue to monitor the cases of those detained in Saudi Arabia. We raise concerns about individual cases regularly, using a range of Ministerial and diplomatic channels, including our Embassy in Riyadh.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will take steps with his overseas counterparts to secure proof of life for (a) the 300 Government officials (b) political detainees and (c) Prince Turki bin Abdullah arrested recently.

While we have not requested this information from the Saudi authorities, we continue to monitor these cases. The British Government remains concerned over the continued detention of a number of individuals, particularly those detained in Saudi Arabia because of their political views. The Foreign Secretary raised our concerns on a number of cases during his visit to Saudi Arabia on 4 and 5 March.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Saudi Arabian authorities on legal representation for political detainees in that country.

We continue to monitor the cases of political detainees in Saudi Arabia. The Foreign Secretary raised our concerns on a number of cases during his visit to Saudi Arabia on 4 and 5 March. We raise concerns about individual cases regularly and will continue to call for political detainees to be given adequate legal representation.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Government has plans to send a UK delegation to the G20 to be held in Saudia Arabia following human rights abuses in that country.

The UK and Saudi Arabia have a longstanding bilateral relationship, based on trade; investment; defence; security; energy; and shared concerns on regional issues. The Foreign Secretary raised his concerns during his visit to Saudi Arabia on 4 and 5 March. Saudi Arabia's G20 Presidency is an opportunity to address issues of global importance, notably Covid-19. We hope that the international platform provided by the G20 Presidency encourages continued progress on domestic reforms.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will take diplomatic steps to support (a) the Libyan Government of National Accord and (b) a political solution to the ongoing conflict in that country.

The UK is clear that the Government of National Accord is the UN-endorsed government in Libya. We are also active in our support for the United Nations' central role in facilitating a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned inclusive political process. The Prime Minister represented the UK at the Berlin Conference on Libya on 19 January, alongside other international leaders, and urged those present to respect the UN Arms Embargo, support a ceasefire and a return to the UN-led political process. The conclusions of the Berlin Conference were endorsed by UK-led UN Security Council resolution 2510 (2020), which demands full compliance with the UN arms embargo, calls for an end to foreign military interference in Libya and makes clear that individuals or entities who breach the arms embargo or the ceasefire may be sanctioned with travel bans and asset freezes. In Munich on 16 February, I attended the first meeting of the International Follow Up Committee to the Berlin Conference. Alongside this, the UK welcomes and supports the UN's efforts to promote dialogue between Libyans on the political, security and economic tracks and encourages all parties to engage constructively with UNSRSG Salamé.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the Government's policy is on support for the UN-backed Government of National Accord in Libya; and if he will make a statement.

The UK is clear that the Government of National Accord is the UN-endorsed government in Libya. We are also active in our support for the United Nations' central role in facilitating a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned inclusive political process. The Prime Minister represented the UK at the Berlin Conference on Libya on 19 January, alongside other international leaders, and urged those present to respect the UN Arms Embargo, support a ceasefire and a return to the UN-led political process. The conclusions of the Berlin Conference were endorsed by UK-led UN Security Council resolution 2510 (2020), which demands full compliance with the UN arms embargo, calls for an end to foreign military interference in Libya and makes clear that individuals or entities who breach the arms embargo or the ceasefire may be sanctioned with travel bans and asset freezes. In Munich on 16 February, I attended the first meeting of the International Follow Up Committee to the Berlin Conference. Alongside this, the UK welcomes and supports the UN's efforts to promote dialogue between Libyans on the political, security and economic tracks and encourages all parties to engage constructively with UNSRSG Salamé.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the progress being made on political negotiations in Libya; and if he will make a statement.

The UK is clear that the Government of National Accord is the UN-endorsed government in Libya. We are also active in our support for the United Nations' central role in facilitating a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned inclusive political process. The Prime Minister represented the UK at the Berlin Conference on Libya on 19 January, alongside other international leaders, and urged those present to respect the UN Arms Embargo, support a ceasefire and a return to the UN-led political process. The conclusions of the Berlin Conference were endorsed by UK-led UN Security Council resolution 2510 (2020), which demands full compliance with the UN arms embargo, calls for an end to foreign military interference in Libya and makes clear that individuals or entities who breach the arms embargo or the ceasefire may be sanctioned with travel bans and asset freezes. In Munich on 16 February, I attended the first meeting of the International Follow Up Committee to the Berlin Conference. Alongside this, the UK welcomes and supports the UN's efforts to promote dialogue between Libyans on the political, security and economic tracks and encourages all parties to engage constructively with UNSRSG Salamé.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will introduce Magnitsky-style sanctions against the people responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Jamal Khashoggi's killing was a terrible crime, and his family deserve to see justice done. Saudi Arabia must hold all those responsible to account and ensure such an atrocity can never happen again. We have set out our grave concerns - both publicly and privately - and will continue to do so. We have announced our intention to establish a UK autonomous Global Human Rights ('Magnitsky'-style) sanctions regime. The regulations will come into force in the coming months. It is not appropriate to confirm who may be designated under the sanctions regime before designations are made; to do this could reduce the impact of the designations.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in Saudi Arabia on the ongoing detention of (a) Prince Turki bin Abdullah, (b) Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz bin Salman and (c) other activists and senior officials.

We continue to monitor the cases of political detainees in Saudi Arabia. We raise concerns about individual cases regularly, using a range of Ministerial and diplomatic channels, including our Embassy in Riyadh.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Government will impose sanctions on people found guilty by the International Criminal Court of human rights violations in Libya.

Whilst arrest warrants have been issued, no individual has yet been convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes in Libya. The UK strongly supports the work of the ICC to hold accountable those responsible for the most serious crimes in Libya. The UK continues, with our partners in the international community, to consider potential sanctions on individuals responsible for human rights violations or abuses in Libya.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Emirati counterpart on reports of arms embargo violations in Libya by the United Arab Emirates.

The UK is clear that external involvement in the Libya conflict is undermining UN efforts to end the fighting and bring the parties back to the negotiating table. We take very seriously all reports of violations of the UN arms embargo, including the findings of the UN Panel of Experts. The Government is in frequent contact with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) about the situation in Libya. The Foreign Secretary discussed it with his Emirati counterpart, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed, on 21 January. The UK and UAE supported the conclusions of the Berlin conference on Libya on 19 January that called for an end to external military support to the parties in Libya.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on the political situation in Libya on reports that the United Arab Emirates is arming Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter's Libyan Arab Armed Forces.

The UK is clear that external involvement in the Libya conflict is undermining UN efforts to end the fighting and bring the parties back to the negotiating table. We take very seriously all reports of violations of the UN arms embargo, including the findings of the UN Panel of Experts. The Government is in frequent contact with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) about the situation in Libya. The Foreign Secretary discussed it with his Emirati counterpart, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed, on 21 January. The UK and UAE supported the conclusions of the Berlin conference on Libya on 19 January that called for an end to external military support to the parties in Libya.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what progress the Government has made in bringing forward a Magnitsky-style amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018.

We have announced our intention to establish a Global Human Rights ('Magnitsky-style') sanctions regime in the coming months. We will do this by laying in Parliament a Statutory Instrument (SI) under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. Designing the first piece of UK autonomous sanctions legislation is complex, and worth taking time to get this right.

A global sanctions regime will allow us to respond to serious human rights violations or abuses anywhere in the world. We are a global leader in the promotion and protection of human rights and we want to demonstrate that the United Kingdom can be a force for good in the world. A human rights sanctions regime will help support our human rights objectives. The sanctions regime is not intended to target individual countries, but those who commit serious human rights violations or abuses anywhere in the world.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of extending the 12.5 per cent VAT rates until the end of 2022 to help hospitality businesses.

The temporary reduced rate of VAT was introduced on 15 July 2020 to support the cash flow and viability of around 150,000 businesses and protect over 2.4 million jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors. As announced at Spring Budget 2021, the Government extended the 5 per cent temporary reduced rate of VAT for the tourism and hospitality sectors until the end of September. On 1 October 2021, a new reduced rate of 12.5 per cent was introduced for these goods and services to help ease affected businesses back to the standard rate. This relief ended on the 31 March 2022.

The Government has been clear that the reduced rate of VAT for hospitality and tourism was a temporary measure designed to support the sectors that have been severely affected by COVID-19. It was appropriate that as restrictions were lifted and demand for goods and services in these sectors increased, the temporary tax reliefs were first reduced, and then removed, in order to rebuild and strengthen the public finances.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th May 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department plans to increase the number of staff in his Department assigned to work on tackling tax avoidance by multinational companies.

The Government has taken significant steps, domestically and internationally, to ensure companies pay the right amount of tax on their UK activities. That includes measures aimed at countering aggressive tax planning techniques like the introduction of the Diverted Profits Tax. It also includes taking a leading role in OECD discussions to reform the international tax framework and the agreement to a global minimum Corporation Tax as part of a two-pillar solution which helps ensure that the right companies pay the right amount of tax in the right place.

Further, the Government has ensured that HMRC has the resources it needs through investing over £2 billion in HMRC since 2010 and allocating almost £300 million additional funding in the 2021 spending review to tackle avoidance, evasion and other forms of non-compliance

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support the use of cash and increase access to cash machines.

The Government recognises that cash remains an important part of daily life for millions of people across the UK, and remains committed to legislating to protect access to cash.

From 1 July to 23 September last year, the Government held the Access to Cash Consultation on proposals for new laws to make sure people only need to travel a reasonable distance to pay in or take out cash. The Government’s proposals intend to support the continued use of cash in people’s daily lives and help to enable local businesses to continue accepting cash by ensuring they can access deposit facilities.

The Government received responses to the consultation from a broad range of respondents, including individuals, businesses, and charities. The Government has carefully considered responses to the consultation and will set out next steps in due course.

15th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of changes to wine duty announced in his Alcohol Duty Review on (a) inflation and (b) the cost of living.

As announced at Autumn Budget 2021, the Government intends to move to a duty system where all wines are taxed in reference to their alcohol content, as is already the case for beer and spirits. Subsequently, some higher strength still wines will increase in duty, while lighter wines (below 11.5% alcohol by volume – ABV) will become cheaper. For lower strength wines below 8.5% ABV, duty rates will be reduced even further.

Further detail about the impact of our alcohol duty reforms will be included in a tax information and impact note when the policy is final, or near final, in the usual way.

4th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department is making funds available to support the care and housing of refugees from Ukraine.

The UK has a proud history of providing protection to the most vulnerable people. To support those fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Home Office has launched the Ukraine Family Scheme to allow thousands of families to be reunited in the UK. The Scheme allows immediate and extended family members of British nationals and people settled in the UK to come to the country. Those joining family through the Scheme will be granted leave for 3 years, giving them certainty and ensuring their future in the country. The Scheme is free, and does not include any salary or language requirements.

In addition, a new sponsored humanitarian visa route will be established to allow communities, private sponsors, or local authorities to sponsor people to come the UK from Ukraine. The Treasury is working closely with departments across government on the design and funding of these new routes.

In addition to these changes to the immigration system, the government has already committed around £400m to support the current crisis in Ukraine. This includes up to £220m in humanitarian aid, making the UK the largest bilateral humanitarian donor to Ukraine. This much-needed humanitarian assistance will help aid agencies respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation, saving lives, protecting vulnerable people and creating a lifeline for Ukrainians with access to basic necessities. It also includes a commitment to match-fund the public’s first £20m of donations to the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, our largest ever aid-match contribution. UK Government humanitarian experts have also been deployed to the region to bolster the UK's support to countries receiving those fleeing the violence in Ukraine.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to tackle inflation.

The Government’s commitment to price stability remains absolute. Monetary policy is the responsibility of the independent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England, which has the primary objective of maintaining price stability. Since the MPC became responsible for controlling inflation it has averaged close to the 2% target.

We understand the pressure that a higher cost of living places on people. The government is working with international partners to tackle global supply chain disruption and providing support worth around £12 billion this financial year and next to help people with the cost of living. This includes cutting the Universal Credit taper rate to make sure work pays, freezing alcohol and fuel duties to keep costs down, and providing targeted support to help vulnerable households with their energy bills and other essentials.

3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing the use of unused childcare vouchers issued during the covid-19 outbreak for school trips and other activities that take place during school hours.

To protect and safeguard children, Childcare Vouchers may only be used for regulated supervised childcare activities (e.g. wraparound childcare). Childcare Vouchers cannot be used to cover the costs of activities during school hours as they fall outside of the definition of childcare.

We are aware that some parents have excess vouchers as a result of the pandemic, and it may be possible to use these for other forms of childcare. Some childcare providers do accept them, for example, towards the cost of holiday clubs and a range of after-school activities.

Additionally, parents may consider temporarily reducing their contributions to the Childcare Voucher scheme, to avoid creating an excess. They may also seek to get a refund from their employer or voucher provider. Whether the refund to parents is possible depends on the contract between the voucher provider, employee and employer.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that people with a mental health disability under the Equality Act 2010 are not denied life insurance cover as a result of their disability or for other discriminatory reasons.

The Government is determined that all insurers should treat customers fairly.

Under the Equalities Act 2010, an insurance provider cannot refuse to cover potential customers or charge more for insurance on the basis of an applicant’s mental health problem, except in specified circumstances as set out in the legislation.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) sets the conduct standard required of insurance firms in relation to their business. They require firms dealing with all customers, including those with mental health issues and other vulnerabilities, to act honestly, fairly and professionally in accordance with their customers' best interests; to pay due regard to the interests of their customers and treat them fairly; and communicate information to them in a way which is clear, fair and not misleading.

Where the FCA becomes aware that firms are treating customers, including customers with vulnerabilities such as mental health issues, unfairly, they will consider this on a case-by-case basis and use the full range of regulatory and supervisory powers to put things right. They are authorised to impose fines, order injunctions, bring criminal prosecution and issue public censure when disciplinary action against a firm or individual is taken. The FCA sets out their enforcement powers on their website.

The FCA has placed access and vulnerability at the core of its Mission and Business Plan. In February 2021, the FCA published its guidance for firms on the treatment of vulnerable consumers, including those with mental health conditions. This can be accessed here: https://www.fca.org.uk/publications/finalised-guidance/guidance-firms-fair-treatment-vulnerable-customers

7th Sep 2021
What assessment he has made of the potential effect of the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on the number of jobs that will be retained.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was designed as a temporary measure. Closing the scheme at the end of September strikes the right balance between supporting the economy, protecting incomes, and getting people back to work.

This is working; at the start of this crisis, unemployment was expected to reach 12 per cent or more. It is now forecast to peak at about half of that level, meaning almost 2 million fewer people losing their jobs than previously feared.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of adequacy of resources available to the Valuation Office Agency during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Treasury continues to provide the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) with the resources required successfully to deliver the valuations and property advice needed to support taxation and benefits. The VOA has received additional funding to deliver their operational activities including an extra £9m in 2018-19 and £25m in 2019-20, on top of its core budget and an additional £11.5m at Budget 2020 to modernise its IT systems.

The VOA has received a high increase in volumes with the check and challenge service as a consequence of COVID-19 which has put pressure on the service. These volumes are monitored actively and the VOA continues to flex resource to meet changing demand.

The Treasury works closely with the VOA and its sponsor department, HMRC, to understand the VOA’s resource requirements and is considering the appropriate level of funding for the next financial year as part of the current Spending Round.

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 13 October 2020 to Question 100924, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing business rate relief for airports.

The?Government keeps all tax policy under review and is conducting a fundamental review of the business rates system in England. A Call for Evidence was published on 21 July and the Government is now considering responses.

A range of measures to support all businesses, including airports, has been made available, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms keep people in employment, and the deferral of Value Added Tax (VAT) payments.

The Government has also launched a new Global Travel Taskforce in order to support the travel industry and the safe recovery of international travel.

8th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implementing business rate relief for airports in response to the reduction in passenger traffic.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation industry as a result of COVID-19, and firms experiencing difficulties as a result of COVID-19 can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including schemes to raise capital and flexibilities with tax bills. Firms in the aviation sector will now also be able to take advantage of the targeted package of measures to support jobs and businesses through the winter months.

The Government has also launched a new Global Travel Taskforce to work with industry to support the safe recovery of international travel.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating additional funding to local authorities for the provision of park sporting facilities as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Government has provided a comprehensive package of support for councils to help with their response to Covid-19. Over £3.7bn in additional grant funding has been announced for councils in England, which can be used flexibly across all their services, and Sport England have announced a support package of £210 million to help community clubs through this crisis. The Government will continue to work closely with local authorities to monitor the pressures that they are facing.

10th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to return the use of cash to normal safety levels.

The Government recognises that widespread access to cash is extremely important to the daily lives of millions of people across the UK. The Government is engaging with the financial regulators, including through the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group, to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the UK’s cash infrastructure and remains committed to protecting access to cash for those who need it, while supporting digital payments.

At the March 2020 Budget, the Chancellor announced that Government will bring forward legislation to protect access to cash and ensure that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable in the long-term. The Government is engaging with regulators and industry while designing legislation, ensuring that the approach reflects the needs of cash users across the economy.

20th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of businesses that will be excluded from the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund due to the exclusion of the event catering industry from the Government's definition of the hospitality industry.

The Government does not hold this information.

The Government recognises that this is a very challenging time for businesses in a wide variety of sectors. Small businesses occupying properties for retail, hospitality or leisure purposes are likely to be particularly affected by COVID-19 due to their reliance on customer footfall, and the fact that they are less likely than larger businesses to have sufficient cash reserves to meet their high fixed property-related costs. The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund is intended to help small businesses in this situation.

Local Authorities can choose to make discretionary grants to businesses in other sectors if they feel there is a particular local economic need. However, the priority of all the grants schemes continues to be to help the smallest businesses, and small businesses which are facing significant property-related costs and operate in sectors which have been particularly hard hit by the steep decline in customer footfall.

13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to establish the Monitoring Committee set out in the Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and Rwanda for the provision of an asylum partnership.

An independent Monitoring Committee for the Migration and Economic Development Partnership will monitor the entire relocation process and compliance with assurances in the Memorandum of Understanding, including the processing of asylum claims and provision of support in Rwanda.

The Monitoring Committee will agree an annual, resourced monitoring plan with the Joint Committee. The terms of reference and membership of the Monitoring Committee for the Migration and Economic Development Partnership are in the process of being developed and will set out how the Monitoring Committee will report its findings.

The Monitoring Committee is due to become established over the next few weeks. More details on this will be set out in due course.

Simon Baynes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will ensure that the Monitoring Committee set out in the Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and Rwanda for the provision of an asylum partnership is established before anyone is transferred under that scheme.

An independent Monitoring Committee for the Migration and Economic Development Partnership will monitor the entire relocation process and compliance with assurances in the Memorandum of Understanding, including the processing of asylum claims and provision of support in Rwanda.

The Monitoring Committee will agree an annual, resourced monitoring plan with the Joint Committee. The terms of reference and membership of the Monitoring Committee for the Migration and Economic Development Partnership are in the process of being developed and will set out how the Monitoring Committee will report its findings.

The Monitoring Committee is due to become established over the next few weeks. More details on this will be set out in due course.

Simon Baynes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what resources will be provided to the Monitoring Committee set out in the Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and Rwanda for the provision of an asylum partnership to enable it to fulfil its functions.

An independent Monitoring Committee for the Migration and Economic Development Partnership will monitor the entire relocation process and compliance with assurances in the Memorandum of Understanding, including the processing of asylum claims and provision of support in Rwanda.

The Monitoring Committee will agree an annual, resourced monitoring plan with the Joint Committee. The terms of reference and membership of the Monitoring Committee for the Migration and Economic Development Partnership are in the process of being developed and will set out how the Monitoring Committee will report its findings.

The Monitoring Committee is due to become established over the next few weeks. More details on this will be set out in due course.

Simon Baynes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the findings and recommendations of the Monitoring Committee set out in the Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and Rwanda for the provision of an asylum partnership will be made publicly available.

An independent Monitoring Committee for the Migration and Economic Development Partnership will monitor the entire relocation process and compliance with assurances in the Memorandum of Understanding, including the processing of asylum claims and provision of support in Rwanda.

The Monitoring Committee will agree an annual, resourced monitoring plan with the Joint Committee. The terms of reference and membership of the Monitoring Committee for the Migration and Economic Development Partnership are in the process of being developed and will set out how the Monitoring Committee will report its findings.

The Monitoring Committee is due to become established over the next few weeks. More details on this will be set out in due course.

Simon Baynes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that her policy of transferring people with asylum applications to Rwanda does not result in the separation of families.

With the exception of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, any individual who has arrived in the UK through dangerous, illegal and unnecessary methods since 1 January 2022 may be considered for relocation to Rwanda. Decisions will be taken on a case-by-case basis, and nobody will be relocated if it is unsafe or inappropriate for them.

Everyone considered for relocation will be screened and have access to legal advice.

We have published our Inadmissibility guidance on GOV.UK to make clearer provisions for removals to a safe third country under a model like the MEDP Partnership.

Those with family links in the UK, who want to be considered for entry to the UK, should seek to do so via safe and legal routes. Nobody needs to put their lives into the hands of criminal people smuggling gangs by making dangerous and irregular journeys. Individuals with family in the UK may still be relocated to Rwanda subject to a detailed consideration of their Article 8 rights under the Human Rights Act.

Simon Baynes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Answer of 26 April 2022 to Question 156340 on Sexual Harassment: Public Places, what her timeline is for the planned public consultation on whether there should be a criminal offence of public sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment in public places is appalling, and this Government is committed to tackling it. Women and girls have the right to both be and feel safe on our streets.

As set out in the Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy, published last July, and whose Call for Evidence was informed by over 180,000 responses, the vast majority of them from the public, we have been looking carefully at where there may be gaps in existing law and how a specific offence for public sexual harassment could address those.

As a result of this work, we will by the summer recess begin a consultation on whether there should be a new offence of public sexual harassment. We will seek to ensure that a representative range of voices is included in the responses to the consultation.

20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to make public sexual harassment a criminal offence.

Sexual harassment in public places is appalling, and this Government is committed to tackling it. Women and girls have the right to both be and feel safe on our streets.

As set out in the Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy, published last July, and whose Call for Evidence was informed by over 180,000 responses, the vast majority of them from the public, we have been looking carefully at where there may be gaps in existing law and how a specific offence for public sexual harassment could address those.

As a result of this work, we will by the summer recess begin a consultation on whether there should be a new offence of public sexual harassment. We will seek to ensure that a representative range of voices is included in the responses to the consultation.

19th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the value for money of the Jamaica deportation charter flight on 8 May 2022.

This Government’s priority is keeping the people of this country safe, and we make no apology for seeking to remove dangerous foreign criminals. Foreign nationals who abuse our hospitality by committing crimes should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them.

Charter flight operations there are an important means to return disruptive individuals or where they are limited scheduled routes, particularly during the global Coronavirus pandemic. We manage the charter programme flexibly, balancing it with the use of scheduled flights to best respond to operational needs.

The endless merry go round of late legal claims – which are often unfounded or without merit – can result in people being removed from flights at the last minute.

Our New Plan for Immigration will stop the abuse of the system and expedite the removal of those who have no right to be here.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of recent trends in the level of decision making costs for migration applications on migration application fees.

Fees and the estimated unit cost for immigration and nationality applications are kept under review. When setting visa, immigration and citizenship fees, the Home Office takes into account a number of factors set by Section 68(9) of the Immigration Act 2014. Full details of which can be found via the following link:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/22/section/68

The fees include the cost of processing the application, the wider cost of running the migration and borders system, international comparisons and the benefits that are likely to accrue from a successful application.

Fees and the estimated unit costs for immigration and nationality applications are published on gov.uk and can be viewed through this link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visa-fees-transparency-data

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish the (a) rationale and (b) number of applications in the latest period for which data is available for each definition for migration applications classified as non-straightforward.

The complexity of an application varies from case to case due to a range of factors which may include the various checks that must be carried out in the course of assessment.

The Home Office routinely conducts checks with other government departments and external agencies. This may mean the time it takes to process an application may be longer than normal, but in some cases, it is essential we do so.

If an application is deemed complex and expected to take longer than the standard processing timescale, UKVI will write to the customer within the standard processing time and explain what will happen next.

The Home Office is committed to publishing data in an orderly way as part of the regular quarterly Immigration Statistics, in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Transparency Data provides a breakdown of applications classified straightforward and non-straightforward and is available at Tab VC_02 of ‘Visas and Citizenship data: Q4 2021’: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visas-and-citizenship-data-q4-2021

Latest statistics published on 24 February 2022 shows the breakdown of cases that are classified as straightforward from Quarter 2 2019 until Quarter 4 of 2021 is 5,640,606 and non-straightforward during the same time frame is 629,403. The next set of data is due to be published on 26 May 2022.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to expedite enhanced DBS checks for (a) Ukrainian refugees and (b) UK applicants to the Homes for Ukraine scheme to speed up the process of children coming to the UK from Ukraine.

This question can be best answered by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and should therefore be directed to that Department.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Animals in Science Regulation Unit; and what assessment she has made of the compatibility of her Department’s change programme with the UK's animal welfare responsibilities.

The Animals in Science Regulation Unit has undertaken a change programme to benchmark itself against leading regulatory practice. The aim of the programme has been to improve its effectiveness.

Under the Change Programme the Regulator has strengthened its regulatory oversight and published its process of full system audits at: www.gov.uk/guidance/animal-research-technical-advice#process-and-standards-for-establishment-full-system-audits.

At audits the Regulator requires evidence for assessment of compliance against all legal licence conditions, including those for animal welfare, which is available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/animal-research-technical-advice#process-and-standards-for-establishment-full-system-audits.

18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of naturalisation applications were completed within her Department’s target of six months in each of the last four reporting periods for which data is available.

Secretary of State’s Home Department publishes data on naturalisation applications completed within six months, this data for the previous 4 quarters can be found on the Gov.uk website at.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visas-and-citizenship-data-q1-2021

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visas-and-citizenship-data-q2-2021

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visas-and-citizenship-data-q3-2021

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visas-and-citizenship-data-q4-2021

The last set of data was published on 24th February 2022.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the cost to residential leaseholders of ensuring tall buildings meet (a) building and (b) fire safety regulations following the Fire Safety Act.

An impact assessment for the Fire Safety Act 2021 was published alongside its introduction on 12 March 2020 and is available here Impact Assessment (parliament.uk).

The Government intends to lay fire safety regulations to implement the majority of the recommendations made by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry in the Phase 1 report, which require a change in the law, as soon as possible once the Fire Safety Act 2021 is commenced in full in England. The impact assessment published alongside the Fire Safety Consultation on 9 July 2020 included an assessment of the costs for the planned fire safety regulations and is available here Fire safety - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). A new impact assessment will be published alongside the regulations when they are laid.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of compensating passport holders for lost unexpired time on their passports at renewal.

As the British passport remains a valid passport up until its expiry date, and a need to renew early is determined by where the holder may choose to travel, there are no plans to compensate for any unused validity period.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to CPS guidance, Prostitution and Exploitation of Prostitution, revised on 4 January 2019, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to ensure that a victim of a sex for rent offence is not defined as a prostitute by prosecuting authorities.

The Government is clear that exploitation through ‘sex for rent’ has no place in our society. There are two offences in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 which can, and have, been used to successfully prosecute this practice the section 52 offence of causing or inciting prostitution for gain and the section 53 offence of controlling prostitution for gain). In January 2021, the CPS authorised the first charge for ‘sex for rent’ allegations under section 52. The individual against whom these allegations were made pleaded guilty to two counts of inciting prostitution for gain earlier this year.

Anyone making a report to the police would benefit from the anonymity provisions within the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992.

We recognise the need to stamp out this abhorrent practice and support those at risk of exploitation. We have already taken action around this to ensure prosecutors are clear on the law. In 2019 the CPS amended their guidance on ‘Prostitution and Exploitation of Prostitution’ to include specific reference to the potential availability of charges for offences under sections 52 and 53 for ‘sex for rent’ arrangements.

In addition, we recognise the importance of preventing individuals being exploited through this practice. To better protect tenants from rogue landlords who have been convicted of certain criminal offences, we introduced banning orders through the Housing and Planning Act 2016 – these orders prohibits named individuals from engaging in letting and property management work.

We are committed to ensuring we have the right measures in place to tackle this practice. As we made clear during the debate at Commons Consideration of Lords amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, we will be launching a consultation before summer recess on the issue of sex for rent, including the effectiveness of existing legislation. This would provide a useful opportunity to work with the police, CPS and others (including victims) to better understand this issue and the effectiveness of the current law, the case for a bespoke offence and whether further measures may be beneficial. It will also be important to ensure that any bespoke offence worked with both the Online Safety Bill provisions and the existing prostitution offences.

1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many refugees her Department estimates will arrive from Ukraine; and whether her Department plans to limit the number of refugees that it will admit from Ukraine.

The Government has set no limit on the number of Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion who can come to the UK and does not plan to.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she intends to respond to the case raised in HC debate 25 January, vol 707, col 832, on Iranian refugees, and the correspondence of 25 January and 9 February from the hon. Member for Ealing, Southall constituency.

The Home Office responded to the Hon. Member’s correspondence on 28 February 2022.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of allowing people in the process of regularising their immigration status to be able to (a) register for a National Insurance number, (b) apply for a UK-issued driving licence and (c) apply for a unique taxpayer reference number if self-employed.

In common with other comparable countries, the UK has in place a framework of laws, policies and administrative arrangements to ensure access to work, benefits and services is only permitted for those who are lawfully present in the UK who have the right to access them. This includes restrictions on the ability to obtain a UK driving licence for those without lawful status. The aim of these policies is to deter and prevent immigration offences, including clandestine entry and overstaying.

DWP is responsible for the Adult National Insurance number (NINO) allocation process, which allocates NINOs predominantly for work purposes. Consistent with immigration policy, proof of a right to work in the UK is a condition in the allocation of a work-related NINO.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of simplifying the process for undocumented migrants to regularise their immigration status.

The Government remains committed to an immigration policy which welcomes people to the UK through safe and legal routes but deters illegal immigration.

There are several options available for those in the UK without lawful leave to regularise their immigration status. The Immigration Rules set out the requirements to be met to qualify for a right to remain which provides clarity for applicants and decision makers alike. There are also discretionary policies for leave to be granted outside the Immigration Rules in exceptional circumstances.

The Home Office has accepted the Law Commission’s report on the simplification of the Immigration Rules and is in the process of revising and simplifying the immigration rules. We are currently in the process of simplifying routes such as private and family life which are open to undocumented migrants.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with Ministerial colleagues on opening the Afghan citizens' resettlement scheme; and what estimate she has made of the date on which that scheme will open to applicants.

The Home Secretary continues to meet regularly with Ministers to discuss the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) and the wider response to events in Afghanistan.

The scheme is not yet open and remains under development, given the complex and challenging situation in Afghanistan. However, the first to be resettled through this scheme will be some of those who arrived in the UK as a result of the evacuation (Operation Pitting), which included individuals who were considered to be at particular risk – including women’s rights activists, prosecutors and journalists.

Further information on the eligibility, prioritisation and referral of people for the ACRS is set out in the policy statement published on gov.uk on 13 September, available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement

8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans the Government has to support BN(O) holders’ children who cannot renew their passports through the Chinese embassy due to safety concerns.

To apply for the Hong Kong BN(O) route, applicants must have a valid passport or other travel document which shows their identity and nationality.

Where applicants do not have a valid passport, they will need to submit an alternative, valid travel document which can be used to prove their identity and nationality. This means a document, other than a passport, which has been issued by the government of the UK or another state and which enables travel from one country to another, for example, a valid national identity card.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing a separate lifeboat scheme, mirroring Canadian-Australian arrangements, for 18-23 year old non-BN(O)s if they cannot apply for the BN(O) visa with their families.

The Hong Kong BN(O) route is for those with BN(O) status and their eligible family members including adult children who were born after 1 July 1997 and who live with their parents. We do not currently have any plans to change these requirements.

Those not eligible for the BN(O) route can consider other UK immigration routes. For instance, individuals from Hong Kong can apply under the terms of the UK’s new Points Based System, which will enable them to come to the UK in a wider range of professions and at a lower general salary threshold than in the past. There is also the existing youth mobility scheme which is open to those aged between 18 and 30 and offers a two-year grant of leave in the UK. There are 1,000 places currently available each year.

Those applying for the route do not need to travel to the UK on their BN(O) passport but will need another valid travel document in order to travel. This is set out on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/british-national-overseas-bno-visa

The UK will continue to recognise valid BN(O) passports as valid travel and identity documents.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans the Government has to (a) expand and (b) clarify the BN(O) scheme to ensure that people relying on their BN(O) passports as their travel documents are able to use those documents when travelling (i) internationally and (ii) to the UK.

The Hong Kong BN(O) route is for those with BN(O) status and their eligible family members including adult children who were born after 1 July 1997 and who live with their parents. We do not currently have any plans to change these requirements.

Those not eligible for the BN(O) route can consider other UK immigration routes. For instance, individuals from Hong Kong can apply under the terms of the UK’s new Points Based System, which will enable them to come to the UK in a wider range of professions and at a lower general salary threshold than in the past. There is also the existing youth mobility scheme which is open to those aged between 18 and 30 and offers a two-year grant of leave in the UK. There are 1,000 places currently available each year.

Those applying for the route do not need to travel to the UK on their BN(O) passport but will need another valid travel document in order to travel. This is set out on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/british-national-overseas-bno-visa

The UK will continue to recognise valid BN(O) passports as valid travel and identity documents.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of collecting ethnicity as part of child sexual abuse data.

Child sexual abuse is an abhorrent crime and we will leave no stone unturned to prevent and pursue offenders, protect children and young people, and support victims and survivors from all backgrounds.

All police forces routinely collect data on recorded child sexual abuse offences, including offences related to indecent images of children. These figures are published quarterly by the Office for National statistics, and are broken down by offence types and police force areas. In the most recent data, published 13 May 2021, there were nearly 90,000 CSA offences recorded, an increase of nearly 300% since 2013. Crime in England and Wales - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

The Government is clear that understanding possible drivers of crime is key to developing ways to prevent offending and better support victims. That is why the Home Secretary introduced a new requirement for police forces to collect ethnicity data for those arrested and held in custody as a result of their suspected involvement in group-based child sexual exploitation in March 2021. Complying with the requirement will be voluntary for one year to allow forces to update their systems, after which it will become mandatory. This follows the Government’s commitment in the Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy (January 2021) to improve the quality of data collected on the characteristics of offenders.

Police forces have a duty to collect this data through the Annual Data Requirement (ADR) as set out in the Police Act 1996. The ADR is reviewed on an annual basis, and the Home Office will continue to consider data requirements in relation to child sexual abuse, ensuring that all proposals for new data collections are consulted on with the police to ensure that such requests are proportionate, and do not place unnecessary burdens on police forces.

Additionally the Government is constantly striving to better understand the nature of child sexual abuse through the work of the Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse, which it established in 2017, and the insight of other experts including the ONS and the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse, who have produced research on ethnic minority victims of CSEA.