Written Question
Armed Forces: Housing
14 Jul 2020, 8:30 a.m.

Questioner: Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to improve the (a) insulation and (b) energy efficiency of buildings owned by (i) his Department and (ii) the armed services.

Answer (Jeremy Quin)

The Department has invested in energy saving initiatives within the Defence Estate, including LED lighting, improving Building Management Control, the installation of pipe lagging and the replacement of boilers and heating systems. In addition, the Defence Related Environmental Assessment Method (DREAM) is an environmental performance assessment required for new build and refurbishment projects within Ministry of Defence (MOD). DREAM has a focus on the various means to reduce energy and improve efficiency.

Energy Audits are completed across the highest consuming Area Utility sites. This promotes the identification of future opportunities to help drive down cost, consumption and CO2 emissions.

Across the MOD housing estate, the annual improvement programme includes a range of energy efficiency measures such as: the installation of new boilers, doors and windows; improving loft and external wall insulation; replacing roofs; and removal and capping of chimneys.


Written Question
Armed Forces: Housing
14 Jul 2020, 8:29 a.m.

Questioner: Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will make it his policy to ensure that new homes built for service (a) men and (b) women are constructed to high levels of energy efficiency.

Answer (Jeremy Quin)

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has policy in place to ensure that providers of new build homes construct properties to achieve high levels of energy efficiency.

The MOD is also developing pilot projects this year to identify how best to maximise the energy performance of residential buildings and reduce carbon emissions. Two pilot projects will be carried out at RAF Marham and RAF Brize Norton, retrofitting innovative technologies to existing buildings.


Written Question
Type 26 Frigates: Procurement
14 Jul 2020, 8:28 a.m.

Questioner: Mr Kevan Jones

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2020 to Question 65949 on Type 26 Frigates: Procurement, for what reason the decision on the second tranche of funding for the Type 26 Frigate has been delayed.

Answer (Jeremy Quin)

There is no delay; on current plans the separate approval and contract for the Type 26 Batch 2 Frigates is expected to be awarded in the early 2020s.


Written Question
Ministry of Defence: Tree Planting
14 Jul 2020, 8:28 a.m.

Questioner: Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which areas of (a) Ministry of Defence and (b) armed services land is being used in relation to the tree planting programmes supported by the Government.

Answer (Jeremy Quin)

Ministry of Defence (MOD) officials are working closely with colleagues at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Forestry Commission to ensure suitable MOD land is included within Government Programmes.

MOD officials are undertaking an extensive UK wide survey to establish how much potential land is available for woodland creation on its estate.

Site specific areas for new woodland are currently being finalised in Long-Term Forest Plans. MOD officials have identified potential tree planting opportunities across 25 UK sites, totalling some 750ha, potentially 1.5 - 2 million trees dependent on planting schemes.

Advanced planning work is already underway at Otterburn, Okehampton and Driffield Training Areas.


Written Question
Ministry of Defence: Tree Planting
14 Jul 2020, 8:28 a.m.

Questioner: Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to ensure that Ministry of Defence land is included in Government programmes to (a) plant trees and (b) create new forests.

Answer (Jeremy Quin)

Ministry of Defence (MOD) officials are working closely with colleagues at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Forestry Commission to ensure suitable MOD land is included within Government Programmes.

MOD officials are undertaking an extensive UK wide survey to establish how much potential land is available for woodland creation on its estate.

Site specific areas for new woodland are currently being finalised in Long-Term Forest Plans. MOD officials have identified potential tree planting opportunities across 25 UK sites, totalling some 750ha, potentially 1.5 - 2 million trees dependent on planting schemes.

Advanced planning work is already underway at Otterburn, Okehampton and Driffield Training Areas.


Written Question
Armed Forces: Complaints
14 Jul 2020, 8:11 a.m.

Questioner: Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many Service Complaints his Department received from armed forces personnel 15 to 18; and what the outcome was of those complaints.

Answer (Johnny Mercer)

The Service Complaints (SC) procedure exists to provide recourse to members of the Armed Forces (or those who are subject to Service Law) who are aggrieved due to the actions of either individuals, or the Service as a whole. SCs can cover a range of issues, from allowances and promotions to bullying and harassment. I can confirm that in the last calendar year (1 Jan 2019 - 31 Dec 2019), less than five SCs were received from Service Personnel aged 16 - 18. As 16 is the lowest age a person can join the UK Armed Forces, there were no SCs from those aged 15. Due to the figure being less than five (this has been rounded to comply with data protection), the outcomes cannot be given, to protect the identities of those concerned.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Wales
13 Jul 2020, 7:12 p.m.

Questioner: Simon Baynes

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans the Government has to award honours to individuals and organisations that have helped to tackle the covid-19 outbreak in Wales.

Answer (Chloe Smith)

I refer the Honourable member to the answer given to PQ 68430 on 7 July 2020.


Written Question
LGBT People: Coronavirus
13 Jul 2020, 6:46 p.m.

Questioner: Scott Benton

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with representatives from LGBT (a) entertainment venues and (b) trade bodies in relation to establishing safe working practices to ensure that those venues in (i) England and (ii) Blackpool can reopen safely as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

We are committed to reopening creative businesses, including LGBT entertainment and music venues, in Blackpool and across the country in line with the latest Government regulations and advice.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has set out a five stage roadmap that the government will work through to get the performing arts and live entertainment sectors back up and running as soon as possible.

The ministerially-chaired Events and Entertainment Working Group was established to support the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce. It focuses on developing covid-19 secure guidance to enable the safe reopening of the performing arts, music and entertainment sectors and is attended by a number of trade bodies including the Night Time Industries Association, the Music Venue Trust and the Live Comedy Association.


Written Question
Public Appointments
13 Jul 2020, 6:41 p.m.

Questioner: Naz Shah

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what (a) processes and (b) procedures are in place to elect members to commissions established by the Government.

Answer (Chloe Smith)

As has been the case under successive administrations, Government establishes a range of statutory and non-statutory commissions, with different functions. Where a commission’s work is long term it may be listed on the public appointments Order in Council and appointments will be made by ministers in line with the Governance Code for Public Appointments. If the work of a commission is short-term, members may be appointed in line with the long standing practice that ministers can directly appoint individuals to undertake short-term pieces of work.


Written Question
English Language: Ethnic Groups
13 Jul 2020, 6:40 p.m.

Questioner: Neil O'Brien

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of (a) women and (b) men who were (i) White British, (ii) Indian, (iii) Bangladeshi, (iv) Pakistani, (v) Black African and (vi) Black Caribbean had poor English proficiency in (A) 1991, (B) 2001 and (C) 2011.

Answer (Chloe Smith)

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond. A copy of the UKSA response will be placed in the Library of the House.


Written Question
Owner Occupation and Rented Housing: Ethnic Groups
13 Jul 2020, 6:40 p.m.

Questioner: Neil O'Brien

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of (a) White British, (b) Indian, (c) Pakistani, (d) Bangladeshi, (e) Black African and (f) Black Caribbean households were (i) owner occupiers, (ii) social renters and (iii) private renters in each year since 1991.

Answer (Chloe Smith)

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond. A copy of the UKSA response will be placed in the Library of the House.


Written Question
Rural Areas: Ministerial Responsibility
13 Jul 2020, 6:40 p.m.

Questioner: Jim Shannon

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, which Government Minister has responsibility for rural social isolation.

Answer (Chloe Smith)

The UK Government’s work on loneliness is coordinated by DCMS and led by Baroness Barron. Lord Gardiner, as Rural Affairs Minister, works closely with her to make sure the needs of those living in isolated rural communities are properly considered and taken into account.


Written Question
Personal Income: Scotland
13 Jul 2020, 6:27 p.m.

Questioner: Dr Philippa Whitford

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Citizens Basic Income Feasibility Study Steering Group's report entitled Assessing the Feasibility of Citizens' Basic Income Pilots in Scotland, if she will hold discussions with (a) the Scottish Government and (b) HMRC on the potential merits of a universal basic Income pilot in Scotland.

Answer (Will Quince)

I do not intend to meet with the Scottish Government officials to discuss the report on the feasibility of piloting a Citizens Basic Income (CBI) in Scotland as I do not think a CBI is the right approach for the UK. A CBI does not take any account of people’s needs and circumstances, is not targeted at the poorest in society and would be hugely expensive.

This government believes Universal Credit is the right strategy for the UK because it simplifies the benefits system, promotes and incentivises work and provides targeted support to those in most need in a way that is affordable.


Written Question
Personal Income: Scotland
13 Jul 2020, 6:27 p.m.

Questioner: Dr Philippa Whitford

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Citizens Basic Income Feasibility Study Steering Group report entitled Assessing the Feasibility of Citizens' Basic Income Pilots in Scotland, if she will meet with Scottish Government officials to discuss that report and its recommendations.

Answer (Will Quince)

I do not intend to meet with the Scottish Government officials to discuss the report on the feasibility of piloting a Citizens Basic Income (CBI) in Scotland as I do not think a CBI is the right approach for the UK. A CBI does not take any account of people’s needs and circumstances, is not targeted at the poorest in society and would be hugely expensive.

This government believes Universal Credit is the right strategy for the UK because it simplifies the benefits system, promotes and incentivises work and provides targeted support to those in most need in a way that is affordable.


Written Question
Parliamentary Estate: Coronanvirus
13 Jul 2020, 6:22 p.m.

Questioner: Layla Moran

Question

To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what the cost to the public purse was of (a) securing, (b) heating, and (c) lighting empty offices on the Parliamentary Estate while (a) staff and (b) hon. Members were instructed to work from home due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Pete Wishart)

At all times the estate has been kept safe and secure and able to support Parliamentary business as required.

It is not possible to provide a specific breakdown of costs relating to empty offices during this period. The following comparison against a similar period last year has been produced. Reductions in usage may not be solely related to Covid-19.

March – May 2019

March – May 2020

Reduction (units)

Approx. Reduction (£)

Natural Gas kWh

8,560,187

6,670,501

1,889,686

£29,725

Electricity kWh

7,196,453

6,328,062

868,392

£95,459

Water m3

48,313

14,294

34,019

£63,490

£188,674


Written Question
Music: Coronavirus
13 Jul 2020, 6:21 p.m.

Questioner: Sarah Olney

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what criteria he is using to assess when it will be safe to allow choirs to recommence rehearsing and performing.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

We are committed to getting the performing arts sector fully back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so. It is a priority of my department to work with the arts and cultural sectors to address the challenges of reopening.

The Secretary of State recently revealed a five stage roadmap that the government will work through to get the performing arts sectors back up and running as soon as possible:

  • Stage One - Rehearsal and training (no audiences)

  • Stage Two - Performances for broadcast and recording purposes

  • Stage Three - Performances outdoors with an audience and pilots for indoor performances with a limited socially-distanced audience

  • Stage Four - Performances allowed indoors and outdoors (but with a limited socially-distanced audience indoors)

  • Stage Five - Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors)

On 9 July we published guidance for people who work in performing arts, including arts organisations, venue operators and participants which will help people understand how they can work and take part in the performing arts safely, and keep their audiences safe. This guidance applies to training, rehearsal and pre-production activities, and performances which take place with or without a live audience, wherever these activities occur.

DCMS and PHE are supporting a study looking at C-19 transmission risks associated with singing and playing wind instruments. The PERFORM study involves leading scientists and is working with musicians and representatives from the Royal Opera House and the BBC. Its findings will inform our guidance and approach. that we want to get the performing arts industry fully up and running as soon as it is safe to do so.


Written Question
Night Clubs: Coronavirus
13 Jul 2020, 6:12 p.m.

Questioner: Kerry McCarthy

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether nightclubs will be eligible for funding from the £1.57 billion arts sector support package.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

We appreciate that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to the night time industries. On Sunday 5 July 2020, the Secretary of State announced a major £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will provide targeted support to organisations across a range of cultural and creative sectors including some businesses operating in the night time economy. We will publish detailed guidance on eligibility as soon as possible in July.

Whilst the Cultural Package is extensive, it cannot support every organisation. There are a number of financial packages available to support nightclubs, including business rates relief, grants, and the Bounceback Loan Scheme. Furthermore, on rent liabilities, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced on 19 June 2020 the introduction of a new code of practice for commercial property, and an extension to temporary tenant protections until 30 September 2020.


Written Question
Epilepsy: Internet
13 Jul 2020, 6:08 p.m.

Questioner: Dame Cheryl Gillan

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to safeguard people with epilepsy from online harm.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

The government intends to introduce world-leading Online Harms legislation to make the UK the safest place to be online. We intend to establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users which will be overseen by an independent regulator. The Government published its Initial Consultation Response to the Online Harms White Paper in February 2020, and this set out our direction of travel on a number of key areas. We are aiming to publish a full government response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation later this year, and this will include more detailed proposals on online harms regulation.


In addition to this new legislation, it is important to make sure that the criminal law is fit for purpose to deal with online harms. DCMS and the Ministry of Justice have engaged the Law Commission on a second phase of their review of abusive and offensive online communications. This will include considering whether co-ordinated harassment by groups of people online could be more effectively dealt with by the criminal law, whether it is targeted at individuals with epilepsy or others. The Law Commission will review existing communications offences and make specific recommendations about options for reform, to ensure that criminal law provides consistent and effective protection against such behaviour.


Written Question
Circuses: Coronavirus
13 Jul 2020, 6:07 p.m.

Questioner: Alex Sobel

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to allow circuses to reopen as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

We are committed to getting the performing arts sector fully back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so. It is a priority of my department to work with the arts and cultural sectors to address the challenges of reopening.

The Secretary of State recently revealed a five stage roadmap that the government will work through to get the performing arts sectors back up and running as soon as possible:

  • Stage One - Rehearsal and training (no audiences)

  • Stage Two - Performances for broadcast and recording purposes

  • Stage Three - Performances outdoors with an audience and pilots for indoor performances with a limited socially-distanced audience

  • Stage Four - Performances allowed indoors and outdoors (but with a limited socially-distanced audience indoors)

  • Stage Five - Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors)


On the 11th July, we moved to Stage Three. This means that performances outdoors can take place in line with this guidance. This includes marquees or tented structures where performance occurs in front of a live audience, such as tented circus events. DCMS will work with sector representative bodies to select a number of pilots for indoor performances with a socially distanced audience, as we look to move into Stage Four.


Written Question
Small Businesses: Coronavirus
13 Jul 2020, 6:05 p.m.

Questioner: Henry Smith

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to review the criteria for distributing and allocating funding through the Discretionary Grant Fund to local councils for supporting businesses during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Paul Scully)

The Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs that are not liable for business rates or rates reliefs.

Local authorities are responsible for defining the precise eligibility for this Fund and may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need, subject to those businesses meeting the specific eligibility criteria.

We are asking local authorities to prioritise the following types of businesses for grants from within this funding pot:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks, and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment.
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment.
  • Bed & breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates.
  • Charity properties in receipt of Charitable Rate Relief, which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

Businesses already in receipt of the Small Business grant or a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant are not eligible for this fund. Businesses who are eligible for or in receipt of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme are now eligible to apply for this scheme.

There is currently no plan to change eligibility criteria for this scheme. Officials are keeping in close contact with local authorities to monitor the progress of the scheme.

Guidance for Local Authorities was published 13 May: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding.


Written Question
Rainforests: Brazil
13 Jul 2020, 6:02 p.m.

Questioner: Preet Kaur Gill

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what representations he has made to his Brazilian counterpart on the (a) continued deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, and (b) effect of that deforestation on UK businesses operating in Brazil.

Answer (Kwasi Kwarteng)

I am concerned by data that suggests a recent increase in deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, and am aware of concerns raised by UK business and consumers on risks to supply chains. Government officials working in London and Brazil routinely monitor deforestation rates and risks.

We have a long-established government partnership with Brazil to tackle deforestation, promote sustainable growth and mitigate climate change, and supported by £200m of UK International Climate Finance. This includes promoting business models that can be scaled up, like a proposed green bond to help Brazilian farmers avoid moving into pristine territory, under our UK Partnerships for Forests programme, and international partnerships to incentivise at scale the protection of standing forests through REDD Early Movers. This complements UK diplomatic and technical dialogue in Brazil, working at the Federal and State levels of Brazilian Government. The HMG-convened UK Roundtable on Sustainable Soy has also been an important forum for UK businesses and consumers to work together to engage Brazilian partners on ensuring resilient, sustainable trade.

The UK stands ready to support Brazil’s current and future efforts to counter increasing deforestation rates, including as new global ambition is considered for a successful UK COP26 Presidency.


Written Question
Physiotherapy: Coronavirus
13 Jul 2020, 6 p.m.

Questioner: Kate Osamor

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason Soft Tissue Therapists are not able to return to work on 6 July 2020 as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Answer (Paul Scully)

There is clearly a risk of greater transmission in close proximity services. That is why we have had to phase their introduction. We had to make difficult choices to keep the R rate below 1.

We’ve now provided close contact services like Soft Tissue Therapists in England, except Leicester, with the certainty they need to reopen from Monday 13 July, subject to them following the COVID-secure guidelines.


Written Question
Personal Care Services: Coronavirus
13 Jul 2020, 5:58 p.m.

Questioner: Mr Kevan Jones

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the timeframe is for the reopening of beauty salons as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Answer (Paul Scully)

We have now provided other close contact services like beauty salons in England, except Leicester, with the certainty they need to reopen from Monday 13 July, subject to them following the COVID-secure guidelines.

We need to be confident services are able to reopen in a COVID-secure way for the staff and customers. Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and our guidance has been developed with input from firms, unions, industry bodies and the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).


Written Question
Small Businesses: Coronavirus
13 Jul 2020, 5:57 p.m.

Questioner: Sir Mark Hendrick

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to provide additional funding for schemes to support business affected by covid-19 that are owned by (a) minorities and (b) women.

Answer (Paul Scully)

The Government is committed to ensuring people from all backgrounds and regions benefit from the Government’s access to finance schemes. A diverse and inclusive ecosystem is good for entrepreneurs, companies, investors, and society as a whole.

The Department’s Ministerial team is also actively engaging with the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) business community on a regular basis to cover multiple issues, including access to finance.

The Future Fund provides government co-investment to innovative businesses. As of 5 July, 376 convertible loans worth a total of £380 million have been approved under the scheme. The British Business Bank (BBB) published diversity data for the Future Fund on 23 June 2020, which showed that companies with BAME-only and mixed ethnicity management teams accounted for over 55% of applications, valued at £118.5m, and that 79% of funding had been issued to companies with mixed gender management teams.

The Future Fund is also a signatory of the Investing in Women Code and encourages co-investors to do the same.

The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme had delivered more than 73,600 loans to entrepreneurs by the end of May 2020, providing more than £609 million of funding. Of these, 40 per cent of these loans have gone to women, and 25 per cent of the total were to applicants from a BAME background.

The Government’s loan schemes to support businesses affected by Covid-19, including the Bounce Back Loan schemes, are open to all businesses which meet the eligibility criteria, including those owned by women as well as those owned by people from a BAME background. We will monitor the implementation and take up of the schemes.


Written Question
Social Security Benefits: Families
13 Jul 2020, 5:57 p.m.

Questioner: Dan Jarvis

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to provide additional financial support to bereaved families where the principal earner has died as a result of covid-19.

Answer (Mims Davies)

DWP has a range of financial support available for bereaved families.

Bereavement Support Payment provides short-term financial support to working age people whose deceased spouse or civil partner has paid sufficient National Insurance contributions. It is intended to help with the immediate costs of bereavement and can be paid to both widows and widowers. Recipients with children can receive an initial payment of £3,500 and up to 18 monthly payments of £350, whilst those without can receive an initial payment of £2,500 and up to 18 monthly instalments of £100. It is not taxable and is paid on top of any income-related benefits the household receives thus not disadvantaging low income families. It can be paid regardless of whether the surviving spouse or civil partner is in work.

The Funeral Expenses Payments scheme provides an important contribution towards the cost of funeral for claimants in receipt of certain income based benefits or tax credits. The Funeral Expenses Payment pays for the necessary costs of a funeral including the burial or cremation fees in full and in April 2020 the additional element that can help with other costs, such as a coffin or the services of a funeral director, was increased from £700 to £1000.

For those that need support for ongoing living costs, from 6 April 2020 the Government increased the standard allowance in Universal Credit by £86.67 per month (equivalent to £20 per week) for one year on top of the planned annual uprating. This additional increase means that claimants may be up to £1040 better off, depending on their circumstances. This applies to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants.