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Written Question
Slavery: British Nationality
14 Sep 2021

Questioner: Holly Lynch (LAB - Halifax)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many UK citizens are in the National Referral Mechanism; and what proportion of those people are female.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

Figures on the First Responder organisations making referrals into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the nationality of potential victims being referred, the gender of potential victims can be found in the published statistics.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-referral-mechanism-statistics.

The Home Office publishes quarterly and annual statistics regarding the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). These include the average time taken to make a Country Guidance Decision. The latest published NRM statistics can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-referral-mechanism-statistics.

As outlined in the Modern Slavery: Statutory Guidance for England and Wales (under s49 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015) and Non-Statutory Guidance for Scotland and Northern Ireland, the expectation is that the Single Competent Authority (SCA) will make a Reasonable Grounds decision within five working days, where possible, of the NRM referral being received. Modern Slavery: Statutory Guidance for England and Wales (publishing.service.gov.uk).

Following a positive Reasonable Grounds decision, and the minimum recovery and reflection period, the Single Competent Authority makes the Conclusive Grounds decision as soon as possible and only once there is sufficient information to do so. The Home Office publishes quarterly and annual statistics regarding the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). These include the average time taken to make a Conclusive Grounds decision. The latest published NRM statistics can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-referral-mechanism-statistics.

A First Responder Organisation is an authority that is authorised to refer a potential victim of modern slavery into the National Referral Mechanism. The list of First Responder Organisations can be found in the Modern Slavery Statutory Guidance for England and Wales (under s49 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015) and Non-Statutory Guidance for Scotland and Northern Ireland, which also sets out their roles and responsibilities.

The SCA is currently recruiting a large number of new decision makers across the UK to increase capacity for NRM decision-making and reduce decision making timescales; this brings additional resource pressures initially (for training and upskilling) but will have substantial long-term benefits for decision making timescales.


Written Question
Slavery
14 Sep 2021

Questioner: Holly Lynch (LAB - Halifax)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, which agencies are making referrals to the National Referral Mechanism.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

Figures on the First Responder organisations making referrals into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the nationality of potential victims being referred, the gender of potential victims can be found in the published statistics.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-referral-mechanism-statistics.

The Home Office publishes quarterly and annual statistics regarding the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). These include the average time taken to make a Country Guidance Decision. The latest published NRM statistics can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-referral-mechanism-statistics.

As outlined in the Modern Slavery: Statutory Guidance for England and Wales (under s49 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015) and Non-Statutory Guidance for Scotland and Northern Ireland, the expectation is that the Single Competent Authority (SCA) will make a Reasonable Grounds decision within five working days, where possible, of the NRM referral being received. Modern Slavery: Statutory Guidance for England and Wales (publishing.service.gov.uk).

Following a positive Reasonable Grounds decision, and the minimum recovery and reflection period, the Single Competent Authority makes the Conclusive Grounds decision as soon as possible and only once there is sufficient information to do so. The Home Office publishes quarterly and annual statistics regarding the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). These include the average time taken to make a Conclusive Grounds decision. The latest published NRM statistics can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-referral-mechanism-statistics.

A First Responder Organisation is an authority that is authorised to refer a potential victim of modern slavery into the National Referral Mechanism. The list of First Responder Organisations can be found in the Modern Slavery Statutory Guidance for England and Wales (under s49 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015) and Non-Statutory Guidance for Scotland and Northern Ireland, which also sets out their roles and responsibilities.

The SCA is currently recruiting a large number of new decision makers across the UK to increase capacity for NRM decision-making and reduce decision making timescales; this brings additional resource pressures initially (for training and upskilling) but will have substantial long-term benefits for decision making timescales.


Written Question
Slavery
14 Sep 2021

Questioner: Holly Lynch (LAB - Halifax)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the longest time recorded is for an individual to receive (a) a Reasonable Grounds decision and (b) a Conclusive Grounds decision.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

Figures on the First Responder organisations making referrals into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the nationality of potential victims being referred, the gender of potential victims can be found in the published statistics.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-referral-mechanism-statistics.

The Home Office publishes quarterly and annual statistics regarding the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). These include the average time taken to make a Country Guidance Decision. The latest published NRM statistics can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-referral-mechanism-statistics.

As outlined in the Modern Slavery: Statutory Guidance for England and Wales (under s49 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015) and Non-Statutory Guidance for Scotland and Northern Ireland, the expectation is that the Single Competent Authority (SCA) will make a Reasonable Grounds decision within five working days, where possible, of the NRM referral being received. Modern Slavery: Statutory Guidance for England and Wales (publishing.service.gov.uk).

Following a positive Reasonable Grounds decision, and the minimum recovery and reflection period, the Single Competent Authority makes the Conclusive Grounds decision as soon as possible and only once there is sufficient information to do so. The Home Office publishes quarterly and annual statistics regarding the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). These include the average time taken to make a Conclusive Grounds decision. The latest published NRM statistics can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-referral-mechanism-statistics.

A First Responder Organisation is an authority that is authorised to refer a potential victim of modern slavery into the National Referral Mechanism. The list of First Responder Organisations can be found in the Modern Slavery Statutory Guidance for England and Wales (under s49 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015) and Non-Statutory Guidance for Scotland and Northern Ireland, which also sets out their roles and responsibilities.

The SCA is currently recruiting a large number of new decision makers across the UK to increase capacity for NRM decision-making and reduce decision making timescales; this brings additional resource pressures initially (for training and upskilling) but will have substantial long-term benefits for decision making timescales.


Written Question
Imports: Malaysia
13 Sep 2021

Questioner: Emily Thornberry (LAB - Islington South and Finsbury)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what estimate she has made of the proportion of the increase in imports projected to come from Malaysia to the UK as a result of the UK's accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership which will be produced in factories and plantations using forced labour.

Answered by Greg Hands

On 22nd June 2021, the Government published a Scoping Assessment setting out the predicted impact of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) membership on trade with the region.

The UK is committed to ensuring that more trade supports an environment where workers’ rights are upheld, including working towards the eradication of modern slavery in global supply chains. The UK is playing a leading role in tackling modern slavery and is the first country to require businesses to report on how they are preventing modern slavery in their global supply chains. As more countries introduce their own legislation, the Government is working closely with partners to harmonise approaches and promote responsible business conduct.


Written Question
Health Services: Foreign Nationals
13 Sep 2021

Questioner: Zarah Sultana (LAB - Coventry South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of a Government inquiry into the (a) economic and (b) social impact of the application of the NHS overseas visitors charging regulations during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Edward Argar

The Government has no plans to suspend the NHS (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015, nor hold an inquiry into their impact during the pandemic.

The Regulations include important exemptions designed to protect the vulnerable or public health and no charge can be made to an overseas visitor for the diagnosis or, if positive, treatment of COVID-19. Exemptions from charge also apply to any National Health Service care received by asylum seekers, refugees and victims of modern slavery.


Written Question
Health Services: Foreign Nationals
13 Sep 2021

Questioner: Zarah Sultana (LAB - Coventry South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of suspending NHS overseas visitors charging regulations during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Edward Argar

The Government has no plans to suspend the NHS (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015, nor hold an inquiry into their impact during the pandemic.

The Regulations include important exemptions designed to protect the vulnerable or public health and no charge can be made to an overseas visitor for the diagnosis or, if positive, treatment of COVID-19. Exemptions from charge also apply to any National Health Service care received by asylum seekers, refugees and victims of modern slavery.


Written Question
Hikvision
1 Sep 2021

Questioner: Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take in response to the correspondence between the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner and Hikvision on 16 July and 20 August, regarding the use of that company's technology in Uyghur internment camps in China; and whether they intend to follow the decision of the government of the United States of America in banning Hikvision.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford

I will be meeting with the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner to discuss the issues raised in the correspondence with Hikvision.

The UK is committed to promoting the ethical development and deployment of technology in the UK and overseas. We are aware of a number of Chinese technology companies linked to violations taking place in Xinjiang, and are monitoring the situation closely.

On 12 January, the Foreign Secretary announced a series of measures to help ensure UK businesses and the public sector are not complicit in human rights violations or abuses in Xinjiang. These measures, which are being implemented by the UK Government, include a review of export controls; the introduction of financial penalties under the Modern Slavery Act; increasing support for UK government bodies to exclude suppliers complicit in violations or abuses; and strengthening the Overseas Business Risk guidance to highlight that businesses engaged in the fields of surveillance, biometrics, or tracking technology are at heightened risk of complicity in human rights violations in Xinjiang.

The UK Government has also published guidance to help cutting-edge UK firms negotiate the ethical, legal and commercial questions they may encounter when working with Chinese businesses, supporting safe and appropriate UK-China collaboration in digital and tech. The guidance provides firms with clear, up-to-date information and specialist support which reflect the UK's values and take account of national security concerns.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Protective Clothing and Screening
11 Aug 2021

Questioner: Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what due diligence they undertook to ensure that (1) lateral flow tests, and (2) personal protective equipment, imported from China were not made with the use of slave labour.

Answered by Lord Bethell

A dedicated team within the Department’s Test and Trace programme has been responsible for overseeing a rigorous inspection and auditing process for all Lateral Flow Device (LFD) suppliers outside of the United Kingdom, which includes a Business Social Compliance Initiative Human Rights audit.

All three of these suppliers manufacture the devices in China and have been assessed as Acceptable (C) overall, with further improvement needed with regards to social management systems and working hours. No evidence of child labour, forced labour or unethical business behaviour were identified over the course of these audits, which are valid for 12 months from the date of issue at which point a further audit will take place.

The Department was aware that the direct, urgent sourcing and purchasing of Personal Protective Equipment in 2020 involved high-risk areas in terms of ethical and business practices and had a number of mitigations in place. To combat Modern Slavery concerns, the Department engaged widely with NHS Supply Chain, the Home Office (HO) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office regarding Modern Slavery issues in awarding contracts. Additional training and guidance was rapidly created and distributed to strengthen buying professionals knowledge of modern slavery risks specific to the pandemic. Working with HO colleagues, the Department participated in a cross-government project to increase the modern slavery awareness of procurement professionals which included supplier training and workshops.


Written Question
Exploitation: Children
29 Jul 2021

Questioner: Lord Hylton (CB - Excepted Hereditary)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to amend the Nationality and Borders Bill (1) to protect children who have been trafficked twice or more, (2) to support children who may have committed offences while suffering exploitation, and (3) to protect exploited foreign children by providing leave to remain of sufficient length to guard against further harm.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford

Within the Nationality and Borders Bill, we are proposing modern slavery measures to deliver a decision-making process and support system that is fair and provides support for those who genuinely need it.

We recognise that some victims of modern slavery may have had periods of high vulnerability and can have multiple, complex needs, with some individuals experiencing multiple forms of exploitation at different points in time. The proposed measures within the Bill therefore rightly allow for protection and support for individuals subject to repeated exploitation, including child victims whilst seeking to ensure that further support is only provided where needed.

We remain committed to tackling exploitation in all its forms. The Modern Slavery Act 2015 gives law enforcement agencies the tools to tackle modern slavery, including a maximum life sentence for perpetrators and enhanced protection for victims. Where children are found to be potential victims of human trafficking or modern slavery their safety and welfare are addressed as a priority. Local authorities are responsible for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children in their area, including child victims of modern slavery. In addition to this statutory support, the Government has rolled out Independent Child Trafficking Guardians (ICTGs), an additional source of advice and support for all potentially trafficked children, in two thirds of all local authorities in England and Wales.

We will seek to put into legislation for the first time the commitment that all confirmed victims, including children, without immigration status will be considered for a grant of temporary leave to remain in line with specific criteria.

This will bring clarity to decision makers and victims on the process for temporary leave to remain. We will continue to comply with our duties under Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship, and Immigration Act 2009 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.


Written Question
China: BGI
28 Jul 2021

Questioner: Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reasons for the US Commerce Department’s decision to add BGI Group to an economic blacklist of Chinese companies implicated in human rights violations regarding China’s treatment of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region.

Answered by Lord Grimstone of Boscobel

HM Government has repeatedly condemned the violation of rights and responsibilities in Xinjiang. On 22nd June, a British diplomatic effort helped deliver the support of over 40 countries for a statement on the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang at the UN Human Rights Council, calling on China to grant unfettered access to the region for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The US is a close partner, but we are an independent nation, with our own decision-making on what constitutes a security threat. The United Kingdom has no equivalent of the US Entity List.

As the passage of the National Security and Investment Act shows, we are strengthening our domestic toolbox in certain sectors. This Act will mandate notification of certain types of transaction to provide a proportionate defence against hostile actors targeting certain sectors. No single country or company is designated as ‘high risk’; transactions are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

In addition, large businesses operating in the United Kingdom are required to report on how they are tackling forced labour in their operations and supply chains under the Modern Slavery Act.


Written Question
China: USA
28 Jul 2021

Questioner: Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) Chinese companies which have been banned from operating in the United States but have not been banned in the UK, and (2) reasons why those companies have been banned in the United States.

Answered by Lord Grimstone of Boscobel

HM Government has repeatedly condemned the violation of rights and responsibilities in Xinjiang. On 22nd June, a British diplomatic effort helped deliver the support of over 40 countries for a statement on the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang at the UN Human Rights Council, calling on China to grant unfettered access to the region for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The US is a close partner, but we are an independent nation, with our own decision-making on what constitutes a security threat. The United Kingdom has no equivalent of the US Entity List.

As the passage of the National Security and Investment Act shows, we are strengthening our domestic toolbox in certain sectors. This Act will mandate notification of certain types of transaction to provide a proportionate defence against hostile actors targeting certain sectors. No single country or company is designated as ‘high risk’; transactions are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

In addition, large businesses operating in the United Kingdom are required to report on how they are tackling forced labour in their operations and supply chains under the Modern Slavery Act.


Written Question
Slavery: Victim Support Schemes
27 Jul 2021

Questioner: Thangam Debbonaire (LAB - Bristol West)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many criminals and terrorists have been identified as applying for the support available to victims of modern slavery since 2016.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

There is more information on referrals available at: Modern Slavery: National Referral Mechanism and Duty to Notify statistics UK, end of year summary 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

There is also information available on issues (including modern slavery) raised by people in immigration detention available at: Issues raised by people facing return in immigration detention - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


Written Question
NHS: Counter-terrorism
26 Jul 2021

Questioner: Sarah Owen (LAB - Luton North)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 28 June 2021 to Question 20546 on NHS: Counter-terrorism, what the (a) selection process, (b) role description and (c) balance of focus between healthcare and safeguarding is for the seven NHS England Regional Serious Violence and Contextual Safeguarding Leads.

Answered by Jo Churchill

The selection process for Regional Serious Violence and Contextual Safeguarding Leads is the established NHS England and NHS Improvement recruitment process, following fair and open procedures. The role description includes the system assurance of several statutory functions which the National Health Service is required to implement, including Prevent; female genital mutilation; modern slavery and human trafficking; tackling serious violence; preventing domestic abuse; and stopping violence against women and girls. The Regional Serious Violence and Contextual Safeguarding Leads focus on all nuances of neglect, abuse, exploitation and violence as indicated with their community safety partnerships, national crime agency data and counter terrorism reports.


Written Question
Slavery: Victims
22 Jul 2021

Questioner: Gill Furniss (LAB - Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent estimate she has made of the waiting time for conclusive grounds to be established for victims of human trafficking and modern day slavery.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

The Home Office publishes quarterly and annual statistics regarding the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). These include the average time taken to make a Country Guidance Decision. The latest published NRM statistics can be found here: Modern Slavery: National Referral Mechanism and Duty to Notify statistics UK, Quarter 1 2021 – January to March - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


Written Question
China: Import Controls
22 Jul 2021

Questioner: Iain Duncan Smith (CON - Chingford and Woodford Green)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to (a) the Prime Minister's oral contribution of 16 June 2021, Official Report, column 287, (b) the oral contribution of the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of 12 January 2021, Official Report, column 162, (c) the Answer of 25 June 2021 to Question 16783 on Import Controls: China, (d) the Answers of 5 July 2021 to Questions 24880 and 24881, (e) the Answer of 12 July 2021 to Question 28048 and (f) in accordance with the Prime Minister's oral contribution of 7 July 2021, Official Report, column 901, if she will clarify whether the UK (i) has or (ii) plans to implement import controls on goods made in China believed to be the product of forced labour.

Answered by Ranil Jayawardena

HM Government is committed to tackling the issue of forced labour in global supply chains, including through strengthening the Modern Slavery Act, and the introduction of financial penalties for businesses that fail to meet their statutory obligations.

Whilst we do not have plans to place import controls on goods from China, we have announced a range of other measures, including a comprehensive review of export controls. We are working closely with international partners too. Last month, under our G7 Presidency, G7 leaders committed to work together to make sure that global supply chains are free from the use of forced labour.