Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2019-21 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

Show
by:
Find by:
Close

UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
Showing 1-100 out of 818
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
Q
Asked by Tim Farron
(Westmorland and Lonsdale)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 21 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Protective Clothing: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the names of businesses (a) that have contacted the Government offering to produce personal protective equipment and (b) whose offers have been accepted.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 22 May 2020
Holding answer received on 27 April 2020

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom-based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with eight manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. Details of this work can be found in the links below. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Grouped Questions: 38447 | 38448 | 38449 | 38883
Q
Asked by Tim Farron
(Westmorland and Lonsdale)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 21 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Protective Clothing: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to assess the viability of businesses that have approached the Government to produce personal protective equipment to the necessary standard for use in the NHS and social care settings.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 22 May 2020
Holding answer received on 27 April 2020

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom-based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with eight manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. Details of this work can be found in the links below. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Grouped Questions: 38446 | 38448 | 38449 | 38883
Q
Asked by Tim Farron
(Westmorland and Lonsdale)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 21 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Protective Clothing: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what mechanism he has established for the receipt and assessment of offers from businesses for the production of personal protective equipment.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 22 May 2020
Holding answer received on 27 April 2020

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom-based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with eight manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. Details of this work can be found in the links below. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Grouped Questions: 38446 | 38447 | 38449 | 38883
Q
Asked by Tim Farron
(Westmorland and Lonsdale)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 21 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Protective Clothing: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what level of production of personal protective equipment he estimates will be produced by UK businesses in each of the next three months; and when that equipment will be available for use.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 22 May 2020
Holding answer received on 27 April 2020

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom-based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with eight manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. Details of this work can be found in the links below. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Grouped Questions: 38446 | 38447 | 38448 | 38883
Q
Asked by Tim Farron
(Westmorland and Lonsdale)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 22 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Protective Clothing: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which UK businesses have contacted the Government with offers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE); what process the Government used to assess these offers; which offers were accepted; and when PPE from those successful offers will be available for use.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 22 May 2020
Holding answer received on 27 April 2020

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom-based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with eight manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. Details of this work can be found in the links below. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Grouped Questions: 38446 | 38447 | 38448 | 38449
Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 24 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Protective Clothing: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many UK businesses have offered support to the Government for the manufacture of personal protective equipment.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 22 May 2020

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with 8 manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks. Details of this work can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Q
Asked by Helen Hayes
(Dulwich and West Norwood)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 24 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Protective Clothing: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many UK businesses have been contacted by his Department to provide support in the manufacture of personal protective equipment.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 22 May 2020

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with 8 manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks. Details of this work can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Q
Asked by Lee Anderson
(Ashfield)
Asked on: 27 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Protective Clothing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will take steps to prioritise the development of personal protective equipment in the UK to reduce reliance on the import of those products.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 22 May 2020

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom-based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with 8 manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. Details of this work can be found in the links below. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Q
Asked by Simon Baynes
(Clwyd South)
Asked on: 27 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Protective Clothing: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking with UK manufacturers to increase the supply of personal protective equipment.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 22 May 2020

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom-based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with eight manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. Details of this work can be found in the links below. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Q
Asked by John Spellar
(Warley)
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Protective Clothing: Manufacturing Industries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to incentivise companies to use their manufacturing facilities to produce personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 22 May 2020

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with 8 manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks. Details of this work can be found at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Q
(Feltham and Heston)
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Protective Clothing: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to incentivise companies to use their manufacturing facilities to produce personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 22 May 2020

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with 8 manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks. Details of this work can be found in the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Q
Asked by Zarah Sultana
(Coventry South)
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will ensure that theory test refunds are administered for (a) people whose theory test (a) has expired during the driving test suspension (b) will expire while they are on the waiting list for a practical test after the suspension is lifted.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 22 May 2020

There is no provision in legislation for refunds of test fees in these circumstances. It would therefore not be legal for the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency to provide refunds.

Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 13 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Remand in Custody: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Youth Justice Statistics, England and Wales, April 2018 to March 2019, published on 30 January 2020, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies on the use of remand for children of the finding that 66 per cent of children given a remand to youth detention accommodation did not subsequently receive a custodial sentence.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 22 May 2020

The decision on whether a child should be remanded into custody is a matter for our independent judiciary. We are clear that custody, including custodial remand, should always be used as a last resort for children, and the remand framework ensures the court considers all other options, including bail and remand into local authority accommodation, before remanding a child to custody.

We are currently undertaking work to consider the use of youth custodial remand and in due course we aim to identify options to reduce the numbers of children remanded to custody where appropriate, while ensuring victims and the public are protected.

Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 13 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Remand in Custody: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make an estimate of the proportion of unconvicted children held on remand during 2019 who were denied bail on the basis of (a) the child’s own welfare or protection, (b) the child already being in custody serving a sentence, (c) there being insufficient information relating to the case, (d) the child already having been on bail during the proceedings and having been arrested for breach of those bail conditions, and (e) it being impracticable to complete enquiries or make a report unless the child is in custody.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 22 May 2020

The Ministry of Justice routinely publishes the number of unconvicted children on remand, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statistics-quarterly-december-2018. Figures for 2019 will be published later in May.

The Ministry of Justice does not centrally hold data on the reasons why children are held on remand or why they were refused bail.

The decision to grant or refuse bail is a matter for our independent judiciary. There is a general presumption to bail in criminal proceedings, but there are exceptions to this. The remand framework ensures the court considers all options, including bail and community remand options, before a remand into custody would be considered.

We are currently undertaking work to consider the use of youth custodial remand and in due course we aim to identify options to reduce the numbers of children remanded to custody where appropriate, while ensuring victims and the public are protected.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 13 May 2020
Department for Transport
International Transport: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it remains Government policy to work with international partners on global common screening standards for international travel.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 22 May 2020

The UK is engaging with a number of key international organisations (including ICAO and IATA), and we are working with our international partners to drive forward a shared agenda on public health measures for international travel.

The Government has also established five ministerial-led taskforces to develop plans for reopening sectors which have been heavily impacted by COVID-19, including a taskforce on international aviation.

The Government aims to support industry in developing guidance on a baseline set of measures, based on the available evidence, and for these to become widespread and well-understood, thereby avoiding confusion and uncertainty for both industry and passengers.

Q
(York Central)
Asked on: 13 May 2020
Department for Education
Schools: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that transport for children to travel to school during the covid-19 outbreak is safe.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 22 May 2020

Parents and children should consider walking and cycling to school where possible or driving if necessary. They should avoid the use of public transport where possible. The Department for Transport has published guidance on safer travel for the public. Parents and children may wish to refer to the guidance when planning their journeys, and to help them minimise risk where the use of public transport is unavoidable. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers.

Some children have their home to school transport arranged by their local authority or school. Local authorities and schools should put in place arrangements which fit local circumstances and minimise the risk of transmission, as far as is possible. This should include ensuring transport providers follow hygiene rules. They may wish to refer to the Department for Transport’s guidance for transport operators, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators.

The phased wider opening of schools will limit the number of children travelling on home to school transport in the initial phase. Where transport capacity allows, local authorities could consider substituting smaller vehicles with larger ones, or running 2 vehicles rather than one, to reduce the number of passengers per vehicle and help passengers keep their distance.

We are in contact with local authorities to help resolve issues as they arise.

Q
(Argyll and Bute)
Asked on: 15 May 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Iran: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Government of Iran on releasing prisoners of conscience (a) Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, (b) Pastor Matthias Haghnejad and (c) Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee as a result of the threat of covid-19 to detainees in overcrowded prisons.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 22 May 2020

We have regularly expressed our concerns to the Government of Iran at the ongoing incarceration of prisoners of conscience, including the sentencing of Christians for practicing their faith. The reality is that many non-Muslims in Iran face discrimination. We will continue to take action, both bilaterally and with the international community, to press Iran to improve its poor human rights record.

Q
(East Renfrewshire)
Asked on: 18 May 2020
Treasury
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 12 May 2020 to Question 43961 on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, what offence will be committed in (a) England and Wales, (b) Scotland and (c) Northern Ireland by an individual who (i) uses or (ii) authorises the use of funds paid under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for any purpose other than those specified in clause 8.1 of the Schedule to the Treasury Direction dated 15 April 2020.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 22 May 2020

HM Treasury’s Direction to HMRC under the Coronavirus Act 2020 in respect of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the guidance published in respect of the CJRS scheme, and the online portal through which claims are made, all make clear that any payments are for the purposes specified in paragraph 8.1 of the HM Treasury Direction and for no other purpose. The Direction and associated guidance also make clear that any money paid out under the scheme must be returned to HMRC if the claimant becomes unwilling or unable to use the payment for the specified purposes.

Those who submit claims to HMRC for payment under CJRS are required to state that any money paid by HMRC will be used for the specified purposes. Any claimant who states that the payment will be used for the proper purposes when this is not the case is likely to have committed a criminal offence.

In England and Wales, and in Northern Ireland, it is a crime of fraud, contrary to the Fraud Act 2006, dishonestly to make a false representation with intent to make a gain. Those who dishonestly state in their claims to HMRC that any money they receive under CJRS will be used for the specified purposes, when this is not the case, are likely to have committed fraud. Those who encourage or assist the commission of a crime can also be found guilty of the offence. Those who aid and abet another’s crime can also be convicted.

In Scotland, those who engage in a false pretence with an intention to deceive HMRC will commit a common law fraud. Such a false pretence could include stating that the payment under CJRS will be used for the specified purposes when this is not the case. Those who act in concert with the perpetrator of such crimes can also be convicted and punished.

In all parts of the UK, where claimants obtain payments from HMRC through fraudulent claims to the CJRS scheme, any money obtained would be the proceeds of crime. Any dealing with this fraudulently obtained money could amount to the offence of money laundering, contrary to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The money laundering offences contrary to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 are punishable with a sentence of imprisonment of up to 14 years, a fine without limit, or both. Fraudulently obtained payments can also be recovered through the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act dealing with summary forfeiture of assets representing the proceeds of crime.

HMRC will subject CJRS claims to scrutiny and use their usual compliance tools to carry out proportionate risk-based compliance checks before and after payment to test the veracity of CJRS claims. HMRC will take robust steps to prevent fraudulent claims being paid, to recover any payments made to those who are not eligible, and to respond to those who make fraudulent claims. In doing so, HMRC aim to protect essential public services and the livelihoods at risk during these challenging times.

Q
Asked by Ian Paisley
(North Antrim)
Asked on: 27 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Health Services and Social Services: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on ensuring NHS and care staff are able to access covid-19 tests in Northern Ireland.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 21 May 2020

National Health Service and care staff in Northern Ireland can book a test through the Government’s online self-referral portal, which allows them to register for a home test kit or to book a drive-through test at a regional test site. Three regional testing sites have been set up in Northern Ireland; in Belfast, Derry and Craigavon. We recognise that each devolved administration will have its own eligibility criteria and testing priorities in their region, however we are working closely to align our approaches.

Q
(South Holland and The Deepings)
Asked on: 28 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS and Social Services: Protective Clothing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on ensuring that all (a) NHS and (b) social care staff are able to access covid-19 tests.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 21 May 2020

All National Health Service and social care staff are now able to register for COVID-19 tests, whether or not they are symptomatic. The Government has sufficient capacity to provide COVID-19 tests to all NHS and social care staff that need one. NHS and social care staff can book a test through the Government’s online self-referral portal, which allows them to register for a home test kit or to book a drive-through test at a regional test centre. Testing is also available through mobile and satellite test centres that are placed where need is greatest, including to NHS hospitals or care homes. Testing within an NHS facility, such as a hospital, is available for NHS workers.

Q
(Hemel Hempstead)
Asked on: 01 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to extend covid-19 testing to staff working for private health and care providers; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 21 May 2020

All health and social care staff who have symptoms of COVID-19 are eligible for testing and have been since 17 April. This includes National Health Service staff, those employed by local authorities, and those working for private providers. Health and social care staff can book a test through the Government’s online self-referral portal, which allows them to register for a home test kit or book a drive-through test at a regional test site. Testing is also available through mobile and satellite test centres that are placed where need is greatest, including to NHS hospitals or care homes. Testing within an NHS facility, such as a hospital, is available for NHS workers.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 01 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will include trade union officials on the list of workers that may be tested for covid-19.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 21 May 2020

All essential workers with symptoms and anyone with symptoms whose work cannot be done at home is now eligible for testing. Trade union officials in these groups are eligible for testing.

Essential workers and those who cannot work from home can book a test through the Government’s online self-referral portal, which allows them to register for a home test kit or book a drive-through test at a regional test site.

Testing is also available through mobile and satellite test centres that are placed to where need is greatest.

Q
(Birmingham, Edgbaston)
Asked on: 04 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of tests for covid-19 have been conducted (a) at home and (b) by a drive-through testing centre in the last seven days.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 21 May 2020

From 29 April to 5 May, over 92,000 home tests were dispatched and 227,000 tests were conducted at regional test sites.

Q
Asked on: 06 May 2020
Department for Transport
Public Transport: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that public transport services are expanded to take account of their recommendation that employers stagger working hours to reduce the pressures on public transport once the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted.
A
Answered on: 21 May 2020

The department has been working closely with transport operators and local partners to explore options for restoring public transport services. Is it clear that restoring services is challenging, for example due to the need to bring drivers out of furlough and equipment back online, and will therefore take time. We are working to ensure that services are ramped up over the coming weeks and are grateful for the work of transport workers and for their support.

The guidance we published for the travelling public is clear that journeys on public transport should only be made if they are essential, and then only if walking, cycling or driving is not an option. Peak times should be avoided if at all possible – we look to employers to support their staff to travel outside the peaks.

Asked on: 06 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Coronavirus: Disease Control
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to issue electronic bracelets to people breaking quarantine restrictions in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 21 May 2020

The government uses electronic monitoring, tagging technology, where a requirement such as a curfew or exclusion zone is imposed by the court as part of a community order or suspended sentence order or to support court imposed Bail. The technology is also imposed on some eligible offenders on release from custody.

Parliament has provided the courts with the full range of sentencing powers to deal effectively with offenders who break social distancing rules. These range from fines to custodial sentences for more serious offences where coronavirus is used to threaten others. We have already seen significant sentences imposed on those using coronavirus as a threat. There are currently no plans in place to use electronic monitoring technology to monitor compliance with the Covid-19 regulations for the general public.

Q
Asked by Chi Onwurah
(Newcastle upon Tyne Central)
Asked on: 13 May 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Social Rented Housing: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing smart homes as part of development of social housing stock.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 21 May 2020

The Government is working closely with Ofgem and industry to support the transition to a smarter, more flexible energy system. Our Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan sets out a suite of actions to facilitate the deployment of smart technologies in homes and businesses. Smart technologies drive decarbonisation, can help consumers save money, and improve the efficiency of our energy system – saving the UK an estimated £17-40bn by 2050.

There were around 19.3 million smart meters installed in homes across Great Britain by the end of 2019, enabling households to track and manage their energy use and prepayment customers to top-up credit without leaving home. The half-hourly consumption and price data recorded by smart meters is enabling innovative products such as smart tariffs, which allow consumers to save money by using energy away from peak times and technologies such as electric vehicles and smart appliances to be cost-effectively integrated with renewable energy sources.

Q
Asked by Dr Luke Evans
(Bosworth)
Asked on: 13 May 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Local Enterprise Partnerships: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to clarify with local enterprise partnerships the level of funding that they will receive to support the recovery of the economy.
A
Answered by: Mr Simon Clarke
Answered on: 21 May 2020

Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are due to receive Local Growth Funding for 2020-21 to support the delivery of the Growth Deals agreed with Government. We have communicated with all LEPs clarifying our approach, and how we will support them manage funding and delivery at this challenging time. That confirmed LEPs will receive two thirds of their Local Growth Fund allocation in May to ensure they have adequate funding to drive forward their programmes where delivery is happening. The final third will be released pending a short light touch review over the summer to understand what if any slippage or disruption the effects of Covid-19 may have caused to individual LEP programmes. This will help everyone understand where further work and support from Government may be required, whilst ensuring funding is awarded when it is needed.

The March 2020 Budget also confirmed up to £387 million in 2021-22 to provide certainty for local areas that they will be able to continue with existing priority Local Growth Fund projects that require funding beyond 2020-21. We have said that we will work closely with LEPs and Mayors to understand the changing needs of local economies, and will look at how this funding could be used alongside other resources to support local economic recovery efforts. Future funding decisions will be announced in due course.

Asked on: 28 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Screening
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of drive-in COVID-19 testing sites in England are operated by (1) the NHS directly and (2) private contractors; what percentage of tests for each such site involves (1) swabbing of the nose and throat by trained staff, or (2) instructions being given in writing or verbally for participants to swab themselves; and what data is available on the relative accuracy of the two forms of test. [T]
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 20 May 2020

Regional Test Sites are overseen by the Department as part of the COVID-19 National Testing Programme. These sites have been commissioned by the Department and operated by a range of commercial organisations. As of 29 April, 43 regional tests were open across the United Kingdom. Of these, 11 deliver assisted testing, 14 sites operate the self-administered approach and 18 operate a hybrid model where both options are offered.

The test is reliable and effective. There are different tests in use under this programme and all have been assessed as performing to manufacturers specifications before being used.

Q
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Iran: Prisoners
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Iran about the release of (1) prisoners of conscience and (2) dual nationality prisoners.
A
Answered on: 20 May 2020

We have regularly expressed our concerns to the Government of Iran at the ongoing incarceration of prisoners of conscience, including the sentencing of Christians for practicing their faith. The reality is that many non-Muslims in Iran face discrimination. We will continue to take action, both bilaterally and with the international community, to press Iran to improve its poor human rights record.

The permanent release of all arbitrarily detained dual nationals in Iran and their return to their families in the UK remains our top priority We continue to raise this at all appropriate levels with Iran - the Foreign Secretary raised it with Foreign Minister Zarif on 16 March and our Ambassador to Iran has consistently raised it with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Q
Asked by Lord Greaves
Asked on: 06 May 2020
Department for Transport
Public Transport: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to return provision of public transport broadly to levels that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic following the ending of restrictions on movement.
A
Answered on: 20 May 2020

The department has been working closely with transport operators and local partners to explore options for restoring public transport services. Is it clear that restoring services is challenging, for example due to the need to bring drivers out of furlough and equipment back online, and will therefore take time. We are working to ensure that services are ramped up over the coming weeks and are grateful for the work of transport workers and for their support.

The guidance we published for the travelling public is clear that journeys on public transport should only be made if they are essential, and then only if walking, cycling or driving is not an option. Peak times should be avoided where possible.

Q
(Birmingham, Edgbaston)
Asked on: 13 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Hospitals: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Prime Minister's announcement on 10 May 2020 on relaxing lockdown restrictions on NHS hospitals' ability to reopen paused services covering elective (a) inpatient and (b) outpatient care.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 20 May 2020

We have continued to deliver the most urgent treatments, such as emergency and urgent cancer care, throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

With evidence suggesting that we are passing the peak of this wave of COVID-19, and with the National Health Service well-placed to provide world-leading care for those who do still have the virus, we are bringing back non-urgent services that had been temporarily paused. We will work on the principle that the most urgent treatments should be brought back first and this will be driven by local demands on the system. The approach will be flexed at local level according to capacity and demand in different parts of the country, and will be gradual, over weeks.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 20 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many offences were committed by offenders on home detention curfew after being released before the halfway point in their sentences in each of the last three years.
Q
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Department for International Development
Food Poverty: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address food insecurity around the world exacerbated by COVID-19.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 19 May 2020

The UK is repurposing programmes in agriculture, social protection and humanitarian assistance to tackle the factors driving COVID-19 induced food insecurity in developing countries. We are a major funder of existing multilateral programmes in these areas, including the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. We have committed £15m to the World Food Programme’s recent urgent appeals. The recent £7.5m contribution to the Food and Agriculture Organisation will help fight the locust plague in East Africa. We are assessing potential trends in the COVID-19 exacerbated impacts on agriculture and food security, for example, through our bilateral Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness programme. We are learning the lessons from previous crises and are sharing the evidence for improved action. In all of this, we continue to put the poorest and most marginalised at the heart of our programmes to address the underlying causes of chronic hunger.

Asked on: 05 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following their decision to release low-risk prisoners during the COVID-19 pandemic, how many such prisoners have been released so far; and, what steps they are taking (1) to widen the criteria to include more prisoners convicted of non-violent and petty crimes, (2) to consider temporary release alongside early release, (3) to suspend the imposition of sentences under six months, and (4) to consider the release of elderly prisoners who do not pose a serious risk to the public.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 19 May 2020

As of 11 May, 78 prisoners have been released early; 52 were released as part of the End of Custody Temporary Release (ECTR) scheme, and 26 were released on compassionate grounds.

The ECTR scheme is aimed at low-risk offenders approaching the end of their sentence and therefore will include prisoners convicted of some, but not all, non-violent and petty crimes. The eligible offences have been chosen to strike the right balance between protecting the public and reducing transmission in prisons.

Releases are just one part of a wider strategy to create headroom, including by increasing the capacity of the existing prison estate. Modelling suggests that the headroom reduction required to implement compartmentalisation of prisons as a control on the spread of the virus is around 5,500. We are on track to achieving this target.

We have no plans to end short term prison sentences. Sentencing is a matter for our independent courts, taking into account the circumstances of each case and following any relevant sentencing guidelines issued by the Sentencing Council. A custodial sentence should always be a last resort.

Elderly and acutely medically vulnerable prisoners who have been thoroughly risk-assessed are in scope for early release on compassionate grounds.

Asked on: 05 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Remand in Custody: Pregnancy
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many pregnant women are on remand, awaiting trial, in England and Wales.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 19 May 2020

The number of pregnant women on remand is not centrally monitored. Information on pregnancy is monitored locally by prison Governors/Directors to ensure the appropriate supportive provisions can be put in place.

I am however, able to confirm that an ad hoc data collection exercise was undertaken last year, which found that at 15:00hrs on 28 October 2019, 47 women in prison self-declared as pregnant, including those on remand and who had been sentenced.

In July 2019 the Government began a review of pregnancy, Mother and Baby Units (MBUs), and Mothers separated from children (under two years of age) who are in prisons, which includes a strand of work on improving data collection. The review is due for completion later this year, and a report will be published in due course.

Section 5 of the Bail Act 1976 sets out the reasoning for refusing bail where:

  • there are previous convictions of a similar nature against the same victim(s) with similar characteristics;
  • there is evidence of undue influence over the victim, or evidence of ongoing violence or threats of violence to victim or his / her family;
  • any potential bail conditions would not be adequate to remove the risk of failure to surrender, commission of a further offence or interfere with any witnesses;
  • it is necessary for his / her protection;
  • the defendant is already in custody on other matters e.g. recall or a serving prisoner; or
  • the nature of the offence committed could lead to a risk of offending if released on bail e.g. where the defendant knows the victim or witness.

While there was an increase of 8% (520 to 559) in the number of women on remand in the year to March 2020, this figure is comparable with the 564 women on remand at 31 March 2018.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, NPS are currently running a bail information service in the 136 courts that currently remain open, with a particular focus on those with ‘protected characteristics’ which include women. This service looks to ensure the identification of defendants who might be eligible for bail, and to provide sufficient information to the courts to enable them to make fully informed decisions in each individual case. As of 11 May 2020, 121 bail assessments have been completed by NPS Bail Information Officers, a proportion of which will apply to women.

Q
Asked on: 06 May 2020
Department for International Development
Overseas Aid: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on food security and nutrition globally.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 19 May 2020

Services to address food insecurity and malnutrition are part of DFID’s immediate response to COVID-19 in many of the countries where we work.

We are supporting UNICEF to make sure life-saving supplies to treat acute malnutrition continue to reach children at most risk across the Sahel as well as in Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen. We are also using programmes in agriculture, social protection and humanitarian assistance to tackle the factors driving COVID-19 induced food insecurity. We are a major funder of existing multilateral programmes in these areas. We have also committed £15 million to the World Food Programme’s recent urgent appeals.

In all cases we continue to put the poorest and most marginalised at the heart of our programmes to address the immediate and underlying causes of hunger and malnutrition, including in the face of COVID-19.

Q
(Stoke-on-Trent North)
Asked on: 11 May 2020
Department for Transport
Driving: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department has taken to enable (a) bus drivers and (b) lorry drivers to renew their expiring driving licences during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 19 May 2020

To keep bus and lorry drivers on the road, the Government has made temporary provisions to remove the requirement to submit a medical report when applying to renew a bus or lorry driving licence until further notice. Provided they have no notifiable medical conditions, drivers will be issued a licence that is valid for one year instead of the usual five. This only applies if the licence expired after 1 January 2020 or is due to expire.

As is always the case, drivers must ensure they are medically fit to drive and they are legally obliged to notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency of the onset or worsening of any medical condition.

Q
Asked by Andrew Percy
(Brigg and Goole)
Asked on: 11 May 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture Bill and Environment Bill
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what representations he has received on the inclusion of nature-based solutions in the (a) Agriculture Bill and (b) Environment Bill.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 19 May 2020

Nature-based solutions are key to tackling societal challenges, such as climate change, while simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits. The Government is deploying such solutions to improve our natural environment.

We have received representations on including certain types of nature-based solutions in the Agriculture Bill. However, clause 1(1) of the Bill is broadly drafted and already enables the Secretary of State to support the delivery of environmental outcomes through nature-based solutions. For example, we will use the powers in the Agriculture Bill to introduce our ambitious new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, which is intended to provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan. Under the ELM, farmers and land managers may enter into agreements to be paid for delivering a range of public goods. This could include nature based solutions that contribute towards reducing the instances of, and provide protection from, environmental hazards such as flooding.

Likewise, the Environment Bill introduces a powerful package of new policies and tools to support nature's recovery. Biodiversity net gain, Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRSs), conservation covenants and a strengthened biodiversity duty on public authorities will work together to drive local action on the ground, creating or restoring rich habitats to enable wildlife to recover and thrive.

Notably our net gain measures create an approach to development which means that habitats for wildlife must be left in a measurably better state than they were in pre-development. These measures will be supported by LNRSs to guide smooth and effective delivery of mandatory biodiversity net gain. They will help local authorities to best understand where investment in new habitat creation or restoration will achieve best outcomes for biodiversity and wider environmental benefits.

We will continue to engage with a wide range of stakeholders as we move towards implementing these measures.

Q
Asked by Darren Jones
(Bristol North West)
Asked on: 11 May 2020
Department for Transport
Large Goods Vehicles: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people who have applied for a key worker lorry driving test due to the covid-19 outbreak have been able to access such a test.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 19 May 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has booked 302 emergency lorry driving tests for critical workers for the period 23 March to 19 June 2020.

The DVSA does not hold data on the number of people who have applied for a key worker lorry driving test due to the covid-19 outbreak. This is because the booking system that was used between 23 March and 24 April 2020 was a manual system that captured the number of emails received, not number of unique requests received.

The DVSA has now streamlined the process and introduced a new online application form.

Q
Asked by John Redwood
(Wokingham)
Asked on: 11 May 2020
Department for Transport
Roads: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he plans to take to make it easier for people to drive to work while the use of public transport is restricted during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 19 May 2020

New guidance published on 12 May 2020 provides advice on how passengers should make journeys safely, and to consider changing their travel habits - including cycling, walking as well as driving, following the publication of the Government’s roadmap and strategy for the next phase of the pandemic. The public have been urged to continue to work from home if they can. Those driving their own cars have been asked to avoid busy areas.

To help reduce pressure on the transport network so there is space for social distancing where possible, the Secretary of State has spoken to train and bus operators and local authorities to ensure they increase the number of available services over the coming weeks towards pre-COVID-19 levels as quickly and safely as possible.

Q
(Portsmouth South)
Asked on: 11 May 2020
Department for Transport
M3 and M27: Safety
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that road users are informed of how safely to use smart motorways on (a) the M27 between J4 and J11 and (b) part of the M3 between J9 and J14 prior to their opening.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 19 May 2020

Highways England runs regular national public information campaigns to help improve driver confidence and safety when using the Strategic Road Network (SRN). Detailed advice about safe driving on England’s motorways and major A-roads is available on its website www.highwaysengland.co.uk/motorways.

Since 2016, Highways England has run eight national smart motorways public awareness campaigns. Last Summer and again in February this year, it ran national public awareness campaigns on how to drive safely on its motorways, including messaging on what to do in a breakdown and smart motorway features, including Red X and variable speed limits. Highways England will continue to deliver national public awareness campaigns, with the next one planned for later this year on what to do in the event of a breakdown.

More widely, my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State commissioned a review into smart motorway safety which reported earlier this year, with 18 measures to raise the bar on smart motorway safety, notwithstanding that the evidence shows that in most ways, smart motorways are as safe as, or safer than, the conventional ones. These measures included committing to an additional £5million on national targeted communications campaigns to further increase awareness and understanding of smart motorways, how they work and how to use them confidently.

Highways England is delivering a number of communications activities for the M27 Junction 4 to 11 Smart Motorway Scheme ahead of opening to help customers understand how to safely use a smart motorway. These include local exhibition events at community centres along the length of the scheme, information points at shopping centres, and the creation of scheme specific newsletters as well as information leaflets. Local authorities and other key stakeholders are also encouraged to share information using their own communication channels. Highways England expects to follow a similar communication strategy for the M3 scheme.

The M27 Junction 4 to 11 Smart Motorway Scheme will utilise variable mandatory speed limits (VMSL) which are set automatically in response to the level of congestion or traffic queues. Sensors detect the speed and volume of traffic, and this is used to calculate the optimum speed to keep vehicles moving smoothly, reducing the level of stop-start traffic and congestion.

The M3 Junctions 9 to 14 Smart Motorway Scheme is also planned to operate with VMSLs following a consultation, in which there was no opposition to the specifics of implementing VMSL.

Grouped Questions: 45411 | 45412
Q
(Portsmouth South)
Asked on: 11 May 2020
Department for Transport
M3 and M27: Safety
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure road users are informed of how safely to act in the event of a breakdown on smart motorways on (a) the M27 between J4 and J11 and (b) part of the M3 between J9 and J14 prior to their opening.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 19 May 2020

Highways England runs regular national public information campaigns to help improve driver confidence and safety when using the Strategic Road Network (SRN). Detailed advice about safe driving on England’s motorways and major A-roads is available on its website www.highwaysengland.co.uk/motorways.

Since 2016, Highways England has run eight national smart motorways public awareness campaigns. Last Summer and again in February this year, it ran national public awareness campaigns on how to drive safely on its motorways, including messaging on what to do in a breakdown and smart motorway features, including Red X and variable speed limits. Highways England will continue to deliver national public awareness campaigns, with the next one planned for later this year on what to do in the event of a breakdown.

More widely, my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State commissioned a review into smart motorway safety which reported earlier this year, with 18 measures to raise the bar on smart motorway safety, notwithstanding that the evidence shows that in most ways, smart motorways are as safe as, or safer than, the conventional ones. These measures included committing to an additional £5million on national targeted communications campaigns to further increase awareness and understanding of smart motorways, how they work and how to use them confidently.

Highways England is delivering a number of communications activities for the M27 Junction 4 to 11 Smart Motorway Scheme ahead of opening to help customers understand how to safely use a smart motorway. These include local exhibition events at community centres along the length of the scheme, information points at shopping centres, and the creation of scheme specific newsletters as well as information leaflets. Local authorities and other key stakeholders are also encouraged to share information using their own communication channels. Highways England expects to follow a similar communication strategy for the M3 scheme.

The M27 Junction 4 to 11 Smart Motorway Scheme will utilise variable mandatory speed limits (VMSL) which are set automatically in response to the level of congestion or traffic queues. Sensors detect the speed and volume of traffic, and this is used to calculate the optimum speed to keep vehicles moving smoothly, reducing the level of stop-start traffic and congestion.

The M3 Junctions 9 to 14 Smart Motorway Scheme is also planned to operate with VMSLs following a consultation, in which there was no opposition to the specifics of implementing VMSL.

Grouped Questions: 45410 | 45412
Q
(Portsmouth South)
Asked on: 11 May 2020
Department for Transport
M3 and M27: Safety
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the safety of road users of implementing fixed safe speed restrictions at high-risk points on smart motorways on (a) the M27 between J4 and J11 and (b) part of the M3 between J9 and J14.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 19 May 2020

Highways England runs regular national public information campaigns to help improve driver confidence and safety when using the Strategic Road Network (SRN). Detailed advice about safe driving on England’s motorways and major A-roads is available on its website www.highwaysengland.co.uk/motorways.

Since 2016, Highways England has run eight national smart motorways public awareness campaigns. Last Summer and again in February this year, it ran national public awareness campaigns on how to drive safely on its motorways, including messaging on what to do in a breakdown and smart motorway features, including Red X and variable speed limits. Highways England will continue to deliver national public awareness campaigns, with the next one planned for later this year on what to do in the event of a breakdown.

More widely, my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State commissioned a review into smart motorway safety which reported earlier this year, with 18 measures to raise the bar on smart motorway safety, notwithstanding that the evidence shows that in most ways, smart motorways are as safe as, or safer than, the conventional ones. These measures included committing to an additional £5million on national targeted communications campaigns to further increase awareness and understanding of smart motorways, how they work and how to use them confidently.

Highways England is delivering a number of communications activities for the M27 Junction 4 to 11 Smart Motorway Scheme ahead of opening to help customers understand how to safely use a smart motorway. These include local exhibition events at community centres along the length of the scheme, information points at shopping centres, and the creation of scheme specific newsletters as well as information leaflets. Local authorities and other key stakeholders are also encouraged to share information using their own communication channels. Highways England expects to follow a similar communication strategy for the M3 scheme.

The M27 Junction 4 to 11 Smart Motorway Scheme will utilise variable mandatory speed limits (VMSL) which are set automatically in response to the level of congestion or traffic queues. Sensors detect the speed and volume of traffic, and this is used to calculate the optimum speed to keep vehicles moving smoothly, reducing the level of stop-start traffic and congestion.

The M3 Junctions 9 to 14 Smart Motorway Scheme is also planned to operate with VMSLs following a consultation, in which there was no opposition to the specifics of implementing VMSL.

Grouped Questions: 45410 | 45411
Q
(Birmingham, Edgbaston)
Asked on: 13 May 2020
Department for International Development
Coronavirus: Vaccination
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she has taken to help ensure global co-operation on increasing public covid-19 vaccine production capacity.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 19 May 2020

The UK is at the forefront of global efforts to ensure equitable access to potential COVID-19 vaccines. We need unprecedented global collaboration and resourcing to drive the speed and scale needed. That is why the Prime Minister joined G20 Leaders on 26 March and called on governments to work together to develop a vaccine as quickly as possible and make it available to anyone who needs it.

The UK supports the Action for COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator launched by the World Health Organization on 24 April, which the UK's First Secretary of State participated in. The ACT Accelerator is a global call to action to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. On 4 May the Prime Minister joined world leaders at the Coronavirus Global Response Pledging Conference in calling for truly global collaboration in ensuring everyone around the world can access new coronavirus vaccines, treatments and tests when they are developed.

We have committed £250 million of UK aid to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations for the development of a coronavirus vaccine - the largest contribution of any country. This, alongside our £1.65 billion pledge to GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, will support the development, manufacture and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests for people in the Global South.

Q
(South Basildon and East Thurrock)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 19 May 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Farmers: Coronavirus
Commons
What steps he is taking to support farmers during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 19 May 2020

Defra took early steps to support farmers, by designating them as key workers and temporarily relaxing drivers’ hours rules. We have worked with banks to help farmers access financial support measures outline by the Chancellor, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

We have supported dairy farmers by announcing a fund in England to help those affected by the loss of the food service sector. We have also temporarily relaxed competition law rules. We are working with AHDB and Diary UK, who have launched a new £1 million campaign to drive consumption of milk. A similar campaign is promoting beef. We are also ensuring that farmers and growers are able to recruit the workers that they require as we approach the busy harvest months.

Q
(Bury South)
Asked on: 19 May 2020
Department for Transport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if the Government will extend the expiration date of driving theory tests for people who are not able to take driving lessons or driving tests as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.
Q
(Stockton North)
Asked on: 19 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Government Response to the Justice Committee’s Eighteenth Report of Session 2017-19: The Role of the Magistracy, CP192, what progress he has made on compiling the evidence base required to inform a decision on extending the custodial sentencing powers of Magistrates; and if he will make a statement.
Asked on: 19 May 2020
Department for Transport
Driving: Licensing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that the over-70s are struggling to renew their driving licences due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions; and what steps they are taking to improve the service of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to support over-70s.
Q
Asked by Lord Adonis
Asked on: 28 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Lord Deighton
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of any conflicts of interest relating to Lord Deighton’s appointment to a government position on 18 April 2020 and his commercial work, including his chairmanship of Heathrow Airport Ltd, and whether they intend to publish these assessments.
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 18 May 2020

Lord Deighton has kindly agreed to be an unpaid advisor to help the Government with the COVID-19 response. He is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure this gets to where it is needed. As part of this, he will drive forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies.

Grouped Questions: HL3575 | HL3577
Q
Asked by Lord Adonis
Asked on: 28 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Lord Deighton
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Commissioner for Public Appointments advised on the appointment of Lord Deighton to his government post on 18 April, and whether they will publish that advice.
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 18 May 2020

Lord Deighton has kindly agreed to be an unpaid advisor to help the Government with the COVID-19 response. He is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure this gets to where it is needed. As part of this, he will drive forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies.

Grouped Questions: HL3574 | HL3577
Q
Asked by Lord Adonis
Asked on: 28 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Lord Deighton
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to publish the letter of appointment, job description and correspondence with Heathrow Airport Ltd relating to Lord Deighton’s government post announced on 18 April.
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 18 May 2020

Lord Deighton has kindly agreed to be an unpaid advisor to help the Government with the COVID-19 response. He is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure this gets to where it is needed. As part of this, he will drive forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies.

Grouped Questions: HL3574 | HL3575
Q
Asked by Claire Hanna
(Belfast South)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 11 May 2020
Treasury
Self-employment Income Support Scheme: Northern Ireland
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reasons the Self-employment Income Support Scheme online system does not accept a Northern Ireland driving licence or an Irish passport held by Northern Ireland citizens as a way of verifying their identity via government gateway; and what means of verifying their identity should people in Northern Ireland use to access that scheme.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 18 May 2020

Everyone in Northern Ireland who is eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be able to claim their grant. People who have engaged with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) online in the past using an existing Government Gateway credential – for example, to file their Self-Assessment tax return – can reuse their existing online Government Gateway credentials to claim the grant. Most people who are eligible to claim have credentials already. Those dealing with HMRC online for the first time will be required to verify their identity. HMRC worked quickly with the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency to enable people to use a GB driving licence to verify their identity for SEISS. It has not been possible to add non-UK passports or non-GB driving licences to the Government Gateway authentication service to the same timeline. HMRC are currently exploring whether it is possible to connect to Northern Ireland Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) and Irish Passport Service data, as part of their continuing improvement of the Government Gateway. People who do not have a UK passport or GB driving licence can use the multiple-choice questions option to verify their identity. This uses a financial checking service that does not require a passport or driving licence. Anyone who is unable to verify their identity in this way can also make their claim by telephone.

Q
Asked by Alyn Smith
(Stirling)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 11 May 2020
Treasury
Treasury: ICT
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps have been taken to increase the server capacity for his Department during the covid-19 oubreak.
A
Answered by: Kemi Badenoch
Answered on: 18 May 2020

There has been no requirement for additional steps to increase server capacity during the covid-19 outbreak.

HM Treasury retains an elastic, demand-driven infrastructure that is pro-actively monitored to scale as circumstances change.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 11 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many of each category of offence people released on Home detention curfew committed who had received sentences of imprisonment of (a) up to 18 months and (b) 18 months to up to four years in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 May 2020

The information requested in your first question can be found in the table attached.

The information requested in your second and third questions could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

PQ 45068 Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 20.54 KB)
Grouped Questions: 45069 | 45070
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 11 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many of each category of offence people on home detention curfew committed after being released before the halfway point in their sentences in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 May 2020

The information requested in your first question can be found in the table attached.

The information requested in your second and third questions could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

PQ 45068 Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 20.54 KB)
Grouped Questions: 45068 | 45070
Q
Asked by Sarah Olney
(Richmond Park)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 11 May 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the Government's policy is during the covid-19 outbreak on approved driving instructors who cannot work from home but cannot follow social distancing rules while working.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 18 May 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) recommends that, currently, approved driving instructors (ADI) should only provide lessons to candidates who have an essential need. ADIs should ask pupils to bring appropriate identification to demonstrate the need for the lesson: a payslip, letter or identification badge should suffice.

When providing driving lessons, all ADIs should put in place appropriate measures, in line with the latest Public Heath England and Cabinet Office guidance, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

It is the responsibility of the ADI and the pupil to consider the risks to their health and to decide if the driving lesson is essential.

ADIs whose registration lapses in the next three months, and who are observing government guidelines not to work, can delay renewing their registration until restrictions are lifted. Legislation provides that ADIs have one year in which to apply to re-register without having to take the qualification tests again.

Q
Asked by Chi Onwurah
(Newcastle upon Tyne Central)
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Department for International Development
Developing Countries: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to help enable covid-19 testing in low-income countries.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 18 May 2020

DFID is at the forefront of the global response to COVID-19. We are using UK aid to its full effect to counter the health, humanitarian, and economic risks and impact of this pandemic in the developing world. We are working hard to ensure that our help reaches those most in need through close collaboration with our partners.

So far, the UK has provided up to £744 million of UK aid to help combat the virus and sent UK experts to support vulnerable countries to prepare for the virus. Funding includes research on vaccines, therapeutics and tests. The UK’s £75 million funding to the World Health Organization helps support its key role in providing technical support countries to establish COVID-19 testing strategies and capacity. DFID is also providing up to £23 million to the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, a global non-profit organisation driving innovation in the development and delivery of diagnostics to combat major diseases affecting the world’s poorest populations.

Q
(Newport East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 12 May 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his plans are for the provision of driving lessons for those not classed as critical workers during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 18 May 2020

Using the latest Government guidance, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working closely with the Approved Driving Instructors National Association Strategic Partnership (NASP) to develop appropriate plans and control measures that will enable the resumption of non-essential driving lessons. The DVSA will keep the situation under review and provide advice as soon as it can.

Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) can continue to provide tuition to pupils if the lesson is considered essential. It is the responsibility of the ADI, and the pupil, to decide if the driving lesson is critical. ADIs should ask pupils to bring appropriate identification to demonstrate the need for the lesson, such as a payslip, letter or identification badge.

All ADIs should put in place appropriate health and safety measures, in line with the latest Public Heath England and Cabinet Office guidance, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Q
(East Londonderry)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 13 May 2020
Treasury
Self-employment income support scheme: Northern Ireland
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will review the required identification documents for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme to allow people in Northern Ireland, whose only identification is a Northern Ireland Driving Licence, to use the scheme.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 18 May 2020

Everyone in Northern Ireland who is eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be able to claim their grants.

People who have engaged with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) online in the past using an existing Government Gateway credential – for example, to file their Self-Assessment tax return – can reuse their existing online Government Gateway credentials to claim the grant. Most people who are eligible to claim have credentials already.

Those dealing with HMRC online for the first time will be required to verify their identity. HMRC worked quickly with the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency to enable people to use a GB driving licence to verify their identity for SEISS. It has not been possible to add non-UK passports or non-GB driving licences to the Government Gateway authentication service in the same timeline. HMRC are currently exploring whether it is possible to connect to Northern Ireland Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) and Irish Passport Service data, as part of their continuing improvement of the Government Gateway.

Those who do not have a UK passport or GB driving licence can use the multiple-choice questions option to verify their identity. This uses a financial checking service that does not require a passport or driving licence. Anyone who is unable to verify their identity in this way can also make their claim by telephone.

Q
Asked by Patrick Grady
(Glasgow North)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 13 May 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the validity period of theory test certificates for people who cannot undertake their practical driving test as a result of the coronavirus public health measures.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 18 May 2020

The two-year validity period of the theory test certificate is set in legislation. This is so the candidate’s theoretical knowledge remains current. To extend the validity period would require legislative change. To do this, the relevant parliamentary process would need to take place. This situation is being given urgent attention.

Q
(Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 18 May 2020
Department for Transport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2020 to Question 39656 on Motorcycles: driving instruction and with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what guidance his Department has issued on arrangements for motorcyclists who need to renew their Compulsory Basic Training certificate: and if he will make a statement.
Q
(Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 18 May 2020
Department for Transport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 April 2020 to Question 39656 on Motorcycles: driving instruction, if centres providing Compulsory Basic Training for motorcyclists are permitted to operate in line with public health guidance on the containment of covid-19; and if he will make a statement.
Q
(Shrewsbury and Atcham)
Asked on: 18 May 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has plans to train additional driving test examiners to help tackle the backlog of driving tests as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.
Q
Asked by Dawn Butler
(Brent Central)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 16 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Sign Language: Television
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking ensure that official announcements on covid-19 are (a) accessible to all and (b) available in British Sign Language.
A
Answered by: Helen Whately
Answered on: 15 May 2020
Holding answer received on 19 March 2020

All guidance, statements and public information released by the Government are readily available to read online.

In light of COVID-19, the Government has developed a national campaign to provide information, guidance and reassurance to the public. The campaign spans owned, earned and paid-for channels to maximise reach and engagement for people both with and without internet. For example, the press activity includes over 600 national, regional and local titles to reach communities throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. People will be able to see and hear the campaign advice in newspapers and magazines, on drive-time radio, online and through social media and on billboards and large digital displays, including at bus stops.

Information on COVID-19 from Public Health England and the Department is translated into British Sign Language. Videos can be found at the following link:

https://www.signhealth.org.uk/

NHS England operates an Accessible information Standard which sets out a specific, consistent approach to identifying, recording, flagging, sharing and meeting the information and communication support needs of patients, service users, carers and parents with a disability, impairment or sensory loss. More information can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/accessibleinfo/

Q
(Luton South)
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Cabinet Office
Civil Servants
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, in which properties in London managed by the Government Property Agency civil servants from more than one Department work in the same building; and what the names are of those Departments.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 15 May 2020

The Government Property Agency manages a number of multi-let buildings in London on behalf of Government Departments. The Agency supports the Whitehall Campus and Hubs Programme to transform central government’s ageing office estate - creating ‘Great Places to work’ - consolidating to a single interoperable / interconnected campus of shared, flexible, modernised, energy efficient buildings. Building in new capabilities, including technology that supports Smarter Working, the delivery of better public services and driving efficiencies by minimising vacant space. Further details are available online on the Government Property Agency's Business Plan for 2020-2021.

Q
(Stockton North)
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Criminal Proceedings
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the time from offence to completion in criminal court cases.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 15 May 2020

Our courts provide a vital public service and it is important that justice is delivered in a timely fashion wherever possible during the Covid-19 outbreak. We are working closely with the courts and judiciary to ensure that cases are progressed through the system as quickly as possible, including through greater use of audio and video hearings.

The courts are expediting sentencing hearings and prioritising remand hearings to ensure that public protection remains a core goal. Magistrates’ court trials are now being listed wherever it is safe to do so, and every effort is being made to resume Crown Court jury trials. Representatives from across the criminal justice system are working at pace to agree the best way of doing this safely

Q
(Stockton North)
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Alternatives to Prison
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to promote non-custodial alternatives to prison.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 15 May 2020

Sentencing in individual cases is entirely a matter for the independent courts. Custody should be imposed as a last resort. By law, courts are required to be satisfied that the offence committed is so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified, and even when that threshold is met, the courts are able to consider whether a community sentence would be better in that particular case.

The Queen’s Speech set out plans for new sentencing laws, including proposals for tougher community sentences, which will offer courts further effective alternatives to custodial sentences.

Q
(Stockton North)
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prison Sentences: Mothers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the effect on children's social care services of mothers receiving custodial sentences.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 15 May 2020

We recognise that maternal imprisonment can have an impact on children’s social care services, and that children whose mothers are in prison are a vulnerable group and may need additional help to address both the short and long-term impacts that maternal imprisonment can have. Although the responsibility for the children of offenders sits with the Secretary of State for Education, we recognise the importance of joined-up working across Government and, in our Female Offender Strategy (2018), encouraged a partnership-focused approach to address effectively the needs of female offenders.

We recognise the negative impacts on families of imprisoned mothers and the heightened risk of intergenerational offending. As part of the Female Offender Strategy, we commissioned Lord Farmer to undertake a review of the importance of family and other relational ties for women in the criminal justice system. The Farmer Review for Women (2019) makes recommendations for improving family ties across custody and the community. As set out in the Department’s response to the JCHR report in the Right to family life: children whose mothers are in prison, we are committed to taking these recommendations forward to best effect and working with other Government Departments where needed.

The Review made proposals to examine and encourage partnership working between children’s social care services and justice agencies, including a Case Review of the social work processes that have led to children being removed from primary carers when they entered prison to be carried out by the Chief Social Worker for England (Children and Families). We are working with the Chief Social Worker and officials from the Department for Education to scope and deliver this recommendation, the progress of which has been paused due to COVID-19. Similarly, we will liaise closely as we scope are scoping the delivery of the Review’s recommendation for an on-site social worker to be part of the multi-disciplinary teams to act as a point of liaison with community-based children’s social care services.

Q
(Shrewsbury and Atcham)
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to reinstate non-essential (a) vocational driving tests and (b) non-vocational car driving tests during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 15 May 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has suspended most driver testing, including vocational and non-vocational car tests, for up to three months to support the Government’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. The DVSA has a reduced workforce but will continue, as a major priority, to make tests available for those whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or who work in critical sectors such as health and social care.

The DVSA is continually evaluating the current situation and is working closely with key stakeholders from the car, motorcycle and vocational industries to establish how to begin resuming its service of providing driving tests. Before practical driving tests are reintroduced, the DVSA will inform the driver training industry. This will help candidates prepare and reach the standard of driving needed to pass their test.

The DVSA remains committed to resume testing as soon as it is safe to do so and in line with further Government advice.

Q
Asked by Gareth Thomas
(Harrow West)
Asked on: 06 May 2020
Department for International Trade
Motor Vehicles: Turkey
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the potential effect on the (a) manufacturer finances and (b) employment figures in the UK motor manufacturing industry of proposed post-transition customs arrangements with Turkey.
A
Answered by: Graham Stuart
Answered on: 15 May 2020

The UK’s manufacturing and motor manufacturing industry plays a vital role in the UK’s economy by driving exports, innovation, job creation and productivity. We want to ensure that it continues to succeed.

At the end of the transition period, the UK will no longer be a member of the partial EU-Turkey customs union. We are preparing to negotiate a trade agreement with Turkey that would allow businesses in both the UK and Turkey to continue to trade with each other under preferential terms and deliver continuity of current arrangements as far as possible.

This department continues to engage with businesses in the automotive industry to understand their priorities and inform the UK’s approach.

Q
(Upper Bann)
Asked on: 06 May 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Beef: Prices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department plans to take to address falling beef prices for UK producers; and what steps he is taking to promote UK beef to international markets during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 15 May 2020

Beef producers, as with other sectors, have been directly impacted by the closure of the food service sector as a result of the lockdown measures taken in response to Covid-19. This has led to problems with carcass imbalance.

The Government has well established ways of working with the food and farming industry supply chain to address temporary disruption. Defra and the devolved administrations are sharing the latest stakeholder information and data to ensure we have an evidence base for what is happening in specific markets, or specific geographical regions during the Covid-19 outbreak. The Secretary of State is also having regular meeting with the NFU and representatives of the beef sector.

Covid-19 impacts are also manifesting in the loss of export markets which would normally give value to parts of the carcass for which there is little demand in the UK and the shift away from the hospitality and food service sector to the retail sector.

Prices for prime cattle are showing signs of stabilising as industry has adapted and evolved to the current climate. Prices are up 3%, which is a positive sign of recovery.

Defra maintains a regular watching brief on the beef price and monitors all UK agricultural markets to provide forewarning of any atypical market movements and have continued to do so throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

To help overcome the current imbalance in retail sales of beef, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, Quality Meat Scotland and Meat Promotion Wales are launching a £1.2 million ‘Make It Steak’, promotion campaign. The EU funded Private Storage Aid scheme also opened to the UK beef industry on 7 May.

Defra’s Food is GREAT campaign is raising the international profile and reputation of food and drink from across the UK. It builds global demand, drives awareness and increases positive perceptions of UK food and drink products amongst international trade audiences and consumers. The campaign promotes excellent food and drink products from across the four nations of the UK. For instance, most recently the campaign showcased British beef, Northern Irish gin, Scotch Whisky, Welsh lamb, Scottish Salmon and English Sparkling Wine to Japanese consumers, trade and media in events coinciding with the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019. Defra also continues to work in partnership with industry and other Government departments to open new markets for the meat sector. This has included recently opening beef and lamb markets to Japan and progressing towards opening of the beef market to China for the first time in over 20 years.

Q
(Elmet and Rothwell)
Asked on: 15 May 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether driving instructors are permitted to teach non-key worker pupils under covid-19 lockdown rules; and what covid-19 safety guidelines those instructors are subject to.
Q
Asked by Nick Fletcher
(Don Valley)
Asked on: 15 May 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that theory test pass certificates of learner drivers do not expire during the covid-19 outbreak.
Q
Asked on: 29 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dairy Farming: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what comparative analysis they have undertaken of the number of dairy farmers affected by COVID-19 provided (1) in the letter sent to Peers by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 22 April, and (2) in the briefing by the National Farmers Union provided to MPs on 15 April; whether they found any significant variation between those figures; and if so, what steps they intend to take in response.
A
Answered on: 14 May 2020

Dairy farmers are crucial in ensuring that food supplies remain resilient in this difficult period. While the vast majority of the UK's dairy farmers are largely unaffected some have been directly impacted by the closure of the food service sector as a result of the lockdown measures taken in response to COVID-19. Between 5 and 10 per cent of total milk production goes to the food service trade. We continue to work closely with the National Farmers Union, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and Dairy UK to ensure that those most affected are supported.

In recognition of the unprecedented challenges facing this sector on 7 May we announced a new fund to support those dairy farmers who have seen decreased demand due to the loss of the food service sector. Eligible dairy farmers in England who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May due to coronavirus disruptions will be eligible for funding of up to £10,000 each, to cover 70% of their lost income during this qualifying period. This will enable these producers to continue to operate and sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.

The AHDB, together with Dairy UK, have launched a new £1 million campaign to drive an increase in the consumption of milk. Running over 12 weeks, the campaign will highlight the role that milk plays in supporting moments of personal connection during times of crisis. Defra and the devolved administrations are jointly contributing towards the financing of this campaign.

The dairy industry can also access various Government backed loan schemes. The COVID-19 Business Interruption Loan Scheme is available to dairy farmers, milk buyers and milk processors. In addition, the new Bounce Back Loan scheme applies to businesses operating in agriculture and will ensure that the smallest businesses can access up to £50,000 loans.

We also took a number of early emergency steps to support dairy farmers and those in other sectors. These included designating employees in the food sector as key workers and temporarily relaxing the normal rules on drivers' hours, enabling the sector to keep supply chains running, including deliveries from farm gate to processors.

Public intervention for skimmed milk powder and butter also continues to be available. Industry can sell skimmed milk powder and butter into public intervention when the price they would receive on the open market falls below the intervention price. This provides a floor price for dairy products. UK processors are also eligible for the recently opened private storage aid scheme for dairy.

Furthermore, the statutory instrument (SI) temporarily relaxing some elements of competition law for the dairy industry was laid before Parliament on 1 May 2020 and applies retrospectively from 1 April 2020. This makes it easier for the dairy industry to collaborate to maximise production, processing and storage efficiency in order to avoid wastage and to ensure that as much product as possible can be processed into high quality dairy products. The AHDB and Dairy UK have offered to work with the dairy industry to support the enactment of the powers under the SI. We and the Devolved Administrations are working closely with them on this.

We will continue to engage closely with representatives from all parts of the dairy supply chain to support the sector throughout this challenging period.

Grouped Questions: HL3680 | HL3681
Q
Asked on: 29 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dairy Farming: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the letter sent to Peers by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 22 April, when they expect to receive the proposals by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and Dairy UK about the alleviation of overproduction in the dairy farming sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A
Answered on: 14 May 2020

Dairy farmers are crucial in ensuring that food supplies remain resilient in this difficult period. While the vast majority of the UK's dairy farmers are largely unaffected some have been directly impacted by the closure of the food service sector as a result of the lockdown measures taken in response to COVID-19. Between 5 and 10 per cent of total milk production goes to the food service trade. We continue to work closely with the National Farmers Union, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and Dairy UK to ensure that those most affected are supported.

In recognition of the unprecedented challenges facing this sector on 7 May we announced a new fund to support those dairy farmers who have seen decreased demand due to the loss of the food service sector. Eligible dairy farmers in England who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May due to coronavirus disruptions will be eligible for funding of up to £10,000 each, to cover 70% of their lost income during this qualifying period. This will enable these producers to continue to operate and sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.

The AHDB, together with Dairy UK, have launched a new £1 million campaign to drive an increase in the consumption of milk. Running over 12 weeks, the campaign will highlight the role that milk plays in supporting moments of personal connection during times of crisis. Defra and the devolved administrations are jointly contributing towards the financing of this campaign.

The dairy industry can also access various Government backed loan schemes. The COVID-19 Business Interruption Loan Scheme is available to dairy farmers, milk buyers and milk processors. In addition, the new Bounce Back Loan scheme applies to businesses operating in agriculture and will ensure that the smallest businesses can access up to £50,000 loans.

We also took a number of early emergency steps to support dairy farmers and those in other sectors. These included designating employees in the food sector as key workers and temporarily relaxing the normal rules on drivers' hours, enabling the sector to keep supply chains running, including deliveries from farm gate to processors.

Public intervention for skimmed milk powder and butter also continues to be available. Industry can sell skimmed milk powder and butter into public intervention when the price they would receive on the open market falls below the intervention price. This provides a floor price for dairy products. UK processors are also eligible for the recently opened private storage aid scheme for dairy.

Furthermore, the statutory instrument (SI) temporarily relaxing some elements of competition law for the dairy industry was laid before Parliament on 1 May 2020 and applies retrospectively from 1 April 2020. This makes it easier for the dairy industry to collaborate to maximise production, processing and storage efficiency in order to avoid wastage and to ensure that as much product as possible can be processed into high quality dairy products. The AHDB and Dairy UK have offered to work with the dairy industry to support the enactment of the powers under the SI. We and the Devolved Administrations are working closely with them on this.

We will continue to engage closely with representatives from all parts of the dairy supply chain to support the sector throughout this challenging period.

Grouped Questions: HL3679 | HL3681
Q
Asked on: 29 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dairy Farming: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the actual number of dairy farmers who require support given the COVID-19 pandemic; and what steps they have taken to ensure that appropriate and prompt support is provided to those that need it most.
A
Answered on: 14 May 2020

Dairy farmers are crucial in ensuring that food supplies remain resilient in this difficult period. While the vast majority of the UK's dairy farmers are largely unaffected some have been directly impacted by the closure of the food service sector as a result of the lockdown measures taken in response to COVID-19. Between 5 and 10 per cent of total milk production goes to the food service trade. We continue to work closely with the National Farmers Union, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and Dairy UK to ensure that those most affected are supported.

In recognition of the unprecedented challenges facing this sector on 7 May we announced a new fund to support those dairy farmers who have seen decreased demand due to the loss of the food service sector. Eligible dairy farmers in England who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May due to coronavirus disruptions will be eligible for funding of up to £10,000 each, to cover 70% of their lost income during this qualifying period. This will enable these producers to continue to operate and sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.

The AHDB, together with Dairy UK, have launched a new £1 million campaign to drive an increase in the consumption of milk. Running over 12 weeks, the campaign will highlight the role that milk plays in supporting moments of personal connection during times of crisis. Defra and the devolved administrations are jointly contributing towards the financing of this campaign.

The dairy industry can also access various Government backed loan schemes. The COVID-19 Business Interruption Loan Scheme is available to dairy farmers, milk buyers and milk processors. In addition, the new Bounce Back Loan scheme applies to businesses operating in agriculture and will ensure that the smallest businesses can access up to £50,000 loans.

We also took a number of early emergency steps to support dairy farmers and those in other sectors. These included designating employees in the food sector as key workers and temporarily relaxing the normal rules on drivers' hours, enabling the sector to keep supply chains running, including deliveries from farm gate to processors.

Public intervention for skimmed milk powder and butter also continues to be available. Industry can sell skimmed milk powder and butter into public intervention when the price they would receive on the open market falls below the intervention price. This provides a floor price for dairy products. UK processors are also eligible for the recently opened private storage aid scheme for dairy.

Furthermore, the statutory instrument (SI) temporarily relaxing some elements of competition law for the dairy industry was laid before Parliament on 1 May 2020 and applies retrospectively from 1 April 2020. This makes it easier for the dairy industry to collaborate to maximise production, processing and storage efficiency in order to avoid wastage and to ensure that as much product as possible can be processed into high quality dairy products. The AHDB and Dairy UK have offered to work with the dairy industry to support the enactment of the powers under the SI. We and the Devolved Administrations are working closely with them on this.

We will continue to engage closely with representatives from all parts of the dairy supply chain to support the sector throughout this challenging period.

Grouped Questions: HL3679 | HL3680
Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 30 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
Administration of Justice: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of COVID-19 on the administration of justice, and in particular on (1) victim services, (2) litigants in person, and (3) defendants.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 14 May 2020

HM Courts & Tribunals Service is working hard to keep our justice system functioning during this unprecedented public health emergency. Our priorities are to maintain access to justice and to protect the safety of all who work in the courts and tribunals.

We are continuously reviewing our approach in light of PHE advice and to understand impacts on our all our users, particularly those who are vulnerable.

(1) Victim services

We are committed to ensuring victims continue to receive the support they need during this challenging time, and have robust and flexible plans in place to ensure that we can continue to deliver key services across the justice system, including the support of victims.

We have been working across government and with justice partner agencies to ensure that there will be comprehensive support for victims and witnesses across England and Wales.

(2) Litigants in person

The recently agreed Legal Support for Litigants in Person Grant will invest £3.1m over two years to enhance support for litigants in person. We are working closely with delivery partners in the advice sector to ensure the department’s grant funding to litigants in person support services remains responsive to the needs of those self-representing in the justice system, including the impacts of COVID-19. This new funding is in addition to the approximately £8m invested through the Litigants in Person Support Strategy (LIPSS) since 2014/15.

(3) Defendants

We are working very closely with the judiciary to prioritise caseload and case types, and continually reviewing procedures to support access to justice during the emergency period, particularly for the most time-critical and sensitive cases. In the Crown and magistrates’ courts, bail applications and cases where the defendant is in custody awaiting sentence have been prioritised.

Q
(Torfaen)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 06 May 2020
Home Office
Serious Violence Taskforce
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the serious violence taskforce last met.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 14 May 2020

The Serious Violence Taskforce was established in 2018 to oversee the implementation of the Serious Violence Strategy. It last met on 26 June 2019.

The Government remains incredibly grateful for the work of the Taskforce which brought together Ministers, senior leaders and key partners. The Taskforce influenced additional action and investment in this area, for example through the creation of the new £200m Youth Endowment Fund, the consultation on the new duty on agencies to reduce serious violence and the launch of the Independent Review of Drugs Misuse.

The Government’s Manifesto set out an ambitious package of reforms to deliver on the people’s priorities and tackle violent crime and safeguard people’s streets and neighbourhoods. The Prime Minister and Home Secretary are driving this with a new cross-Whitehall Crime and Justice Taskforce to ensure we use every lever at our disposal to fight crime.

We will consider the future role for the Serious Violence Taskforce in delivering these priorities, within this context.

Grouped Questions: 43990
Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 06 May 2020
Home Office
Serious Violence Taskforce
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the serious violence taskforce next plans to meet.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 14 May 2020

The Serious Violence Taskforce was established in 2018 to oversee the implementation of the Serious Violence Strategy. It last met on 26 June 2019.

The Government remains incredibly grateful for the work of the Taskforce which brought together Ministers, senior leaders and key partners. The Taskforce influenced additional action and investment in this area, for example through the creation of the new £200m Youth Endowment Fund, the consultation on the new duty on agencies to reduce serious violence and the launch of the Independent Review of Drugs Misuse.

The Government’s Manifesto set out an ambitious package of reforms to deliver on the people’s priorities and tackle violent crime and safeguard people’s streets and neighbourhoods. The Prime Minister and Home Secretary are driving this with a new cross-Whitehall Crime and Justice Taskforce to ensure we use every lever at our disposal to fight crime.

We will consider the future role for the Serious Violence Taskforce in delivering these priorities, within this context.

Grouped Questions: 43989
Asked on: 28 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dairy Farming: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what they are doing in relation to the measures to react to SARS-CoV-2 to support the adoption of agroecological farming practices in the dairy sector, which require small, largely grass-fed operations rather than factory farming.
A
Answered on: 13 May 2020

Defra is working very closely with the dairy and other agricultural sectors through this period of disruption to manage the impact of Covid-9 on the dairy supply chain.

The Government encourages environmentally-friendly farming. Each farming method has its own benefits and it is a farmer’s commercial decision to choose the system that best suits their farm. Environmentally-friendly farming and food production can go hand in hand.

To support the dairy industry through impacts of Covid-19, we have introduced a wide range of measures, which will also benefit dairy farmers employing agro-ecological practices.

We have eased some elements of competition law to make it easier for dairy processors to come together to maximise production, processing and storage efficiency and ensure as much product as possible can be processed into high quality dairy products.

Moreover, in recognition of the unprecedented challenges facing this sector we announced on 7 May a new fund to support those dairy farmers who have seen decreased demand due to the loss of the food service sector. Eligible dairy farmers in England who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May due to coronavirus disruptions will be eligible for funding of up to £10,000 each, to cover 70% of their lost income during this qualifying period. This will enable these producers to continue to operate and sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.

AHDB together with Dairy UK have also launched a new £1m campaign to drive consumption of milk. Running over 12 weeks, the campaign will highlight the role that milk plays in supporting moments of personal connection during times of crisis. Defra and the devolved administrations are jointly contributing towards the financing of this campaign.

Alongside the Covid-19 Business Interruption Loans Scheme, HMT has announced the new Bounce Back Loan scheme which will also apply to businesses operating in agriculture. This will ensure that the smallest businesses can access up to £50,000 loans. The Government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee on each loan, to give lenders the confidence they need to support the smallest businesses in the country. We will also cover the first 12 months of interest payments and fees charged to the business by the lender.

The existing public intervention scheme for skimmed milk powder and butter continues to be available. This provides a floor price for dairy products, supporting the dairy industry to sell skimmed milk powder and butter into public intervention when the price they would receive on the open market falls below the intervention price. In addition from 7 May, UK dairy processors are also eligible to apply for EU funded private storage aid in respect of skimmed milk powder, butter and cheese.

For organic dairy farmers whose milk is being sold as conventional milk, we offered a derogation to allow these farmers to provide their cows with conventional feed in order to reduce costs.

The new Environmental Land Management scheme will be the cornerstone of our future agricultural policy. It will reward farmers and land managers for the delivery of public goods with public money. The ELM scheme is being designed collaboratively with stakeholders. We are considering how more environmentally-sustainable farming approaches, including organic farming and agro-ecological approaches, may fit within ELM where these contribute towards the delivery of environmental public goods. Land managers will be paid for delivering the following public goods set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan: clean air; clean and plentiful water; thriving plants and wildlife; protection from and mitigation of environmental hazards; beauty, heritage and engagement with the environment; mitigation of and adaptation to climate change

Meanwhile, Countryside Stewardship (CS) provides a stepping stone to the future scheme, paying for environmental enhancements now as area-based payments are phased out. CS supports Defra’s Strategic Objective of ‘a cleaner, healthier environment, benefitting people and the economy’. Through the scheme, farmers can apply for funding to improve their local environment – from restoring wildlife habitats and creating woodlands to managing flood risk.

We will continue to offer Countryside Stewardship agreements in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Q
Asked by Baroness Rock
Asked on: 28 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they are giving to grant schemes to support dairy and tenant farmers.
A
Answered on: 13 May 2020

Defra is working very closely with the dairy and other agricultural sectors through this period of disruption to manage the impact of COVID-19 on the dairy supply chain.

We have eased some elements of competition law to make it easier for dairy processors to come together to maximise production, processing and storage efficiency and ensure as much product as possible can be processed into high quality dairy products.

Moreover, in recognition of the unprecedented challenges facing this sector we announced on 7 May a new fund to support those dairy farmers who have seen decreased demand due to the loss of the food service sector. Eligible dairy farmers in England who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May due to coronavirus disruptions will be eligible for funding of up to £10,000 each, to cover 70% of their lost income during this qualifying period. This will enable these producers to continue to operate and sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board together with Dairy UK have launched a new £1 million campaign running over 12 weeks to drive an increase in the consumption of milk. Defra and the devolved administrations are jointly contributing towards the financing of this campaign.

Alongside the COVID-19 Business Interruption Loans Scheme, HMT has announced the new Bounce Back Loan scheme which will also apply to businesses operating in agriculture. This will ensure that the smallest businesses can access up to £50,000 loans. The Government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee on each loan, to give lenders the confidence they need to support the smallest businesses in the country. We will also cover the first 12 months of interest payments and fees charged to the business by the lender.

A vibrant tenanted sector is vital to a successful future for agriculture, a third of agricultural land in England is tenanted. Tenant farmers can access the business support schemes the government has put in place to help in these unprecedented times.

In addition, Defra has worked closely with the Country Land and Business Association and the Tenant Farmers Association on a joint initiative to encourage all rural landlords and tenants to work together collaboratively and compassionately at this time in respect of all tenancy matters, but particularly regarding rent payments, notices to quit and finalising new tenancy agreements. Furthermore, from 27 March 2020, court possession proceedings have been suspended for a 90-day period. This is in line with public health advice to limit all nonessential movement and it provides agricultural tenants with additional assurance that they are protected from eviction proceedings during this difficult time.

As the situation evolves Defra will continue frequent engagement with farming (including tenant farming) and processor representatives to understand the urgent support needed to help ensure the continued viability of all parts of the sector.

Q
Asked on: 28 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dairy Farming
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure long-term sustainability of the British dairy sector; and whether service contracts have been checked to ensure that all public services source milk from UK dairy farmers.
A
Answered on: 13 May 2020

The Government is working closely with our agriculture sectors to manage the impact of COVID-19 and is determined that our dairy sector will emerge from the current COVID-19 crisis with a sustainable future. While the vast majority of Britain’s dairy farmers continue to supply their contracts at the usual price, between 5 and 10 per cent of total milk production goes to the service trade, and these farmers have been impacted by the significantly reduced demand following the closure of the food service sector.

To support the sector we have temporarily eased of some elements of competition law to make it easier for the dairy industry to come together to maximise production, processing and storage efficiency and ensure as much product as possible can be processed into high quality dairy products. This approach will allow the market for milk to adjust to the change in demand for milk while allowing production to be restored when shops, restaurants and pubs are able to open again. Exempted activities have been developed in conjunction with the dairy industry.

Moreover, in recognition of the unprecedented challenges facing this sector on 7 May we announced a new fund to support those dairy farmers who have seen decreased demand due to the loss of the food service sector. Eligible dairy farmers in England who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May due to coronavirus disruptions will be eligible for funding of up to £10,000 each, to cover 70% of their lost income during this qualifying period. This will enable these producers to continue to operate and sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board together with Dairy UK have launched a new £1 million campaign running over 12 weeks to drive an increase in the consumption of milk. Defra and the devolved administrations are jointly contributing towards the financing of this campaign.

The dairy industry can also access various Government backed loan schemes. The COVID-19 Business Interruption Loans scheme is available to farmers, milk buyers and milk processors. In addition, the new Bounce Back Loan scheme, which will apply to businesses including those operating in agriculture, will ensure that the smallest businesses can access up to £50,000 loans.

In the longer term the Government is keen to see greater levels of collaboration between producers and we will continue to support farmers who want to harness the benefits of working together. Our Agriculture Bill includes powers to introduce a new domestic system for recognising producer organisations, which will be better tailored to the requirements of UK producers.

The Bill also includes powers to introduce and enforce statutory codes of practice to address unfair trading practices which can occur between milk producers and purchasers. We will carry out a full consultation on dairy contracts to take account of the range of stakeholder views and anticipate launching the consultation later this year.

British food and drink are renowned around the world for its quality and integrity and we want consumers, including public service organisations, to be able to benefit from our nutritious dairy and other agricultural products. Respecting our World Trade Organization commitments on public procurement, central Government and its executive agencies in England are mandated to source produce that meets UK minimum production standards, as outlined in the "Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering”.

Q
Asked by Lord German
Asked on: 29 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prisoners were, are, or will be within two months of the end of their release date in (1) March, (2) April, (3) May, and (4) June 2020.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 13 May 2020

In the prison population serving a determinate sentence (excluding recalls) as at 31 March 2020, there were:

  • 7,346 with a release date from 31 March 2020 to 31 May 2020 (inclusive)
  • 5,503 with a release date from 30 April 2020 to 30 June 2020 (inclusive)
  • 4,503 with a release date from 31 May 2020 to 31July 2020 (inclusive)
  • 4,185 with a release date from 30 June 2020 to 31 August 2020 (inclusive)
Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 04 May 2020
Department for Transport
East West Railway Company: Trains
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he had with the East-West Rail Company prior to their tender for diesel units; and what assessment he has made of the merits of that line being an electrified railway.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 13 May 2020

The Department is investing in transport infrastructure that meets the needs of people and businesses, and is driving forward the development of policy on the decarbonisation and sustainability of rail. The East West Rail Company is currently seeking to procure rolling stock on an interim basis to enable services to be delivered as soon as possible whilst ongoing discussions about the case and options for the electrification of the railway in the long term are concluded.

Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 04 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Remand in Custody
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what was the (a) mean and (b) median number of days (i) women and (ii) men spent remanded in custody in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 13 May 2020

Centrally held court data does not include the amount of time spent remanded in custody, and therefore obtaining this information would result in a disproportionate cost to the department.

Prison receptions data has enabled an approximation of the data that has been requested. The attached tables provide information on the mean and median amount of time that men and women were remanded in custody up to the point that they were sentenced (Table 1), and remanded in custody pre-trial up to the point that they were admitted to prison between conviction and sentencing (Table 2), in each of the last five years. It has not been possible to estimate the mean and median amount of time that unconvicted men and women were remanded in custody during a trial process that resulted in no conviction because this specific data could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost to the department.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 21.07 KB)
Grouped Questions: 42958 | 42959
Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 04 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Remand in Custody
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what was the (a) mean and and (b) median number of days unconvicted (i) women and (ii) men spent remanded in custody in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 13 May 2020

Centrally held court data does not include the amount of time spent remanded in custody, and therefore obtaining this information would result in a disproportionate cost to the department.

Prison receptions data has enabled an approximation of the data that has been requested. The attached tables provide information on the mean and median amount of time that men and women were remanded in custody up to the point that they were sentenced (Table 1), and remanded in custody pre-trial up to the point that they were admitted to prison between conviction and sentencing (Table 2), in each of the last five years. It has not been possible to estimate the mean and median amount of time that unconvicted men and women were remanded in custody during a trial process that resulted in no conviction because this specific data could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost to the department.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 21.07 KB)
Grouped Questions: 42957 | 42959
Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 04 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Remand in Custody
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make an estimate of the (a) mean and (b) median number of days unconvicted (i) women and (ii) men spent remanded in custody during a trial process that ended without them being convicted in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 13 May 2020

Centrally held court data does not include the amount of time spent remanded in custody, and therefore obtaining this information would result in a disproportionate cost to the department.

Prison receptions data has enabled an approximation of the data that has been requested. The attached tables provide information on the mean and median amount of time that men and women were remanded in custody up to the point that they were sentenced (Table 1), and remanded in custody pre-trial up to the point that they were admitted to prison between conviction and sentencing (Table 2), in each of the last five years. It has not been possible to estimate the mean and median amount of time that unconvicted men and women were remanded in custody during a trial process that resulted in no conviction because this specific data could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost to the department.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 21.07 KB)
Grouped Questions: 42957 | 42958
Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 04 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Remand in Custody: Females
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the increase in the number of women held on remand in the year to March 2020.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 13 May 2020

The number of women in custody on remand has declined significantly over the past 15 years, having decreased from around 1,000 (as at June 2005) to 559 (as at March 2020).

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) includes a real prospect of custody test. This sets out that a court can only consider a remand in custody if the defendant, if convicted, would face a custodial sentence.

While there was an increase of 8% (520 to 559) in the number of women on remand in the year to March 2020, this figure is comparable with the 564 women on remand at 31 March 2018.

We are working on a number of areas for male and female offenders which should assist and support the courts in their decision-making. This includes the implementation of a national Bail Information Service as a priority service in those courts that remain open, which aims to ensure the identification of defendants who might be eligible for bail, and to provide sufficient information to the courts to enable them to make fully informed decisions in each individual case.

The National Probation Service has developed an Aide Memoire for use when court reports are being completed about women. The Aide Memoire for Reports on Women is designed to prompt probation officers writing presentence reports to consider all areas related to a woman’s offending and to make a robust proposal for a community sentence whenever appropriate.

In addition, the Female Offender Strategy (2018), set out an ambitious programme of work to improve outcomes for female offenders at all stages of the justice system, and make society safer by tackling the underlying causes of offending and reoffending. This will take several years to deliver.

Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 04 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Offenders: Females
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent progress his Department has made on the implementation of the Female Offender Strategy.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 13 May 2020

The Female Offender Strategy (2018) set out our vision to see fewer women entering the justice system and reoffending; fewer women in custody, particularly on short custodial sentences, with more managed successfully in the community; and a custodial environment that enables rehabilitation. The strategy launched an ambitious programme of work to improve outcomes for female offenders and make society safer by tackling the underlying causes of offending and reoffending. This will take several years to deliver.

Almost two years on from publication of the Strategy we are making good progress. We have invested £5.1 million Strategy funding in 30 different women’s services across England and Wales, helping to sustain and enhance existing services, fill gaps in provision, and provide properties for new women’s centres. Other achievements include publication of a new Women’s Policy Framework; roll-out of new training for staff working with women in custody and the community; improvements to the preparation of pre-sentence reports; publication and ongoing implementation of the recommendations in Lord Farmer’s review into family ties for female offenders; undertaken a review of police forces’ responses to our guidance on working with vulnerable women; piloting a new offender management model for women under supervision in the community; commissioning research to inform our policy on BAME female offenders; and a review of the operational policy on Pregnancy, Mother and Baby Units, and Mothers separated from children under the age of 2 in prison which is due to report shortly.

On 5 May 2020, we announced the investment of a further £2.5m in women’s community services in England and Wales in 2020/21, supporting them to tackle the root causes of offending and help women to turn their lives around. We also announced that the first site of our residential women’s centre pilot will be located in Wales. This will provide accommodation for vulnerable women with complex needs who would otherwise be sentenced to custody, enabling them to stay closer to home and maintain important family ties, and will directly tackle the issues which often underlie offending, like substance misuse and mental health. We will now work with Welsh Government and partners in Wales to identify a provider and site, with the aim of opening the centre by the end of next year.

Q
(York Central)
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Department for International Development
Migrant Camps: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) international partners on protecting refugees in UNHCR camps and other camps during the covid-19 pandemic.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 13 May 2020

The UK has committed £744 million in the international fight against COVID-19. We are a key contributor to the UN Global Humanitarian Response Plan which aims to support the most vulnerable groups including refugees and other forcibly displaced populations.

The Secretary of State regularly engages with Cabinet colleagues on a wide range of matters including COVID-19 and its impact on developing countries.

The UK is taking decisive and co-ordinated action to support the global response to COVID-19, working with our international partners. The UK is also using its membership of the G7 and G20 to urge collective action and help drive a timely and effective international response that ensures the most vulnerable groups, including refugees, are not left behind.

Our most recent funding includes new support to the UN’s Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and other partners to help install hand-washing stations and isolation and treatment centres in refugee camps, support vulnerable displaced families, provide protection and education services for forcibly displaced children, and increase access to clean water for displaced people living in areas of armed conflict.

Q
(Totnes)
Asked on: 06 May 2020
Ministry of Defence
Veterans UK: Remote Working
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what (a) systems and (b) processes are required to be introduced to ensure that Veterans UK is able provide its full portfolio of benefit services while staff are working from home.
A
Answered by: Johnny Mercer
Answered on: 13 May 2020

Officials have been working together with the Trades Union to ensure there is a safe system of work in place to enable as many staff as possible who are unable to work remotely to safely to return to the office. Protocols have been agreed and staff that need to be in the workplace are returning to work. These protocols are in accordance with Government guidelines.

Over the next three years, Veterans UK is undergoing a £30 million transformation and modernisation programme to digitise its pension and compensation schemes and to drive innovation and modernisation, including the development of self-serve systems for claimants. This transformation will enable staff to access the required information and work remotely without the need for hard copy files.

Q
(Eastbourne)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 13 May 2020
Northern Ireland Office
Health Services: Northern Ireland
Commons
What support his Department is providing to the health service in Northern Ireland during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 13 May 2020

The UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive are communicating at all levels, with the NI Health Minister regularly attending the Government’s health meetings. So far £1.2bn has been made available to the Executive to support the response to Covid-19.

We will continue to support the Health Service in Northern Ireland in any way possible, such as the Government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing and PPE supply. As part of this, we have rolled out three test facilities in Northern Ireland - Belfast, Londonderry, and Craigavon - for the testing of frontline and key workers.

Q
Asked by Ian Paisley
(North Antrim)
Asked on: 27 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Vaccination
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking with UK companies to support the development of a vaccine for covid-19.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 12 May 2020

On 17 April 2020 the Government announced a new Vaccines Taskforce (VTF) to drive forward the rapid development and production of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The VTF is supporting efforts to rapidly develop a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible by providing industry and research institutions with the resources and support they need. This includes reviewing regulations and scaling up manufacturing, so that when a vaccine becomes available, it can be produced quickly and in mass quantities.

The taskforce is also working closely with the Bioindustry Association which has set up an industry-led group, to accelerate vaccine development and manufacturing.

Asked on: 28 April 2020
Department for International Development
Africa: Food Supply
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security in Africa.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 12 May 2020

COVID-19 is exacerbating an already negative trend, with a high and increasing baseline of chronic food insecurity being further driven by drought, conflict, and locusts and other shocks. Immediate harvest prospects are favourable in some countries and for some commodities, but distribution is a challenge in many vulnerable areas, even at the best of times. COVID-19 related disruptions to supply chains threaten price rises at the same time as secondary impacts are dramatically reducing the purchasing power of the poor and of farmers who cannot afford inputs for the next planting season. To tackle the factors driving COVID-19 induced food insecurity, the UK is repurposing programmes in agriculture, social protection and humanitarian assistance, for example, our bilateral Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness and multilateral Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. In all of these we continue to put the poorest and most marginalised at the heart of our programmes to address the underlying causes of chronic hunger.

Asked on: 29 April 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: Baha'i Faith
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations, if any, they have made to President Mahdi al Mashat that the pardon for Hamed bin Haydara and five other Yemeni Baha'i, and their release from jail, be expedited.
A
Answered on: 12 May 2020

We are monitoring the case of Hamed bin Haydara closely. On 25 March the Houthis announced that they would release Mr Haydara and his fellow wrongfully detained Baha'i, but we have seen no further action since then. The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa made public our concerns on 22 April, urging the Houthis to release all political prisoners without delay. We strongly condemn the death sentence and the continued persecution of the Baha'i in Yemen for their religious beliefs. We meet often with the Baha'i representatives in London who keep us updated on the situation.

Q
Asked by Kate Osamor
(Edmonton)
Asked on: 01 May 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Milk: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the milk supply chain is not disrupted during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 12 May 2020

Defra is working closely with the dairy industry to manage the impact of COVID-19. Demand for milk and some dairy products has increased in supermarkets and the vast majority of Britain’s dairy farmers continue to supply their contracts at the usual price. However, between 5 and 10 per cent of total milk production goes to the service trade, and these farmers have been impacted by the significantly reduced demand.

At the outset of the pandemic, the Government announced a number of emergency measures to support farmers, processors, and retailers. These include designating the food sector as critical to the response, with those working in the production, processing, sale, distribution or delivery of food categorised as “key workers” and granting derogations on drivers’ hours limitations.

In addition, to support milk producers, the Government announced on 17 April a temporary easing of some elements of competition law to make it easier for the dairy industry to come together to maximise production, processing and storage efficiency and ensure as much product as possible can be processed into high quality dairy products. This approach will allow the market for milk to adjust to the change in demand for milk while allowing production to be restored when shops, restaurants and pubs are able to open again. Exempted activities have been developed in conjunction with the dairy industry.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) together with Dairy UK are launching a new £1 million campaign to drive consumption of milk and other dairy products. Running over 12 weeks, the campaign will highlight the role that milk and other dairy products play in supporting moments of personal connection during times of crisis. Defra and the devolved administrations are jointly contributing towards the financing of this campaign.

The dairy industry can access various Government backed loan schemes. The COVID-19 Business Interruption Loans scheme is available to farmers, milk buyers and milk processors. In addition, the new Bounce Back Loan scheme, which will apply to businesses including those operating in agriculture, will ensure that the smallest businesses can access up to £50,000 loans.

In recognition of the unprecedented challenges facing this sector, on 6 May 2020, Defra announced a new fund to help support those dairy farmers who have seen decreased demand due to the loss of the food service sector. The new fund will provide support for those most in need. Eligible dairy farmers in England will be entitled to up to £10,000 each, to cover 70% of their lost income during April and May to ensure they can continue to operate and sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.

Public intervention for skimmed milk powder and butter continues to be available. Industry can sell skimmed milk powder and butter into public intervention when the price they would receive on the open market falls below the intervention price. This provides a floor price for dairy products. From 7 May, UK dairy processors are also eligible to apply for EU funded private storage aid in respect of skimmed milk powder, butter and cheese.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 01 May 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Food: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the conditions required to ease the lockdown include plans to (a) rebuild public confidence in the safety of the restaurant sector and (b) promote awareness that food handlers are key workers that are eligible for covid-19 testing.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 12 May 2020

Defra, alongside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Devolved Administrations, is working closely with representatives from the food and beverage hospitality sector to support their planning towards reopening and their continued operations. This includes identifying what ongoing support businesses may need from the Government as they implement the measures required to protect workers and customers as restrictions are eased.

It is possible for many businesses to reopen safely, in a cautious way, and we welcome the reopening of food-to-go businesses, predominantly for drive thru, in line with

social distancing measures. Providing clear advice and guidance will be important to restoring confidence in restaurants, takeaways and other hospitality businesses, not only for customers but for workers too. This will be a key part of Government planning as we move towards the easing of restrictions.

This includes measures such as the Government expanding the eligibility for testing to all essential workers with symptoms of coronavirus, including those working in the food and drink industry. As a result of rapidly increasing testing capacity, we have been able to implement this and we have published advice including on how to arrange tests.

Q
(Tottenham)
Asked on: 04 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Homelessness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners have been released because they have come to the end of their sentence and were known to be going to no fixed abode in (a) February, (b) March and (c) April 2020.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 12 May 2020

The data on the number of prisoners released without a fixed address in February and March is due to be published on gov.uk on 30 July as part of the quarterly community performance statistics. The data for April 2020 is not yet available but is due for publication in July 2021.

It is vital that everyone leaving prison has somewhere safe and secure to live, as a platform to access the services and support needed to stop offending especially at this difficult time. It is our intention to make sure that no prisoner will be released without housing and health support being in place and we have set up seven Homelessness Prevention Taskforces to provide accommodation support for those eligible for early release and those in the community experiencing accommodation difficulties. We are also working in collaboration with several public, private and voluntary sector providers to secure a range of accommodation options.

Q
(York Central)
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Department for International Development
Developing Countries: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with her (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) international partners on the UK's response to covid-19 in developing countries.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 12 May 2020

The Secretary of State regularly engages with Cabinet colleagues on a wide range of matters including COVID-19 and its impact on developing countries.

The UK is taking decisive and co-ordinated action to support the global response to COVID-19, working with our international partners. The UK is also using its membership of the G7 and G20 to urge collective action and help drive a timely and effective international response. We are working closely with our G7 partners, including significant donors who are outside this group, for example the Netherlands, Norway and Australia, to agree priorities for immediate response to help countries deal with the immediate health and humanitarian impacts of the virus.

Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 05 May 2020
Department for International Development
Middle East: Nutrition
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the extent to which her Department’s funding for nutrition programmes in low-income and fragile states throughout the Middle East is meeting demand for those programmes.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 12 May 2020

Across the Middle East, malnutrition rates, as well as food insecurity levels, are very concerning, particularly in Yemen and Syria where rates are among the highest in the world.

In Yemen, last financial year (19/20), UK support helped UNICEF screen over 400,000 children for severe acute malnutrition and enabled 45,000 children to be enrolled in nutrition programmes after screening. The UK is the second-largest donor to the malnutrition response in Yemen and we continue to encourage other donors to provide significant funding to Yemen, including for the malnutrition response.

In Syria, last financial year (19/20), the UK reached over 170,000 children under five, or pregnant or new mothers, with nutrition interventions. The UK is one of the largest bilateral donors to the Syria Crisis since it began in 2011. We are at the forefront of the humanitarian response, driving other donors to help those acutely in need, including on key issues such as malnutrition.

Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 1-100 out of 818
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100