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.

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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.
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Q
(Stalybridge and Hyde)
[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: 01 July 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessments he has made of the ability of driving instructors to conduct driving lessons safely during driving lessons as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 06 July 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been the safety of its staff and the wider public. That remains its priority as it restarts its services.

Driving instructors are responsible for ensuring their services remain safe. Guidance on how they can carry out risk assessments can be found on the Health and Safety Executive’s website.

The DVSA would encourage all driving instructors to keep up to date with the driving instructors’ National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) website for further advice and information: http://www.n-a-s-p.co.uk/

Q
(Stalybridge and Hyde)
[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: 01 July 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to publish public health guidance for driving instructors on providing lessons safely as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 06 July 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been the safety of its staff and the wider public. That remains its priority as it restarts its services.

Driving instructors are responsible for ensuring their services remain safe. The DVSA has released an updated version of its standard operating procedure to driving examiners, which driving instructors might wish to refer to when developing their own health and safety procedures. The DVSA will be sending this directly to driving instructors and it will be hosted on the National Associations Strategic Partnership website.

The DVSA would encourage all driving instructors to keep up to date with the driving instructors’ National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) website for further advice and information: http://www.n-a-s-p.co.uk/

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: 01 July 2020
Department for International Development
Overseas Aid: Fossil Fuels
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she has taken to ensure that Official Development Assistance is not spent on fossil fuel projects.
A
Answered by: James Duddridge
Answered on: 06 July 2020

Countries need reliable and sustainable supplies of energy if they are to tackle poverty effectively by growing their economies, creating jobs, and delivering essential services. UK aid is focused on helping them achieve this, and our support for energy is increasingly invested in renewables. Since 2011, the UK has provided 26 million people with improved access to clean energy and installed 1,600 MW of clean energy capacity, avoiding 16 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2019, in the Green Finance Strategy, the Government committed to aligning the UK’s Official Development Assistance with the goals of the Paris international climate change agreement, including our support for energy.

The Government has also announced that the UK will double our international climate finance to £11.6 billion between 2021/22 and 2025/26. A significant proportion of this funding will be invested in clean energy, including up to £1 billion in developing and testing new technology in areas such as energy storage, innovations in renewable energy, cooling, low carbon and electric transport and technologies for industrial decarbonisation. This funding for innovation is targeted at driving forward the clean energy transition in developing countries, by creating and demonstrating new technologies and business models to deploy them.

Asked on: 23 June 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Film and Television: Equality
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage greater diversity in UK film and TV.
A
Answered by: Baroness Barran
Answered on: 03 July 2020

Encouraging greater diversity in UK film and TV is a priority for government, and from our engagement with the cultural and creative sectors - including a roundtable hosted by my colleague Caroline Dineage on the impact of Covid-19 on diversity in these areas - we recognise that this issue has been under greater scrutiny in recent weeks.

We are working with the British Film Institute (BFI), in their role as the Government’s arm’s length body with responsibility for the sector, to improve representation both on and off screen, including through supporting the wider adoption of the BFI’s world-leading Diversity Standards. In addition, we are seeking to identify and promote best practice; through our sponsorship of the National Film and TV School, we have recently provided an additional £65,000 to support students from diverse backgrounds and we are also engaging with industry to drive change on the ground. In January this year, DCMS launched the ScreenSkills Apprenticeship Pilot with industry partners Netflix and Warner Media. Recruitment will focus on underrepresented groups within the sector and will not consider previous qualifications as a key recruitment criteria - thereby providing opportunities to people from all backgrounds.

We welcome the work Ofcom has undertaken through their annual diversity reports and the work of Project Diamond, an initiative supported by the broadcasters, which captures diversity data and the Creative Industries Council’s recent Diversity Charter. The Government continues to encourage employers to publish diversity data not because they have to but because it is the right thing to do.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 24 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish guidance on the resumption of driving lessons as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 03 July 2020

Driver and rider instruction can restart in England from Saturday 4 July 2020.

Car driving tests will restart in England on Wednesday 22 July 2020, which will give learner drivers time to have refresher lessons and practice before taking their test.

The DVSA would encourage all driving instructors to keep up to date with the driving instructors’ National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) website for further advice and information.

Q
Asked by Karin Smyth
(Bristol 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: 24 June 2020
Department for Education
Apprentices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which organisations his Department has met with to discuss the Government’s forthcoming apprenticeship guarantee.
A
Answered by: Gillian Keegan
Answered on: 03 July 2020

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and in supporting employers in all sectors to access the skilled workforce they need to recover and grow following the COVID-19 outbreak. We are looking to support employers of all sizes, and particularly smaller businesses, to take on new apprentices this year. We will set out further details in due course. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses who want to take on an apprentice this year.

Ministers and officials continue to work closely with business representative organisations including the Confederation of Business Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses, Make UK, the Institute of Directors and British Chambers of Commerce. Ministers and officials are also working closely with other governmental departments including HM Treasury, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on economic recovery and the role of apprenticeships and other skills programmes.

In my role as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, I have held many conversations with employers and training providers, in addition to recently hosting two cross-sectoral employer roundtables. These roundtables were used to gain insight into their experiences of the impact of COVID-19 and the government’s response, and to share their ideas as to how apprenticeships can drive economic recovery and continue to be an accessible, high-quality route to employment and skills. Employers in attendance covered a diverse spectrum of the economy, including retail, manufacturing, construction, digital, creative arts and the public sector. I was also pleased to recently meet a broad range of members of the Federation of Industry Sector Skills & Standards to consider key skills shortages in different sectors and how COVID-19 has impacted these.


Q
Asked by Ruth Jones
(Newport West)
Asked on: 24 June 2020
Northern Ireland Office
City Deals: Northern Ireland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent assessment he has made of the progress on the delivery of Northern Ireland City Deals.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 03 July 2020

The Prime Minister has set out his ambitious plan to invest in our future prosperity. Jobs, skills and infrastructure will be central to the UK Government’s New Deal which will unleash the economic potential within every corner of the UK. As part of this, the UK Government intends to bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland and will work with the devolved administrations on our ambitious plan for economic recovery across the UK.

This ambition is also reflected in our commitment of £562m to City and Growth Deals across Northern Ireland (NI) which will drive economic growth and productivity in line with the key local priorities. The NI Executive has recently agreed to match the UK Government commitment to City and Growth Deals and the Inclusive Future Fund, bringing total investment to £1.2bn and highlighting what our partnership can achieve.

This partnership and long-term strategic investment will be vital in supporting Northern Ireland’s economic recovery following the impact and challenges presented by Covid-19. The Councils and their delivery partners are therefore working at speed to ensure their projects reflect the best opportunities for investment. Whilst Covid-19 has required some reassessment of local priorities, we are confident that progress is being made across each of the deals. I continue to engage regularly with the Chief Executives of the City and Growth Deals in Northern Ireland and my department is working closely with Councils and NI Executive colleagues to provide any support necessary to accelerate their implementation.

Q
Asked by Bill Wiggin
(North Herefordshire)
Asked on: 24 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with driving examiners to help young people pass their driving tests who have been held back due to covid-19.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 03 July 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been to protect the public and save lives. That remains its priority as it restarts its services.

Driver and rider instruction can restart in England from 4 July 2020.

Car driving tests will restart in England on Wednesday 22 July 2020, which will give learner drivers time to have refresher lessons and practice before taking their test.

Driving examiners are receiving information on the resumption of driving lessons and tests through their local communication channels.

Asked on: 24 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Wang Quanzhang
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the claims of the Chinese human rights lawyer, Wang Quanzhang, that he was tortured during a four-year prison sentence, kept under 24-hour surveillance by two armed police officers within his prison cell, and was forced into making a false confession; what representations they have made to the government of China about his reported treatment; and what response they have received.
A
Answered on: 03 July 2020

We have directly raised our concerns about the detention, mistreatment, and harassment of Wang Quanzhang on multiple occasions with the Chinese Government, and raised the case during China's last Universal Periodic Review. The Foreign Secretary raised human rights concerns with his Chinese counterpart, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, on both 9 March and 8 June.

Q
Asked by Alberto Costa
(South Leicestershire)
Asked on: 25 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fly-tipping and Waste Management: Fines
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the fines given to those who (a) are caught fly-tipping and (b) fail to check if those disposing of waste have a valid waste carriers' licence.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 03 July 2020

Defra issued a call for evidence in 2015 prior to introducing Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for those who have committed a fly-tipping offence. The responses to our call for evidence and further analysis when finalising the policy led to the maximum value of the FPN being set at £400.

In January 2019 we gave local authorities the power to issue a FPN to householders who fail in their duty of care. When consulting on this FPN, almost three-quarters of respondents felt that the proposed value (£200 default, maximum value of £400) was correct.

With regards to criminal prosecution for more serious fly-tipping offences, the punishment could be a fine of up to £50,000 or up to 12 months imprisonment or both when tried in a magistrates’ court. The offence can attract an unlimited fine or up to five years imprisonment or both if convicted in a Crown Court.

We committed in our manifesto to increase penalties for fly-tipping and will continue to work with magistrates, the Sentencing Council and the Judicial Office to ensure magistrates are aware of the prevalence and the significance of fly-tipping and its impact on local communities, with a view to securing tougher penalties.

The latest 2018/19 fly-tipping prosecution outcome figures showed that the value of total fines increased by 29% to £1,090,000 compared with 2017/18.

Q
Asked by Nickie Aiken
(Cities of London and Westminster)
Asked on: 25 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Administration of Justice: Human Trafficking
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department made of the potential effect on access to justice for victims of trafficking prior to the introduction of the legal aid fixed fee for asylum and immigration legal aid work.
A
Answered by: Alex Chalk
Answered on: 03 July 2020

The Lord Chancellor is committed to ensuring that everyone can access justice and has a statutory duty as set out in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO 2012) to ensure that legal aid funding is available for the civil legal services set out in Schedule 1 of LASPO 2012.

The legal aid fee scheme for asylum and immigration work is payable for all immigration and asylum matters that are in scope of LASPO, and the new fixed fees for immigration and asylum appeals apply to all legally-aided appeals before the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).

These new, temporary fees were introduced as part of our swift response to the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure that the tribunal system could continue to function and vulnerable clients could still access justice. As such our consideration on access to justice was based on the immigration and asylum system as a whole rather than individual appellants or appeal types. The Lord Chancellor has already committed to a formal consultation before any permanent fee is set.

Q
Asked by Alex Norris
(Nottingham 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: 15 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Contact Tracing: Training
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the training programme undertaken by NHS Test and Trace contact tracers includes information on (a) identifying child abuse and neglect and b) the steps to take in the event that they suspect a child is at risk.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 02 July 2020
Holding answer received on 18 June 2020

All organisations that we work with are experts in undertaking call handling and have standard quality assurance processes that help drive continuous improvement from the point we go live.

A training package has been put together by experts in health protection and field epidemiology. Staff who join as call handlers’ for Tier 3 and ‘clinical staff’ for Tiers 1 and 2 are required to complete Level 2 adult and child safe-guarding training. The training undertaken addresses both adult and child safeguarding training and identify when concerns should be escalated. Policies are in place to ensure contact tracers know how to escalate concerns.

Where contact tracers identify potential child abuse and neglect, they escalate these cases straight away to a specialist team for review and onward referral to the appropriate authorities.

Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 19 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 12 June 2020 to Question 54062, on Prisoners' Release: Coronavirus, how many and what proportion of prison-leavers released without an address to go to were from BAME backgrounds.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 02 July 2020

We are working closely across Government to ensure that all individuals released at risk of homelessness receive necessary support to help them secure somewhere to live.

As a result of the pandemic, we have secured up to £8.5 million to support individuals at risk of homelessness on their release from prison for up to eight weeks and help to move on into permanent accommodation. This scheme was originally due to run until 26 June; however, we have recently undertaken our first review and, following this, have extended the scheme until 31 July.

Of the 7,814 offenders released between 23 March-30 April 2020, 5,892 (75%) were from white backgrounds, 1,521 (19%) were from BAME backgrounds and the ethnic background of 401 offenders (5%) is unknown.

Of the 7,814 offenders released, 1,014 were described as homeless (total of rough sleeping and ‘other homeless’ combined). Of these 1,014 offenders, 174 (17%) were from BAME backgrounds, 804 (79%) were from white backgrounds and the ethnic background of 36 (4%) homeless offenders is unknown.

Please note, ‘other homeless’ refers to individuals who identify as homeless but have not been identified as sleeping rough. In some cases, it is not recorded whether an individual that is identified as homeless is rough sleeping.

The table below provides the number of offenders released from custody by accommodation circumstance on the first night. The data covers the period 23 March- 30 April 2020 and is broken down by region.

Offenders Released from custody

Rough sleeping

Other Homeless***

Unknown accommodation circumstance

Young Adults*

1289

17

68

188

London

276

4

11

42

Midlands

216

#

9

28

North East

230

#

7

40

North West

179

#

16

18

South East and Eastern

164

5

15

15

South West and South Central

135

5

6

16

Wales

89

#

4

29

Other Males**

5933

198

642

933

London

916

52

125

168

Midlands

1037

19

100

173

North East

1080

22

111

179

North West

984

23

104

103

South East and Eastern

763

50

88

106

South West and South Central

716

26

76

80

Wales

437

6

38

124

Other Females**

592

26

63

88

London

81

5

14

20

Midlands

139

4

13

22

North East

119

4

13

13

North West

86

#

15

10

South East and Eastern

62

5

4

10

South West and South Central

68

4

#

7

Wales

37

#

#

6

# Denotes values less than 4, or secondary suppression (suppressed to avoid disclosure).

Regions correspond to National Probation Service division boundaries at the end of March but also include Community Rehabilitation Company managed offenders.

*Young adults are offenders between 18 and 24

** Other male and females are offenders 25 and over

*** “Other homeless” refers to individuals who identify as homeless but have not been identified as sleeping rough. In some cases, it is not recorded whether an individual that is identified as homeless is rough sleeping

Please note, offenders not managed by either the National Probation Service or a Community Rehabilitation Company (including those offenders subject to electronic monitoring) are not included in the dataset. Release on temporary licence (RoTL), End of Custody Temporary Release (ECTR), releases where the offender is subject to same-day recall to custody, and release from unsupervised short sentences are also not included.

Grouped Questions: 61689
Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 19 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 12 June to Question 54062 on Prisoners' Release: Coronavirus, how many people within each of the categories in the table provided were released into (a) each of the regions of England and (b) Wales.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 02 July 2020

We are working closely across Government to ensure that all individuals released at risk of homelessness receive necessary support to help them secure somewhere to live.

As a result of the pandemic, we have secured up to £8.5 million to support individuals at risk of homelessness on their release from prison for up to eight weeks and help to move on into permanent accommodation. This scheme was originally due to run until 26 June; however, we have recently undertaken our first review and, following this, have extended the scheme until 31 July.

Of the 7,814 offenders released between 23 March-30 April 2020, 5,892 (75%) were from white backgrounds, 1,521 (19%) were from BAME backgrounds and the ethnic background of 401 offenders (5%) is unknown.

Of the 7,814 offenders released, 1,014 were described as homeless (total of rough sleeping and ‘other homeless’ combined). Of these 1,014 offenders, 174 (17%) were from BAME backgrounds, 804 (79%) were from white backgrounds and the ethnic background of 36 (4%) homeless offenders is unknown.

Please note, ‘other homeless’ refers to individuals who identify as homeless but have not been identified as sleeping rough. In some cases, it is not recorded whether an individual that is identified as homeless is rough sleeping.

The table below provides the number of offenders released from custody by accommodation circumstance on the first night. The data covers the period 23 March- 30 April 2020 and is broken down by region.

Offenders Released from custody

Rough sleeping

Other Homeless***

Unknown accommodation circumstance

Young Adults*

1289

17

68

188

London

276

4

11

42

Midlands

216

#

9

28

North East

230

#

7

40

North West

179

#

16

18

South East and Eastern

164

5

15

15

South West and South Central

135

5

6

16

Wales

89

#

4

29

Other Males**

5933

198

642

933

London

916

52

125

168

Midlands

1037

19

100

173

North East

1080

22

111

179

North West

984

23

104

103

South East and Eastern

763

50

88

106

South West and South Central

716

26

76

80

Wales

437

6

38

124

Other Females**

592

26

63

88

London

81

5

14

20

Midlands

139

4

13

22

North East

119

4

13

13

North West

86

#

15

10

South East and Eastern

62

5

4

10

South West and South Central

68

4

#

7

Wales

37

#

#

6

# Denotes values less than 4, or secondary suppression (suppressed to avoid disclosure).

Regions correspond to National Probation Service division boundaries at the end of March but also include Community Rehabilitation Company managed offenders.

*Young adults are offenders between 18 and 24

** Other male and females are offenders 25 and over

*** “Other homeless” refers to individuals who identify as homeless but have not been identified as sleeping rough. In some cases, it is not recorded whether an individual that is identified as homeless is rough sleeping

Please note, offenders not managed by either the National Probation Service or a Community Rehabilitation Company (including those offenders subject to electronic monitoring) are not included in the dataset. Release on temporary licence (RoTL), End of Custody Temporary Release (ECTR), releases where the offender is subject to same-day recall to custody, and release from unsupervised short sentences are also not included.

Grouped Questions: 61687
Q
(Putney)
[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: 29 June 2020
Department for Transport
Motorcycles: Driving Tests
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when motorcycle driving tests can resume as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 02 July 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been the safety of its staff and the wider public. That remains its priority as it restarts its services.

From 4 July 2020, people will be able to take motorcycle and moped compulsory basic training, and motorcycle direct access scheme training.

Motorcycle and moped module 1 and module 2 tests will be available from 13 July 2020.

Q
(Central Suffolk and North Ipswich)
[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 April 2020
Home Office
Immigration: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to test people entering the UK from overseas for covid-19.
A
Answered by: Kevin Foster
Answered on: 01 July 2020

The security of the UK border, the safety of the staff who protect it and the public are our key concerns.

Our approach to tackling coronavirus is and has always been driven by the latest scientific and medical advice, and procedures at the border have been strictly following the latest PHE guidance throughout. To bolster public health measures already in place, passengers at airports are provided with information on symptoms and the social distancing processes.

Since 8 June, all passengers arriving in the UK have been required to complete a locator form as well as self-isolate for 14 days. This applies to all nationalities. Full details of these new measures, including the very limited exemptions to the new rules, can be found at www.gov.uk/uk-border-control.

Border Force continues to work collaboratively with devolved administrations, including Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England, to support the COVID 19 response.

Grouped Questions: 37430
Q
(Tewkesbury)
Asked on: 20 April 2020
Home Office
Immigration Controls: Health
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what health checks are carried out at borders on people coming to the UK from abroad; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Kevin Foster
Answered on: 01 July 2020

The security of the UK border, the safety of the staff who protect it and the public are our key concerns.

Our approach to tackling coronavirus is and has always been driven by the latest scientific and medical advice, and procedures at the border have been strictly following the latest PHE guidance throughout. To bolster public health measures already in place, passengers at airports are provided with information on symptoms and the social distancing processes.

Since 8 June, all passengers arriving in the UK have been required to complete a locator form as well as self-isolate for 14 days. This applies to all nationalities. Full details of these new measures, including the very limited exemptions to the new rules, can be found at www.gov.uk/uk-border-control.

Border Force continues to work collaboratively with devolved administrations, including Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England, to support the COVID 19 response.

Grouped Questions: 37572
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: 22 April 2020
Home Office
Airports: Travel Requirements
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the evidential basis was for the decision for Border Force officials not to ask people arriving at UK airports from other countries to quarantine themselves.
A
Answered by: Kevin Foster
Answered on: 01 July 2020

Our approach to tackling coronavirus is and has always been driven by the latest scientific and medical advice, and procedures at the border have been strictly following the latest PHE guidance throughout.

During the contain phase we had enhanced monitoring at the borders to identify symptomatic travellers from high risk areas early and safely triage them into the health system.

Since 8 June, all passengers arriving in the UK have been required to complete a locator form as well as self-isolate for 14 days. This applies to all nationalities. Full details of these new measures, including the very limited exemptions to the new rules, can be found at www.gov.uk/uk-border-control.

Border Force continues to work collaboratively with devolved administrations, including Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England, to support the COVID 19 response

Q
(New Forest West)
Asked on: 16 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Tobacco: Sales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will enable the sale of menthol cigarettes after the end of the transition period.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 01 July 2020

The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 introduced a ban on flavoured cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco. As the ban is part of United Kingdom legislation, it will remain in place when the UK exits the transition period with the European Union. Removing menthol cigarettes is an important milestone to help people quit smoking and improve their health and support the Government’s drive towards a smoke-free society by 2030.

Asked on: 17 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Coronavirus: Disease Control
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take in response to the report by the World Wide Fund for Nature COVID-19: urgent call to protect people and nature, published on 17 June, in particular regard to addressing the environmental drivers of pandemics.
Answered on: 01 July 2020

The Government welcomes this and other recent reports that have made the case for swift action to prevent a repeat of this devastating pandemic. We remain fully committed to tackling the environmental drivers of pandemics, including by reversing global biodiversity loss, tackling unsustainable and illegal wildlife trade, and driving up standards in food production and food safety around the world. Nature must be at the heart of our recovery and the UK will play a leading role in securing this, including by pressing for an ambitious post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Q
Asked by Apsana Begum
(Poplar and Limehouse)
Asked on: 18 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Asians
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Public Health England's report entitled Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19 published on 2 June 2020, what assessment his Department has made of the reasons for which people of a Bangladeshi background are twice as likely to die from covid-19.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 01 July 2020

Public Health England’s (PHE) review ‘Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19’ presented an analysis of survival among people with confirmed COVID-19 by sex, age group, ethnicity, deprivation and region. It showed that, after taking these factors into account, some ethnic groups still had a higher risk of death than others.

This analysis adjusts for important factors such as age and deprivation, but not for factors such as comorbidities and obesity, which are likely to have an impact on the different risks of dying between ethnic groups.

The review did not aim to determine root causes of findings that are likely to be driven by complex interactions, as the terms of reference shows.

PHE’s report ‘Beyond the data: understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups’ contains a literature review that highlights issues which can be a factor in some ethnic groups being more likely to suffer from COVID-19, including Bangladeshi communities. The report is available to view at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-understanding-the-impact-on-bame-communities

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: 22 June 2020
Department for Education
Vocational Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on its review of BTECs and other applied general qualifications.
A
Answered by: Gillian Keegan
Answered on: 01 July 2020

The review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below, alongside the development of T Levels, is central to building a world-class technical education system. The first stage of the qualifications review consultation ran from March to June 2019. The second stage consultation is due to be published later in 2020. The review is looking at complex questions about the range of qualifications needed post-16, including the place of applied general qualifications, and we want to take the time to get this right. We are taking a number of steps in advance of this to drive up quality and reduce complexity in the system.

From 1 August 2020, we will withdraw funding approval for new starts on 163 older qualifications that have been superseded by newer more rigorous versions. From 1 September 2020, we will not approve new qualifications for funding for students aged 16 and above, to stabilise the publicly funded offer in advance of further reform. We have also, this year, started the process to remove public funding approval of qualifications with low or no publicly funded enrolments. Subject to the outcomes of this process, from August 2021 we will remove funding approval for qualifications with no publicly funded enrolments. Additionally, from August 2022 we will remove funding approval for qualifications with low numbers of publicly funded enrolments, unless doing so would have a significant adverse impact on a particular sector, geographical area or student group.

Q
Asked by Karin Smyth
(Bristol South)
Asked on: 23 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how may emergency driving tests were undertaken by essential workers during the suspension of regular tests as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 01 July 2020

Between the period 23 March 2020 and 19 June 2020, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency conducted 5,967 emergency tests for critical workers:

Test category

Tests conducted

Motorcycle tests

124

Vocational tests

584

Car tests

5259

5967

Q
Asked by Alan Brown
(Kilmarnock and Loudoun)
Asked on: 23 June 2020
Treasury
Energy: Housing
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much money his Department has allocated to funding home energy efficiency measures as part of the National Energy Efficiency Programme; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Kemi Badenoch
Answered on: 01 July 2020

Improving energy efficiency in homes has an important role to play in reducing fuel poverty and tackling climate change.

The Government will continue to support home energy efficiency to 2028, at least at the level of funding of the current Energy Company Obligation scheme. This will drive more than £6 billion of investment in energy efficiency upgrades in homes.

The Government uses a range of levers to meet its environmental objectives. For instance, a Future Homes Standard, introduced by 2025, will require new build homes to be future proofed with low carbon heating and world leading levels of energy efficiency.

BEIS will publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course which will set out further actions to decarbonise buildings.

Q
Asked by Layla Moran
(Oxford West and Abingdon)
Asked on: 24 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Reoffenders
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of prisoners on short-term sentences re-offended after being released from prison in each year since 2015.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 01 July 2020

Please see the link below that details how many and what proportion of prisoners re-offended after being released from prison, ordered by sentence length. The figures for adult offenders can be found in table C2a and the figures for juvenile offenders can be found in table C2b. The latest data available goes up to March 2018.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/872392/proven-reoffending-jan18-mar18-annual.ods

Reforms we have recently announced to probation will tackle reoffending by delivering more investment in skilled probation staff and ensuring stronger, service user informed support and supervision for offenders.

Q
(Hornsey and Wood Green)
[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: 01 July 2020
Scotland Office
Ethnic Groups: Coronavirus
Commons
If he will make a comparative assessment of the effect of covid-19 on the BAME community in Scotland and England.
A
Answered by: Iain Stewart
Answered on: 01 July 2020

Both Public Health England and Public Health Scotland have published early analysis looking at the impact of COVID-19 on BAME Communities.

There is much more work to do to understand what is driving these disparities and how the different risk factors interact, and we are absolutely determined to get to the bottom of this and find ways of closing that gap.

The UK Government has committed to commission further research and Scottish Government have established a group on this issue.

Q
(Easington)
[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: 09 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Prisoners: Death
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Answer of 8 June 2020 to Question 53405 on Prisoners: Death, in what format his Department holds the information requested.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 30 June 2020
Holding answer received on 15 June 2020

Public Health England reports that it does not collect data on the number or proportion of people who served prison sentences and have died of a drug overdose or suicide.

Information on deaths of offenders during post-release supervision in the community after a custodial sentence, by gender and apparent cause in England and Wales is available in the annual publication, ‘Deaths of offenders in the community’, which can be found at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/statistics/deaths-of-offenders-in-the-community-annual-update-to-march-2019

Q
(Tottenham)
Asked on: 22 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to ensure effective communication between prisoners and their lawyers during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 30 June 2020

Alongside the closure of courts, the Government suspended all but exceptional visits to prisons in March. This was to ensure the safety of both prisoners and our staff through the pandemic.

Despite the absence of physical visits, prisoners do maintain the right to access legal advice, and we have looked to ensure that prisoners have continued to have the tools to make contact with their legal representatives via telephone, video link or written correspondence.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic we have enhanced the capability of prison videoconferencing facilities, particularly to support priority court work such as sentencing hearings and prisoners approaching their parole hearing dates. We have made use of the additional 1,250 mobile phones issued to prisons without in-cell telephony in order to facilitate private conversations with legal advisors, alongside encouraging Governors to ensure prisoners can have conversations with their representatives in confidence.

We are also taking steps to increase the available capacity of video conferencing across the estate through increased operating hours to include longer hours during the weekdays, and at some locations on Saturdays. This will sit alongside renewed guidance to all governors on the importance of making sure that adequate time for legal advice is made available to prisoners where possible.

Alongside this work, we are increasing the physical number of video link outlets at some critical sites where capacity is limited, as well as to support specialist courts including Youth and women’s prisons, together with the re-purposing of some unused spaces within prisons for more video link capacity.

Over the coming weeks, we are also looking to resume face-to-face access, where possible, in line with the easing of Government restrictions and advice from Public Health England. Advice to governors will be published as part of the National Framework.

Grouped Questions: 62283
Q
(Tottenham)
Asked on: 22 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisons: Legal Profession
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, on what date he plans to enable legal practitioners to (a) attend Her Majesty’s Prisons and (b) take effective instructions from their clients.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 30 June 2020

Alongside the closure of courts, the Government suspended all but exceptional visits to prisons in March. This was to ensure the safety of both prisoners and our staff through the pandemic.

Despite the absence of physical visits, prisoners do maintain the right to access legal advice, and we have looked to ensure that prisoners have continued to have the tools to make contact with their legal representatives via telephone, video link or written correspondence.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic we have enhanced the capability of prison videoconferencing facilities, particularly to support priority court work such as sentencing hearings and prisoners approaching their parole hearing dates. We have made use of the additional 1,250 mobile phones issued to prisons without in-cell telephony in order to facilitate private conversations with legal advisors, alongside encouraging Governors to ensure prisoners can have conversations with their representatives in confidence.

We are also taking steps to increase the available capacity of video conferencing across the estate through increased operating hours to include longer hours during the weekdays, and at some locations on Saturdays. This will sit alongside renewed guidance to all governors on the importance of making sure that adequate time for legal advice is made available to prisoners where possible.

Alongside this work, we are increasing the physical number of video link outlets at some critical sites where capacity is limited, as well as to support specialist courts including Youth and women’s prisons, together with the re-purposing of some unused spaces within prisons for more video link capacity.

Over the coming weeks, we are also looking to resume face-to-face access, where possible, in line with the easing of Government restrictions and advice from Public Health England. Advice to governors will be published as part of the National Framework.

Grouped Questions: 62282
Q
(Stoke-on-Trent North)
Asked on: 22 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Tree Planting: Staffordshire
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase the rate of tree planting in (a) Stoke-on-Trent and (b) Staffordshire.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 30 June 2020

Working with the Devolved Administrations, we are committed to significantly increasing tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025, in line with the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations. We announced a £640 million Nature for Climate Fund to help drive up planting rates in England.

To support this, we have opened a consultation on an England Tree Strategy and welcome responses from the forestry sector and wider public. Responses will help us to understand what more could be done to encourage even more tree planting. Within this we hope to empower local communities, generating local support for, and where possible participation in, afforestation at a new scale.

Q
(Totnes)
Asked on: 22 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Housing: Energy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support households to improve their energy efficiency.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 30 June 2020

In the Clean Growth Strategy, the Government set an aspiration for as many homes as possible to be Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C by 2035 and is developing a suite of mutually supporting policies and measures that will help deliver this:

Our current Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme and its successors will drive over £6bn of additional investment to support energy improvements in low-income, vulnerable and fuel poor households between 2018 and 2028. Government is currently considering what the objectives and overall ambition of a successor ECO scheme should be, from 2022 to 2026.

In order to improve rented properties, we introduced the Private Rented Sector Minimum standard regulations on 1 April 2018. The regulations require landlords to bring their properties to EPC Band E or above. We will consult on tightening the minimum energy standards in due course.

We have also committed to consult on requirements for mortgage lenders to help households improve the energy efficiency of the homes they lend to and last summer we launched the £5m Green Home Finance Innovation Fund to support the development of green finance products.

There are 21.5 million smart and advanced meters across Great Britain, as of the end of March 2020. As part of a smart meter installation, households are offered an In-Home Display which provides near-real time information on energy consumption and costs, enabling consumers to easily understand how they can use less energy and save money on their bills. Research shows that 73% of people with smart meters have taken steps to reduce their energy use.

In addition, we have launched Simple Energy Advice, a digital platform offering impartial and tailored advice for consumers on how to make their homes more energy efficient.

Q
Asked by Marco Longhi
(Dudley North)
Asked on: 23 June 2020
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans he has to prioritise British firms in the procurement of goods and services to increase employment and growth as the covid-19 lockdown eases.
A
Answered by: Jeremy Quin
Answered on: 30 June 2020

Our intention is always to secure the best capability for the Armed Forces at best value for money for the taxpayer.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) recognises the vital contribution the UK defence industry makes to our prosperity. In 2018-19 the MOD spent £19.2 billion with UK industry and commerce, directly supporting 119,000 jobs across the country and indirectly supporting many thousands more. Our UK supply chain has a wide regional footprint and supports the prosperity of the UK across every region, stimulating high-value, high-skilled jobs. We have launched a number of activities to support the growth and competitiveness of the UK defence sector, including through the defence prosperity programme. More broadly, the MOD is leading a cross-Government review into the UK's defence and security sectors. This will identify how we can enhance our strategic approach to ensure we have competitive, innovative and world-class defence and security industries that drive investment and prosperity across the Union, now and in the future.

Q
(Argyll and Bute)
[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: 23 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Hussein Abdullah Khalil Rashid and Zuhair Ebrahim Jassim Abdullah Abas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to Early Day Motion 630 of Session 2019-21, if he will (a) publicly condemn the 15 June 2020 decision of Bahrain’s highest court to uphold death sentences against Husain Abdullah Khalil Rashid and Zuhair Ibrahim Jasim Abdullah following concerns of serious due process violations and the alleged coercion of Zuhair’s confession through torture and (b) make representations to his counterpart in Bahrain on the immediate commutation of their death sentences.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 30 June 2020
Holding answer received on 29 June 2020

We have raised the cases of Zuhair Ibrahim Jasim Abdullah and Hussein Abdullah Khalil Rashid at a senior level with the Government of Bahrain.

The Government of Bahrain is fully aware that the UK is firmly opposed to the death penalty, in all circumstances. The right to a fair trial is enshrined in the constitution of Bahrain; we continue to encourage the Government of Bahrain to follow due process in all cases and meet its international and domestic human rights commitments.

Q
Asked on: 23 June 2020
Department for International Development
Department for International Development: Reorganisation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the case for merging the Department for International Development into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 30 June 2020

The Government remains fully focused on stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives. 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. Through aligning our efforts, we will maximise our influence and expertise and ensure we are in the best position to continue to drive the international response to the pandemic – funding the development of a vaccine and supporting the global recovery.

Q
Asked by Ruth Jones
(Newport West)
Asked on: 24 June 2020
Northern Ireland Office
Economic Situation: Northern Ireland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent assessment the Government has made of the economy of Northern Ireland.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 30 June 2020

Whilst the Northern Ireland economy has its challenges, I am confident that Northern Ireland has a promising economic future as we recover from this crisis. This Government will always stand by the people of Northern Ireland.

We want Northern Ireland not only to recover but to prosper. For this to happen we need to ensure that we are driving innovation and sustainability, enhancing connectivity, developing a skilled workforce, promoting exports and attracting investment.

We will continue to work collaboratively with businesses, the Northern Ireland Executive and local partners to get the economy back up and running, laying the foundations for a stable and sustainable economic future.


Q
Asked by Stella Creasy
(Walthamstow)
[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: 25 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Domestic Abuse
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department is conducting an internal review of domestic abuse policy.
A
Answered by: Alex Chalk
Answered on: 30 June 2020

We are determined to drive the fundamental change necessary to keep victims of domestic abuse and their children safe. The Domestic Abuse Bill is the culmination of significant policy work and consultation on how we improve our response to this crime, which we are committed to keeping under review. Most recently, on 25 June 2020, we published our comprehensive report into the family courts system: ‘Assessing risk of harm to children and parents in private law children cases’.

We are taking immediate action to implement the panel’s recommendations, and will be undertaking further work to address the long-standing, systemic issues identified in the report particularly where there are allegations of domestic abuse. This work will include a review into the presumption of ‘parental involvement’ and whether the right balance is being struck between the risk of harm to children and victims, and the right of the child to have a relationship with both parents.

Q
(Nottingham 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: 25 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Nature Conservation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to publish a strategy that will set out how a national nature recovery network is to be established.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 30 June 2020

Our 25 Year Environment Plan marked a step-change in ambitions for wildlife and the natural environment. It committed the Government to establishing a nature recovery network in England and developing a new strategy for nature, setting out how we will implement our international commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The coronavirus outbreak has impacted on our plans. Key international meetings to develop global biodiversity targets, including the CBD Conference in China (originally planned for the end of 2020), have been postponed. At the same time, many of our stakeholders no longer have the capacity to engage on the strategy at the moment.

This means that we have slowed the process of drafting the strategy so that we have extra time to engage with stakeholders, and properly reflect on the emerging international framework. We expect the main CBD Conference of the Parties to be rescheduled for some time in 2021 and will update our domestic plans once this is finalised.

Although work on the strategy has been delayed, we are bringing forward policies and funding now that will deliver real change for nature and to establish a Nature Recovery Network (NRN).

Our Environment Bill lays the foundation for the NRN. It sets the framework for at least one legally binding biodiversity target. It establishes spatial mapping and planning tools to inform nature recovery. It also creates duties and incentives, such as biodiversity net gain, to drive change on the ground.

These measures will complement our plans for new funding for nature announced in March this year.

Q
(East Lothian)
Asked on: 20 April 2020
Home Office
Repatriation: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what changes have been made in response to the covid-19 outbreak to arrival procedures at small and private ports and airports for returning UK citizens and foreign nationals.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 29 June 2020

Border Force is continuing to keep the UK’s border secure and has robust contingency plans in place to respond the covid-19 pandemic driven by the latest scientific and medical advice.

We exercise a range of options at small and remote ports dependent on risk and continue to do so in line with public health and devolved administrations, without comprising security checks.

From 8 June, all passenger arrivals in the UK have been required to complete a locator-form as well as self-isolate for 14 days, apart from those on a short list of exemptions.

Border Force are working closely with law enforcement partners on the response to threats at the border during the COVID outbreak, and that includes our response at smaller airports/ports.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 15 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Recycling Lives
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the work of Recycling Lives, in particular in regard to the steps it has taken in relation to (1) training and employment for ex-offenders, and (2) food poverty; and what plans they have to extend such schemes to more prisons.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 29 June 2020

The New Futures Network, which brokers partnerships between prisons and employers, supports Recycling Lives to build partnerships with prisons, with the objective of securing work opportunities for individuals serving sentences in custody and those leaving prison. Sustainable employment and suitable educational opportunities are key factors to reducing reoffending and in turning offenders’ lives around.

The potential for any extension of such schemes will be dependent on a positive assessment of their practicality and contractual feasibility.

Q
Asked by Lord Bowness
Asked on: 16 June 2020
Cabinet Office
Driving and Health Services: Reciprocal Arrangements
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made in negotiations with the EU or bilaterally with individual member states on continued mutual recognition of (1) drivers licences, (2) EHIC cards, and (3) disabled blue parking badges.
A
Answered by: Lord True
Answered on: 29 June 2020

The recognition of both driving licenses and blue badges is a member state competence and the Government is seeking to secure both with EU members via bilateral agreements. Discussions are ongoing in both of these areas. UK motorists will still be able to drive in the EU with their UK Driving Licence but some EU countries may require an International Driving Permit, which is available now from the Post Office. The UK Government is currently negotiating with the EU on future reciprocal healthcare arrangements as part of the negotiating group on ‘mobility and social security coordination’.

Asked on: 18 June 2020
Department for International Development
Department for International Trade: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of how the international aid response to COVID-19 will be affected by the merger of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 29 June 2020

The Government remains fully focused on stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives. 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.

Through aligning our efforts, we will maximise our influence and expertise and ensure we are in the best position to continue to drive the international response to the pandemic – funding the development of a vaccine and supporting the global recovery.

Q
Asked by Lord Touhig
Asked on: 18 June 2020
Ministry of Defence
Inappropriate Behaviours in the Armed Forces Review
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Wigston Review into inappropriate behaviours in the Armed Forces, published on 15 July 2019, what focal point has been established in the Ministry of Defence to own, track and inform defence culture and behaviours.
A
Answered by: Baroness Goldie
Answered on: 29 June 2020

The Chief of Defence People, Lieutenant General James Swift, has been appointed the Senior Responsible Owner for culture and behaviours in the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

The MOD remains committed to implementing the recommendations of the Wigston Review. We have set up the Wigston Review Implementation Team to drive this forward in the short term. Decisions about the Defence Authority will be taken in due course following agreement on proposals to reform the Service Complaints system, some of which may require legislative change.

Grouped Questions: HL5950
Q
Asked by Lord Touhig
Asked on: 18 June 2020
Ministry of Defence
Inappropriate Behaviours in the Armed Forces Review
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Wigston Review into inappropriate behaviours in the Armed Forces, published on 15 July 2019, what Defence Authority has been established to be responsible for cultures and inappropriate behaviours.
A
Answered by: Baroness Goldie
Answered on: 29 June 2020

The Chief of Defence People, Lieutenant General James Swift, has been appointed the Senior Responsible Owner for culture and behaviours in the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

The MOD remains committed to implementing the recommendations of the Wigston Review. We have set up the Wigston Review Implementation Team to drive this forward in the short term. Decisions about the Defence Authority will be taken in due course following agreement on proposals to reform the Service Complaints system, some of which may require legislative change.

Grouped Questions: HL5949
Q
Asked by Steve McCabe
(Birmingham, Selly Oak)
Asked on: 19 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the ability of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to process (a) online and (b) postal applications to renew driving licenses.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 29 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online services have continued to operate as normal throughout the pandemic. However, paper applications are taking longer to process as they must be dealt with in person.

This is because the DVLA currently has a reduced number of staff on-site to comply with social distancing requirements and ensure staff safety.

All photocard driving licences expiring between 1 February and 31 August have been extended by seven months. Drivers do not need to take any action as the extension is automatic.

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 22 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prison Sentences: Terrorism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if his Department will hold discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive on prison sentences for terrorism offences.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 29 June 2020

In the development of the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill there has been official and ministerial engagement with our Ministry of Justice counterparts in Northern Ireland’s Department of Justice to discuss the breadth of the Bill’s provisions, including prison sentences for terrorism offences.

We will continue this engagement throughout the Bill’s progress and once it is enacted to ensure we have a consistent approach to managing terrorist offenders in the United Kingdom.

Q
Asked by Daisy Cooper
(St Albans)
Asked on: 22 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Terrorism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he will take to ensure that prisoners satisfy the release requirements set out in the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill 2019-21.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 29 June 2020

The Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill will end early release for the most serious terrorist offenders.

The new ‘Serious Terrorism Sentence’ for the most serious and dangerous offenders will carry a minimum of 14 years to be spent in custody, with an extended licence period between 7 and 25 years. We are also ending early release for the most serious offenders who receive Extended Determinate Sentences – instead the whole custodial period will be served in prison and they will serve up to 10 years on licence.

For offenders sentenced under either of these provisions, they will not be considered by the Parole Board for discretionary release, meaning the prospect of early release for these offenders is removed. This sends a clear message that this Government treats this kind of offending incredibly seriously.

Q
(North Thanet)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

[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: 23 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dogs: Imports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what further steps he plans to take to tackle the illegal importation of puppies into the UK.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 29 June 2020

Defra takes the issue of puppy smuggling and other illegal importation of pets seriously. It is an abhorrent trade which causes suffering to puppies and puts the health of pets and people in the UK at risk. We have legislation in place to ensure those guilty of offences are duly punished.

We are listening to the concerns of stakeholders around future requirements and the Government is developing a range of options to strengthen our efforts to tackle puppy smuggling, taking into consideration the recommendations of stakeholders such as Dogs Trust. The end of the Transition Period may open up new opportunities for managing our own pet travel arrangements. As part of our wider work in this area, we have conducted a renewed rabies risk assessment and have commissioned assessments to understand the risks posed by tapeworms, as well as ticks and tick-borne disease. The results of these will be used to inform our future policy options.

Regarding specific sentencing options, the end of the Transition Period will again present new opportunities. We want to ensure that there are robust controls on disease and animal welfare whilst allowing pet owners to continue to be able to travel to and from the EU with the minimum of disruption.

Grouped Questions: 63201 | 63202
Q
(North Thanet)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

[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: 23 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Pets: Imports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the pet travel scheme, if he will (a) re-introduce (i) the rabies blood test with a wait period in line with the incubation of the disease and (ii) the requirement for dogs and cats to be treated against ticks prior to entry into the UK, (b) shorten the tapeworm treatment window, (c) reduce the number of dogs allowed into the UK at one time under non-commercial rules and (d) bring forward legislative proposals to ensure the welfare of dogs and cats during transport between mainland Europe and the UK.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 29 June 2020

Defra takes the issue of puppy smuggling and other illegal importation of pets seriously. It is an abhorrent trade which causes suffering to puppies and puts the health of pets and people in the UK at risk. We have legislation in place to ensure those guilty of offences are duly punished.

We are listening to the concerns of stakeholders around future requirements and the Government is developing a range of options to strengthen our efforts to tackle puppy smuggling, taking into consideration the recommendations of stakeholders such as Dogs Trust. The end of the Transition Period may open up new opportunities for managing our own pet travel arrangements. As part of our wider work in this area, we have conducted a renewed rabies risk assessment and have commissioned assessments to understand the risks posed by tapeworms, as well as ticks and tick-borne disease. The results of these will be used to inform our future policy options.

Regarding specific sentencing options, the end of the Transition Period will again present new opportunities. We want to ensure that there are robust controls on disease and animal welfare whilst allowing pet owners to continue to be able to travel to and from the EU with the minimum of disruption.

Grouped Questions: 63200 | 63202
Q
(North Thanet)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

[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 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Cats and Dogs: Smuggling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will increase the sentences for the illegal importation of dogs and cats to include provision for a significant custodial sentence upon conviction.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 29 June 2020

Defra takes the issue of puppy smuggling and other illegal importation of pets seriously. It is an abhorrent trade which causes suffering to puppies and puts the health of pets and people in the UK at risk. We have legislation in place to ensure those guilty of offences are duly punished.

We are listening to the concerns of stakeholders around future requirements and the Government is developing a range of options to strengthen our efforts to tackle puppy smuggling, taking into consideration the recommendations of stakeholders such as Dogs Trust. The end of the Transition Period may open up new opportunities for managing our own pet travel arrangements. As part of our wider work in this area, we have conducted a renewed rabies risk assessment and have commissioned assessments to understand the risks posed by tapeworms, as well as ticks and tick-borne disease. The results of these will be used to inform our future policy options.

Regarding specific sentencing options, the end of the Transition Period will again present new opportunities. We want to ensure that there are robust controls on disease and animal welfare whilst allowing pet owners to continue to be able to travel to and from the EU with the minimum of disruption.

Grouped Questions: 63200 | 63201
Q
(Na h-Eileanan an Iar)
[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: 23 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the DVLA are returning personal identification items to their owner in a timely fashion.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 29 June 2020

Paper applications which include identification documents are taking longer to process as they must be dealt with in person. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has a reduced number of staff on-site to comply with social distancing requirements and ensure staff safety. Where possible, the DVLA is prioritising the return of identification documents that have been sent to them by customers.

Q
Asked by Wera Hobhouse
(Bath)
Asked on: 22 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Hussein Abdullah Khalil Rashid and Zuhair Ebrahim Jassim Abdullah Abas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his counterpart in Government of Bahrain on (a) the fairness of the trials of Zuhair and Husain Abdullah Khalil Rashid’s and (b) the allegations of the use torture of those people that resulted in them being given death sentences.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 26 June 2020

We have raised the cases of Zuhair Ibrahim Jasim Abdullah and Hussein Abdullah Khalil Rashid at a senior level with the Government of Bahrain.

The Government of Bahrain is fully aware that the UK is firmly opposed to the death penalty, in all circumstances. The right to a fair trial is enshrined in the constitution of Bahrain; we continue to encourage the Government of Bahrain to follow due process in all cases and meet its international and domestic human rights commitments.

Q
(Morley and Outwood)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Home Office
Ofcom: Enforcement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what enforcement mechanisms Ofcom will be given to regulate tech companies.
A
Answered by: James Brokenshire
Answered on: 25 June 2020

In February 2020, the Government published the initial consultation response to the Online Harms White Paper and announced that it was minded to appoint Ofcom as the online line harms regulator.

Subject to remaining government and parliamentary processes, the regulator will have strong enforcement powers to deal with non-compliance and drive remedial action. The new regulatory framework will introduce a duty of care, overseen by the independent regulator. This will ensure that companies, where appropriate, take prompt, transparent and effective action to address online harms.

In the White Paper we set out that the regulator will have sufficient powers to take effective action against companies that breach regulator requirements. We have consulted on the most appropriate enforcement powers for the regulator, and are considering measures including notices, warning, fines and business disruption measures. Further information will be included in the full government response which will be published in the autumn.

Q
(Bolton South East)
Asked on: 02 March 2020
Home Office
Counter-terrorism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to clause 20 of the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019, whether a timetable has been agreed for the (a) application, (b) interview and (c) appointment process to appoint a reviewer for the Prevent programme in order to achieve the 18-month timeframe set by that statute.
A
Answered by: James Brokenshire
Answered on: 25 June 2020

The Government is committed to the Independent Review of Prevent and launched a full and open recruitment competition to appoint the next Independent Reviewer of Prevent on 27 April 2020. Applications closed on 22 June 2020. Interviews are due to take place in July. The successful candidate will be announced in due course.

We have included in the Counter Terrorism and Sentencing Bill a measure to remove the existing statutory deadline for the Review set out in the Counter Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 while maintaining the legislative commitment to undertake it. This is to ensure that the new Reviewer has sufficient time to complete the Review. The Government aims for the Review to be completed by August 2021.

Q
(Easington)
[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: 01 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the cost to the public purse is for each contract for the running of a UK covid-19 testing centre; and how many tests each such centre has carried out.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 25 June 2020
Holding answer received on 04 June 2020

We do not publish testing data broken down by site. As of 3 June 2020, there are 156 operational test locations which consist of a combination of many different types of site from large multi-lane drive-in sites to single van mobile test facilities to walk-in city centre locations. They are staffed by a number of different commercial organisations and the armed forces. Each of the contracts spans multiple disciplines.

Q
(Central Suffolk and North Ipswich)
Asked on: 01 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of how (a) older and (b) vulnerable residents in (i) sheltered accommodation and (ii) limited access to transportation should access testing for covid-19 in a safe and convenient manner.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 25 June 2020

We offer a range of testing options, including drive-through centres, home delivery and mobile testing units, as well as satellite testing for specific groups such as care homes. We are continually working to improve and widen access to testing and are working with local areas to increase the avenues through which all people and, in particular vulnerable groups, can be tested.

Q
Asked by Afzal Khan
(Manchester, Gorton)
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people who do not have a car and therefore cannot access drive-through covid-19 testing centres may be tested for covid-19.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 25 June 2020

Drive-through testing sites are only one of a number of routes to access testing. Those without a car can order a test directly to their home quickly and easily.

Q
(Thirsk and Malton)
Asked on: 17 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Hydrogen: Investment and Job Creation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with representatives from businesses on (a) investment plans and (b) the potential for job creation in shovel-ready hydrogen projects.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 25 June 2020

We are in regular discussions with businesses about their investment plans for hydrogen projects, including those that are ready for very near-term deployment. In addition we are undertaking extensive stakeholder engagement as we develop new policy to help bring forward the technologies and supply chain we will need to grow the UK hydrogen economy.

We recently published the Energy Innovation Needs Assessment (EINA) for hydrogen and fuel cells which identified that up to 15,000 jobs per annum by 2050 could be created through domestic hydrogen opportunities.

We are also looking to formalise regular engagement between Government and industry to discuss and drive development if the UK hydrogen economy. This will consider how we can best work together to retain and expand jobs and skills in hydrogen and related sectors; as well as developing the UK supply chain.

Grouped Questions: 60826
Q
(Thirsk and Malton)
Asked on: 17 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Hydrogen: Investment and Job Creation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with businesses about (a) investment plans and (b) potential for jobs in shovel-ready hydrogen projects.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 25 June 2020

We are in regular discussions with businesses about their investment plans for hydrogen projects, including those that are ready for very near-term deployment. In addition we are undertaking extensive stakeholder engagement as we develop new policy to help bring forward the technologies and supply chain we will need to grow the UK hydrogen economy.

We recently published the Energy Innovation Needs Assessment (EINA) for hydrogen and fuel cells which identified that up to 15,000 jobs per annum by 2050 could be created through domestic hydrogen opportunities.

We are also looking to formalise regular engagement between Government and industry to discuss and drive development if the UK hydrogen economy. This will consider how we can best work together to retain and expand jobs and skills in hydrogen and related sectors; as well as developing the UK supply chain.

Grouped Questions: 60823
Q
(Ellesmere Port and Neston)
Asked on: 17 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Disclosure of Information
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of protections for NHS whistle-blowers and their ability to publicly raise concerns on (a) gaps in healthcare provisions and (b) other matters without adverse repercussions.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 25 June 2020

Speaking up is vital for ensuring patient safety and quality services. The Employment Rights Act 1996, amended by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, gives legal protection to all workers who speak up whether in private or public. In addition, the Government established an independent National Guardian to drive cultural change across the National Health Service so that speaking up becomes business as usual. Legislation and cultural change are designed to create an environment of trust and we have seen some progress. The National Guardian’s latest Freedom to Speak Up Index showed that 82% of trusts had made it easier to speak up since 2015. If NHS workers feel uncomfortable raising concerns through their line management or clinical lead, they can speak to their Freedom to Speak Up Guardian or to regulators. NHS workers should be thanked for speaking up and never face detriment for doing so.

Q
(Kingston and Surbiton)
Asked on: 17 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Renewable Energy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many (a) solar panels and (b) wind turbines his Department's buildings (a) have in 2020 and (b) had in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 25 June 2020

Defra has 83 sites with solar panels and six sites with wind turbines or direct drive wind pumps.

We also have 104 operational solar panels that directly power equipment such as remote cameras and sensors.

We have taken the department to mean those entities covered by our greening Government commitments. However, we are waiting for responses from Kew and the Forestry Commission.

Table 1: Year of installation

Type

Pre 2015-16

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-2020

Solar Panels

68 sites

0 sites

0 sites

9 sites

5 sites

1 site

Wind

6 sites

We do not hold the information on the dates the operational panels for remote equipment were installed.

Q
(Aberavon)
[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 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yu Wensheng
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he is making to the Chinese government about the imprisonment of human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng following a secret trial.
A
Answered by: Nigel Adams
Answered on: 25 June 2020
Holding answer received on 24 June 2020

We are deeply concerned by reports of lawyer Yu Wensheng's sentencing to four years in prison. Yu's detention, secret trial, and lack of access to a lawyer of his choosing, raise serious concerns over the rule of law, due process, and judicial transparency in China. We have raised Yu's case directly with Chinese officials, and issued multiple statements of concern about his sentence. The Foreign Secretary raised human rights concerns with his Chinese counterpart, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, on both 9 March and 8 June.

Q
Asked by Daisy Cooper
(St Albans)
Asked on: 19 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the adequate provision of (a) accommodation and (b) support for prisoners on release.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 25 June 2020

Everyone leaving prison should have somewhere safe and secure to live; accommodation enables offenders to hold down a job and reduces the likelihood of them reoffending.

We have invested an additional £22m per annum over the remaining life of the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) contracts to deliver an enhanced Through the Gate resettlement service to people leaving prison to prepare them for release. The enhanced service includes the requirement that CRCs complete specific, tailored, tasks to help prisoners to secure and maintain settled accommodation, gain employment and manage debt and their financial affairs. During the Covid period most of this support is being provided remotely. After a prison sentence, service users are supervised and supported by Probation Officers in the Community.

As part of its Covid-19 pandemic response, Her Majesty Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) have set up seven Homelessness Prevention Taskforces (HPTs) to coordinate the sourcing of accommodation for those offenders released early, in order to ensure no offender is released early without accommodation in place. It has also put in place an ‘Exceptional Delivery Model’ for CRC services during the current Covid-19 crisis to ensure that the support an individual requires to address their criminogenic needs will still be provided during this period.

Additionally, Government has now decided that because of public health concerns and public protection considerations, there is a need to provide accommodation for a larger cohort of prison leavers. The Ministry of Justice has secured up to £8.5 million to support individuals at risk of homelessness on their release from prison for up to eight weeks and help to move on into permanent accommodation. This scheme was originally due to run until 26th June; however, we have recently undertaken our first review and, following this, have extended the scheme until 31 July.

Q
Asked by Owen Thompson
(Midlothian)
[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 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency on extending provisional driving licence expiry dates in response to the unavailability of driving tests during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 25 June 2020

Provisional driving entitlement is usually valid until a driver reaches the age of 70 and the photocard must be renewed every ten years. There are no plans to extend these dates.

Customers can renew their photocard licence online or by post. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online services have continued to operate as normal throughout the pandemic. However, paper applications are taking longer to process as they must be dealt with in person and the DVLA currently has a reduced number of staff on-site to comply with social distancing requirements and ensure staff safety.

Q
Asked by Kate Osamor
(Edmonton)
[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 June 2020
Women and Equalities
Racial Discrimination
Commons
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will publish the (a) terms of reference for and (b) names of the (i) chair and (ii) commission members of the commission on race.
A
Answered by: Kemi Badenoch
Answered on: 25 June 2020

On 14 June, the Prime Minister announced a new Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities. The Commission will drive forward work to understand why disparities exist, what works to address disparities and what does not, and will present recommendations for action across Government and other public bodies, bridging the gap between data and policy. It will report by the end of the year. The aim of the Commission is to set out a new, positive agenda for change - balancing the needs of individuals, communities and society, maximising opportunities and ensuring fairness for all. The terms of reference, and names of the chair and commission members will be published in due course.

Q
(Foyle)
[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 June 2020
Northern Ireland Office
EU Grants and Loans: Northern Ireland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that EU structural funding for Northern Ireland is replaced by other Government funding after the end of the transition period.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 25 June 2020

The UK Government is committed to strengthening the Union, levelling up every part of the UK and has committed to replacing EU Structural Funds with the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Government recognises the importance of reassuring local areas on the future of local growth funding and of providing clarity on the UKSPF. We remain committed to creating the UKSPF to succeed European structural funds and provide vital investment across the UK as we support the recovery, renewal and levelling up of local economies following Covid-19.

Now we have left the European Union, we have an opportunity to replace European structural funds with a UKSPF which binds together the whole of the United Kingdom, tackling inequality and deprivation in each of our four nations. The 2019 Conservative Manifesto committed to, at minimum, matching current levels of funding for each nation from EU structural funds.


Over the coming weeks, the Government will be assessing the impact of Covid-19 and how best to support economic recovery. We will need to work closely as one United Kingdom to understand the changing needs of local and regional economies and tailor our response to the impact of Covid-19. We have a real opportunity through the UKSPF to design a fund that is driven by domestic priorities. The Government will set out further plans for the fund at the Comprehensive Spending Review.

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: 22 June 2020
Department for International Trade
Trade Agreements
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure (a) ethical and (b) resilient supply chains are prioritised in (i) her Department's policies and (ii) future trade agreements.
A
Answered by: Mr Ranil Jayawardena
Answered on: 25 June 2020

The United Kingdom is a trading nation and global value chains drive prosperity, through specialisation, innovation and cheaper products.

We will continue to work with business to fully understand global supply chains that they are part of – and the opportunities to build in further resilience for the future. Our future trade agreement programme will reduce barriers to trading with new markets, and help provide more resilience in doing so. Alongside this, the United Kingdom will tirelessly fight protectionism and unfair trade practices, including through the G20 and in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Britain’s values are clear. We are committed to working with international partners and businesses to tackle modern slavery in global supply chains, as HM Government believes it is vital that trade is not based on the exploitation nor abuse of workers.

Grouped Questions: 62549 | 62550
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: 22 June 2020
Department for International Trade
Overseas Trade: Ethics
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will take steps to ensure that the UK is a global champion of (a) ethical trade and (b) doing business with integrity.
A
Answered by: Mr Ranil Jayawardena
Answered on: 25 June 2020

The United Kingdom is a trading nation and global value chains drive prosperity, through specialisation, innovation and cheaper products.

We will continue to work with business to fully understand global supply chains that they are part of – and the opportunities to build in further resilience for the future. Our future trade agreement programme will reduce barriers to trading with new markets, and help provide more resilience in doing so. Alongside this, the United Kingdom will tirelessly fight protectionism and unfair trade practices, including through the G20 and in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Britain’s values are clear. We are committed to working with international partners and businesses to tackle modern slavery in global supply chains, as HM Government believes it is vital that trade is not based on the exploitation nor abuse of workers.

Grouped Questions: 62548 | 62550
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: 22 June 2020
Department for International Trade
Trade Agreements: Slavery
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that supply chains are free of slavery and human trafficking in new trade deals.
A
Answered by: Mr Ranil Jayawardena
Answered on: 25 June 2020

The United Kingdom is a trading nation and global value chains drive prosperity, through specialisation, innovation and cheaper products.

We will continue to work with business to fully understand global supply chains that they are part of – and the opportunities to build in further resilience for the future. Our future trade agreement programme will reduce barriers to trading with new markets, and help provide more resilience in doing so. Alongside this, the United Kingdom will tirelessly fight protectionism and unfair trade practices, including through the G20 and in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Britain’s values are clear. We are committed to working with international partners and businesses to tackle modern slavery in global supply chains, as HM Government believes it is vital that trade is not based on the exploitation nor abuse of workers.

Grouped Questions: 62548 | 62549
Q
Asked by Andy McDonald
(Middlesbrough)
[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 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Thriving At Work Leadership Council
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has made to include trades union representation on the Thriving at Work Leadership Council.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 25 June 2020

The Leadership Council was originally formed to provide an opportunity for senior business leaders to drive implementation of the core standards from the Stevenson / Farmer review. It is an independently-chaired body. As membership is reviewed and evolves there may be scope to consider additional representatives.

Q
(Bedford)
[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 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many drive through covid-19 tests have been carried out in (a) Bedfordshire and (b) England in each month since 23 March 2020; and how many of those tests had results generated within the 48-hour target.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 25 June 2020

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

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: 18 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Drugs: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of civil servants supporting the (a) development and (b) deployment of anti-viral drugs to reduce covid-19 symptoms.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 24 June 2020
Holding answer received on 02 June 2020

The pursuit of safe and effective COVID-19 treatments is a cross-Government effort from people in UK Research and Innovation looking at early stage research and development, to those in the National Institute for Health Research supporting clinical trials, and the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England overseeing medicine supply, manufacturing and procurement strategies.

The Therapeutics Taskforce is driving forward, expediting and co-ordinating efforts to research, produce and distribute safe and effective COVID-19 treatments to patients as soon as possible.

We estimate that there are at least 50 civil servants (27.4 full-time equivalents) working across the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and PHE on the development and deployment of treatments for COVID-19. It is not possible to segregate this figure for anti-viral drugs only.

Q
Asked by Martyn Day
(Linlithgow and East Falkirk)
Asked on: 04 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Children: Maintenance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the amount of child maintenance arrears is in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 24 June 2020

The total amount of arrears for Child Maintenance Service as of December 2019 in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency is £599,000.

New Compliance and Arrears powers which came in July 2019 have increased the departments enforcement powers, such as removal of driving licence to encourage parent to cooperate and pay the maintenance they owe.

As a result, as at November 2019 the compliance in overall Child Maintenance Service payments increased to an all-time high of 90.2%.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 16 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to waive the charge for a trainee driving instructor certificate for individuals who were advised by the DVSA to rescind their existing certificates.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 24 June 2020

As the health and safety of staff and customers is key, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to testing. It will announce details of resumption in due course.

Trainee driving instructors who have trainee licences that are due to expire and who are observing Government guidelines not to work, should notify the DVSA as soon as possible. Trainees do not have to return their licence to the DVSA, but instead they will need to cut their licence in half and send a photo of the destroyed licence to: PADI@dvsa.gov.uk

The Registrar will take all information into account, including the current circumstances, when deciding whether or not to grant a further trainee licence. As the required checks had previously been conducted it will not be necessary for those checks to be repeated before a further licence is granted.

There is no provision in legislation to extend the period of a trainee licence beyond six months or to waive the fee.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 16 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Air Pollution: Pollution Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of a policy of aiming for (a) World Health Organization guideline levels on particulate matter pollution by 2030 and (b) other stricter than existing environmental targets on the environmental sustainability of (i) general Government policy and (ii) business investment.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 24 June 2020

In July 2019, we published a report assessing the progress that will be made towards World Health Organization (WHO) PM2.5 air quality guidelines with actions outlined in the Clean Air Strategy by 2030. This report showed that significant progress would be made towards achieving WHO guideline levels through the actions outlined in the Strategy, but that additional action would be needed to reach WHO guideline levels in specific locations (i.e. central London). The Government is committed to evidence-based policy making and will consider independent expert advice alongside evidence and analysis on a diversity of factors in setting air quality targets outlined in the Environment Bill. This will include the health benefits, the practical feasibility and economic viability of taking different actions to ensure that the targets are based on realistic pathways, robust science and full economic analysis such that they are ambitious, achievable and deliver the greatest public health benefits.

The Government plans to bring forward at least one target in each of the four priority areas by the Environment Bill’s 31 October 2022 deadline. Legally binding targets are an important tool. They will drive action by successive governments to protect and enhance our natural world. They allow for robust, objective scrutiny and accountability of government’s progress and they provide much-needed long-term certainty to businesses and society, to support planning, innovation and investment.

Q
(Bury South)
Asked on: 09 June 2020
Home Office
Domestic Abuse: Victim Support Schemes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what communications campaign has been launched to (a) raise awareness of domestic abuse, (b) reassure the public that the police and support services are still available and accessible during the covid-19 outbreak and (c) encourage people to access help and support when they need it.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The Home Office launched the #YouAreNotAlone communications campaign on 11 April to inform victims of domestic abuse that they can leave home; raise awareness that police response and support services remain available, and signpost help and support.

The campaign drives people towards support and advice on https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-abuse-how-to-get-help and includes the following channels:

  • Digital and social media advertising
  • Influencer and PR activity, creating a movement where people have shown solidarity with victims and signposted to support by sharing the campaign assets and using the hashtag #YouAreNotAlone. High profile supporters include Emma Watson, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Dua Lipa and Russell Howard.
  • Ongoing work with specialist agency The Multicultural Marketing Consultancy (MMC) to extend campaign messaging into diverse black and minority ethnic community channels and media.
  • The campaign assets are also being disseminated via partners and employers through partner packs which, so far, have been sent to 250 stakeholders and nearly 10,000 employers. This includes other government departments, banks, post offices, pharmacies and supermarkets who have all helped promote campaign materials and raise awareness. Materials have been translated in 15 languages and Welsh.
Q
Asked by Lord Berkeley
Asked on: 09 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have assessed their advice that people use their cars and avoid public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic to be (1) compatible with their target for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and (2), if not, whether they would withdraw the advice.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The Government’s top priority is to ensure we protect people and businesses throughout the present health crisis. The Government’s advice to avoid using public transport where possible, and instead try to walk, cycle, or drive is based on the present concern for public health.

Covid-19 has meant people have had to profoundly change the way they live, work and travel. Many people have rediscovered walking and cycling, and their benefits to both air quality and health. We are supporting that through the £225 million Emergency Active Travel Fund, which was announced on 9 May, and is the first stage of a £2 billion investment in active travel. We are also encouraging local authorities to consider rapid changes to road layouts such as pop up cycles lanes to make cycling safer and more attractive.

The COVID-19 crisis has not diminished the Government’s determination to meet our net zero target and we are committed to going further and faster to tackle climate change. Transport has a central role to play in decarbonising our economy whilst delivering growth. At the end of March, we published “Decarbonising Transport: Setting the Challenge” kicking off our work on preparing a Transport Decarbonisation Plan to ensure we meet the challenge of reaching net zero transport emissions by 2050.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 15 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to restart (a) practical driving and (b) driving theory tests for all pupils.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 23 June 2020

As the health and safety of staff and customers is key, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to testing. It will announce details of resumption in due course.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 15 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential level of safety of driving instructors wearing PPE (a) when checking pupils' facial expressions and reactions and (b) in other situations when teaching.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has carried out a risk assessment for driving examiners conducting driving tests. It is for instructors to make sure their face coverings or PPE do not impact upon safety during driving lessons with their pupils.

Driving instructors must ensure they are able to fulfil their responsibilities as an instructor, and accompanying driver, safely whilst wearing appropriate PPE. Professional instructors should be able to adapt their teaching to ensure pupils’ comprehension and correct reaction whilst learning safely.

The DVSA would encourage all driving instructors to keep up to date with the driving instructors’ National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) website for advice and guidance: http://www.n-a-s-p.co.uk/

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 15 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with Pearson VUE on restarting driving theory tests in a socially distanced way.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is committed to resuming theory tests for all candidates as soon as it is safe to do so and in line with Government advice.

Following public health advice, the DVSA and Pearson VUE are preparing new processes for delivering theory tests. This will include protective screens, two metre social distancing and appropriate protective equipment. The DVSA will make further announcements on GOV.UK as soon as possible.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 15 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he is seeking a refund from Pearson VUE for the non-delivery of driving tests as a result of its closure of test centres.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is not seeking a refund from Pearson VUE for the non-delivery of theory tests as the contract the DVSA has with Pearson VUE is volume based. This means the service arrangements are that the DVSA pays for each theory test delivered by Pearson VUE.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 15 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will issue guidance on whether driving examiners should wear face coverings.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is reviewing and updating the guidance for driving examiners about carrying out driving tests. This includes things like the PPE they need to wear, greeting candidates and cleaning equipment such as sat navs and tablets. Further guidance will be issued as soon as possible.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 15 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has received on ensuring that the DVSA has effective procedures in place so that driving instructors are able to match refunds to pupils.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has closed its driving test booking system as all tests are currently suspended other than for emergency tests for critical workers. The DVSA is developing plans to resume its testing services and will adopt a phased return to testing.

The DVSA will email approved driving instructors (ADI) and candidates when the Government is confident that it is safe to restart driving tests. ADIs and candidates will be asked to go online and choose their preferred test date and time. Candidates who wish to cancel their practical test can email the DVSA and request a full refund.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 15 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the insurance sector on covering driving instructors for claims made in relation to accidents when the instructor was (a) wearing PPE and (b) had (i) installed a protective screen between themselves and their pupils and (ii) made other health protection modifications.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 23 June 2020

Driving instructors must ensure they are able to fulfil their responsibilities as an instructor, and accompanying driver, safely whilst wearing appropriate PPE. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) would encourage all driving instructors to keep up to date with the driving instructors’ National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) website for advice and guidance: http://www.n-a-s-p.co.uk/

In line with guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Public Health England (PHE), the DVSA does not recommend unapproved protective screens are fitted in vehicles. The driver, and for a learner driver the accompanying driver, has a responsibility to ensure the vehicle and its driver are able to comply with the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, as amended. Any modifications made to a vehicle must not prevent compliance with these regulations, for example, ensuring that the driver still has a clear view to the front.

Q
(Stoke-on-Trent North)
Asked on: 15 June 2020
Department for Education
Sixth Form Education: Qualifications
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on the Review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below in England.
A
Answered by: Gillian Keegan
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below, alongside the development of T Levels, is central to building a world-class technical education system. The first stage of the qualifications review consultation ran from March to June 2019. The second stage consultation is due to be published later in 2020. The review is looking at complex questions about the range of qualifications needed at post-16 and we want to take the time to get this right. We are taking a number of steps in advance of this to drive up quality and reduce complexity in the system.

From 1 August 2020, we will withdraw funding approval for new starts on 163 older qualifications that have been superseded by newer more rigorous versions. From 1 September 2020, we will not approve new qualifications for funding for students aged 16 and above, to stabilise the publicly funded offer in advance of further reform. We have also, this year, started the process to remove public funding approval of qualifications with low or no publicly funded enrolments. Subject to the outcomes of this process, from August 2021 we will remove funding approval for qualifications with no publicly funded enrolments; and from August 2022 we will remove funding approval for qualifications with low numbers of publicly funded enrolments, unless doing so would have a significant adverse impact on a particular sector, geographical area or student group.

Grouped Questions: 60899
Q
(East Yorkshire)
Asked on: 15 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the latest guidance is that his Department has issued to (a) driving instructors and (b) motoring schools on teaching non-key workers during the covid-19 outbreak; whether he plans to relax restrictions on that activity in the next month; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to testing. It will announce details of resumption in due course. The DVSA is committed to resuming testing services for all candidates as soon as it is safe to do so and in line with Government advice.

The DVSA’s Chief Executive issued further guidance on resuming testing to approved driving instructors, motorcycle training schools, and vocational driving instructors on 15 June 2020. This guidance is published on GOV.UK and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-letter-from-dvsa-chief-executive-to-driver-and-rider-trainers-about-restarting-instruction-and-tests?utm_source=69d5d459-d250-4458-9252-9485392b0d13&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

Q
(Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
Asked on: 15 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the Bahrain authorities' decision to release some prisoners during the covid-19 pandemic, if he will make representations to the Government of Bahrain on the release of (a) Sheikh Ali Salman, (b) Hassan Mushaima and (c) other imprisoned Bahraini political opposition leaders.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 23 June 2020

From January to June 2020, 1,055 Bahraini prisoners have received royal pardons and been released from prison. In March, a further 585 prisoners received alternative, non-custodial sentences. We welcome the continued use of alternative sentencing in Bahrain, which was introduced with UK Government support for Bahraini-led reforms of the judicial system. The use of alternative sentencing is governed by clear eligibility guidelines. So far, over 1,700 alternative sentences have been handed down since 2017.

We continue to monitor the cases of Hassan Mushaima and Sheikh Ali Salman.

Q
(The Wrekin)
Asked on: 15 June 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Small Business Grants Fund: Shropshire
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership in ensuring that Shropshire businesses receive business grant support.
A
Answered by: Mr Simon Clarke
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The Marches LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) is responsible for distributing £1.58 million of support to local businesses to help them in the face of the Covid-19 crisis, working in partnership with local authorities to make grants to SMEs (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) in the region. Of the £737,000 that has been allocated to Shropshire Council, £600,000 will be delivered to local SMEs in grants of up to £10,000 each. The Marches Growth Hub https://www.marchesgrowthhub.co.uk/about-us/, managed by Marches LEP, continues to provided business support, advice and guidance to Shropshire businesses .

As of 21 June, the Marches LEP has also supported Shropshire Council to deliver over £75.6 million in grants to 6,390 businesses in Shropshire from the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund. Government continues to work closely with all local authorities, with the support of local bodies such as Local Enterprise Partnerships, to help deliver the remaining grant funding quickly and efficiently.

In December 2019, following extensive consultation with local partners, Marches LEP published their Draft Local Industrial Strategy and evidence base, setting out how they will drive productivity and clean growth. The LEP is now working with local partners to help plan for economic recovery in the short term. All LEPs are subject to an annual performance review by MHCLG, which includes an assessment of their delivery performance.

Q
(East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow)
Asked on: 16 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Saudi Arabia: Women's Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the document UK Support for Human Rights Defenders, published in July 2019, what additional support his Department plans to provide to women in Saudi Arabia who campaigned for the right to drive but remain on trial.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 23 June 2020

We remain concerned about the continued detention of women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia. The Foreign Secretary raised our concerns about the ongoing detention of political detainees, including women's rights defenders with Saudi Ministers during his visit this year to Riyadh on 4 and 5 March. We regularly raise areas of concern with the Saudi authorities at all levels, through Ministers, our Ambassador and the Embassy in Riyadh. We continue to raise concerns about individual cases regularly and monitor the situation closely.

We welcome recent positive developments, including the end on the ban on women driving and guardianship reforms. Women's rights still fall short of international standards, and we will continue to raise the issue with Saudi Arabia.

Q
(Rother Valley)
Asked on: 17 June 2020
Department for Education
Sixth Form Education: Qualifications
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on its review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below in England.
A
Answered by: Gillian Keegan
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below, alongside the development of T Levels, is central to building a world-class technical education system. The first stage of the qualifications review consultation ran from March to June 2019. The second stage consultation is due to be published later in 2020. The review is looking at complex questions about the range of qualifications needed at post-16 and we want to take the time to get this right. We are taking a number of steps in advance of this to drive up quality and reduce complexity in the system.

From 1 August 2020, we will withdraw funding approval for new starts on 163 older qualifications that have been superseded by newer more rigorous versions. From 1 September 2020, we will not approve new qualifications for funding for students aged 16 and above, to stabilise the publicly funded offer in advance of further reform. We have also, this year, started the process to remove public funding approval of qualifications with low or no publicly funded enrolments. Subject to the outcomes of this process, from August 2021 we will remove funding approval for qualifications with no publicly funded enrolments; and from August 2022 we will remove funding approval for qualifications with low numbers of publicly funded enrolments, unless doing so would have a significant adverse impact on a particular sector, geographical area or student group.

Grouped Questions: 59642
Q
(North West Durham)
[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 June 2020
Attorney General
Sentencing: Appeals
Commons
To ask the Attorney General, how many (a) appeals and (b) successful appeals the Government has made against sentences on the basis of undue leniency, in each of the last 20 years.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The statistics from 2000 are provided below. It should be noted that Attorney General’s Office does not hold accurate data prior to 2001 and we are not in possession of the data indicating the number of successful appeals for the year 2000.

Year

Appeals the Government has made against sentences on the basis of undue leniency

Successful appeals the Government has made against sentences on the basis of undue leniency

2000

31

Data unavailable

2001

147

90

2002

148

94

2003

96

78

2004

105

66

2005

108

67

2006

144

104

2007

76

53

2008

59

46

2009

84

58

2010

77

60

2011

117

94

2012

82

62

2013

70

61

2014

122

106

2015

136

102

2016

180

130

2017

173

137

2018

140

99

2019

97

63

Q
Asked by Nick Smith
(Blaenau Gwent)
[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: 23 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Obesity
Commons
What steps his Department is taking to tackle obesity.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 23 June 2020

This is our decade of change to drive forward this important work.

To achieve our bold ambition of halving childhood obesity by 2030, we are delivering a wide range of measures through the three chapters of ‘Childhood obesity: a plan for action’.

Q
(Stoke-on-Trent North)
Asked on: 11 June 2020
Department for International Trade
Import Duties
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the effect on consumers of the proposals for a UK Global Tariff.
A
Answered by: Greg Hands
Answered on: 22 June 2020

Liberalisation is typically beneficial for consumers. Consumers should benefit from the removal of tariffs on certain products that we do not produce, or do not produce much of in the UK. Removing these tariffs may lower cost pressures for UK households and businesses. The UK Global Tariff might expand consumer choice, driving competitive prices for households.

Tariffs are a tax, therefore the Government will publish a Tax Information and Impact Note (TIIN) alongside the legislation, as is standard practice. More analysis will be available in the TIIN when it is published.

Q
(Chesham and Amersham)
[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 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he plans to resume driving tests at all venues that were in use prior to the covid-19 lockdown.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 22 June 2020

As the health and safety of staff and customers is key, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to testing. It will announce details of resumption of testing in due course.

Q
Asked by Gerald Jones
(Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney)
[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 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason there are delays in the reissuing of driving licences by the DVLA to (a) people aged over 70 and (b) in cases where licences have been suspended for health reasons which are preventing those people from driving.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 22 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA) online services, including renewals for drivers over 70 are available and have continued to operate as normal throughout the pandemic.

DVLA is currently working with reduced staff on its site in Swansea to meet social distancing requirements. Paper applications are therefore taking longer to process as they must be dealt with in person.

As healthcare professionals are rightly focused on their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DVLA is experiencing delays where information is needed from medical professionals in order to make a licensing decision where a driver has declared a medical condition.

Q
Asked by Robert Halfon
(Harlow)
[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 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what guidance he has issued on when driving instructors can return to work as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 22 June 2020

As the health and safety of staff and customers is key, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to testing. It will announce details of resumption in due course.

In the meantime, approved driving instructors (ADI) should continue to limit driving lessons to critical workers who are preparing for an emergency driving test.

The DVSA’s priority remains to protect the public and save lives. Driving lessons and tests have not yet been able to restart because the risk of transmission of the virus in vehicles is higher.

On 15 June 2020, the DVSA’s Chief Executive wrote to all ADIs updating them on the planning it is doing to help return to life that is as close to normal as possible, as quickly and fairly as possible, in a way that avoids a second peak of infections. That letter can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-letter

Q
(Carmarthen East and Dinefwr)
Asked on: 11 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many driving licence applications are awaiting processing; and what estimate he has made of the length of time it will take to process any backlog of applications; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 19 June 2020

There is no backlog for driving licence applications made online. Online services have continued to operate as normal throughout the pandemic. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has a reduced number of staff on-site to comply with social distancing requirements in Wales. Postal applications have to be dealt with in person on our site in Swansea and will therefore take longer to process than applications made online.

Since 4 June changes have been made to automatically extend the validity of 10 year photocard driving licences expiring between 1 February and 31 August, by a further seven months. Drivers do not need to take any action to benefit from this change and DVLA will write to them when their licence is due for renewal.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 11 June 2020
Department for Transport
Buses: Hydrogen
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing an all-hydrogen bus town scheme.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 19 June 2020

In February, the Prime Minister announced a £5 billion package for buses and cycling, which includes support for the purchase of at least 4,000 new zero emission buses, making greener travel the convenient option and driving forward the UK’s progress on its net zero ambitions.

The details of these programmes will be announced in due course.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 11 June 2020
Department for Transport
Department for Transport: Electric Vehicles
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many (a) battery and (b) hydrogen powered electric vehicles he has (i) driven and (ii) been a passenger in.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 19 June 2020

While we do not know precisely how many battery and hydrogen fuel cell electric cars the Secretary of State for Transport has driven or been a passenger in, he does personally own a battery electric vehicle and is regularly a passenger in a Government Car Service electric car. More importantly, the government is investing around £2.5bn‎, with grants available for ultra-low emission vehicles and funding to support chargepoint infrastructure at homes, workplaces, on residential streets and across the wider roads network.

In addition, we are consulting on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 to 2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible, as well as including hybrids for the first time. By talking to stakeholders about the best way to achieve that ambition, the Government will more easily be able to identify what measures would be needed to support the transition to zero-emission and electric motoring.

Q
(East Lothian)
Asked on: 22 April 2020
Home Office
Immigration Controls: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what support the Government has provided to UK Border Force and Immigration Enforcement to manage arrivals in remote ports and at smaller airports during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 18 June 2020

Border Force is continuing to keep the UK’s border secure and has robust contingency plans in place to respond the covid-19 pandemic driven by the latest scientific and medical advice.

We exercise a range of options at small and remote ports dependent on risk and continue to do so in line with public health and devolved administrations, without comprising security checks.

Border Force are working closely with law enforcement partners on the response to threats at the border during the Covid outbreak, and that includes our response at smaller airports/ports

Q
(Leicester South)
Asked on: 01 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Disease Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with local authority leaders on the provision of covid-19 testing, tracking and tracing in local authority areas.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 18 June 2020

I lead the Test and Trace engagement with local authorities, alongside Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds Council.

This is alongside other local engagement in Testing from Sarah-Jane Marsh, who was appointed to head up Testing at the same time as Tom Riordan was appointed to drive the joint work between the Government and local authorities on 11 May.

Ministers and officials have regular discussions with local authority leaders on the NHS Test and Trace service and attend a Local Outbreak Planning National Advisory Board, chaired by the Chairman of the Local Government Association.

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