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
(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.

Q
Asked on: 04 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Legal Profession: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will move to a grants-based system for funding legal services as recommended by the Low Commission report following the COVID-19 pandemic.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 18 June 2020

The government continues to recognise the importance of the legal support services and the essential role that they play in helping people resolve their legal problems.

Following our 2019 review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 reforms, the Ministry of Justice published the Legal Support Action Plan, which set out our vision for resolving legal problems earlier by ensuring that people can access the right legal support services at the right time, and in the right way for them. Whilst we do not intend to move to a fully grants based system for funding legal services, there are elements of the Legal Support Action Plan that drew on the recommendations of the Low Commission report.

COVID-19 interrupted significant elements of some of this work, as we reprioritised our focus on considering the impact of the pandemic on the legal support sector who support individuals in need of help.

As a result of this, the Ministry of Justice has secured emergency funding for the not-for-profit legal advice sector, including £5.4 million for providers of special legal advice. £3 million of this funding will go to Law Centres and this will be distributed through the Law Centres Network. The remainder of the funding, £2.4 million, will be contributed to the Community Justice Fund, administrated by the Access to Justice Foundation (ATJF), in order to provide funding for other non-specialist advice and support providers.

This funding will be additional to the £370 million of funding administrated by the National Lottery Communities Fund which qualifying third sector organisations, including those in the advice sector, will be able to bid for directly.

We have also continued existing work with the specialist advice sector and launched a new £3.1 million grant in partnership with the ATJF to enhance legal support for litigants in person over the next two years. This new grant is in addition to nearly £8m invested by the Ministry of Justice in support of litigants in person in the civil and family courts since 2015 through the Litigants in Person Support Strategy.

Asked on: 08 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
China and Hong Kong: Press Freedom
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are using their Defend Media Freedom campaign to raise and address the curtailing of media freedom and attacks on journalists in China and Hong Kong; and what plans they have to introduce Magnitsky-like sanctions against those responsible for abuse of journalists in China and Hong Kong.
A
Answered on: 18 June 2020

Media freedom is vital to open societies and journalists must be able to investigate and report without undue interference. We must oppose attempts by any state to restrict press freedom, silence debate, abuse journalists, or spread misinformation. We are monitoring individual cases of concern around the world, and we are working with international partners on how best to support media freedom, including raising our concerns where appropriate.

The UK has publicly raised the issue of media freedom in China, including priority cases such as the sentencing of citizen journalist and rights activist Huang Qi in 2019. British diplomats have attempted to attend trials of civilian journalists and rights activists in China to show support.

In Hong Kong, media freedom is guaranteed under the Joint Declaration and Basic Law. In our six-monthly reports to Parliament on Hong Kong, we have regularly highlighted the importance of freedom of the press and set out our views on specific incidents of concern. We did so in the most recent report on 11 June. We will continue to raise the need to uphold Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms with the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities, as the Foreign Secretary did with State Councillor and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on 8 June.

We have announced our intention to establish a UK autonomous Global Human Rights ('Magnitsky-style') sanctions regime. The regulations will come into force in the coming months. It is not appropriate to confirm who might be designated under the sanctions regime before the designations are in place. To do this could reduce the impact of the designations.

Q
Asked by Dan Jarvis
(Barnsley Central)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 15 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Construction: Training
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support companies delivering independent training to scaffolders who are not part of the Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 18 June 2020

The Government is supporting the construction sector to increase investment in skills development, and to equip workers with the skills that they will need for the future.

This is a cross-industry drive, which includes companies delivering independent training to scaffolders who are not part of the Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme. This will be achieved through a joint commitment to implement reforms to the Construction Industry Training Board to make it more strategic and industry-led, and to enable the sector to make best use of funding from the Apprenticeship Levy.

Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
[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
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Females
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many women serving sentences of one year or less have been recalled to prison since 31 March 2020; and, of those, how many have been recalled for failure to comply with licence provisions only.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 June 2020

Public protection is our priority. Offenders on licence are subject to strict licence conditions and supervision. When an offender breaches a condition of their licence, their probation officer will undertake a thorough risk assessment to determine whether it is necessary, for the protection of the public, to recall that offender to prison.

The requested data are not available at this time. Licence recalls data covering April – June 2020 are planned for publication in October 2020.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Myanmar: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that over 500 people have been sentenced to between one month and one year in prison in Myanmar since late March for violating movement-control orders.
A
Answered on: 17 June 2020

The United Kingdom is concerned by reports that public health policies used to tackle COVID-19, such as curfews and movement control orders, have been misused to violate people's civil liberties, including freedom of expression and religious belief in Myanmar. It is vital the public health policies are applied equally to all communities and not exploited to target particular groups. We have raised our concerns about civil liberties in Myanmar with the Government of Myanmar, including at a Ministerial level. We will continue to stress that public health and security concerns should not be used to undermine fundamental freedoms. We will also continue to support Myanmar's democratisation process and moves to end Myanmar's conflict in order to address the root causes of many of the violations and abuses seen in Myanmar.

Grouped Questions: HL5176 | HL5177
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Business and Manufacturing Industries: Productivity
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals they have for the improvement of productivity in business and manufacturing in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 17 June 2020

We are strongly committed to supporting UK manufacturing, which plays a vital role in the UK economy by driving innovation, exports, job creation, and productivity growth.

We are also committed to ongoing engagement with industry to ensure our manufacturers have the support they need to maintain production effectively. We have put in place an unprecedented package of Government support for businesses during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The Business Productivity Review announced a £56 million package of support and set out the steps we will take to boost business productivity, focusing on leadership and management skills, technology adoption, and external support. These measures will help businesses respond to and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic..

Through our Business Basics Programme, we are also testing new ways of encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including those in the manufacturing sector, to adopt tried and tested technology and management practices that can boost productivity.

Through the Made Smarter programme, we are investing up to £167 million to help UK manufacturers to adopt and innovate in industrial digital technologies that will make our firms more productive. We are investing up to £147 million for a Manufacturing Made Smarter Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund programme to develop innovative solutions to manufacturing challenges, as well as £20 million through our Made Smarter North West Pilot to support up to 3000 manufacturing SMEs to adopt and exploit digital technologies to increase their productivity. This could add £115 million to the North West economy and increase productivity by up to 25% by 2030.

Asked on: 03 June 2020
Home Office
Immigrants: Detainees
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many new detentions under immigration powers there have been since 23 March; in which centres people were so detained and what was their country of origin; and of these how many involved (1) people transferred from prisons into immigration detention at the end of their prison sentences, (2) people detained after chance encounters with immigration enforcement, and (3) planned detentions.
Answered on: 17 June 2020

The Government published statistics relating to COVID-19 and the immigration system on gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-relating-to-covid-19-and-the-immigration-system-may-2020), on 28 May and the latest Immigration Statistics publication (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020) includes the numbers of individuals detained under immigration powers in prisons.

Since the UK lockdown was announced on 23 March 2020 (up to the 30 April 2020), 295 people have entered detention, 231 of which were clandestine entrants held by UKVI for processing before being dispersed through appropriate routes. Those being held for processing spend very short periods of time at a short-term holding facility and can only be held for a maximum of seven days. This does not include those who were transferred to the detention estate from prison. Statistics on people in immigration detention during the second quarter of 2020 (April to June) will be published in August in the immigration statistics quarterly release.

Immigration offenders encountered by Immigration Enforcement by chance or as part of a planned operation, will be considered for detention for the purpose of removal, on a case-by-case basis, by applying the published detention and adults at risk in immigration detention policies. Information on the current situation in any given country is used when making decisions to detain.

The safety and health of people in the detention estate are of the utmost importance. We are following all Public Health England guidance and have robust contingency plans in place. As of 17 June 2020, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in immigration removal centres.

Grouped Questions: HL5219
Q
Asked by Lord Lucas
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Contact Tracing: Fraud
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government who is responsible for reducing the risk of the public receiving fraudulent calls or emails purporting to come from the local authority and other teams involved in the NHS test and trace service.
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 17 June 2020

The Government launched its new NHS Test and Trace service on 28 May 2020. This includes enhanced contact tracing.

NHS Test and Trace has been developed to government security standards and we have been working with the National Cyber Security Centre, on measures to keep the public safe. The NHS Test and Trace service uses text messages, email or phone. All text or emails will ask people to sign into the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing website with a set of unique characters provided alongside a secure link to the site. For those people that are unable to respond via email or text, perhaps because they do not have those options available to them, a phone-based service will contact them and support them through the process.

If the public are concerned about whether a call or email they receive comes from NHS Test and Trace service they can visit GOV.UK and view a page which lists the official phone numbers used by this service and can also check what is and is not going to be asked.

If anyone thinks they have been sent a scam message, they can report it to Action Fraud. If people receive an email which they are not quite sure about, they can forward it to the National Cyber Security Centre’s Suspicious Email Reporting Service and to report a spam text, they can forward the message to Ofcom’s spam texting service on 7726.

Any action to investigate reports of potential fraud will fall to the police / National Crime Agency and if prosecuted it will be for the courts to decide sentencing.

Grouped Questions: HL5222 | HL5223
Q
Asked by Lord Lucas
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Contact Tracing: Fraud
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the penalties under civil or criminal law for (1) those organising frauds relating to the NHS test and trace service, () those aiding and abetting them, and (3) those who fail to take reasonable steps to protect their customers against such fraud; and what are the penalties for those employed in the NHS test and trace service, whether as individuals or as organisations, for misusing the information to which they have access.
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 17 June 2020

The Government launched its new NHS Test and Trace service on 28 May 2020. This includes enhanced contact tracing.

NHS Test and Trace has been developed to government security standards and we have been working with the National Cyber Security Centre, on measures to keep the public safe. The NHS Test and Trace service uses text messages, email or phone. All text or emails will ask people to sign into the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing website with a set of unique characters provided alongside a secure link to the site. For those people that are unable to respond via email or text, perhaps because they do not have those options available to them, a phone-based service will contact them and support them through the process.

If the public are concerned about whether a call or email they receive comes from NHS Test and Trace service they can visit GOV.UK and view a page which lists the official phone numbers used by this service and can also check what is and is not going to be asked.

If anyone thinks they have been sent a scam message, they can report it to Action Fraud. If people receive an email which they are not quite sure about, they can forward it to the National Cyber Security Centre’s Suspicious Email Reporting Service and to report a spam text, they can forward the message to Ofcom’s spam texting service on 7726.

Any action to investigate reports of potential fraud will fall to the police / National Crime Agency and if prosecuted it will be for the courts to decide sentencing.

Grouped Questions: HL5221 | HL5223
Q
Asked by Lord Lucas
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Contact Tracing: Fraud
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the process for reporting suspicious texts, emails and phone calls purporting to relate to the NHS test and trace service; to whom should such reports be made; whether Action Fraud and the Suspicious Email Reporting Service are involved; and, if so, whether there any plans for a separate, simpler process accessed from the main page of Action Fraud.
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 17 June 2020

The Government launched its new NHS Test and Trace service on 28 May 2020. This includes enhanced contact tracing.

NHS Test and Trace has been developed to government security standards and we have been working with the National Cyber Security Centre, on measures to keep the public safe. The NHS Test and Trace service uses text messages, email or phone. All text or emails will ask people to sign into the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing website with a set of unique characters provided alongside a secure link to the site. For those people that are unable to respond via email or text, perhaps because they do not have those options available to them, a phone-based service will contact them and support them through the process.

If the public are concerned about whether a call or email they receive comes from NHS Test and Trace service they can visit GOV.UK and view a page which lists the official phone numbers used by this service and can also check what is and is not going to be asked.

If anyone thinks they have been sent a scam message, they can report it to Action Fraud. If people receive an email which they are not quite sure about, they can forward it to the National Cyber Security Centre’s Suspicious Email Reporting Service and to report a spam text, they can forward the message to Ofcom’s spam texting service on 7726.

Any action to investigate reports of potential fraud will fall to the police / National Crime Agency and if prosecuted it will be for the courts to decide sentencing.

Grouped Questions: HL5221 | HL5222
Q
Asked by Darren Henry
(Broxtowe)
Asked on: 09 June 2020
Home Office
Motorcycles: Crime
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of (a) police resources and (b) powers to deal with people who ride motorcycles illegally.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 17 June 2020

This government is fully committed to giving the police the powers and resources they need to fight crime.

We will provide a total police funding settlement of up to £15.2 billion in 2020/21, which is an increase of up to £1.120 billion compared to 2019/20, including main grant, council precept and national priorities. The police have powers under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Police Reform Act 2002 to seize vehicles being driven illegally without a valid driving licence or insurance or in an anti-social manner.

Q
Asked by Darren Henry
(Broxtowe)
Asked on: 09 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with DVSA on (a) providing access to refunds to those people whose driving theory test certificate has expired during the covid-19 outbreak and (b) resitting the driving theory test for free.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 17 June 2020

The two-year validity period of the theory test certificate is set in legislation. This is so the candidate’s theoretical knowledge and ability to identify developing hazards remains current. To extend the validity period would require legislative change.

There is no provision in legislation for refunds of test fees in the situation where the theory test certificate has expired, or resitting the theory test free of charge.

Q
Asked by Darren Henry
(Broxtowe)
Asked on: 09 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the DVSA to ensure that guidance is provided to approved driving instructors to ensure they can resume providing their services safely following the covid-19 lockdown.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 17 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) recommends that, currently, approved driving instructors (ADI) should only provide lessons to candidates who have an essential need.

When providing driving lessons, all ADIs should put in place appropriate measures, in line with the latest Public Heath England and Cabinet Office guidance, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It is the responsibility of the ADI and the pupil to consider the risks to their health and to decide if the driving lesson is essential.

Using the latest Government guidance, the DVSA is working closely with the Approved Driving Instructors National Association Strategic Partnership (NASP) to develop appropriate plans and control measures that will enable the resumption of non-essential driving lessons.

The DVSA is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to driver testing. Before practical driving tests are reintroduced, the DVSA will inform the driver training industry, which will help candidates to prepare and reach the standard of driving needed to pass their test.

The DVSA will provide further updates on providing non-essential driving lessons as soon as it can.

Q
Asked by Mr Peter Bone
(Wellingborough)
Asked on: 09 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction and Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether (a) instructors, (b) examiners and (c) pupils will be required to wear face coverings when driving tests and teaching restart following the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 17 June 2020

As the health and safety of staff and customers is key, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is currently working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to testing.

At present, its testing services are under review and it will announce details of resumption in due course.

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

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

Using the latest Government guidance, the DVSA is working closely with the Approved Driving Instructors National Association Strategic Partnership (NASP) to develop appropriate plans and control measures that will enable the resumption of non-essential driving lessons.

Q
Asked by Mr Peter Bone
(Wellingborough)
Asked on: 09 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what social distancing measures will be required when driving tuition resumes following the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 17 June 2020

As the health and safety of staff and customers is key, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is currently working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to testing.

At present, its services are under review and it will announce details of resumption in due course.

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

Using the latest Government guidance, the DVSA is working closely with the Approved Driving Instructors National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) to develop appropriate plans and control measures that will enable the resumption of non-essential driving lessons.

Further information about safety measures can be found on line at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support

Q
(Glasgow South West)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

Asked on: 09 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Food Banks
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to place in the Library a copy of her Department's internal review of the drivers of food bank usage.
A
Answered by: Will Quince
Answered on: 17 June 2020

The Department is conducting a literature review on the factors driving the use of food banks, which we aim to publish before the end of the summer; at which point it will be placed in the Library.

Q
(South West Devon)
Asked on: 09 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Local Enterprise Partnerships: South West
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will recognise the four counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset as the Great South West economic region, as recommended by the relevant local enterprise partnerships; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 17 June 2020

The Government is committed to pan-regional partnerships, as part of our commitment to further devolution and level up the country. These non-statutory partnerships will need to operate at scale, driving greater levels of foreign investment into the UK, and capitalising on major economic opportunities over a pan-regional geography.

I am grateful to the Counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, and Dorset for their proposals as presented in the Great South West prospectus and we will be setting out further detail through the Devolution White Paper.

Q
(Hemel Hempstead)
Asked on: 09 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Research: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to prioritise and support research into covid-19 which (a) uses advanced non-animal scientific methods that are relevant to humans and (b) avoids the known issues of species differences which make the translation of animal research data to humans unreliable and can delay or prevent the availability of effective vaccines and treatments.
A
Answered by: Amanda Solloway
Answered on: 17 June 2020

The Government considers that the carefully regulated use of animals in scientific research remains an important tool in the development of safe new medicines and treatments. At the same time, the Government believes that animals should only be used when there is no practicable alternative and it actively supports and funds the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs). This is achieved primarily through funding for the National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs) which has invested £67million in research, and works nationally and internationally to drive the uptake of 3Rs technologies and ensure that advances in the 3Rs are reflected in policy, practice and regulations on animal research.

With regard to specific research into Covid-19, human trials are already underway. The Government is currently funding two UK vaccine candidates; one at the University of Oxford and one at Imperial College, London. The University of Oxford began Phase 1 human safety trials on 23 April and have recently recruited healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 55 to take part in these trials.

Animal testing has not been skipped, however. Clinical trials of any vaccine must follow a predefined development pathway. It was agreed at the meeting of the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities, held on 18 March 2020 that it is scientifically justified to use toxicology data and clinical data collected from other trials using animals to support a first-in-human clinical trial for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate. It was also agreed that data from animal disease models would be required to support Phase II clinical trials.

Q
Asked by Alex Norris
(Nottingham North)
Asked on: 09 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Meters
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making it compulsory for all homes to have a smart meter at (a) the point of sale where the property is owner-occupied and (b) the change of tenancy where the property is privately rented.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 17 June 2020

The Government has consulted on proposals for a new policy framework to continue to drive market-wide rollout of smart meters after the current duty on energy suppliers ends in December 2020. This consultation sought views from stakeholders about what policy measures the Government should consider in order to complement the proposed market-wide rollout obligation.

We are carefully considering the range of responses and evidence submitted, ahead of publishing a Government response. We will see seek to do this as soon as is practicable.

In the meantime, the Government has updated the ‘How to Let’ and ‘How to Rent’ guides for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector to make clear the rights and responsibilities for accepting and installing a smart meter.

Q
Asked by Alex Norris
(Nottingham North)
Asked on: 09 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to extend driving licence validity for people who need to submit paper applications due to not holding a UK passport, during the covid-19 pandemic while the DVLA are unable to process paper applications for people who are not essential workers.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 17 June 2020

The administrative validity period of all photocard driving licences expiring between 1 February and 31 August 2020 has been extended by seven months from the date of expiry. Drivers do not need to take any action as this extension is granted automatically.

Drivers who need to renew their entitlement to drive and cannot use the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s online service should submit a paper application in the normal way. However, these will take longer to process in the current circumstances.

The Department is urgently exploring further ways of mitigating difficulties people are facing if they cannot transact online.

Q
(Feltham and Heston)
Asked on: 09 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Businesses: Government Assistance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Government support package for innovative firms hit by coronavirus announced on 20 April 2020, how many businesses (a) have accessed this support through; and how much and what proportion of funding from the £750 million to be allocated through Innovate UK has been to disbursed to (i) new applicants and (ii) existing award holders.
A
Answered by: Amanda Solloway
Answered on: 17 June 2020

On 20th April, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £1.25bn coronavirus package to protect firms driving innovation in the UK.

This included £750 million of targeted support for the most R&D intensive small and medium size firms which will be available through Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme.

The Government has since confirmed that up to £500m of this is for existing customers including £200m of accelerated payments and up to £300m for continuity grants and loans. £20m of the remainder has been used to double the number of businesses receiving funding through the IUK call for business led innovation in response to the crisis which was open to new customers. Over 800 companies have been successful in this competition. IUK has also allocated up to £39m to increase the business advisory support services available new and existing high-growth potential SMEs. Announcements for the remaining money will be made in due course.

Beyond the Fast-Response competition, it is currently too early to state the number of businesses that have accessed this funding.

Q
(Camberwell and Peckham)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 11 June 2020
Home Office
Police: Ethnic Groups
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to increase the number and proportion of police officers from a black and ethnic minority background in (a) the Metropolitan Police Service and (b) police forces in England and Wales.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 17 June 2020

Police forces have worked hard to improve equality and diversity in policing and the workforce is more diverse than ever before, however we know that we cannot be complacent. Our drive to recruit 20,000 officers gives us a significant opportunity to attract a wide range people into a career in policing and support the police to become more representative of the communities they serve.

At 31 March 2019, there were 8,329 black, Asian and minority ethnic officers representing 6.9% of all police officers in England and Wales, compared with 4.7% in 2010.

The Metropolitan Police Service has the highest proportion of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) officers in England and Wales (15.0%) and had almost 4,500 BAME officers in total. One in four new recruits joining the Metropolitan police were from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background in 2018/19.

We continue to work across policing to support forces in addressing under-representation in the recruitment, retention and progression of officers, including those from BAME backgrounds.

Q
(Broxbourne)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 12 June 2020
Department for Transport
Taxis: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that licensed black cabs can continue to drive people arriving in the UK from international airports to (a) London and (b) surrounding areas after the introduction of the fourteen day quarantine period; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 17 June 2020

The Government guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK advises how those arriving in the UK can reduce the chance of a second wave of coronavirus in the UK and help prevent family, friends and the community from contracting coronavirus, as well as helping to protect the NHS. This includes using public transport only if no other option is available.

Q
(Ealing, Southall)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 12 June 2020
Department for International Development
Overseas Aid: Genito-urinary Medicine
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of Official Development Assistance; and if she will maintain a existing levels of support for sexual and reproductive health and rights and family planning services in (a) 2020 and (b) future budgets.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 17 June 2020

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

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

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

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

Q
Asked by Derek Thomas
(St Ives)
Asked on: 01 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Cancer: Research
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the level of resources allocated for research into cancers is protected during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Helen Whately
Answered on: 16 June 2020

As with other Government funders of health research, the Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) does not allocate funding for specific disease areas. The level of research spend in a particular area, such as cancer, is driven by factors including scientific potential and the number and scale of successful funding applications.

We have now entered a new phase of the pandemic, where the number of new cases of COVID-19 is declining, and we have a significant portfolio of nationally prioritised urgent public health studies which are actively recruiting participants. The time is right to work towards the restoration of a diverse and active portfolio of research funded and/or supported by the NIHR - including both non-COVID-19 research and important COVID-19 research which does not meet our ‘Urgency’ criteria. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.nihr.ac.uk/news/prioritising-funding-and-support-for-covid-19-research-across-the-uk/24820

To help initiate this process, the NIHR has developed a ‘Framework for Restart’ which provides a structure to guide the restarting of a full range of NIHR research, including cancer research, while maintaining local decision-making and flexibility. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.nihr.ac.uk/documents/restart-framework/24886

Q
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Large Goods Vehicles: Road Traffic Offences
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 5 May (HL3178), how many offences related to the abuse of weight restriction orders have been enforced by the police through the courts in the last year for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 16 June 2020

The Ministry of Justice has published information on prosecutions, convictions and sentencing outcomes, up to December 2019, which is available in the Home Office principle offence code data tool, available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888344/HO-code-tool-principal-offence-2019.xlsx

Offences specifically relating to vehicle weight restriction offences are not specifically identifiable from within existing offence categories. This information may be held on court record but to be able to identify these cases we would have to access individual court records which would be of disproportionate cost.

Q
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving: Licensing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the reduction of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency services due to COVID-19, what steps they are taking to support people over the age of 70 to renew their driving licences by post.
A
Answered on: 16 June 2020

The quickest and easiest way to renew a driving licence at the age 70 and over is to use the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service.

If drivers are unable to use the online service they should submit a paper application in the normal way. However, paper applications will take longer to process in the current circumstances. Some drivers may be able to continue to drive while their application is being processed, provided they have a valid licence and they have not been told by a doctor or optician not to drive.

The department is considering what can be done to help drivers who are unable to use the DVLA’s online service, and will provide more information when available.

Q
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving: Licensing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of COVID-19 on people’s ability to see a doctor to confirm their fitness to drive, and thereby to fulfil the criteria of section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 so they can continue driving.
A
Answered on: 16 June 2020

It is a driver’s responsibility to ensure that they meet the criteria for driving under the provisions of Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 while their application is being considered.

While there is no specific requirement to visit a doctor for these purposes, if a driver has been told not to drive by a doctor or optician, they should not do so.

Q
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving: Licensing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people over the age of 70 have applied to renew their driving licence (1) online, and (2) by post, in each of the last five years for which figures are available, broken down by age of applicant.
A
Answered on: 16 June 2020

The table below shows the number of applications received from those renewing their driving licence at the age of 70 and over either online or by post in the last five financial years. It has not been possible in the time available to break this down by age of applicant.

Online applications age 70 and over

Postal applications age 70 and over

2015-2016

720,152

1,068,060

2016-2017

843,947

1,079,017

2017-2018

897,577

990,243

2018-2019

907,005

1,117,544

2019-2020

1,128,344

1,012,176

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to release all (1) remand prisoners, and (2) prisoners over the age of 70, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 16 June 2020

This Government is not going to release all remand prisoners or all prisoners over the age of 70, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On 4 April, this Government announced the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme (ECTR). This scheme enables risk-assessed prisoners, who are within two months of their release date, to be temporarily released from custody, as part of the national approach to managing public services during this challenging period. No high-risk offenders, including those convicted of violent or sexual offences, anyone of national security concern or a danger to children, will be considered for release, nor any prisoners who have not served at least half their custodial term. This scheme only applies to prisoners serving standard determinate sentences with an automatic release point and those committed to custody for fine default or contempt, which also excludes remand prisoners. However, good progress has been made in reducing the number on remand and we are grateful to the Judiciary in their assistance in prioritising these cases.

For those who remain in custody, including prisoners over the age of 70, further operational guidance has been issued across the prison estate updating national policies on regime management following the Government steer on social distancing, shielding and household isolation. We have introduced cohorting arrangements in prisons endorsed by Public Health England to create safe environments for social distancing and household isolation. This involves isolating those with symptoms, shielding those most at vulnerable and quarantining new admissions in isolation from the rest of the prison for 14 days in Reverse Cohort Units to reduce the risk of infection.

In addition, pregnant women, prisoners living in Mother and Baby Units and those identified as ‘extremely vulnerable’ as defined in the NHS guidelines will merit consideration for release on temporary licence on compassionate grounds during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Transfers
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prisoners were transferred to (1) psychiatric hospitals, (2) psychiatric wings of prisons, and (3) other hospitals, in each of the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 16 June 2020

From the data held centrally, we are unable to differentiate between transfers to (1) psychiatric and (3) other hospitals. Further, for (2) prisons do not have psychiatric wings, and data on occupancy of dedicated residential healthcare facilities in prisons are not collected centrally.

We can provide the total number of prisoners who have been transferred to hospital under sections 47 (sentenced prisoners) or 48 (remand prisoners/immigration detainees) of the Mental Health Act 1983 in the last 12 months and this is set out below:

Month

Total

Jun-2019

94

Jul-2019

81

Aug-2019

74

Sep-2019

72

Oct-2019

91

Nov-2019

73

Dec-2019

72

Jan-2020

66

Feb-2020

83

Mar-2020

79

Apr-2020

71

May-2020

75

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Information is collected on the number of transfers, not the number of individual prisoners who are transferred. An individual prisoner may be transferred more than once in any given time period.

We take the mental health of prisoners extremely seriously, which is why we have increased the support available to vulnerable offenders - especially during the first 24 hours in custody - and invested more in mental health awareness training for prison officers.

Q
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prison Sentences: Council Tax
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) women, and (2) men, are currently serving prison sentences for non-payment of council tax.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 16 June 2020

As at 30 June 2019 (latest available data) no females and one male were in prison, having been committed to prison for non-payment of council tax.

Asked on: 02 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animal Welfare
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to legislate to define animal sentience.
Answered on: 16 June 2020

The Government is committed to further strengthening our world-leading animal welfare standards. We have committed to bringing in new laws on animal sentience. Any necessary changes required to domestic legislation will be made in a rigorous and comprehensive way and will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows.

Additionally, we have committed to ending excessively long journeys, and banning the keeping of primates as pets. We want to increase maximum sentences for animal cruelty, which is being taken forward as a Private Members Bill.

Asked on: 02 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Weather
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the jetstream on recent weather events; and what plans they have to conduct research into the role of the jetstream in extreme weather events.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 16 June 2020

Extended spells of dry sunny weather during spring are primarily a consequence of the large-scale circulation and buckling of the jet stream allowing for the development of persistent high-pressure systems close to the UK. In spring 2020 the jet stream shifted to the north-west of the UK and successive areas of high pressure dominated the country, leading to sunny, warm and dry conditions. Weather conditions in February 2020 were also due to a change in the jet stream. In this instance, a strengthening of the jet over the UK delivered multiple storms and record rainfall. In both cases, the conditions were predicted in some detail days ahead in Met Office short-range weather forecasts and also anticipated in its long-range outlooks.

The role of the jet stream in influencing UK weather is well understood. The next step is to understand what is driving the behaviour of the jet steam when there are extremes. There is strong evidence from research by the Met Office that global connections from the tropics were responsible for the behaviour of the jet stream during February 2020. Work is ongoing to examine what influenced the jet stream during spring 2020. Future research by the Met Office will examine current variability in the jet stream and the effect on UK weather.

Q
(Morley and Outwood)
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Blood: Donors
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure people working in blood donation centres can be tested for covid-19.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 16 June 2020

NHS Blood and Transplant staff who have symptoms of COVID-19, and their symptomatic household members, have been eligible for testing since 17 April. NHS Blood and Transplant regularly promotes the testing service to its staff. NHS Blood and Transplant staff who are absent, reporting COVID-19- like symptoms, are supported in accessing testing the Government’s online self-referral portal for essential workers, which allows them to register for a home test kit or book a drive-through test at a regional test site.

The Government is committed to ensuring that everyone who needs a test has access to one. All health and care staff have had access to a test since 17 April.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 08 June 2020
Women and Equalities
Equal Pay
Commons
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will bring forward legislative proposals to (a) extend the 2017 gender pay reporting framework to include reporting on the (i) ethnicity, (b) disability and (c) LGBT pay gap, (b) extend pay gap reporting requirements to companies with more than 100 employees, (c) mandate horizontal pay reporting and (d) require companies with pay gaps to publish an evidence-based action plan to tackle (A) pay discrimination and (B) any failure to actively recruit under-represented groups to high value roles.
A
Answered by: Kemi Badenoch
Answered on: 16 June 2020

Pay gaps are caused by a range of factors. The Government ran a consultation from October 2018 to January 2019 on Ethnicity Pay Reporting, which received over 300 responses. The Government has met with businesses and representative organisations to understand the barriers towards reporting and what information could be published to allow for meaningful action to be taken. We have also run voluntary methodology testing with a broad range of businesses to better understand the complexities outlined in the consultation using real payroll data and will share next steps in due course.

Calculation and monitoring of disability and LGBT pay gaps raises significant issues of self-reporting and data accuracy and this data is not widely collected by employers. On disability, the Government is committed to reducing the disability employment gap and seeing a million more disabled people in work between 2017 and 2027. We support disabled people to enter employment and stay in work through a range of programmes such as the Work and Health Programme, Access to Work and the Intensive Personalised Employment Support Programme. In November 2018 we also published a voluntary reporting framework on public reporting of pay and progression of disabled people. This is aimed at employers (with over 250 employees) but can also be used to support smaller employers who are keen to drive greater transparency.

On LGBT, we are clear that LGBT people should be able to be themselves in the workplace. We are committed to taking action on LGBT sexual harassment in the workplace and are currently in conversation with ACAS about their harassment guidance. We are also taking steps to improve our monitoring data, including introducing questions to the 2021 Census in this area.

Q
Asked by Alex Norris
(Nottingham North)
Asked on: 08 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Meters
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to make installation of smart meters in residential homes mandatory to help ensure targets for installation of that technology are met.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 16 June 2020

The Government has consulted on proposals for a new policy framework to continue to drive market-wide rollout of smart meters after the current duty on energy suppliers ends in December 2020.

We are carefully considering the range of responses and evidence submitted, ahead of publishing a Government response. We will see seek to do this as soon as is practicable.

Q
Asked by Alex Norris
(Nottingham North)
Asked on: 08 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Meters
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making it compulsory for new build homes to be fitted with smart meters.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 16 June 2020

The New and Replacement Obligation (NRO) in requires energy suppliers to take all reasonable steps to install a compliant smart meter where a meter is fitted for the first time including in new build properties.

The Government has consulted on proposals for a new policy framework to continue to drive market-wide rollout of smart meters after the current duty on energy suppliers ends in December 2020. This consultation sought views from stakeholders about what policy measures the Government should consider in order to complement the proposed market-wide rollout obligation.

We are carefully considering the range of responses and evidence submitted, ahead of publishing a Government response. We will see seek to do this as soon as is practicable.

Q
Asked by Alan Brown
(Kilmarnock and Loudoun)
Asked on: 08 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Renewable Energy: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of removing the capacity cap from contract for difference auctions; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 16 June 2020

Capacity caps can drive competitive auctions and deliver value for money for consumers. In the absence of a capacity cap or similar constraint, competitors in Contract for Difference auctions would have no incentive to bid below the wholesale price of electricity. A capacity cap was first deployed in the third Contract for Difference auction in 2019, which secured nearly twice the capacity of the previous auction with a 30% reduction in clearing prices. We continue to keep all aspects of the Contracts for Difference Scheme under review and will publish auction parameters in due course.

Q
(Birmingham, Edgbaston)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 11 June 2020
Department for International Development
Coronavirus: Research
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will make it her policy to apply public interest conditions to Government funding for the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility to help ensure that recipients of funding (a) use technology transfer and open licences, (b) charge at cost price and (c) publish information on (i) price calculations and (ii) research findings and approach.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 16 June 2020

Gavi and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) co-chair the COVAX partnership to accelerate the development of and access to COVID-19 vaccines. The COVAX Facility will be a set of financing mechanisms managed under the COVAX partnership to support vaccine development and access. The UK funds Gavi and CEPI to use their extensive experience and relationships with developers, industry, international organisations and governments to drive collaboration and negotiate effective agreements to accelerate development and access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The UK has provided £48 million so far to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) for COVID-19 vaccines, part of the COVAX Facility. It builds on the success of the pneumococcal vaccine AMC. Gavi will negotiate fair pricing and supply volumes with companies for future COVID-19 vaccines for eligible countries.

The UK has provided £250 million to CEPI to accelerate development of COVID-19 vaccines. CEPI’s core equitable access policy guides terms for the partnerships it enters with vaccine developers and manufacturers.

Q
(Motherwell and Wishaw)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 11 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction and Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when driving lessons and practical driving tests will resume; and whether tests cancelled as a result of covid-19 will be reimbursed in full.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 16 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.

The DVSA recommends that, currently, approved driving instructors (ADI) should only provide lessons to candidates who have an essential need.

Before practical driving tests are reintroduced, the DVSA will inform the driver training industry. This will help candidates prepare and reach the standard of driving needed to pass their test.

Candidates who have had their practical driving test suspended as a result of COVID-19 will receive an email from the DVSA telling them the date of their rescheduled test. The test will be rescheduled automatically, and free of charge. The candidate can, if they prefer, request a refund of their practical test fee.

Asked on: 08 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their advice to vulnerable people to avoid the use of public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic, when driving tests and assessments will be permitted to resume. [T]
A
Answered on: 15 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 has produced detailed standard operating procedures, which contains advice to help ensure the safety of staff and customers before, during and after the practical driving test.

Before practical driving tests are reintroduced, the DVSA will inform the driver training industry. This will help candidates prepare and reach the standard of driving needed to pass their test.

Q
Asked by Naz Shah
(Bradford West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 09 June 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Schools: Community Relations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the recommendations made in the Integrated Communities Strategy green paper published by his Department on 14 March 2018 on social mixing for children from different backgrounds, what steps he is taking to improve social mixing between pupils of different ethnicities in schools in line with those recommendations.
A
Answered by: Luke Hall
Answered on: 15 June 2020

We set out an ambitious programme of actions in our Integrated Communities Action Plan to support the education sector to drive forward integration, as part of a cross-government commitment to building strong integrated communities


We recognise the important role that young people play in this agenda and the significance of forging meaningful connections and relationships with people from different backgrounds.

As part of this, we committed to working with the National Citizen Service Trust and DCMS to support social mixing opportunities for young people in areas of high segregation. We are also continuing to work with DfE to support the National Schools Linking Programme.

Q
Asked by Mr Peter Bone
(Wellingborough)
[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 for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when driving instructors will be able to resume teaching of learner drivers following the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 15 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) recommends that, currently, approved driving instructors (ADI) should only provide lessons to candidates who have an essential need.

When providing driving lessons, all ADIs should put in place appropriate measures, in line with the latest Public Heath England and Cabinet Office guidance, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It is the responsibility of the ADI and the pupil to consider the risks to their health and to decide if the driving lesson is essential.

Using the latest Government guidance, the DVSA is working closely with the Approved Driving Instructors National Association Strategic Partnership (NASP) to develop appropriate plans and control measures that will enable the resumption of non-essential driving lessons.

The DVSA is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to driver testing. Before practical driving tests are reintroduced, the DVSA will inform the driver training industry, which will help candidates to prepare and reach the standard of driving needed to pass their test.

The DVSA will provide further updates on providing non-essential driving lessons as soon as it can.

Q
Asked by Mr Peter Bone
(Wellingborough)
[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 for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to reopen the driving test booking system.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 15 June 2020

As the health and safety of staff and customers is key, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency is currently working hard to prepare for a safe return to testing.

At present, its testing services are under review and it will announce details of resumption in due course.

Before practical driving tests are reintroduced, the DVSA will inform the driver training industry. This will help candidates prepare and reach the standard of driving needed to pass their test.

Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
[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: 10 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will publish guidance for driving instructors on when the suspension of driving tests due to the covid-19 outbreak will be lifted.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 15 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to driver testing. It will announce details of resumption in due course.

Before practical driving tests are reintroduced, the DVSA will inform the driver training industry, which will help candidates to prepare and reach the standard of driving needed to pass their test.

Q
Asked by James Wild
(North West Norfolk)
[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: 10 June 2020
Department for Transport
Bus Services: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether bus drivers are required to wear face coverings when driving during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 15 June 2020

The regulation only applies to passengers, not to workers. Operators should continue to follow the practical steps we have set out in our guidance to ensure their workplaces are COVID-19 secure. Operators should continue to make sensible workplace adjustments, for example introducing screens and providing hand sanitiser.

Q
(Birmingham, Edgbaston)
[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: 10 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prison Sentences
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) women and (b) men received a prison sentence of under six months in (i) March, (ii) April and (iii) May 2020.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 15 June 2020

The requested data is not available at this time. National Statistics on sentencing for the first and second quarter of 2020 are due for publication in August and November 2020, with detailed data, including offender characteristic, for the whole of 2020 planned for publication in May 2021.

Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Discharge Grants
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he plans to increase the discharge grant to £80 for all prison leavers as a result of the increase in the grant for prisoners granted early release under the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 12 June 2020

Where prisoners have reached the end of the custodial element of their sentence, the Discharge Grant is paid to eligible prisoners upon their release from prison. The Discharge Grant is entirely separate from the Subsistence Grant, which is payable to those who are eligible for release under the End of Custody Temporary Release (ECTR) scheme only.

The purpose of both the Discharge Grant and the Subsistence Grant is to help prison leavers on release, so that they are supported while accessing other legal sources of income such as applying for benefits.

The higher rate of the Subsistence Grant is set at £80 to reflect the more limited amount of time prisoners have had to prepare for their release under the ECTR scheme and therefore the possibility that they would not have received the full amount of time and resources they would usually have had to prepare for release.

There are currently no plans to increase the Discharge Grant, but we will continue to keep this under review.

Grouped Questions: 54057 | 54058 | 54059
Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Discharge Grants
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the £46 discharge grant in enabling prison leavers to live in the community until other legal sources of income become available to them.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 12 June 2020

Where prisoners have reached the end of the custodial element of their sentence, the Discharge Grant is paid to eligible prisoners upon their release from prison. The Discharge Grant is entirely separate from the Subsistence Grant, which is payable to those who are eligible for release under the End of Custody Temporary Release (ECTR) scheme only.

The purpose of both the Discharge Grant and the Subsistence Grant is to help prison leavers on release, so that they are supported while accessing other legal sources of income such as applying for benefits.

The higher rate of the Subsistence Grant is set at £80 to reflect the more limited amount of time prisoners have had to prepare for their release under the ECTR scheme and therefore the possibility that they would not have received the full amount of time and resources they would usually have had to prepare for release.

There are currently no plans to increase the Discharge Grant, but we will continue to keep this under review.

Grouped Questions: 54056 | 54058 | 54059
Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Discharge Grants
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, on what basis the enhanced £80 discharge grant level was calculated for people released under the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 12 June 2020

Where prisoners have reached the end of the custodial element of their sentence, the Discharge Grant is paid to eligible prisoners upon their release from prison. The Discharge Grant is entirely separate from the Subsistence Grant, which is payable to those who are eligible for release under the End of Custody Temporary Release (ECTR) scheme only.

The purpose of both the Discharge Grant and the Subsistence Grant is to help prison leavers on release, so that they are supported while accessing other legal sources of income such as applying for benefits.

The higher rate of the Subsistence Grant is set at £80 to reflect the more limited amount of time prisoners have had to prepare for their release under the ECTR scheme and therefore the possibility that they would not have received the full amount of time and resources they would usually have had to prepare for release.

There are currently no plans to increase the Discharge Grant, but we will continue to keep this under review.

Grouped Questions: 54056 | 54057 | 54059
Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Discharge Grants
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the purpose is of the discharge grant for (a) prison leavers released under the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme and (b) other prison leavers.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 12 June 2020

Where prisoners have reached the end of the custodial element of their sentence, the Discharge Grant is paid to eligible prisoners upon their release from prison. The Discharge Grant is entirely separate from the Subsistence Grant, which is payable to those who are eligible for release under the End of Custody Temporary Release (ECTR) scheme only.

The purpose of both the Discharge Grant and the Subsistence Grant is to help prison leavers on release, so that they are supported while accessing other legal sources of income such as applying for benefits.

The higher rate of the Subsistence Grant is set at £80 to reflect the more limited amount of time prisoners have had to prepare for their release under the ECTR scheme and therefore the possibility that they would not have received the full amount of time and resources they would usually have had to prepare for release.

There are currently no plans to increase the Discharge Grant, but we will continue to keep this under review.

Grouped Questions: 54056 | 54057 | 54058
Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) young adult, (b) other female and (c) other male prison leavers have been released during the covid-19 outbreak without an address to go to.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 12 June 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.

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. We have put in place an ‘Exceptional Delivery Model’ (EDM) for CRC services during the current Covid-19 crisis, and have established seven National Probation Service and CRC Homelessness Prevention Taskforce Teams. There are six in England and one in Wales.

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 appropriate funding for a time-limited period to support the provision of accommodation for all individuals released from prison at risk of homelessness. The scheme will run until 26th June at which point it will be reviewed, taking account of the situation at that time.

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.

Offenders Released from custody

Rough sleeping

Other Homeless***

Unknown accommodation circumstance

Young Adults*

1289

17

68

188

Other Males**

5933

198

642

933

Other Females**

592

26

63

88

*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.

Q
(Luton South)
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office: Buildings
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer on 15 May 2020 to Question 43779 on Civil Servants, at how many multi-hub locations employees of his Department work together with employees of another Department or agency in London managed by the Government Property Agency; what the addresses are of those locations; and what other Departments and agencies employ staff at those locations.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 12 June 2020

Supporting the Government’s objective to provide great places to work, enabling co-working through the Hub’s agenda and driving efficiencies by minimising vacant accommodation, the Government Property Agency manages a number of multi-let properties on the Whitehall Estate.

Details of multi-hub locations in London occupied by Cabinet Office, together with other Departments and agencies, are provided in the attached schedule.

GPA multi-hub locations (PDF Document, 37.97 KB)
Q
(York Central)
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Regeneration: Urban Areas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking support the redesign and regeneration of the high street after the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Mr Simon Clarke
Answered on: 12 June 2020

Government appreciates that all high streets, big or small, are a crucial part of our communities and local economies, creating jobs, nurturing small businesses and injecting billions of pounds into our economy. We want to see fruitful hubs where people live, shop, use services, and spend their leisure time, and that includes a welcoming and safe night-time economy.

Government recognises that this is a challenging time for everyone in the country and COVID-19 is having a significant impact on our high streets and town centres. That is why we have provided a £330 biilion package of support for businesses in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. This support builds on an ongoing programme of initiatives put in place to support our high streets and town centres in the long term, including:

  • An accelerated £1 billion Future High Streets Fund as part of the £3.6 billion Towns Fund to support local areas in England to renew and reshape town centres and high streets;
  • The High Streets Task Force, supporting local leaders in their work revitalising their high streets and town centres by providing proactive support to local areas to develop data-driven innovative strategies and connect local areas to relevant experts;
  • Permitted development rights to support change of use on the high street.

On 25 May, government announced a new £50 million fund, Reopening High Streets Safely Fund. Councils across England will share the additional funding to support the safe reopening of high streets and other commercial areas. The money will allow local authorities to put in place additional measures to establish a safe trading environment for businesses and customers, particularly in high streets. Expenditure for reimbursement under this grant will be eligible from 1 June 2020 and the project will run to the end of March 2021. This funding comes on top of the Government’s comprehensive package of support for business and workers during the economic emergency.

Q
(York Central)
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Local Enterprise Partnerships: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the provision of additional funding for Local Enterprise Partnerships to support the local regeneration of the economy.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 12 June 2020

Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) continue to play a crucial role in driving economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone. That is why Government has invested heavily through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to unlock economic growth and regeneration opportunities.

The March 2020 Budget confirmed up to £387 million in 2021 and2022 for local areas to continue with existing priority Local Growth Fund projects.

Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 04 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Community Rehabilitation Companies: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make an assessment of the effect of the level of investment by community rehabilitation companies in (a) remote videoconferencing, (b) equipment and training for staff home working and (c) other forms of infrastructure on (i) staff health, safety and welfare, (ii) probation client safety and welfare, (iii) public health and (iv) the efficient performance of the services those organisations are contracted to provide during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 12 June 2020

As of week commencing 23rd March, all Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) have been operating under the obligations within their Exceptional Delivery Models (EDM). As a result CRCs have adapted to an alternative way of working, albeit on a temporary basis, in order to adhere to the social distancing measures announced by the Prime Minister. All CRCs have a responsibility to ensure the health and wellbeing of their staff and service users during the pandemic.

CRCs have invested in greater use of mobile technology to maintain levels of contact with offenders in the community in a safe and efficient manner, including the use of videoconferencing facilities such as Skype and WhatsApp. Staff are working from home and limiting unnecessary travel unless in exceptional circumstances. CRCs have been instructed to prioritise their caseload and continue to carry out face to face interventions for those in their cohort deemed at highest risk where it is safe and practicable to do so. Group sentence delivery including Unpaid Work and Accredited Programmes has been temporarily suspended. This is to safeguard both staff and service users, and the wider general public, from the risk of COVID infection.

The EDMs are subject to robust assurance and compliance activities, which are carried out by the Authority on a regular basis to ensure that CRCs continue to operate to their contracted obligations and continue to deliver front line probation services to protect the public.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 04 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners: Death
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) remand and (b) convicted prisoners have died on the prison estate in each of the last five years, by ethnicity.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 12 June 2020

Please see the attached table showing the number of prisoners who have died on the prison estate, by sentence type and ethnicity, from 2015 to 2019. Our condolences are with the family and friends of the prisoners who have died.

These figures are derived from the HMPPS Deaths in Prison Custody database. As classification of deaths may change following inquest or as new information emerges, numbers may change from time to time.

We have accepted and acted upon the vast majority of recommendations from Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) investigations into deaths in custody, and regularly disseminate the PPO’s thematic reports and lessons learned bulletins.

The Ministerial Board on Deaths in Custody is taking forward a programme of work aimed at minimising deaths in custody, and better supporting families if a death does occur.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 9.86 KB)
Q
(York Central)
Asked on: 04 June 2020
Home Office
Police: Racial Discrimination
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she has taken in 2020 to investigate potential institutional racism in the police.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 12 June 2020

Racism, in any form, is abhorrent and has no place in our society.

In this country, the power of the police to fulfil their duties is wholly dependent on their ability to secure public support for their actions and behaviour and to maintain public respect. Police forces that reflect the communities they serve are crucial to tackling crime and maintaining public trust and confidence in a modern diverse society. The police have worked hard to improve equality and diversity in policing - the workforce is more diverse than ever before, but there is still much more to be done.

Police training has improved and professionalised, and we continue to work with the College of Policing to support forces in their efforts to address under-representation in the recruitment, retention and progression of officers, including those from BAME backgrounds. Our drive to recruit 20,000 officers over the next three years gives us a significant opportunity to attract a wide range of people into a career in policing and support the police to achieve this aim.

We have also ensured that there is greater transparency and accountability in many areas of policing and continue the drive for improvements. If there is a death or serious injury following contact with the police, or if there are allegations of racially aggravated misconduct, these matters must be referred to the independent police “watchdog”, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). In February of this year, the Government implemented reforms to provide the IOPC with a power to investigate serious police conduct matters on its own initiative.

However, we know that we cannot be complacent and we continue to work across policing to ensure that those we trust to protect us meet the high standards of professional conduct expected by the public.

Q
Asked by John Lamont
(Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)
Asked on: 04 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of driving tests that have not taken place as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 12 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) estimates that over 400,000 driving tests, have not been conducted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This data is based on the DVSA’s original forecast of driving test demand that covers March 2020 up to the present day.

Q
(Preston)
[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: 08 June 2020
Home Office
Police Custody: Death
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will investigate the number of BAME deaths in custody where restraint was used in the last 15 years; and what assessment she has made of the accuracy of the Report of the Independent Review of Deaths and Serious Incidents in Police Custody which notes that every prosecution over a death in custody in the past 15 years has ended in acquittal.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 12 June 2020

Every death in custody is a tragedy, and we are committed to delivering meaningful and lasting change to prevent deaths in custody.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct publish figures for deaths in or following police custody each year. Prior to 2018/19 the data includes ethnicity but does not state whether restraint was used.

In 2018/19, there were 16 deaths in custody, of whom 15 individuals were white and one was black. Six of these 16 individuals had some force used against them either by officers or members of the public before their deaths, although this use of force did not necessarily contribute to their deaths. All six people were white.

The Ministerial Board on Deaths in Custody will continue to oversee and drive progress in response to the independent review. This includes ongoing work to make police procedures more accountable following a death in custody as part of a wider package of police integrity reforms.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Treasury
Tax Avoidance
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he has taken to (a) investigate and (b) take action against companies who utilised the loan charge method of tax avoidance.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 11 June 2020

Disguised Remuneration (DR) is a type of contrived tax avoidance where loans are paid, usually via an offshore trust, in place of ordinary remuneration with the sole purpose of avoiding income tax and National Insurance contributions. The loans are provided on terms that mean they are unlikely to be repaid. They are no different to normal income and are and always have been taxable.

Since their first use, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have opened tens of thousands of enquiries into DR schemes used by both companies and individuals, warned about use of these schemes in a number of Spotlight publications, successfully litigated cases through the courts and agreed settlements to help taxpayers exit tax avoidance.

The Government introduced targeted anti-avoidance legislation in 2011 to put beyond doubt the ineffectiveness of DR schemes. The Loan Charge was announced at Budget 2016 as part of a package of measures to tackle the use of DR schemes and gave taxpayers the choice of either repaying their loan in full, agreeing settlement terms with HMRC, or paying the Loan Charge.

The Government will continue to tackle this type of tax avoidance vigorously and on 19 March 2020, HMRC published their strategy for tackling promoters of mass-marketed tax avoidance schemes. This strategy outlines HMRC and Government ambitions to drive promoters of tax avoidance out of business.

Q
(The Wrekin)
Asked on: 04 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Offences against Children: Prison Sentences
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of automatic custodial sentences for people convicted of sexual offences against children.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 11 June 2020

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 provides for a range of sexual offences, including specific sexual offences committed against children. The sentences available to the courts for offences against children are significant, and reflect the seriousness of the offending. Several of these offences, such as rape, already carry a discretionary life sentence.

Sentencing in individual cases is entirely a matter for the independent courts, taking into account the circumstances of the offence and the offender, and relevant sentencing guidelines. We currently have no plans to change the penalties available for these offences in statute.

Grouped Questions: 54877 | 54878
Q
(The Wrekin)
Asked on: 04 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Offences against Children: Prison Sentences
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the tariffs of custodial sentences for people convicted of committing sexual offences against children.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 11 June 2020

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 provides for a range of sexual offences, including specific sexual offences committed against children. The sentences available to the courts for offences against children are significant, and reflect the seriousness of the offending. Several of these offences, such as rape, already carry a discretionary life sentence.

Sentencing in individual cases is entirely a matter for the independent courts, taking into account the circumstances of the offence and the offender, and relevant sentencing guidelines. We currently have no plans to change the penalties available for these offences in statute.

Grouped Questions: 54876 | 54878
Q
(The Wrekin)
Asked on: 04 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Offences against Children: Prison Sentences
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of discretionary life sentences for people that have been convicted of the rape of minors.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 11 June 2020

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 provides for a range of sexual offences, including specific sexual offences committed against children. The sentences available to the courts for offences against children are significant, and reflect the seriousness of the offending. Several of these offences, such as rape, already carry a discretionary life sentence.

Sentencing in individual cases is entirely a matter for the independent courts, taking into account the circumstances of the offence and the offender, and relevant sentencing guidelines. We currently have no plans to change the penalties available for these offences in statute.

Grouped Questions: 54876 | 54877
Q
Asked by John Lamont
(Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)
Asked on: 04 June 2020
Scotland Office
Exports: Scotland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of recent trade missions in promoting Scottish exports.
A
Answered by: Mr Alister Jack
Answered on: 11 June 2020

In 2018- 2019, DIT organised 88 Ministerial visits to 49 export markets, to strengthen trading relationships, promote the UK as a destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and help grow demand for UK exports. A number of Ministerial Trade Dialogues were also held, including with China, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Taiwan, Turkey and Vietnam.

Additionally, the Prime Minister’s 33 Trade Envoys undertook 55 overseas visits in 2018-19 to 42 different markets, supporting the Government’s overall strategy to drive economic growth.

The benefits of DIT’s activities in this sphere reach across the whole of the UK, including for Scottish businesses. HMRC estimated that over 6,700 businesses exported their goods from Scotland in the first quarter of 2019 - more than ever before. Recent work has also resulted in breaking down trade barriers for British businesses in Japan, following successful work by DIT to lift the ban on British beef and lamb.

Q
Asked by Olivia Blake
(Sheffield, Hallam)
[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: 08 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prison Sentences
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, for what reasons people are still being held under imprisonment for public protection sentences; and when he plans to review those sentences.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 11 June 2020

Prisoners serving IPP sentences are still detained either because they have not yet served the minimum term of imprisonment or, where they have served the minimum term, because the independent Parole Board has determined that their risk remains too high for them to be safely managed in the community. Therefore in order to protect the public form the risk of serious sexual or violent harm, we have no plans to change the law in order to effect the release of IPP prisoners other than by a direction from the Parole Board.

We are committed to providing IPP prisoners with opportunities to progress to the point at which they are safe to release. Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) has in recent years implemented a number of measures to support the progression of serving IPP prisoners.

There is clear evidence that these measures are working. IPP prisoners are being released in large numbers. As of 31 March 2020, the number of unreleased IPP prisoners who have completed their minimum tariff was 1,908. This is down from 2,198 on 31 March 2019.

The End of Custody Temporary Release scheme (ECTR), for low-risk offenders near to the end of their custodial period, excludes those whose sentence is subject to initial Parole Board release, including IPP prisoners.

Public protection is paramount. IPP prisoners are eligible for early release on compassionate grounds, either temporarily (where they are highly vulnerable to Coronavirus) or permanently (where they are suffering from a terminal condition or are physically incapacitated), though every case is subject to a full risk assessment before release is approved.

HMPPS is working closely with public health authorities to ensure that our approach to limit the spread and impact of Covid-19 in the Prison Estate, protect the health of staff and prisoners, maintain safety and order, and minimise the impact of the pandemic on the NHS is based on the best scientific advice. For those who remain in custody, HMPPS has created headroom in prisons, though new temporary buildings and the early release schemes, providing space to shield and isolate vulnerable prisoners and new entrants to custody

Grouped Questions: 56202 | 56203
Q
Asked by Olivia Blake
(Sheffield, Hallam)
[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: 08 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prison Sentences
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, for what reasons he has not yet reviewed the sentences of people held under imprisonment for public protection sentences.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 11 June 2020

Prisoners serving IPP sentences are still detained either because they have not yet served the minimum term of imprisonment or, where they have served the minimum term, because the independent Parole Board has determined that their risk remains too high for them to be safely managed in the community. Therefore in order to protect the public form the risk of serious sexual or violent harm, we have no plans to change the law in order to effect the release of IPP prisoners other than by a direction from the Parole Board.

We are committed to providing IPP prisoners with opportunities to progress to the point at which they are safe to release. Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) has in recent years implemented a number of measures to support the progression of serving IPP prisoners.

There is clear evidence that these measures are working. IPP prisoners are being released in large numbers. As of 31 March 2020, the number of unreleased IPP prisoners who have completed their minimum tariff was 1,908. This is down from 2,198 on 31 March 2019.

The End of Custody Temporary Release scheme (ECTR), for low-risk offenders near to the end of their custodial period, excludes those whose sentence is subject to initial Parole Board release, including IPP prisoners.

Public protection is paramount. IPP prisoners are eligible for early release on compassionate grounds, either temporarily (where they are highly vulnerable to Coronavirus) or permanently (where they are suffering from a terminal condition or are physically incapacitated), though every case is subject to a full risk assessment before release is approved.

HMPPS is working closely with public health authorities to ensure that our approach to limit the spread and impact of Covid-19 in the Prison Estate, protect the health of staff and prisoners, maintain safety and order, and minimise the impact of the pandemic on the NHS is based on the best scientific advice. For those who remain in custody, HMPPS has created headroom in prisons, though new temporary buildings and the early release schemes, providing space to shield and isolate vulnerable prisoners and new entrants to custody

Grouped Questions: 56201 | 56203
Q
Asked by Olivia Blake
(Sheffield, Hallam)
[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: 08 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to his Department's Guidance last updated on 4 June 2020, Coronavirus (COVID-19) and prisons, what recent steps he has taken to release prisoners held indefinitely under imprisonment for public protection sentences under the Government’s policy to release risk-assessed offenders from prison as part of the national plan to protect the NHS and save lives.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 11 June 2020

Prisoners serving IPP sentences are still detained either because they have not yet served the minimum term of imprisonment or, where they have served the minimum term, because the independent Parole Board has determined that their risk remains too high for them to be safely managed in the community. Therefore in order to protect the public form the risk of serious sexual or violent harm, we have no plans to change the law in order to effect the release of IPP prisoners other than by a direction from the Parole Board.

We are committed to providing IPP prisoners with opportunities to progress to the point at which they are safe to release. Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) has in recent years implemented a number of measures to support the progression of serving IPP prisoners.

There is clear evidence that these measures are working. IPP prisoners are being released in large numbers. As of 31 March 2020, the number of unreleased IPP prisoners who have completed their minimum tariff was 1,908. This is down from 2,198 on 31 March 2019.

The End of Custody Temporary Release scheme (ECTR), for low-risk offenders near to the end of their custodial period, excludes those whose sentence is subject to initial Parole Board release, including IPP prisoners.

Public protection is paramount. IPP prisoners are eligible for early release on compassionate grounds, either temporarily (where they are highly vulnerable to Coronavirus) or permanently (where they are suffering from a terminal condition or are physically incapacitated), though every case is subject to a full risk assessment before release is approved.

HMPPS is working closely with public health authorities to ensure that our approach to limit the spread and impact of Covid-19 in the Prison Estate, protect the health of staff and prisoners, maintain safety and order, and minimise the impact of the pandemic on the NHS is based on the best scientific advice. For those who remain in custody, HMPPS has created headroom in prisons, though new temporary buildings and the early release schemes, providing space to shield and isolate vulnerable prisoners and new entrants to custody

Grouped Questions: 56201 | 56202
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: 08 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when practical driving tests will be allowed to resume as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 11 June 2020

As the health and safety of staff and customers is key, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has produced detailed standard operating procedures and 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.

Before practical driving tests are reintroduced, the DVSA will inform the driver training industry. This will help candidates prepare and reach the standard of driving needed to pass their test.

Q
(Tottenham)
Asked on: 05 February 2020
Home Office
Serious Violence Taskforce
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the serious violence taskforce last met.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 10 June 2020

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

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

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

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

Grouped Questions: 12830
Q
(Tottenham)
Asked on: 05 February 2020
Home Office
Serious Violence Taskforce
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the serious violence taskforce is next planned to meet.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 10 June 2020

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

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

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

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

Grouped Questions: 12829
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: 06 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Care Homes: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will inform care homes (a) when and (b) where their local mobile covid-19 testing unit is established; and what steps he is taking to ensure that eligible staff who do not have access to a car are prioritised for testing.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 10 June 2020
Holding answer received on 12 May 2020

Tens of thousands of care home workers and residents have already been tested, either by Public Health England, or at drive-through testing sites, mobile testing units and via satellite testing kits - packages of tests sent to care homes for staff to use on residents. Additional testing is being prioritised for staff and residents at care homes in England that look after over 65s. Care workers who are self-isolating can also continue to use the website to book a home test.

Q
(North Ayrshire and Arran)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 19 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Computer Software
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that NHS (a) apps and (b) other digital NHS platforms being used throughout the UK provide people with covid-19 information and advice that is relevant to the rate at which the lockdown is being eased in (i) England and (ii) the rest of the UK.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 10 June 2020
Holding answer received on 02 June 2020

The National Health Service app and NHS website are being updated with relevant COVID-19 information throughout this pandemic, drawing on central guidance from the Cabinet Office, which has a cross-Government Guidance Coordination Team to ensure the most up-to-date and relevant information is made available, representing the latest scientific advice. All health and care content is driven through that process to our national products / platforms. In addition, the NHS website team continuously reviews content, both new and existing to reflect any changes in guidance or where required, to reflect ways the public can access health and care services during this crisis and take steps to limit the spread of infection.

The NHSX COVID-19 contact tracing app will assist with a well-established technique of contact tracing and works alongside the wider Test and Trace programme, which will help ease the lockdown in England and the rest of the United Kingdom. The NHS COVID-19 app provides proximity data for contact tracing - with the goal of slowing the spread of the virus by alerting people who may have been exposed to infection so they can take action to protect themselves, the people they care about and the NHS. We believe this could be important in helping the country return to normality, as we start to look to easing lockdown measures.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Department for Transport
Large Goods Vehicle Drivers: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure the provision of medical examinations to maintain an adequate level of certified Heavy Goods Vehicle drivers.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 10 June 2020

The Government has temporarily waived the requirement for bus and lorry drivers to provide a medical report when renewing their licences. This change was announced on 17 April 2020 for those applying to renew licences that expire on or after 1 January 2020.

It remains a legal requirement for drivers to notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency of the onset or worsening of a medical condition that may impact their driving.

Q
Asked by Julian Sturdy
(York Outer)
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to support drivers that are required to renew their driving licence during the covid-19 lockdown but who are unable to apply online and have been advised not to apply by post.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 10 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency announced on 4 June 2020 that drivers with a photocard driving licence due to expire between 1 February and 31 August 2020 will be granted a seven-month extension to their licence.

For those drivers who need to renew their entitlement to drive, the quickest and easiest way to do so is to use DVLA’s online service. Drivers who are unable to use the online service should submit a paper application in the normal way. However, paper applications will take longer to process in the current circumstances.

Q
Asked by Paul Maynard
(Blackpool North and Cleveleys)
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Department for Transport
Aviation: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to Answer of 26 May 2020 to Question 47233, on Aviation: Coronavirus, what steps he is taking with (a) international partners, (b) ICAO and (c) IATA to establish a shared agenda on public health.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 10 June 2020

The UK has been working with a range of international partners to drive forward a shared agenda on public health and aviation through regular meetings and correspondence.

The UK is a member of the governing Council of ICAO and has played a leading role in the ICAO Civil Aviation Recovery Taskforce (CART), which was set up specifically to address the aviation industry’s recovery from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CART brought together states and industry, including IATA, to develop guidance for the restart. This guidance, including on public health measures for aviation, was published by ICAO on 2 June.

Q
Asked by Dr Luke Evans
(Bosworth)
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to ensure that (a) driving theory tests and (b) driving practical tests are able to recommence for prospective drivers.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 10 June 2020

As the health and safety of staff and customers is key, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has produced detailed standard operating procedures and is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to testing.

At present, the DVSA’s testing services are under review and it will announce details of resumption in due course.

Q
Asked by Tracy Brabin
(Batley and Spen)
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Cultural Renewal Taskforce and Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the remit, terms of reference and objectives of the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and the Commissioner for Cultural Recovery.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 10 June 2020

The Cultural Renewal Taskforce has been established to support the renewal of DCMS sectors and to help develop new COVID-19 secure guidelines for the reopening of public places and businesses in these sectors, where and when it is safe to do so. The focus of the Taskforce’s work is on:

  • ensuring that COVID-19 secure guidelines are developed in line with the phasing ambitions and public health directions, building on the existing (work settings) guidance and providing intelligence and sector-specific expert input;

  • developing creative solutions, including digital solutions, to drive the return of sectors whilst maintaining consistency with the medical advice;

  • agreeing and ensuring alignment of all relevant sectoral guidance; and

  • providing key sector stakeholders direct access to ministers.

The role of Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal has been established to provide the Government with an expert and independent voice on the cultural sectors, and to advise on how culture and heritage in the United Kingdom can begin the road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further information about the Taskforce, including its purpose can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/culture-secretary-announces-cultural-renewal-taskforce.

Q
Asked by Sajid Javid
(Bromsgrove)
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Shops and Markets: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department has taken to encourage communities to support local businesses as shops and outdoor markets begin to re-open as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.
A
Answered by: Mr Simon Clarke
Answered on: 10 June 2020

This Government is fully committed to supporting the businesses and communities that make our high streets and retail markets successful as the nation responds to the impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak. Now more than ever, it is vital that we continue to help our local economies by supporting town centres and markets to recover, adapt and evolve.

On 25 May government announced a new £50 million fund, Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, to support councils across England to aid the safe reopening of high streets and other commercial areas.

This makes use of recent EU flexibilities to respond quickly and flexibly to the impacts of Covid-19 to help local businesses to reopen safely and ensures existing jobs are safeguarded and High Street business closures, in particular on the High Street, are minimised.

Helping towns and cities develop safe trading environments, particularly in high streets, will be key to kick starting the economy, getting people back to work, businesses trading and helping to reinvigorate communities.

The Fund provides support to local businesses on high streets across England helping them to put in place a number of extra social distancing measures that will allow them to reopen safely and confidently.

Government has also established the High Streets Task Force who will now more than ever play a vital role in supporting the recovery of our local economies. The Task Force will support local leaders in their work revitalising their high streets and town centres by providing proactive support to local areas to develop data-driven innovative strategies and connect local areas to relevant experts.

Government appreciates how much people cherish their high streets and retail markets, they are the centres of their community and we will continue to work with them and key stakeholders to monitor the impacts of the current situation and ensure that reopening of local economies can be managed successfully and safely.

Q
(Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Egypt: Human Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the human rights situation in Egypt; and what representations he has made to his Egyptian counterpart on human rights (a) issues and (b) cases.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 10 June 2020

Egypt is a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights Priority Country and the UK continues to urge the Egyptian Government to ensure the full implementation of the rights and freedoms set out in Egypt's constitution. We have concerns about mass detentions and sentencing, prison conditions, access to justice, and restrictions on freedom of expression and the media. We regularly raise these and other issues with the Egyptian Government, both in public and in private, and including at Ministerial level.

During Egypt's Universal Periodic Review in the United Nations Human Rights Council in November 2019, we called upon the Egyptian Government to ensure access to medical care and family visits in prisons, and to release all those detained for exercising the right to freedom of expression. We also raised the issue of extended pre-trial detention in our questions ahead of the Universal Periodic Review. On prison conditions, the Egyptian Government has undertaken to follow up our Universal Periodic Review recommendation.

In addition to these issues, we regularly raise specific cases with the Egyptian authorities, including that of Mohamed el-Baqer, on 17 February. The Foreign Secretary also raised human rights issues with his Egyptian counterpart at this year's UK-Africa Investment Summit.

Grouped Questions: 54123 | 54928
Q
(Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Egypt: Human Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his counterpart in Egypt on the ongoing detention of (a) Mahienour El-Massry, (b) Mohamed El-Baqer, (c) Mohsen Bahnasi, (d) Haitham Mohamedeen and (e) other human rights lawyers in that country.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 10 June 2020

Egypt is a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights Priority Country and the UK continues to urge the Egyptian Government to ensure the full implementation of the rights and freedoms set out in Egypt's constitution. We have concerns about mass detentions and sentencing, prison conditions, access to justice, and restrictions on freedom of expression and the media. We regularly raise these and other issues with the Egyptian Government, both in public and in private, and including at Ministerial level.

During Egypt's Universal Periodic Review in the United Nations Human Rights Council in November 2019, we called upon the Egyptian Government to ensure access to medical care and family visits in prisons, and to release all those detained for exercising the right to freedom of expression. We also raised the issue of extended pre-trial detention in our questions ahead of the Universal Periodic Review. On prison conditions, the Egyptian Government has undertaken to follow up our Universal Periodic Review recommendation.

In addition to these issues, we regularly raise specific cases with the Egyptian authorities, including that of Mohamed el-Baqer, on 17 February. The Foreign Secretary also raised human rights issues with his Egyptian counterpart at this year's UK-Africa Investment Summit.

Grouped Questions: 54122 | 54928
Q
(Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
Asked on: 04 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Egypt: Detainees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) adequacy of conditions in detention facilities and (b) appropriateness of the use of extended pre-trial detention periods in Egypt.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 10 June 2020

Egypt is a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights Priority Country and the UK continues to urge the Egyptian Government to ensure the full implementation of the rights and freedoms set out in Egypt's constitution. We have concerns about mass detentions and sentencing, prison conditions, access to justice, and restrictions on freedom of expression and the media. We regularly raise these and other issues with the Egyptian Government, both in public and in private, and including at Ministerial level.

During Egypt's Universal Periodic Review in the United Nations Human Rights Council in November 2019, we called upon the Egyptian Government to ensure access to medical care and family visits in prisons, and to release all those detained for exercising the right to freedom of expression. We also raised the issue of extended pre-trial detention in our questions ahead of the Universal Periodic Review. On prison conditions, the Egyptian Government has undertaken to follow up our Universal Periodic Review recommendation.

In addition to these issues, we regularly raise specific cases with the Egyptian authorities, including that of Mohamed el-Baqer, on 17 February. The Foreign Secretary also raised human rights issues with his Egyptian counterpart at this year's UK-Africa Investment Summit.

Grouped Questions: 54122 | 54123
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 05 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Beverage Containers: Recycling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on what date he plans to publish a further consultation on the design of the deposit return scheme.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 10 June 2020

The Government committed in its manifesto to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers and extended producer responsibility for wider packaging to drive greater levels of recycling and incentivise better design. We are seeking powers to do so in the Environment Bill. Since consulting on its introduction in 2019, the Government has been developing proposals for a DRS and extender producer responsibility using further evidence and ongoing engagement with stakeholders. The scope of both schemes are being further developed and will be presented in second consultations. The Government is reviewing its implementation timeline for the proposed introductions of DRS and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which will be announced in due course.

Grouped Questions: 55112
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 05 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Beverage Containers: Recycling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on what date he plans to introduce (a) a deposit return scheme and (b) extended producer responsibility.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 10 June 2020

The Government committed in its manifesto to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers and extended producer responsibility for wider packaging to drive greater levels of recycling and incentivise better design. We are seeking powers to do so in the Environment Bill. Since consulting on its introduction in 2019, the Government has been developing proposals for a DRS and extender producer responsibility using further evidence and ongoing engagement with stakeholders. The scope of both schemes are being further developed and will be presented in second consultations. The Government is reviewing its implementation timeline for the proposed introductions of DRS and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which will be announced in due course.

Grouped Questions: 55111
Q
Asked by Tim Loughton
(East Worthing and Shoreham)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 05 June 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Road Traffic Offences: Fines
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress he has made on enabling local authorities to issue fines for (a) inconsiderate driving and (b) pavement parking.
A
Answered by: Mr Simon Clarke
Answered on: 10 June 2020

These are important issues about which the Hon Member should contact the Department for Transport for further information.

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: 05 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Crimes against the Person: Emergency Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average custodial sentence was for people convicted of assaulting an emergency worker in the most recent period for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 10 June 2020

The Ministry of Justice has published information on the sentencing outcomes of court proceedings up to December 2019. The average custodial sentence length (ACSL) and the number of 12 month custodial sentences given for assaults on emergency workers can be found by using the Outcomes by offence data tool, available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888664/outcomes-by-offence-tool-2019.xlsx

In the pivot table, filter the Offence field to ‘8.22 Assault of an emergency worker’. The ACSL for this offence is in row 54 and the custodial sentence length of 12 months is in row 62.

The figures given in the pivot table relate to defendants for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

Assaulting a police officer is wholly unacceptable and we need to make sure that the criminal law can reflect the seriousness with which we take these crimes.

Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for our independent Courts. The maximum penalty for an offence is set by Parliament and is designed to cover the most serious imaginable behaviours that may fall under that offence.

However, we continue to keep maximum penalties under review to ensure they reflect the seriousness of the offending behaviour. In 2018 we strengthened the law with the Assaults on Emergency Workers Act and doubled the maximum penalty for common assault to 12 months where it is committed against an emergency worker. The Government has committed to consult on increasing the maximum penalty from 12 months to 2 years for assaulting emergency workers.

Grouped Questions: 55676
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: 05 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Crimes against the Person: Emergency Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many maximum 12-month custodial sentences have been given since the sentence for assaulting an emergency worker was doubled.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 10 June 2020

The Ministry of Justice has published information on the sentencing outcomes of court proceedings up to December 2019. The average custodial sentence length (ACSL) and the number of 12 month custodial sentences given for assaults on emergency workers can be found by using the Outcomes by offence data tool, available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888664/outcomes-by-offence-tool-2019.xlsx

In the pivot table, filter the Offence field to ‘8.22 Assault of an emergency worker’. The ACSL for this offence is in row 54 and the custodial sentence length of 12 months is in row 62.

The figures given in the pivot table relate to defendants for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

Assaulting a police officer is wholly unacceptable and we need to make sure that the criminal law can reflect the seriousness with which we take these crimes.

Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for our independent Courts. The maximum penalty for an offence is set by Parliament and is designed to cover the most serious imaginable behaviours that may fall under that offence.

However, we continue to keep maximum penalties under review to ensure they reflect the seriousness of the offending behaviour. In 2018 we strengthened the law with the Assaults on Emergency Workers Act and doubled the maximum penalty for common assault to 12 months where it is committed against an emergency worker. The Government has committed to consult on increasing the maximum penalty from 12 months to 2 years for assaulting emergency workers.

Grouped Questions: 55675
Q
(Luton South)
Asked on: 22 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Protective Clothing: Manufacturing Industries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many businesses based in Luton South have (a) made offers to his Department to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment and (b) received orders from his Department to manufacture that equipment.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 09 June 2020

The Department does not hold the information in the format requested, identifiable to a specific location.

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

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

The volumes will increase in the coming weeks.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 01 June 2020
Department for Transport
Large Goods Vehicle Drivers: Qualifications
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what changes he is making to the requirement for heavy goods vehicle drivers to be periodically tested for a Certificate of Professional Competence while test centres are closed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 09 June 2020

Most professional lorry and bus drivers must complete 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years to maintain their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification. This is evidenced by a Driver CPC card (sometimes called a ‘driver qualification card’ or ‘DQC’).

Periodic training is available remotely from commercial providers, via online video platforms. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency encourages drivers to continue to undertake training wherever possible, but not as an activity that needs extra travel and only in compliance with general government advice.

The validity of DQCs with expiry dates from 1 February 2020 to 31 August 2020 have been extended by 7 months.

Drivers will not be issued with a new card to reflect the new expiry date, and must continue to carry their DQC.

Drivers who have a DQC that has an expiry date from 1 September 2020 must not drive until it is renewed.

Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
Asked on: 01 June 2020
Department for Education
National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress has been made towards creating new employer-led further education institutions throughout the UK similar to the National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure.
A
Answered by: Gillian Keegan
Answered on: 09 June 2020

Institutes of Technology (IoTs) are employer-led further education institutions focussing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills. IoTs are a different model to National Colleges as they are a collaboration bringing together existing further education providers with higher education institutions and employers, to lead delivery of higher-level technical STEM skills to drive future economic growth operating across England at a sub-regional scale.

Eight IoTs are already operational with a further 4 approved: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/institutes-of-technology--2. A second competition for additional IoTs is to be launched later this year. Details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/institutes-of-technology-wave-2-competition-prospectus.

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