Written questions and answers

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

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

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

Show
by:
Find by:
Close

UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
Showing 401-500 out of 1142
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
Q
(Upper Bann)
Asked on: 06 May 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Beef: Prices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department plans to take to address falling beef prices for UK producers; and what steps he is taking to promote UK beef to international markets during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 15 May 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q
Asked on: 29 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dairy Farming: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what comparative analysis they have undertaken of the number of dairy farmers affected by COVID-19 provided (1) in the letter sent to Peers by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 22 April, and (2) in the briefing by the National Farmers Union provided to MPs on 15 April; whether they found any significant variation between those figures; and if so, what steps they intend to take in response.
A
Answered on: 14 May 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(1) Victim services

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

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

(2) Litigants in person

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

(3) Defendants

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

Q
(Torfaen)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q
(Eastbourne)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Named Day

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

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

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

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

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

Q
Asked by Scott Mann
(North Cornwall)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 12 May 2020
Department for International Trade
Trade: Coronavirus
Commons
What steps her Department is taking to help ensure the recovery of international trade after the covid-19 pandemic.
A
Answered by: Mr Ranil Jayawardena
Answered on: 12 May 2020

Restoring an open trading system is vital for global recovery post-COVID. We will continue to champion free and fair trade, and we will support business recovery by opening up markets through free trade agreements, our new Export Strategy, and driving investment across all parts of the United Kingdom. Our ambitious free trade agreement with the US aims to reduce tariffs for key exports such as dairy. As Cornwall and the South West account for two-thirds of all our dairy exports to the US, this will be particularly important for local businesses in my Hon. Friend’s constituency and the surrounding areas, such as Davidstow creamery.

Q
(Swansea West)
Asked on: 20 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Ventilators
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what procedures his Department is using with (a) skilled academics and (b) engineers to select innovative ventilator designs during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 11 May 2020

The ventilator challenge work is being undertaken and managed by the Cabinet Office.

The Prime Minister’s call to manufacturers on 16 March had an overwhelming response, with over 5,000 United Kingdom and international businesses offering to help provide services, including designing and building new devices, manufacturing components or transporting them to National Health Service hospitals.

Following this, the Government has partnered a number of the UK’s leading technology and engineering firms with smaller manufacturers to rapidly build existing, modified or newly designed ventilators at speed, with seven priority projects underway.

Officials are currently working with expert clinicians and health regulators to test all new machine designs, as patient safety is of paramount importance. Any new orders are all dependent on machines passing regulatory tests, but the Government, manufacturers and regulators are working at pace to drive this work forward.

Q
Asked by Martyn Day
(Linlithgow and East Falkirk)
Asked on: 28 April 2020
Department for Transport
Driving under Influence: Training
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with representatives of the Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training on ensuring that people are able to undertake drink drive rehabilitation training during the covid-19 lockdown.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 11 May 2020

In line with the Government’s guidance on social distancing, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has advised drink drive rehabilitation (DDR) course providers not to start any new classroom-based rehabilitation courses, until further notice. Offenders who have already taken the first, or first and second day of a three-day DDR course, can complete their course remotely on a suitable digital platform. The DVSA has been in discussions with representatives of the Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training on this matter.

Q
(Cardiff South and Penarth)
Asked on: 29 April 2020
Home Office
Immigration Controls: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she registered a written or other objection to the decision by Public Health England to rescind the advice entitled COVID-19: specified countries and areas with implications for returning travellers or visitors arriving in the UK in the last 14 days, available on gov.uk until 13 March 2020.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 11 May 2020

Our approach to tackling coronavirus has been driven by the latest scientific and medical advice provided by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and Public Health England.

All decisions relating to international travel to the UK or on arrival at ports/airports have been made by Ministers across Government.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 29 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to ensure the maintenance of labour (a) supply and (b) standards in the farming industry during covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 11 May 2020

(Part A)

The ongoing impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak have meant that there will be a shortfall in the numbers of workers who usually travel to the UK from Europe to work during the harvest season, with the demand for workers peaking from late May through the summer.

Farming leaders have already kick-started a recruitment drive for work on farms, with thousands of British people already expressing an interest in picking up seasonal agricultural work over the coming weeks and months. With many British workers furloughed from their jobs, and students having to put their summer plans on hold, the Government is supporting industry efforts to help farmers bring in this year’s harvest, working to build on these numbers.

The majority of roles for the early part of the harvest season have already been filled. We are closely monitoring the situation and we will shortly be launching a public- facing campaign to highlight the roles available from late May onwards and to encourage people to apply. The Government has confirmed that those who have been furloughed from their jobs due to coronavirus, and who are contractually allowed to work for another employer, can take on this seasonal work.

A new government-industry digital hub for seasonal work information and job opportunities has been launched to provide guidance on getting into farm work and links to the available jobs and recruiters. The website can be found at pickforbritain.org.uk and will be updated regularly over the coming weeks to help match jobs to workers as the demand grows.

(Part B)

The UK is proud of its world-leading standards of food safety, environmental protection and animal health and welfare. We will not compromise our standards nor put the UK’s biosecurity at risk whatever the circumstances.

Q
(Lichfield)
Asked on: 01 May 2020
Department for Transport
Driving: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when driving licenses depicting the flag of the European Union will cease to be issued.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 11 May 2020

The UK left the European Union (EU) on 31 January and is now in a transition period until 31 December 2020, during which time existing arrangements remain unchanged. This means that UK driving licences will continue to include the EU flag for the duration of the transition period.

Q
Asked by Ruth Jones
(Newport West)
Asked on: 01 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prison Sentences
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of sentences of less than six months in reducing reoffending rates.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 11 May 2020

We are clear that sentencing must match the severity of a crime, and public protection is our priority.

The latest proven reoffending rate for adult offenders released from sentences of six months or less in the quarter January to March 2018 was almost two thirds (64.8%).

If we are to break the cycle of reoffending, solutions will often lie in community sentences, including those which address offenders’ behaviour, answer their mental health and alcohol or drug misuse needs, or provide reparation for the benefit of the wider community. However, sentencers should continue to have the option of imposing a short custodial sentence, where appropriate.

In the Queen’s speech in December, the Government announced plans to introduce new sentencing laws. Ahead of any legislation, we intend to canvass proposals in a White Paper. This will contain proposals for community penalties that offer an appropriate level of punishment, while tackling the underlying drivers of re-offending.

Q
(North Durham)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 04 May 2020
Ministry of Defence
Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what savings measures his Department has undertaken to reduce the complete costs of the UK's F-35b fleet from £9.134 billion to £8.538 billion.
A
Answered by: Jeremy Quin
Answered on: 11 May 2020

The reduction in cost has resulted from measures taken throughout the programme to reduce aircraft procurement and flying costs. The UK continues to work closely with our partner nations, as part of the US-led F-35 global programme, to identify efficiencies and drive down programme costs.

Q
Asked by Afzal Khan
(Manchester, Gorton)
[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: 04 May 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Buildings: Carbon Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that carbon inefficient buildings are retrofitted.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 11 May 2020

Government has a number of policies and proposals to improve the energy performance of buildings, for example:

  • Our current Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme and its successor will drive £6bn of additional investment to support energy improvements in low-income, vulnerable and fuel poor households between 2018 and 2028.

  • The Private Rented Sector Minimum standard regulations introduced on 1 April 2018 will improve the energy performance of rented properties. The regulations require landlords of domestic and non-domestic rental properties to bring their properties to EPC Band E or above. We recently consulted on raising the minimum energy standards for non-domestic privately rented properties to meet a preferred target of EPC B by 2030, and plan to publish the Government Response later this year. We will consult on tightening the minimum energy standards for domestic privately rented properties in due course.

  • We have committed to further consultations on introducing mandatory in-use energy performance ratings for non-domestic buildings; and on requirements for mortgage lenders to help households improve the energy efficiency of the homes they lend to.

  • Public sector organisations can access the funding for decarbonisation projects, including certain retrofits through the Public Sector Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme. The capital pot for England stands at £312m as of the end of 2019/20 and is planned to increase to a total of £385 million by 2020/21.
Q
Asked by Chris Elmore
(Ogmore)
Asked on: 04 May 2020
Home Office
Immigration Controls: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of precautionary plans in place at UK borders for people travelling into the UK during the covid-19 pandemic.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 11 May 2020

Our approach to tackling coronavirus has been driven by the latest scientific and medical advice provided by SAGE and Public Health England. In line with that advice, to date, no changes have been required at the UK border.

Any decision to implement additional restrictions on international travel to the UK or on arrival at ports/airports will be made by Ministers.

We are continuously reviewing the most appropriate response at the UK border to the changing situation in relation to CV-19, both in the UK and across the international community.

Q
Asked by Daisy Cooper
(St Albans)
Asked on: 20 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons the drive through testing facility for NHS workers who are based in Hertfordshire is located at Stansted Airport.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 07 May 2020

The broad geographical locations for all sites were selected with the aim of ensuring that as many people as possible live within 45 minutes of a centre by road. The Government aims to be responsive to local need and, where possible, consult with local stakeholders and partners before making decisions.

In determining the specific site where a centre is located, the Government typically works with a number of potential site owners to identify and narrow down sites. The primary concern when considering a site is safety. A number of factors influence that decision – including the size and layout of the site, the period for which it is available, and nearby road links.

Q
Asked by Lord German
Asked on: 23 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
Sentencing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people were sentenced to a prison term of six months or less in each month of 2020 to date.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 07 May 2020

The requested data is not available at this time. Data on custodial sentences up to December 2018 has been published. Data for the years ending December 2019 and December 2020 is due to be published in May 2020 and May 2021 respectively.

Q
Asked by Lord Lucas
Asked on: 29 April 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Contact Tracing: Data Protection
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, to help protect the privacy of the public in using the proposed COVID-19 tracking app, they plan to bring into force immediately sections 77 and 78 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, which would allow a maximum custodial sentence of two years for those convicted of unlawfully obtaining and selling personal data.
A
Answered by: Baroness Barran
Answered on: 07 May 2020

Existing law and NHS standards set out a framework of protective measures to ensure the app is legally compliant and meets the standards expected to keep data secure and confidential. This includes GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018, and the Common Law Duty of Confidentiality in cases where data is provided that might identify an individual.

The data protection legislation provides the Information Commissioner with a range of enforcement powers to ensure organisations comply. As well as significant financial penalties for non-compliance, the 2018 Act includes a range of criminal offences for the very worst breaches of the legislation. This includes the offences of unlawfully obtaining data and re-identifying personal data that has been pseudonymised without lawful excuse. We are satisfied this provides a comprehensive framework and have no plans to increase the maximum penalties of any offences under the Act.

Sections 77 and 78 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 related to the historic offence of unlawfully obtaining personal data under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998. That offence and the relevant provisions in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act were repealed by the Data Protection Act 2018.

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

Named Day

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

Asked on: 01 May 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Saudi Arabia: Capital Punishment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his Saudi Arabian counterpart on the (a) application of the Royal Decree announced 26 April 2020 to (i) Ali al Nimr, (ii) Dawood al Marhoon, (iii) Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher and (iv) all other child defendants facing the death penalty and (b) subsequent commutation of their death sentences.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 07 May 2020
Holding answer received on 06 May 2020

We welcome the decision by Saudi Arabia to end the use of the death penalty as a discretionary punishment for minors, including those under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged crime.

We remain concerned about the cases of Ali al Nimr, Dawood al Marhoon and Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher, and continue to follow them closely.

The Saudi authorities understand our position that we oppose the death penalty in all circumstances and especially in cases that involve child defendants. This position is in line with the minimum standards set out in the 2008 EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty; the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and, the Arab Charter on Human Rights.

The former Minister for the Middle East and North Africa raised our concerns about the death penalty with Deputy Justice Minister HE Abdullah Al Sulaimi on 11 February. The Foreign Secretary also raised our human rights concerns with Saudi Arabia during his visit in March this year.

We will continue to raise our concerns with the Government of Saudi Arabia to promote the protection of all child defendants against the death penalty regardless of the crime committed. We will encourage the authorities to review death penalty judgements for all minors, or individuals who were minors when the crime was committed.

Q
Asked by Nick Smith
(Blaenau Gwent)
Asked on: 01 May 2020
Wales Office
Economic Situation: Wales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, whether his plans for economic recovery in Wales after the covid-19 outbreak include the commencement of the consultation on the Shared Prosperity Fund.
A
Answered by: Simon Hart
Answered on: 07 May 2020

The Government is committed to tackling inequality and ensuring jobs and growth in all four nations of the UK. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will play a key role in delivering on those aims and in driving economic growth in Wales following the Covid-19 outbreak.

Government officials have held 25 engagement events across the UK, attended by over 500 representatives from a breadth of sectors, which has helped inform progress on policy design. The Government looks forward to continuing to work closely with partners as we develop the Fund.

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: 01 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Wales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2020 to Question 38475, on Prison Accommodation: Wales, when his Department plans to finalise the number of prisoners that will be temporarily released from Welsh prisons during the covid-19 outbreak; and how many prisoners have been released since the start of that outbreak.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 07 May 2020

On 4 April, the Government announced its intention to temporarily release risk-assessed prisoners within two months of the end of their sentence as part of the national plan to protect the NHS and save lives. Up to 4,000 offenders will be released on the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme (ECTR) on an ongoing basis during the COVID-19 outbreak, with cases reviewed weekly.

As of 1 May 2020, there have been 51[1] prisoners released under the emergency release schemes. Thirty of these were released under the ECTR scheme, while 21 offenders were released under a separate scheme for pregnant women or mothers with babies.

All prisoners released must pass stringent criteria and will be subject to strict conditions and will be electronically monitored, including with GPS tags, to assure compliance with the requirement to stay at home. Offenders released on End of Custody Temporary Release (ECTR) can be immediately recalled to prison for breaching their conditions or committing further offences.

[1] Fewer than five prisoners have been released in Wales. We do not report figures fewer than five due to data protection rules.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 23 April 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the statement by non-governmental organisations which calls for the release of political prisoners and raises concerns about the impact of prison conditions in Bahrain on the spread of COVID-19, published on 6 April, what representations, if any, they have made to the government of Bahrain about ensuring (1) the release of political prisoners vulnerable to COVID-19, and (2) the provision of adequate protective materials to prisoners; and what response they received to any such representations.
A
Answered on: 06 May 2020

We have spoken to the Government of Bahrain about COVID-19 prevention measures for prisoners and staff. They have assured us that these measures are consistent with World Health Organisation standards. 1,506 prisoners have been released or given non-custodial sentences since 12 March.

Q
Asked by Owen Thompson
(Midlothian)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 29 April 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that new businesses that are not yet profitable do not have their applications to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme rejected as a result of losses in their initial years of operation.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 06 May 2020

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is for businesses with turnover of up to £45m. For start-ups, or SMEs which have traded for less than 12 months, the lender should estimate turnover based upon the SME’s forecasted turnover for the first 12 months of trading. Turnover need not be generated with the intention of making a profit – charities and non-profit entities are potentially eligible for support.

Government has removed the forward-looking viability test that required an assessment of whether the business can trade out of the crisis. The only test that remains is whether a business was viable before Covid-19.

On Monday 20 April we announced a new £1.25 billion support package to protect start-ups and businesses driving research and development, which are one of our great economic strengths and will help power our growth out of the coronavirus crisis.

This package includes a £500 million investment fund for high-growth companies impacted by the crisis, made up of funding from government and the private sector, and £750 million of grants and loans for SMEs focusing on research and development.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 01 May 2020
Department for Transport
Buses: Exhaust Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Prime Minister's oral statement of 11 February 2020, Official Report, column 71, what proportion of the £5 billion announced to support bus services will be used to replace diesel with zero emission vehicles.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 06 May 2020

The Prime Minster announced £5 billion of new funding to boost bus and cycling links on 11 February, including at least 4,000 new zero emission buses to make greener travel the convenient option, driving forward the UK’s progress on its net zero ambitions. The details of the programmes, including how funding will be distributed, will be announced in due course.

Q
(Newcastle upon Tyne North)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 01 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Courts: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many victims of crime have been affected by delays in court proceedings during the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps have been taken to communicate with them.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 06 May 2020

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

We are continuously reviewing our approach in light of Public Health England advice and to understand impacts on our users. We do not collect information centrally on numbers of victims affected by delays in court proceedings during the outbreak. However, we are committed to ensuring victims continue to receive the support they need during this challenging time, and have robust and flexible plans in place to ensure that we can continue to deliver key services across the justice system, including the support of victims. We have been working across government and with justice partner agencies to ensure that there will be comprehensive support for victims and witnesses across England and Wales.

During the outbreak, magistrates’ courts have been covering urgent work and trials are now re-starting. Crown Courts have also been continuing to deal with a range of work, including sentencing hearings. The Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor are currently in close discussion regarding the safe re-start of limited Jury trials, which we hope can be resumed before the end of May. The decision to re-start jury trials is dependent on the system as a whole being ready. This will include HMCTS, the professions, those supporting victims and witnesses, and jurors who should have confidence that trials are able to operate effectively within social distancing guidelines.

Q
Asked by Greg Clark
(Tunbridge Wells)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 01 May 2020
Department for Transport
Motorcycles: Driving Instruction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to extend the expiry date of motorcycle and moped compulsory basic training certificates due to expire during the lockdown period due to covid-19 to enable key workers and others for whom a motorcycle is their only transport option to continue to make essential journeys.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 06 May 2020

The Department for Transport is aware that the compulsory basic training certificate (CBT) for some people has already expired or is due to expire shortly and we are currently considering options on this matter. In the meantime, DVSA are prioritising motorcycle tests and CBT applications for workers whose jobs are critical to the coronavirus response as set out in government guidelines.

Q
(Rother Valley)
Asked on: 21 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
Crimes of Violence: Retail Trade
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to (a) protect shop workers from violent attacks and (b) ensure that offenders are prosecuted.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 05 May 2020

Everyone has the right to feel safe at work and assaults on shop workers are unacceptable.

In April 2019, the Home Office launched a call for evidence on violence and abuse toward shop staff to help gather evidence to strengthen their understanding of the scale and extent of such abuse against retail workers. The Government’s response to that call for evidence is anticipated to be published shortly.

There are already a range of offences that cover assaults against any worker including those in the retail sector. It is for our independent courts to determine the sentence in each individual case based on the full circumstances of the offence and offender, and in line with relevant sentencing guidelines – which are issued by the independent Sentencing Council. The most serious violent offences against shop workers can be punishable by sentences up to life imprisonment. The average custodial sentence length for, assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) and assault occasioning grievous bodily harm (GBH) has increased over the last decade.

Sentencing guidelines on assault include an aggravating factor of ‘offence committed against those working in the public sector or providing a service to the public’. In its supplementary guidance issued in 2019, the Sentencing Council was clear that this could apply to those working in the private as well as the public sector. This aggravating factor is taken into account by the courts, when deciding what sentence to impose. The Sentencing Council is reviewing its guidelines on assault and has published a consultation on a revised assault guideline on 16 April 2020.

Grouped Questions: 38629
Q
(Rother Valley)
Asked on: 21 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
Crimes of Violence: Retail Trade
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to increase sentences for violent offences against shop workers.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 05 May 2020

Everyone has the right to feel safe at work and assaults on shop workers are unacceptable.

In April 2019, the Home Office launched a call for evidence on violence and abuse toward shop staff to help gather evidence to strengthen their understanding of the scale and extent of such abuse against retail workers. The Government’s response to that call for evidence is anticipated to be published shortly.

There are already a range of offences that cover assaults against any worker including those in the retail sector. It is for our independent courts to determine the sentence in each individual case based on the full circumstances of the offence and offender, and in line with relevant sentencing guidelines – which are issued by the independent Sentencing Council. The most serious violent offences against shop workers can be punishable by sentences up to life imprisonment. The average custodial sentence length for, assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) and assault occasioning grievous bodily harm (GBH) has increased over the last decade.

Sentencing guidelines on assault include an aggravating factor of ‘offence committed against those working in the public sector or providing a service to the public’. In its supplementary guidance issued in 2019, the Sentencing Council was clear that this could apply to those working in the private as well as the public sector. This aggravating factor is taken into account by the courts, when deciding what sentence to impose. The Sentencing Council is reviewing its guidelines on assault and has published a consultation on a revised assault guideline on 16 April 2020.

Grouped Questions: 38628
Q
Asked on: 21 April 2020
Home Office
Immigration Controls: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce COVID-19 health checks and quarantine measures at the borders and entry points for people travelling to the UK; and if not, why not. [T]
Answered on: 05 May 2020

Our approach to tackling coronavirus is driven by the latest scientific and medical advice. In line with that advice to date, no changes have been required at the UK border.

Any decision to implement additional restrictions on international travel to the UK or on arrival at ports/airports will be made based on the consideration and advice of SAGE/Public Health England.

We will continuously review the most appropriate response at the UK border to the changing situation in relation to CV-19, both in the UK and across the international community

To date medical and scientific advice is that screening at the border, particularly given the current low passenger volumes and CV-19 levels within the UK, would make no material impact. There are also significant challenges with thermal screening including:

  • Low likelihood of identifying individuals with COVID-19 given the incubation period can be anywhere between 2 and 14 days;
  • High probability of identifying false positives or those with other conditions who will need clinical assessments to ascertain they have Covid-19; and
  • Easy to circumvent: by taking fever-suppressing drugs.
  • There are similar concerns with clinical screening.
Asked on: 21 April 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Carbon Capture and Storage: Public Consultation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to respond to the consultation on Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) Business Models, which opened on 22 July 2019 and closed on 16 September 2019.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 05 May 2020

We are committed to deploying carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) this decade as we work towards net zero by 2050 and see an opportunity for the UK to become a global leader in CCUS.

We are determined to realise the key strategic opportunities of CCUS in a way that is affordable and value for money for the consumer and taxpayer. As part of this we continue to work closely with industry to design business models which provide value to the economy, drive decarbonisation and are compatible with existing market frameworks.

Our intention is to respond to our consultation on CCUS business models in due course.

Q
Asked by Julian Sturdy
(York Outer)
Asked on: 24 April 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Take-away Food: Businesses
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to encourage and facilitate the ordinary operation of (a) takeaway and drive-through food services and (b) other businesses who can operate safely during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 05 May 2020

The Department has published sector specific advice for a number of industries which can currently remain open. This advice can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance. This is to enable companies and their employees remain safe.

The health of our people and the protection of our NHS is the Government’s top priority. The Government has been very clear that in order to limit the transmission of coronavirus, people should only travel to work where they absolutely cannot work from home, and provided that they and members of their household are well. This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer. We have on going discussions with businesses, trade unions and BRO’s on how we can keep everyone safe both now and as the Government framework adjusts in the future.

Q
Asked by Nick Smith
(Blaenau Gwent)
Asked on: 24 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
Courts: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he has taken to ensure that court hearings proceed during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 05 May 2020

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

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

Q
(Vale of Clwyd)
Asked on: 27 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what his policy is on protecting prisoners with underlying health conditions from covid-19.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 05 May 2020

To protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19 and reduce transmission of infection, new cohorting strategies were developed by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service advised by the Public Health Authorities and implemented from March 31. As a result, prisons are in the process of implementing units to isolate the sick, shield the vulnerable (including those with underlying health conditions) and cohort new arrivals to reduce risk.

In addition, prisoners identified as ‘extremely vulnerable’ as defined in the NHS guidelines will merit consideration for Release on Temporary License (ROTL). Any prisoners released on temporary license must abide by the provisions of that licence; the licence can be revoked for breach of a condition or for any other reason. All prisoners released under ROTL will be returned to prison once the justification for temporary compassionate release ends, provided they are still serving the custodial element of their sentence at that point.

More widely, the Prison Service is creating extra cells, restricting regimes, limiting prisoner movement and releasing some prisoners early. The strong measures the Prison Service is taking are successfully limiting the transmission of the virus.

Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Asked on: 27 April 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
City Deals: Wales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the continued viability of City Deals in Wales as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 05 May 2020

To date, the Government has committed up to £3.08 billion to City and Growth Deals across Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. This includes Deals already agreed in Cardiff, Swansea Bay, and North Wales.

These Deals are an important part of our approach to driving growth, attracting long-term investment, and creating sustainable, high-quality jobs in Wales.

Regions need to regularly assess the benefits and deliverability of their individual programmes in light of changing local circumstances. We will work with all areas to ensure City and Growth Deals respond are responsive, so they can continue to deliver maximum impact for their local area.

Q
Asked by Dr Rupa Huq
(Ealing Central and Acton)
Asked on: 27 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Pets: Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to introduce parity of treatment under the law for people found guilty of harming or injuring a domestic pet to bring them in line with the penalties imposed if a service dog used by the police or an assistance dog used by a visually impaired person is attacked or injured.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 05 May 2020

The Government remains fully committed to animal welfare and supports increasing the maximum custodial sentences for animal cruelty offences from six months to five years. This will enable courts to take a firmer approach to cases such as dog fighting, abuse of puppies and kittens, or gross neglect of farm animals. The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 5 February by Chris Loder MP and is due to have its Second Reading on 10 July. The Government will continue to support the Bill as it makes its way through Parliament. The proposed new maximum sentence of five years would apply to all animals under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and hence would provide parity of treatment under the law for domestic pets, for service dogs used by the police, and for assistance dogs used by visually impaired people.

The new maximum penalty of five years is in line with campaigns by key stakeholders such as Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Blue Cross, Dogs Trust and the RSPCA. This is a positive step forward in improving animal welfare and will act as a serious deterrent against animal cruelty. The increase to five years' imprisonment will provide one of the toughest sanctions in Europe, strengthening the UK's position as a global leader on animal welfare and will apply where anyone is convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Q
Asked by Rosie Cooper
(West Lancashire)
[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: 28 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
Brian Healless
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, for what reasons Brian Healless was sent to a mental health institution rather than a prison following his sentencing on 24 March 2020.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 05 May 2020

I understand that officials have written to the Honourable Member, providing a full explanation of the decisions taken in the case of Mr Healless.

The Mental Health Act 1983 (the 1983 Act) provides powers for the Court to divert people during trial or at the point of sentencing away from the criminal justice system to hospital for assessment and/or treatment for their condition. Alternatively, if a convicted (or remanded) prisoner becomes unwell or experiences a relapse in an existing condition while in prison custody, the 1983 Act also provides for the Secretary of State for Justice to direct that the prisoner be transferred to a secure hospital for treatment. The 1983 Act stipulates the criteria which must be met before the Secretary of State may authorise detention in a secure hospital - namely that on the recommendation of two psychiatrists, the prisoner is suffering of a mental disorder of a nature or degree that warrants hospital detention. Any such transfer does not alter the sentence of the Court, including where the sentence is mandatory life imprisonment for murder.

At the point a prisoner who has been transferred to hospital responds positively to treatment and no longer meets the criteria for detention under the 1983 Act, he will return to prison to serve the remainder of their custodial sentence. In the case of a prisoner serving a life sentence, he will be eligible for release only where he has completed the minimum term set by the Court. He will only then be released if an independent Parole Board has assessed that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public for the offender to remain confined.

Where prisoners are transferred to hospital for treatment under the 1983 Act, they are most likely to be subject to a restriction order. This means that certain decisions about the management of that patient, for instance decisions over leave and transfer, are subject to the consent of the Secretary of State. This function exists to ensure public protection is upheld.

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: 28 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Surgery: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to tackle the backlog of elective surgical procedures during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 05 May 2020
Holding answer received on 04 May 2020

With evidence now suggesting that we have reached the peak of this wave of COVID-19, and with the National Health Service well-placed to provide world-leading care for those who do still have the virus, we have started to reset services, including non-urgent elective care. These services had previously been suspended as part of ensuring sufficient capacity was in place to manage the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The approach to this will be flexed at local level according to capacity and demand in different parts of the country, and will be gradual, over the coming weeks. We will work on the principle that the most urgent treatments, including mental health support, should be brought back first and this will be driven by local demands on the system.

Grouped Questions: 41200
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: 28 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Surgery: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that elective surgical procedures are able to recommence safely and efficiently after the peak of the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 05 May 2020
Holding answer received on 04 May 2020

With evidence now suggesting that we have reached the peak of this wave of COVID-19, and with the National Health Service well-placed to provide world-leading care for those who do still have the virus, we have started to reset services, including non-urgent elective care. These services had previously been suspended as part of ensuring sufficient capacity was in place to manage the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The approach to this will be flexed at local level according to capacity and demand in different parts of the country, and will be gradual, over the coming weeks. We will work on the principle that the most urgent treatments, including mental health support, should be brought back first and this will be driven by local demands on the system.

Grouped Questions: 41199
Q
(East Lothian)
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, for what reason Government guidance entitled Coronavirus Restricted Temporary Release measures states that children serving sentences for drug offences, including simple possession of a class A drug under s5(1) and (2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act, are specifically excluded from consideration for release.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 May 2020

Protecting the health and well-being of our staff and the children in our care is paramount. Currently, the youth secure estate has sufficient headroom to enable every child to have their own room and physical distancing is being observed in line with Public Heath England guidance.

We will temporarily release a small number of children who are judged to be low risk and near the end of their sentence. Children who have committed drug-related offences are excluded from eligibility to ensure public confidence in the administration of justice. The threshold for custody is higher for children and young people so drug offences are likely to be more serious ones.

Q
Asked by Lord Bowness
Asked on: 21 April 2020
Cabinet Office
UK Relations with EU
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord True on 23 March (HL2421), how many agreements have been reached in respect of mutual recognition of (1) driving licences, and (2) blue badges.
A
Answered by: Lord True
Answered on: 04 May 2020

The recognition of both driving licenses and blue badges is a member state competence and the Government is seeking to secure both with EU members via bilateral agreement. Discussions are ongoing in both of these policy areas. Recognition of disabled blue badges currently operates on a policy of goodwill among EU member states. The Government has asked UK local authorities to continue to recognise disabled blue badges and hopes that EU member states will reciprocate.

Q
Asked by Lord Wills
Asked on: 23 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Disclosure of Information
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to remind NHS trusts of their responsibilities to whistle-blowers.
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 04 May 2020

Speaking up is vital for ensuring patient safety and improving the quality of services and should be a routine part of business in the National Health Service. The NHS should support and welcome all staff to raise concerns wherever they spot them.

The Government has proactively encouraged NHS staff to raise concerns over recent years and provided support by establishing an independent National Guardian to help drive positive cultural change across the NHS so that speaking up becomes business as usual.

On 23 April the Care Quality Commission and the National Guardian issued a joint statement to providers of health and social care reminding them of the importance of speaking up. This followed a letter that the National Guardian sent to NHS trust chairs in March, which also highlighted the importance of staff having the freedom to speak up and the need to support Local Freedom to Speak Up Guardians at this time.

We will continue to encourage and support the rights of staff to raise concerns.

Q
Asked by Afzal Khan
(Manchester, Gorton)
Asked on: 24 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support the Government is providing to farmers to ensure they are able to harvest their crops during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 04 May 2020

The ongoing impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak have meant that there will be a shortfall in the numbers of workers who usually travel to the UK from Europe to work during the harvest season, with the demand for workers peaking from late May through the summer. We need to mobilise the British workforce to fill that gap and make sure our excellent fruit and vegetables are on people's plates over the summer months.

Farming leaders have already kick-started a recruitment drive for work on farms. With many British workers furloughed from their jobs, and students having to put their summer plans on hold, the Government is supporting industry efforts to help farmers bring in this year’s harvest, working to build on these numbers.

The majority of roles for the early part of the harvest season have already been filled. We are closely monitoring the situation and we will shortly be launching a public- facing campaign to highlight the roles available from late May onwards and to encourage people to apply. The Government has confirmed that those who have been furloughed from their jobs due to coronavirus, and who are contractually allowed to work for another employer, can take on this seasonal work.

The Pick for Britain website is a recently launched joint Defra and industry initiative to support this effort. The website will act as a central hub to signpost people to the jobs available and to hold guidance and resources so growers, workers and industry can have a single place to go, available at https://pickforbritain.org.uk/. The website will also provide links to a wide range of recruitment campaigns organised by labour providers. The Pick for Britain website includes links to the Government's 'Find A Job' website, which will give access to a wide reach of potential applicants. The Find a Job website has more than 1.6 million registered users and is available here: https://findajob.dwp.gov.uk/.

Our farmers are doing a fantastic job of feeding the nation during this challenging time. To help our farmers, industry Best Practice Guidance for employers of seasonal agricultural workers to avoid the spread of coronavirus has also now been published, which has been endorsed by Public Health England: https://ahdb.org.uk/coronavirus/social-distancing-farm-businesses.

Q
(East Lothian)
Asked on: 24 April 2020
Department for Transport
Driving under Influence: Training
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to allow participants in drink driving awareness courses to complete their required attendance.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 04 May 2020

In line with the Government’s guidance on social distancing, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has advised drink drive rehabilitation (DDR) course providers not to start any new classroom-based rehabilitation courses, until further notice. Offenders who have already taken the first, or first and second day of a three-day DDR course, can complete their course remotely on a suitable digital platform.

Q
(New Forest East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 27 April 2020
Department for Transport
Driving: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 21 April to Question 34894 on renewal of driving licences for volunteers who cannot obtain medical certificates from their general practitioners, if he will make appropriate arrangements for drivers of passenger-carrying vehicles, in addition to the arrangements for bus and lorry drivers.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 04 May 2020

The temporary provisions for bus and lorry drivers outlined in the answer to Question 34894 extend to drivers of passenger carrying vehicles, providing the licence holder has passed the required driving test.

Drivers who have passed a car test and wish to drive a minibus as a volunteer can do so without obtaining a medical report, provided they can meet certain criteria. These are:

  • that they are driving on behalf of a non-commercial body for social purposes but not for hire or reward (unless operating under a permit)

  • they are 21 years old or over

  • they have held a category B (car) licence for at least two years

  • they are providing their services on a voluntary basis

  • the minibus has a maximum weight of no more than 3.5 tonnes (excluding any specialist equipment for the carriage of disabled passengers) and is not towing a trailer.

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: 27 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
National Probation Service for England and Wales: Pay
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 21 April 2020 to Question 33718 on National Probation Service for England and Wales: Pay, for what reasons the development of the new scheme has been delayed.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 04 May 2020

In line with the NPS Pay Modernisation Agreement of 2018, the NPS is committed to working in partnership with Trade Union colleagues to develop a pay progression framework that is fair, fit for purpose and sustainable. Collectively, we have experienced delays due to the complex and detailed nature of the work, as we need to get any new framework right for our staff. We are continuing our work on proposals for the future strategy and framework with Trade Union colleagues to ensure that it is suitable for the entire workforce.

The NPS Pay Modernisation Agreement of 2018 outlines that the proposed competency-based framework is to, among other considerations, account for professional development as one of its design principles. It notes agreement to further talks recognising that HMPPS is committed to ensuring NPS pay modernisation reflects the probation profession and rewards continuous professional development. Professional development is intrinsically linked with competency. To build and demonstrate competence, staff will need to access learning and development opportunities throughout their careers. That is why we are improving our training and development offer to staff as part of the Probation Workforce Programme.

The consideration of professional development as part of a new pay progression scheme was outlined in the NPS Pay Modernisation Agreement of 2018, to be developed in partnership with Trade Unions. As part of the work to develop a new pay progression scheme, the NPS is considering the various constituent parts of what determines competency to best ensure that the scheme is fair, fit for purpose and sustainable. Professional development is a significant part of that consideration, which will help drive the development of a new strategy and framework to ensure that it is suitable for the entire workforce.

As per normal practices, MoJ and HM Treasury officials are aware of the issues faced by the NPS and trade unions partnership, and are supportive of the ongoing constructive engagement between colleagues.

I am extremely grateful for the hard working and committed staff across the National Probation Service, especially during this challenging time.

We appreciate that some National Probation Service staff were expecting their pay award on 1 April 2020 and it is with regret that this has not been possible. We are committed to commencing formal negotiations with our Trade Union colleagues once the Public Sector pay guidance has been published and unfortunately the impact of COVID-19 has delayed this process. We are committed to making sure that payments due to our staff are made as soon as is practicable and any pay award due will be backdated to 1 April 2020.

Grouped Questions: 40711 | 40712 | 40713 | 40714
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: 27 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
National Probation Service for England and Wales: Pay
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 21 April 2020 to Question 33718 on National Probation Service for England and Wales: Pay, in what ways probation pay is linked to professional development.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 04 May 2020

In line with the NPS Pay Modernisation Agreement of 2018, the NPS is committed to working in partnership with Trade Union colleagues to develop a pay progression framework that is fair, fit for purpose and sustainable. Collectively, we have experienced delays due to the complex and detailed nature of the work, as we need to get any new framework right for our staff. We are continuing our work on proposals for the future strategy and framework with Trade Union colleagues to ensure that it is suitable for the entire workforce.

The NPS Pay Modernisation Agreement of 2018 outlines that the proposed competency-based framework is to, among other considerations, account for professional development as one of its design principles. It notes agreement to further talks recognising that HMPPS is committed to ensuring NPS pay modernisation reflects the probation profession and rewards continuous professional development. Professional development is intrinsically linked with competency. To build and demonstrate competence, staff will need to access learning and development opportunities throughout their careers. That is why we are improving our training and development offer to staff as part of the Probation Workforce Programme.

The consideration of professional development as part of a new pay progression scheme was outlined in the NPS Pay Modernisation Agreement of 2018, to be developed in partnership with Trade Unions. As part of the work to develop a new pay progression scheme, the NPS is considering the various constituent parts of what determines competency to best ensure that the scheme is fair, fit for purpose and sustainable. Professional development is a significant part of that consideration, which will help drive the development of a new strategy and framework to ensure that it is suitable for the entire workforce.

As per normal practices, MoJ and HM Treasury officials are aware of the issues faced by the NPS and trade unions partnership, and are supportive of the ongoing constructive engagement between colleagues.

I am extremely grateful for the hard working and committed staff across the National Probation Service, especially during this challenging time.

We appreciate that some National Probation Service staff were expecting their pay award on 1 April 2020 and it is with regret that this has not been possible. We are committed to commencing formal negotiations with our Trade Union colleagues once the Public Sector pay guidance has been published and unfortunately the impact of COVID-19 has delayed this process. We are committed to making sure that payments due to our staff are made as soon as is practicable and any pay award due will be backdated to 1 April 2020.

Grouped Questions: 40710 | 40712 | 40713 | 40714
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: 27 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
National Probation Service for England and Wales: Pay
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 21 April 2020 to Question 33718 on National Probation Service for England and Wales: Pay, what the evidential basis is for his statement that NPS Trade Unions have agreed to link pay to professional development.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 04 May 2020

In line with the NPS Pay Modernisation Agreement of 2018, the NPS is committed to working in partnership with Trade Union colleagues to develop a pay progression framework that is fair, fit for purpose and sustainable. Collectively, we have experienced delays due to the complex and detailed nature of the work, as we need to get any new framework right for our staff. We are continuing our work on proposals for the future strategy and framework with Trade Union colleagues to ensure that it is suitable for the entire workforce.

The NPS Pay Modernisation Agreement of 2018 outlines that the proposed competency-based framework is to, among other considerations, account for professional development as one of its design principles. It notes agreement to further talks recognising that HMPPS is committed to ensuring NPS pay modernisation reflects the probation profession and rewards continuous professional development. Professional development is intrinsically linked with competency. To build and demonstrate competence, staff will need to access learning and development opportunities throughout their careers. That is why we are improving our training and development offer to staff as part of the Probation Workforce Programme.

The consideration of professional development as part of a new pay progression scheme was outlined in the NPS Pay Modernisation Agreement of 2018, to be developed in partnership with Trade Unions. As part of the work to develop a new pay progression scheme, the NPS is considering the various constituent parts of what determines competency to best ensure that the scheme is fair, fit for purpose and sustainable. Professional development is a significant part of that consideration, which will help drive the development of a new strategy and framework to ensure that it is suitable for the entire workforce.

As per normal practices, MoJ and HM Treasury officials are aware of the issues faced by the NPS and trade unions partnership, and are supportive of the ongoing constructive engagement between colleagues.

I am extremely grateful for the hard working and committed staff across the National Probation Service, especially during this challenging time.

We appreciate that some National Probation Service staff were expecting their pay award on 1 April 2020 and it is with regret that this has not been possible. We are committed to commencing formal negotiations with our Trade Union colleagues once the Public Sector pay guidance has been published and unfortunately the impact of COVID-19 has delayed this process. We are committed to making sure that payments due to our staff are made as soon as is practicable and any pay award due will be backdated to 1 April 2020.

Grouped Questions: 40710 | 40711 | 40713 | 40714
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: 27 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
National Probation Service for England and Wales: Pay
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 21 April 2020 to Question 33718, National Probation Service for England and Wales: Pay, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on delays to the development of the new scheme.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 04 May 2020

In line with the NPS Pay Modernisation Agreement of 2018, the NPS is committed to working in partnership with Trade Union colleagues to develop a pay progression framework that is fair, fit for purpose and sustainable. Collectively, we have experienced delays due to the complex and detailed nature of the work, as we need to get any new framework right for our staff. We are continuing our work on proposals for the future strategy and framework with Trade Union colleagues to ensure that it is suitable for the entire workforce.

The NPS Pay Modernisation Agreement of 2018 outlines that the proposed competency-based framework is to, among other considerations, account for professional development as one of its design principles. It notes agreement to further talks recognising that HMPPS is committed to ensuring NPS pay modernisation reflects the probation profession and rewards continuous professional development. Professional development is intrinsically linked with competency. To build and demonstrate competence, staff will need to access learning and development opportunities throughout their careers. That is why we are improving our training and development offer to staff as part of the Probation Workforce Programme.

The consideration of professional development as part of a new pay progression scheme was outlined in the NPS Pay Modernisation Agreement of 2018, to be developed in partnership with Trade Unions. As part of the work to develop a new pay progression scheme, the NPS is considering the various constituent parts of what determines competency to best ensure that the scheme is fair, fit for purpose and sustainable. Professional development is a significant part of that consideration, which will help drive the development of a new strategy and framework to ensure that it is suitable for the entire workforce.

As per normal practices, MoJ and HM Treasury officials are aware of the issues faced by the NPS and trade unions partnership, and are supportive of the ongoing constructive engagement between colleagues.

I am extremely grateful for the hard working and committed staff across the National Probation Service, especially during this challenging time.

We appreciate that some National Probation Service staff were expecting their pay award on 1 April 2020 and it is with regret that this has not been possible. We are committed to commencing formal negotiations with our Trade Union colleagues once the Public Sector pay guidance has been published and unfortunately the impact of COVID-19 has delayed this process. We are committed to making sure that payments due to our staff are made as soon as is practicable and any pay award due will be backdated to 1 April 2020.

Grouped Questions: 40710 | 40711 | 40712 | 40714
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: 27 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
National Probation Service for England and Wales: Pay
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 21 April 2020 to Question 33718, National Probation Service for England and Wales: Pay, what assessment he has made of the effect on probation staff morale of the delay to their contractual pay increments.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 04 May 2020

In line with the NPS Pay Modernisation Agreement of 2018, the NPS is committed to working in partnership with Trade Union colleagues to develop a pay progression framework that is fair, fit for purpose and sustainable. Collectively, we have experienced delays due to the complex and detailed nature of the work, as we need to get any new framework right for our staff. We are continuing our work on proposals for the future strategy and framework with Trade Union colleagues to ensure that it is suitable for the entire workforce.

The NPS Pay Modernisation Agreement of 2018 outlines that the proposed competency-based framework is to, among other considerations, account for professional development as one of its design principles. It notes agreement to further talks recognising that HMPPS is committed to ensuring NPS pay modernisation reflects the probation profession and rewards continuous professional development. Professional development is intrinsically linked with competency. To build and demonstrate competence, staff will need to access learning and development opportunities throughout their careers. That is why we are improving our training and development offer to staff as part of the Probation Workforce Programme.

The consideration of professional development as part of a new pay progression scheme was outlined in the NPS Pay Modernisation Agreement of 2018, to be developed in partnership with Trade Unions. As part of the work to develop a new pay progression scheme, the NPS is considering the various constituent parts of what determines competency to best ensure that the scheme is fair, fit for purpose and sustainable. Professional development is a significant part of that consideration, which will help drive the development of a new strategy and framework to ensure that it is suitable for the entire workforce.

As per normal practices, MoJ and HM Treasury officials are aware of the issues faced by the NPS and trade unions partnership, and are supportive of the ongoing constructive engagement between colleagues.

I am extremely grateful for the hard working and committed staff across the National Probation Service, especially during this challenging time.

We appreciate that some National Probation Service staff were expecting their pay award on 1 April 2020 and it is with regret that this has not been possible. We are committed to commencing formal negotiations with our Trade Union colleagues once the Public Sector pay guidance has been published and unfortunately the impact of COVID-19 has delayed this process. We are committed to making sure that payments due to our staff are made as soon as is practicable and any pay award due will be backdated to 1 April 2020.

Grouped Questions: 40710 | 40711 | 40712 | 40713
Q
Asked by Bill Esterson
(Sefton 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: 27 April 2020
Department for International Trade
World Trade Organisation: Meetings
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the importance for international trade of the World Trade Organisation meeting in the near future.
A
Answered by: Greg Hands
Answered on: 04 May 2020

The UK believes a strong, rules based, trading system is in the best interests of all nations.

We need to collectively strengthen and reform the WTO, so it delivers a free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent framework for trade between countries. This will play an important role in resolving the effects of the global pandemic.

This will require WTO Members being able to make decisions and WTO business to continue this year. The UK will continue to support WTO’s efforts to identify technology-driven solutions that ensure all members are able to participate in the spirit of inclusivity.

Q
(South Holland and The Deepings)
Asked on: 27 April 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to support the recovery of the housing market in (a) Lincolnshire and (b) the UK.
A
Answered by: Christopher Pincher
Answered on: 04 May 2020

The Government has been engaging closely with the housing industry across the country and stands ready to support its recovery. Ministers have dedicated time to listening to our stakeholders and will continue to do so


Building on the immediate support we've already provided; we will bring forward measures to support renters and buyers as well as continuing to drive forward a package of housing reforms to get Britain building.

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: 28 April 2020
Department for International Development
Overseas Aid: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will publish the monitoring and evaluation framework her Department is using to assess the efficacy of UK overseas aid in tackling the spread of covid-19.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 04 May 2020

The UK has so far pledged £744 million of UK aid to end the coronavirus pandemic as quickly as possible: tracking the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of that spend is essential.

We have a strong, coordinated monitoring, evaluation and learning system to ensure accountability for decision making and resource allocation to these priorities. This will also ensure DFID and other government departments learn from and use evidence to improve current and future responses to crises in developing contexts. This is part of DFID’s overall approach to ensuring that our investments in tackling COVID-19 are driven by the best evidence and latest scientific advances.

As programmes adapt and mobilise to tackle the impact of COVID-19, so too will our monitoring, evaluation, and learning approach and framework. The COVID-19 response will draw on the systems and expertise we already have on monitoring, evaluation and learning. Our existing Evaluation Strategy, the key points of which were published in the Evaluation Annual Report 18-19, will direct our monitoring, evaluation and learning response to COVID-19 interventions. This Strategy enables DFID to use the best evidence tools for learning and improving throughout our programmes, as well as prioritising investment in rigorous central evaluations in the most strategic areas.

DFID’s overarching results indicators under the Single Departmental Plan are public. We will also publish information on our monitoring, evaluation and learning approach to COVID-19 as part of our Evaluation Annual Report.

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: 28 April 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to extend the duration of provisional driving instructor licences during the covid-19 outbreak to ensure that those licenses do not expire while trainee driving instructors are unable to undertake training.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 04 May 2020

There is no provision in legislation to extend the period of a provisional driving instructor trainee licence beyond six months.

Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
[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: 28 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many children had been released under the Prison and Young Offender Institution (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Rules 2020 as of 28 April 2020.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 04 May 2020

Our priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of all children in custody, both sentenced and on remand, whilst ensuring the public is protected and we are considering all the options available to maintain this approach. I can assure you we will take the necessary actions in the interests of children in custody and the wider community. That is why we have been progressing work to review the cases of those children serving a custodial sentence in the youth estate who may be eligible for early release under the End of Custody Temporary Release (ECTR) programme. Work has been taking place alongside NHS England & NHS Improvement and the Youth Justice Board to produce joint operational guidance, with the appropriate Youth Offending Teams (YOT) and local authorities updated accordingly. Eligibility for the ECTR programme is determined by the offence type and level of risk that children and young people pose to themselves and others. In addition to this, children will only be eligible if they are serving a custodial sentence.

We are continually reviewing procedures to support access to justice during the emergency period due to Covid-19, particularly for the most time-critical and sensitive cases, such as youth custodial remand cases. Custodial remand should only be used as a last resort for children and only in the most serious cases. When a child is remanded to custody, the child’s case is regularly reviewed by the local Youth Offending Team which, if appropriate, will apply to the court for a bail hearing. The court will then carefully consider the circumstances of the case and reach a decision of whether to bail a child into the community, or remand the child back to custody. These decisions must be considered by the court on a case by case basis, and a child will only be released from custodial remand into the community, if the court deems it is safe to do so. Courts are working very closely with the judiciary to prioritise caseload and case types.

Those who meet the ECTR criteria will only be released if their YOT manager confirms that their accommodation is safe, suitable and sustainable. All children released under ECTR will be subject to electronic monitoring. If children and young people do not already have their own phone, or access to one then they can be provided with a basic non- internet enabled mobile phone. This will enable them to maintain contact with their YOT, family/carer and establishment from the moment of release. No child will be released without accommodation and bed and breakfast accommodation will not be deemed suitable.

Given these necessary safeguards for the child and the public, and the higher threshold for custodial sentences in youth justice in the first place, this means that only a small number of children are in scope for this release. None have yet completed the process and fewer than ten will be eligible in the next three months, but children do also continue to be released from custody in the usual way.

Grouped Questions: 41017 | 41018
Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 28 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of releasing children held on remand in (a) youth offending institutions, (b) secure training centres and (c) other secure units during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 04 May 2020

Our priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of all children in custody, both sentenced and on remand, whilst ensuring the public is protected and we are considering all the options available to maintain this approach. I can assure you we will take the necessary actions in the interests of children in custody and the wider community. That is why we have been progressing work to review the cases of those children serving a custodial sentence in the youth estate who may be eligible for early release under the End of Custody Temporary Release (ECTR) programme. Work has been taking place alongside NHS England & NHS Improvement and the Youth Justice Board to produce joint operational guidance, with the appropriate Youth Offending Teams (YOT) and local authorities updated accordingly. Eligibility for the ECTR programme is determined by the offence type and level of risk that children and young people pose to themselves and others. In addition to this, children will only be eligible if they are serving a custodial sentence.

We are continually reviewing procedures to support access to justice during the emergency period due to Covid-19, particularly for the most time-critical and sensitive cases, such as youth custodial remand cases. Custodial remand should only be used as a last resort for children and only in the most serious cases. When a child is remanded to custody, the child’s case is regularly reviewed by the local Youth Offending Team which, if appropriate, will apply to the court for a bail hearing. The court will then carefully consider the circumstances of the case and reach a decision of whether to bail a child into the community, or remand the child back to custody. These decisions must be considered by the court on a case by case basis, and a child will only be released from custodial remand into the community, if the court deems it is safe to do so. Courts are working very closely with the judiciary to prioritise caseload and case types.

Those who meet the ECTR criteria will only be released if their YOT manager confirms that their accommodation is safe, suitable and sustainable. All children released under ECTR will be subject to electronic monitoring. If children and young people do not already have their own phone, or access to one then they can be provided with a basic non- internet enabled mobile phone. This will enable them to maintain contact with their YOT, family/carer and establishment from the moment of release. No child will be released without accommodation and bed and breakfast accommodation will not be deemed suitable.

Given these necessary safeguards for the child and the public, and the higher threshold for custodial sentences in youth justice in the first place, this means that only a small number of children are in scope for this release. None have yet completed the process and fewer than ten will be eligible in the next three months, but children do also continue to be released from custody in the usual way.

Grouped Questions: 41013 | 41018
Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 28 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many children have been (a) considered for release and (b) released under the Government’s early release scheme.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 04 May 2020

Our priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of all children in custody, both sentenced and on remand, whilst ensuring the public is protected and we are considering all the options available to maintain this approach. I can assure you we will take the necessary actions in the interests of children in custody and the wider community. That is why we have been progressing work to review the cases of those children serving a custodial sentence in the youth estate who may be eligible for early release under the End of Custody Temporary Release (ECTR) programme. Work has been taking place alongside NHS England & NHS Improvement and the Youth Justice Board to produce joint operational guidance, with the appropriate Youth Offending Teams (YOT) and local authorities updated accordingly. Eligibility for the ECTR programme is determined by the offence type and level of risk that children and young people pose to themselves and others. In addition to this, children will only be eligible if they are serving a custodial sentence.

We are continually reviewing procedures to support access to justice during the emergency period due to Covid-19, particularly for the most time-critical and sensitive cases, such as youth custodial remand cases. Custodial remand should only be used as a last resort for children and only in the most serious cases. When a child is remanded to custody, the child’s case is regularly reviewed by the local Youth Offending Team which, if appropriate, will apply to the court for a bail hearing. The court will then carefully consider the circumstances of the case and reach a decision of whether to bail a child into the community, or remand the child back to custody. These decisions must be considered by the court on a case by case basis, and a child will only be released from custodial remand into the community, if the court deems it is safe to do so. Courts are working very closely with the judiciary to prioritise caseload and case types.

Those who meet the ECTR criteria will only be released if their YOT manager confirms that their accommodation is safe, suitable and sustainable. All children released under ECTR will be subject to electronic monitoring. If children and young people do not already have their own phone, or access to one then they can be provided with a basic non- internet enabled mobile phone. This will enable them to maintain contact with their YOT, family/carer and establishment from the moment of release. No child will be released without accommodation and bed and breakfast accommodation will not be deemed suitable.

Given these necessary safeguards for the child and the public, and the higher threshold for custodial sentences in youth justice in the first place, this means that only a small number of children are in scope for this release. None have yet completed the process and fewer than ten will be eligible in the next three months, but children do also continue to be released from custody in the usual way.

Grouped Questions: 41013 | 41017
Q
Asked by Rosie Cooper
(West Lancashire)
[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: 28 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Cancer: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the rate of cancer referrals within two weeks.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 04 May 2020

NHS England and NHS Improvement launched a new drive on 25 April 2020 urging the public to seek care, including cancer care when they need it. There have been concerns that patients with cancer symptoms are not seeking medical advice in fear of contracting COVID-19. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/2020/04/help-us-help-you-nhs-urges-public-to-get-care-when-they-need-it/

Essential and urgent cancer treatment and care will continue during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. People should still attend hospital for essential appointments. General practitioners and cancer teams are finding ways to reduce the need for them to leave their homes wherever possible, for example offering telephone or video consultations.

Q
(Cardiff South and Penarth)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 29 April 2020
Home Office
Immigrants: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many individuals arriving at the UK border from (a) Spain, (b) China, (c) Italy, (d) USA, (e) Iran, (f) Turkey and (g) France were (i) assessed for symptoms of and (ii) tested for covid-19 in each week from 1 January to 23 March 2020.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 04 May 2020

Border Force are unable to provide the arrival data requested, as it would require a manual review of thousands of records and this would be cost prohibitive.

Border Force are not responsible for making any medical assessments or medical interventions when dealing with individuals at the border.

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

In line with that advice, no changes have been required at the UK border.

To bolster public health measures already in place, passengers at airports are provided with information on symptoms and the social distancing processes.

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

Grouped Questions: 41458
Q
Asked by Tom Hunt
(Ipswich)
Asked on: 22 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: Seasonal Workers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that roles in seasonal agricultural work are advertised to people in the UK to limit the need to import foreign workers during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 01 May 2020

The ongoing impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak have meant that there will be a shortfall in the numbers of workers who usually travel to the UK from Europe to work during the harvest season, with the demand for workers peaking from late May through the summer.

Farming leaders have already kick-started a recruitment drive for work on farms, with thousands of British people already expressing an interest in picking up seasonal agricultural work over the coming weeks and months. With many British workers furloughed from their jobs, and students having to put their summer plans on hold, the Government is supporting industry efforts to help farmers bring in this year’s harvest, working to build on these numbers.

The majority of roles for the early part of the harvest season have already been filled. We are closely monitoring the situation and we will shortly be launching a public- facing campaign to highlight the roles available from late May onwards and to encourage people to apply. The Government has confirmed that those who have been furloughed from their jobs due to coronavirus, and who are contractually allowed to work for another employer, can take on this seasonal work.

A new Government-industry digital hub for seasonal work information and job opportunities has been launched to provide guidance on getting into farm work and links to the available jobs and recruiters. The website can be found at pickforbritain.org.uk and will be updated regularly over the coming weeks to help match jobs to workers as the demand grows.

Q
(Lewisham, Deptford)
Asked on: 27 April 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Armed Conflict
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the conflict in Cameroon.
A
Answered by: James Duddridge
Answered on: 01 May 2020

The British Government remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon. These regions suffer from high levels of violence, which have driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. We have consistently called for restraint, an end to the violence, and for investigations into all reports of human rights violations. On 23 April, I publicly welcomed publication of the findings of the investigation into the appalling violence in Ngarbuh and reiterated our call for the Cameroonian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice, ensure respect for human rights and redouble their efforts to resolve the conflict.

The UK continues to call for inclusive dialogue, and we welcomed the passing of legislation concerning bilingualism and special status for the North-West and South-West regions in December 2019. Commitments and legislation now need to be implemented in a timely manner to support genuine decentralisation of power and to tackle the root causes of the conflict. The British High Commissioner to Cameroon regularly engages in high-level discussions with the Government of Cameroon on the Anglophone crisis, including the mediation process led by the Swiss Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. We continue to shine a spotlight on the crisis and raise our concerns in multinational fora and with international partners. At the UN Security Council on 12 February, the UK highlighted the significant impact of the crisis on children. At the UN Human Rights Council on 27 February, the UK raised concerns about the protection of civilians in Cameroon.

The UK is committed to supporting civilians affected by the ongoing crisis in the North-West and South-West regions and we have made a £2 million contribution to the UN response, supporting 34,000 people with essential supplies, such as mosquito nets, hygiene kits and nutrition support. We continue to call for unhindered humanitarian access to the affected population. The UK stands ready to support all credible peacebuilding initiatives and believes that the regional and wider international community has an integral role to play, including in responding to the growing humanitarian need.

Grouped Questions: 40696 | 40697
Q
(Lewisham, Deptford)
Asked on: 27 April 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Armed Conflict
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Cameroonian counterpart on a peaceful solution to the conflict in that country.
A
Answered by: James Duddridge
Answered on: 01 May 2020

The British Government remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon. These regions suffer from high levels of violence, which have driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. We have consistently called for restraint, an end to the violence, and for investigations into all reports of human rights violations. On 23 April, I publicly welcomed publication of the findings of the investigation into the appalling violence in Ngarbuh and reiterated our call for the Cameroonian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice, ensure respect for human rights and redouble their efforts to resolve the conflict.

The UK continues to call for inclusive dialogue, and we welcomed the passing of legislation concerning bilingualism and special status for the North-West and South-West regions in December 2019. Commitments and legislation now need to be implemented in a timely manner to support genuine decentralisation of power and to tackle the root causes of the conflict. The British High Commissioner to Cameroon regularly engages in high-level discussions with the Government of Cameroon on the Anglophone crisis, including the mediation process led by the Swiss Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. We continue to shine a spotlight on the crisis and raise our concerns in multinational fora and with international partners. At the UN Security Council on 12 February, the UK highlighted the significant impact of the crisis on children. At the UN Human Rights Council on 27 February, the UK raised concerns about the protection of civilians in Cameroon.

The UK is committed to supporting civilians affected by the ongoing crisis in the North-West and South-West regions and we have made a £2 million contribution to the UN response, supporting 34,000 people with essential supplies, such as mosquito nets, hygiene kits and nutrition support. We continue to call for unhindered humanitarian access to the affected population. The UK stands ready to support all credible peacebuilding initiatives and believes that the regional and wider international community has an integral role to play, including in responding to the growing humanitarian need.

Grouped Questions: 40695 | 40697
Q
(Lewisham, Deptford)
Asked on: 27 April 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Asylum
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support his Department is offering to people from Cameroon who have been displaced by the ongoing conflict in that country.
A
Answered by: James Duddridge
Answered on: 01 May 2020

The British Government remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon. These regions suffer from high levels of violence, which have driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. We have consistently called for restraint, an end to the violence, and for investigations into all reports of human rights violations. On 23 April, I publicly welcomed publication of the findings of the investigation into the appalling violence in Ngarbuh and reiterated our call for the Cameroonian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice, ensure respect for human rights and redouble their efforts to resolve the conflict.

The UK continues to call for inclusive dialogue, and we welcomed the passing of legislation concerning bilingualism and special status for the North-West and South-West regions in December 2019. Commitments and legislation now need to be implemented in a timely manner to support genuine decentralisation of power and to tackle the root causes of the conflict. The British High Commissioner to Cameroon regularly engages in high-level discussions with the Government of Cameroon on the Anglophone crisis, including the mediation process led by the Swiss Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. We continue to shine a spotlight on the crisis and raise our concerns in multinational fora and with international partners. At the UN Security Council on 12 February, the UK highlighted the significant impact of the crisis on children. At the UN Human Rights Council on 27 February, the UK raised concerns about the protection of civilians in Cameroon.

The UK is committed to supporting civilians affected by the ongoing crisis in the North-West and South-West regions and we have made a £2 million contribution to the UN response, supporting 34,000 people with essential supplies, such as mosquito nets, hygiene kits and nutrition support. We continue to call for unhindered humanitarian access to the affected population. The UK stands ready to support all credible peacebuilding initiatives and believes that the regional and wider international community has an integral role to play, including in responding to the growing humanitarian need.

Grouped Questions: 40695 | 40696
Q
Asked by Earl Attlee
Asked on: 21 April 2020
Department for Transport
Driving: Licensing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to relax the requirement for eyesight and medical testing of those applying to renew heavy goods vehicle and public service vehicle licences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A
Answered on: 30 April 2020

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

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

Q
Asked by Earl Attlee
Asked on: 21 April 2020
Department for Transport
Large Goods Vehicle Drivers: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the availability of heavy goods vehicle drivers.
A
Answered on: 30 April 2020

The Department for Transport is in regular contact with representatives of the road haulage industry to understand the issues the industry is experiencing as a result of COVID-19. Estimates suggest that there is not currently a lack of HGV driver availability.

The Government has taken action to allow drivers whose Driver CPC expires between 1 March and 30 September 2020 to either take the training remotely or complete it after 30 September 2020. In addition, drivers whose licences have expired since 1 January 2020 or will expire in 2020 will be able to receive a temporary 1-year licence, providing they do not have any medical conditions that affect their driving.

Q
Asked by Afzal Khan
(Manchester, Gorton)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 24 April 2020
Department for International Development
Developing Countries: Food Supply
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what additional support her Department is providing to countries in the Global South at risk of acute food insecurity as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.
A
Answered by: James Duddridge
Answered on: 30 April 2020

The UK is repurposing programmes in agriculture, social protection and humanitarian assistance to tackle the factors driving COVID-19 induced food insecurity. We are a major funder of existing multilateral programmes in these areas, including the recent Food and Agriculture Organisation £7.5 million contribution to fight the locust plague in East Africa. We have committed £15 million to the World Food Programme’s recent urgent appeals. In all of these we continue to put the poorest and most marginalised at the heart of our programmes to address the underlying causes of chronic hunger.

Q
Asked by Tracey Crouch
(Chatham and Aylesford)
Asked on: 20 April 2020
Home Office
Undocumented Migrants: English Channel
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has had discussions with representatives from (a) Kent County Council and (b) Kent Police on the potential merits of providing additional Government support to help deal with illegal migrants crossing the English Channel to enter the UK during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 29 April 2020

In line with existing processes, we are in regular contact with Kent Police and the Local Resilience Forum regarding migrant crossings in the Channel. These discussions have continued during the covid-19 response and have been factored into operational planning.

Border Force and Immigration Enforcement are continuing to keep the UK’s border secure and have robust contingency plans in place to respond the covid-19 pandemic driven by the latest scientific and medical advice. In line with that advice to date, no changes have been required at the UK border.

Working with the Department for Transport and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Border Force Maritime have worked with commercial operators and Port Security Officers to ensure that sightings of potentially suspicious small vessels are reported immediately.

Additionally, Border Force have worked with HM Coastguard to increase safety broadcasts to all vessels in the Channel, encouraging them to look out for and report small vessels. Border Force Maritime continues to encourage the public and industry to report suspicious activity and reduce the threat from organised crime and terrorism. Regional General Maritime teams have been bolstered to further improve their capability to receive and process migrants.

The Kent Multi-Agency Hub brings together officers from the police, National Crime Agency, Border Force, HMRC and Immigration Enforcement to share, develop and analyse intelligence between agencies.

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: 21 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prison Accommodation: Wales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many inmates are housed in double cells in (a) HMP Berwyn, (b) HMP Cardiff, (c) HMP Parc, (d) HMP Swansea and (e) HMP Usk/Prescoed as at April 2020.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 29 April 2020

Upon arrival into custody, all prisoners’ suitability to share a cell is risk assessed. These assessments are based on numerous factors including index offence, health concerns and security information (such as beliefs and prejudices). There are benefits to some prisoners sharing cells for the positive impact it has on mental health and stress levels, in addition to many prisoners preferring to share a cell.

Shared cells at HMP Berwyn are designed for two prisoners.

The table below shows the number of prisoners sharing a cell in prisons in Wales as at 22 April.

Prison

Total number of offenders sharing a cell

HMP Berwyn

1100

HMP Cardiff

426

HMP Parc

731

HMP Swansea

291

HMP Usk/Prescoed

299

The Prison Service has implemented a three-pronged approach to contain the spread of COVID-19 within jails – known as ‘compartmentalisation’. In many prisons they have been able to isolate those with symptoms, shield the vulnerable and quarantine new arrivals for 14 days. Work to create additional space in the prison estate is continuing at pace, with the installation of temporary, single occupancy cells alongside the scheme to release low-risk offenders. Efforts to expedite sentencing hearings for those on remand are ongoing. Our actions have been informed by the advice of experts from Public Health England and Public Health Wales and will be kept under review.

Q
(Luton South)
Asked on: 22 April 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Hamed bin Haydara
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in Yemen on expediting the release of Hamed bin Haydara from prison following his pardon granted on 25 March 2020.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 29 April 2020

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

Q
Asked by Afzal Khan
(Manchester, Gorton)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 24 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: Seasonal Workers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure farmers have access to the seasonal workers required to harvest crops during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 29 April 2020

The ongoing impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak have meant that there will be a shortfall in the numbers of workers who usually travel to the UK from Europe to work during the harvest season, with the demand for workers peaking from late May through the summer. We need to mobilise the British workforce to fill that gap and make sure our excellent fruit and vegetables are on people's plates over the summer months.

Farming leaders have already kick-started a recruitment drive for work on farms, with thousands of British people already expressing an interest in picking up seasonal agricultural work over the coming weeks and months. With many British workers furloughed from their jobs, and students having to put their summer plans on hold, the Government is supporting industry efforts to help farmers bring in this year’s harvest, working to build on these numbers.

The majority of roles for the early part of the harvest season have already been filled. We are closely monitoring the situation and we will shortly be launching a public- facing campaign to highlight the roles available from late May onwards and to encourage people to apply. The Government has confirmed that those who have been furloughed from their jobs due to coronavirus, and who are contractually allowed to work for another employer, can take on this seasonal work.

The Pick for Britain website is a recently launched joint Defra and industry initiative to support this effort. The website will act as a central hub to signpost people to the jobs available and to hold guidance and resources so growers, workers and industry can have a single place to go, available at https://pickforbritain.org.uk/. The website will also provide links to a wide range of recruitment campaigns organised by labour providers. The Pick for Britain website includes links to the Government's 'Find A Job' website, which will give access to a wide reach of potential applicants. The Find a Job website has more than 1.6 million registered users and is available here: https://findajob.dwp.gov.uk/.

Our farmers are doing a fantastic job of feeding the nation during this challenging time. To help our farmers, industry Best Practice Guidance for employers of seasonal agricultural workers to avoid the spread of coronavirus has also now been published, which has been endorsed by Public Health England: https://ahdb.org.uk/coronavirus/social-distancing-farm-businesses.

Q
(Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 24 April 2020
Department for Transport
Motorcycles: Driving Instruction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to extend compulsory basic training certificates for motorcycle riders during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 29 April 2020

The Department for Transport is aware that the compulsory basic training certificate (CBT) for some people has already expired or is due to expire shortly and we are currently considering options on this matter. In the meantime, DVSA are prioritising motorcycle tests and CBT applications for workers whose jobs are critical to the coronavirus response as set out in government guidelines.

Q
(Cardiff South and Penarth)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 29 April 2020
Home Office
immigrants
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many individuals arrived at the UK border from (a) Spain, (b) China, (c) Italy, (d) USA, (e) Iran, (f) Turkey and (g) France in each week since 1 January 2020.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 04 May 2020

Border Force are unable to provide the arrival data requested, as it would require a manual review of thousands of records and this would be cost prohibitive.

Border Force are not responsible for making any medical assessments or medical interventions when dealing with individuals at the border.

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

In line with that advice, no changes have been required at the UK border.

To bolster public health measures already in place, passengers at airports are provided with information on symptoms and the social distancing processes.

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

Grouped Questions: 41461
Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
[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: 17 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: : Public Health
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has held discussions with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on using (a) television and radio broadcast infrastructure and (b) other methods of communication to ensure that the document entitled Guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK and protecting older people and vulnerable adults, published 16 March 2020 and other future key documents explaining Government guidance on the covid-19 outbreak are available to people who do not have access to the internet; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Helen Whately
Answered on: 28 April 2020
Holding answer received on 23 March 2020

On 15 March a new TV advertising campaign was included in to official efforts to ensure the public is aware of the best way to limit and delay the spread of COVID-19. As well as TV, the campaign advice is featuring in newspapers and magazines, on drive-time radio, online and through social media and on billboards and large digital displays, including at bus stops. Additionally, the Prime Minister is holding daily televised press conference to update the nation on the latest measures taken in the fight against COVID-19.

Q
Asked by Steve McCabe
(Birmingham, Selly Oak)
Asked on: 23 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Speech and Language Disorders
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that information about infection prevention, covid-19 symptoms and treatment and care is accessible to those who have speech, language and communication needs.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 28 April 2020

Members of the public will see advice in television adverts featuring the Chief Medical Officer as part of the Government’s drive to ensure everyone knows the best way to limit and delay the spread of the COVID-19.

As well as on television, people will see and hear the campaign advice in newspapers and magazines, on drive-time radio, online and through social media and on billboards and large digital displays, including at bus stops. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/next-stage-of-expanded-coronavirus-covid-19-public-information-campaign-launches

The Government has also produced resources in Braille and British Sign Language. These resources are available via Public Health England’s Campaign Resource Centre at the following link:

https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/101-coronavirus-/resources

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 23 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Disease Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what further guidance his Department plans to issue on social distancing to (a) hairdressers, (b) driving instructors and (c) other professions.
A
Answered by: Helen Whately
Answered on: 28 April 2020

The Government issued further guidance on social distancing on 23 March, which specifically included hairdressers, driving instructors and other professions, and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close

The Government will keep all measures and related guidance, under constant review and update regularly.

Q
Asked by Alex Norris
(Nottingham North)
Asked on: 25 March 2020
Home Office
Offences against Children: Internet
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the risk of an increase in online child sexual abuse during the covid-19 outbreak when people are required to stay at home.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 28 April 2020

COVID-19 represents the most serious threat to public health in a generation.

We are working at pace to understand the impact of COVID-19 on child sexual abuse, gathering input from law enforcement, safeguarding leads, charities, international partners and wider colleagues. Based on early reporting from law enforcement partners and expert opinion, our initial assessment suggests the risk of online abuse is likely to increase. We will continue to strengthen this assessment through regular situational updates and measuring the threat over a longer period, to ensure we can deliver the most effective response and that it reflects the risk across the whole system.

In response, we are working across Government and with frontline partners to identify and respond to common challenges impacting vulnerable children across different crime threats, including coordinating messaging and support to frontline services.

Our law enforcement partners continue to address child sexual abuse offending, and are already driving preventative messaging to children, young people and their parents/carers through the NCA’s Thinkuknow network, and charitable partners are sending preventative messaging for offenders. We are also working with these partners to sustain and optimise their response to mitigate the risk.

Grouped Questions: 35045
Q
Asked by Alex Norris
(Nottingham North)
Asked on: 25 March 2020
Home Office
Offences against Children: Internet
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to (a) tackle a potential increased risk of online child sexual abuse and (b) protect vulnerable children due to increased home working during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 28 April 2020

COVID-19 represents the most serious threat to public health in a generation.

We are working at pace to understand the impact of COVID-19 on child sexual abuse, gathering input from law enforcement, safeguarding leads, charities, international partners and wider colleagues. Based on early reporting from law enforcement partners and expert opinion, our initial assessment suggests the risk of online abuse is likely to increase. We will continue to strengthen this assessment through regular situational updates and measuring the threat over a longer period, to ensure we can deliver the most effective response and that it reflects the risk across the whole system.

In response, we are working across Government and with frontline partners to identify and respond to common challenges impacting vulnerable children across different crime threats, including coordinating messaging and support to frontline services.

Our law enforcement partners continue to address child sexual abuse offending, and are already driving preventative messaging to children, young people and their parents/carers through the NCA’s Thinkuknow network, and charitable partners are sending preventative messaging for offenders. We are also working with these partners to sustain and optimise their response to mitigate the risk.

Grouped Questions: 35044
Q
(South Holland and The Deepings)
Asked on: 25 March 2020
Home Office
Immigration: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to introduce a cap on the number of migrants permitted to enter the UK during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Kevin Foster
Answered on: 28 April 2020

Our approach to tackling COVID-19 has been driven by the latest scientific and medical advice, with flows of passengers reduced significantly by travel restrictions in the UK and overseas.

Any decisions in relation to the UK border and Covid-19 will be taken on the basis of scientific and medical advice. We need to keep our approach at the border, and all our measures, under active review but we will not hesitate to impose whatever restrictions in our power as are necessary.

On 17 March 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised against all non-essential international travel, and the Government also introduced unprecedented measures to manage and contain the spread of the virus. These measures include social distancing and self-isolation.

Grouped Questions: 34913
Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 401-500 out of 1142
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100