Written questions and answers

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

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

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

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Q
Asked on: 14 May 2020
Cabinet Office
National Cyber Security Centre: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the budget of the National Cyber Security Centre in (1) 2016/17, (2) 2017/18, (3) 2018/19, and (4) 2019/20; and what is it for 2020/21.
A
Answered by: Lord True
Answered on: 29 May 2020

The National Cyber Security Strategy supported by a £1.9 billion investment through the National Cyber Security Programme, is delivering transformational change, building new capabilities and intervening to protect the UK from cyber attacks.

We established the National Cyber Security Centre in October 2016 as part of the National Cyber Security Strategy to bring together our best intelligence and expertise into a single national technical authority, driving improvements in detection, defence and incident management.

Our manifesto committed to investing more in cyber security, embracing new technologies and legislating to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

Asked on: 12 May 2020
Home Office
Offences Against Children
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 21 January (HL158), whether they published their national strategy to tackle all forms of child sexual abuse; and if so, where it can be found.
Answered on: 28 May 2020

The government is committed to publishing a first of its kind national strategy on tackling all forms of child sexual abuse, outlining our long-term ambition to drive a whole system response to tackle this horrific crime. However, we must respond to the threats raised by Covid-19 and our priority is to tackle offending, protect children and support victims and survivors during this challenging time.

We have responded swiftly to the risks posed by COVID-19. We are working with Law Enforcement, the UK Intelligence Community, safeguarding partners and the third sector to assess the threat and ensure they have the resources they need to tackle offending and provide the greatest protection for vulnerable children.

The Government has made £1.6 million available immediately for the NSPCC to expand and promote its national helpline for adults. We have also launched a £1.2 million funding competition for organisations providing support for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse at a national level, including through support lines, online resources and remote counselling. We have further driven forward work to respond to the increased risk of children coming to harm online, by working across government, with the NCA and industry to ensure that teachers, parents and carers have access to the support they need to help keep children safe online.

The Home Office will further distribute £7.8 million in emergency support for charities helping vulnerable children who have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. The Home Office is working closely with other government departments to ensure that this funding is prioritised and that charities who need this support receive it as soon as possible.

On Thursday 21st May, the Prime Minister hosted a virtual summit focused on ‘hidden harms’, including child sexual abuse. The virtual summit brought key decision makers together to share insight, best practice and agree an approach for tackling these crimes as we move towards easing lockdown measures.

Ahead of the summit, the Home Secretary announced that £9.86 million is being allocated to the National Crime Agency to improve its ability to tackle perpetrators seeking to offend against children via the Dark Web. An additional £3.36 million is being committed to further improve our understanding and tackle all aspects of the child sexual abuse threat. We will also launch a £2.8 million transformation fund to promote and embed best practice in Child Sexual Abuse victim support.

Asked on: 12 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Care Homes and Hospitals: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the remarks by the National Statistician that the R rate of COVID-19 infections “is driven by the epidemic in care homes; and (2) reports by Care England that the levels of COVID-19 infections among hospital and care home staff may be five times higher than those in the wider population; and what steps they are taking in response.
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 28 May 2020

Individual modelling groups use a range of data to estimate R including epidemiological data such as hospital admissions, intensive care unit admissions and deaths. R is an average value that can vary in different parts of the country, communities, and subsections of the population. It cannot be measured directly so there is always some uncertainty around its exact value.

We know that care providers across the country have been doing their utmost to keep those they look after safe and well in the most challenging circumstances. On 13 May we announced an additional £600 million to support providers through a new Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund.

The Government has also made £3.2 billion available to help local authorities deal with the immediate impacts of COVID-19, and £1.3 billion of additional funding to enhance the National Health Service discharge process, getting patients who no longer need urgent treatment home from hospitals safely and quickly.

Asked on: 13 May 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dairy Farming: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment will be made of the adequacy of their financial package of support for the dairy industry during the COVID-19 lockdown.
A
Answered on: 28 May 2020

The Government has continued to engage closely with representatives from all parts of the dairy supply chain throughout this difficult period to assess the challenges facing the industry and to ensure that appropriate financial support is provided. The vast majority of Britain’s dairy farmers continue to supply their contracts at or around the usual price. Approximately 5% of total milk production, however, goes to the service trade. A small proportion of farmers supplying milk to processors that sell into the food service sector have seen a reduction in demand with the closure of food service. A small proportion of suppliers have therefore seen a reduction in demand. We have provided a range of support to help these affected farmers.

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 people 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 to ensure that as much product as possible can be processed into high quality dairy products. This Statutory Instrument was laid on 1 May and applies retrospectively from 1 April.

On 6 May we announced a new scheme specifically to provide support to eligible dairy farmers in England who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May because of coronavirus disruptions. This will provide farmers with funding of up to £10,000 each, to cover 70% of their lost income during the qualifying period, enabling them to continue to operate and to sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.

Defra and the devolved administrations are also jointly contributing towards financing the new £1 million campaign by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and Dairy UK to drive an increase in the consumption of milk. Running over 12 weeks, the campaign is highlighting the role that milk plays in supporting moments of personal connection during times of crisis.

Our Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme is available to farmers, milk buyers and processors. Responding to industry feedback on this scheme, Defra held urgent discussions with the major banks to ensure they understand that farmers, milk buyers and milk processors are eligible. In addition, the new Bounce Back Loan scheme, which applies to businesses operating in agriculture, ensures that the smallest businesses can access loans up to £50,000. To give lenders the confidence they need, we have provided them with a 100% guarantee on each loan and will cover the first 12 months of interest payments and fees.

Public intervention for skimmed milk powder (SMP) and butter continues to be available in the UK. Alongside this we have also ensured the availability to UK dairy processors of private storage aid for cheese, butter and SMP. These measures will help to underpin prices, providing a floor in the market by reducing the volume of product coming on to the market.

We will continue to engage with the dairy industry throughout this period of disruption to monitor the impact of the range of financial and other measures we have implemented, ensuring that the sector continues to have the support that it needs.

Q
Asked by Afzal Khan
(Manchester, Gorton)
Asked on: 18 May 2020
Department for Education
Schools: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has put in place to ensure social distancing is enforced on school buses to ensure safe travel when schools return during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 28 May 2020

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

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

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

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

Q
Asked on: 21 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Protective Clothing: Procurement
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many companies they have requested to manufacture personal protective equipment since 1 January; and what new contracts they have placed (1) inside, and (2) outside, the UK to manufacture such equipment since that date.
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 27 May 2020

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


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

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

Asked on: 21 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Protective Clothing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether all suppliers and potential providers of personal protective equipment within the UK have been used by the NHS.
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 27 May 2020

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


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

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

Q
Asked by Lord Balfe
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Health Services: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment (1) they, and (2) NHS England, have made of the availability of non-COVID-19 related urgent care services; what steps they are taking to ensure that such services are resumed; and when can patients expect face-to-face appointments to resume. [T]
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 27 May 2020

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

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

In the absence of face-to-face appointments, primary and secondary care clinicians have been asked to stratify and proactively contact their high-risk patients to educate on specific symptoms and circumstances needing urgent hospital care and ensure appropriate ongoing care plans are delivered.

Doctors will always have the safety of patients at the centre of any decisions they make.

Asked on: 12 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prisoners have been released due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and how many of any such prisoners have been in prison due to committing sexual offences and released from (1) open, and (2) closed, prisons.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 27 May 2020

On 31 March, we announced that pregnant women and prisoners with their babies in custody will be considered for Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) on compassionate grounds during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Friday 15 May, 21 pregnant women and mothers with babies in custody have been released.

In addition, prisoners identified as ‘extremely vulnerable’ as defined in the NHS guidelines will merit consideration for ROTL on compassionate grounds during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Friday 15 May, 5 extremely vulnerable individuals have been released.

On 4 April, we announced the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme. This scheme enables risk-assessed prisoners, who are within two months of their release date, to be temporarily released from custody, as part of the national approach to managing public services during this challenging period. As of Friday 15 May, 66 offenders have been released under this scheme.

54 offenders were released from closed prisons and 38 were released from open prisons. None of the offenders released were serving sentences for sexual offences.

Q
(Shrewsbury and Atcham)
Asked on: 18 May 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has plans to train additional driving test examiners to help tackle the backlog of driving tests as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 27 May 2020

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

The DVSA’s driving examiner training and recruitment plans are revised regularly and are based on the current backlog and forecasted demand for driving tests. The DVSA is continually evaluating the current situation and is working closely with key stakeholders from the car, motorcycle and vocational industries to establish how to begin resuming its service of providing driving tests. Driving examiner training and recruitment will be adjusted accordingly to take account of the backlog caused by suspending driving tests, and any future changed in demand for driving tests. Before practical driving tests are reintroduced, the DVSA will inform the driver training industry. This will help candidates prepare and reach the standard of driving needed to pass their test.

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

Q
Asked by Lord Chidgey
Asked on: 18 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what their policy was at the recent G20 meetings of health ministers on the proposal for a COVID-19 global mechanism for all countries to access affordable testing, treatment and vaccines.
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 27 May 2020

The G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting was held on 19 April. During its intervention, the United Kingdom emphasised the importance of a coordinated global response to COVID-19, including on the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

A globally accessible vaccine, alongside effective tests and treatments is needed to end the pandemic and start global economic recovery. This will need unprecedented global collaboration and resourcing to drive the speed and scale needed.

Grouped Questions: HL4676
Q
Asked by Lord Chidgey
Asked on: 19 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: International Cooperation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they supported proposals made at recent meetings of G20 representatives for a global mechanism to provide affordable testing, treatment and vaccination for COVID-19.
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 27 May 2020

The G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting was held on 19 April. During its intervention, the United Kingdom emphasised the importance of a coordinated global response to COVID-19, including on the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

A globally accessible vaccine, alongside effective tests and treatments is needed to end the pandemic and start global economic recovery. This will need unprecedented global collaboration and resourcing to drive the speed and scale needed.

Grouped Questions: HL4604
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent steps his Department has taken to ascertain the views of (a) victims of crime and (b) the general public on sentencing policy.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 26 May 2020

We are committed to ensuring victims of crime and the general public have confidence in the criminal justice system and there are a number of routes where the public’s confidence in the criminal justice system is regularly tested.

The Office for National Statistics has published data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales on confidence in the criminal justice system, for several years. This data can be viewed at:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/adhocs/008964dataonconfidenceinthecriminaljusticesystemyearsendingmarch2008tomarch2018crimesurveyforenglandandwales

with additional information here:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/file?uri=/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/adhocs/010292confidenceinthecriminaljusticesystemyearsendingmarch2008tomarch2018crimesurveyforenglandandwales/finaltable.xls

and separately in tables S13 and S27 here:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/crimeinenglandandwalesannualsupplementarytables

The independent Sentencing Council also has a statutory duty to have regard to the need to promote public confidence in the criminal justice system when developing the sentencing guidelines and monitoring their impact. The Council has interpreted this duty more widely as an obligation to take direct steps to promote public confidence in the criminal justice system, and sentencing in particular.

In 2019 the Council published research to consider what drives public confidence in the criminal justice system with the aim of understanding the public’s knowledge of and attitudes towards sentencing, sentencing guidelines and the criminal justice system. As part of this research, interviewers also carried out in-depth interviews with victims of crime. The report on the findings of the research can be viewed at: https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Public-Knowledge-of-and-Confidence-in-the-Criminal-Justice-System-and-Sentencing.pdf

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prison Sentences
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what offences were committed by people sentenced to terms of imprisonment of between 18 months and four years, in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 26 May 2020

Information up to December 2018 on the offences committed by offenders sentenced to imprisonment for between 18 months and four years has been published in the ‘Sentencing data tool’, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statistics-quarterly-december-2018.

To obtain the information requested, in the pivot table, filter the Custodial Sentence Length field to the following:

  • 10: Over 18 months and up to and including 2 years
  • 11: Over 2 years and up to and including 3 years
  • 12: Over 3 years to less than 4 years.

Then, click on the table to open the field list and remove ‘Offence Type’ from the Rows field and drag ‘Offence’ into that field. The table will populate with offences which received custodial sentences of between 18 months and four years.

Sentencing data up to December 2019 is due to be published on 21 May 2020.

Q
Asked by Lord Empey
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Treasury
Interest Rates
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the likelihood of a rise in interest rates due to an increase in borrowing.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 26 May 2020

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee is responsible for setting interest rates to meet the inflation target, and has operational independence from the Government to determine the appropriate level of interest rates.

The Government is ultimately a price-taker, with the price of Government debt dictated by the market. UK debt benefits from “safe haven” status. The trust in the UK’s institutions makes gilts a popular form of sovereign debt compared to many other comparable issuers, keeping its borrowing costs low.

UK borrowing costs tend therefore to chiefly be driven by global risk sentiment and currently stand close to historical lows. The gilt market is deep and liquid with a good track record in responding smoothly to increases in gilt supply.

Q
(Elmet and Rothwell)
Asked on: 15 May 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether driving instructors are permitted to teach non-key worker pupils under covid-19 lockdown rules; and what covid-19 safety guidelines those instructors are subject to.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 26 May 2020

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

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

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

Q
Asked by Paul Maynard
(Blackpool North and Cleveleys)
Asked on: 15 May 2020
Department for Transport
Aviation: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of whether common international health standards for aviation can be agreed in order for the Government to be able to review its policy on the 14-day quarantine period for people entering the UK during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 26 May 2020

The Department for Transport is working closely with a range of international partners, including ICAO and IATA, to drive forward a shared agenda on public health measures for international travel. We are also monitoring closely measures already taken by other countries to prevent the spread of Covid-19 from air travel.

We are guided by the science on self-isolation requirements, which for now will cover all arrivals into the UK, bar a small number of exemptions. We will carefully consider if a risk based approach between countries is possible.

Q
Asked by Nick Fletcher
(Don Valley)
Asked on: 15 May 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that theory test pass certificates of learner drivers do not expire during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 26 May 2020

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

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 15 May 2020
Department for Education
Schools: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that social distancing is maintained by (a) parents and (b) children during travel to and from schools.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 26 May 2020

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

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

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

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

Q
Asked by Tim Farron
(Westmorland and Lonsdale)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Named Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Named Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Named Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Named Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Named Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Named Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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