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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Asked on: 17 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Asthma: Health Services
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made on the commitment made in the NHS Long Term Plan to “improve patient pathways to ensure timely assessment and treatment that reduces the risk of death and disability” for severe asthma attacks.
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 22 July 2020

The NHS Long Term Plan commitment to reduce death and disability from severe asthma attacks by ensuring timely assessment and treatment has been taken forward within the scope of the Clinical Review of Standards. This was requested by the Prime Minister in June 2018 and is led by Professor Stephen Powis, Medical Director of NHS England.

The review seeks to promote safety and outcomes; drive improvements in patients experience; are clinically meaningful, accurate and practically achievable; ensure the sickest and most urgent patients are given priority; ensure patients get the right service in the right place; are simple and easy to understand for patients and the public; and not worsen inequalities.

An interim report was published in March 2019 and testing at 14 different hospitals began in May 2019. This included a commitment to collect data to examine the feasibility of measuring how fast critically ill or injured patients arriving at accident and emergency receive a package of tests and care developed with clinical experts

Q
Asked on: 09 July 2020
Department for Transport
Public Transport: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they have spent on the COVID-19 communications campaign advising people to avoid using public transport; and what (1) plans they have for, and (2) associated spending they have allocated to, a communications campaign to encourage people to resume using public transport.
A
Answered on: 22 July 2020

The Department for Transport launched a campaign in May, with the objective of providing clear communications to avoid public transport unless the journey is essential and no other option (i.e. walking, cycling or driving) is available. The Department worked with operators across the transport network who amplified the message. The cost of the May and June activity, which had a primary message advising people to avoid to public transport, was £245k. This activity alone had reached more than 15 million people by 3 July 2020.

At the start of the campaign, the 2m social distancing rule meant public transport was running at 10% of capacity. To enable key workers to access the network safely, the department encouraged those who could avoid travel altogether, or use an alternative mode, to do so. Overcrowding has remained a risk as lockdown restrictions have been lifted and sectors have reopened, so managing demand to protect those who cannot work from home or travel in another way has remained a priority. The campaign to date has helped to prevent such overcrowding by providing clear and consistent advice to the public.

However, ‘avoid travel’ was just one message in a suite communicated to the public, and shared with our partners to disseminate. The campaign has also informed passengers about the steps they can take to protect themselves and others should they need to use the network. Materials and messages have been updated and added regularly to reflect the evolving policy and guidance positions, including, for example, the move to mandatory use of face coverings.

The campaign is therefore not clearly split between advising people to avoid public transport and encouraging them to resume using it. It has, and will continue to, communicate a range of messages to different audiences and will shift over time to reflect the latest advice to the public. Our priority must be the safety of passengers, but when we are able to welcome more people back to the network, we will use the same channels and mechanisms utilised to date. This is an ongoing issue and further spending on communications will be a part of that.

Transport was also a key element of the Stay Alert campaign run by Cabinet Office, with an estimated £2.35 million invested up to 12 July 2020, accounting for 19% of Stay Alert investment. Cabinet Office have worked closely with stakeholders such as TfL who have provided free access to poster sites and Network Rail who have provided 30,000 48 sheet and 96 sheet advertising slots per week.

Q
Asked by Lord Berkeley
Asked on: 10 July 2020
Treasury
Infrastructure
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority Annual Report on Major Projects 2019–20, published on 9 July, which shows that the successful delivery (1) of 32 projects were in doubt and categorised as amber-red risk, and (2) 11 projects appeared to be unachievable and categorised as a red risk, what cross-departmental steps they are taking to improve the (a) performance, (b) delivery, and (c) cost control, of major projects.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 22 July 2020

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) has a number of cross-departmental measures currently under way to improve the Government's delivery of major projects.

These include a new, more rigorous approach to accreditation for Government project delivery professionals, in order to drive skills in this area at all levels across Government.

The IPA is also strengthening the Government’s assurance regime, to ensure that processes are followed with rigour and improve quality across all departments and projects.

Finally, the IPA is working across Government to ensure better estimation of costs and timescales, better benchmarking capability and more consistent application of key principles of cost estimation as part of the Treasury’s ‘Green Book’ methodology.

Q
(Altrincham and Sale West)
Asked on: 14 July 2020
Department for Transport
Aviation: Renewable Fuels
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to support the commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuel in the UK.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 22 July 2020

To help overcome barriers to the production of sustainable fuels for aviation on a commercial scale, the Department’s Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition (F4C) makes capital funding available. As part of the competition we are currently supporting two projects to build plants capable of supplying advanced fuels for use in aviation.

In addition, the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), a certificate trading scheme, promotes a market for low carbon fuels. Sustainable aviation fuels are eligible for support under the RTFO and are categorised as a development fuel, so potentially benefit from a higher tradeable certificate value.

On 12 June the Department announced the Jet Zero Council to create a partnership between industry and Government and bring together Ministers and CEO-level stakeholders to drive high ambition in the delivery of new technologies and innovative ways to cut aviation emissions. The Council will be jointly chaired by the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for BEIS.

Q
Asked by Ian Murray
(Edinburgh South)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 14 July 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Data Protection: Public Sector
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if the Government will adopt a list of specific high-value datasets similar to the European Commission’s Directive on open data and the re-use of public sector information which was entered into force on 16 July 2019.
A
Answered by: Mr John Whittingdale
Answered on: 22 July 2020

The UK Government Licensing Framework is designed to support our drive to open up access to publicly held information and datasets, promoting transparency and enabling wider economic and social gain.

The Framework mandates the Open Government Licence, a set of terms and conditions which facilitate the re-use of a wide range of public sector information free of charge, as the default licence for Crown bodies, and recommends it for other public sector bodies. It is our policy that public sector information should be licensed for use and re-use free of charge under the Licence, with only a few exceptions.

In the global recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, open data and sharing of best practice will be more vital than ever. Data will underpin our future resilience and future economy, and further detail will be set out in our National Data Strategy, which we are aiming to publish later this year.

Q
Asked by Dr Luke Evans
(Bosworth)
Asked on: 14 July 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Hydrogen
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the ability of UK businesses to increase their production of hydrogen supply.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 22 July 2020

Ministers and officials are engaging extensively with UK hydrogen stakeholders to inform development of hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier for the UK, including business models to support investment in low carbon hydrogen production.

Engagement has covered interests from production to end use, including the UK’s industrial clusters with representatives from carbon capture and storage enabled hydrogen projects and potential users of hydrogen; and electrolytic hydrogen producers such as Ryse and ITM Power.

We are formalising our engagement with such stakeholders through the establishment of a Hydrogen Advisory Council, which met for the first time this week. This will enable Government to work in partnership with Industry to drive commercial demonstration and deployment of low carbon hydrogen in the 2020s.

The UK is well placed to be a world leader in both the leading low carbon hydrogen production routes - electrolysis and carbon capture and storage enabled methane reformation. We are home to the world’s largest offshore wind market, have depleted oil and gas reservoirs off our coastline that could potentially store more than 78 billion tonnes of CO2 and significant underground salt beds which could provide tens of gigawatts of cost effective hydrogen storage.

The UK has world leading companies in both these production routes who are already developing major scale production projects, and a world leading innovation base that will contribute to development of the next generation of hydrogen production technologies.

Q
(Bolton South East)
Asked on: 14 July 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Carbon Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to publish the Government's strategy to prioritise and accelerate net zero solutions to decarbonise energy use in order to increase operator and business confidence in investment in low carbon infrastructure.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 22 July 2020

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State will publish an Energy White Paper in the Autumn which will address these issues. The White Paper will drive economic recovery and help deliver our climate goals.

Asked on: 15 July 2020
Department for International Development
Food Poverty: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking in response to the briefing by Oxfam The hunger virus: how COVID-19 is fuelling hunger in a hungry world, published on 12 July, on potential deaths from hunger globally caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Afghanistan.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 22 July 2020

The UK is concerned about food security in 2020. At the end of last year, 135 million people were facing acute food insecurity in 55 countries. This is set to increase, driven partly by COVID-19. We are working with international partners to monitor the situation and have adapted our social protection, agriculture and food security programmes, to support the most vulnerable.

In Yemen, food insecurity is increasing, substantially impacted by COVID-19 and ongoing conflict. Food prices have risen by 15% since the start of the year. In response, UK aid is supporting at least 300,000 vulnerable people each month to help buy food and treat 40,000 children for malnutrition.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, people experiencing acute food insecurity has increased from 15.6 million in 2019, to approximately 19.5 million in 2020. We are at the forefront of the humanitarian response, and our £262 million humanitarian programme will have provided lifesaving assistance to over 3 million people over 3 years.

In Afghanistan, an estimated 12.4 million people are facing ‘crisis’ or ‘emergency’ levels of food insecurity. DFID is working to provide life-saving support through the Multi-year Humanitarian Response Programme and the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, to support the COVID-19 response. This will enable responders to implement the most urgent parts of the WHO plan, and provide vital water, sanitation and food assistance.

Q
Asked by Chi Onwurah
(Newcastle upon Tyne 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: 17 July 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Digital Economy Council
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the priorities of the Digital Economy Council are.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 22 July 2020

The Digital Economy Council was set up in 2017 following publication of the 2017 UK Digital Strategy. The original aim of the Council was to drive progress on the implementation of the Strategy in the areas where the expertise and reach of members could have the greatest impact, and it has served as a valuable advisory group to Government on a range of digital and tech policy issues.

I announced last month that the government will be publishing a new digital strategy in the Autumn that reflects the new post-COVID reality. This will focus on growth and using tech to power us out of the recession, to drive productivity, and to create jobs in all parts of our economy. Members of the Digital Economy Council have shared a number of ideas with me for the Strategy, and I look forward to their further input.

Q
Asked by Ruth Cadbury
(Brentford and Isleworth)
Asked on: 22 July 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Licences: Applications
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to increase the number of driving license renewal applications that are processed in a timely manner.
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 22 July 2020
Ministry of Justice
Young Offenders: Crimes of Violence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many youth offenders were sentenced for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, by (a) sex, (b) age and (c) perceived ethnicity in the last 12 months for which information is available.
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 22 July 2020
Ministry of Justice
Young Offenders: Crimes of Violence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many youth offenders were sentenced for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, by (a) sex, (b) age and (c) perceived ethnicity in the last 12 months for which information is available.
 
Withdrawn
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 22 July 2020
Ministry of Justice
Emergency Services: Crimes of Violence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of people given a custodial sentence for assaulting an emergency worker have been released before the half way point of their sentence on home detention curfew since the introduction of that offence.
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 22 July 2020
Ministry of Justice
Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of assaults on shop workers resulted in (a) a discharge, (b) a fine, (c) a community order, (d) a suspended custodial sentence and (e) an immediate custodial sentence in each of the last three years.
Q
Asked by Apsana Begum
(Poplar and Limehouse)
Asked on: 22 July 2020
Department for Transport
British Nationals Abroad: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it possible for a UK citizen stranded abroad with an out-of-date driving licence to receive a temporary emergency licence in order for them to return the UK.
Q
Asked by Apsana Begum
(Poplar and Limehouse)
Asked on: 22 July 2020
Department for Transport
British Nationals Abroad: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support is available to UK citizens who are stranded abroad with an out-of-date driving licence which is preventing them from returning to the UK.
Q
(South Holland and The Deepings)
Asked on: 22 July 2020
Attorney General
Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Attorney General, what recent sentences she has extended through the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme.
Q
(Foyle)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 22 July 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Hebron: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Israeli counterparts on reports of the recent demolition of a Palestinian drive-through covid-19 testing centre in the City of Hebron, south of the occupied West Bank.
Asked on: 07 July 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Licences: Applications
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there is a backlog of applications for driving licences at the DVLA; if so, what is the size of that backlog; and when they expect any backlog to be cleared.
A
Answered on: 21 July 2020

The DVLA’s online services have continued to work as normal throughout the pandemic. Drivers are advised to use the online services wherever possible as it is the quickest and easiest way of renewing a licence. Since 23 March the DVLA has issued just over 1.5 million driving licences.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is based predominantly in one building in Swansea. Due to the reduced number of staff on-site at any one time to maintain social distancing, there are delays in dealing with paper applications that have been posted to that office. The number of paper driving licence applications waiting to be processed fluctuates on a daily basis as licences are issued and new applications received.

The DVLA is actively working to process these applications as quickly as possible and has reconfigured its offices to accommodate more operational staff while maintaining the two metre social distancing requirements in Wales.

It is not possible to estimate how long it will take to process these applications.

Asked on: 07 July 2020
Department for Transport
Aviation and Shipping: Exhaust Emissions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential to electrify short-haul flights and short-distance marine travel as part of a roadmap to reach net zero emissions; and to publish any such assessment.
A
Answered on: 21 July 2020

The Government is supporting the development of electric aircraft through £125 million of funding to the Future Flight Challenge. The Jet Zero Council, announced in June, will bring together DfT and BEIS Secretaries of State and CEO-level stakeholders to drive high ambition in the delivery of new technologies and innovative ways to cut aviation emissions.

The potential electrification of maritime routes and use of shore power alongside to reduce emissions was assessed as part of the Department’s work to develop the Clean Maritime Plan published in Summer 2019. The research supporting the plan, including detailed consideration of the use of electrical power, has been published on gov.uk.

Asked on: 08 July 2020
Treasury
Motor Vehicles: Exhaust Emissions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential to reduce carbon emissions by introducing a road usage duty, and whether they will publish any such assessment.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 21 July 2020

UK Motorists currently pay fuel duty and VAT on fuel, which means that those who use the roads the most, and do so in higher polluting cars, pay more tax. In addition, the Government uses the Vehicle Excise Duty system to encourage the uptake of cars with low carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) to help meet our legally binding climate change targets.

However, technology is changing many aspects of the economy – including the vehicles we drive – and the government is considering how the tax system will need to adapt to manage those changes.

Q
Asked by Chi Onwurah
(Newcastle upon Tyne Central)
Asked on: 13 July 2020
Department for Education
Department for Education: Cybercrime and Digital Technology
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding his Department has allocated to (a) digital skills and (b) cyber skills; and to whom that funding has been allocated.
A
Answered by: Gillian Keegan
Answered on: 21 July 2020

Ensuring that our children, regardless of their background, have world-class digital and computing skills is a key priority of this government. The government introduced computing as a statutory national curriculum subject in 2014 at all four key stages. The new computing curriculum has helped to ensure pupils have the broader knowledge and skills they need to go on to specialise in innovative technologies and become active creators of digital technology. For example, from the ages of five to eleven, children are taught to use technology purposefully, understand computer networks, and design simple computing programmes. England was one of the first G20 countries to have introduced coding and programming into the curriculum at primary school. By the age of 14, pupils can understand algorithms, use multiple software packages and media and programme in two languages.

The reformed curriculum is supported by the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE), which has been set up with £80 million of government funding. The NCCE are delivering a comprehensive programme to improve the teaching of computing and drive up participation in computer science, particularly amongst girls. The NCCE offer fully funded continuing professional development (CPD) in encryption, cryptography and cyber security to improve the teaching of these cyber security skills. The NCCE also works with the National Crime Agency, and the National Cyber Security Centre to share expertise and signpost to resources such as the CyberFirst programme. The NCCE course at GCSE level, Introduction to Cybersecurity, focuses on the range of threats and vulnerabilities that exist on the internet, how they could be exploited and how to mitigate against cyber-attacks.

The government will introduce a new digital skills entitlement based on new national standards from August 2020. This will be funded through the £1.34 billion Adult Education Budget (AEB), which aims to help eligible adults aged 19 and over gain the skills they need for work, undertake an apprenticeship or pursue further learning.

We are investing an additional £500 million per year on the implementation of new T Levels. Digital Production, Design and Development is one of the first three T Levels to be taught from this September. T Levels in Digital Support and Services, and Digital Business Services will follow in 2021, providing students with a clear pathway to employment in this sector. The Digital Support and Services T Level has a particular cyber security focus with specialisms in digital infrastructure, network cabling and digital support.

The government is also investing up to £290 million of capital funding to establish 20 Institutes of Technology (IoT). These institutes will be the pinnacle of technical training, with unique collaborations between further education colleges, universities and businesses offering higher technical education and training in key sectors such as digital; digital is a popular sectoral specialism with 30% of the provision of the first 12 IoTs aligned to the digital technical route. The planned South Central Institute of Technology will have a particular focus on cyber security.

Q
Asked by Giles Watling
(Clacton)
Asked on: 13 July 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Ofgem: Carbon Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the compliance of Ofgem's RIIO-2 Draft Determinations for Transmission, Gas Distribution and Electricity System Operator with the UK's net zero target.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 21 July 2020

Ofgem, as the independent expert regulator, has an important role in the transition to net zero. Its principle duty is to protect the interests of existing and future consumers, and this includes consumers’ interests in the reduction of targeted greenhouse gas emissions from electricity and gas supply. Ofgem also has a duty to have regard to the effect on the environment of activities connected with the generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity and gas. These duties are set out in Part 1 of the Gas Act 1986 and Electricity Act 1989.

Network regulation is a matter for Ofgem – by law Government has no role. In its RIIO-2 Draft Determinations Ofgem has announced £3bn of upfront funding to connect green electricity sources and transmission grid upgrades. In addition, Ofgem is introducing mechanisms to inject £10bn or more of additional funding that companies can access over the price control to drive decarbonisation and infrastructure upgrades as required, and help to drive green and resilient economic recovery.

In its Decarbonisation Action Plan (link to Plan here), Ofgem stated that it would be ‘reviewing the way our energy systems are managed to ensure they are fit for a net-zero future’.

Grouped Questions: 73077 | 73078
Q
Asked by Giles Watling
(Clacton)
Asked on: 13 July 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Ofgem: Carbon Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the publication of the RIIO-2 Draft Determinations for Transmission, Gas Distribution and Electricity System, whether he plans to align Ofgem’s remit to net zero.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 21 July 2020

Ofgem, as the independent expert regulator, has an important role in the transition to net zero. Its principle duty is to protect the interests of existing and future consumers, and this includes consumers’ interests in the reduction of targeted greenhouse gas emissions from electricity and gas supply. Ofgem also has a duty to have regard to the effect on the environment of activities connected with the generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity and gas. These duties are set out in Part 1 of the Gas Act 1986 and Electricity Act 1989.

Network regulation is a matter for Ofgem – by law Government has no role. In its RIIO-2 Draft Determinations Ofgem has announced £3bn of upfront funding to connect green electricity sources and transmission grid upgrades. In addition, Ofgem is introducing mechanisms to inject £10bn or more of additional funding that companies can access over the price control to drive decarbonisation and infrastructure upgrades as required, and help to drive green and resilient economic recovery.

In its Decarbonisation Action Plan (link to Plan here), Ofgem stated that it would be ‘reviewing the way our energy systems are managed to ensure they are fit for a net-zero future’.

Grouped Questions: 73076 | 73078
Q
Asked by Giles Watling
(Clacton)
Asked on: 13 July 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Ofgem
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to ensure that Ofgem policies support an investment-led green economic recovery.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 21 July 2020

Ofgem, as the independent expert regulator, has an important role in the transition to net zero. Its principle duty is to protect the interests of existing and future consumers, and this includes consumers’ interests in the reduction of targeted greenhouse gas emissions from electricity and gas supply. Ofgem also has a duty to have regard to the effect on the environment of activities connected with the generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity and gas. These duties are set out in Part 1 of the Gas Act 1986 and Electricity Act 1989.

Network regulation is a matter for Ofgem – by law Government has no role. In its RIIO-2 Draft Determinations Ofgem has announced £3bn of upfront funding to connect green electricity sources and transmission grid upgrades. In addition, Ofgem is introducing mechanisms to inject £10bn or more of additional funding that companies can access over the price control to drive decarbonisation and infrastructure upgrades as required, and help to drive green and resilient economic recovery.

In its Decarbonisation Action Plan (link to Plan here), Ofgem stated that it would be ‘reviewing the way our energy systems are managed to ensure they are fit for a net-zero future’.

Grouped Questions: 73076 | 73077
Q
(Huddersfield)
Asked on: 13 July 2020
Department for Education
Disabled Students' Allowances
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students have received funding through the Disabled Students’ Allowance greater than the value of £25,000 in each of the last three academic years.
A
Answered by: Michelle Donelan
Answered on: 21 July 2020

The attached table details management information from the Student Loans Company on the number of students in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) greater than the value of £25,000. These figures cover students who received funding as English-domiciled students studying in the UK. For the vast majority of students receiving DSA funding greater than £25,000, this was driven by funding for the DSA travel grant, which will continue to remain uncapped. Recent changes to DSA will provide undergraduate students with the flexibility to access more of the support they need, as expenditure on particular types of support is no longer subject to a specific financial limit.

72812_table (PDF Document, 44.91 KB)
Q
Asked by Tom Hunt
(Ipswich)
Asked on: 13 July 2020
Home Office
Pets: Theft
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the lack of a specific offence of pet theft on (a) the police's ability to record pet theft and (b) the incentives for the police to investigate pet theft with regard to the severity of sentences upon successful prosecution.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 21 July 2020

The Government understands the distress caused by the theft of a pet, which is already a criminal offence under the Theft Act 1968 and carries a maximum penalty of 7 years’ imprisonment. We expect the police to record all such crimes reported to them so that they can determine how best to investigate

Grouped Questions: 73113
Q
Asked by Tom Hunt
(Ipswich)
Asked on: 13 July 2020
Ministry of Justice
Pets: Theft
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people convicted of pet theft offences have been awarded a prison sentence in each of the last three years; and what the average length was of those sentences.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 21 July 2020

The Government is sympathetic to the emotional trauma which the theft of a much-loved pet can cause. The Sentencing Council’s guidelines on theft now take account of the emotional distress on the victim caused by any theft offence, including theft of a pet, meaning that the courts will now take this into account when considering the appropriate sentence.

There are different theft offences under the Theft Act 1968 any of which could relate to the theft of pets depending on the individual circumstances of the case. Centrally held information on theft offences does not identify if a pet specifically was stolen. The information may be held on court records but to be able to identify cases in which pets were stolen would require access individual court records which would be of disproportionate cost.

Grouped Questions: 73115
Q
Asked by Tom Hunt
(Ipswich)
Asked on: 13 July 2020
Ministry of Justice
Pets: Theft
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that (a) pet sentience and (b) emotional harm to pet owners is considered in sentencing for pet theft offences.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 21 July 2020

The Government is sympathetic to the emotional trauma which the theft of a much-loved pet can cause. The Sentencing Council’s guidelines on theft now take account of the emotional distress on the victim caused by any theft offence, including theft of a pet, meaning that the courts will now take this into account when considering the appropriate sentence.

There are different theft offences under the Theft Act 1968 any of which could relate to the theft of pets depending on the individual circumstances of the case. Centrally held information on theft offences does not identify if a pet specifically was stolen. The information may be held on court records but to be able to identify cases in which pets were stolen would require access individual court records which would be of disproportionate cost.

Grouped Questions: 73114
Q
Asked by Chi Onwurah
(Newcastle upon Tyne Central)
Asked on: 15 July 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Telecommunications
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to his oral statement of 14 July 2020 on UK Telecommunications, who will have oversight of removal of Huawei from the UK 5G network; which Minister will have responsibility for that oversight; and if he will establish a national taskforce to ensure the effective removal of Huawei.
A
Answered by: Matt Warman
Answered on: 21 July 2020

The Government’s Telecoms Security Bill will ensure we have the powers we need to drive up security standards and control the presence of High Risk Vendors. The Bill will go beyond individual companies, and will enshrine in law one of the strongest regimes for telecoms security in the world.

The Secretary of State will have oversight of the removal of Huawei from the UK 5G network, working alongside Ofcom, who will be asked to provide the Secretary of State with factual reports on operators’ use of Huawei products. The Secretary of State will take forward enforcement action where necessary to ensure controls in relation to Huawei are adhered to.

As it relates to telecommunications infrastructure, responsibility would fall to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Q
Asked by Zarah Sultana
(Coventry South)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 21 July 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Capital Punishment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Bahraini counterpart on allegations of (a) torture and (b) due process violations in the case of (i) Mohammed Ramadhan and (ii) Husain Moosa who have been sentenced to death in that country; and what recent comparative assessment he has made of the accuracy of (A) Bahrain's Special Investigation Unit, (B) the Bahraini Ombudsman and (C) independent experts at the International Rehabilitation for Torture Victims.
Q
Asked by John Spellar
(Warley)
Asked on: 21 July 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Licences: Applications
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the backlog is for applications for (a) new and (b) renewal of driving licences; and what steps he is taking to tackle that backlog.
Q
Asked on: 06 July 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Electricity Generation: Carbon Emissions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential for investment in zero emissions electricity systems to stimulate economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, including (1) additional renewables capacity, (2) additional nuclear capacity, and (3) storage, transmission and distribution systems.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 20 July 2020

In his speech of 30 June, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister made clear that in recovering from COVID-19, we must build back better, build back greener, build back faster, and to do that at the pace that this moment requires. Our economy must be cleaner, more sustainable, and more resilient.

Renewable and low carbon energy are important in the delivery of our Net Zero target and will help drive new jobs and growth across the UK.

The Government announced on 2 March 2020 that, in addition to offshore wind, onshore wind and solar projects can bid for contracts in the next Contracts for Difference allocation round planned for 2021. At the budget, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced an ambitious support package for our low-carbon economy including £800 million funding to deploy the first carbon capture and storage cluster in the UK. These announcements reflect our commitment to reach our net zero target, through a sustainable, diverse, and resilient energy system and capture economic opportunities in doing so.

Nuclear power has the potential to play a key role in achieving net zero and as the Prime Minister noted in his 30 June speech is an important UK innovation sector. We consulted on a Regulated Asset Base (RAB) financing model to enable new nuclear projects last year and are considering the responses we received – we will publish our response in due course. We also awarded an initial £18m R&D grant, under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, to a Rolls-Royce led consortium developing an SMR design last year, with a decision to be taken on possibility of further grant of c.£200m later in 2020. Economic recovery post Covid-19 is clearly a new context in which future investment decisions will be taken.

Electricity storage has a key role to play in decarbonising our energy system. We are facilitating investment in storage through delivering the actions set out in the Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan, including creating a best-in-class regulatory framework and reforming markets. Energy network regulation is a matter for Ofgem, as the independent regulator, and Ofgem is considering how the upcoming network price controls, for example, can help stimulate the recovery while delivering net zero at the lowest cost to consumers. Government will continue to engage with Ofgem on these issues.

Asked on: 06 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: Employment
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure an adequate supply of labour on farms in (1) England, (2) Northern Ireland, (3) Wales, and (4) Scotland.
A
Answered on: 20 July 2020

The Seasonal Workers Pilot is providing thousands of non-EU workers to farms across the UK this year. Immigration is a reserved matter and the Seasonal Workers Pilot is a nationwide pilot, with a nationwide quota. The Government has placed a specific duty on the operators to ensure that all regions of the UK benefit from this pilot.

While restrictions due to COVID-19 initially delayed the arrival of some Pilot workers, Defra and the Home Office worked closely with Pilot operators to enable workers to reach the UK. The Visa Application Centres in Ukraine and Belarus, which were temporarily closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, reopened on 1 June. This allowed significant numbers of Pilot workers from those countries to obtain a visa and travel to the UK.

We are aware of the wider impact that restrictions on travel from other countries, as a result of COVID-19, has had on the number of seasonal workers coming to work in the UK. We are working closely with industry and government officials in Scotland and Wales to help our world-leading farmers and growers access the labour they need over the busy harvest months. All are supportive of the joint Defra and industry ‘Pick for Britain’ campaign and website, aimed at driving awareness of seasonal roles on farms. We understand that for England the demand for seasonal workers is currently being met, and we are closely monitoring the situation throughout the rest of the summer.

Defra discussed with officials at DAERA the plans for the Pick for Britain website and their thoughts on a future public -acing campaign to attract more seasonal workers from the UK. The feedback received was that DAERA was working closely with industry representatives in Northern Ireland and would use the existing Department for Communities website – JobCentre Online (JCOL) to advertise local opportunities. The website also provided a link to the Pick for Britain initiative.

Asked on: 06 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animal Welfare
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to bring forward legislative proposals on animal sentience.
Answered on: 20 July 2020

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

Additionally, we have committed to ending excessively long journeys for slaughter and fattening and to banning the keeping of primates as pets. The Government is supporting the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill. This will increase the maximum custodial penalty for animal cruelty from six months' imprisonment to five years' imprisonment. The new maximum penalty of five years is in line with campaigns by key stakeholders such as Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Dogs Trust and the RSPCA. This is a positive step forward in improving animal welfare. and will act as a serious deterrent against cruelty and neglect. It will provide one of the toughest sanctions in Europe, strengthening the UK's position as a global leader on animal welfare.

Asked on: 06 July 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Architecture: Ethnic Groups
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to support BAME–led architecture practices and BAME built environment professionals in their plans for the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 20 July 2020

We are continuing to work across Government and with a wide array of stakeholders including the Royal Institute of British Architects, to ensure that diverse voices are heard in the policy making process, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are supporting the construction sector by helping it drive increased investment in skills development, adopt a more strategic and co-ordinated approach to recruitment, and equip workers with the skills they need for the future.

Additionally, the Professional and Business Services Council’s Skills and Inclusion Working Group is engaged on access to skills to support business growth in the industry, as well as considering how to increase social mobility within the sector. The group have convened a sub-group to consider immediate emerging skills issues that have arisen as a result of COVID-19.

Q
Asked by Claudia Webbe
(Leicester East)
Asked on: 08 July 2020
Home Office
Modern Slavery Act 2015 Independent Review
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if her Department will adopt the recommendations from the Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015: Final report, CP 100, published in May 2019, to strengthen the domestic legal framework for ensuring corporate accountability for modern slavery in supply chains.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 20 July 2020

Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 established the UK as the first country in the world to require businesses to report annually on steps taken to prevent modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. The Government is committed to continuously strengthening our approach to increase transparency in supply chains. In 2018, the Home Office commissioned an Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act to look at where the Act has worked well and where it could be more effective, including section 54.

The Government accepted the majority (see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-independent-review-of-the-modern-slavery-act)of the Review’s recommendations and on 9 July 2019 the Home Office launched a public consultation seeking views on an ambitious package of measures to strengthen the Act’s transparency legislation. These included requiring organisations to report on specific topics, introducing a single reporting deadline and extending transparency to the public sector. The Government will publish its response to the consultation this summer.

We are also developing a new gov.uk registry for statements published under the Modern Slavery Act, to enable greater scrutiny from consumers, investors, civil society and others and drive a “race to the top”.

Q
Asked by Gareth Bacon
(Orpington)
Asked on: 09 July 2020
Home Office
Slavery: Manufacturing Industries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps are being taken to eradicate modern slavery in the fast fashion industry.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 20 July 2020

The Government is committed to tackling modern slavery in all sectors, including fashion, which is why in 2017 we expanded the remit of the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), giving specially trained officers stronger powers under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to investigate labour market offences across all sectors of the economy in England and Wales. We have also committed to creating a single enforcement body to crack down on employers abusing the law, to protect vulnerable workers and create a level playing field for the majority of employers that comply with the law.

To address risks in the fashion sector specifically, the former Prime Minister launched 'The Apparel and General Merchandise Public and Private Protocol' in 2018. The protocol is a partnership between enforcement bodies such as the GLAA and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and industry partners, including the British Retail Consortium, UK Fashion and the Textile Association, and commits its signatories to working together to eradicate slavery and exploitation in textile supply chains.

We are also committed to improving transparency in domestic and global supply chains. Under section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the UK became the first country in the world to require large businesses in all sectors to report on how they are tackling modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. We are committed to continuously strengthening our approach and in July 2019 the Home Office launched a public consultation on an ambitious package of measures designed to enhance the impact of transparency, including mandating specific topics organisations must report on, introducing a single reporting deadline and extending transparency to the public sector. The Government response to the consultation will be published this summer.

We are also developing a new gov.uk registry for statements published under the Modern Slavery Act, to enable greater scrutiny from consumers, investors, civil society and others and drive a “race to the top".

Q
Asked on: 09 July 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Local Government: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the role of local government in supporting the Government's jobs and skills recovery plan following the COVID-19 pandemic.
A
Answered by: Lord Greenhalgh
Answered on: 20 July 2020

On 8th July the Chancellor announced measures across a range of targeted work-based training offers to support people to build the skills they need to get into work. This amounts to investment of £1.6 billion in employment support schemes, which will substantially expand existing provision. This includes £111 million to triple traineeships for 16-24 year olds will help more young people gain the skills to progress to apprenticeships, further education and other employment. We are providing employers with £2,000 for each young person they hire as an apprentice and offering £1,500 for each new apprentice hired aged over 25. We are also providing £101 million for school and college leavers to study high value Level 2 and 3 courses when there are not employment opportunities available to them, providing funding of £17 million to almost triple the number of Sector-Based Work Academy placements, and giving the National Careers Service an extra £32 million funding so it can provide careers advice to 269,000 more customers.

Through our Plan for Jobs we have set out how we will support people to stay in and access good jobs as we drive forward our recovery. This includes investing £2 billion to directly support hundreds of thousands of young people through the Kickstart Scheme which will provide fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country.

As part of raising the participation age legislation local authorities have duties to track all academic age 16 and 17 year olds, identify those not in education, employment or training or at risk of becoming so and supporting them to re-engage in education or training. This includes a September guarantee where local authorities need to ensure that all year 11 students and year 12 students on a one year course have a suitable offer of education or training for the following September. We are working closely with local authorities to support these duties and monitor September guarantee offers.

Across these areas the government recognises the need to work closely with local government to support these various interventions and is proactively taking forward conversations with local government on delivery of these programmes.

Q
Asked by Sarah Olney
(Richmond Park)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 13 July 2020
Home Office
Stalking: Registration
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that serial stalkers are routinely tracked, managed and supervised.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 20 July 2020

People who have been convicted of one of the offences specified in Schedule 15 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003, including stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and who have been sentenced to 12 months or more of imprisonment or youth detention or who have been detained under the Mental Health Act 1983, are automatically managed under Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA). Of those people, those who pose a higher risk of harm - where formal multi-agency meetings are held to inform the shared Risk Management Plan - are included on the ViSOR Dangerous Persons Database.

People who do not meet those criteria, but who have been convicted or cautioned for, or reprimanded or warned about, an offence which indicates that they pose a risk of serious harm to the public, and who are considered by the MAPPA agencies to require the active involvement of several agencies via regular multi-agency public protection meetings, are also managed under MAPPA and included on ViSOR. Additionally, a person who has not been convicted of an offence, but whose behaviour gives reasonable grounds for believing that there is a likelihood of them committing an offence which will cause serious harm (known as a Potentially Dangerous Person), may also be included on ViSOR.

The College of Policing has issued guidance to police forces on the ‘Identification, assessment and management of serial or potentially dangerous domestic abuse and stalking perpetrators’. The key principles set out that forces should have processes in place to identify serial or potentially dangerous domestic abuse or stalking perpetrators and ensure that information about the perpetrator is recorded on the Police National Computer, the Police National Database or ViSOR as appropriate.

HM Prison and Probation Service has published a Domestic Abuse Policy Framework which sets out the arrangements for working with people whose convictions or behaviours include domestic abuse. The framework mandates adherence to the referral pathways for domestic abuse perpetrators and ensures that the expectations for its work in those cases is laid out clearly and comprehensively.

In January 2020 the Government introduced Stalking Protection Orders, which allow magistrates’ courts to impose prohibitions and positive requirements on a person if they are necessary to protect another person from a risk associated with stalking. The Domestic Abuse Bill will introduce Domestic Abuse Protection Orders, which will include similar provisions, including specific provision for electronic tagging.

Grouped Questions: 73031
Q
Asked by Sarah Olney
(Richmond Park)
Asked on: 13 July 2020
Home Office
Domestic Abuse
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that domestic violence perpetrators are routinely tracked, managed and supervised.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 20 July 2020

People who have been convicted of one of the offences specified in Schedule 15 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003, including stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and who have been sentenced to 12 months or more of imprisonment or youth detention or who have been detained under the Mental Health Act 1983, are automatically managed under Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA). Of those people, those who pose a higher risk of harm - where formal multi-agency meetings are held to inform the shared Risk Management Plan - are included on the ViSOR Dangerous Persons Database.

People who do not meet those criteria, but who have been convicted or cautioned for, or reprimanded or warned about, an offence which indicates that they pose a risk of serious harm to the public, and who are considered by the MAPPA agencies to require the active involvement of several agencies via regular multi-agency public protection meetings, are also managed under MAPPA and included on ViSOR. Additionally, a person who has not been convicted of an offence, but whose behaviour gives reasonable grounds for believing that there is a likelihood of them committing an offence which will cause serious harm (known as a Potentially Dangerous Person), may also be included on ViSOR.

The College of Policing has issued guidance to police forces on the ‘Identification, assessment and management of serial or potentially dangerous domestic abuse and stalking perpetrators’. The key principles set out that forces should have processes in place to identify serial or potentially dangerous domestic abuse or stalking perpetrators and ensure that information about the perpetrator is recorded on the Police National Computer, the Police National Database or ViSOR as appropriate.

HM Prison and Probation Service has published a Domestic Abuse Policy Framework which sets out the arrangements for working with people whose convictions or behaviours include domestic abuse. The framework mandates adherence to the referral pathways for domestic abuse perpetrators and ensures that the expectations for its work in those cases is laid out clearly and comprehensively.

In January 2020 the Government introduced Stalking Protection Orders, which allow magistrates’ courts to impose prohibitions and positive requirements on a person if they are necessary to protect another person from a risk associated with stalking. The Domestic Abuse Bill will introduce Domestic Abuse Protection Orders, which will include similar provisions, including specific provision for electronic tagging.

Grouped Questions: 73030
Q
(Hammersmith)
[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: 14 July 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Capital Punishment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the decision by Bahrain’s Court of Cassation to uphold death sentences against Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa on 13 July 2020, if he will suspend Government support for (a) the Bahraini Special Investigations Unit, (b) the Ministry of Interior Ombudsman and (c) other Bahraini institutions accused of complicity in the torture of both men.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 20 July 2020

We are deeply concerned that the death penalty verdicts imposed on Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa by Bahrain's Court of Cassation have been upheld. Lord Ahmad, who is the Minister of State responsible for human rights, reinforced this position in his tweet of 14 July. We have raised both cases at senior levels with the Government of Bahrain. The Bahraini Government is fully aware that the UK opposes the death penalty, in all circumstances, as a matter of principle.

The UK welcomed the investigation by the Ombudsman and Special Investigation Unit into the cases of Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa, ultimately leading to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice ordering a retrial - a first in Bahrain.

The UK is committed to supporting Bahrain's oversight bodies, including the Ministry of Interior Ombudsman and the independent Special Investigations Unit. We continue to believe that Bahrain is taking steps in the right direction to improve its record on justice and security issues. The support we provide to these bodies, including in partnership with the UN Development Programme contributing to their work to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 16 (strengthening institutions and increasing access to justice), contributes to the ongoing development of both their capacity and capabilities.

Q
(Hammersmith)
[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: 14 July 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Capital Punishment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the decision by Bahrain’s Court of Cassation to uphold death sentences against Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa on 13 July 2020, if the Government will take steps to increase transparency on the use of UK funding allocated to Bahrain under the Integrated Activity Fund.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 20 July 2020

We are deeply concerned that the death penalty verdicts imposed on Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa by Bahrain's Court of Cassation have been upheld. Lord Ahmad, who is the Minister of State responsible for human rights, reinforced this position in his tweet of 14 July. We have raised both cases at senior levels with the Government of Bahrain. The Bahraini Government is fully aware that the UK opposes the death penalty, in all circumstances, as a matter of principle.

Our assistance is designed to support Bahrain-led reform in areas including human rights. It is provided in line with international standards and fully complies with our human rights obligations and the Overseas Security and Justice Assistance process. Programmes are routinely monitored by officials and evaluated, by officials, on a regular basis to ensure that they are on track for delivery.

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

Named Day

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

Asked on: 14 July 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Pakistan: Capital Punishment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Pakistani counterpart on (a) Shagufta Kauser, (b) Hussain Moosa and (c) other prisoners facing death sentences under blasphemy laws in that country.
A
Answered by: Nigel Adams
Answered on: 20 July 2020
Holding answer received on 20 July 2020

We are concerned about the issue of blasphemy laws, which has affected both Muslims and non-Muslims. It is our longstanding policy to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. We continue to closely monitor, the case of Shagufta Kausar and her husband Shafqat Emmanuel, whose appeal hearing is delayed until September due to court closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK Government regularly raise our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief and blasphemy laws at a senior level with the Government of Pakistan. Most recently, the Minister of State for South Asia and human rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, raised concerns on Freedom of Religion or Belief and the death penalty with Dr Mazari, Pakistan's Human Right Minister, on 15 July. Lord Ahmad also raised our concerns regarding the blasphemy laws, including the case of Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel, with Pakistan's High Commissioner to the UK, His Excellency Nafees Zakaria, on 23 June. The Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Rehman Chishti MP, has also spoken to the Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK about Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Q
Asked by Zarah Sultana
(Coventry South)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 14 July 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Capital Punishment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether British Embassy officials attended the trial of Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa in Bahrain on 13 July 2020; and what their assessment was of the decision to uphold their death sentences amid allegations of torture and due process violations.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 20 July 2020

Due to public health precautions in place for COVID-19, British Embassy officials were unable to attend the Court of Cassation. We are deeply concerned that the death penalty verdicts imposed on Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa by Bahrain's Court of Cassation have been upheld. Lord Ahmad, who is the Minister of State responsible for human rights, reinforced this position in his tweet of 14 July. We have raised both cases at senior levels with the Government of Bahrain. The Bahraini Government is fully aware that the UK opposes the death penalty, in all circumstances, as a matter of principle.

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: 14 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Water: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase the quality of the 21 bathing waters in the UK that have been classified to be of poor quality.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 20 July 2020

In 2019, the Environment Agency sampled 420 bathing waters in England and seven were classified as “Poor”. 98.3% of bathing waters met the minimum standard of “Sufficient” set by the Bathing Water Regulations 2013 (“the Regulations”) and 71.4% met the highest “Excellent” standard.

Hundreds of projects have been completed to address poor bathing water quality and successfully drive up standards. Water companies have invested £2.5 billion to reduce pollution, councils and charities have run campaigns to keep beaches clean and advice has been provided to farmers on how to reduce pollution into rivers.

The remaining “Poor” bathing waters all have complex problems that require partnership working with stakeholders to rectify issues. Sources of pollution identified include sewer misconnections, sea birds, dogs, run-off from urban and agricultural land, as well as sewage from combined sewer overflows and septic tanks. The Environment Agency is working with partners to look for solutions to these problems.

Pollution risk forecasting provides advice against bathing when conditions such as rain or tide or wind increase the risk of reduced water quality.

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

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 14 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Coastal Erosion and Flood Control: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the criteria his Department used to allocate the flooding and coastal erosion funding announced on 14 July 2020.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 20 July 2020

On 14 July 2020 the Government announced it will invest up to £170 million to bring forward work on flood defence schemes which will drive economic growth and better protect thousands of homes, businesses and jobs from the devastating effects of flooding.

The additional economic recovery funding will enable work to start on 22 new flood defence projects in 2020 or 2021, in addition to those schemes which were already planned to commence in the final year of the current six-year programme to better protect 300,000 homes from flooding.

The schemes identified were shortlisted and approved based on their economic growth/recovery potential, specifically including numbers of businesses and jobs protected. They are also all projects that were “shovel-ready” to begin construction in the financial years 20/21 or 21/22.

Q
(Easington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 14 July 2020
Department for Transport
Rolling Stock: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, will he will make it his policy to establish a criteria that promotes UK manufacturing in procurement contracts for rail rolling stock after the end of the transition period.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 20 July 2020

The end of the transition period presents an important opportunity for wider reform of our public procurement framework to ensure it meets our national needs, drives improved commercial outcomes, removes complex and unnecessary bureaucratic rules, and reduces burdens on business, whilst continuing to comply with the UK's obligations under its international trade agreements. This includes the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement, which the UK will accede to as an independent member at the end of the transition period. We will continue to work closely with industry, including rail businesses, to promote skilled employment and manufacturing in the UK.

Q
Asked by Chi Onwurah
(Newcastle upon Tyne 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: 14 July 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Telecommunications: Russia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment has he made of the level of threat posed by Russia to the integrity and security of the UK's communications networks.
A
Answered by: Matt Warman
Answered on: 20 July 2020

The government’s approach to securing the UK’s telecommunications networks is underpinned by world-leading security analysis from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). This analysis provides a comprehensive understanding of the risks and threats faced by the UK telecoms sector, and is informed by, inter alia, details of previous attacks on the UK telecoms networks, and the NCSC’s knowledge of global attacks on telecoms systems, regardless of the attacker. The NCSC’s security analysis is subject to constant review as the risks and threats change, and their advice to the government is updated accordingly.

The Telecoms Security Bill will ensure we have the powers we need to drive up security standards and control the presence of High Risk Vendors. The new security framework will be one of the strongest regimes for telecoms security in the world, which will look to address the vulnerabilities exploited by cyber attackers, including those from Russia.

Q
Asked by Bim Afolami
(Hitchin and Harpenden)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 15 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Nature Conservation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure that the UK is a global leader in policy advocacy for the conservation of nature.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 20 July 2020

We are committed to ensuring that the UK leads the world to promote a green, fair and resilient global recovery from the impacts of Covid-19 and central to that is the importance of resetting the global relationship with nature.

We will support the adoption of ambitious and practical targets on nature at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity Summit (COP15) in China next May, strengthened by coherent implementation mechanisms that will deliver a new global biodiversity framework that is commensurate with the scale of the challenge. Nature is also a top priority for our upcoming Presidency of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (COP26) next year and we are pushing for tangible and ambitious commitments from partner governments to champion nature and nature-based solutions. Given this, and the multi-faceted benefits of nature-based solutions, we are working with the Chinese Government, who are hosting COP15, to press for mutually reinforcing outcomes at the two Conferences. In addition, we will continue leading global ambition on conserving endangered species, following our hosting of the international Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in 2018.

On marine biodiversity, we are driving forward efforts to protect and enhance the ocean and eliminate harmful fisheries practice as we have done domestically and in 2018 we launched the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance with Vanuatu, which now convenes 34 Commonwealth countries to tackle plastic pollution. We have also committed to a new, £500 million Blue Planet Fund, and are building on the ‘30by30’ campaign which the UK launched at the UN General Assembly in 2018, leading the Global Ocean Alliance calling to protect 30% of the world’s global ocean by 2030. This ambitious target is underpinned by domestic commitments through the Blue Belt Programme, which is on course to deliver over 4 million square kilometres of protected ocean around the British Overseas Territories by the end of 2020.

Our international leadership on nature must be underpinned by credible action at home. In England, our 25 Year Environment Plan marked a step change in ambition for nature and the natural environment. We are taking action to fulfil this ambition by introducing bold new legislation and new funding to support nature’s recovery.

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