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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q
(Birmingham, Edgbaston)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

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

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

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

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

Q
(Motherwell and Wishaw)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q
(Chesham and Amersham)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 16 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he plans to resume driving tests at all venues that were in use prior to the covid-19 lockdown.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 22 June 2020

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

Asked on: 08 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their advice to vulnerable people to avoid the use of public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic, when driving tests and assessments will be permitted to resume. [T]
A
Answered on: 15 June 2020

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

The DVSA has produced detailed standard operating procedures, which contains advice to help ensure the safety of staff and customers before, during and after the practical driving test.

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

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

Named Day

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

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

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


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

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

Q
Asked by Mr Peter Bone
(Wellingborough)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 09 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when driving instructors will be able to resume teaching of learner drivers following the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 15 June 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Q
Asked by Mr Peter Bone
(Wellingborough)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 09 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to reopen the driving test booking system.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 15 June 2020

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

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

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

Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

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

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

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

Q
Asked by James Wild
(North West Norfolk)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

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

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

Q
(Birmingham, Edgbaston)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

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

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

Q
(York Central)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 15 June 2020
Treasury
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will review Valuation Office Agency rules which prevent neighbouring business properties with the same owner from being considered as separate properties for the purposes of accessing Government covid-19 grant schemes.
Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Discharge Grants
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he plans to increase the discharge grant to £80 for all prison leavers as a result of the increase in the grant for prisoners granted early release under the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 12 June 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have invested an additional £22m per annum over the remaining life of the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) contracts to deliver an enhanced Through the Gate resettlement service to people leaving prison to prepare them for release. The enhanced service includes the requirement that CRCs complete specific, tailored, tasks to help prisoners to secure and maintain settled accommodation, gain employment and manage debt and their financial affairs. We have put in place an ‘Exceptional Delivery Model’ (EDM) for CRC services during the current Covid-19 crisis, and have established seven National Probation Service and CRC Homelessness Prevention Taskforce Teams. There are six in England and one in Wales.

Additionally, Government has now decided that because of public health concerns and public protection considerations, there is a need to provide accommodation for a larger cohort of prison leavers. The Ministry of Justice has secured appropriate funding for a time-limited period to support the provision of accommodation for all individuals released from prison at risk of homelessness. The scheme will run until 26th June at which point it will be reviewed, taking account of the situation at that time.

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

Offenders Released from custody

Rough sleeping

Other Homeless***

Unknown accommodation circumstance

Young Adults*

1289

17

68

188

Other Males**

5933

198

642

933

Other Females**

592

26

63

88

*Young adults are offenders between 18 and 24

** Other male and females are offenders 25 and over

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q
(Preston)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q
Asked by Olivia Blake
(Sheffield, Hallam)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grouped Questions: 56202 | 56203
Q
Asked by Olivia Blake
(Sheffield, Hallam)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 08 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prison Sentences
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, for what reasons he has not yet reviewed the sentences of people held under imprisonment for public protection sentences.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 11 June 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grouped Questions: 56201 | 56203
Q
Asked by Olivia Blake
(Sheffield, Hallam)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grouped Questions: 56201 | 56202
Q
(Putney)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grouped Questions: 12829
Q
(Easington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

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

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

Q
(North Ayrshire and Arran)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • providing key sector stakeholders direct access to ministers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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