Written questions and answers

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

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

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

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Q
(Newport East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 01 May 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of the proposals in the Joint call to Government for a Coronavirus Emergency Income Support Scheme that can help us all weather this storm, published by the Trussell Trust in April 2020.
A
Answered by: Will Quince
Answered on: 04 June 2020
Holding answer received on 06 May 2020

The Government has been clear in its commitment to support those affected in these difficulties times and we have made a number of changes to the welfare system to ensure people are receiving the support they need. These changes include:

  • making it easier to access benefits. Those applying for Contributory ESA who may have coronavirus, are self-isolating, or caring for a child (or qualifying young person) who falls into either of those categories, or individuals who have been advised to ’shield’ because they are at high risk of severe illness, will be entitled from day 1 of their claim – as opposed to day 8 - and we have removed the need for face-to-face assessment. Both Universal Credit and ESA can now be claimed by phone or online;
  • increasing the standard allowance of Universal Credit and working tax credit for this year by around £1000 per year;
  • temporarily relaxing the application of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for all self-employed claimants affected by COVID-19 to ensure that the self-employed can access UC at a more generous rate;
  • making Statutory Sick Pay available from day 1 – as opposed to day 4 - where an eligible individual is sick or self-isolating; and
  • increasing in the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers the cheapest 30% of local market rents – which is on average £600 in people’s pockets.
  • To allow staff to be re-deployed to the front line, we have suspended recovery of some Government debts such as Tax Credits, benefit overpayments and Social Fund Loans.
  • The Department has also made Regulations which remove restrictions preventing prisoners on temporary release due to the Covid-19 measures from claiming means-tested benefits, including Universal Credit, during the period of that release.

Taken together, these measures represent an injection of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system and, along with the other job and business support programmes announced by the Chancellor, including the Business Retention Scheme and the Self Employed Income Support Scheme, represent one of the most comprehensive packages of support introduced by an advanced economy in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Government remains committed to supporting the essential work the Voluntary, and Community and Social Enterprise Sector do in our communities which is why the Chancellor recently announced a £750million package of support to ensure they can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak. Following the Chancellor’s announcement last month, the bidding process for direct cash grants through the National Lottery Community Fund has now launched for those in England.

The Coronavirus Community Support Fund aims to support the tens of thousands of charities and organisations at the heart of local communities that are making a big difference during the COVID-19 outbreak, including delivering food, essential medicines and providing financial advice, which includes welfare support and advice. The funding is to help organisations ensure they can meet increased demand as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as continuing their day to day activities supporting vulnerable people in need.

Asked on: 06 May 2020
Home Office
Free Movement of People
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the assistance provided for workers from outside the UK with horticultural duties during the COVID-19 pandemic, what consideration they have given to reversing their advice on restrictions of the freedom of movement.
Answered on: 04 June 2020

We welcome the contribution which seasonal workers from outside the UK are making to the UK agricultural sector. Such workers will not have to enter into quarantine on arrival in the UK but we will expect them, and their employers, to take sensible measures to prevent any spread of disease and for the migrants to remain on the farms where they are working.

Q
(Rother Valley)
Asked on: 11 May 2020
Home Office
Boats: Undocumented Migrants
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many boats illegally transporting migrants have arrived in the UK in each month of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 04 June 2020

To provide information regarding the number of boats illegally transporting migrants have arrived in the UK in each month of the last three years would require a manual check of individual records which would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold.

However, we can provide information that the number of migrants arriving in the UK crossing the Channel by small boats for the months of January to March 2020 is approx. 450.  These are provisional figures based on operational management information. The figures for April have not passed through a data quality check and cannot be assured. The final figures for all months will be published at a later date, once they have been verified and fully quality assured.

Interceptions of migrants at sea is carried by UK and French authorities, migrants will be taken to the appropriate country determined by the interception’s location in territorial waters.

In April 2020 more than 500 migrants have been stopped from getting to the UK using a small boat. This includes French law enforcement at sea, on beaches and on the inland roads network.

The UK continues to work closely with France and other countries to return migrants who have entered the UK by small boat in order to provide a strong deterrent against these dangerous crossings.

Since January 2019, over 155 people who entered the UK illegally on small boats have been returned to Europe. However, as a result of COVID-19 the vast majority of EU member states have temporarily paused accepting returns under the Dublin Regulations, but we are tracking those individuals and where appropriate will seek to return them when routes are available.

The Home Secretary together with her French counterpart have reaffirmed their shared commitment to end the crossings and have put forward new measures and approaches to tackling the issue – looking again at ways to return more migrants to France.

Grouped Questions: 45527 | 45528 | 45529
Q
(Rother Valley)
Asked on: 11 May 2020
Home Office
Boats: Undocumented Migrants
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many boats transporting migrants to the UK have been turned back in each month of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 04 June 2020

To provide information regarding the number of boats illegally transporting migrants have arrived in the UK in each month of the last three years would require a manual check of individual records which would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold.

However, we can provide information that the number of migrants arriving in the UK crossing the Channel by small boats for the months of January to March 2020 is approx. 450.  These are provisional figures based on operational management information. The figures for April have not passed through a data quality check and cannot be assured. The final figures for all months will be published at a later date, once they have been verified and fully quality assured.

Interceptions of migrants at sea is carried by UK and French authorities, migrants will be taken to the appropriate country determined by the interception’s location in territorial waters.

In April 2020 more than 500 migrants have been stopped from getting to the UK using a small boat. This includes French law enforcement at sea, on beaches and on the inland roads network.

The UK continues to work closely with France and other countries to return migrants who have entered the UK by small boat in order to provide a strong deterrent against these dangerous crossings.

Since January 2019, over 155 people who entered the UK illegally on small boats have been returned to Europe. However, as a result of COVID-19 the vast majority of EU member states have temporarily paused accepting returns under the Dublin Regulations, but we are tracking those individuals and where appropriate will seek to return them when routes are available.

The Home Secretary together with her French counterpart have reaffirmed their shared commitment to end the crossings and have put forward new measures and approaches to tackling the issue – looking again at ways to return more migrants to France.

Grouped Questions: 45526 | 45528 | 45529
Q
(Rother Valley)
Asked on: 11 May 2020
Home Office
Boats: Undocumented Migrants
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many boats illegally transporting migrants to the UK have been sent back to France in each month of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 04 June 2020

To provide information regarding the number of boats illegally transporting migrants have arrived in the UK in each month of the last three years would require a manual check of individual records which would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold.

However, we can provide information that the number of migrants arriving in the UK crossing the Channel by small boats for the months of January to March 2020 is approx. 450.  These are provisional figures based on operational management information. The figures for April have not passed through a data quality check and cannot be assured. The final figures for all months will be published at a later date, once they have been verified and fully quality assured.

Interceptions of migrants at sea is carried by UK and French authorities, migrants will be taken to the appropriate country determined by the interception’s location in territorial waters.

In April 2020 more than 500 migrants have been stopped from getting to the UK using a small boat. This includes French law enforcement at sea, on beaches and on the inland roads network.

The UK continues to work closely with France and other countries to return migrants who have entered the UK by small boat in order to provide a strong deterrent against these dangerous crossings.

Since January 2019, over 155 people who entered the UK illegally on small boats have been returned to Europe. However, as a result of COVID-19 the vast majority of EU member states have temporarily paused accepting returns under the Dublin Regulations, but we are tracking those individuals and where appropriate will seek to return them when routes are available.

The Home Secretary together with her French counterpart have reaffirmed their shared commitment to end the crossings and have put forward new measures and approaches to tackling the issue – looking again at ways to return more migrants to France.

Grouped Questions: 45526 | 45527 | 45529
Q
(Rother Valley)
Asked on: 11 May 2020
Home Office
Boats: Undocumented Migrants
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many boats illegally transporting migrants to the UK have been stopped in French waters in each month of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 04 June 2020

To provide information regarding the number of boats illegally transporting migrants have arrived in the UK in each month of the last three years would require a manual check of individual records which would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold.

However, we can provide information that the number of migrants arriving in the UK crossing the Channel by small boats for the months of January to March 2020 is approx. 450.  These are provisional figures based on operational management information. The figures for April have not passed through a data quality check and cannot be assured. The final figures for all months will be published at a later date, once they have been verified and fully quality assured.

Interceptions of migrants at sea is carried by UK and French authorities, migrants will be taken to the appropriate country determined by the interception’s location in territorial waters.

In April 2020 more than 500 migrants have been stopped from getting to the UK using a small boat. This includes French law enforcement at sea, on beaches and on the inland roads network.

The UK continues to work closely with France and other countries to return migrants who have entered the UK by small boat in order to provide a strong deterrent against these dangerous crossings.

Since January 2019, over 155 people who entered the UK illegally on small boats have been returned to Europe. However, as a result of COVID-19 the vast majority of EU member states have temporarily paused accepting returns under the Dublin Regulations, but we are tracking those individuals and where appropriate will seek to return them when routes are available.

The Home Secretary together with her French counterpart have reaffirmed their shared commitment to end the crossings and have put forward new measures and approaches to tackling the issue – looking again at ways to return more migrants to France.

Grouped Questions: 45526 | 45527 | 45528
Q
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
UK City of Culture: Coventry
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they are putting in place to support Coventry, as it prepares to become UK City of Culture 2021, to compensate for the downturn in tourism revenue due to COVID-19.
A
Answered by: Baroness Barran
Answered on: 04 June 2020

We recognise that COVID-19 has significantly impacted tourism revenue in regions across the country. We continue to engage with stakeholders to monitor the situation and to assess how we can most effectively support the sector’s recovery when tourism activity restarts.

Tourism businesses and workers in Coventry can access the Government’s comprehensive support package, including the recently extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan scheme.

The Government has invested over £15 million to support Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture, and the Department for Digital, Culture and Media and Sport is working closely with Coventry City of Culture Trust and partners to continue to ensure Coventry’s success as host city.

Q
Asked by Mary Glindon
(North Tyneside)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 13 May 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Department for Work and Pensions: Interserve
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether cleaners employed by Interserve working in her Department’s premises enjoy parity of treatment with civil servants in her Department with respect to their (a) entitlement to sick leave caused by covid-19, (b) status as vulnerable workers and (c) responsibilities for looking after extremely vulnerable dependents.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 04 June 2020
Holding answer received on 18 May 2020

Both DWP and Interserve have implemented HR policies which fully comply with the Covid-19 guidance published by Public Health England (PHE) via Gov.uk.

These policies each cover the three areas highlighted for the respective separate workforces.

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

Named Day

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

Asked on: 18 May 2020
Cabinet Office
Department for International Trade: Brexit
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil servants are engaged in negotiations with the EU on a post-transition period trade deal.
A
Answered by: Penny Mordaunt
Answered on: 04 June 2020

Negotiations with the EU are led by Task Force Europe. This is a small central unit within the Prime Minister’s Office led by the Chief Negotiator David Frost and currently has 42 staff. These negotiations are a cross-departmental effort and accordingly involve a larger number of staff overall. For example, more than a hundred UK staff have been involved in recent negotiating rounds, supported by FCO officials and others.

Q
(York Central)
Asked on: 19 May 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Food Poverty
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions has he had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure that local authorities have adequate resources to tackle food poverty.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 04 June 2020

Defra and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have been working together closely on issues relating to food accessibility and affordability. Local authorities and their local partners have worked extremely hard to help people with urgent needs. They are best placed to understand and respond to the needs of their communities. The Government has agreed to provide £1.6 billion of additional funding to local authorities to help them to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, including supporting those who need help to access food. The Government is also supporting local authorities in identifying at-risk groups, signposting and matching needs to services, engaging volunteers and supporting the voluntary and community sector.

In direct response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Department for Work and Pensions has increased Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by over £1,000 a year for this financial year, benefiting over 4 million households, and increased Local Housing Allowance rates - putting an average of £600 into people's pockets. Taken together, these measures provide over £6.5 billion of additional support through the welfare system for people affected by Covid-19.

The Government has also announced further support of up to £16 million to provide food for those who are struggling as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. The programme will provide millions of meals over the next 12 weeks and be delivered through charities including FareShare and the Waste and Resources Action Programme. At least 5,000 frontline charities in England will benefit, including refuges, homeless shelters and rehabilitation services. It will cover rural areas as well as cities, targeting those who are struggling to get food.

Q
(York Central)
Asked on: 19 May 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Homelessness: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what additional funding his Department plans to allocate to ensure that homeless people living in (a) hotels and (b) other supported accommodation during the covid-19 locate are able to transition into more secure housing when the lockdown is lifted.
A
Answered by: Luke Hall
Answered on: 04 June 2020

We have been clear councils must continue to provide safe accommodation for those that need it.

The latest figures show over 90 per cent of rough sleepers known to councils at the beginning of this crisis have now been made offers of safe accommodation and we have announced Dame Louise Casey will spearhead the next phase of the Government’s support for rough sleepers during the pandemic.

While councils continue to provide accommodation to those that need it, it is only responsible that we work with partners to ensure rough sleepers can move into long-term, safe accommodation once the immediate crisis is over.

£3.2 billion of additional Government funding has now been made available to help councils respond to coronavirus, including meeting the costs of accommodating some of the most vulnerable people in our society. This is in addition to £3.2 million specifically targeted to help rough sleepers during the coronavirus emergency and the £489 million committed in 2020 to 2021 to help rough sleepers, a £121 million increase in funding from the previous year.

Q
Asked by Matt Western
(Warwick and Leamington)
Asked on: 19 May 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dairy Farming: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of Government support for the dairy industry during the covid-19 lockdown.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 04 June 2020

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

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

In addition, to support milk producers, the Government announced on 17 April a temporary easing of some elements of competition law to make it easier for the dairy industry to come together to maximise production, processing and storage efficiency and to ensure that as much product as possible can be processed into high quality dairy products. This Statutory Instrument was laid on 1 May and applies retrospectively from 1 April.

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

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

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

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

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

Q
(West Worcestershire)
Asked on: 19 May 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Eritrea: Prisoners
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Government of Eritrea on the release of political prisoners, journalists and Aster Fissehatsion.
A
Answered by: James Duddridge
Answered on: 04 June 2020

We remain concerned about the human rights situation in Eritrea, including the arrests of opposition leaders, journalists and religious figures. Since Aster Fissehatsion and others were detained in 2001, the UK Government, along with partners in the international community, have taken every opportunity to voice our concern about arbitrary arrests and detentions in Eritrea, and have called for their release. We have done so directly with the Government of Eritrea and publicly - through our annual reporting on human rights and at the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva.

On 26 February, the UK's International Ambassador for Human Rights, Rita French, delivered a statement during the 43rd Session of the HRC expressing concern at continuing human rights abuses. Although welcoming Eritrean acceptance of Universal Periodic Review recommendations and offering UK assistance in support of their implementation, she said that the UK would continue to press for the release of arbitrarily detained individuals including journalists, as well as reform of the National Service and freedom of religion or belief for worshippers of unregistered religions.

During visits to Eritrea, the FCO's Head of East Africa Department, in November 2019, and the Home Office International Director, in February 2020, both raised human rights issues with senior members of the Eritrean Government, including Freedom of Expression and National Service. In April our Ambassador in Asmara raised the prospect of releasing prisoners given their increasing risk of infection from Covid-19 with the President's chief political adviser, Yemane Gebreab. Eritrea remains a priority country for the FCO under our annual human rights reporting, and we will continue to monitor the situation there.

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

Named Day

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

Asked on: 19 May 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Industrial Health and Safety: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what additional support her Department is providing to the Heath and Safety Executive to ensure effective regulation of SARS-CoV-2 in workplaces throughout the UK.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 04 June 2020
Holding answer received on 02 June 2020

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is playing a crucial role in the Government’s response to covid-19, including its continued work with trade unions, employers and stakeholders to help ensure workplaces are safe environments.

The Government has already announced it has made up to £14 million additional funding available to HSE for extra call centre employees, inspectors and equipment to support their work. HSE working with the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy published guidance on 11th May 2020 on working safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

HSE is funded to deliver its wide-ranging regulatory functions and has also redirected resource to this activity as a priority. In addition, HSE continues to address reported workplace concerns with employers, including those relating to employees with a heighted risk from Covid-19.

Q
(Motherwell and Wishaw)
Asked on: 20 May 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government: Correspondence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the average length of time was for Ministers of his Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.
A
Answered by: Luke Hall
Answered on: 04 June 2020

In line with Cabinet Office guidance, The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has a target of responding within 20 working days where a response is required.

As you will understand, MHCLG is currently dealing with unprecedented volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. MHCLG ensures that urgent cases raised by hon. Members are prioritised, and is taking steps to provide substantive responses in as short a time as possible.

All correspondence received from hon. Members is being reviewed and will be responded to as soon as possible.

Q
(Motherwell and Wishaw)
Asked on: 20 May 2020
Wales Office
Wales Office: Correspondence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what the average length of time was for Ministers of his Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.
A
Answered by: Simon Hart
Answered on: 04 June 2020

In line with Cabinet Office guidance, the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales has a target of responding to correspondence within 15 working days where a response is required. The average length of time over the past 2 years is set out below:

Month

Average response time in working days

May 2018

11

June 2018

7

July 2018

12

August 2018

7

September 2018

22

October 2018

11

November 2018

10

December 2018

No responses required to hon. Members

January 2019

7

February 2019

No responses required to hon. Members

March 2019

10

April 2019

No responses required to hon. Members

May 2019

12

June 2019

5

July 2019

4

August 2019

14

September 2019

No responses required to hon. Members

October 2019

15

November 2019

No responses required to hon. Members

December 2019

No responses required to hon. Members

January 2020

15

February 2020

7

March 2020

7

April 2020

6

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 20 May 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Religious Hatred: Islam
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group’s report entitled Coronavirus, fear and how Islamophobia spreads on social media, what steps his Department is taking to work with (a) social media companies and (b) relevant statutory bodies to (i) address a potential rise in Islamophobia as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic and (ii) prevent a future increase in hate crimes when the covid-19 lockdown comes to an end.
A
Answered by: Luke Hall
Answered on: 04 June 2020

The Government takes hate crime and discrimination of any kind very seriously.

The Government is working closely with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), civil society partners and social media platforms to encourage victim reporting of both online and offline hate crime and ensure social media companies continue to prioritise the removal of hateful content during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Government is also working with communities, civil society partners and the police to monitor and address any developments in hate crime as government Covid-19 restrictions change.

Q
(South Holland and The Deepings)
Asked on: 20 May 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Horticulture: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the adequacy of Government biosecurity and plant health strategies from a contraction in the size and output of the domestic ornamental horticulture sector as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 04 June 2020

COVID-19 represents a significant challenge to daily life and every part of the economy, including the ornamental horticulture sector. The Government continues to work closely with representatives from the horticulture supply chain to assess the short-term and long-term impacts on the sector.

We have robust policies and strategies in place to protect the UK’s plant biosecurity and we continually review any wider impacts that our plant biosecurity approach may have on industry sectors and other stakeholder groups, including as a result of COVID-19. Defra officials meet frequently with relevant organisations to discuss such developments through the UK Plant Health Advisory Forum.

Q
Asked by Chris Elmore
(Ogmore)
Asked on: 20 May 2020
Treasury
UK Shared Prosperity Fund: Wales
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Wales on using the Shared Prosperity Fund to support Wales in responding to the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Steve Barclay
Answered on: 04 June 2020

The Chancellor discusses matters of importance to the Welsh economy with the Secretary of State for Wales and Cabinet on a regular basis.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be used to bind together the whole of the United Kingdom, tackling inequality and deprivation in each of our four nations. It will replace the overly bureaucratic EU Structural Funds, and not only be better targeted at the UK’s specific needs, but will match the size of those funds in each nation.

Q
Asked by Neil Coyle
(Bermondsey and Old Southwark)
Asked on: 20 May 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Sleeping Rough
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent discussions he has had with waste collection providers on introducing technology in dustbins to protect rough sleepers and other people who take shelter in bins.
A
Answered by: Luke Hall
Answered on: 04 June 2020

The Government has made clear that no one should be without a roof over their head, which is why we have committed to end rough sleeping within this Parliament and to fully enforce the Homelessness Reduction Act. Every premature death of someone homeless is one too many and we take this matter extremely seriously.

It is why we are putting in place £489 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over 2020/2021. This marks an additional £121 million on what the Government provided in 2019/20 and will go towards funding important programmes such as the Rough Sleeping Initiative and the Flexible Homelessness Support Grant.

The Rough Sleeping Initiative team includes rough sleeping and homelessness experts, drawn from and funded by Government departments and agencies with specialist knowledge and work experience across a wide-range of areas, including the third sector and local authorities. The team works to advise outreach teams who will locate and support Rough Sleepers directly on the streets. Our advisers will work with local authorities and their partner agencies, where relevant, to consider the role that technology and other strategies might play in safeguarding those who use refuse bins as a form of shelter.

Grouped Questions: 49709
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