Q: (Andrew Rosindell) To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to roll out lateral flow covid-19 testing in Havering.
A: (Helen Whately, Minister of State for Department of Health and Social Care) The Borough of Havering made a request in the week of 9 November to be added to the Departmental list of participating local authorities.
We have received their request and will work with them as they prepare to receive lateral flow test to use as per their priorities.
Q: (Andrew Rosindell) To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential health effects on the general population of the Office for Budget Responsibility's forecasted rise in unemployment to 7.5 per cent in 2021.
A: (Justin Tomlinson, Minister of State for Department for Work and Pensions) A range of evidence shows that being unemployed can negatively affect an individual’s health. Several studies of the UK recession following the financial crisis in 2008 associated it with a rise in health problems, particularly mental health problems. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many factors apart from labour market conditions may affect population health.
The Government has put in place a variety of support to help people stay healthy and to help people who may be experiencing health problems to stay in work or find work. On 23 November, we published our Wellbeing and Mental Health Support plan for COVID-19, which sets out the support available for people in the context of a second wave and the winter months.
Q: (Andrew Rosindell) To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government has made on assessment of the potential merits of starting (a) primary and (b) secondary school Christmas holidays a week earlier than planned to allow families to isolate as a unit at home to reduce the risk of transmission of covid-19 during the period of relaxed restrictions over Christmas 2020.
A: (Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Education) It continues to be our aim that all pupils, in all year groups, remain in school full-time. Returning to school full time has been vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. Time out of school is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children. This impact can affect both current levels of learning and children’s future ability to learn.
As set out in the Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan, nurseries, schools and colleges should not change their Christmas holidays or close early this term. Parents should continue to send their children to school during term time. The leaders and staff of education settings have been doing an extraordinary job to remain open, keep settings safe and provide education.
Schools have implemented a range of protective measures to minimise risk of transmission. The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school. Senior clinicians, including the Chief Medical Officers of all four nations, still advise that school is the very best place for children to be.
If parents have concerns about their child attending school because they consider they or members of their household may have particular risk factors, they should discuss these with their school.
Q: (Andrew Rosindell) To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when adult gaming centres will be able to re-open in tier three local covid-19 alert level areas.
A: (Nigel Huddleston, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) The government, with advice from SAGE, reviewed the impact of the previous tiering arrangements and decided that unfortunately stricter rules on tier 3 closures would be necessary to have an impact on the rate of transmission in very high alert areas. This led to the decision that all hospitality and indoor entertainment venues in tier 3 areas would have to close, including casinos, bingo halls and adult gaming centres. SAGE advice is independent and published on a regular basis on: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies
The government has continued to engage with the land-based gambling sector throughout the pandemic, including with its trade associations the Betting and Gaming Council, Bacta and the Bingo Association. The Minister for Sports, Heritage and Tourism has had a series of roundtable discussions with the industry to discuss the impact of Covid-19, including representatives from two of Britain’s largest AGC operators. DCMS officials have been in regular contact with the representative trade associations and fed their views into the government decision-making process, and they are continuing to do so.
Government has set out an analysis of the health, economic and social impacts of the tiered approach, which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach. As on previous occasions, local data packs have also been published.
Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions, can also be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf.
Q: (Andrew Rosindell) To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the effect on national security of the establishment of front organisations in the UK by overseas political parties.
A: (Chloe Smith, Minister of State for the Cabinet Office) The Intelligence and Security Agencies produce and contribute to regular assessments of the threat posed by Hostile State Activity, including around potential interference in UK democratic processes. We keep such assessments under review and, where necessary, update them in response to new intelligence.
It is and always will be a priority for this Government to secure the UK’s democracy against all forms of interference, whilst welcoming transparent political participation and debate. The Defending Democracy programme brings together government, civil society and private sector organisations. As announced in the Queen’s Speech, we will bring forward new legislation to provide the security services and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to disrupt hostile state activity.
Q: (Andrew Rosindell) To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making first-aid training a compulsory part of secondary education.
A: (Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Education) The Department wants to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe, and to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society.
The new curriculum for Relationships, Sex and Health Education became mandatory from September 2020 and, as part of Health Education, schools must have regard for the new statutory guidance that includes teaching first aid at primary and secondary school. The content at secondary school includes how to administer CPR and the purpose of defibrillators.
Schools will have the flexibility to determine how the content is taught, including options to work with expert organisations such as the British Heart Foundation, St John Ambulance, and the British Red Cross, who offer a range of specialist lesson plans, some of which may result in a recognised qualification.
As part of a wider support package for schools, a new training module covering first aid is available for schools: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-training-basic-first-aid. This can be used alongside the statutory guidance on teaching first aid: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education. Schools can adapt this training module and tailor it to meet the needs of their pupils.
Q: (Andrew Rosindell) To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the level of co-operation between the AK Parti’s Centre for British Turkish Understanding and Islamist groups in the UK.
A: (James Brokenshire, Minister of State for the Home Department) The Home Office has not undertaken an assessment on co-operation between the AK Parti’s centre for British Turkish Understanding and Islamist groups.
Q: (Andrew Rosindell) To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to develop and strengthen diplomatic relations with Somaliland.
A: (James Duddridge, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) The UK enjoys a warm and historic relationship with Somaliland and is the only Western donor with a permanent presence in Hargeisa. The UK does not recognise Somaliland as an independent state, but UK officials engage with the local authorities on an ongoing basis on a broad range of issues. The UK is committed to pursuing prosperity and security for people across East Africa; in Somaliland, we offer support in areas such as economic infrastructure, inclusive politics, humanitarian response, security and justice.
On my recent visit to Mogadishu, I underlined our hope that people in Somaliland should benefit from the World Bank support that is now available thanks to progress under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries debt relief process. I also encouraged President Farmajo to continue the dialogue and confidence building initiative begun in Djibouti earlier this year.
Q: (Andrew Rosindell) To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps is taking to help ensure that the NHS tariff price for ear wax removal is affordable.
A: (Edward Argar, Minister of State for Department of Health and Social Care) The national tariff is a set of prices and rules used by providers of National Health Service care and commissioners to deliver the most efficient, cost effective care to patients. To ensure tariffs are affordable, all NHS England and NHS Improvement prices are reviewed by stakeholders and clinicians to ensure that they are correct and relative to one another and that they reflect the differential amount of resource needed for different treatments or procedures. Their prices are set in reference to data sent from NHS trusts and then adjusted for efficiency and inflationary factors, and to fit within the envelope of funding available to nationally priced activity.
Q: (Andrew Rosindell) To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of whether plans to introduce (a) advertising restrictions on foods high in fat, salt or sugar and (b) promotional restrictions on foods high in fat, salt or sugar will act as a barrier to new businesses entering the market.
A: (Jo Churchill, Minister of State for Department of Health and Social Care) ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’, published in July, sets out our intention to restrict the advertising and promotion of foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS).
An impact assessment was published alongside the 2019 consultation on further advertising restrictions on TV and online. This is available at the following link:
We published an evidence note alongside the consultation on the proposal to introduce a total restriction of online advertising for HFSS products. This builds on the impact assessment that accompanied the 2019 consultation. This is available at the following link:
A full public consultation and impact assessment has been carried out for the proposal to restrict the promotion of HFSS foods in stores. The Government’s response to the consultation and the impact assessment will be published shortly.
Q: (Andrew Rosindell) To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made international comparisons to provide the evidence base for each proposal set out in the consultation for an online advertising ban of foods high in fat, salt or sugar.
A: (Jo Churchill, Minister of State for Department of Health and Social Care) We carefully consider all views on our measures to reduce obesity and will continue to do so. This includes responses to the consultation on proposals to ban online adverts for foods high in fat, salt and sugar including suggested comparisons with international examples.
Q: (Andrew Rosindell) To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect of the growing (a) influence and (b) networks of Turkey’s Justice and Development Party in (i) United Kingdom and (ii) the European Union on Islamist activity.
A: (James Brokenshire, Minister of State for the Home Department) We are aware that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Turkey has offices in the UK and certain EU member states. All foreign political parties with representation in the UK must act in accordance with UK law in relation to their activities in the UK.
Q: (Andrew Rosindell) To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support operators of adult gaming centres during their extended period of closure in tier three covid-19 lockdown areas.
A: (Kemi Badenoch, Exchequer Secretary) The Government recognises the extreme disruption the necessary actions to combat Covid-19 are having on sectors like indoor entertainment.
That is why in order to support businesses to retain their employees and protect the UK economy, the Chancellor extended both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which will continue to be available across all three tiers on 3 December.
Additionally, the Treasury has announced support for closed businesses through the Local Restrictions Support Grants, giving businesses that are forced to close due to national or local restrictions up to £3,000 per month; this is worth over £1bn per four weeks with the new restrictions in place and will benefit over 600,000 business premises, including eligible businesses in the indoor entertainment sector.
We will continue to monitor the impact of government support on public services, businesses, individuals and sectors, including the gaming industry, as we respond to this pandemic.