Written question – Finance – [29/04/2021]

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the announcement of a compensation scheme for London and Capital Finance bond holders of 19 April 2021, whether his Department has considered paying similar compensation to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to offset claims they have already settled. (187266)

Tabled on: 26 April 2021

Answer:
John Glen:

Following an extensive investigation, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) found that certain London Capital and Finance (LCF) bondholders were eligible for FSCS compensation.

The FSCS has now paid out £57.6m to over 2,800 LCF bondholders, and has identified and contacted all bondholders whom it believes are eligible for compensation.

As previously announced, the government will establish a compensation scheme for all LCF bondholders who are not eligible for FSCS compensation. Details of this scheme were set out in a Written Ministerial Statement on 19 April. The government expects the scheme to have paid all bondholders within 6 months of securing the necessary primary legislation, which it will bring forward as soon as parliamentary time allows.

The scheme will not make payments to the FSCS to offset settled claims, as these claims were paid to eligible bondholders in line with FSCS rules. HM Treasury’s separate compensation scheme will compensate those bondholders who are not eligible for FSCS compensation, recognising the unique and exceptional circumstances around LCF’s failure. This compensation will be capped at 80% of bondholders’ initial investments up to a cap of £68,000.

The answer was submitted on 29 Apr 2021 at 07:35.

Written question – Travel [20/04/2021]

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the (a) Secretary of State for Transport and (b) devolved Administrations on the Global Travel Taskforce and restarting cruises as covid-19 restrictions are eased. (181331)

Tabled on: 15 April 2021

Answer:
Nigel Adams:

The FCDO continues to work closely with the Department for Transport about international cruise restart and the Global Travel Taskforce. On the domestic restart of cruises, officials from the Scottish and Welsh Governments and Northern Ireland Executive liaise with the Department of Transport and are closely involved in the taskforce’s work.

International cruises will restart alongside the wider restart of international travel, in line with the “traffic light” system. This will be subject to continued satisfactory evidence from the domestic restart and cruising in other countries. Travel advice will continue to be informed by the latest public health risk assessments.

For now, national restrictions on international travel remain in place, including only permitting travel abroad for a limited number of reasons set out in law. Holiday travel is not included.

The answer was submitted on 20 Apr 2021 at 16:51.

Written question – Access to cash [20/04/2021]

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions his Department has had with relevant stakeholders on bringing forward legislative proposals to allow cashback without a purchase. (178727)

Tabled on: 12 April 2021

Answer:
John Glen:

The Government has supported an amendment to the Financial Services Bill that will introduce legislative changes to allow for the widespread offering of cashback without a purchase by shops and other businesses.

The Government’s view is that cashback without a purchase has the potential to be a valuable facility to cash users, and to play an important role in the UK’s cash infrastructure. The recent Call for Evidence on Access to Cash invited views on this issue. It noted that cashback with a purchase was the second most frequently used method for withdrawing cash in the UK behind ATMs in 2019. There were 123 million cashback transactions when using a debit card to make a purchase amounting to a total value of £3.8 billion.

Pre-existing legislation, which derives from the EU’s Second Payment Services Directive, has meant that if a merchant wanted to offer cashback without requiring the customer to make a purchase, that shop, or its agent, would have to be authorised or registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This presents a significant burden for many businesses.

This legislative change to enable cashback without a purchase will allow merchants to offer this service without being authorised or registered with the FCA. It is only possible now that the UK has left the EU and is a welcome step towards protecting access to cash for the future.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel

The answer was submitted on 20 Apr 2021 at 16:12.

Written question – Access to cash [04/03/2021]

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent steps his Department has taken to ensure that people can continue to access cash; and if he will publish the Government’s timeframe for bringing forward legislative proposals to protect access to cash. (160730)

Tabled on: 01 March 2021

Answer:
John Glen:

The Government has committed to legislate to protect access to cash and ensure that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable for the long term. To progress this work, the Government published a Call for Evidence on Access to Cash in October 2020. The Call for Evidence sought views on the key considerations associated with cash access, including deposit and withdrawal facilities, cash acceptance, and regulatory oversight of the cash system. The Government is considering responses to the Call for Evidence and will set out next steps in due course.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Treasury has been working closely with regulators and industry to ensure customers continue to have access to essential banking services, including cash, while also protecting the safety of staff and customers. This has meant the vast majority of people have been able to access cash through the pandemic.

The Government created the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group in 2019, which has provided a forum for the public bodies to formally co-ordinate respective approaches to access to cash. This is chaired by HM Treasury and attended by the Bank of England, Payment Systems Regulator and Financial Conduct Authority. The members published an update on the actions of its members in July 2020. This included work led by the PSR and FCA to develop a comprehensive picture of cash access infrastructure across the UK.

The answer was submitted on 04 Mar 2021 at 10:15.

Written question – Home Office [26/02/2021]

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what quantity by weight of (a) cannabis, (b) heroin, (c) morphine, (d) cocaine (including crack), (e) benzodiazepines, (f) synthetic cannabinoids, (g) amphetamines, (h) MDMA, (i) LSD, (j) magic mushrooms and (k) anabolic steroids were seized by (i) the police, (ii) Border Force, (iii) prison services, (iv) armed forces and (v) other government agencies in (A) UK territory, (B) UK territorial waters, (C) international waters and (D) overseas territories in each year between 1971 and 2020. (153299)

Tabled on: 11 February 2021

Answer:
Kit Malthouse:

The Home Office collects and publishes data on the quantity of class A, class B and class C drugs seized in England and Wales by the police, including the British Transport Police, and Border Force. This data is published annually. The quantities of drugs seized are summarised in terms of kilograms, doses (in thousands) or plants, depending on the drug type.

Official statistics on seizures of drugs in England and Wales between 2000 and 2020 are available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/seizures-of-drugs-in-england-and-wales.

Statistics on seizures of drugs in England and Wales between 1978 and 2000 can be found on the National Archive Research Development and Statistics website: https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

Data for earlier years is not available. Information on drugs seized by the prison services, armed forces and other government agencies, and data on seizures made outside England and Wales is not held by the Home Office.

The answer was submitted on 26 Feb 2021 at 14:25.

Written question – Gambling [10/02/2021]

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of gambling advertising on sports shirts on (a) children and (b) vulnerable people. (147917)

Tabled on: 02 February 2021

This question was grouped with the following question(s) for answer:

  1. To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to introduce a ban on gambling advertising on sports kit. (147929)
    Tabled on: 02 February 2021
  2. To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the viability of alternative funding models for sport in lieu of gambling sponsorship. (147918)
    Tabled on: 02 February 2021
  3. To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he and his officials have had on gambling advertising in sport with (a) gambling industry organisations and (b) sports industry organisations. (147919)
    Tabled on: 02 February 2021

Answer:
Nigel Huddleston:

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8th December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we have called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing operators to advertise and engage in sponsorship arrangements across sports, esports and other areas. The Call for Evidence will remain open until 31 March, and no policy decisions have yet been made. The government intends to set out conclusions, including any proposals for change, in a white paper later this year.

The government is aware of studies which suggest an association between familiarity with operator logos in childhood, such as those which may feature on football shirts, and intention to bet when of legal age. We are also aware of international research which suggests an association between exposure to the promotion of betting brands during live sport and increased intention to bet amongst adults, including adults who score more highly on the Problem Gambling Severity Index screen used to assess problem gambling. However, we are not aware of evidence which indicates a causative link between exposure to operator logos on sports shirts and the development of problem gambling in childhood or adulthood.

Ministers and officials continue to meet with a range of stakeholders to discuss matters within scope of the Gambling Act Review. Details of ministerial meetings are publicly available and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/search/transparency-and-freedom-of-information-releases?content_store_document_type=transparency&organisations%5B%5D=department-for-digital-culture-media-sport.

Written question – Gambling [11/02/2021]

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he and his officials have had with the Governments of Asian countries on the sponsorship of UK sport by Asian gambling operators seeking to market products in countries where those products are illegal. (150837)

Tabled on: 08 February 2021

Answer:
Nigel Adams:

We are not aware of any approach by Governments in Asian countries on the sponsorship of UK sport by Asian gambling operators.

The answer was submitted on 11 Feb 2021 at 16:47.