Baroness Benjamin Portrait

Baroness Benjamin

Liberal Democrat - Life peer


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Monday 29th November 2021
Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill [HL]
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 49 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 147 Noes - 211
Speeches
Wednesday 24th November 2021
Windrush Compensation Scheme

I thank the Minister for her reply. I declare an interest as chair of the Windrush Commemoration Committee, which is …

Written Answers
Friday 18th June 2021
BBC: Ofcom
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that Ofcom’s regulation of the BBC is enhanced in …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Thursday 1st July 2021
Certificate of Loss Bill [HL] 2021-22
A Bill to make provision for a certificate to be issued to mothers in respect of miscarried and still-born children …
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Baroness Benjamin has voted in 160 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Baroness Benjamin Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

View all Baroness Benjamin's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Baroness Benjamin, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Baroness Benjamin has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Baroness Benjamin has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Baroness Benjamin


A Bill to make provision for a certificate to be issued to mothers in respect of miscarried and still-born children not eligible for registration under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953; to establish a database for archiving the certificate and recording information about the miscarriage or still-birth; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading (Lords)
Thursday 1st July 2021
(Read Debate)

A bill to make provision for a certificate to be issued to mothers in respect of miscarried and still-born children not eligible for registration under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953; to establish a database for archiving the certificate and recording information about the miscarriage or still-birth; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading (Lords)
Tuesday 21st January 2020
(Read Debate)

Baroness Benjamin has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


37 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what comparative analysis they undertook of the risk of COVID-19 infection posed by (1) museums, galleries and heritage buildings, and (2) non-essential retail, hairdressers, and beauty parlours.

The design of the roadmap has been informed by the latest scientific evidence and seeks a balance between our key social and economic priorities, whilst preserving the health and safety of the country. The scientific evidence shows that opening too early or too quickly risks a further lockdown.

The Chancellor announced in the 2021 Budget an additional £300 million to support theatres, museums and other cultural organisations in England through the Culture Recovery Fund. The Chancellor also set out that we will provide £90 million funding to support our government-sponsored national museums in England due to the financial impact of Covid-19.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government on what evidence they based their decision to open non-essential retail, hairdressers, and beauty parlours no sooner than 12 April but not open museums, galleries and heritage buildings until 17 May at the earliest; and what plans they have to publish the data which supported that decision.

The design of the roadmap has been informed by the latest scientific evidence and seeks a balance between our key social and economic priorities, whilst preserving the health and safety of the country. The scientific evidence shows that opening too early or too quickly risks a further lockdown.

The Chancellor announced in the 2021 Budget an additional £300 million to support theatres, museums and other cultural organisations in England through the Culture Recovery Fund. The Chancellor also set out that we will provide £90 million funding to support our government-sponsored national museums in England due to the financial impact of Covid-19.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the total value of applications to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme received before that scheme was closed to new applications on 11 January.

The total value of applications received to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme was £2.4 billion.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many applications were received from schools for the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme; and what was the value of any such applications.

711 applications were received in total from schools and academies for the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. These have a combined value of £429 million.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide funding to organisations which were unsuccessful in their application to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

My Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, announced in November 2020, includes a commitment for further funding for the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme in the 2021/22 financial year. Further information will be announced in due course.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many businesses in the (1) creative, and (2) music, sector had received support under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme by 14 April.

As of 1 May, in total over £4.7 billion worth of loans have been issued under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to 29,496 businesses. We are working with the British Business Bank, HM Treasury and the lenders on providing transparent and regular data publication going forward.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a scheme to assist companies facing cashflow problems due to large numbers of refund requests triggered by COVID-19 related cancellations.

The support announced by the Government is intended to support firms to keep trading throughout this difficult period. Cashflow issues are highly likely to be included in the list of difficulties any of these firms might experience.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides support to small businesses which were viable before the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Small Business Grant Fund is designed for eligible small businesses with relatively high fixed costs and experiencing reduced trade as a result of social distancing and closures policies.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that Ofcom’s regulation of the BBC is enhanced in the next five years.

The government established Ofcom as the BBC regulator to ensure the BBC is robustly held to account as the nation's broadcaster. Ofcom is independent of the government and the government has no say over Ofcom’s operational decisions

However, the Mid-Term Review of the Royal Charter offers an opportunity for the government to consider whether current governance and regulatory arrangements for the BBC are working effectively, including the effectiveness of the regulation by Ofcom. We will start the preparations now, ahead of the review starting formally next year, as the Royal Charter sets out.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why cuts were made to the final year of the Young Audiences Content Fund pilot; what assessment they made of (1) the effectiveness of that Fund, and (2) the need to provide notice of any changes to its funding.

Following a successful Spending Review, the Young Audiences Content Fund will continue into its third year and receive up to £10.7m for year 3 of the pilot scheme, totalling up to £44.2m for the three years.

As set out in the Contestable Fund scoping paper published in 2018, monitoring and evaluation of the Fund would inform the annual budget allocation over the course of the pilot. The 2021/22 funding awarded demonstrates a commitment to the value of children’s television programming in an exceptionally challenging fiscal climate, where some tough decisions have had to be made. DCMS has engaged continuously with the BFI, who administers the Fund, throughout the funding determination.

Although assessment of the funds is ongoing, the Year One review sets out a number of successes for the fund. As planned, a detailed evaluation of the scheme, against the criteria set out at launch, will take place this year before a decision is made on whether to close, continue or expand the Contestable Fund.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the cuts of the Young Audiences Content Fund pilot, what steps they are taking to ensure the pilot leads to a secure, well-supported and long-term future for that Fund.

Following a successful Spending Review, the Young Audiences Content Fund will continue into its third year and receive up to £10.7m for year 3 of the pilot scheme, totalling up to £44.2m for the three years.

As set out in the Contestable Fund scoping paper published in 2018, monitoring and evaluation of the Fund would inform the annual budget allocation over the course of the pilot. The 2021/22 funding awarded demonstrates a commitment to the value of children’s television programming in an exceptionally challenging fiscal climate, where some tough decisions have had to be made. DCMS has engaged continuously with the BFI, who administers the Fund, throughout the funding determination.

Although assessment of the funds is ongoing, the Year One review sets out a number of successes for the fund. As planned, a detailed evaluation of the scheme, against the criteria set out at launch, will take place this year before a decision is made on whether to close, continue or expand the Contestable Fund.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how their mid-term review of the BBC Charter will be informed by Ofcom’s review of the BBC’s operating licence.

Ofcom is independent of the government and the government has no say over Ofcom’s operational decisions. A review of the BBC's operating licence and service requirements is therefore for Ofcom as the BBC’s regulator.

The Mid-Term Review of the Royal Charter offers an opportunity for the government to consider whether current governance and regulatory arrangements for the BBC are working effectively, including the effectiveness of the regulation by Ofcom.

We will start the preparations now, ahead of the review starting formally next year, as the Royal Charter sets out.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take to ensure that the BBC does not reduce the number of quotas related to delivering public value content, including those related to (1) radio, and (2) children’s programming.

The government is clear that the BBC has to provide high quality, distinctive content and services. However, it is ultimately a matter for Ofcom as the independent regulator on how to enforce these obligations through appropriate regulation. It is therefore for Ofcom, not the government, to set and amend quotas for the BBC’s public services.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of (1) pornographic websites, and (2) social media sites that contain pornography, that will be (a) Category 1 organisations, and (b) not Category 1 organisations, under the draft Online Safety Bill.

The Online Safety Bill will deliver the most comprehensive approach in the world to protecting children online. Where pornographic websites or social media sites host user generated content or facilitate online user interactions (including video and image sharing, commenting and live streaming), they will be subject to the duty of care. The government has not conducted a detailed sector-by-sector analysis of the services in scope of the Bill and the number of UK users accessing those services, given the breadth of services in scope of legislation. However, the online safety regime will capture both the pornography sites most visited by UK users and pornography on social media, therefore covering the vast majority of sites where children are most likely to be exposed to pornography.

The exact list of Category 1 services has not yet been determined. We have set out how the process will work for designating Category 1 services. Thresholds will be set by the government about the number of users and functionalities of a service, following receipt of advice from Ofcom. This is to ensure the process is objective and evidence-based. Ofcom will then be required to assess services against these thresholds and publish a register of all those which meet both thresholds.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of organisations within the scope of the draft Online Safety Bill that are (1) pornographic websites, and (2) social media sites that contain pornography.

The Online Safety Bill will deliver the most comprehensive approach in the world to protecting children online. Where pornographic websites or social media sites host user generated content or facilitate online user interactions (including video and image sharing, commenting and live streaming), they will be subject to the duty of care. The government has not conducted a detailed sector-by-sector analysis of the services in scope of the Bill and the number of UK users accessing those services, given the breadth of services in scope of legislation. However, the online safety regime will capture both the pornography sites most visited by UK users and pornography on social media, therefore covering the vast majority of sites where children are most likely to be exposed to pornography.

The exact list of Category 1 services has not yet been determined. We have set out how the process will work for designating Category 1 services. Thresholds will be set by the government about the number of users and functionalities of a service, following receipt of advice from Ofcom. This is to ensure the process is objective and evidence-based. Ofcom will then be required to assess services against these thresholds and publish a register of all those which meet both thresholds.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the mid-term review of the BBC Charter not being conducted before the Ofcom review of public service broadcasting; and how will the review by Ofcom be used to inform the mid-term review of the BBC Charter.

Ofcom is required to conduct a review into public service broadcasting at least every five years and went out for consultation in December 2020. The report of its third review, "Public Service Broadcasting in the Internet Age", was published on 2 July 2015.

The concept and principles for the Mid-Term Review are set out in the BBC Royal Charter of 2016. The Royal Charter is clear that “the (mid-term) review must not be undertaken before 2022 and must be completed by 2024.”

Government officials shall be undertaking preparatory work ahead of the mid-term review starting formally next year, and will consult Ofcom on the scope, timing, and terms of reference in due course, as is required by the BBC Charter.

Further, the Charter requires that Ofcom conduct a periodic review of the BBC which looks at the extent to which the BBC is fulfilling its Mission and promoting each of the Public Purposes and addressing any specific issues of concern. This must be concluded in time to inform the Mid-Term Review.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Minister of State for Digital and Culture on 11 January (130006), to which online pornography sites their online harms proposals will apply.

Where pornography sites host user generated content or facilitate online user interactions (including video and image sharing, commenting and live streaming), they will be subject to the duty of care.

The online harms regime will capture both the most visited pornography sites and pornography on social media, therefore covering the vast majority of sites where children are most likely to be exposed to pornography. In practice, we would anticipate that any commercial pornography site hosting user generated content or facilitating user-interaction will need to put in place robust measures such as age verification to prevent children from accessing it. This would then also protect children from any non user generated content as well.

We will continue to review our proposals to ensure we deliver the most comprehensive protections for children online.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Minister of State for Digital and Culture on 11 January (130006), what estimate they have made of the number of online pornography sites which (1) allow, and (2) do not allow, (a) user-generated content, or (b) user interaction; whether they keep a record of those sites; and if so, what plans they have to publish those records.

Where pornography sites host user generated content or facilitate online user interactions (including video and image sharing, commenting and live streaming), they will be subject to the duty of care.

The online harms regime will capture both the most visited pornography sites and pornography on social media, therefore covering the vast majority of sites where children are most likely to be exposed to pornography. In practice, we would anticipate that any commercial pornography site hosting user generated content or facilitating user-interaction will need to put in place robust measures such as age verification to prevent children from accessing it. This would then also protect children from any non user generated content as well.

We will continue to review our proposals to ensure we deliver the most comprehensive protections for children online.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what evidence they have, if any, that non-user generated pornography is not used to depict (1) rough sex practices, and (2) sexual violence.

The government will deliver the objective of the Digital Economy Act (DEA) to protect children from online pornography through the upcoming online safety legislation.

When taking the decision not to commence the relevant provisions in the DEA, the government concluded that there should be a coherent and comprehensive approach to protecting children online. This will be best achieved through the wider online harms proposals. The online harms regime will capture both the most visited pornography sites and pornography on social media, therefore covering the vast majority of sites where children are most likely to be exposed to pornography. Taken together, we expect this to bring into scope more online pornography that children can currently access than the narrower scope of the Digital Economy Act, which did not include social media companies.

We are working at pace to develop the Online Safety Bill that will be ready this year. We are already working closely with Ofcom to ensure that the implementation period that will be necessary following passage of the legislation is as short as possible.

The reports on The Relationship Between Pornography Use and Harmful Sexual Behaviours were commissioned by a previous administration and are now available on gov.uk. The reports make it clear that there is not one single factor that leads someone to engage in harmful sexual behaviour, rather it is a combination of factors which interact with one another to differing effects on each individual. The literature review highlights that a direct causal link cannot be established between pornography and harmful sexual behaviour as this would require impractical and unethical study conditions (forced exposure to pornography).

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they made of the impact on children and young people of not introducing age verification for accessing commercial pornographic websites before they made the announcement that they would not be introducing such verification requirements.

The government will deliver the objective of the Digital Economy Act (DEA) to protect children from online pornography through the upcoming online safety legislation.

When taking the decision not to commence the relevant provisions in the DEA, the government concluded that there should be a coherent and comprehensive approach to protecting children online. This will be best achieved through the wider online harms proposals. The online harms regime will capture both the most visited pornography sites and pornography on social media, therefore covering the vast majority of sites where children are most likely to be exposed to pornography. Taken together, we expect this to bring into scope more online pornography that children can currently access than the narrower scope of the Digital Economy Act, which did not include social media companies.

We are working at pace to develop the Online Safety Bill that will be ready this year. We are already working closely with Ofcom to ensure that the implementation period that will be necessary following passage of the legislation is as short as possible.

The reports on The Relationship Between Pornography Use and Harmful Sexual Behaviours were commissioned by a previous administration and are now available on gov.uk. The reports make it clear that there is not one single factor that leads someone to engage in harmful sexual behaviour, rather it is a combination of factors which interact with one another to differing effects on each individual. The literature review highlights that a direct causal link cannot be established between pornography and harmful sexual behaviour as this would require impractical and unethical study conditions (forced exposure to pornography).

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to include protections for children from accessing commercial pornographic websites which do not allow user generated content or facilitate online user interaction in any forthcoming online harms legislation; and if they have any such plans, how.

The government will deliver the objective of the Digital Economy Act (DEA) to protect children from online pornography through the upcoming online safety legislation.

When taking the decision not to commence the relevant provisions in the DEA, the government concluded that there should be a coherent and comprehensive approach to protecting children online. This will be best achieved through the wider online harms proposals. The online harms regime will capture both the most visited pornography sites and pornography on social media, therefore covering the vast majority of sites where children are most likely to be exposed to pornography. Taken together, we expect this to bring into scope more online pornography that children can currently access than the narrower scope of the Digital Economy Act, which did not include social media companies.

We are working at pace to develop the Online Safety Bill that will be ready this year. We are already working closely with Ofcom to ensure that the implementation period that will be necessary following passage of the legislation is as short as possible.

The reports on The Relationship Between Pornography Use and Harmful Sexual Behaviours were commissioned by a previous administration and are now available on gov.uk. The reports make it clear that there is not one single factor that leads someone to engage in harmful sexual behaviour, rather it is a combination of factors which interact with one another to differing effects on each individual. The literature review highlights that a direct causal link cannot be established between pornography and harmful sexual behaviour as this would require impractical and unethical study conditions (forced exposure to pornography).

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to the impact of the loss of business during (1) Easter, (2) other school holidays, and (3) May, on museums, galleries and heritage buildings.

The Department has been working closely with stakeholders across museums, galleries and heritage sites throughout the pandemic, and do not underestimate the significant impact that the closure - and subsequent loss of visitors and in-person access - has had.

In the roadmap laid out by the Prime Minister, outdoor activity has been prioritised because the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission is substantially lower in the open air than indoors. From 29th March, groups of six, or two households will be able to meet outside and socialise outdoors at heritage sites, with seasonal offers including Easter walking trails.

In the Budget,the Chancellor announced extensions to measures which have supported museums, galleries and heritage sites throughout the pandemic. These include extending the COVID Job Retention Scheme and Self Employment Income Support Scheme until September 2021; hospitality VAT set at 5% until July 2021; and a new programme of business loans.

Building on the £100m awarded to DCMS-Sponsored Arm’s Length Bodies, (including national museums and galleries) in 20-21, the government will now provide an additional £90m to mitigate the financial impacts of Covid-19.

We have made a record investment in cultural and creative sectors, including museums, galleries and heritage buildings - nearly £2 billion (including additional support for the Culture Recovery Fund and £500 million on the Film and TV Restart scheme). These are unprecedented sums.


Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) educational, (2) well-being, and (3) cultural, impact of allowing museums, galleries and heritage buildings to re-open.

There is clear evidence of an association between arts and culture participation and self-reported subjective wellbeing, even when social, economic and lifestyle factors are taken into account. The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Arts, Health and Wellbeing found evidence that cultural engagement reduces stress and helps people to live longer and happier lives. During the first national lockdown, a DCMS study showed well-being increased with access to outdoor space, often accessed at heritage sites.

Learning is at the heart of museums, galleries and heritage sites. Many identify as delivering education as their primary function. In the public consultation for the Mendoza Review, 85% of over 1,200 respondents felt that museums and galleries are primarily places for education.

Museums, galleries and heritage sites contribute to positive social outcomes at a local level, making places more attractive to businesses and residents.

Our roadmap is driven by the latest evidence on the risk of transmission. We are therefore reopening outdoor settings before indoor settings, and reopening relatively low risk indoor settings where household mixing is less likely to take place at an earlier step, including retail, personal care and exercise facilities.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to reassure schools that they are not at risk of legal action for providing Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education on the curriculum.

We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe. That is why we made relationships education compulsory for primary school pupils, relationships and sex education compulsory for secondary school pupils, and health education compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools.

The Department remains committed to supporting all schools in their preparations to deliver the content of these subjects. We are aware that there are many resources in circulation to support schools to deliver these subjects and that not all of them are of good quality and some are inappropriate. On 24 September, the Department published thePlan your relationships, sex and health curriculum’ implementation guidance to support schools to choose appropriate resources.

Our new Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) guidance and training resources equip all schools to provide comprehensive teaching in these areas in an age-appropriate way. These materials should give schools the confidence to construct a curriculum that reflects diversity of views and backgrounds, whilst fostering all pupils’ respect for others, understanding of healthy relationships, and ability to look after their own wellbeing. We will be issuing further training resources throughout the year.

The statutory guidance contains information on what schools should do and sets out the legal duties with which schools must comply when teaching Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education. The guidance also sets out clear advice on choosing resources. It states that schools should assess each resource that they propose to use to ensure it is appropriate for the age and maturity of their pupils and sensitive to their needs, where relevant.

It is important that schools consider guidance from the Department and parents should feel able to discuss with schools if their approach seems to diverge from Government guidance. The regulations introducing the new subjects made it a requirement for schools to consult parents on their relationships and sex education policy. This is because it is right that parents are able to express their views on how these subjects are taught, and this process enables schools to understand the views and needs of their school community. Good quality parental engagement and effective subject design and delivery by schools will ensure that the positive benefits of teaching we know can come from these subjects are realised, which is why we have provided this support to schools.

We have worked with the National Association of Head Teachers, the National Governance Association, and the Association of School and College Leaders to issue joint guidance to support schools to engage parents on these subjects, published in October 2019 and available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/engaging-parents-with-relationships-education-policy.

We have also released a guide for parents to support understanding of the subjects, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-sex-and-health-education-guides-for-schools.

In light of the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, and following engagement with the sector, the Department is reassuring schools that although the subjects became compulsory from 1 September 2020, schools have flexibility over how they discharge their duty within the first year of compulsory teaching. We have made it clear that schools that are ready to teach these subjects and have met the requirements set out in the statutory guidance, including those relating to engagement with parents and carers, are encouraged to begin delivering teaching from 1 September 2020, or whenever is practicable at the beginning of the new school year.

For schools that are not ready to teach these subjects or unable to adequately meet the requirements because of the challenging circumstances presented by COVID-19, they should aim to start preparations to deliver the new curriculum and commence teaching the new content by at least the start of the summer term 2021. Where implementation has therefore been delayed in some schools, this is because proper engagement with parents and time to develop the curriculum has not yet been possible, not because of parental complaints. The Department does not hold information on how many schools have delayed implementation of the subjects.

We have issued advice to local authorities and regional school’s commissioners on managing disruption to primary schools related to these subjects. We continue to monitor implementation across the country and work closely with schools and local authorities, where necessary.

14th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support and assistance they have provided to schools which have received communications threatening legal action from parents and pressure groups that seek to prevent the teaching of any form of relationship and sex education, including on LGBT relationships.

We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe. That is why we made relationships education compulsory for primary school pupils, relationships and sex education compulsory for secondary school pupils, and health education compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools.

The Department remains committed to supporting all schools in their preparations to deliver the content of these subjects. We are aware that there are many resources in circulation to support schools to deliver these subjects and that not all of them are of good quality and some are inappropriate. On 24 September, the Department published thePlan your relationships, sex and health curriculum’ implementation guidance to support schools to choose appropriate resources.

Our new Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) guidance and training resources equip all schools to provide comprehensive teaching in these areas in an age-appropriate way. These materials should give schools the confidence to construct a curriculum that reflects diversity of views and backgrounds, whilst fostering all pupils’ respect for others, understanding of healthy relationships, and ability to look after their own wellbeing. We will be issuing further training resources throughout the year.

The statutory guidance contains information on what schools should do and sets out the legal duties with which schools must comply when teaching Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education. The guidance also sets out clear advice on choosing resources. It states that schools should assess each resource that they propose to use to ensure it is appropriate for the age and maturity of their pupils and sensitive to their needs, where relevant.

It is important that schools consider guidance from the Department and parents should feel able to discuss with schools if their approach seems to diverge from Government guidance. The regulations introducing the new subjects made it a requirement for schools to consult parents on their relationships and sex education policy. This is because it is right that parents are able to express their views on how these subjects are taught, and this process enables schools to understand the views and needs of their school community. Good quality parental engagement and effective subject design and delivery by schools will ensure that the positive benefits of teaching we know can come from these subjects are realised, which is why we have provided this support to schools.

We have worked with the National Association of Head Teachers, the National Governance Association, and the Association of School and College Leaders to issue joint guidance to support schools to engage parents on these subjects, published in October 2019 and available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/engaging-parents-with-relationships-education-policy.

We have also released a guide for parents to support understanding of the subjects, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-sex-and-health-education-guides-for-schools.

In light of the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, and following engagement with the sector, the Department is reassuring schools that although the subjects became compulsory from 1 September 2020, schools have flexibility over how they discharge their duty within the first year of compulsory teaching. We have made it clear that schools that are ready to teach these subjects and have met the requirements set out in the statutory guidance, including those relating to engagement with parents and carers, are encouraged to begin delivering teaching from 1 September 2020, or whenever is practicable at the beginning of the new school year.

For schools that are not ready to teach these subjects or unable to adequately meet the requirements because of the challenging circumstances presented by COVID-19, they should aim to start preparations to deliver the new curriculum and commence teaching the new content by at least the start of the summer term 2021. Where implementation has therefore been delayed in some schools, this is because proper engagement with parents and time to develop the curriculum has not yet been possible, not because of parental complaints. The Department does not hold information on how many schools have delayed implementation of the subjects.

We have issued advice to local authorities and regional school’s commissioners on managing disruption to primary schools related to these subjects. We continue to monitor implementation across the country and work closely with schools and local authorities, where necessary.

14th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support schools which have experienced complaints and pressure from parents about the provision of teaching about LGBT relationships on the curriculum; and what discussions they have had with such schools about ensuring the delivery of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education.

We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe. That is why we made relationships education compulsory for primary school pupils, relationships and sex education compulsory for secondary school pupils, and health education compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools.

The Department remains committed to supporting all schools in their preparations to deliver the content of these subjects. We are aware that there are many resources in circulation to support schools to deliver these subjects and that not all of them are of good quality and some are inappropriate. On 24 September, the Department published thePlan your relationships, sex and health curriculum’ implementation guidance to support schools to choose appropriate resources.

Our new Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) guidance and training resources equip all schools to provide comprehensive teaching in these areas in an age-appropriate way. These materials should give schools the confidence to construct a curriculum that reflects diversity of views and backgrounds, whilst fostering all pupils’ respect for others, understanding of healthy relationships, and ability to look after their own wellbeing. We will be issuing further training resources throughout the year.

The statutory guidance contains information on what schools should do and sets out the legal duties with which schools must comply when teaching Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education. The guidance also sets out clear advice on choosing resources. It states that schools should assess each resource that they propose to use to ensure it is appropriate for the age and maturity of their pupils and sensitive to their needs, where relevant.

It is important that schools consider guidance from the Department and parents should feel able to discuss with schools if their approach seems to diverge from Government guidance. The regulations introducing the new subjects made it a requirement for schools to consult parents on their relationships and sex education policy. This is because it is right that parents are able to express their views on how these subjects are taught, and this process enables schools to understand the views and needs of their school community. Good quality parental engagement and effective subject design and delivery by schools will ensure that the positive benefits of teaching we know can come from these subjects are realised, which is why we have provided this support to schools.

We have worked with the National Association of Head Teachers, the National Governance Association, and the Association of School and College Leaders to issue joint guidance to support schools to engage parents on these subjects, published in October 2019 and available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/engaging-parents-with-relationships-education-policy.

We have also released a guide for parents to support understanding of the subjects, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-sex-and-health-education-guides-for-schools.

In light of the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, and following engagement with the sector, the Department is reassuring schools that although the subjects became compulsory from 1 September 2020, schools have flexibility over how they discharge their duty within the first year of compulsory teaching. We have made it clear that schools that are ready to teach these subjects and have met the requirements set out in the statutory guidance, including those relating to engagement with parents and carers, are encouraged to begin delivering teaching from 1 September 2020, or whenever is practicable at the beginning of the new school year.

For schools that are not ready to teach these subjects or unable to adequately meet the requirements because of the challenging circumstances presented by COVID-19, they should aim to start preparations to deliver the new curriculum and commence teaching the new content by at least the start of the summer term 2021. Where implementation has therefore been delayed in some schools, this is because proper engagement with parents and time to develop the curriculum has not yet been possible, not because of parental complaints. The Department does not hold information on how many schools have delayed implementation of the subjects.

We have issued advice to local authorities and regional school’s commissioners on managing disruption to primary schools related to these subjects. We continue to monitor implementation across the country and work closely with schools and local authorities, where necessary.

14th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are providing to schools who consulted parents about the provision of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education but have since experienced complaints from parents and pressure groups which have resulted in delays to the introduction of those subjects to the curriculum.

We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe. That is why we made relationships education compulsory for primary school pupils, relationships and sex education compulsory for secondary school pupils, and health education compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools.

The Department remains committed to supporting all schools in their preparations to deliver the content of these subjects. We are aware that there are many resources in circulation to support schools to deliver these subjects and that not all of them are of good quality and some are inappropriate. On 24 September, the Department published thePlan your relationships, sex and health curriculum’ implementation guidance to support schools to choose appropriate resources.

Our new Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) guidance and training resources equip all schools to provide comprehensive teaching in these areas in an age-appropriate way. These materials should give schools the confidence to construct a curriculum that reflects diversity of views and backgrounds, whilst fostering all pupils’ respect for others, understanding of healthy relationships, and ability to look after their own wellbeing. We will be issuing further training resources throughout the year.

The statutory guidance contains information on what schools should do and sets out the legal duties with which schools must comply when teaching Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education. The guidance also sets out clear advice on choosing resources. It states that schools should assess each resource that they propose to use to ensure it is appropriate for the age and maturity of their pupils and sensitive to their needs, where relevant.

It is important that schools consider guidance from the Department and parents should feel able to discuss with schools if their approach seems to diverge from Government guidance. The regulations introducing the new subjects made it a requirement for schools to consult parents on their relationships and sex education policy. This is because it is right that parents are able to express their views on how these subjects are taught, and this process enables schools to understand the views and needs of their school community. Good quality parental engagement and effective subject design and delivery by schools will ensure that the positive benefits of teaching we know can come from these subjects are realised, which is why we have provided this support to schools.

We have worked with the National Association of Head Teachers, the National Governance Association, and the Association of School and College Leaders to issue joint guidance to support schools to engage parents on these subjects, published in October 2019 and available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/engaging-parents-with-relationships-education-policy.

We have also released a guide for parents to support understanding of the subjects, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-sex-and-health-education-guides-for-schools.

In light of the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, and following engagement with the sector, the Department is reassuring schools that although the subjects became compulsory from 1 September 2020, schools have flexibility over how they discharge their duty within the first year of compulsory teaching. We have made it clear that schools that are ready to teach these subjects and have met the requirements set out in the statutory guidance, including those relating to engagement with parents and carers, are encouraged to begin delivering teaching from 1 September 2020, or whenever is practicable at the beginning of the new school year.

For schools that are not ready to teach these subjects or unable to adequately meet the requirements because of the challenging circumstances presented by COVID-19, they should aim to start preparations to deliver the new curriculum and commence teaching the new content by at least the start of the summer term 2021. Where implementation has therefore been delayed in some schools, this is because proper engagement with parents and time to develop the curriculum has not yet been possible, not because of parental complaints. The Department does not hold information on how many schools have delayed implementation of the subjects.

We have issued advice to local authorities and regional school’s commissioners on managing disruption to primary schools related to these subjects. We continue to monitor implementation across the country and work closely with schools and local authorities, where necessary.

14th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they have provided to schools to assist with the provision of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education, in particular with the provision of lessons that include teaching on LGBT relationships.

We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe. That is why we made relationships education compulsory for primary school pupils, relationships and sex education compulsory for secondary school pupils, and health education compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools.

The Department remains committed to supporting all schools in their preparations to deliver the content of these subjects. We are aware that there are many resources in circulation to support schools to deliver these subjects and that not all of them are of good quality and some are inappropriate. On 24 September, the Department published thePlan your relationships, sex and health curriculum’ implementation guidance to support schools to choose appropriate resources.

Our new Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) guidance and training resources equip all schools to provide comprehensive teaching in these areas in an age-appropriate way. These materials should give schools the confidence to construct a curriculum that reflects diversity of views and backgrounds, whilst fostering all pupils’ respect for others, understanding of healthy relationships, and ability to look after their own wellbeing. We will be issuing further training resources throughout the year.

The statutory guidance contains information on what schools should do and sets out the legal duties with which schools must comply when teaching Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education. The guidance also sets out clear advice on choosing resources. It states that schools should assess each resource that they propose to use to ensure it is appropriate for the age and maturity of their pupils and sensitive to their needs, where relevant.

It is important that schools consider guidance from the Department and parents should feel able to discuss with schools if their approach seems to diverge from Government guidance. The regulations introducing the new subjects made it a requirement for schools to consult parents on their relationships and sex education policy. This is because it is right that parents are able to express their views on how these subjects are taught, and this process enables schools to understand the views and needs of their school community. Good quality parental engagement and effective subject design and delivery by schools will ensure that the positive benefits of teaching we know can come from these subjects are realised, which is why we have provided this support to schools.

We have worked with the National Association of Head Teachers, the National Governance Association, and the Association of School and College Leaders to issue joint guidance to support schools to engage parents on these subjects, published in October 2019 and available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/engaging-parents-with-relationships-education-policy.

We have also released a guide for parents to support understanding of the subjects, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-sex-and-health-education-guides-for-schools.

In light of the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, and following engagement with the sector, the Department is reassuring schools that although the subjects became compulsory from 1 September 2020, schools have flexibility over how they discharge their duty within the first year of compulsory teaching. We have made it clear that schools that are ready to teach these subjects and have met the requirements set out in the statutory guidance, including those relating to engagement with parents and carers, are encouraged to begin delivering teaching from 1 September 2020, or whenever is practicable at the beginning of the new school year.

For schools that are not ready to teach these subjects or unable to adequately meet the requirements because of the challenging circumstances presented by COVID-19, they should aim to start preparations to deliver the new curriculum and commence teaching the new content by at least the start of the summer term 2021. Where implementation has therefore been delayed in some schools, this is because proper engagement with parents and time to develop the curriculum has not yet been possible, not because of parental complaints. The Department does not hold information on how many schools have delayed implementation of the subjects.

We have issued advice to local authorities and regional school’s commissioners on managing disruption to primary schools related to these subjects. We continue to monitor implementation across the country and work closely with schools and local authorities, where necessary.

30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will monitor and report on the impact of the relaxation of regulations for supporting vulnerable children.

We have taken a number of steps to ensure the safety of vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak, including ensuring that vulnerable children can continue to attend education and childcare settings that are closed to the majority of children.

The vast majority of statutory duties remain unchanged. However, in light of the current pressures COVID-19 is bringing on social care services, and the risk of such pressures increasing, we have reviewed our regulations to allow some temporary and limited flexibility, to enable children's services to continue to support vulnerable children in the most effective and safest way during the outbreak. Our starting point has been to make minimal changes to ensure the safe functioning of children’s social care during COVID-19.

Amendments have been made to provide for extra flexibility in some circumstances, but this should only be used when absolutely necessary, with senior management oversight, and must be consistent with the overarching safeguarding and welfare duties that remain in place. The amendments will remain in place only for so long as needed.

The duties of local authorities and providers to report their decision-making remains the same. Ofsted inspections continue where there are safeguarding concerns, and new Regional Education and Children’s Teams (REACTs) are working around the country to improve our understanding about the risks facing these children.

The REACTs are co-ordinating our work with local authorities, minimising the burden on the sector while we continue to support councils to deliver safe, effective services. Ofsted has redeployed HM Inspectors to provide on-the-ground, practical support to local authorities, and we have refocused the work of intervention commissioners and advisers to target support to local authorities in need.

The department continues working with a wide range of stakeholders and the sector to ensure the right support is available for frontline services during this crisis. The regulatory changes will be kept under continuous review and will expire on 25 September 2020 unless extended.

30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how, in the light of the relaxation of regulations for supporting vulnerable children, they are monitoring whether (1) children are meeting or speaking to their social worker, and (2) care reviews are being completed in the right timeframe.

We have taken a number of steps to ensure the safety of vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak, including ensuring that vulnerable children can continue to attend education and childcare settings that are closed to the majority of children.

The vast majority of statutory duties remain unchanged. However, in light of the current pressures COVID-19 is bringing on social care services, and the risk of such pressures increasing, we have reviewed our regulations to allow some temporary and limited flexibility, to enable children's services to continue to support vulnerable children in the most effective and safest way during the outbreak. Our starting point has been to make minimal changes to ensure the safe functioning of children’s social care during COVID-19.

Amendments have been made to provide for extra flexibility in some circumstances, but this should only be used when absolutely necessary, with senior management oversight, and must be consistent with the overarching safeguarding and welfare duties that remain in place. The amendments will remain in place only for so long as needed.

The duties of local authorities and providers to report their decision-making remains the same. Ofsted inspections continue where there are safeguarding concerns, and new Regional Education and Children’s Teams (REACTs) are working around the country to improve our understanding about the risks facing these children.

The REACTs are co-ordinating our work with local authorities, minimising the burden on the sector while we continue to support councils to deliver safe, effective services. Ofsted has redeployed HM Inspectors to provide on-the-ground, practical support to local authorities, and we have refocused the work of intervention commissioners and advisers to target support to local authorities in need.

The department continues working with a wide range of stakeholders and the sector to ensure the right support is available for frontline services during this crisis. The regulatory changes will be kept under continuous review and will expire on 25 September 2020 unless extended.

30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how, in the light of the relaxation of regulations for supporting vulnerable children, they are monitoring and reporting on the impact of this decision on particular groups of vulnerable children, including (1) those in the care system, (2) young carers, and (3) those known to be at risk of sexual abuse or living with domestic abuse.

We have taken a number of steps to ensure the safety of vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak, including ensuring that vulnerable children can continue to attend education and childcare settings that are closed to the majority of children.

The vast majority of statutory duties remain unchanged. However, in light of the current pressures COVID-19 is bringing on social care services, and the risk of such pressures increasing, we have reviewed our regulations to allow some temporary and limited flexibility, to enable children's services to continue to support vulnerable children in the most effective and safest way during the outbreak. Our starting point has been to make minimal changes to ensure the safe functioning of children’s social care during COVID-19.

Amendments have been made to provide for extra flexibility in some circumstances, but this should only be used when absolutely necessary, with senior management oversight, and must be consistent with the overarching safeguarding and welfare duties that remain in place. The amendments will remain in place only for so long as needed.

The duties of local authorities and providers to report their decision-making remains the same. Ofsted inspections continue where there are safeguarding concerns, and new Regional Education and Children’s Teams (REACTs) are working around the country to improve our understanding about the risks facing these children.

The REACTs are co-ordinating our work with local authorities, minimising the burden on the sector while we continue to support councils to deliver safe, effective services. Ofsted has redeployed HM Inspectors to provide on-the-ground, practical support to local authorities, and we have refocused the work of intervention commissioners and advisers to target support to local authorities in need.

The department continues working with a wide range of stakeholders and the sector to ensure the right support is available for frontline services during this crisis. The regulatory changes will be kept under continuous review and will expire on 25 September 2020 unless extended.

30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the light of the relaxation of regulations for supporting vulnerable children, they plan to consult charities working with vulnerable children to help assess the impact of these changes.

We have taken a number of steps to ensure the safety of vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak, including ensuring that vulnerable children can continue to attend education and childcare settings that are closed to the majority of children.

The vast majority of statutory duties remain unchanged. However, in light of the current pressures COVID-19 is bringing on social care services, and the risk of such pressures increasing, we have reviewed our regulations to allow some temporary and limited flexibility, to enable children's services to continue to support vulnerable children in the most effective and safest way during the outbreak. Our starting point has been to make minimal changes to ensure the safe functioning of children’s social care during COVID-19.

Amendments have been made to provide for extra flexibility in some circumstances, but this should only be used when absolutely necessary, with senior management oversight, and must be consistent with the overarching safeguarding and welfare duties that remain in place. The amendments will remain in place only for so long as needed.

The duties of local authorities and providers to report their decision-making remains the same. Ofsted inspections continue where there are safeguarding concerns, and new Regional Education and Children’s Teams (REACTs) are working around the country to improve our understanding about the risks facing these children.

The REACTs are co-ordinating our work with local authorities, minimising the burden on the sector while we continue to support councils to deliver safe, effective services. Ofsted has redeployed HM Inspectors to provide on-the-ground, practical support to local authorities, and we have refocused the work of intervention commissioners and advisers to target support to local authorities in need.

The department continues working with a wide range of stakeholders and the sector to ensure the right support is available for frontline services during this crisis. The regulatory changes will be kept under continuous review and will expire on 25 September 2020 unless extended.

30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will determine when the relaxation of regulations for supporting vulnerable children should end.

We have taken a number of steps to ensure the safety of vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak, including ensuring that vulnerable children can continue to attend education and childcare settings that are closed to the majority of children.

The vast majority of statutory duties remain unchanged. However, in light of the current pressures COVID-19 is bringing on social care services, and the risk of such pressures increasing, we have reviewed our regulations to allow some temporary and limited flexibility, to enable children's services to continue to support vulnerable children in the most effective and safest way during the outbreak. Our starting point has been to make minimal changes to ensure the safe functioning of children’s social care during COVID-19.

Amendments have been made to provide for extra flexibility in some circumstances, but this should only be used when absolutely necessary, with senior management oversight, and must be consistent with the overarching safeguarding and welfare duties that remain in place. The amendments will remain in place only for so long as needed.

The duties of local authorities and providers to report their decision-making remains the same. Ofsted inspections continue where there are safeguarding concerns, and new Regional Education and Children’s Teams (REACTs) are working around the country to improve our understanding about the risks facing these children.

The REACTs are co-ordinating our work with local authorities, minimising the burden on the sector while we continue to support councils to deliver safe, effective services. Ofsted has redeployed HM Inspectors to provide on-the-ground, practical support to local authorities, and we have refocused the work of intervention commissioners and advisers to target support to local authorities in need.

The department continues working with a wide range of stakeholders and the sector to ensure the right support is available for frontline services during this crisis. The regulatory changes will be kept under continuous review and will expire on 25 September 2020 unless extended.

23rd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidelines they have given to headteachers in order to protect teachers from COVID-19.

The school workforce is central to the country’s response to COVID-19 and we thank them wholeheartedly for their support at this difficult time.

It is important to underline that schools remain safe places. Reducing the number of children and staff making the journey to school and reducing the number of children and staff in educational settings will protect the NHS and save lives by reducing the risks of spreading the virus.

We have published guidance for school leaders and staff on COVID-19 infection prevention and control in educational settings, which is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19.

Guidelines on implementing social distancing in schools are available at:
ttps://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

We have also published guidance on the actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak which includes guidelines for school leaders on protecting the school workforce from COVID-19. This guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-school-closures/guidance-for-schools-about-temporarily-closing.

Additionally, the Government has expanded its testing scheme to all essential workers. This includes anyone involved in education, childcare or social work – including both public and voluntary sector workers, as well as foster carers. If they or anyone in their household have symptoms, they are now eligible for a test to confirm whether they have COVID-19, so that if they don’t, the critical worker is able to get back into the workplace.

These are rapidly developing circumstances. We continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

23rd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure the safety of teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The school workforce is central to the country’s response to COVID-19 and we thank them wholeheartedly for their support at this difficult time.

It is important to underline that schools remain safe places. Reducing the number of children and staff making the journey to school and reducing the number of children and staff in educational settings will protect the NHS and save lives by reducing the risks of spreading the virus.

We have published guidance for school leaders and staff on COVID-19 infection prevention and control in educational settings, which is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19.

Guidelines on implementing social distancing in schools are available at:
ttps://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

We have also published guidance on the actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak which includes guidelines for school leaders on protecting the school workforce from COVID-19. This guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-school-closures/guidance-for-schools-about-temporarily-closing.

Additionally, the Government has expanded its testing scheme to all essential workers. This includes anyone involved in education, childcare or social work – including both public and voluntary sector workers, as well as foster carers. If they or anyone in their household have symptoms, they are now eligible for a test to confirm whether they have COVID-19, so that if they don’t, the critical worker is able to get back into the workplace.

These are rapidly developing circumstances. We continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the suitability of current COVID-19 support schemes for single person companies where the worker draws dividends in lieu of a salary from the company.

Income from dividends is a return on investment in the company, rather than wages, and is not eligible for support. Under current reporting mechanisms it is not possible for HM Revenue and Customs to distinguish between dividends derived from an individual’s own company and dividends from other sources, and between dividends in lieu of employment income and as returns from other corporate activity. Expanding the scope would require HMRC to collect and verify new information. This would take longer to deliver and put at risk the other schemes which the Government is committed to delivering as quickly as possible.

Individuals who are not eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme may be able to access other support Government is providing, including the Bounce Back Loans Scheme for small businesses, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the deferral of tax payments. More information about the full range of business support measures is available on GOV.UK.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)