Afzal Khan Portrait

Afzal Khan

Labour - Manchester, Gorton

Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

(since April 2020)

Department Event
Thursday 28th October 2021
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Department Event
Thursday 4th November 2021
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Department Event
Thursday 18th November 2021
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Department Event
Thursday 25th November 2021
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Department Event
Thursday 2nd December 2021
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Thursday 9th December 2021
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Friday 22nd October 2021
Prayers
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 114 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 3 Noes - 336
Speeches
Thursday 21st October 2021
COP26: Limiting Global Temperature Rises

The world came together in 2015 to set an historic ambition to limit global warming to 1.5°. Six years on, …

Written Answers
Friday 22nd October 2021
Members: Correspondence
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to provide a substantive response to the …
Early Day Motions
Thursday 23rd September 2021
Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; …
Bills
Wednesday 19th July 2017
Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: Aid to the Church in Need
Address of donor: 12-14 Benhill Ave, Sutton SM1 4DA
Estimate of …
EDM signed
Tuesday 13th April 2021
Immigration
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Immigration (Guidance on Detention of Vulnerable Persons) Regulations …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Afzal Khan has voted in 271 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Afzal Khan 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.

Sparring Partners
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(22 debate interactions)
Dominic Raab (Conservative)
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
(14 debate interactions)
Nigel Adams (Conservative)
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
(13 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(14 debate contributions)
Home Office
(13 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(13 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Afzal Khan's debates

Manchester, Gorton Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petitions with highest Manchester, Gorton signature proportion
Petitions with most Manchester, Gorton signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Currently, it is not compulsory for primary or secondary school students to be educated on Britain's role in colonisation, or the transatlantic slave trade. We petition the government to make education on topics such as these compulsory, with the ultimate aim of a far more inclusive curriculum.

Recognise the state of Palestine to help stop the conflict from Israel. Not recognising the Palestinian state allows Israel to continue their persecution of the Palestinians.

The Government should introduce sanctions against Israel, including blocking all trade, and in particular arms.


Latest EDMs signed by Afzal Khan

23rd September 2021
Afzal Khan signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Thursday 23rd September 2021

Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall

Tabled by: Afzal Khan (Labour - Manchester, Gorton)
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; notes that this memorial now includes over 150,000 hand-painted hearts to symbolise all those who lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic; praises the work of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for …
72 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 45
Scottish National Party: 9
Liberal Democrat: 9
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 2
Green Party: 1
Independent: 1
24th March 2021
Afzal Khan signed this EDM on Tuesday 13th April 2021

Immigration

Tabled by: Keir Starmer (Labour - Holborn and St Pancras)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Immigration (Guidance on Detention of Vulnerable Persons) Regulations 2021 (S.I., 2021, No. 184), dated 23 February 2021, a copy of which was laid before this House on 25 February 2021, be annulled.
82 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 40
Scottish National Party: 24
Liberal Democrat: 8
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Afzal Khan's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Afzal Khan, 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.


Afzal Khan has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Afzal Khan has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Afzal Khan


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. To amend the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 to make provision about the number and size of parliamentary constituencies in the United Kingdom; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - Committee Stage: House Of Commons
Wednesday 16th October 2019
(Read Debate)
Next Event - Committee Stage: House Of Commons
Date TBA

Afzal Khan has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


759 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
7 Other Department Questions
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, what proportion of correspondence sent to him by hon. Members received a substantive response within the service standard in each month of (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

This information is not centrally collated in the form requested. Where a Hon. Member writes to me about a matter that is directly the responsibility of another Department, it has been the long-standing practice of successive administrations for that matter to be passed to that Department for a substantive reply, on my behalf.

This means that the data on such response times will be included in that Department’s broader figures.

Further information on departmental performance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/data-on-responses-to-correspondence-from-mps-and-peers

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether her Department plans to bring a commencement order for Section 1 Public Sector Duty on Socio-economic Inequalities of the Equality Act 2010.

The Government has no plans to commence Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 in England. We have stated on many occasions that this duty, which requires a public body, in taking strategic decisions, to have due regard to the desirability of exercising them in a way that is designed to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage, would be ineffectual. As merely a “due regard” duty, it requires no specific action from the public body concerned, and risks becoming a tick-box exercise, complied with to minimise the risk of litigation rather than to promote real change in society. The duty is also wrongly focussed on equalising socio-economic outcomes rather than opportunities.

The Government’s preferred approach is to progress specific policies and practical actions that will deliver real change. We are promoting social mobility and tackling inequality through a range of initiatives – for example in education, through reforms to the welfare system, and by giving greater developmental devolution in England and rebalancing the economy through schemes such as the Towns Fund.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton of 10 November 2020 on Islamophobia.

My Office has no record of receiving this letter. I have asked my Office to contact the Hon Member’s Office to re-send the correspondence and arrange for a reply to be sent.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities published on 31 March 2021, to what extent that Commission participated and engaged with (a) people and (b) organisations in order for those people and organisations to be listed in (i) Appendix C: commissioned research and (ii) Appendix D: Stakeholders of that report.

The Commission sought new and existing research and analysis from individuals and organisations to aid their work – they are listed in ‘Appendix C: Commissioned research’ of the Commission’s report.

The Commission met with many individuals and organisations during the course of its work, either to hear evidence or to discuss recommendations – they are listed in ‘Appendix D: Stakeholders’ of the Commission’s report.

To note – the Commission included names of individuals and organisations in the Appendices of the report to acknowledge and thank them for their contributions as a courtesy – and advises that their being named should not be taken as an endorsement.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to ensure BAME women are not disproportionately affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

This Government is working to support all people through COVID-19, including BAME women. Guided by medical and scientific expertise, we have implemented specific measures to reduce the spread of the virus in all communities for everyone including women from BAME backgrounds.

This Government has taken unprecedented steps to support lives and livelihoods, including increasing the generosity of Universal Credit, introducing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and made changes to ensure women do not miss out on parental leave and childcare support. We continue to engage with women’s charities both local and national, and have made available an additional £76 million announced in May, to support survivors of?domestic abuse, sexual violence, modern slavery, and vulnerable children and their families.

The Public Health England (PHE) report, “COVID-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes”, published on 2 June 2020, looks at the COVID-19 mortality rates of different ethnic groups. I am now leading further work to build on this by analysing the key drivers of disparities in COVID-19 outcomes, the relationships between different risk factors, and what can be done to close the gap, for BAME men and women. This work is supported by the Race Disparity Unit in the Cabinet Office. The recommendations in the second PHE report “Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups” published on 16 June are also being taken forward as part of the terms of reference announced by myself on 4 June.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, how her Department measures social mobility.

The Government looks at a wide basket of indicators to measure social mobility. Our principle measure for understanding the outcomes of children based on their socio-economic backgrounds is the disadvantage attainment gap, which captures the difference in test and exam performance between children who are eligible for Free School Meals and those who are not.

On top of this, the Government collects and publishes a range of data that allows us to understand how social mobility and disadvantage relate to educational and other outcomes. These include attainment in the Early Years and at age 19, participation and progression of disadvantaged pupils entering further and higher education, labour market outcomes for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and different indicators of disadvantage such as Care status and Special Educational Needs status. Our ground-breaking Longitudinal Education Outcomes dataset has linked education records with tax data to identify the long term labour market outcomes of individual education programmes.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
24th May 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what proportion of correspondence sent by hon. Members to his Department received a substantive response within the service standard in each month of (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

The Government recognises the great importance of the effective and timely handling of correspondence.

The Cabinet Office is currently compiling data on the timeliness of responses to Hon. and Rt Hon. members from Government Departments and Agencies. This data will be released, and made available to Members, in due course.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 11 June 2021 to Question 11654, when he plans to the announce the (a) membership and (b) terms of reference of the UK Commission on Covid Commemoration.

While the Government's immediate focus is on protecting lives and livelihoods, the Government fully recognises the need to mourn those who have died and how this period in our history should be remembered and commemorated.

The Government will set out the membership and terms of reference of the UK Commission on Covid Commemoration in due course.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the timetable is for publishing his Department's response to the consultation on the expansion of the National Fraud Initiative data matching powers.

Over the 12 week consultation period, a high volume of responses were received and are currently being analysed. A statement will be published on GOV.UK in due course with further details, including the anticipated timetable.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his timetable is for announcing the (a) membership and (b) terms of reference of the UK Commission on Covid Commemoration.

While the Government's immediate focus is on protecting the lives and livelihoods of the nation, there is nonetheless the need to mourn those who have died, and to mark and remember this period as one of immense struggle.

The Prime Minister announced on 12 May that the Government will establish a UK Commission on COVID Commemoration to consider the appropriate way to remember those who have lost their lives and to recognise those involved in the unprecedented response. The Government will set out the Commission membership and terms of reference in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to Answer of 27 May 2021 to Question 6457 on Department of Work and Pensions: Correspondence, when data on the timeliness of responses to hon. Members from Government departments and agencies will be made available to hon. Members.

Further to the answer to PQ6450 on 27 May 2021, we expect this data to be released and made available to members ahead of Parliament rising for Summer recess.



Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of correspondence sent by hon. Members to his Department received a substantive response within the service standard in each month of (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

The Government recognises the great importance of the effective and timely handling of correspondence.

The Cabinet Office is currently compiling data on the timeliness of responses to Hon. and Rt Hon. members from Government Departments and Agencies. This data will be released, and made available to Members, in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the recommendations of the Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union's report entitled, The Shape of Future Parliamentary Scrutiny of UK-EU Relations, published on 14 January 2020, what steps his Department is taking to ensure effective future scrutiny of the UK-EU relationship.

The Government will be responding to the report in due course.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement establishes a set of committees to oversee its operation.

We are committed to facilitating parliamentary scrutiny of our new relationship with the EU as we do with other international agreements.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Government response to the Protecting the Debate: Intimidation, Influence and Information consultation, published May 2019, for what reasons the Government has not yet brought forward proposals to introduce a new digital imprint regime.

The Government is committed to implementing an imprints regime for digital election material. This will ensure greater transparency and make it clearer to the electorate who has produced and promoted online political materials.

The Government is planning to bring forward the technical proposal on the regime and further details will be announced in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to extend the digital imprint requirement to all online campaign materials.

The Government is committed to implementing an imprints regime for digital election material. This will ensure greater transparency and make it clearer to the electorate who has produced and promoted online political materials.

The Government is planning to bring forward the technical proposal on the regime and further details will be announced in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to create a publicly available online database of political adverts.

Whilst there are no current plans for a database of online political adverts, we are taking action to increase transparency of wider political advertising online, such as by introducing a digital imprints regime.

Online platforms should take responsibility for content posted on them, and we welcome the steps that several social media companies have taken to improve transparency of political advertisements on their platforms, including through the introduction of ad libraries.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many political adverts were placed on online without a digital imprint during the 2019 General Election.

The government does not hold the information requested.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 22 January 2020 to Question 4773 on Russia: Subversion, how long the process to establish the new Intelligence and Security Committee will take.

Members are appointed by the Houses of Parliament (having been nominated by the Prime Minister in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition). The Chair of the Committee is elected by its Members.

Nominations require careful consideration and consultation. The committee is being formed in the normal way and at a normal pace.

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the IEA report entitled Net Zero by 2050, A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector; and whether his Department plans to take steps in response to its conclusions.

We welcome the IEA’s Net Zero by 2050 report, which sets out a clear roadmap to net zero emissions and shares many of the priorities we have committed to in the UK’s Energy White Paper and my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, as well as in our role as COP Presidency.

In addition to our existing ambitious plans, we will publish a new comprehensive Net Zero Strategy in the lead up to COP26, setting out the Government’s vision for transitioning to a net zero economy by 2050, making the most of new growth and employment opportunities across the UK.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of correspondence sent by hon. Members to his Department received a substantive response within the service standard in each month of (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

BEIS has a 15 working day target to provide a substantive response to hon. Members. The Cabinet Office will soon formally publish the correspondence performance data of Departments for the years: 2018, 2019 and 2020. In line with this publication, the Department has achieved the following annual results: 2018: 57% answered within 15 working days, 2019: 86% and 2020: 67%.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support he is providing to the English language teaching sector to mitigate the effect of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has made substantial business support available throughout the Covid-19 pandemic including grants, loans, reliefs and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Although English Language Schools are not eligible for the government’s Restart Grant programme – which is aimed at the non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors – they may be eligible for support via the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). ARG provides Local Authorities with funding to put in place discretionary support that suits their local area.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of (a) increasing the Debt Relief Order vehicle value threshold to £2,000 and (b) excluding mobility scooters from the threshold.

The Government has recently consulted on proposals to increase the eligibility criteria for Debt Relief Orders to help more people deal with their financial difficulties and to provide a fresh start. The consultation includes proposals to increase the total amount of debt allowable in a Debt Relief Order but does not include proposals for any increase in the monetary limit for motor vehicles or the exclusion of mobility scooters. Following the closure of the consultation on 26 February 2021, the Government is reviewing the responses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of requiring the Insolvency Service to commit to review every three years the Debt Relief Order monetary eligibility criteria to ensure continued access to DROs.

No assessment has been made of potential merits of requiring the Insolvency Service to commit to review the Debt Relief Order monetary eligibility criteria every three years and there are no plans to do so. However, the Government keeps the legislative framework for insolvency under regular review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) effect on public health and (b) resulting costs to the taxpayers of the Government's future financing of nuclear projects.

Nuclear safety is a top priority for the Government and is kept under regular review. We have a world class regulatory system, and all operators are answerable to robust and independent regulators – the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the relevant environmental regulators. If the ONR consider that any nuclear reactor is not safe it will not be allowed to be built. Proposed new nuclear projects must also represent clear value for money for both consumers and taxpayers.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what level of expenditure his Department has assessed to be necessary to ensure the safe storage of additional waste arising from higher burn nuclear fuel in future nuclear projects; who will incur those costs and for how long.

Higher activity radioactive waste created by future nuclear projects will be disposed of in a geological disposal facility. Geological disposal is internationally recognised as the safest available option for disposing of higher activity waste. Operators of new nuclear power stations will have a statutory requirement to ensure adequate financing arrangements are in place to meet the full costs of decommissioning and their full share of waste management and disposal costs.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has suspended (a) archival and (b) destruction of (i) files and (ii) other records on Post Office’s Horizon computer system.

Any relevant information located by BEIS that may be in scope of the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry recently launched will be retained by the Department until, at least, the conclusion of the Inquiry.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure the energy regulatory framework supports (a) Greater Manchester’s 2038 carbon-neutral target and (b) distribution network operators’ net zero innovation plans; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on consumers’ (i) willingness and (ii) ability to pay for energy efficiency improvements through their energy bills.

The Local Energy Programme launched in 2017 is supporting Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the clean energy economy. BEIS has allocated £500k directly to Greater Manchester Combined Authority since 2017 to develop innovative business models?(for decarbonisation)?and public sector leadership (for climate change and zero carbon targets) in support of their 2038 target, which are then shared with other Local Authorities. We are currently working with Greater Manchester Combined Authority on innovative technologies and local energy market approaches to accelerate Manchester’s progress towards net-zero.

The regulatory price control for Distribution Network Operators is by law a matter for Ofgem, the independent energy regulator. BEIS is working with Ofgem to ensure that Net Zero innovation and new technologies can assist network operators to meet increased consumer demand for low carbon energy sources.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that wedding venue operators with rateable values above the cap for the Small Business Grant Fund have access to other covid-19 related grant funding.

The Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund are part of Government’s unprecedented package of support for businesses to help with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19.

Businesses that were in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief as of 11 March 2020 will be eligible for the Small Business Grants Fund. Under the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grants Fund, businesses that would have been in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount Scheme with properties that have a rateable value of under £51,000 are eligible for cash grants of up to £25,000 per property. Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme.

Businesses which are not eligible for the grant schemes should be able to benefit from other measures, including:

  • An option to defer VAT payments by up to twelve months;
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, now extended to cover all businesses including those which would be able to access commercial credit;
  • The Bounce Back Loan scheme, which will ensure that small and micro businesses can quickly access loans of up to £50,000 which are 100% guaranteed by the Government;
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to support businesses with their wage bills;
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, to provide support to the self-employed.

Businesses can search for available support via the business support finder tool at: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the South Asian wedding industry in the UK.

The Government recognises the significant impacts that the current COVID-19 outbreak is having on the whole of the hospitality sector and is therefore providing a range of support measures to help businesses across this sector. These measures include grants and business rates relief, VAT deferral, business interruption and bounce back loans, as well as job retention and self-employed income support. Full details of all the measures have been published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the wedding industry.

The Government recognises the significant impacts that the current COVID-19 outbreak is having on the whole of the hospitality sector and is therefore providing a range of support measures to help businesses across this sector. These measures include grants and business rates relief, VAT deferral, business interruption and bounce back loans, as well as job retention and self-employed income support. Full details of all the measures have been published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support his Department provides to workers coming to the end of their statutory (a) maternity and (b) paternity entitlement on returning to work during the covid-19 outbreak.

Employees who end their statutory maternity or paternity entitlement and return to work during the COVID-19 outbreak have the same rights as before.

All employees on family-related leave (including Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave, Shared Parental Leave, Paternity Leave and Parental Bereavement Leave) have a right to return to the same job if they have been off work for 26 weeks or less and a right to return to the same, or a similar job, if they have been off work for more than 26 weeks. This has not changed.

For those on Maternity Leave, the normal redundancy protections apply. Maternity discrimination in the workplace is unlawful and there are clear regulations in place which every employer must follow.

The Government is committed to protecting jobs and has provided unprecedented support to employers to retain their employees and protect the UK economy through implementing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Employees returning from family-related leave can be furloughed if they and their employer agree to this.

In terms of what support employees can expect if they are returning to the workplace, the Government is working to ensure that all workers have the confidence they need to go back to work. New ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidelines are available to UK employers to help them ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. The guidelines have been developed with input from a range of stakeholders, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy extend statutory maternity leave until (a) nurseries and (b) childcare facilities have re-opened.

The UK’s Maternity Leave offer is amongst the most generous in the World –up to 52 weeks of leave are available, 39 weeks of which are paid –and we currently have no plans to extend it.

We understand the impacts that the pandemic and social distancing have on parents, especially where they are doing the difficult job of balancing work and childcare. This is a problem facing all parents and not just those with babies, we do not therefore, believe that extending maternity leave is the right way to address this.

We have however, introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to support those who cannot work due to the current pandemic. The scheme allows individuals who cannot work due to childcare responsibilities to be furloughed by their employer, if both the employer and employee agree.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what funding he has allocated to supporting people to gain expertise and technical qualifications in retrofitting carbon inefficient buildings.

BEIS has not, thus far, provided direct funding for training or qualifications in building retrofit. The Department has, however, funded the development of improved design and installation standards and has created a market for individuals and businesses who install to those standards through the Energy Company Obligation.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that carbon inefficient buildings are retrofitted.

Government has a number of policies and proposals to improve the energy performance of buildings, for example:

  • Our current Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme and its successor will drive £6bn of additional investment to support energy improvements in low-income, vulnerable and fuel poor households between 2018 and 2028.

  • The Private Rented Sector Minimum standard regulations introduced on 1?April 2018 will improve the energy performance of rented properties. The regulations require landlords of domestic and non-domestic rental properties to bring their properties to EPC Band E or above. We recently consulted on raising the minimum energy standards for non-domestic privately rented properties to meet a preferred target of EPC B by 2030, and plan to publish the Government Response later this year. We will consult on tightening the minimum energy standards for domestic privately rented properties in due course.

  • We have committed to further consultations on introducing mandatory in-use energy performance ratings for non-domestic buildings; and on requirements for mortgage lenders to help households improve the energy efficiency of the homes they lend to.

  • Public sector organisations can access the funding for decarbonisation projects, including certain retrofits through the Public Sector Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme. The capital pot for England stands at £312m as of the end of 2019/20 and is planned to increase to a total of £385 million by 2020/21.
Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government will take to ensure that businesses do not penalise individuals who do not use the NHS contact-tracing app.

As the Solicitor General explained in Parliament on 28 April, the contact tracing app will be for voluntary participation only.

An ethical advisory board will be convened to monitor the use of the app.

No private identifying information will be kept on it and it will be data protection compliant.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2020
What recent assessment he has made of trends in the rate of reduction in UK emissions.

In the UK we have shown it is possible to achieve economic growth while reducing emissions. Since 1990, we have cut our emissions by 43%, while growing our economy by more than three quarters - decarbonising faster than any other G20 country.

Between 2017 and 2018 alone, we reduced emissions in the power sector by 6.6%.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households in (a) Greater Manchester and (b) the Manchester, Gorton constituency are currently living in fuel poverty.

Figures for Greater Manchester can been derived from table 4 of the Fuel Poverty sub-national tables using the 10 Metropolitan districts – Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Thameside, Trafford and Wigan – as listed by the ONS (https://geoportal.statistics.gov.uk/datasets/local-authority-district-to-county-april-2019-lookup-in-england).

Individual constituency data can be found in table 5 of the Fuel Poverty sub-national tables at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/sub-regional-fuel-poverty-data-2019.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of correspondence sent by hon. Members to his Department received a substantive response within the service standard in each month of (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

The Government recognises the great importance of the effective and timely handling of correspondence.

The Cabinet Office is currently compiling data on the timeliness of responses to Hon. and Rt Hon. members from Government Departments and Agencies. This data will be released, and made available to Members, in due course.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of using the forthcoming Online Safety Bill to legislate for what constitutes harmful but legal online content following engagement with stakeholders and civil society.

The forthcoming Online Safety Bill will require all companies in scope to assess the likelihood of children accessing their services, and to provide additional protections from harmful material for children, where appropriate. Companies providing high risk, high reach services will be required to take steps in respect of legal but harmful content and activity that is accessed by adults.

The government will set out priority categories of legal but harmful material for adults, and legal but harmful content and activity impacting children in secondary legislation.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to require an independent auditor to assess the steps taken by social media firms to tackle online harms as part of the forthcoming Online Safety Bill.

Ofcom will be named as the independent regulator for online harms in the Online Safety Bill. Ofcom will be responsible for overseeing and enforcing companies’ compliance with the regulatory framework.

Ofcom will be given the powers to fulfil its new statutory duties and functions effectively, including the ability to gather information from companies to understand how they are tackling online harms. As part of this, Ofcom will have the power to require a company to undertake, and pay for, a skilled person report on specific issues of concern, for example where external technical expertise is needed.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to increase the rate of Theatre Tax Relief.

The Secretary of State and DCMS are committed to supporting the cultural sector through this challenging time and we recognise how severely theatres, theatre companies and live music venues have been hit by COVID-19. The Government is supporting these sectors through unprecedented financial measures, including business rate reliefs, the Job Retention Scheme, Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the world-leading £1.57 billion support package for culture. DCMS has also worked closely with its arm’s-length bodies to deliver tailored support packages at speed, including the £160m Emergency Funding Package announced by Arts Council England, made possible by Government funding.

In 2018-19, £78 million of theatre tax relief was paid out relating to 3,380 productions, of which 950 were touring and 2,430 were non-touring. Since Theatre tax relief was introduced in September 2014, £208 million has been paid out relating to 8,395 productions. HM Treasury keeps all tax reliefs under review and DCMS continues to engage with these sectors extensively to best understand the challenges they face and consider the additional measures that may be needed to support the long-term recovery of these sectors.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will discuss with the Chancellor of the Exchequer the potential merits of extending eligibility to Theatre Tax Relief to live music venues.

The Secretary of State and DCMS are committed to supporting the cultural sector through this challenging time and we recognise how severely theatres, theatre companies and live music venues have been hit by COVID-19. The Government is supporting these sectors through unprecedented financial measures, including business rate reliefs, the Job Retention Scheme, Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the world-leading £1.57 billion support package for culture. DCMS has also worked closely with its arm’s-length bodies to deliver tailored support packages at speed, including the £160m Emergency Funding Package announced by Arts Council England, made possible by Government funding.

In 2018-19, £78 million of theatre tax relief was paid out relating to 3,380 productions, of which 950 were touring and 2,430 were non-touring. Since Theatre tax relief was introduced in September 2014, £208 million has been paid out relating to 8,395 productions. HM Treasury keeps all tax reliefs under review and DCMS continues to engage with these sectors extensively to best understand the challenges they face and consider the additional measures that may be needed to support the long-term recovery of these sectors.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on support for charity workers in faith organisations through the package of support announced for charities.

We are proactively engaging across the sector, to maintain a complete picture of the impact of coronavirus, and working to identify the additional support charities require through this time of financial instability. The £750 million package of grants announced by the Chancellor on 8 April is a substantial package of targeted support for charities and their staff working on the frontline of responding to Coronavirus. Charity workers can also make use of other measures announced by the Chancellor including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Government funding will be allocated based on evidence of service need. No allocations of government funds have been made yet but departments are working at pace to identify priority recipients. Once funding has been allocated, eligible Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise organisations will be able to start accessing funds within weeks.

More information will be announced shortly

24th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to raise awareness of the National Citizen Service among young people from each of the classified ethnic groups.

NCS Trust’s contracts with their local partners include a requirement that young people participating in NCS match, as closely as possible, to the local demographics. For example in areas where there are mixed ethnic groups our partners are required to reflect this in the makeup of NCS participants. This is tracked by the NCS Trust as part of their overall contract management of partners.

In addition marketing campaigns and materials have been developed to appeal to a wide and diverse mix of young people with many featuring local participants.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to Answer of 21 January 2020 to Question 3229 on Children and Young People, what will be classified as harder to reach areas.

My department is committed to ensuring this investment reaches young people who need it most, including those who currently have difficulty in accessing youth services. We are still developing plans for the delivery of the Youth Investment Fund and will announce more information in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to Answer of 21 January 2020 on Question 3229 on Children and Young People, where she plans to build the 60 new youth centres.

We are still developing plans for the delivery of the Youth Investment Fund - including the building of new youth centres - and will announce more information in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many young people participated in the National Citizen Service in each of the last 10 years, by classified ethnic group.

Please see a breakdown of participation in National Citizen Service Trust for the period 2015-2017, classified by ethnic group:

2015

2016

2017

Total

75,605

92,996

98,808

Ethnic Group

2015

2016

2017

White

70.7%

70.7%

67.9%

Asian

13.5%

14.0%

15.8%

Black

7.8%

7.9%

7.9%

Mixed

5.1%

4.7%

5.0%

Other

1.5%

1.6%

1.9%

NA

1.4%

1.2%

1.6%

BAME

27.9%

28.2%

30.5%

NCS attracts young people from a diverse range of backgrounds and participation by those who classify themselves as BAME has been consistent since 2015.

In 2017, more than a quarter (30.5%) of NCS participants classified themselves as BAME. This compares to 26% of the state secondary school population.

The NCS annual report for financial year 2018/19 has not yet been published and therefore the data for 2018 and 2019 has not been shared here.

NCS used a different data management system prior to 2015. As a result, the data is not consistent over the ten year period. I will write with further clarification once I have received further information from NCS.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the annual Summer Reading Challenge run by The Reading Agency in maintaining standards in reading; and what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing financial support to local authorities to enable them to increase the reach and effect of the Summer Reading Challenge in deprived communities.

The Department welcomes the Summer Reading Challenge and is supportive of the work of The Reading Agency.

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards, ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding. In 2018, the Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme dedicated to improving the teaching of reading. This focuses on supporting children making the slowest progress in reading, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds. The 34 English Hubs in the programme are primary schools which are outstanding at teaching early reading. The Department has since invested a further £17 million in this school to school improvement programme, which focuses on systematic synthetic phonics, early language, and reading for pleasure. In the 2020/21 academic year, the programme is providing intensive support to over 875 partner schools.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it is his policy to introduce an alternative Takaful-based funding structure to interest based student loans.

I refer the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton to the answer I gave on 9 June 2021 to Question 10312.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of correspondence sent by hon. Members to his Department received a substantive response within the service standard in each month of (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

The Government recognises the great importance of the effective and timely handling of correspondence.

The Cabinet Office is currently compiling data on the timeliness of responses to hon. and right hon. Members from Government Departments and Agencies. This data will be released, and made available to Members, in due course.

15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Manchester Gorton on Ali Alizadeh, reference AK42579.

I can confirm that a response has been sent, ref AK42579, to the hon. Member for Manchester Gorton.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with (a) universities and (b) higher education providers on the continuation of online teaching in the academic year 2021-22.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and I have regular discussions with the higher education (HE) sector on a range of issues. I also continue to engage closely with HE representative bodies and mission groups through the HE Taskforce to identify emerging issues as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and to work with the sector to address these.

HE providers are autonomous institutions responsible for their own teaching and assessment but should be delivering teaching in line with the latest HE guidance and public health advice.

The government’s clear and stated expectation is that universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and seek to ensure that all students regardless of their background have the resources to study remotely. The Office for Students (OfS), as regulator for English HE providers, has made it clear that HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and academic standards, which set out requirements to ensure that courses are high-quality, that students are supported and achieve good outcomes and that standards are protected. The OfS has published guidance which sets out expectations for providers in maintaining quality and standards and how it will assess compliance with these conditions in the light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In June 2020, the Secretary of State commissioned Sir Michael Barber to conduct a review into the shift toward digital teaching and learning in HE since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. The report, published on 25 February 2021, builds on lessons learned through the outbreak and sets out recommendations to help providers to seize opportunities for the medium to long term future and includes ‘six actions’ HE providers can take for next academic year. We welcome the publication of the report which will be important in supporting HE providers to prepare for the next academic year and to realise the opportunities presented by digital teaching and learning in the medium to long term.

The full report can be found here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/gravity-assist-propelling-higher-education-towards-a-brighter-future/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to correspondence from the hon. Member for Manchester Gorton of 14 January 2021 on the situation facing special schools and those education settings supporting children with special educational needs during the covid-19 lockdown.

I can confirm that a response has been sent to the letter dated 14 January from the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 9 February 2021 to Question 147045, what period does the data relating to the Inspiring Governance governor recruitment programme come from.

The data referred to in Questions 147045 and 147046 was from January 2018 to the present day.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many school governors are from (a) Black, (b) Asian and (c) minority ethnic backgrounds in (i) Manchester Gorton constituency, (ii) the North West and (iii) England.

Governance records are stored on ‘Get Information About Schools’ (GIAS). This is a self-service website that schools are able to complete and update. As school governance roles are filled by volunteers, it is not mandatory for them to register their details on GIAS, and the Department holds 183,784 active governance records. The National Governance Association (NGA) estimate the number of school governors and trustees in England to be 250,000.

There were 276 active governance records for schools in the Manchester Gorton constituency on GIAS as of February 1 2021.

There were 25,994 active governance records for schools in the North West region on GIAS as of February 2021.

There were 183,784 active governance records for schools in England on GIAS as of February 2021.

The Department does not hold data on the ethnicity of school governors in England, but findings from the latest NGA annual school governance survey indicated that 4% of governors and trustees within their membership are from an ethnic minority background. In addition, 18% of volunteers who signed up with the Department-funded Inspiring Governance governor recruitment programme, and 20% of those matched to school governor roles by the programme, were from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many school governors there are in (a) Manchester Gorton constituency, (b) the North West and (c) England.

Governance records are stored on ‘Get Information About Schools’ (GIAS). This is a self-service website that schools are able to complete and update. As school governance roles are filled by volunteers, it is not mandatory for them to register their details on GIAS, and the Department holds 183,784 active governance records. The National Governance Association (NGA) estimate the number of school governors and trustees in England to be 250,000.

There were 276 active governance records for schools in the Manchester Gorton constituency on GIAS as of February 1 2021.

There were 25,994 active governance records for schools in the North West region on GIAS as of February 2021.

There were 183,784 active governance records for schools in England on GIAS as of February 2021.

The Department does not hold data on the ethnicity of school governors in England, but findings from the latest NGA annual school governance survey indicated that 4% of governors and trustees within their membership are from an ethnic minority background. In addition, 18% of volunteers who signed up with the Department-funded Inspiring Governance governor recruitment programme, and 20% of those matched to school governor roles by the programme, were from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions his Department has had with exam boards on reducing exam fees following the cancellation of 2021 GCSE and A-Level exams.

Exam boards are responsible for setting exam fees. The Department encourages exam boards to set their fees appropriately based on the costs involved with alternative arrangements in 2021 and we are working at pace with Ofqual to provide clarity to exam boards, and the wider sector, on how alternative arrangements to exams in 2021 will work.

Compensation for examiners, markers and moderators is a matter for individual exam boards. Examination boards are independent organisations and are responsible for working through the arrangements for financial support, including how these might apply to markers, examiners, and moderators in a range of different circumstances.

Regarding rebates following the cancellation of exams, it is for the individual awarding organisations to decide on rebate arrangements, reflecting their particular circumstances. Awarding organisations have provided information to schools and colleges on any rebates they can expect in relation to summer 2020 examinations and we would encourage schools to get in contact with awarding organisations if necessary.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential benefits of exam fee rebates for schools following the cancellation of the 2020 GCSE and A-Level exams.

Exam boards are responsible for setting exam fees. The Department encourages exam boards to set their fees appropriately based on the costs involved with alternative arrangements in 2021 and we are working at pace with Ofqual to provide clarity to exam boards, and the wider sector, on how alternative arrangements to exams in 2021 will work.

Compensation for examiners, markers and moderators is a matter for individual exam boards. Examination boards are independent organisations and are responsible for working through the arrangements for financial support, including how these might apply to markers, examiners, and moderators in a range of different circumstances.

Regarding rebates following the cancellation of exams, it is for the individual awarding organisations to decide on rebate arrangements, reflecting their particular circumstances. Awarding organisations have provided information to schools and colleges on any rebates they can expect in relation to summer 2020 examinations and we would encourage schools to get in contact with awarding organisations if necessary.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to compensate (a) examiners, (b) markers and (c) moderators following the cancellation of 2021 (i) GCSE and (ii) A-Level exams.

Exam boards are responsible for setting exam fees. The Department encourages exam boards to set their fees appropriately based on the costs involved with alternative arrangements in 2021 and we are working at pace with Ofqual to provide clarity to exam boards, and the wider sector, on how alternative arrangements to exams in 2021 will work.

Compensation for examiners, markers and moderators is a matter for individual exam boards. Examination boards are independent organisations and are responsible for working through the arrangements for financial support, including how these might apply to markers, examiners, and moderators in a range of different circumstances.

Regarding rebates following the cancellation of exams, it is for the individual awarding organisations to decide on rebate arrangements, reflecting their particular circumstances. Awarding organisations have provided information to schools and colleges on any rebates they can expect in relation to summer 2020 examinations and we would encourage schools to get in contact with awarding organisations if necessary.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has authorised Kent County Council not to provide accommodation to children in its area who arrived by boat.

Legislation is clear about the statutory duties placed on local authorities in caring for unaccompanied children and no dispensation has been given to Kent County Council regarding these duties.

Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 imposes a duty on local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need in their area and to accommodate them if they meet the relevant criteria for requiring accommodation under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989.

The government recognises the challenges local authorities face in caring for high numbers of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. That is why we have been working with Kent County Council, to support them to meet their duties to looked after children in their care. The government has also worked with local authorities across the country to secure alternative placements for those arriving on the south coast.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide fiscal support for parents with childcare cost liabilities in the event that a family is required to self-isolate as a result of their child awaiting a covid-19 test.

We want parents to have access to a range of affordable childcare, giving them increased flexibility in their working hours and helping children thrive in the crucial early years. This is why the department is planning to spend more than £3.6 billion to support our early education entitlements in 2020-21.

We want to provide security to nurseries and childminders who are open for the children who need them. That is why on 20 July we announced our commitment to continue paying local authorities for the childcare places they usually fund, for the autumn term. This means that even if providers are open but caring for fewer children, as a result of low demand from parents or due to public health reasons, they can continue to be funded for the autumn term at broadly the levels they would have expected to see in the 2020 autumn term had there been no coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This gives another term of secure income to nurseries and childminders who are open for the children who need them.

Whilst we do not provide guidance on how providers operate their private businesses, including charges for provision over and above a child’s free hours, we urge all childcare providers to be reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents, given the great uncertainty they will be facing too.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has established a COVID-19 Taskforce to identify, monitor and respond to competition and consumer problems arising from COVID-19 and the measures taken to contain it. People and businesses who have seen or experienced businesses behaving unfairly during the COVID-19 outbreak can report it to the CMA by using their dedicated online form. Where there is evidence that businesses have breached competition or consumer protection law, the CMA will take enforcement action if warranted. As a result of alleged unfair practices caused by COVID-19 disruptions, the CMA has published an open letter to the early years sector (nurseries and childcare providers). This can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-open-letter-to-the-early-years-sector.

If asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and on a low income, parents who are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result may be entitled to a payment of £500 from their local authority under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme. For more information, please see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/test-and-trace-support-payment-scheme-claiming-financial-support/claiming-financial-support-under-the-test-and-trace-support-payment-scheme.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure pupils are adequately supported ahead of GCSE exams in summer 2021.

In July, Ofqual consulted on arrangements for GCSEs, AS levels and A levels in 2021, and its decisions on the changes proposed were published on 3 August. Changes to the content of assessments for certain subjects will reduce pressure on teachers and students.

The wellbeing of students is our key concern. Schools and colleges are making extraordinary efforts to ensure pupils get the best possible education this year and catch up on any learning lost. On 12 October, the Department confirmed that exams will go ahead next year and most AS level, A level and GCSE exams will be delayed by three weeks to give pupils more time to catch up on their education. The delay to exams allows extra time for teaching and preparation.

The Government announced a catch-up package worth £1 billion, including a ‘Catch Up Premium’ worth a total of £650 million. Our expectation is that this funding will be spent on the additional activities required to support children and young people to catch up after a period of disruption to their education. We also announced a new £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. This will increase access to high-quality tuition for disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people, helping to accelerate their academic progress and tackling the attainment gap between them and their peers. As part of this, we announced a 16-19 Tuition Fund, allocating up to £96 million as a one-off, one year, ring-fenced grant to school sixth forms and 16-19 colleges. This will provide small group tutoring activity for disadvantaged 16-19 students whose studies have been disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the adequacy of the teaching received by children in (a) the North West and (b) the South East.

Getting all children back to school for the start of the academic year has rightly been a national priority. Latest figures show that over 99% of state-funded schools in both the North West and South East are open, and regional teams are working closely with local areas to address any barriers to attendance. The Government is grateful for all the hard work of teachers and staff in supporting pupils during this time.

On 1 October, the Department announced a package of remote education support designed to help schools and colleges, build on and deliver their existing plans, in the event that individuals or groups of pupils are unable to attend school due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Schools will be able to access a new central support hub, where resources and information on remote education will be housed. This support has been co-designed with schools and includes a range of school-led webinars and resources intended to share good practice.

The Department is also investing £1.5 million of additional funding to expand the EdTech Demonstrator programme. This is a peer support network offering advice, guidance and training to schools and colleges in effective use of technology, including how it can support remote education.

The Department has made £4.84 million available for Oak National Academy, both for the summer term of the academic year 2019-20 and for the 2020-21 academic year, to provide free video lessons for reception up to year 11. It provides lessons across a broad range of subjects and includes specialist content for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. The support package can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Routine Ofsted inspections will remain suspended for the autumn term, though Ofsted inspectors are conducting visits in the autumn term. The intention is for Ofsted to resume routine school inspections from January 2021, which will include inspectors assessing the quality of education within schools, with this date being kept under review.

16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for (a) student support services and (b) mental health support.

Protecting the mental health of students continues to be a priority for this government and I have convened representatives from the higher education and health sectors to specifically address the current and pressing issues that students are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department of Health and Social Care has overall policy responsibility for young people’s mental health. We continue to work closely with them to take steps to develop mental health and wellbeing support.

The government is committed, through the NHS Long Term Plan, to investing at least £2.3 billion of extra funding a year into mental health services by 2023-24. This will see an additional 345,000 children and young people, and adults, able to access support through NHS-funded services.

We have invested £8 million in the Wellbeing for Education Return programme, providing schools and colleges with the knowledge and practical skills to help improve how to respond to the emotional impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Further information is available here:
www.gov.uk/government/publications/wellbeing-for-education-return-grant-s31-grant-determination-letter.

In further education, £5.4 million of competitive grant funding has been provided through the College Collaboration Fund, with five of the projects funded to support student and staff mental health and wellbeing through online programmes and remote support.

It is for higher education providers as autonomous bodies to identify and address the needs of their student body, and many providers have boosted their existing welfare and counselling services to ensure students are able to access the support they need. Student Space, funded with up to £3 million from the Office for Students, provides dedicated support services (by phone and by text) for students and a collaborative online platform to help students access vital mental health and wellbeing resources. The platform bridges gaps in support for students arising from the COVID-19 outbreak and is designed to work alongside existing services.

We have asked that providers prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of students, enabling them to use funding, worth up to £23 million per month from April to July this year, and £256 million for the 2020-21 academic year starting from August, to go towards student hardship funds and mental health support.

Over £9 million has been provided by the government to leading mental health charities to help them expand and reach those most in need. Students struggling with their mental health can also access support via online resources from the NHS and Public Health England, and the mental health charity Mind.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the rate for funding for sixth form educational institutions.

?The government’s Spending Round in August 2019 identified the need to increase funding for 16 to 19 year olds’ education to ensure that they fulfil their potential and develop the skills the country needs. That is why we invested an extra £400 million in 16 to 19 education in the financial year 2020-21. We have increased the base rate of funding by 4.7%, from £4,000 to £4,188 for the academic year 2020-21. Over and above the base rate rise, this extra spending also includes new resources for high value and high cost courses, and funding to support those on level 3 programmes to continue to study English and maths where needed. This is the biggest injection of new money into 16 to 19 education in a single year since 2010 - with funding increasing faster for 16 to 19 than in 5 to 16 schooling.

The government’s commitment to 16 to 19 funding has contributed to the current record high proportion of 16 and 17 year olds who are participating in education or apprenticeships since consistent records began.?

We are continuing to look at the needs of 16 to 19 education as part of the current spending review.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase funding for extra-curricular activities in sixth form institutions and colleges.

Since the academic year 2013-14, school sixth forms, colleges, and other 16-19 education providers have been funded for 600 planned hours per year per full-time student. In addition to time spent pursuing qualifications, these provide time for non-qualification activity which will be helpful for young people such as: work experience and work related activity such as preparing CVs and practicing interview skills and techniques; informal certificates such as citizenship awards or Duke of Edinburgh’s Award; university visits arranged by the institution; volunteering activities and community activities; and any activities that offer enrichment to the student such as personal and social development.

We have no plans to offer additional funding specifically for extra-curricular activities. However, in 2019 the government announced increased 16-19 funding of £400 million for the financial year 2020-21 – the biggest injection of new money into 16-19 education in a single year since 2010 - with funding increasing faster for 16-19 than in 5-16 schooling. The 16-19 base rate has increased by 4.7% for the academic year 2020-21 to £4,188.

Full details of fundable activity can be found in the study programme guidance, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-funding-planned-hours-in-study-programmes.

We are continuing to look at the needs of 16-19 education as part of the current spending review.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) private candidates and (b) home schooled students who are missing out on a place at college or university, or employment, as a result of not having a centre assessment grade.

Where schools and colleges had accepted entries from external candidates (students who they have not taught themselves because they have been home educated or studying independently), those students should have been included in the process of producing centre assessment grades (CAGs), where the head teacher or principal was confident that they and their staff had seen sufficient evidence of the student’s achievement to make an objective judgement.

Ofqual and the exam boards explored the options for those students who did not have an existing relationship with an exam centre and who needed results this summer for progression purposes. The Joint Council for Qualifications published guidance for exam centres on accepting private candidates which set out the options that would be available. Ofqual asked organisations that represent higher and further education earlier in the year to consider the steps that they could take when making admissions decisions this summer for any external candidates who do not receive a grade. Ofqual informed the Department that they believed that institutions would consider a range of other evidence and information for these students to allow them to progress wherever possible. The Government asked universities to be as flexible as possible, and we will continue to make every effort to minimise the impact of the pandemic on young people’s education and progression.

Students who were unable to receive a grade will need to sit exams, either in the autumn exam series or in summer 2021. Exams will be available in all GCSE, AS and A level subjects in the autumn. We have made clear that we expect schools and colleges that had accepted entries from private candidates in the summer to enter them into exams in the autumn where the students wish to sit an exam, and we have put in place arrangements to ensure that there are no financial barriers to them doing that.

1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that (a) private candidates and (b) home-schooled students do not miss out on a place at college or university, or employment, as a result of not having a centre assessment grade.

Where schools and colleges had accepted entries from external candidates (students who they have not taught themselves because they have been home educated or studying independently), those students should have been included in the process of producing centre assessment grades (CAGs), where the head teacher or principal was confident that they and their staff had seen sufficient evidence of the student’s achievement to make an objective judgement.

Ofqual and the exam boards explored the options for those students who did not have an existing relationship with an exam centre and who needed results this summer for progression purposes. The Joint Council for Qualifications published guidance for exam centres on accepting private candidates which set out the options that would be available. Ofqual asked organisations that represent higher and further education earlier in the year to consider the steps that they could take when making admissions decisions this summer for any external candidates who do not receive a grade. Ofqual informed the Department that they believed that institutions would consider a range of other evidence and information for these students to allow them to progress wherever possible. The Government asked universities to be as flexible as possible, and we will continue to make every effort to minimise the impact of the pandemic on young people’s education and progression.

Students who were unable to receive a grade will need to sit exams, either in the autumn exam series or in summer 2021. Exams will be available in all GCSE, AS and A level subjects in the autumn. We have made clear that we expect schools and colleges that had accepted entries from private candidates in the summer to enter them into exams in the autumn where the students wish to sit an exam, and we have put in place arrangements to ensure that there are no financial barriers to them doing that.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 lockdown on BAME families with children accessing their education from home.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support remote education in England. The Department has published a comprehensive range of guidance to support schools during this time. This includes a list of quality resources, and case studies of remote education practice.

The Oak National Academy was launched on Monday 20 April. It is a new enterprise that has been created by 100 teachers from schools across England. It is providing at least 180 video lessons for free each week, across a broad range of subjects, for every year group from Reception through to Year 10. The BBC has developed a comprehensive new education package, including wellbeing content, available on TV, via the red button and iPlayer and online at BBC Bitesize.

Schools can also apply for Government-funded support to access one of two free-to-use digital education platforms to enable online teaching such as, G Suite for Education or Office 365 Education.

To ensure all children benefit from these resources, we are providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people that do not already have a digital device or internet access. As of the end of June, over 202,000 laptops and tablets and over 47,000 4G wireless routers have been delivered to local authorities and academy trusts for distribution to the children and young people that need them.

The Department has launched a service to provide children and young people free access to BT Wi-Fi hotspots. 10,000 families will initially be able to access the scheme. This offer is currently being piloted and will be rolled out across England in the coming months. We are currently working with BT to expand this offer to allow more children to access the internet through their network of BT Wi-Fi hotspots.

The Department has launched a service to provide children and young people free access to BT Wi-Fi hotspots. 10,000 families will initially be able to access the scheme. This offer is currently being piloted and will be rolled out across England in the coming months. We are currently working with BT to expand this offer to allow more children to access the internet through their network of BT Wi-Fi hotspots.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many BAME children are in receipt of school meals support in (a) England, (b) the North West and (c) Manchester Gorton constituency.

The most recent figures for number of pupils eligible for and claiming free school meals is based on the school census for January 2020. The number of children eligible for and claiming free school meals in January 2020, by major ethnic group and for the requested geographies, are provided in the table below.

Number of pupils eligible for free school meals by major ethnic group, 2020

England

North West region

Manchester, Gorton parliamentary constituency

Asian

139,720

19,470

1,800

Black

127,260

12,070

1,210

Chinese

2,850

480

20

Mixed

121,190

13,770

650

White

982,950

171,650

1,740

Any other ethnic group

44,250

6,940

810

Unclassified

22,390

2,570

100

Figures rounded to the nearest 10, source Spring 2020 School Census

Further information can be found in the annual 'School, pupils and their characteristics' statistical release:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-pupils-and-their-characteristics.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of (a) child and (b) adult literacy levels by ethnic group.

The most relevant measure that we have for children is based on Key Stage 2 reading results. These are broken down by ethnicity and are available here:

https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/education-skills-and-training/7-to-11-years-old/reading-attainments-for-children-aged-7-to-11-key-stage-2/latest.

For adults, there is a breakdown of literacy skills by ethnicity in Table 2.25 of our England national report of the Survey of Adult Skills 2012 Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) – full report available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/international-survey-of-adult-skills-2012.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what role senior school staff play in the line management of schools-based police officers.

There are good examples of joint working between police forces and schools. Many schools have links with their local police forces and police officers play an important role in schools, engaging with and mentoring pupils. However, the detail is held and decisions made about these relationships are rightly made at a local level between schools who know their pupils and police forces who know their local neighbourhoods.

Matters of oversight, remit and any complaints will all be dealt with locally. Accordingly, the Department does not gather nor hold information on the number of partnerships, the number of officers based in any school or the number of officers supporting personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

It is right for schools to have the flexibility to work with external organisations to support the delivery of their PSHE programme to enhance teaching. As with any visitor, where a school invites external agencies, including police forces, into school they are responsible for ensuring they check the visitor’s and organisation’s credentials as well as the details of their session to ensure it fits with their planned programme. Schools should also adhere to the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance and agree in advance of the session how safeguarding reports should be dealt with.

The Department has not conducted an assessment on the effect of school-based police officers on Black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils or the educational attainment gap where such officers are deployed. We trust schools to do what is best for their pupils and believe they are best placed to decide how to utilise school-based police.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many pupil referral units have an assigned schools-based police officer.

There are good examples of joint working between police forces and schools. Many schools have links with their local police forces and police officers play an important role in schools, engaging with and mentoring pupils. However, the detail is held and decisions made about these relationships are rightly made at a local level between schools who know their pupils and police forces who know their local neighbourhoods.

Matters of oversight, remit and any complaints will all be dealt with locally. Accordingly, the Department does not gather nor hold information on the number of partnerships, the number of officers based in any school or the number of officers supporting personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

It is right for schools to have the flexibility to work with external organisations to support the delivery of their PSHE programme to enhance teaching. As with any visitor, where a school invites external agencies, including police forces, into school they are responsible for ensuring they check the visitor’s and organisation’s credentials as well as the details of their session to ensure it fits with their planned programme. Schools should also adhere to the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance and agree in advance of the session how safeguarding reports should be dealt with.

The Department has not conducted an assessment on the effect of school-based police officers on Black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils or the educational attainment gap where such officers are deployed. We trust schools to do what is best for their pupils and believe they are best placed to decide how to utilise school-based police.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools-based police officers assigned to state-funded primary and secondary schools in England are (a) white, (b) Black or minority ethnic, (c) female and (d) male.

There are good examples of joint working between police forces and schools. Many schools have links with their local police forces and police officers play an important role in schools, engaging with and mentoring pupils. However, the detail is held and decisions made about these relationships are rightly made at a local level between schools who know their pupils and police forces who know their local neighbourhoods.

Matters of oversight, remit and any complaints will all be dealt with locally. Accordingly, the Department does not gather nor hold information on the number of partnerships, the number of officers based in any school or the number of officers supporting personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

It is right for schools to have the flexibility to work with external organisations to support the delivery of their PSHE programme to enhance teaching. As with any visitor, where a school invites external agencies, including police forces, into school they are responsible for ensuring they check the visitor’s and organisation’s credentials as well as the details of their session to ensure it fits with their planned programme. Schools should also adhere to the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance and agree in advance of the session how safeguarding reports should be dealt with.

The Department has not conducted an assessment on the effect of school-based police officers on Black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils or the educational attainment gap where such officers are deployed. We trust schools to do what is best for their pupils and believe they are best placed to decide how to utilise school-based police.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what processes are in place to investigate complaints against schools-based police officers.

There are good examples of joint working between police forces and schools. Many schools have links with their local police forces and police officers play an important role in schools, engaging with and mentoring pupils. However, the detail is held and decisions made about these relationships are rightly made at a local level between schools who know their pupils and police forces who know their local neighbourhoods.

Matters of oversight, remit and any complaints will all be dealt with locally. Accordingly, the Department does not gather nor hold information on the number of partnerships, the number of officers based in any school or the number of officers supporting personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

It is right for schools to have the flexibility to work with external organisations to support the delivery of their PSHE programme to enhance teaching. As with any visitor, where a school invites external agencies, including police forces, into school they are responsible for ensuring they check the visitor’s and organisation’s credentials as well as the details of their session to ensure it fits with their planned programme. Schools should also adhere to the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance and agree in advance of the session how safeguarding reports should be dealt with.

The Department has not conducted an assessment on the effect of school-based police officers on Black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils or the educational attainment gap where such officers are deployed. We trust schools to do what is best for their pupils and believe they are best placed to decide how to utilise school-based police.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of reimbursing the tuition fees of healthcare students to recognise their contribution during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government is extremely grateful to all students who chose to opt in to a paid clinical placement in the NHS during this extremely difficult time. We have ensured that all students who do so are rewarded fairly for their hard work. Nursing, midwifery and allied health students who volunteered as part of the COVID-19 response have been receiving a salary and automatic NHS pension entitlement at the appropriate band. Time spent on paid placements as part of the COVID-19 response counts towards the requirement for students to complete a specified number of training hours in order to successfully complete their degrees.

Nursing students will continue to be required to pay tuition fees, and there are no plans for a specific debt write-off scheme for these students. Student loan borrowers are only required to make repayments from the April after they have finished their course and until they are earning over the relevant repayment threshold. The amount that borrowers are required to repay each week or month is linked to their income, not the interest rate or the amount borrowed. Repayments are calculated as a fixed percentage of earnings above the repayment threshold and any outstanding debt is written off at the end of the loan term with no detriment to the borrower.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many Ofsted officers are BAME.

These are matters for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman. I have asked her to write to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether Ofsted are required to examine individual school policies and handling of racism in inspections.

These are matters for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman. I have asked her to write to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools-based police officers are assigned to (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in (i) England, (ii) Greater Manchester, and (iii) Manchester, Gorton.

There are good examples of joint working between police forces and schools. Many schools have links with their local police forces and police officers play an important role in schools, engaging with and mentoring pupils. However, the detail is held and decisions made about these relationships are rightly made at a local level between schools who know their pupils and police forces who know their local neighbourhoods.

Matters of oversight, remit and any complaints will all be dealt with locally. Accordingly, the Department does not gather nor hold information on the number of partnerships, the number of officers based in any school or the number of officers supporting personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

It is right for schools to have the flexibility to work with external organisations to support the delivery of their PSHE programme to enhance teaching. As with any visitor, where a school invites external agencies, including police forces, into school they are responsible for ensuring they check the visitor’s and organisation’s credentials as well as the details of their session to ensure it fits with their planned programme. Schools should also adhere to the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance and agree in advance of the session how safeguarding reports should be dealt with.

The Department has not conducted an assessment on the effect of school-based police officers on Black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils or the educational attainment gap where such officers are deployed. We trust schools to do what is best for their pupils and believe they are best placed to decide how to utilise school-based police.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what powers of oversight and scrutiny senior school staff have with regard to assigned schools-based police officers.

There are good examples of joint working between police forces and schools. Many schools have links with their local police forces and police officers play an important role in schools, engaging with and mentoring pupils. However, the detail is held and decisions made about these relationships are rightly made at a local level between schools who know their pupils and police forces who know their local neighbourhoods.

Matters of oversight, remit and any complaints will all be dealt with locally. Accordingly, the Department does not gather nor hold information on the number of partnerships, the number of officers based in any school or the number of officers supporting personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

It is right for schools to have the flexibility to work with external organisations to support the delivery of their PSHE programme to enhance teaching. As with any visitor, where a school invites external agencies, including police forces, into school they are responsible for ensuring they check the visitor’s and organisation’s credentials as well as the details of their session to ensure it fits with their planned programme. Schools should also adhere to the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance and agree in advance of the session how safeguarding reports should be dealt with.

The Department has not conducted an assessment on the effect of school-based police officers on Black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils or the educational attainment gap where such officers are deployed. We trust schools to do what is best for their pupils and believe they are best placed to decide how to utilise school-based police.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has assessed the effect of schools-based police officers on the BAME educational attainment gap.

There are good examples of joint working between police forces and schools. Many schools have links with their local police forces and police officers play an important role in schools, engaging with and mentoring pupils. However, the detail is held and decisions made about these relationships are rightly made at a local level between schools who know their pupils and police forces who know their local neighbourhoods.

Matters of oversight, remit and any complaints will all be dealt with locally. Accordingly, the Department does not gather nor hold information on the number of partnerships, the number of officers based in any school or the number of officers supporting personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

It is right for schools to have the flexibility to work with external organisations to support the delivery of their PSHE programme to enhance teaching. As with any visitor, where a school invites external agencies, including police forces, into school they are responsible for ensuring they check the visitor’s and organisation’s credentials as well as the details of their session to ensure it fits with their planned programme. Schools should also adhere to the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance and agree in advance of the session how safeguarding reports should be dealt with.

The Department has not conducted an assessment on the effect of school-based police officers on Black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils or the educational attainment gap where such officers are deployed. We trust schools to do what is best for their pupils and believe they are best placed to decide how to utilise school-based police.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many Safe Schools Partnerships are in operation in (a) England, (b) North West, (c) Greater Manchester, and (d) Manchester, Gorton.

There are good examples of joint working between police forces and schools. Many schools have links with their local police forces and police officers play an important role in schools, engaging with and mentoring pupils. However, the detail is held and decisions made about these relationships are rightly made at a local level between schools who know their pupils and police forces who know their local neighbourhoods.

Matters of oversight, remit and any complaints will all be dealt with locally. Accordingly, the Department does not gather nor hold information on the number of partnerships, the number of officers based in any school or the number of officers supporting personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

It is right for schools to have the flexibility to work with external organisations to support the delivery of their PSHE programme to enhance teaching. As with any visitor, where a school invites external agencies, including police forces, into school they are responsible for ensuring they check the visitor’s and organisation’s credentials as well as the details of their session to ensure it fits with their planned programme. Schools should also adhere to the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance and agree in advance of the session how safeguarding reports should be dealt with.

The Department has not conducted an assessment on the effect of school-based police officers on Black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils or the educational attainment gap where such officers are deployed. We trust schools to do what is best for their pupils and believe they are best placed to decide how to utilise school-based police.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what processes are in place in the event of a conflict between school staff and schools-based police officers.

There are good examples of joint working between police forces and schools. Many schools have links with their local police forces and police officers play an important role in schools, engaging with and mentoring pupils. However, the detail is held and decisions made about these relationships are rightly made at a local level between schools who know their pupils and police forces who know their local neighbourhoods.

Matters of oversight, remit and any complaints will all be dealt with locally. Accordingly, the Department does not gather nor hold information on the number of partnerships, the number of officers based in any school or the number of officers supporting personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

It is right for schools to have the flexibility to work with external organisations to support the delivery of their PSHE programme to enhance teaching. As with any visitor, where a school invites external agencies, including police forces, into school they are responsible for ensuring they check the visitor’s and organisation’s credentials as well as the details of their session to ensure it fits with their planned programme. Schools should also adhere to the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance and agree in advance of the session how safeguarding reports should be dealt with.

The Department has not conducted an assessment on the effect of school-based police officers on Black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils or the educational attainment gap where such officers are deployed. We trust schools to do what is best for their pupils and believe they are best placed to decide how to utilise school-based police.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the remit of schools-based police officers is with regard to discipline and pupil behaviour.

There are good examples of joint working between police forces and schools. Many schools have links with their local police forces and police officers play an important role in schools, engaging with and mentoring pupils. However, the detail is held and decisions made about these relationships are rightly made at a local level between schools who know their pupils and police forces who know their local neighbourhoods.

Matters of oversight, remit and any complaints will all be dealt with locally. Accordingly, the Department does not gather nor hold information on the number of partnerships, the number of officers based in any school or the number of officers supporting personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

It is right for schools to have the flexibility to work with external organisations to support the delivery of their PSHE programme to enhance teaching. As with any visitor, where a school invites external agencies, including police forces, into school they are responsible for ensuring they check the visitor’s and organisation’s credentials as well as the details of their session to ensure it fits with their planned programme. Schools should also adhere to the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance and agree in advance of the session how safeguarding reports should be dealt with.

The Department has not conducted an assessment on the effect of school-based police officers on Black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils or the educational attainment gap where such officers are deployed. We trust schools to do what is best for their pupils and believe they are best placed to decide how to utilise school-based police.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools-based police officers are involved in the teaching of personal social health and economic education or citizenship lessons in their assigned school.

There are good examples of joint working between police forces and schools. Many schools have links with their local police forces and police officers play an important role in schools, engaging with and mentoring pupils. However, the detail is held and decisions made about these relationships are rightly made at a local level between schools who know their pupils and police forces who know their local neighbourhoods.

Matters of oversight, remit and any complaints will all be dealt with locally. Accordingly, the Department does not gather nor hold information on the number of partnerships, the number of officers based in any school or the number of officers supporting personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

It is right for schools to have the flexibility to work with external organisations to support the delivery of their PSHE programme to enhance teaching. As with any visitor, where a school invites external agencies, including police forces, into school they are responsible for ensuring they check the visitor’s and organisation’s credentials as well as the details of their session to ensure it fits with their planned programme. Schools should also adhere to the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance and agree in advance of the session how safeguarding reports should be dealt with.

The Department has not conducted an assessment on the effect of school-based police officers on Black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils or the educational attainment gap where such officers are deployed. We trust schools to do what is best for their pupils and believe they are best placed to decide how to utilise school-based police.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many complaints have been made about the behaviour or conduct of schools-based police officers in each of the last 10 years.

There are good examples of joint working between police forces and schools. Many schools have links with their local police forces and police officers play an important role in schools, engaging with and mentoring pupils. However, the detail is held and decisions made about these relationships are rightly made at a local level between schools who know their pupils and police forces who know their local neighbourhoods.

Matters of oversight, remit and any complaints will all be dealt with locally. Accordingly, the Department does not gather nor hold information on the number of partnerships, the number of officers based in any school or the number of officers supporting personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

It is right for schools to have the flexibility to work with external organisations to support the delivery of their PSHE programme to enhance teaching. As with any visitor, where a school invites external agencies, including police forces, into school they are responsible for ensuring they check the visitor’s and organisation’s credentials as well as the details of their session to ensure it fits with their planned programme. Schools should also adhere to the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance and agree in advance of the session how safeguarding reports should be dealt with.

The Department has not conducted an assessment on the effect of school-based police officers on Black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils or the educational attainment gap where such officers are deployed. We trust schools to do what is best for their pupils and believe they are best placed to decide how to utilise school-based police.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) primary and (b) secondary state-funded schools have an assigned schools-based police officer.

There are good examples of joint working between police forces and schools. Many schools have links with their local police forces and police officers play an important role in schools, engaging with and mentoring pupils. However, the detail is held and decisions made about these relationships are rightly made at a local level between schools who know their pupils and police forces who know their local neighbourhoods.

Matters of oversight, remit and any complaints will all be dealt with locally. Accordingly, the Department does not gather nor hold information on the number of partnerships, the number of officers based in any school or the number of officers supporting personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

It is right for schools to have the flexibility to work with external organisations to support the delivery of their PSHE programme to enhance teaching. As with any visitor, where a school invites external agencies, including police forces, into school they are responsible for ensuring they check the visitor’s and organisation’s credentials as well as the details of their session to ensure it fits with their planned programme. Schools should also adhere to the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance and agree in advance of the session how safeguarding reports should be dealt with.

The Department has not conducted an assessment on the effect of school-based police officers on Black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils or the educational attainment gap where such officers are deployed. We trust schools to do what is best for their pupils and believe they are best placed to decide how to utilise school-based police.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools-based police officers assigned to (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in England are (i) police constables and (ii) police community support officers.

There are good examples of joint working between police forces and schools. Many schools have links with their local police forces and police officers play an important role in schools, engaging with and mentoring pupils. However, the detail is held and decisions made about these relationships are rightly made at a local level between schools who know their pupils and police forces who know their local neighbourhoods.

Matters of oversight, remit and any complaints will all be dealt with locally. Accordingly, the Department does not gather nor hold information on the number of partnerships, the number of officers based in any school or the number of officers supporting personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

It is right for schools to have the flexibility to work with external organisations to support the delivery of their PSHE programme to enhance teaching. As with any visitor, where a school invites external agencies, including police forces, into school they are responsible for ensuring they check the visitor’s and organisation’s credentials as well as the details of their session to ensure it fits with their planned programme. Schools should also adhere to the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance and agree in advance of the session how safeguarding reports should be dealt with.

The Department has not conducted an assessment on the effect of school-based police officers on Black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils or the educational attainment gap where such officers are deployed. We trust schools to do what is best for their pupils and believe they are best placed to decide how to utilise school-based police.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State Education, whether his Department has assessed the effect of schools-based police officers on Black and minority ethnic pupils.

There are good examples of joint working between police forces and schools. Many schools have links with their local police forces and police officers play an important role in schools, engaging with and mentoring pupils. However, the detail is held and decisions made about these relationships are rightly made at a local level between schools who know their pupils and police forces who know their local neighbourhoods.

Matters of oversight, remit and any complaints will all be dealt with locally. Accordingly, the Department does not gather nor hold information on the number of partnerships, the number of officers based in any school or the number of officers supporting personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

It is right for schools to have the flexibility to work with external organisations to support the delivery of their PSHE programme to enhance teaching. As with any visitor, where a school invites external agencies, including police forces, into school they are responsible for ensuring they check the visitor’s and organisation’s credentials as well as the details of their session to ensure it fits with their planned programme. Schools should also adhere to the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance and agree in advance of the session how safeguarding reports should be dealt with.

The Department has not conducted an assessment on the effect of school-based police officers on Black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils or the educational attainment gap where such officers are deployed. We trust schools to do what is best for their pupils and believe they are best placed to decide how to utilise school-based police.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) primary and (b) secondary state-funded schools have requested the presence of a schools-based police officer in each year since 2002.

There are good examples of joint working between police forces and schools. Many schools have links with their local police forces and police officers play an important role in schools, engaging with and mentoring pupils. However, the detail is held and decisions made about these relationships are rightly made at a local level between schools who know their pupils and police forces who know their local neighbourhoods.

Matters of oversight, remit and any complaints will all be dealt with locally. Accordingly, the Department does not gather nor hold information on the number of partnerships, the number of officers based in any school or the number of officers supporting personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

It is right for schools to have the flexibility to work with external organisations to support the delivery of their PSHE programme to enhance teaching. As with any visitor, where a school invites external agencies, including police forces, into school they are responsible for ensuring they check the visitor’s and organisation’s credentials as well as the details of their session to ensure it fits with their planned programme. Schools should also adhere to the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance and agree in advance of the session how safeguarding reports should be dealt with.

The Department has not conducted an assessment on the effect of school-based police officers on Black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils or the educational attainment gap where such officers are deployed. We trust schools to do what is best for their pupils and believe they are best placed to decide how to utilise school-based police.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that teaching staff with protected characteristics are supported to progress in their careers.

In October 2018, the Department set out its commitment to increasing the diversity of the teaching workforce across all protected characteristics when it launched the Statement of Intent.

This commitment to increasing teacher diversity was made alongside 10 co-signatories from the sector (including unions and grassroots organisations) who set out their own individual activities.

The Department has been making progress against its commitments, including:

  • Providing £2 million of funding in nationwide Equality and Diversity regional ‘hubs’ to support aspiring leaders into headship. The hubs focus on providing coaching and mentoring to increase representation across all protected characteristics in senior leadership roles. Between 2014 and 2018 over 2,900 teachers have been helped to take the next steps on their leadership journey through school led diversity leadership training through the Equality and Diversity Fund.
  • Reflecting the importance of diversity in the Department’s Recruitment and Retention Strategy published in January 2019 to ensure people from all backgrounds are supported and that barriers to their progression are removed.

  • Encouraging representative recruitment for National Professional Qualifications for school leadership through key performance indicators.

  • Continuing to engage with signatories of the statement. In July 2019, we held a roundtable to gather progress updates and showcase best practice.
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) heads, (b) deputy heads, and (c) senior teachers in state-funded secondary schools are Black or minority ethnic in (i) England, (ii) Greater Manchester, and (iii) Manchester Gorton.

The attached table shows the number of Ethnic Minority headteachers, deputy headteachers, and all leadership teachers in state-funded secondary schools and all state-funded schools in England, Greater Manchester, and Manchester Gorton in November 2019 - the latest data available. Further information is published in the annual “School workforce in England” statistical release here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase representation of ethnic minorities in the teaching workforce.

In October 2018, the Department set out its commitment to increasing the diversity of the teaching workforce across all protected characteristics - including race - when it launched the Statement of Intent. This commitment to increasing teacher diversity was made alongside ten co-signatories from the sector (including unions and grassroots organisations, such as BAMEed, WomenEd, LGBTed and Disability Ed) who set out their own individual activities.

The Department has been making progress against its commitments including:

  • Providing £2 million of funding in nationwide Equality and Diversity regional ‘hubs’ to support aspiring leaders, including those from ethnic minority backgrounds, into headship;
  • Reflecting the importance of diversity in the Department’s Recruitment and Retention Strategy published in January 2019;
  • Continuing to engage with our signatories. In July 2019, we held a roundtable to gather progress updates and showcase best practice;
  • Encouraging representative recruitment for National Professional Qualifications for school leadership through key performance indicators.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase the diversity of the teaching workforce.

In October 2018, the Department set out its commitment to increasing the diversity of the teaching workforce across all protected characteristics - including race - when it launched the Statement of Intent. This commitment to increasing teacher diversity was made alongside ten co-signatories from the sector (including unions and grassroots organisations, such as BAMEed, WomenEd, LGBTed and Disability Ed) who set out their own individual activities.

The Department has been making progress against its commitments including:

  • Providing £2 million of funding in nationwide Equality and Diversity regional ‘hubs’ to support aspiring leaders, including those from ethnic minority backgrounds, into headship;
  • Reflecting the importance of diversity in the Department’s Recruitment and Retention Strategy published in January 2019;
  • Continuing to engage with our signatories. In July 2019, we held a roundtable to gather progress updates and showcase best practice;
  • Encouraging representative recruitment for National Professional Qualifications for school leadership through key performance indicators.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on increasing the diversity of the teaching workforce since the publication of its Statement of intent on the diversity of the teaching workforce on 11 October 2018.

In October 2018, the Department set out its commitment to increasing the diversity of the teaching workforce across all protected characteristics - including race - when it launched the Statement of Intent. This commitment to increasing teacher diversity was made alongside ten co-signatories from the sector (including unions and grassroots organisations, such as BAMEed, WomenEd, LGBTed and Disability Ed) who set out their own individual activities.

The Department has been making progress against its commitments including:

  • Providing £2 million of funding in nationwide Equality and Diversity regional ‘hubs’ to support aspiring leaders, including those from ethnic minority backgrounds, into headship;
  • Reflecting the importance of diversity in the Department’s Recruitment and Retention Strategy published in January 2019;
  • Continuing to engage with our signatories. In July 2019, we held a roundtable to gather progress updates and showcase best practice;
  • Encouraging representative recruitment for National Professional Qualifications for school leadership through key performance indicators.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what training his Department requires of (a) prospective teachers and (b) teachers on anti-racism and racial literacy.

The new Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework sets out a core minimum entitlement for all trainees of what should be covered during their teacher training. The Government does not prescribe the curriculum of ITT courses, it remains for individual providers to design courses that are appropriate to the needs of trainees and for the subject, phase and age range that the trainees will be teaching.

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) will continue to be awarded at the end of ITT against the Teachers’ Standards (2011). The Standards set out the key elements of effective teaching and the minimum expectations for the professional practice and conduct of teachers. In order to be awarded QTS, trainees must demonstrate that they satisfy all of the Teaching Standards at the appropriate level, including the requirement that they have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils and set goals that stretch and challenge young people of all backgrounds and abilities.

High-quality professional development is important for teachers at all stages of their careers to ensure they receive appropriate support and to enable them constantly to improve their practice. Decisions relating to teachers’ professional development rests with schools, headteachers, and teachers themselves, as they are in the best position to judge their own requirements. While teachers and headteachers are responsible for their own professional development, we recognise that it is of vital importance teachers are sensitive to issues of race and discrimination at all times. Teachers are required to always meet the Teachers’ Standards and their training and development should support them to do this. Part two of the Standards refer to ‘Personal and Professional Conduct’ and includes the requirement to always show tolerance of and respect for the rights of others.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what anti-racism training his Department provides as part of teacher’s continued professional development.

The new Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework sets out a core minimum entitlement for all trainees of what should be covered during their teacher training. The Government does not prescribe the curriculum of ITT courses, it remains for individual providers to design courses that are appropriate to the needs of trainees and for the subject, phase and age range that the trainees will be teaching.

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) will continue to be awarded at the end of ITT against the Teachers’ Standards (2011). The Standards set out the key elements of effective teaching and the minimum expectations for the professional practice and conduct of teachers. In order to be awarded QTS, trainees must demonstrate that they satisfy all of the Teaching Standards at the appropriate level, including the requirement that they have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils and set goals that stretch and challenge young people of all backgrounds and abilities.

High-quality professional development is important for teachers at all stages of their careers to ensure they receive appropriate support and to enable them constantly to improve their practice. Decisions relating to teachers’ professional development rests with schools, headteachers, and teachers themselves, as they are in the best position to judge their own requirements. While teachers and headteachers are responsible for their own professional development, we recognise that it is of vital importance teachers are sensitive to issues of race and discrimination at all times. Teachers are required to always meet the Teachers’ Standards and their training and development should support them to do this. Part two of the Standards refer to ‘Personal and Professional Conduct’ and includes the requirement to always show tolerance of and respect for the rights of others.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his Department’s policy is on the handling of complaints against schools accused of racism.

All schools in England must have and publish a complaints policy. The Department expects them to be given the first opportunity to respond to complaints, including those involving racism. If complainants are still unhappy once the local procedure is complete, they may either choose to complain direct to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, or they can ask the Secretary of State to consider the school’s handling of the complaint, under his powers of intervention. These are set out under Sections 496/497 of the Education Act 1996, if the school is maintained by the local authority or, under the terms of its Funding Agreement, if the school is an Academy or Free School.

The Department considers complaints about schools on an individual basis, depending on the nature of the complaint.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department provides to schools on handling (i) incidents and (ii) sustained cases of (a) racist, (b) xenophobic, (c) Islamophobic and (d) antisemitic bullying.

The government is clear that all bullying is unacceptable and should be tackled by schools. The department issues guidance to schools on how to prevent and respond to bullying as part of their statutory behaviour policy.

It sets out that bullying is behaviour by an individual or group, repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally. The guidance is clear that some types of harassing or threatening behaviour – or communications – could be a criminal offence. It sets out that if school staff feel that, during an incident, an offence may have been committed they should seek assistance from the police.

The guidance also directs schools to organisations who can provide support with tackling bullying related to race, religion and nationality. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preventing-and-tackling-bullying.

On 7 June, we announced more than £750,000 for the Diana Award, the Anti-Bullying Alliance and the Anne Frank Trust. This is to help hundreds of schools and colleges build relationships between pupils, boost their resilience, and continue to tackle bullying both in person and online. More information is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/extra-mental-health-support-for-pupils-and-teachers.

The department has also made resources available through the Educate Against Hate website. This website provides teachers, school leaders and parents with the information, guidance and support they need to challenge radical views, including racist and discriminatory beliefs. The website is available here:
https://educateagainsthate.com/.

In November 2018 we published Respectful School Communities, a self-review and signposting tool to support schools to develop a whole-school approach which promotes respect and discipline. This can combat bullying, harassment and prejudice of any kind and is available here:
https://educateagainsthate.com/school-leaders/?filter=guidance-and-training-school-leaders.

From September 2020, relationships education will be compulsory for all primary aged pupils, relationships and sex education will be compulsory for all secondary aged pupils and health education will be compulsory in all state-funded schools in England. Under the content for respectful relationships, the guidance sets out that pupils should know about the different types of bullying, the impact it has, the responsibility of bystanders and how to get help, and it is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education/.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment has his Department made of the effect of racism in English secondary schools on the attainment gap between BAME and white children.

The Department believes that racism in all its forms is abhorrent and has no place in our society. Schools play a significant role in supporting pupils to understand the society in which they grow up and preparing them for life in modern Britain.

All children and young people must be treated fairly. Under the Equality Act 2010, schools must not discriminate against a pupil in a number of respects because of a characteristic protected by the Act, including race. The Public Sector Equality Duty also requires public bodies, including maintained schools and academies, to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and other conduct prohibited by the Act; advance equality of opportunity for people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it; and foster good relations across all characteristics.

On Black, Asian and minority ethnic children’s attainment, in 2015 the Department published the following research report: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/439861/RR439A-Ethnic_minorities_and_attainment_the_effects_of_poverty.pdf.

Our research report on understanding Key Stage 4 attainment and progress (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/748514/Understanding_KS4_LSYPE2_research-report.pdf), published in October 2018, also includes content on the relationship between ethnicity and attainment, noting that this is complex and highly varied. There is also further information on education, skills and training on the Government’s ethnicity facts and figures website: https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/education-skills-and-training.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Departments will revise the national curriculum to consider Black British history and the history of racism and discrimination in the British empire.

Racism in all its forms is abhorrent and has no place in our society. Schools play a significant role in teaching children about the importance of having respect and tolerance for all cultures. The Department is committed to an inclusive education system which recognises and embraces diversity and supports all students to tackle racism and have the knowledge and tools to do so.

The national curriculum is a framework setting out the content of what the Department expects schools to cover in each subject. The curriculum does not set out how curriculum subjects, or topics within the subjects, should be taught. The Department believes teachers should be able to use their own knowledge and expertise to determine how they teach their students, and to make choices about what they teach and the resources they use, this also includes textbooks. The development and content of textbooks is a matter for individual publishers rather than the Department. The Department has not made an assessment of the impact of the National Curriculum on any specific group.

As part of a broad and balanced curriculum, students should be taught about different societies, and how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain, and this can include the voices and experiences of Black and minority ethnic people. The flexibility within the history curriculum means that there is the opportunity for teachers to teach about Black and minority ethnic history across the spectrum of themes and eras set out in the curriculum.

There is scope to include Black and minority ethnic history and experience in other curriculums, such as in:

  • Citizenship: At Key Stage 4, students should be taught about the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding.

  • PSHE: Schools have flexibility to teach topics such as Black history as part of their Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) programme and through the introduction of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education students will be taught the importance of respectful relationships in particular how stereotypes, based on sex, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability, can cause damage.
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what books by non-white authors are currently required reading on the (a) primary and (b) secondary school curriculum.

Racism in all its forms is abhorrent and has no place in our society. Schools play a significant role in teaching children about the importance of having respect and tolerance for all cultures. The Department is committed to an inclusive education system which recognises and embraces diversity and supports all students to tackle racism and have the knowledge and tools to do so.

The national curriculum is a framework setting out the content of what the Department expects schools to cover in each subject. The curriculum does not set out how curriculum subjects, or topics within the subjects, should be taught. The Department believes teachers should be able to use their own knowledge and expertise to determine how they teach their students, and to make choices about what they teach and the resources they use, this also includes textbooks. The development and content of textbooks is a matter for individual publishers rather than the Department. The Department has not made an assessment of the impact of the National Curriculum on any specific group.

As part of a broad and balanced curriculum, students should be taught about different societies, and how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain, and this can include the voices and experiences of Black and minority ethnic people. The flexibility within the history curriculum means that there is the opportunity for teachers to teach about Black and minority ethnic history across the spectrum of themes and eras set out in the curriculum.

There is scope to include Black and minority ethnic history and experience in other curriculums, such as in:

  • Citizenship: At Key Stage 4, students should be taught about the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding.

  • PSHE: Schools have flexibility to teach topics such as Black history as part of their Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) programme and through the introduction of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education students will be taught the importance of respectful relationships in particular how stereotypes, based on sex, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability, can cause damage.
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what resources are available to (a) primary and (b) secondary schools to teach anti-racism.

We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe. We also want to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society. Schools are required to actively promote fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faith and beliefs.

From September 2020, Relationships Education will become compulsory for primary-aged pupils and Relationships and Sex Education will become compulsory for secondary-aged pupils. Statutory guidance for these subjects requires all primary-aged pupils to be taught the importance of respecting others, even when they are different from them, or make different choices or have different preferences or beliefs. Pupils will also be taught what a stereotype is, and how stereotypes can be unfair, negative or destructive. This will be reinforced at secondary school when pupils will also learn about legal rights and responsibilities regarding equality (particularly with reference to the protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010) and that everyone is unique and equal.

Schools can also choose to teach a range of subjects related to racism at primary, following the non-statutory framework for Citizenship. Pupils can be taught to identify and respect the differences between people; the consequences of anti-social and aggressive behaviour, including racism, on individuals; and how to respond to them and ask for help. The National Curriculum for Citizenship at secondary phase enables pupils to develop their understanding of the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the UK and the need for mutual respect and understanding. There is also flexibility within the history curriculum for teachers to teach about Black and minority ethnic history across the spectrum of themes and eras, to support an understanding of the active role Black and minority ethnic people have played in history.

The Department does not specify how schools should teach curriculum subjects. Schools have the freedom to use their professional judgements and an understanding of their pupils to develop the right approach for their schools. This includes decisions about which resources they may choose to support their teaching. The Department is developing training materials to support schools’ implementation of Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education. This will include training modules, implementation guidance, support to access resources and case studies. Schools who require more support will be able to access training through existing regional teaching school networks.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that textbooks used in the national curricula are (a) race conscious and (b) inclusive.

Racism in all its forms is abhorrent and has no place in our society. Schools play a significant role in teaching children about the importance of having respect and tolerance for all cultures. The Department is committed to an inclusive education system which recognises and embraces diversity and supports all students to tackle racism and have the knowledge and tools to do so.

The national curriculum is a framework setting out the content of what the Department expects schools to cover in each subject. The curriculum does not set out how curriculum subjects, or topics within the subjects, should be taught. The Department believes teachers should be able to use their own knowledge and expertise to determine how they teach their students, and to make choices about what they teach and the resources they use, this also includes textbooks. The development and content of textbooks is a matter for individual publishers rather than the Department. The Department has not made an assessment of the impact of the National Curriculum on any specific group.

As part of a broad and balanced curriculum, students should be taught about different societies, and how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain, and this can include the voices and experiences of Black and minority ethnic people. The flexibility within the history curriculum means that there is the opportunity for teachers to teach about Black and minority ethnic history across the spectrum of themes and eras set out in the curriculum.

There is scope to include Black and minority ethnic history and experience in other curriculums, such as in:

  • Citizenship: At Key Stage 4, students should be taught about the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding.

  • PSHE: Schools have flexibility to teach topics such as Black history as part of their Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) programme and through the introduction of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education students will be taught the importance of respectful relationships in particular how stereotypes, based on sex, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability, can cause damage.
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the extent and value of teaching of Black and minority ethnic experience in the national curriculum.

Racism in all its forms is abhorrent and has no place in our society. Schools play a significant role in teaching children about the importance of having respect and tolerance for all cultures. The Department is committed to an inclusive education system which recognises and embraces diversity and supports all students to tackle racism and have the knowledge and tools to do so.

The national curriculum is a framework setting out the content of what the Department expects schools to cover in each subject. The curriculum does not set out how curriculum subjects, or topics within the subjects, should be taught. The Department believes teachers should be able to use their own knowledge and expertise to determine how they teach their students, and to make choices about what they teach and the resources they use, this also includes textbooks. The development and content of textbooks is a matter for individual publishers rather than the Department. The Department has not made an assessment of the impact of the National Curriculum on any specific group.

As part of a broad and balanced curriculum, students should be taught about different societies, and how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain, and this can include the voices and experiences of Black and minority ethnic people. The flexibility within the history curriculum means that there is the opportunity for teachers to teach about Black and minority ethnic history across the spectrum of themes and eras set out in the curriculum.

There is scope to include Black and minority ethnic history and experience in other curriculums, such as in:

  • Citizenship: At Key Stage 4, students should be taught about the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding.

  • PSHE: Schools have flexibility to teach topics such as Black history as part of their Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) programme and through the introduction of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education students will be taught the importance of respectful relationships in particular how stereotypes, based on sex, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability, can cause damage.
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department make an assessment of the potential merits of the recommendations contained in the report entitled, Race and Racism in English Secondary Schools, published by Dr Remi Joseph-Salisbury and the Runnymede Trust; and if he will make a statement.

Officials at the Department are aware of the recent report on ‘Race and Racism in English Secondary Schools’ published by the Runnymede Trust and continue to consider its implications. They have noted the report’s recommendations across the teacher workforce, curriculums, police and policies.

On the teacher workforce, in October 2018, the Department set out its commitment to increasing the diversity of the teaching workforce across all protected characteristics - including race - when it launched the Statement of Intent. This commitment to increasing teacher diversity was made alongside 10 co-signatories from the sector (including unions and grassroots organisations, such as BAMEed, WomenEd, LGBTed and Disability Ed) who set out their own individual activities. The Department has been making progress against its commitments including:

  • Providing £2 million of funding in nationwide Equality and Diversity regional ‘hubs’ to support aspiring leaders, including those from ethnic minority backgrounds, into headship;
  • Reflecting the importance of diversity in the Department’s Recruitment and Retention Strategy published in January 2019;
  • Continuing to engage with our signatories. In July 2019, we held a roundtable to gather progress updates and showcase best practice;
  • Encouraging representative recruitment for NPQs for school leadership through key performance indicators.

On curricula, schools play an important role in preparing children for life in modern Britain and supporting them to understand the society they grow up in. All schools are required to teach a balanced and broadly based curriculum that promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils, and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. The national curriculum does not set out how curriculum subjects, or topics within the subjects, should be taught. The Department believes teachers should be able to use their own knowledge and expertise to determine how they teach their pupils, and to make choices about what they teach. Additionally, schools are required to promote fundamental British values, including individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs.

On the presence of police in schools, there are good examples of joint working between police forces and schools which have been established through working effectively in partnership. Indeed, many schools have links with their local police forces and police officers play an important role in schools, engaging with and mentoring pupils. However, decisions about these relationships are rightly made at a local level between schools who know their pupils and police forces who know their local neighbourhoods.

On school policies to tackle racism, all children and young people must be treated fairly. Under the Equality Act 2010, schools must not discriminate against a pupil in a number of respects because of a characteristic protected by the Act, including race. The Public Sector Equality Duty also requires public bodies, including maintained schools and Academies to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and other conduct prohibited by the Act; advance equality of opportunity for people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it; and foster good relations across all characteristics. Additionally, the Department is clear that racism or bullying of any kind is completely unacceptable and schools should adhere to stringent behaviour policies to prevent this.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) BAME, (b) women, and (c) disabled teachers were recruited in each of the last 10 years.

The Department collects information on newly qualified teachers (NQTs) [1] entering the workforce annually through the School Workforce Census. For entrants to be counted they must be in the workforce as of the census day which falls in November each year. Teachers that are recruited but leave before the census day are not counted.

Table 1 shows the full-time equivalent (FTE) number of NQTs recruited since 2011 that identify as black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) or female.

School workforce data has only been collected since 2010, so only eight years of data has been provided.

BAME teachers include all ethnic groups apart from the White ethnic groups (White British, White Irish and White Other).

Reporting of disability status is relatively low in the School Workforce Census. Only 42 percent of entrant records in the November 2018 School Workforce Census provide their disability status. As such, figures have not been provided.

Note that the data provided is from an internal analytical database which has marginal differences to the total number of NQTs and Deferred NQTs in the official publication due to using an updated methodology.

Table 1: FTE NQT entrants over Census Years

Census Year

FTE Female NQT entrants

FTE BAME NQT entrants

FTE NQT Entrants

2011

18,267

2,054

24,889

2012

21,204

2,445

28,665

2013

21,007

2,485

28,140

2014

21,902

2,681

29,255

2015

22,020

2,841

29,499

2016

20,970

3,095

28,257

2017

19,483

2,915

26,272

2018

19,320

3,069

26,192

[1] Newly qualified teachers in this response include NQTs and Deferred NQTs (delayed NQT year by a year after qualified teacher status obtained).

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government has taken to increase the diversity of (a) heads and (b) deputy heads in state-funded secondary schools in England.

In October 2018, the Department set out its commitment to increasing the diversity of the teaching workforce when it launched the Statement of Intent.

The Department has been making progress against the activities it committed to in the statement, including:

  • Providing £2 million of funding to nationwide Equality and Diversity regional ‘hubs’ to support aspiring leaders, including those from ethnic minority backgrounds, into headship.
  • Reflecting the importance of diversity in the Department’s Recruitment and Retention Strategy published in January 2019.
  • Encouraging representative recruitment for National Professional Qualifications for school leadership through key performance indicators.


Between 2014 and 2018, over 2,900 teachers have been helped to take the next steps in their career through school-led diversity leadership training because of Equality and Diversity funding.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure child are not discriminated against at school for the hair colour or style they choose.

In formulating its school uniform policy, a school must consider its obligations not to discriminate unlawfully under equality law.

The Department provides guidance to help schools understand how the Equality Act affects them and how to fulfil their duties under the Act. The guidance makes clear to schools that decisions related to appearance, including on hair, must be made in accordance with their responsibilities under the Equality Act.

Our guidance on school uniform also advises schools to take on board the views of parents and pupils, and states that policies should be flexible enough to accommodate the different needs of students.

In making decisions about its school uniform policy, and all other policies, a school must have regard to its obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty.

The school uniform guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-uniform

The Equality Act guidance is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-2010-advice-for-schools

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department provides on the creation of school uniform policies to ensure they are not discriminatory against any ethnic group.

In formulating its school uniform policy, a school must consider its obligations not to discriminate unlawfully under equality law.

The Department provides guidance to help schools understand how the Equality Act affects them and how to fulfil their duties under the Act. The guidance makes clear to schools that decisions related to appearance, including on hair, must be made in accordance with their responsibilities under the Equality Act.

Our guidance on school uniform also advises schools to take on board the views of parents and pupils, and states that policies should be flexible enough to accommodate the different needs of students.

In making decisions about its school uniform policy, and all other policies, a school must have regard to its obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty.

The school uniform guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-uniform

The Equality Act guidance is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-2010-advice-for-schools

18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to provide additional financial support to universities to supplement any shortfall in funding as a result of declining student numbers in the 2020/21 academic year.

The government recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak is bringing significant financial challenges to the higher education (HE) sector and we have been working closely with the sector to monitor the likely impacts.

On 4 May 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a package of measures to ensure sustainability in HE at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.

We have stabilised the admissions system and will pull forward tuition fee payments, expected to be worth £2.6 billion, for providers so that they receive more money in the first term of the 2020/21 academic year. This will have no impact on students but will allow providers to better manage financial risks over the autumn. This will be available to all providers across the UK. In reprofiling these payments, we are clear in our expectation that providers should use the cashflow benefits appropriately, taking significant steps to improve efficiencies and manage their finances in order to avoid cashflow problems in the future. Reprofiling in this way is a one-off intervention for the autumn term only, to help providers take all necessary steps now to prepare for the future.

On 27 June, the government announced a further package of support to research-active universities to enable them to continue their research and innovation activities. This includes £280 million of government funding, and a package of low-interest loans with long pay-back periods, supplemented by a small amount of government grants, which will be available from autumn. In sharing responsibility for the future of science and research with our world-leading university system, the government will cover up to 80% of a university’s income losses from international students for the academic year 2020/21, up to the value of their non-publicly funded research activity.

The government has also confirmed that providers are eligible to apply for its support packages, including business loan support schemes, which the Office for Students (OfS) the regulator in England, estimates could be worth at least £700 million to the sector.

The department is working closely with HM Treasury and other government departments to develop a restructuring regime?for HE providers in England. We will only intervene?where we find there is a case to do so and only where we believe intervention is possible and appropriate, and as a last resort.??A restructuring regime will review providers’ circumstances and assess the need for restructuring, financial?support?and any attached conditions. We are discussing our approach with the devolved administrations.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to help prevent universities from becoming insolvent as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The government recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak is bringing significant financial challenges to the higher education (HE) sector and we have been working closely with the sector to monitor the likely impacts.

On 4 May 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a package of measures to ensure sustainability in HE at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.

We have stabilised the admissions system and will pull forward tuition fee payments, expected to be worth £2.6 billion, for providers so that they receive more money in the first term of the 2020/21 academic year. This will have no impact on students but will allow providers to better manage financial risks over the autumn. This will be available to all providers across the UK. In reprofiling these payments, we are clear in our expectation that providers should use the cashflow benefits appropriately, taking significant steps to improve efficiencies and manage their finances in order to avoid cashflow problems in the future. Reprofiling in this way is a one-off intervention for the autumn term only, to help providers take all necessary steps now to prepare for the future.

On 27 June, the government announced a further package of support to research-active universities to enable them to continue their research and innovation activities. This includes £280 million of government funding, and a package of low-interest loans with long pay-back periods, supplemented by a small amount of government grants, which will be available from autumn. In sharing responsibility for the future of science and research with our world-leading university system, the government will cover up to 80% of a university’s income losses from international students for the academic year 2020/21, up to the value of their non-publicly funded research activity.

The government has also confirmed that providers are eligible to apply for its support packages, including business loan support schemes, which the Office for Students (OfS) the regulator in England, estimates could be worth at least £700 million to the sector.

The department is working closely with HM Treasury and other government departments to develop a restructuring regime?for HE providers in England. We will only intervene?where we find there is a case to do so and only where we believe intervention is possible and appropriate, and as a last resort.??A restructuring regime will review providers’ circumstances and assess the need for restructuring, financial?support?and any attached conditions. We are discussing our approach with the devolved administrations.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department made of the value of online learning for university students.

Departmental officials and I have been engaging with the sector to help to ensure that higher education providers can continue to deliver courses which are fit for purpose and which help students achieve their academic goals. The vast majority of providers are planning for a mixture of face-to-face and online teaching in the autumn term, and we have already seen some fantastic, innovative preparations for blended education for the next academic year. Delivering through a mixture of face-to-face and online provision will enable them to prioritise safety and to comply with guidance from Public Health England.

Departmental officials are also working closely with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), which has recently published guidance, attached [1], setting out 4 key principles to inform providers as they plan for the next academic year. The principles are that any move to on-site activity is safe and secure for staff and students, that degree-awarding bodies maintain quality and standards in the move to flexible provision, that providers engage with students and staff in planning changes to delivery and assessment of teaching and learning and that providers' planning scenarios are flexible and responsive to students' needs.

As providers have moved a significant proportion of their provision online for both the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year and for the next academic year, maintaining the quality and value of online teaching and learning has been at the forefront of our actions. While the methods of delivery may have changed, we are engaging with the sector and the Office for Students (OfS) to ensure that the depth and breadth of the curriculum, the quality of the teaching and the value of the degree achieved are maintained. This will help to ensure that any online learning provides the same academic value to students as campus-based learning.

The OfS and the Office for the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education have both also recently issued guidance on student and consumer protection issues during the COVID-19 outbreak. The OfS and I have been clear that providers should give students clear and transparent information on what they can expect from their course in the next academic year and the extent to which initial teaching will be online, how this will happen and what support there will be for online learning.

[1] https://www.qaa.ac.uk/docs/qaa/guidance/preserving-quality-and-standards-through-a-time-of-rapid-change.pdf

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions has he had with representatives of universities on the planned (a) delivery and (b) format of higher education courses in the 2020-21 academic year.

Departmental officials and I have been engaging with the sector to help to ensure that higher education providers can continue to deliver courses which are fit for purpose and which help students achieve their academic goals. The vast majority of providers are planning for a mixture of face-to-face and online teaching in the autumn term, and we have already seen some fantastic, innovative preparations for blended education for the next academic year. Delivering through a mixture of face-to-face and online provision will enable them to prioritise safety and to comply with guidance from Public Health England.

Departmental officials are also working closely with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), which has recently published guidance, attached [1], setting out 4 key principles to inform providers as they plan for the next academic year. The principles are that any move to on-site activity is safe and secure for staff and students, that degree-awarding bodies maintain quality and standards in the move to flexible provision, that providers engage with students and staff in planning changes to delivery and assessment of teaching and learning and that providers' planning scenarios are flexible and responsive to students' needs.

As providers have moved a significant proportion of their provision online for both the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year and for the next academic year, maintaining the quality and value of online teaching and learning has been at the forefront of our actions. While the methods of delivery may have changed, we are engaging with the sector and the Office for Students (OfS) to ensure that the depth and breadth of the curriculum, the quality of the teaching and the value of the degree achieved are maintained. This will help to ensure that any online learning provides the same academic value to students as campus-based learning.

The OfS and the Office for the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education have both also recently issued guidance on student and consumer protection issues during the COVID-19 outbreak. The OfS and I have been clear that providers should give students clear and transparent information on what they can expect from their course in the next academic year and the extent to which initial teaching will be online, how this will happen and what support there will be for online learning.

[1] https://www.qaa.ac.uk/docs/qaa/guidance/preserving-quality-and-standards-through-a-time-of-rapid-change.pdf

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of extending the free school meals voucher scheme on levels of child poverty.

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19. ?As the Education Secretary has set out, we are listening to those who need help and taking substantial action during this unprecedented time to make sure no child goes hungry.

Our latest guidance on free school meals is set out below:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak the government understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a Covid Summer Food Fund which will enable children who are eligible for free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the 6-week holiday period.

The government has made significant wider support available for children and families at this time. On 10 June, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, confirmed an additional £63 million to be distributed to local authorities in England to help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to COVID-19. In addition, the government has introduced an uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by around £1,000 a year for the next 12 months as part of an injection of over £6.5 billion by the government into the welfare system.

Additional support has been pledged by various departments across the government with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announcing the provision of £16 million for food support through charities, including FareShare and WRAP. DEFRA have also issued 2 million food packages to those who are shielding.

The Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food programme ensures that thousands of disadvantaged children have access to enriching activities and nutritious healthy meals over the summer.

More widely, the government has supported families to cope with the impact of COVID-19 by introducing a range of support measures, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. Support has also been provided to help families pay their rent or mortgage, access sick pay, and delay tax payments.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students have applied to Student Finance England for (a) tuition fee loans and (b) maintenance grants for the 2020/21 academic year.

Student Finance England processes applications for student financial support for English domiciled students studying in the UK and EU-domiciled students studying in England. Eligible full-time and part-time undergraduate students can apply for up-front tuition fee loans to meet the full costs of their tuition. Eligible students attending full-time courses and part-time degree and equivalent level courses can also apply for partially means-tested loans towards their living costs. Maintenance grants are only available in 2020/21 for small numbers of continuing full-time students who started their courses before 2016/17.

Applications for student support for full-time students opened in mid-February, and for part-time students in mid-June. As of 18 June 2020, Student Loan Company had processed 742,000 applications to Student Finance England for undergraduate tuition fee loans, 716,000 for maintenance loans, and 800 for maintenance grants for the 2020/21 academic year.

Students can apply for student finance up to nine months after the commencement of their course each academic year. This means that application numbers are likely to continue to rise as we approach the start of the 2020/21 academic year and for a period beyond that.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of international students who will study at UK universities in the 2020-21 academic year.

In the 2018/19 academic year, tuition fees from international students at UK higher education providers accounted for around £7 billion of sector income. The government recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak will have an unparalleled impact on all elements of the global and UK economies. The higher education sector, including student recruitment, is no exception. We have been working closely with the sector to monitor the likely impacts of COVID-19 on international student numbers, including restrictions on travel. We understand that the COVID-19 outbreak and a possible reduction in the number of international students poses significant challenges and we stand ready to help the sector with various mitigations.

On Monday 4 May, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced the package of measures to stabilise university admissions this autumn and ensure sustainability in higher education at a time of unprecedented uncertainty. Full details of the package have been published on GOV.UK: www.gov.uk/government/news/government-support-package-for-universities-and-students.

The government is also working to ensure that existing rules and regulations, including visa regulations, are as flexible as possible for international students under these unprecedented circumstances. For example, on 16 June, the government confirmed that distance/blended learning will be permitted for the 2020/21 academic year provided students intend to transition to face-to-face learning as soon as circumstances allow. In addition, higher education providers will be flexible in accommodating applicants’ circumstances where possible, including if applicants are unable to travel to the UK in time for the start of the academic year.

The new graduate route, due to be launched in summer 2021, provides an opportunity for international students who have been awarded their degree to stay and work in the UK at any skill level for 2 years. The government has also confirmed that those studying by distance/blended learning will be eligible to apply for the graduate route provided they are in the UK by 6 April 2021.

On Friday 5 June, the Department for Education announced Sir Steve Smith as the International Education Champion, a key deliverable of the 2019 International Education Strategy. Sir Steve Smith will assist with opening up export growth opportunities for the whole UK education sector, tackling international challenges such as those posed to attracting international students and forging lasting global connections. The International Education Strategy,?published in March 2019 by the Department for Education and the Department for International Trade, set out a commitment to review progress following its publication.??The review, which we intend to publish this autumn, will?ensure that the International Education Strategy?responds to this new context and the challenges that are?posed by COVID-19.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with university officials on allowing prospective students to defer their studies due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Our most recent estimate of the number of English-domiciled full-time undergraduate entrants studying at UK universities in the 2020/21 academic year is 377,000. This estimate is from March 2020 (and pre-dates the COVID-19 outbreak). The department is working closely with the sector to understand the likely impacts of COVID-19 on the higher education (HE) sector, including student numbers, and has introduced a HE stabilisation package to support the stability of the HE sector and protect the interests of students.

There is no need for students to defer their studies this year if they do not wish to do so. Any student who wants to defer their studies should do so through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) system, but we would want to be sure that where they do so, they make their decision based on the best possible advice and information. The level of activity most recently reported by UCAS and the Student Loans Company (SLC) indicates that there are no signs of the level of deferrals being significantly different to that seen in previous years.

We have had regular discussions with sector representative bodies, such as Universities UK (UUK), since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. We know that UUK is working with their members and UCAS to provide as much clarity as possible to applicants about likely arrangements for the delivery of HE university courses this autumn.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of prospective students who will defer their studies at UK universities in the 2020-21 academic year as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Our most recent estimate of the number of English-domiciled full-time undergraduate entrants studying at UK universities in the 2020/21 academic year is 377,000. This estimate is from March 2020 (and pre-dates the COVID-19 outbreak). The department is working closely with the sector to understand the likely impacts of COVID-19 on the higher education (HE) sector, including student numbers, and has introduced a HE stabilisation package to support the stability of the HE sector and protect the interests of students.

There is no need for students to defer their studies this year if they do not wish to do so. Any student who wants to defer their studies should do so through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) system, but we would want to be sure that where they do so, they make their decision based on the best possible advice and information. The level of activity most recently reported by UCAS and the Student Loans Company (SLC) indicates that there are no signs of the level of deferrals being significantly different to that seen in previous years.

We have had regular discussions with sector representative bodies, such as Universities UK (UUK), since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. We know that UUK is working with their members and UCAS to provide as much clarity as possible to applicants about likely arrangements for the delivery of HE university courses this autumn.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of domestic students who will study at UK universities in the 2020-21 academic year.

Our most recent estimate of the number of English-domiciled full-time undergraduate entrants studying at UK universities in the 2020/21 academic year is 377,000. This estimate is from March 2020 (and pre-dates the COVID-19 outbreak). The department is working closely with the sector to understand the likely impacts of COVID-19 on the higher education (HE) sector, including student numbers, and has introduced a HE stabilisation package to support the stability of the HE sector and protect the interests of students.

There is no need for students to defer their studies this year if they do not wish to do so. Any student who wants to defer their studies should do so through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) system, but we would want to be sure that where they do so, they make their decision based on the best possible advice and information. The level of activity most recently reported by UCAS and the Student Loans Company (SLC) indicates that there are no signs of the level of deferrals being significantly different to that seen in previous years.

We have had regular discussions with sector representative bodies, such as Universities UK (UUK), since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. We know that UUK is working with their members and UCAS to provide as much clarity as possible to applicants about likely arrangements for the delivery of HE university courses this autumn.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussion he has had with university officials on preventing staff redundancies.

Higher education providers (HEPs) are independent institutions and are responsible for their own decisions on staffing and employment contracts.

The department provided sector-specific guidance on 17 April to help providers understand and access the range of government support on offer to support financial viability and sustainability and safeguard jobs. In developing this guidance, the department worked across government to ensure the various funding streams that support university research were included and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was available in higher education (HE). Officials also consulted trade unions as well as Universities UK (UUK) and the Universities & Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) to understand staff and employer concerns and ensure the guidance addressed these where possible.

The department remains in close communication with partners in the HE sector who are considering educational provision for the academic year 2020/2021. To help HEPs make informed decisions about their provision, the government has issued guidance on reopening campuses and buildings while minimising the risk to students and staff, which is complemented by principles published by UUK that will underpin HEPs’ reopening plans.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with representatives from (a) Ofqual and (b) exam boards to ensure that BAME students are not disadvantaged by grade predictions.

The independent qualifications regulator, Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation, has been working with awarding organisations to develop a robust process for awarding grades this year.

Whilst these are matters for Ofqual, the Department has been keeping in close touch with Ofqual as it has worked up its proposals and has joined some meetings that Ofqual has held with the awarding organisations. Our shared aim is that the arrangements should deliver the fairest possible outcomes for all students, including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students.

16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that unconscious bias against BAME students in not a factor in predictive (a) GCSE and (b) A Level grades in 2020 exams.

This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Sally Collier, to write to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of not extending the free school meals voucher scheme over the 2020 school summer holidays on foodbank usage.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to COVID-19, the government fully understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a COVID-19 Summer Food Fund which will enable families with children who are eligible for free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the 6-week holiday period. This is a specific measure to reflect the unique circumstances of the outbreak and builds on wider support put in place by the government. This support includes the Department for Education’s holiday activities and food programme, providing support to thousands of disadvantaged children this summer, and our investment of up to £35 million in a national breakfast clubs programme, which provides a healthy start to children in schools in disadvantaged areas.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the impact assessment on the decision not to extend the free school meals voucher scheme over the 2020 school summer holidays.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the coronavirus outbreak, the government fully understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a Covid-19 Summer Food Fund which will enable families with children who are eligible for free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the 6-week holiday period. This is a specific measure to reflect the unique circumstances of the outbreak.

In response to Covid-19, the government has made significant wider support available for children and families, injecting over £6.5 billion into the welfare system to ensure people are receiving the support they need. This includes increasing the standard rate of Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit for this year by around £1,000 per year. On 10 June, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister confirmed an additional £63 million to be distributed to local authorities in England to help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to COVID-19. A further £3.2 billion has gone to local authorities, supporting them with frontline services. Additionally, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are providing £16 million for food support through charities including FareShare and WRAP. This summer, the department will also again run the Holiday Activities & Food programme, through which thousands of disadvantaged pupils will benefit from support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, who he consulted in making the decision not to extend the free school meals voucher scheme over the school summer holidays in 2020.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the coronavirus outbreak, the government fully understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a Covid-19 Summer Food Fund which will enable families with children who are eligible for free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the 6-week holiday period. This is a specific measure to reflect the unique circumstances of the outbreak.

In response to Covid-19, the government has made significant wider support available for children and families, injecting over £6.5 billion into the welfare system to ensure people are receiving the support they need. This includes increasing the standard rate of Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit for this year by around £1,000 per year. On 10 June, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister confirmed an additional £63 million to be distributed to local authorities in England to help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to COVID-19. A further £3.2 billion has gone to local authorities, supporting them with frontline services. Additionally, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are providing £16 million for food support through charities including FareShare and WRAP. This summer, the department will also again run the Holiday Activities & Food programme, through which thousands of disadvantaged pupils will benefit from support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) nursery, (b) reception, (c) year one and (d) year six pupils attended school in England on 1 June 2020.

The closest matching available data on pupil attendance in educational establishments since 23 March was published on Tuesday 9 June at the following link and covers data up to Thursday 4 June:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings

The data is collected from individual education establishments and the published figures include estimates for non-response.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) nursery, (b) reception, (c) year one and (d) year six pupils attended school in Greater Manchester on 1 June 2020.

The closest matching available data on pupil attendance in educational establishments since 23 March was published on Tuesday 9 June at the following link and covers data up to Thursday 4 June:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings

The data is collected from individual education establishments and the published figures include estimates for non-response.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer on 28 May 2020 to Question 48609 on Schools: Coronavirus, how many meetings (a) Ministers in his Department and (b) officials in his Department have had with representatives from (i) headteacher unions and (ii) the Department for Education’s headteacher reference groups.

There have been weekly meetings involving the Secretary of State for Education and headteacher unions. There have been at least weekly official-led meetings involving the headteacher unions but often that engagement has been much more frequent. The headteacher reference groups are maintaining their usual schedule of meeting five times a year.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of social distancing rules on pupil’s ability to (a) learn and (b) socialise with their peers.

From 1 June, the Department asked primary schools to welcome back pupils in nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. From 15 June, the Department will ask secondary schools and colleges to provide some face-to-face support for pupils who are due to take exams next year, such as pupils in years 10 and 12 as well as 16 to 19 students in the first year of a 2-year study programme

Unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff. In deciding to bring more children back to early years and schools, this has been taken into account. Guidance has been published on the protective measures that schools and nurseries should implement to reduce the risks of transmission:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

As more year groups return to school, we have asked leaders and teachers to focus on supporting pupils’ mental health and wellbeing and assess where pupils are in their education and agree what adjustments and support are required.

A planning guide has been published for primary schools in order to help school leaders to prepare and decide arrangements for more children returning to school: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-primary-schools.

Guidance for secondary schools has also been published: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-secondary-schools.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer on 28 May 2020 to Question 48614 on Schools: Coronavirus, what steps will be taken under his proposals for rapid action in the event that a child tests positive for covid-19 on returning to school.

The new NHS Test and Trace service was launched on 28 May across England. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. The Government has recruited 25,000 contact tracers, able to track 10,000 new cases a day.

If a child or young person in school develops symptoms compatible with COVID-19, they should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days and arrange to have a test. Where the child or young person tests positive, traced close contacts, including the rest of their small group, should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days.

As part of the national test and trace programme, if further positive test results arise among the child’s class or school, Public Health England’s local Health Protection Teams will conduct a rapid investigation into the outbreak and will advise schools and other settings on the most appropriate action to take. In some cases, a larger number of other children may be asked to self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer on 28 May 2020 to Question 48615 on Schools: Coronavirus, what estimate he has made of the number of pupils that will attend a different school as a result of their school being unable to implement appropriate social distancing after 1 June 2020.

We are expecting the majority of schools and nurseries to open for children and young people who are eligible so that they can continue to attend their usual school. We recognise that schools need time to plan and to implement the guidance to open more widely, and that some will not have been able to do so by 1 June. We are committed to continuing to work with the sector to ensure any schools experiencing difficulties are able to open more widely as soon as possible.

Where a school is unable to stay open, we will work with local authorities, regional school commissioners and neighboring providers to find an alternative setting for their students.

We have made temporary changes to the law to allow children to attend another school on a temporary basis if their school is closed. The changes ensure they can return to their normal school once it reopens.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what scientific advice from the Task and Finish Working Group did his Department receive in relation to the integration of testing and tracing into the phased reopening of schools on 1 June 2020.

The Government made clear that schools would only be opened more widely when the five key tests set by Government justified the changes at the time.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) Children’s Task and Finish Working Group have provided scientific health advice to the Government. This advice was used, alongside other sources of information, to inform decision making on the wider opening of schools.

SAGE are publishing papers in regular tranches. The list of papers to be released to date are available by following this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response. This includes several schools-related papers and those authored by the Task and Finish Group.

The Task and Finish Group’s paper provided insights from indicative modelling of a number of different school opening scenarios. It also provided a behavioural assessment of these options. In doing so it highlighted that wider contextual issues should be considered when assessing the impact of relaxing school closures including the role of testing in schools. The Task and Finish groups paper can be found by following this link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/886994/s0257-sage-sub-group-modelling-behavioural-science-relaxing-school-closures-sage30.pdf.

In addition, the Department for Education has published an explanatory note to accompany SAGE’s findings from the Interdisciplinary Task and Finish Group and can be found by following this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/department-for-education-explanatory-note-on-sage-modelling.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools in (a) Greater Manchester and (b) Manchester, Gorton constituency have placed orders through Edenred for the national free school meal voucher scheme.

During this period, we are asking schools to support children at home who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate arrangements for eligible pupils, and this can include food parcel arrangements, alternative voucher arrangements or provision through the national voucher scheme.

We do not hold information on the value of unredeemed vouchers. However, as of Wednesday 3 June, Edenred has reported that over £129 million worth of voucher codes have been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme. Edenred has reported that over 17,500 schools had placed orders for the scheme as of Tuesday 26 May. Edenred do not report on the data broken down below national level.

We are continuing to work very closely with Edenred to improve the performance of the national voucher scheme. The scheme continues to get easier and faster to use. The latest information provided by Edenred indicates that parents and schools are now facing minimal or no waiting time for orders that are placed online, despite continued growth in the number of parents and schools using the scheme.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer on 27 May 2020 to Question 48619, on Free School Meals: Coronavirus, what the value was of the voucher codes distributed by Edenred for the national free school voucher scheme that had not been redeemed as of 22 May 2020.

During this period, we are asking schools to support children at home who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate arrangements for eligible pupils, and this can include food parcel arrangements, alternative voucher arrangements or provision through the national voucher scheme.

We do not hold information on the value of unredeemed vouchers. However, as of Wednesday 3 June, Edenred has reported that over £129 million worth of voucher codes have been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme. Edenred has reported that over 17,500 schools had placed orders for the scheme as of Tuesday 26 May. Edenred do not report on the data broken down below national level.

We are continuing to work very closely with Edenred to improve the performance of the national voucher scheme. The scheme continues to get easier and faster to use. The latest information provided by Edenred indicates that parents and schools are now facing minimal or no waiting time for orders that are placed online, despite continued growth in the number of parents and schools using the scheme.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to (a) reduce the waiting time for parents and schools to access the national free school meals voucher scheme system and (b) make other improvements to that scheme since its inception.

During this period, we are asking schools to support children at home who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate arrangements for eligible pupils, and this can include food parcel arrangements, alternative voucher arrangements or provision through the national voucher scheme.

We do not hold information on the value of unredeemed vouchers. However, as of Wednesday 3 June, Edenred has reported that over £129 million worth of voucher codes have been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme. Edenred has reported that over 17,500 schools had placed orders for the scheme as of Tuesday 26 May. Edenred do not report on the data broken down below national level.

We are continuing to work very closely with Edenred to improve the performance of the national voucher scheme. The scheme continues to get easier and faster to use. The latest information provided by Edenred indicates that parents and schools are now facing minimal or no waiting time for orders that are placed online, despite continued growth in the number of parents and schools using the scheme.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what mental health support his Department is providing to pupils returning to school on 1 June 2020 who have experienced a bereavement as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The government remains committed to promoting and supporting the mental health of children and young people. Access to mental health support including bereavement support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. NHS services remain open, and leading mental health charities are being supported to deliver additional services through the £5 million Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund.

All NHS Mental Health Trusts have been asked to ensure there are 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages. Public Health England and Health Education England have also developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, including bereavement support, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

The department has signposted resources on supporting and promoting mental wellbeing, among the list of resources to help children to learn at home, which are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources. BBC Bitesize has also worked with the department to provide content with substantial focus on mental health, wellbeing and pastoral care.

The return to school will, in itself, be part of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils, as attendance enables social interaction with peers, carers and teachers. Pupil wellbeing is an important consideration within our guidance on actions for educational and childcare settings as they begin to open in June 2020. Further information is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020.

Children and young people can access free confidential support anytime from government-backed voluntary and community sector organisations either by texting SHOUT to 85258, or by calling Childline on 0800 1111 or The Mix on 0808 808 4994. Children and young people can also find online information on COVID-19 and mental health on the Young Minds website, which is available here:
https://youngminds.org.uk/about-us/reports/coronavirus-impact-on-young-people-with-mental-health-needs/.

For bereavement support children and young people can find online support from Bereavement UK, which provides information and resources to support bereaved pupils, schools and staff, and their website is available here:
https://www.childbereavementuk.org/.

Alternatively, children and young people can access support from the Childhood Bereavement Network website, which is available here:
http://www.childhoodbereavementnetwork.org.uk/.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of teachers and school staff wearing (a) face masks and (b) other coverings on pupil’s ability to learn.

The Department has published guidance on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings. The Department worked closely with Public Health England on this guidance, which includes confirmation that wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or nurseries is not recommended.

Face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors where there is a risk of close social contact with people you do not usually meet and where social distancing and other measures cannot be maintained, for example on public transport or in some shops. This does not apply to schools or nurseries. Changing habits, cleaning and hygiene are effective measures in controlling the spread of the virus. Face coverings should not be worn in any circumstance by those who may not be able to handle them as directed (for example, young children) as it may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission.

The majority of staff in education settings will not require personal protective equipment (PPE) beyond what they would normally need for their work, even if they are not always able to maintain a distance of 2 metres from others. PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases including:

  • children, young people and students whose care routinely already involves the use of PPE due to their intimate care needs should continue to receive their care in the same way
  • if a pupil or student becomes unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 while in their setting and needs direct personal care until they can return home.

Further guidance on implementing protective measures can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings#personal-protective-equipment-ppe-including-face-coverings-and-face-masks.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which school years he plans to prioritise in the second phased return to school.

From 1 June, the Department asked primary schools to welcome back pupils in nursery, Reception, year 1 and year 6. From 15 June, the Department will ask secondary schools and colleges to provide some face-to-face support for pupils who are due to take exams next year, such as pupils in years 10 and 12 as well as 16 to 19 students in the first year of a 2-year study programme.

The Department will continue to be informed by the latest scientific advice. Schools will only be asked to welcome back additional year groups if the most up-to-date assessment of the risk posed by COVID-19 indicates it is appropriate to have larger numbers of children within schools.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions officials in his Department have had with representatives from local authorities on the provision of home to school transport in advance of the reopening of schools on 1 June 2020.

The Department has been in regular contact with local authorities during the period of partial school closure and in preparation for the phased wider opening of schools from 1 June, and these conversations will continue. This has included meetings with representatives of local authority home to school transport teams.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) nursery, (b) reception, (c) year one and (d) year six pupils attended school in Manchester, Gorton constituency on 1 June 2020.

The closest matching available data on pupil attendance in educational establishments since 23 March was published on Tuesday 9 June at the following link and covers data up to Thursday 4 June:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings

The data is collected from individual education establishments and the published figures include estimates for non-response.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer on 28 May 2020 to Question 48608 on Schools: Coronavirus, if his Department will give schools more than three weeks notice for any future phased opening of schools to ensure that headteachers have adequate time to implement necessary adjustments.

We want to get all children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers, carers and teachers.

We are committed to giving as much notice of further wider opening as we can, to give schools time to prepare, while ensuring that we are informed by the latest scientific advice.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer on 28 May 2020 to Question 48615 on Schools: Coronavirus, whether the policy of social distancing of two metres will be maintained in schools when they reopen on 1 June 2020.

We know that, unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff. In deciding to bring more children back to schools and nurseries, we are taking this into account. The Department has published guidance for schools on implementing protective measures in schools to help limit the spread of COVID-19:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

The approaches and actions in this guidance can be seen as a hierarchy of controls that, when implemented, creates an inherently safer system, where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced.

Secondary schools should aim to practice social distancing in line with the measures the Government is asking everyone to adopt in public and in workplaces, including keeping pupils 2 metres apart from each other where possible. This is more achievable in secondary schools than in primary schools, due to the age of the pupils. Guidance for secondary schools is also available on GOV.UK:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-secondary-schools.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 11 May 2020 to Question 43160 on Environment Protection: Education, what assessment his Department has made of the extent of children's knowledge of sustainability issues.

It is important for young people to learn about climate change and sustainability issues. That is why both are included as part of the science and geography curricula and qualifications.

For example, in primary science pupils are taught about how environments can change as a result of human actions. In secondary science, pupils are taught about the production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the effect this has on the climate. In GCSE science pupils consider the evidence for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change.

As part of GCSE geography pupils study the causes, consequences, and responses to extreme weather conditions and natural weather hazards. In 2017, the Department also introduced a new environmental science A level. This enables students to study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and sustainability.

Schools and teachers are free to go beyond the areas set out in the National Curriculum and can deliver more in-depth teaching of the topics. The curriculum deliberately gives teachers and schools the flexibility to decide how it should be taught. Pupils’ knowledge of these areas of the curriculum will be assessed through teacher and school assessment and relevant qualifications. The quality of education provided at a school, including curriculum coverage, is a central part of Ofsted’s inspection framework. The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) regulates qualifications (including GCSEs and A levels), examinations and assessments in England.

Sustainability content will also be included in T levels - the new post-16 technical study programmes. When designing outline course content for the technical qualifications, the T level panels of employers and industry experts must consider sustainability where relevant to their sector. For example, in the Construction and Engineering and Manufacturing routes, T level students will be required to learn about renewable energy and emerging technologies to support energy efficiency.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to introduce standards of learning for sustainability similar to those introduced by the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

It is important for young people to learn about climate change and sustainability issues. That is why both are included as part of the science and geography curricula and qualifications.

For example, in primary science pupils are taught about how environments can change as a result of human actions. In secondary science, pupils are taught about the production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the effect this has on the climate. In GCSE science pupils consider the evidence for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change.

As part of GCSE geography pupils study the causes, consequences, and responses to extreme weather conditions and natural weather hazards. In 2017, the Department also introduced a new environmental science A level. This enables students to study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and sustainability.

Schools and teachers are free to go beyond the areas set out in the National Curriculum and can deliver more in-depth teaching of the topics. The curriculum deliberately gives teachers and schools the flexibility to decide how it should be taught. Pupils’ knowledge of these areas of the curriculum will be assessed through teacher and school assessment and relevant qualifications. The quality of education provided at a school, including curriculum coverage, is a central part of Ofsted’s inspection framework. The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) regulates qualifications (including GCSEs and A levels), examinations and assessments in England.

Sustainability content will also be included in T levels - the new post-16 technical study programmes. When designing outline course content for the technical qualifications, the T level panels of employers and industry experts must consider sustainability where relevant to their sector. For example, in the Construction and Engineering and Manufacturing routes, T level students will be required to learn about renewable energy and emerging technologies to support energy efficiency.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department plans to take to support the mental health of pupils when they return to school during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government remains committed to promoting and supporting the mental health of children and young people. Access to mental health support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. NHS services remain open and leading mental health charities are being supported to deliver additional services through the £5 million Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund. The NHS is also setting up 24/7 open access telephone lines for urgent mental health support for people of all ages.

The department has established a dedicated helpline and webpages covering advice for the education sector, as well as advice for parents and carers supporting children. The pages on GOV.UK include information about how education settings, and parents and carers, can support children and young people who may be struggling with mental health during this difficult time. These pages include the following:

The return to school will in itself be part of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils as attendance enables social interaction with peers, carers and teachers. Pupil wellbeing is an important consideration within our guidance on actions for educational and childcare settings as they prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020. The guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020.

Pupil wellbeing is also included as a specific theme in the planning framework the department has issued. We are continuing to talk with school and health partners on how to make further resources and support available to schools as children and young people return. The planning framework is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020/opening-schools-for-more-children-and-young-people-initial-planning-framework-for-schools-in-england.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he take steps to ensure that all (a) announcements and (b) guidance on reopening schools during the covid-19 outbreak are made in good time to give headteachers adequate notice to implement that guidance.

From the week commencing 1 June, at the earliest, the Department will be asking primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, alongside priority groups. We will only do this provided that the five key tests set by the Government justify the changes at the time.

The Government published its COVID-19 recovery strategy on 11 May, which confirmed that schools should prepare to begin to open for more children from 1 June – giving schools a three week notice period. On the same day, the Department for Education published guidance for schools to support planning for 1 June, including guidance on implementing protective measures.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department has had with headteachers on plans to safely reopen schools during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is currently working closely with the sector to determine the best way for schools to open for more pupils, in line with the five key tests set out by the Government. There continues to be extensive engagement with headteacher unions at both a ministerial and official level, as well as engagement with the Department for Education’s headteacher reference groups at an official level.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what scientific advice his Department received on the viability of reopening schools during the covid-19 outbreak on 1 June 2020.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its sub-group the Children’s Task and Finish Working Group have provided scientific health advice to the Government. This advice has been used, alongside other sources of information, to inform decision making on potential schools re-opening options.

The list of papers to be released to date are available by following the link below, including several schools-related papers. This list will be updated to reflect papers considered at future meetings:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response

The Government has also made clear that schools will only be opened more widely when the five key tests set by Government justify the changes at the time, including that the rate of infection is decreasing.

The Department has also engaged with Public Health England to devise a ‘hierarchy of controls’ which, when implemented, will create an inherently safer system where the risk of transmission of the infection is substantially reduced.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what scientific advice his Department received on reopening schools on 1 June 2020 for (a) nursery, (b) reception, (c) Year 1 and (d) Year 6 pupils during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its sub-group the Children’s Task and Finish Working Group have provided scientific health advice to the Government. This advice has been used, alongside other sources of information, to inform decision making on potential schools re-opening options.

The list of papers to be released to date are available by following the link below, including several schools-related papers. This list will be updated to reflect papers considered at future meetings:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response

The Government has also made clear that schools will only be opened more widely when the five key tests set by Government justify the changes at the time, including that the rate of infection is decreasing.

The Department has also engaged with Public Health England to devise a ‘hierarchy of controls’ which, when implemented, will create an inherently safer system where the risk of transmission of the infection is substantially reduced.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reasons the decision was made to reopen schools on 1 June 2002 to (a) nursery, (b) reception, (c) Year 1 and (d) Year 6 pupils ahead of other age groups during the covid-19 outbreak.

From the week commencing 1 June, at the earliest, the Department will be asking primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, alongside priority groups. We will only do this provided that the five key tests set by the Government justify the changes at the time.

The Department will prioritise younger children in the first phases of wider opening, for several reasons. Firstly, there is moderately high scientific confidence in evidence suggesting younger children are less likely to become unwell if infected with COVID-19. Secondly, evidence shows the particularly detrimental impact which time spent out of education can have upon them. In addition, older children are more likely to have higher numbers of contacts outside of school so pose a greater transmission risk, and they are typically better able to learn at home.

The three year groups within mainstream primary have been prioritised because they are key transition years. Children in Reception and Year 1 are at the very beginning of their school career and are mastering the essential basics, including counting and the fundamentals of reading and writing, and learning to socialise with their peers. We know that attending early education lays the foundation for a child's education and supports children’s social and emotional development. Year 6 children are finishing Key Stage 2 and are preparing for the transition to secondary school, and will benefit immensely from time with their friends and teachers to ensure they are ready.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional support is available to school staff to ensure their safety when schools reopen on 1 June 2020 during the covid-19 outbreak.

We want to get children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to be educated and learn. We will only do this provided that the five key tests set by Government justify the changes at the time.

Children, young people and teachers’ safety is our top priority. This is why we are taking a phased approach to opening for more children, to limit the risk of increasing the rate of transmission. We have also issued guidance to childcare settings, schools and colleges on the protective measures they should put in place to reduce risk further:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

These include children and young people staying within their new, smaller, classes wherever possible and limiting contact between different groups. We have also set out a range of additional protective measures including frequent cleaning, encouraging good hand and respiratory hygiene, reducing ‘pinch points’ (such as parents dropping children off at the start and end of the day), and using outdoor space.

To enable schools to welcome a wider group of children and young people from 1 June, they will have access to testing if they display symptoms, as will any symptomatic members of their household. A negative test will enable children to get back to childcare or education, and their parents to get back to work. A positive test will ensure rapid action to protect their classmates and staff in their setting.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has put in place to ensure social distancing is enforced on school buses to ensure safe travel when schools return during the covid-19 outbreak.

Parents and children should consider walking and cycling to school where possible, or driving if necessary. They should avoid the use of public transport where possible. The Department for Transport has published guidance on safer travel for the public. It is available here: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers. Parents and children may wish to refer to this when planning their journeys, and to help them minimise risk where the use of public transport is unavoidable.

Some children have their home to school transport arranged by their local authority or school. Local authorities and schools should put in place arrangements which fit local circumstances and minimise the risk of transmission, as far as is possible. This should include making sure transport providers follow hygiene rules. They may wish to refer to the Department for Transport’s guidance for transport operators here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators.

In addition, the phased wider opening of schools will limit the number of children travelling on home to school transport in the initial phase. Where transport capacity allows, local authorities could consider substituting smaller vehicles with larger ones, or running two vehicles rather than one, to reduce the number of passengers per vehicle and help passengers keep their distance.

We are in contact with local authorities to help resolve issues as they arise.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department plans to make available to schools struggling to implement social distancing due to a lack of space within school buildings when those schools reopen during the covid-19 outbreak.

The safety of pupils and staff returning to school is key. We know that, unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff. In deciding to bring more children back to early years and schools, we are taking this into account. Protective measures are possible which, when implemented, substantially reduce the risk of transmission of infection. Schools should therefore work through the hierarchy of protective measures:

  • avoiding contact with anyone with symptoms
  • frequent hand cleaning and good respiratory hygiene practices
  • regular cleaning of settings
  • minimising contact and mixing

It is still important to reduce contact between people as much as possible, and we can achieve that and reduce transmission risk by ensuring children, young people and staff, where possible, only mix in a small, consistent group and that small group stays away from other people and groups. Public Health England is clear that if early years settings, schools and colleges do this, and crucially if they are also applying regular hand cleaning, hygiene and cleaning measures and handling potential cases of the virus as per the advice, then the risk of transmission will be lowered. Where settings are able to keep children and young people in those small groups 2 metres away from each other, they should do so.

Each setting’s circumstances will be slightly different. Any setting that cannot achieve these small groups at any point should discuss options with their local authority or trust. This might be because there are not enough classrooms or spaces available in the setting. Solutions might involve children attending a nearby school, or schools prioritising the younger age groups of newly eligible children. We have published guidance on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings to support settings to get this right, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure that families feel confident to return their children to school when schools reopen during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government wants to get all children back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know it is good for children’s mental wellbeing to have social interactions with other children, carers and teachers.

From the week commencing 1 June 2020 at the earliest, the Department will be asking primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, reception, Year 1 and Year 6, alongside priority groups.

The Department has provided information and guidance for parents and carers about the wider opening of nurseries, schools and colleges from 1 June. The guidance includes information about the latest scientific advice and the protective measures that schools can implement to minimise risk. It also includes information on what will happen if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a school. The guidance is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/reopening-schools-and-other-educational-settings-from-1-june.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of parents who (a) will, (b) will not and (c) do not know whether they will send children back to school when schools reopen during the covid-19 outbreak on 1 June 2020.

From the week commencing 1 June 2020 at the earliest, the Department will be asking primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, reception, Year 1 and Year 6, alongside priority groups.

Children and young people in eligible year groups are strongly encouraged to attend (where there are no shielding concerns for the child or their household), so that they can gain the educational and wellbeing benefits of attending. From 1 June, schools should resume taking their attendance register and continue to complete the online educational setting status form to provide daily updates on how many children are in school.

Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time, and schools will not be held to account for attendance levels.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his steps his Department is taking to support school staff and teachers to manage the reopening of schools on 1 June 2020 during the covid-19 outbreak alongside the continued need for online teaching and virtual learning for children who do not attend.

From the week commencing 1 June, at the earliest, we will be asking primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups. We will only do this provided that the five key tests set by the Government justify the changes at the time. We are asking school to plan on this basis, ahead of confirmation that these tests are met.

The Department has already published a range of guidance for settings on GOV.UK to help them prepare. The main guidance to help settings prepare for wider opening is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020/actions-for-education-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020.

The Department has also published a planning guide for primary schools which includes a section on what to teach, and how:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-primary-schools#planning-what-to-teach-and-how.

A guide for secondary school provision has been published: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-secondary-schools.

Teachers will continue to be able to access support to deliver remote teaching to year groups not eligible to be in school at this time. Schools are encouraged to consider how Oak National Academy or other remote education platforms can provide additional support, as well as how education delivered in school, if manageable, could be made available to pupils learning remotely. The Department has provided a range of information, guidance and support on GOV.UK for teachers and leaders on educating children during the COVID-19 outbreak, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with headteachers on pupils’ access to food during the covid-19 outbreak.

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

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

There continues to be extensive engagement between the Department for Education and headteacher unions at both an official and ministerial level, including a weekly meeting involving my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education. The department has also met its headteacher reference groups. Issues around pupils’ access to food are regularly raised in these discussions.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the number of pupils eligible for free schools meals and the number of pupils who are accessing the food voucher scheme during the covid-19 outbreak.

As both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

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

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate arrangements for eligible pupils and this can include food parcel arrangements, alternative voucher arrangements or provision through the national voucher scheme. Some schools may adopt a combination of these approaches. We do not hold data at a pupil or family level for the national voucher scheme. However, the supplier, Edenred has reported that 17,000 schools had placed orders for the scheme as of Tuesday 12 May. Edenred has also reported that that over £101.5 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Friday 22 May.

The overall number and proportion of students who qualify for free school meals is published in the ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics’ publication and its underlying data files. As of the 2019 school census, there are around 1.3 million children eligible for and claiming free school meals. More recent figures are not yet available. The 2019 publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2019.

The responsibility for checking the eligibility of applicants for free school meals rests with the individual school. However, many schools will choose to work with local authorities to carry out these checks via our Eligibility Checking System. The department does not hold details of when applications are submitted locally for free school meals and we do not hold data on the time that may elapse between an application and the receipt of meals or vouchers. These arrangements are managed locally.

We have been working very closely with Edenred to improve the performance of the national voucher scheme, including in relation to the waiting times that parents and schools have experienced when accessing the system. We are very grateful to families and schools for their understanding and patience while this service has been upgraded to meet increased demand.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many families have successfully applied for free school meals in (a) March, (b) April, and (c) May 2020; and how many applied for free school meals in the same time period in 2019.

As both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

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

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate arrangements for eligible pupils and this can include food parcel arrangements, alternative voucher arrangements or provision through the national voucher scheme. Some schools may adopt a combination of these approaches. We do not hold data at a pupil or family level for the national voucher scheme. However, the supplier, Edenred has reported that 17,000 schools had placed orders for the scheme as of Tuesday 12 May. Edenred has also reported that that over £101.5 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Friday 22 May.

The overall number and proportion of students who qualify for free school meals is published in the ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics’ publication and its underlying data files. As of the 2019 school census, there are around 1.3 million children eligible for and claiming free school meals. More recent figures are not yet available. The 2019 publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2019.

The responsibility for checking the eligibility of applicants for free school meals rests with the individual school. However, many schools will choose to work with local authorities to carry out these checks via our Eligibility Checking System. The department does not hold details of when applications are submitted locally for free school meals and we do not hold data on the time that may elapse between an application and the receipt of meals or vouchers. These arrangements are managed locally.

We have been working very closely with Edenred to improve the performance of the national voucher scheme, including in relation to the waiting times that parents and schools have experienced when accessing the system. We are very grateful to families and schools for their understanding and patience while this service has been upgraded to meet increased demand.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the average time taken was for an application for free school meals to be accepted and for food vouchers to be received in the most recent period for which figures are available.

As both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

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

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate arrangements for eligible pupils and this can include food parcel arrangements, alternative voucher arrangements or provision through the national voucher scheme. Some schools may adopt a combination of these approaches. We do not hold data at a pupil or family level for the national voucher scheme. However, the supplier, Edenred has reported that 17,000 schools had placed orders for the scheme as of Tuesday 12 May. Edenred has also reported that that over £101.5 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Friday 22 May.

The overall number and proportion of students who qualify for free school meals is published in the ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics’ publication and its underlying data files. As of the 2019 school census, there are around 1.3 million children eligible for and claiming free school meals. More recent figures are not yet available. The 2019 publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2019.

The responsibility for checking the eligibility of applicants for free school meals rests with the individual school. However, many schools will choose to work with local authorities to carry out these checks via our Eligibility Checking System. The department does not hold details of when applications are submitted locally for free school meals and we do not hold data on the time that may elapse between an application and the receipt of meals or vouchers. These arrangements are managed locally.

We have been working very closely with Edenred to improve the performance of the national voucher scheme, including in relation to the waiting times that parents and schools have experienced when accessing the system. We are very grateful to families and schools for their understanding and patience while this service has been upgraded to meet increased demand.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to reduce the time taken between a new application for free school meals and food vouchers being received.

As both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

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

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate arrangements for eligible pupils and this can include food parcel arrangements, alternative voucher arrangements or provision through the national voucher scheme. Some schools may adopt a combination of these approaches. We do not hold data at a pupil or family level for the national voucher scheme. However, the supplier, Edenred has reported that 17,000 schools had placed orders for the scheme as of Tuesday 12 May. Edenred has also reported that that over £101.5 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Friday 22 May.

The overall number and proportion of students who qualify for free school meals is published in the ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics’ publication and its underlying data files. As of the 2019 school census, there are around 1.3 million children eligible for and claiming free school meals. More recent figures are not yet available. The 2019 publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2019.

The responsibility for checking the eligibility of applicants for free school meals rests with the individual school. However, many schools will choose to work with local authorities to carry out these checks via our Eligibility Checking System. The department does not hold details of when applications are submitted locally for free school meals and we do not hold data on the time that may elapse between an application and the receipt of meals or vouchers. These arrangements are managed locally.

We have been working very closely with Edenred to improve the performance of the national voucher scheme, including in relation to the waiting times that parents and schools have experienced when accessing the system. We are very grateful to families and schools for their understanding and patience while this service has been upgraded to meet increased demand.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of families who are now eligible for free school meals as a result of the financial effect of the covid-19 outbreak.

As both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

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

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate arrangements for eligible pupils and this can include food parcel arrangements, alternative voucher arrangements or provision through the national voucher scheme. Some schools may adopt a combination of these approaches. We do not hold data at a pupil or family level for the national voucher scheme. However, the supplier, Edenred has reported that 17,000 schools had placed orders for the scheme as of Tuesday 12 May. Edenred has also reported that that over £101.5 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Friday 22 May.

The overall number and proportion of students who qualify for free school meals is published in the ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics’ publication and its underlying data files. As of the 2019 school census, there are around 1.3 million children eligible for and claiming free school meals. More recent figures are not yet available. The 2019 publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2019.

The responsibility for checking the eligibility of applicants for free school meals rests with the individual school. However, many schools will choose to work with local authorities to carry out these checks via our Eligibility Checking System. The department does not hold details of when applications are submitted locally for free school meals and we do not hold data on the time that may elapse between an application and the receipt of meals or vouchers. These arrangements are managed locally.

We have been working very closely with Edenred to improve the performance of the national voucher scheme, including in relation to the waiting times that parents and schools have experienced when accessing the system. We are very grateful to families and schools for their understanding and patience while this service has been upgraded to meet increased demand.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that Erasmus+ (b) relationships and (b) funding are maintained during the transition period.

Under the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the EU, the UK will continue to participate fully in the current (2014-20) Erasmus+ programme.

This means that beneficiaries can continue to maintain relationships with international partners and that the projects that were successfully bid for during the current programmes will continue to receive EU funding for the full duration of the project. This includes projects where funding runs beyond 2020 and the end of the transition period.

We continue to work closely with the sector and the UK National Agency, which is responsible for the management and delivery of the programme across the UK, to support the UK’s participation under the current programme.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what funding he has allocated to environmental education in schools; and if he will make a statement.

It is important that children are taught about the environment. During Key Stage 1 (5-7 year olds), pupils are taught about the seasons and habitats, including content about daily weather patterns in the UK. The Key Stage 2 (7 11-year olds) science curriculum further develops pupils’ understanding of the climate and habitats of plants and animals. They will also look at how environments can change, which can include the impact of human actions.

In Key Stage 3 science (11-14 year olds), pupils are taught about ecosystems, including how changes in the environment affect different species and the importance of maintaining biodiversity. They are also taught about the production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the effect this has on the climate. This is expanded on in Key Stage 4 science (14-16 year olds), where pupils will consider the evidence for anthropogenic causes of climate change. As part of Key Stage 3 geography, pupils will look at the causes, consequences of and responses to extreme weather conditions and natural weather hazards.

In 2017, the Department introduced a new environmental science A level. This will enable pupils to study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and how it can be tackled.

The Department is improving the quality of science teaching by funding high-quality professional development through the national network of 41 Science Learning Partnerships and Project Enthuse bursaries. We are also offering incentives to attract more science graduates into teaching, including bursaries of £26,000 and scholarships of £28,000 to attract top science graduates into teaching.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that schools are aware of the Salix Loan available to insulate school buildings and meet carbon reduction targets.

The Government is committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Department encourages schools to limit their impact on the environment by taking a range of actions including minimising heat loss through improved insulation. The Department has a programme of capital investment in schools and will have spent £22 billion on new and improved school buildings between 2017 and 2021.

The Schools Buying Strategy was created to help schools with procurement to help ensure they get the best value for money. There are a wide range of recommended frameworks and support which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/buying-for-schools. Advice on good estate management, including the Salix loan scheme can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/good-estate-management-for-schools/information-training-and-tools.

Salix Finance Ltd. was established in 2004 as an independent, publicly funded company through which interest-free government funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Education, the Welsh Government and the Scottish Government provides the public sector with loans for projects to improve energy, reduce bills and reduce carbon emissions. Schools can access Salix funding through three routes:

1) the Salix Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme for maintained schools.[1]

2) Salix Energy Efficiency Fund for academies administered directly by Salix.[2]

3) through the DfE’s Condition Improvement Fund.[3]

[1] For maintained schools, information is available on gov.uk and promoted by the department at schools’ events and shows.

[2] The department promotes the Salix Energy Efficiency Fund on gov.uk and will notify academies via an email bulletin.

[3] For academies that are eligible to apply to the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF), the department alerts them by direct email and also publishes information on Salix in the CIF applicant guidance which we have promoted on gov.uk at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/condition-improvement-fund.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools in England are taking steps to insulate their buildings to meet local and national carbon reduction targets.

The Government is committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Department encourages schools to limit their impact on the environment by taking a range of actions including minimising heat loss through improved insulation. The Department has a programme of capital investment in schools and will have spent £22 billion on new and improved school buildings between 2017 and 2021.

The Schools Buying Strategy was created to help schools with procurement to help ensure they get the best value for money. There are a wide range of recommended frameworks and support which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/buying-for-schools. Advice on good estate management, including the Salix loan scheme can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/good-estate-management-for-schools/information-training-and-tools.

Salix Finance Ltd. was established in 2004 as an independent, publicly funded company through which interest-free government funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Education, the Welsh Government and the Scottish Government provides the public sector with loans for projects to improve energy, reduce bills and reduce carbon emissions. Schools can access Salix funding through three routes:

1) the Salix Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme for maintained schools.[1]

2) Salix Energy Efficiency Fund for academies administered directly by Salix.[2]

3) through the DfE’s Condition Improvement Fund.[3]

[1] For maintained schools, information is available on gov.uk and promoted by the department at schools’ events and shows.

[2] The department promotes the Salix Energy Efficiency Fund on gov.uk and will notify academies via an email bulletin.

[3] For academies that are eligible to apply to the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF), the department alerts them by direct email and also publishes information on Salix in the CIF applicant guidance which we have promoted on gov.uk at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/condition-improvement-fund.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) children in care and (b) care leavers were EU nationals in the latest period for which figures are available.

The information requested is not held centrally as the department does not collect information on the nationalities of looked after children.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) children in care and (b) care leavers in each of the 10 boroughs in Greater Manchester are EU nationals in the latest period for which figures are available.

The information requested is not held centrally as the department does not collect information on the nationalities of looked after children.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of correspondence sent by hon. Members to his Department received a substantive response within the service standard in each month of (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

The Government recognises the great importance of the effective and timely handling of correspondence. We are working to make things better.

The Cabinet Office is currently compiling data on the timeliness of responses to Hon. and Rt Hon. members from Government Departments and Agencies. This data will be released, and made available to Members, in due course.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2020
What steps he is taking to maintain food supplies for vulnerable people during the covid-19 outbreak.

Shielded individuals can opt to receive deliveries of food and essential supplies if they are without a support network of friends and family while self-isolating at home.

We have been working with food retailers, delivery organisations and volunteer groups to help support the non-shielded vulnerable, who are avoiding going to the shops if possible. A range of options are available for those people, including asking for an NHS Volunteer Responder to do their shopping for them – 100,000 people have had help with community tasks like shopping from NHS responders so far. Many charities and community organisations are also providing voluntary shop and drop services, as are neighbours and other community volunteers. If the situation is urgent, local authorities can also offer support and services, and we are working with them to help make sure that they have a range of ways to help those who contact them.

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

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure farmers have access to the seasonal workers required to harvest crops during the covid-19 outbreak.

The ongoing impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak have meant that there will be a shortfall in the numbers of workers who usually travel to the UK from Europe to work during the harvest season, with the demand for workers peaking from late May through the summer. We need to mobilise the British workforce to fill that gap and make sure our excellent fruit and vegetables are on people's plates over the summer months.

Farming leaders have already kick-started a recruitment drive for work on farms, with thousands of British people already expressing an interest in picking up seasonal agricultural work over the coming weeks and months. With many British workers furloughed from their jobs, and students having to put their summer plans on hold, the Government is supporting industry efforts to help farmers bring in this year’s harvest, working to build on these numbers.

The majority of roles for the early part of the harvest season have already been filled. We are closely monitoring the situation and we will shortly be launching a public- facing campaign to highlight the roles available from late May onwards and to encourage people to apply. The Government has confirmed that those who have been furloughed from their jobs due to coronavirus, and who are contractually allowed to work for another employer, can take on this seasonal work.

The Pick for Britain website is a recently launched joint Defra and industry initiative to support this effort. The website will act as a central hub to signpost people to the jobs available and to hold guidance and resources so growers, workers and industry can have a single place to go, available at https://pickforbritain.org.uk/. The website will also provide links to a wide range of recruitment campaigns organised by labour providers. The Pick for Britain website includes links to the Government's 'Find A Job' website, which will give access to a wide reach of potential applicants. The Find a Job website has more than 1.6 million registered users and is available here: https://findajob.dwp.gov.uk/.

Our farmers are doing a fantastic job of feeding the nation during this challenging time. To help our farmers, industry Best Practice Guidance for employers of seasonal agricultural workers to avoid the spread of coronavirus has also now been published, which has been endorsed by Public Health England: https://ahdb.org.uk/coronavirus/social-distancing-farm-businesses.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps are being taken by his Department to ensure food supply chains are safeguarded during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, we have intensified our discussions with the industry and together we are continuing to monitor the situation closely, taking the necessary steps to address issues wherever they arise.

Following a significant spike in consumer demand in early March, we have subsequently seen stock levels in supermarkets constantly and significantly improve. To support the food sector, the Government temporarily relaxed competition law and regulations relating to driver hours and delivery times so that the sector could work together to keep putting food on the shelves.

We welcome the actions that the industry is taking, including hiring more staff, and prioritising delivery slots and shopping times for those that need them most. We are grateful for the extensive support and positive collaboration that they have shown. We will continue this engagement with industry to keep food supply chains flowing and make sure people have the food and products they need.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure food supply during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, we have intensified our discussions with the industry and together we are continuing to monitor the situation closely, taking the necessary steps to address issues wherever they arise.

Following a significant spike in consumer demand in early March, we have subsequently seen stock levels in supermarkets constantly and significantly improve. To support the food sector, the Government temporarily relaxed competition law and regulations relating to driver hours and delivery times so that the sector could work together to keep putting food on the shelves.

We welcome the actions that the industry is taking, including hiring more staff, and prioritising delivery slots and shopping times for those that need them most. We are grateful for the extensive support and positive collaboration that they have shown. We will continue this engagement with industry to keep food supply chains flowing and make sure people have the food and products they need.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 3 April 2020 to Question 33584 on Horticulture: Coronavirus, what steps her Department plans to take in response to discussions with the Horticultural Trades Association; and whether garden centres will be allowed to re-open during the covid-19 lockdown.

The Government is aware of the challenges currently faced by garden centres and plant nurseries. We continue to work closely with representatives from the horticulture supply chain, including the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) to understand what short-term and long-term support the sector needs.

The Government is keeping the situation on Garden Centres under review, but concluded last week that it was too early to ease any restrictions on such retail environments. We will continue to work closely with the representatives from the horticulture supply chain to understand what short-term and long-term support the sector as a whole needs. We are ready to work with the industry to respond to emerging issues quickly and effectively.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to provide support to garden centres and plant nurseries during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is aware of the challenges currently faced by garden centres and plant nurseries.

The Government is keeping the situation on garden centres under review, but concluded last week that it was too early to ease any restrictions on such retail environments. We will continue to work closely with the representatives from the horticulture supply chain to understand what short-term and long-term support the sector as a whole needs. We are ready to work with the industry to respond to emerging issues quickly and effectively.

On 17 March the Chancellor announced an unprecedented package of government support for businesses and the economy. As part of this, ornamental horticulture businesses are able to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of reports that supermarkets are raising prices for basic staple foods during the covid-19 outbreak.

It is not for the UK Government to set retail food prices or comment on day-to-day commercial decisions. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has developed a timely indication of price change for high-demand products (HDP) covering the period 16 March to 5 April 2020. A weekly index is being produced for each of these items. In the most recently published release (week to 5 April) prices for food items in the HDP basket were 0.4% higher than the base period starting 16 March.

These are not national statistics and Government will also continue to monitor the monthly Consumer Prices Index including Housing Costs (CPIH) for food prices.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that the software required to enforce clean air zones is available by 2021.

The Government is working with a number of local authorities to put in place the digital infrastructure to support Clean Air Zones. The vehicle compliance checker launched earlier this year, with the payment portal launching in the summer. This will enable users to check if they may be charged to drive in a zone.

Local authorities will be responsible for the enforcement of Clean Air Zones and the collection of any penalty payments arising.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who will be responsible for collecting payments in relation to the enforcement of clean air zones.

The UK-wide Pollinator Monitoring Research Partnership was established with funding from Defra and the Scottish and Welsh Governments.

The total cost over the three-year project period from 2016 to 2019 was £282,720.

In-kind contributions from UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UK CEH) and other academic and voluntary organisations were also committed to the project, to a value of £201,804 (for example for staff time, data sharing, software). The monitoring work itself was co-ordinated by UK CEH.

A follow-up project is now underway, building on the outcomes from this first one. Further details are available on the GOV.UK website at:

http://sciencesearch.defra.gov.uk/

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will allocate additional funding to support the introduction of clean air zones.

The Government is committed to bringing roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations within legal limits in the shortest possible time. That is why the Chancellor recently announced an additional £304 million to enable local authorities to take action to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels, including implementing clean air zones. This brings the total amount of funding committed to tackling NO2 to £880 million.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Plan proposals, what plans the Government has for financial support for (a) local businesses and (b) sole traders to upgrade to cleaner vehicles.

The Government is committed to improving air quality in the UK and has provided £572 million to support the development and implementation of required measures by local authorities. This includes a Clean Air Fund that is aimed at mitigating the impact of local plans on individuals and businesses including sole traders.

We are mindful of the challenges of delivering a clean air plan across Greater Manchester and the need to support individuals and businesses that may be affected by the resulting charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ). We have provided at this stage a first tranche of £36 million towards implementing the CAZ and intend to provide further funding, both for implementation and for mitigating the impacts of the CAZ, from the Clean Air Fund, once we have a clearer picture of the scale of need based on our assessment of additional evidence being provided by Greater Manchester.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what additional support her Department is providing to countries in the Global South at risk of acute food insecurity as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK is repurposing programmes in agriculture, social protection and humanitarian assistance to tackle the factors driving COVID-19 induced food insecurity. We are a major funder of existing multilateral programmes in these areas, including the recent Food and Agriculture Organisation £7.5 million contribution to fight the locust plague in East Africa. We have committed £15 million to the World Food Programme’s recent urgent appeals. In all of these we continue to put the poorest and most marginalised at the heart of our programmes to address the underlying causes of chronic hunger.

21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of the (a) availability and (b) adequacy of (i) medical and (ii) sanitation supplies in response to the covid-19 outbreak in Kashmir.

The UK continues to monitor the response to Covid-19 globally, including in Kashmir. DFID is working with global institutions, including the World Health Organisation, to ensure supplies are directed to those in greatest need.

India and Pakistan, like the rest of the world, faces challenges ensuring sufficient supplies and equipment to medical facilities. We are monitoring information on supplies in both Indian-administered Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what additional support the Government is providing to people in Kashmir to help the region with the covid-19 outbreak.

The UK has so far pledged £744 million to tackle Covid-19 and save lives around the world. This includes £250 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation to rapidly develop a COVID-19 vaccine, the biggest donation of any country.

The World Bank (in which the UK has a significant shareholding) has already made a $6 billion available – including to India and to Pakistan - to support governments to strengthen health systems, including better access to health services to safeguard people from the epidemic, strengthen disease surveillance, and bolster public health interventions.

DFID's programmes in India focus on the lowest income states, which do not include Kashmir. DFID's programmes in Pakistan include support to Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what additional support the Government is providing to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza to help the region prepare for a potential outbreak of covid-19.

The UK has pledged £744 million to support the global humanitarian response to COVID-19, including the response in Gaza. We are providing additional vital support in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by providing £840,000 to the World Health Organisation and UN Children’s Fund to purchase and co-ordinate the delivery of medical equipment, treat critical care patients, train frontline public health personnel and scale up laboratory testing capacity.

The UN assesses that although the current number of detected cases remains relatively low, the capacity of the Palestinian health system to cope with an expected increase in COVID-19 cases is poor. The situation is particularly severe in Gaza, where the health system has shortages in specialised staff, drugs and equipment. We continue to monitor the situation and are working closely with the UN and the international community to ensure a co-ordinated and effective response.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of the (a) availability and (b) adequacy of Iranian (i) medical and (ii) sanitation supplies to respond to an outbreak of covid-19 in that country.

The Department for International Development and the UK Embassy in Tehran are in close contact with partners in Iran, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), on the ongoing response in the country to COVID-19. The Iranian health system, like others around the world, has been put under significant pressure by the crisis, which is why we are working with the international community to ensure that Iran receives the humanitarian support it needs: The E3 (the UK, France and Germany) have provided a EUR 5 million package of financial and material assistance to Iran via the WHO and UN bodies to help with the response.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department plans to provide support to Gaza to help tackle the outbreak of covid-19 in that area.

The UK has pledged £744 million to support the global humanitarian response to COVID-19, including the response in Gaza. We are providing additional vital support in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by providing £840,000 to the World Health Organisation and UN Children’s Fund to purchase and co-ordinate the delivery of medical equipment, treat critical care patients, train frontline public health personnel and scale up laboratory testing capacity.

The UN assesses that although the current number of detected cases remains relatively low, the capacity of the Palestinian health system to cope with an expected increase in COVID-19 cases is poor. The situation is particularly severe in Gaza, where the health system has shortages in specialised staff, drugs and equipment. We continue to monitor the situation and are working closely with the UN and the international community to ensure a co-ordinated and effective response.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether she has made an assessment of the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on the healthcare system in Iran.

The Department for International Development and the UK Embassy in Tehran are in close contact with partners in Iran, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), on the ongoing response in the country to COVID-19. The Iranian health system, like others around the world, has been put under significant pressure by the crisis, which is why we are working with the international community to ensure that Iran receives the humanitarian support it needs: The E3 (the UK, France and Germany) have provided a EUR 5 million package of financial and material assistance to Iran via the WHO and UN bodies to help with the response.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment he has made of the effect of the humanitarian situation in Syria on (a) neighbouring countries, and (b) Lebanon.

The Syria conflict has had a significant impact on neighbouring countries, including Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq. The UN estimates that since the conflict began in 2011, over 5.5 million Syrians have fled and taken refuge abroad.

The UK recognises the strain this has placed on these countries, and has committed £2.81 billion since the start of the Syria crisis to support both Syria and its neighbours. Our aid provides life-saving support to millions of Syrians, but also supports refugees to remain in countries in the region, whilst supporting these host communities to accommodate them.

Whilst we hope that Syrian refugees will, ultimately, be able to return home, we agree with the UN judgement that conditions in Syria do not currently allow this. It is essential that international law is respected, and that any refugee returns are safe, dignified and voluntary.

29th Jan 2020
What steps his Department is taking with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to uphold human rights throughout the world.

The UK is committed to respecting, promoting and protecting universal human rights. Human rights are inseparable from development and DFID works closely with the FCO to support its lead on human rights. DFID also works alongside the FCO to promote human rights, which is a core part of DFID’s aid and development strategy.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to increase levels of humanitarian access in Yemen.

The UK is increasingly concerned by constraints on the international humanitarian response in Houthi-controlled areas of northern Yemen. In line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2451, we are calling on all parties to facilitate unhindered access for humanitarian actors and ensure that humanitarian workers are able to conduct their work safely and without harm.

Alongside this, Ministers and Officials continue to engage closely with the UN and other donors to ensure a coordinated approach to improve humanitarian access, that does not jeopardise progress on the peace process.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to support education in Yemen.

Education, particularly standing up for the right of every girl in the world to have 12 years of quality education, is a priority for the UK. In Yemen we are supporting education through two global funds: Education Cannot Wait and the Global Partnership for Education.

Since 2017, Education Cannot Wait has committed over £13 million to Yemen, providing 1.3 million children with safe learning spaces, supporting 1.2 million students in preparing for and taking national exams, and making incentive payments to teachers whose salaries had not been paid for prolonged periods. The Global Partnership for Education has provided over £28.5 million to support education in Yemen since 2013, benefitting more than 400,000 children through improved schooling and teacher training, in particular focusing on ensuring girls have better access to education.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking to help prevent cases of dengue fever in Yemen.

There were over 75,000 suspected cases of dengue fever in Yemen in 2019, following a sharp rise towards the end of last year.

The UK is providing support to international NGOs and UN agencies to improve access to health care for vulnerable Yemenis which will be vital to tackling the outbreak.

UK support includes a £96.5million commitment to UNICEF from 2018-2021 which has already provided 900,000 children with access to primary health care through health facilities, outreach services, and mobile health teams.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that humanitarian agencies in Yemen are able to operate (a) independently and (b) according to the humanitarian principles.

The UK is increasingly concerned by constraints on the international humanitarian response in Houthi-controlled areas of northern Yemen. In line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2451, we are calling on all parties to facilitate unhindered access for humanitarian actors and ensure that humanitarian workers are able to conduct their work safely and without harm.

Alongside this, Ministers and Officials continue to engage closely with the UN and other donors to ensure a coordinated approach to improve humanitarian access, that does not jeopardise progress on the peace process.

24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what proportion of correspondence sent by hon. Members to her Department received a substantive response within the service standard in each month of (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

The Government recognises the great importance of the effective and timely handling of correspondence.

The Cabinet Office is currently compiling data on the timeliness of responses to Hon. and Rt Hon. members from Government Departments and Agencies. This data will be released, and made available to Members, in due course.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that UK companies are not complicit in the use of Uyghur forced labour in the (a) manufacture of products of (b) chains of supply.

The Department for International Trade has been taking forward measures to help make sure British businesses are not complicit in violations of rights and responsibilities in Xinjiang, as announced in Parliament by the Foreign Secretary on 12th January. This includes a review of export controls as they apply to Xinjiang, to make sure that we are doing everything that we can to prevent the export of any goods that could directly or indirectly contribute to any such violations. It includes updating our Overseas Business Risk guidance too, underlining the specific risks faced by companies with links to Xinjiang and the challenges of conducting effective due diligence there.

We continue to advise businesses with supply chain links in Xinjiang to conduct appropriate due diligence to satisfy themselves that their activities do not support, or risk being seen to be supporting, any violations of rights or responsibilities.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of inserting clauses on human rights in future trade deals with China in order to help tackle forced Uyghar labour in that country.

The United Kingdom has a strong history of promoting our values globally. We will continue to encourage all states to uphold their international obligations and are clear that trade does not have to come at the expense of rights and responsibilities.

China remains an important trading partner for the United Kingdom and we are pursuing increased bilateral trade, but do not have plans to negotiate a free trade agreement currently.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she has had discussions with her Israeli counterpart on illegal annexation; and if she will take steps to reconsider UK trade deals with settlement territories.

HM Government has maintained a dialogue with Israel and we welcome the suspension of Israel’s plans for annexation, which would have been counterproductive to the goal of securing peace in the region.

The United Kingdom does not recognise the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), including settlements, as part of Israel. For this reason, the OPTs are not covered by the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which currently governs our trade with Israel, nor by the United Kingdom-Israel Trade and Partnership Agreement, which will enter into force at the end of the Transition Period.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to review Pakistan's red list travel status under the Government's covid-19 travel restrictions.

The allocation of countries to the traffic light system, including the allocation of Pakistan, will be reviewed every three weeks, unless concerning evidence means we need to act faster to protect public health.

The next review will take place in the week commencing 12th July 2021.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of correspondence sent by hon. Members to his Department received a substantive response within the service standard in each month of (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

The Government recognises the great importance of the effective and timely handling of correspondence.

The Cabinet Office is currently compiling data on the timeliness of responses to Hon. and Rt Hon. members from Government Departments and Agencies. This data will be released, and made available to Members, in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing foreign travel for people separated from their partners regardless of marital status during the covid-19 outbreak.

There are a range of border measures in place to protect the UK from the importation of coronavirus and variants of concern (VoCs), including self-isolation, managed quarantine and testing. These measures are kept under regular review.

Restrictions for England introduced on 29 March 2021 remain in place meaning everyone must “Stay in the UK” unless travelling for a very limited set of reasons. The limited number of exemptions from enhanced border measures for travellers are kept under regular review to ensure they are only in place while absolutely necessary.

The government unveiled a roadmap by which international travel restrictions could be lifted no earlier than 17 May 2020. The Global Travel Taskforce (GTT) developed a framework for a safe, sustainable and robust return to non-essential travel, that is risk based and does not compromise UK public health. The government will confirm by early May whether non-essential international travel can resume from 17 May.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing foreign travel for people separated from their partners regardless of martial status during the covid-19 outbreak.

The decision to introduce enhanced border measures is in direct response to scientific and medical data, which represents an increased risk to UK public health and an increased risk of community transmission of the new COVID-19 variants identified in other countries. These are intended to be temporary measures and the government keeps data for countries and territories under constant review.

The government has made it consistently clear that it will take decisive action to contain the virus, including adding further countries to the red list if the public health risk of people returning from a particular country without self-isolating becomes too high.

There are an extremely limited number of exemptions from enhanced border measures, and only introduced where absolutely necessary for reasons of national importance. Exemptions from enhanced border measures are set out on Gov.uk and are kept under regular review.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the Rail Delivery Group on offering refunds or extensions to passengers who have purchased railcards and are no longer able to use those railcards as a result of covid-19 restrictions.

The Department recognises that railcard holders have been unable to use their cards whilst travel restrictions are in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and railcard holders have not been able to benefit to the fullest extent over recent months. However, many passengers are able to recover the cost of their railcard in a single trip over the period of validity of their railcard.

Having carefully considered the situation, we are not discussing the prospects of offering refunds or extensions for railcard users with the Rail Delivery Group.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what (a) steps his Department is taking to encourage people to use public transport instead of cars during the covid-19 outbreak and (b) estimate he has made of the number of passenger journeys by (a) bus, (b) car and (c) rail in Greater Manchester since March 2020.

The government is clear that under current restrictions people should not leave their homes unless for a permitted purpose. Throughout the pandemic we have not regulated to restrict access to the public transport network as this could have an impact on the ability for people to travel when they need to, or for key workers to access employment. We are advising that the public follow safer travel guidance when they do travel.

Weekly data on transport use at a national level since the start of pandemic is available here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/transport-use-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic. However, it is not possible to break this national use down by all areas/regions due to sources of the data involved for near real-time reporting. Statistics on transport use by each mode in each area will be published in due course when the full data is available.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Minister of State at the Department for Transport plans to respond to the letter of 12 October 2020 from the hon. Member for Manchester Gorton on HS2 Phase 2b (Western Leg) Birchfields Road Vent Shaft.

A response to your letter of 12 October was sent on 12 November.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if the Minister of State at the Department for Transport will meet with local stakeholders in Manchester Gorton to discuss the proposed Birchfields Road Vent Shaft for Phase 2b (Western Leg) of HS2.

The Government published its response to the 2019 Design Refinement Consultation of HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg on the 7th October, in which I set out my decision on the location of the vent shaft. Notwithstanding this, if your constituents do wish to continue to engage regarding the vent shaft they can still do so directly with HS2 Ltd.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which railway stations in London have been refurbished or rebuilt since 2010; and at what cost to the public purse.

Since 2010, we have spent c£1.93bn on rebuilding London Bridge, Farringdon, City Thameslink and Blackfriars stations, as part of the Thameslink Programme. Ten new stations are being built (or significantly expanded) as part of the Crossrail Programme, in addition to a number of other stations that are being enhanced. The cost of Crossrail station improvement works to the taxpayer will be finalised when works are complete. In addition, c£144m has been spent on other station improvements in London through the National Station Improvement Programme, the Access for all Programme and the New Stations Fund. Other station renewals and enhancements have also been delivered – this is not a definitive list of all spend since 2010.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to enforce the wearing of face coverings on public transport.

Since the introduction of the legal requirement to wear a face covering on public transport in England, we have seen high levels of compliance on the network. However, we recognise that not everyone will follow these rules. Enforcement officers will take steps to engage, explain, encourage and enable passengers to wear face coverings, subject to exemptions. My Department continues to work closely with transport operators, the police and Transport for London to consider the approach to enforcement. We have already introduced stricter penalties for those failing to comply with face covering regulations as we seek to curb the spread of the virus.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 8 September 2020 to Question 81866 on on Driving Tests: Coronavirus, what evidence was used to inform the decision not lay further legislation to extend the validity period of the theory test certificate .

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has refreshed the content of the theory driving test twice in the last two years. The Government is concerned the knowledge and understanding of driving theory for those candidates who passed the test more than two years ago would be out of date. This would present a clear road safety risk.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential implications for his policies of the proposals put forward by the New Economics Foundation report entitled Crisis support to aviation and the right to retrain, published on 10 June 2020.

The aviation sector is important to the UK economy and the government recognises the challenging times facing the sector as a result of COVID-19. The Department for Transport has kept an open dialogue with the aviation sector through engagement at both ministerial and official levels.

The Department’s Expert Steering Group was established to bring together all interested parties to co-produce solutions to the issues facing the sector. The Group is best placed to identify and support what practical steps are required to restart the industry, as well as to consider what longer term steps are required to ensure the sector’s full recovery.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the 5 May 2020 International Maritime Organization publication entitled Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Recommended framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The UK has not placed restrictions on the transit and transfer of seafarers. I have previously written to UN organisations asking for an international solution to this issue, confirming the UK’s position on crew changes, and also urged other countries to allow crew changes to take placeMany of the recommendations found in the framework are already in place in the UK and we have already provided specific guidance to the maritime sector.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent steps his Department has taken to support the (a) mental and (b) physical health of seafarers.

The mental and physical health of seafarers is an important issue. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has just published two complementary publications ‘Wellbeing at Sea: A guide for organisations’ and ‘Wellbeing at Sea: A pocket guide for seafarers’ to support organisations and individuals to prioritise wellbeing onboard. I welcome the framework that was issued by the IMO which seeks to address crew change issues that have emerged due to the pandemic and have had adverse impacts on the health and wellbeing of seafarers. I have previously written to UN organisations asking for an international solution to this issue, confirming the UK’s position on crew changes, and also urged other countries to allow crew changes to take place. DfT Officials have been working with the Merchant Navy Welfare Board and support the steps taken by the working group to aid the mental and physical health of seafarers.

In addition, Government guidance for operators and passengers has been updated to provide greater detail on how social distancing can be maintained in the maritime sector and customer-facing roles to reduce the risk to staff health whilst ensuring services keep running. Under the new PPE guidance, DfT officials are working with industry to ensure seafarers and passengers have adequate access to face masks prior to boarding vessels in order to protect their physical health.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations his Department has received from members of the public on the HS2 project since he took office; and if he will make a statement.

The Department for Transport holds records of 1604 pieces of written correspondence received by the High Speed Rail and Major Projects Group from members of public since July 2019, when the Secretary of State for Transport took office. The content of those written representations could only be provided at disproportionate cost as each case would have to be opened and checked.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many pieces of written correspondence his Department has received (a) in favour of (b) against High Speed Two since 2015.

The Department’s correspondence handling system holds records of 7062 items of written correspondence received by the High Speed Rail and Major Projects Group since February 2016. The records management policy for the system is to hold records for the current year and previous three years. The number of items of correspondence for and against HS2 could only be provided at disproportionate cost as each case would have to be opened and checked.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department plans to bring forward legislative proposals to ensure that people who arrived in the UK under the Afghan (a) Relocation and Assistance Policy and (b) Citizens Resettlement Scheme are not required to meet the habitual residence test.

All those brought to the UK under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) and the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) have the right to work, access to education and healthcare and recourse to public funds including benefit support.

The Department for Work and Pensions has legislated to exempt those arriving in the UK under the ARAP and ACRS from the habitual residence test for income-related benefits, and the past presence test and the habitual residence test for disability and carer benefits.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/1034/made

Further information can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/support-for-those-arriving-from-afghanistan

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to provide a substantive response to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Manchester Gorton of 23 June 2021 on Mr David Foulkes.

A Department for Work and Pensions Complaint Resolution Manager has spoken with Mr David Foulkes on 9 July 2021 confirming his State Pension claim has been finalised and arrears issued the same day. A full response has also been provided to the Hon. Member to confirm the position.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer on 28 May 2021 to Question 6445 on Children: Poverty, whether his Department plans to make an assessment of the impact of the £20 uplift in universal credit on child poverty in (a) England and (b) Manchester Gorton constituency.

Looking at the impact on poverty of an individual policy is complex and inherently speculative as it requires projecting how incomes will change for every individual in society which are affected by a huge range of unknown factors.

To monitor poverty for different groups the Department publishes the Households Below Average Incomes (HBAI) publication which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-for-financial-years-ending-1995-to-2020

Data at constituency level is unavailable in this publication due to insufficient sample size.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the level of child poverty in (a) England and (b) Manchester Gorton constituency.

This Government is wholly committed to tackling poverty. Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been to support the most vulnerable including through spending an additional £7.4billion to strengthen the welfare system, taking our total expenditure on welfare support for people of working age to an estimated £112 billion in 2020/21. Additionally, in December 2020 we introduced our Covid Winter Grant Scheme, providing funding to Local Authorities in England to enable them to support people with food and essential utility bills during the coldest months. It will now run until June as the Covid Local Support Grant, with a total investment of £269m.

National Statistics on the number and percentage of children in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. Data for Manchester Gorton is unavailable due to insufficient sample size.

Latest statistics for the levels of children who are in low income in England, covering 2019/20, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-for-financial-years-ending-1995-to-2020,“children-hbai-timeseries-1994-95-2019-20-tables” in table 4.16ts (relative low income, before and after housing costs) and in table 4.22ts (absolute low income, before and after housing costs).

In the three years to 2019/20, the absolute child poverty rate, before housing costs, in England was 18%, down 3 percentage points since the three years to 2009/10

The Department now publishes supplementary official statistics on the number of children in low income families at constituency level. Children in Low Income Families data is published annually.

The latest figures on the number of children who are in low income in Manchester Gorton and in England, covering 2019/20, can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-2014-to-2020/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-fye-2015-to-fye-2020.

Due to methodological differences, the figures in these two publications are not comparable

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the impact of the £20 uplift in universal credit on levels of child poverty in (a) England and (b) Manchester Gorton constituency.

No assessment has been made.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending an estimated £112 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2020/21. This included around £7.4 billion of Covid-related welfare policy measures.

We introduced our Covid Winter Grant Scheme providing funding to Local Authorities in England to help the most vulnerable children and families stay warm and well fed during the coldest months. It will now run until June as the Covid Local Support Grant, with a total investment of £269m.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help people move into and progress in work as quickly as possible based on clear evidence around the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty. We are investing over £30 billion in our ambitious Plan for Jobs which is already delivering for people of all ages right across the country.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent representations he has received on reducing the waiting period to receive support for mortgage interest payments.

A number of organisations have made public recommendations for government to reduce the qualifying period including Centre for Policy Studies, Joseph Roundtree Foundation, Affordable Housing Commission, The Resolution Foundation, UK Finance and the Building Societies Association.

The Department currently has no plans to amend the qualifying period for Support for Mortgage Interest.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential economic effect on renters of increasing the Local Housing allowance in line with median market rents.

There has been no such assessment.

In April 2020 Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates were increased to the 30th percentile of local market rents. This significant investment of almost £1 billion has provided 1.5 million claimants with around £600 more housing support per year than they would otherwise have received. In 2021/22 all LHA rates will be maintained at their increased level, meaning claimants renting in the private rented sector will continue to benefit from the significant increase in the rates applied this year.

For those who require additional support with housing costs Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available. Since 2011 we have provided over £1 billion in DHP funding.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of increasing the Local Housing Allowance to cover median market rents.

There has been no such assessment.

In April 2020 Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates were increased to the 30th percentile of local market rents. This significant investment of almost £1 billion has provided 1.5 million claimants with around £600 more housing support per year than they would otherwise have received. In 2021/22 all LHA rates will be maintained at their increased level, meaning claimants renting in the private rented sector will continue to benefit from the significant increase in the rates applied this year.

For those who require additional support with housing costs Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available. Since 2011 we have provided over £1 billion in DHP funding.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to take steps to enable the public to communicate with her Department by email.

Due to the risk of personal data being compromised through email, this service is restricted to general enquiries, however it is available as a reasonable adjustment on request.

For claimants with a disability or health condition who require email as they need information to be provided in an alternative format we can accept the security risk and allow use of email.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the cost of setting up an email channel for the public to contact her Department in respect of personal independence payment appeals.

Once a customer has submitted an appeal to Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) the customer engages with HMCTS from this point to provide information and evidence relevant to their PIP appeal. In most PIP appeal cases, additional evidence provided is then digitally shared with DWP as a party to the appeal, therefore an email address is not necessary.

15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of allowing claimants to contact her Department with general queries relating to their claims.

Claimants can contact DWP with general enquiries through various routes, including by phone or by email via GOV.UK.

We also have an alternative option for British Sign Language users who can use the Video Relay Service to communicate with DWP.

In addition, there is an online Journal for Universal Credit claimants and a self-service portal for Child Maintenance Service clients.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure BNO holders are able to secure a National Insurance number.

You can apply for and start work without a National Insurance number if you can prove you can work in the UK. Employers are required to conduct mandatory Right to Work checks on all prospective employees. Having a NINo is not part of these checks, and the possession of a NINo does not prove that an individual has a right to work.

As part of the application process for a National Insurance Number, BN(O) holders would be required to attend a face to face appointment where the DWP could validate and confirm their Identity and Right to Work. Due to Covid, the face to face NINo service is currently suspended.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure people who are unable to secure a National Insurance number as a result of the temporary suspension of services are able to access employment.

DWP have worked closely with HMRC to enable them to issue revised guidance to employers regarding the continued suspension of the NINo service, which reiterates that they are able to employ individuals who do not have a NINo.

An individual does not need a National Insurance Number (NINo) to apply for, or take up employment. They evidence their right to work in the UK by providing their status within the UK, through either Home Office documentation, for example a Biometric Residence Permit, Passport or National Identity card to prospective employers.

All employers are required to conduct mandatory Right to Work checks on all prospective employees, however these checks do not include the provision of a NINo. A list of acceptable documents that enables an individual to demonstrate they have the right work is set out on Gov.uk in the Employers Guide to Right to Work Checks.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-work-checks-employers-guide

The possession of a NINo does not prove to an employer that the employee has a right to work.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she estimates the National Insurance issuance service will resume a full service, following the temporary suspension of services as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Insurance Number allocation service (NINo) has continued to offer a service, throughout the pandemic, to our most vulnerable customer groups (Benefit Applicants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees) Students who are entitled to Student Finance and in June we resumed our service for visa applicants.

DWP started testing a partial digital solution, on a small scale, in mid-October, to support the issuing of National Insurance Numbers, which is still ongoing. This solution enables collection of the applicant’s data, but not the online verification of their identity. Alternative identity verification solutions to reduce the need for a face to face identity check for some customer groups is under development as part of this test.

The digital solution will be considered by the Government Data Service (GDS) for its ability to move into Public Beta and thereby deliver a service to a greater number of customers early next year.

Given the uncertainty of COVID-19 restrictions impacting upon DWPs ability to offer an interview service to some customers who will still be required to attend an office to confirm their Identity, it is not possible at this time to provide you with a firm date as to when DWP are able to resume their full service.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of automatically issuing National Insurance numbers alongside the issuance of Hong Kong BNO visas.

DWP and Home Office officials continue to review and assess the best way to support BN(O)s seeking national insurance numbers upon entry to the UK. As it stands a BN(O) holder would be required to attend a face to face appointment where the DWP could validate and confirm their Identity and Right to Work. Due to Covid, the face to face NINo service is currently suspended.

You can apply for and start work without a National Insurance number if you can prove you can work in the UK. Employers are required to conduct mandatory Right to Work checks on all prospective employees. Having a NINo is not part of these checks, and the possession of a NINo does not prove that an individual has a right to work.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the value was of unclaimed pension credit in (a) Greater Manchester and (b) Manchester Gorton constituency in the last 12 months for which data are available.

The information requested is not available. On 29th October 2020 the Department for Work and Pensions published the report “Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up: financial year 2018 to 2019”. This provided figures on the value of some unclaimed benefits in Great Britain. Estimates are not available for other DWP benefits, including Sure Start Maternity Grant and Universal Credit, and sub-national figures are not published because of small sample sizes.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the value was of unclaimed housing benefit in (a) Greater Manchester and (b) Manchester Gorton constituency in the last 12 months for which data are available.

The information requested is not available. On 29th October 2020 the Department for Work and Pensions published the report “Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up: financial year 2018 to 2019”. This provided figures on the value of some unclaimed benefits in Great Britain. Estimates are not available for other DWP benefits, including Sure Start Maternity Grant and Universal Credit, and sub-national figures are not published because of small sample sizes.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the value was of unclaimed income support and income-related employment and support allowance in (a) Greater Manchester and (b) Manchester Gorton constituency in the last 12 months for which data are available.

The information requested is not available. On 29th October 2020 the Department for Work and Pensions published the report “Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up: financial year 2018 to 2019”. This provided figures on the value of some unclaimed benefits in Great Britain. Estimates are not available for other DWP benefits, including Sure Start Maternity Grant and Universal Credit, and sub-national figures are not published because of small sample sizes.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the value was of unclaimed universal credit in (a) Greater Manchester and (b) Manchester Gorton constituency in the last 12 months for which data are available.

The information requested is not available. On 29th October 2020 the Department for Work and Pensions published the report “Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up: financial year 2018 to 2019”. This provided figures on the value of some unclaimed benefits in Great Britain. Estimates are not available for other DWP benefits, including Sure Start Maternity Grant and Universal Credit, and sub-national figures are not published because of small sample sizes.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the value was of unclaimed job seeker's allowance in (a) Greater Manchester and (b) Manchester Gorton constituency in the last 12 months for which data are available.

The information requested is not available. On 29th October 2020 the Department for Work and Pensions published the report “Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up: financial year 2018 to 2019”. This provided figures on the value of some unclaimed benefits in Great Britain. Estimates are not available for other DWP benefits, including Sure Start Maternity Grant and Universal Credit, and sub-national figures are not published because of small sample sizes.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the value was of unclaimed Sure Start maternity grants in (a) Greater Manchester and (b) Manchester Gorton constituency in the last 12 months for which data are available.

The information requested is not available. On 29th October 2020 the Department for Work and Pensions published the report “Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up: financial year 2018 to 2019”. This provided figures on the value of some unclaimed benefits in Great Britain. Estimates are not available for other DWP benefits, including Sure Start Maternity Grant and Universal Credit, and sub-national figures are not published because of small sample sizes.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 19 November 2020 to Question 114313 on State Retirement Pensions: Females, if her Department will make that assessment.

There are no plans to make an assessment.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support the Government is providing to women born in the 1950s not yet in receipt of (a) state pension or (b) pension credit to mitigate the financial effect of the covid-19 outbreak.

We have never spent more as a country on welfare support than we do now.

The Government has strengthened the safety net to provide financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is committed to providing financial support for people at every stage of their life, including when they near or reach retirement.

The welfare system will continue to provide support to those who are unable to work or who are on a low income but who are not eligible to pensioner benefits because of their age.

We have invested in a significant new programme, the Plan for Jobs, to help people of all ages who may be made redundant find work and acquire the skills they need to return to work.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of providing women born in the 1950s early access to (a) state pensions and (b) pension credit in order to mitigate the financial effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

No assessment has been made.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to resume face-to-face medical assessments for Industrial Injuries' Disablement Benefit.

Our priority throughout this health emergency continues to be to protect the public and our assessment providers’ staff, while ensuring people get the benefits they are entitled to quickly and safely. Face-to-face assessments remain suspended while we review what activity we can gradually start reintroducing in line with the latest public health advice. We will confirm next steps as soon as possible.

In the meantime, for claimants with the most serious or terminal conditions, claims continue to be processed and decisions made as normal. We are actively considering how to deal with those cases not currently being processed.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to resume assessing Industrial Injuries' Disablement Benefit claims for (a) asbestosis and (b) diffuse pleural thickening.

Our priority throughout this health emergency continues to be to protect the public and our assessment providers’ staff, while ensuring people get the benefits they are entitled to quickly and safely. Face-to-face assessments remain suspended while we review what activity we can gradually start reintroducing in line with the latest public health advice. We will confirm next steps as soon as possible.

In the meantime, for claimants with the most serious or terminal conditions, claims continue to be processed and decisions made as normal. We are actively considering how to deal with those cases not currently being processed.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effect of the benefits cap, by ethnic group.

The Department cannot precisely quantify the proportion of households by ethnic group that are affected by the benefit cap since recording of ethnicity on benefits administrative data is voluntary and, as such, not sufficiently reliable.

However, the 2016 published Impact Assessment of the benefit cap can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/welfare-reform-and-work-act-impact-assessment-for-the-benefit-cap

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of increasing the rate of statutory sick pay.

This Government has a strong safety net that helps people who are facing hardship and are unable to support themselves financially. Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provides a minimum level of income for employees when they are off work sick. It is paid in full by employers who may also decide to pay more than the statutory minimum through Occupational Sick Pay. SSP is just part of our welfare safety net and our wider government offer to support people in times of need.

Where an individual’s income is reduced while off work sick and they require further financial support, they may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Employment and Support Allowance, depending on their personal circumstances. Many of those on low incomes are already in receipt of benefits. For those on Universal Credit, their award will rise if their income falls.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of increasing the local housing allowance to the 50th percentile.

There has been no such assessment.

We increased Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of local rents, providing additional financial support for private renters in response to calls from homelessness charities. This significant investment of almost £1 billion ensures over 1 million households will see an increase, on average, of £600 per year.

For renters whose circumstances mean they may require more support, Discretionary Housing Payments are also available. We have already provided £180m in Discretionary Housing Payment funding to local authorities to support vulnerable claimants with housing costs in the private and social rented sector in England and Wales for 2020/21. This includes an extra £40m announced at the spending round.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effect of the two-child limit in relation to benefits on BAME families.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answer I provided to Question 7121 and 7122 on 28 January 2020 –

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-01-23/7121/

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effect on the finances of claimants of making advance payments of universal Credit grants instead of loans.

A new system of grants could not be implemented without significant reprioritisation of current measures: our focus remains firmly on ensuring that millions of new and existing claimants continue to receive their payments on time, and that we do everything possible to support people back into work where it is right to do so.

We introduced measures that could be quickly and effectively operationalised following the outbreak of COVID-19, supported by over £6.5bn of additional funding to the welfare system and which benefitted as many disadvantaged claimants as possible. This includes temporarily increasing the Universal Credit standard allowance by the equivalent of £20 per week – worth up to £1,040 this year. This is in addition to the 1.7% inflation increase as part of the Government’s decision to end the benefits freeze and means more financial support for millions of claimants across the country.

Universal Credit advances allow new claimants to request additional support during the first assessment period. Advances can be repaid over a year, allowing new claimants to receive 13 payments during that period instead of 12.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of private renters who would be ineligible for universal credit on the basis of (a) their status as a student, (b) their savings and (c) their immigration status.

The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what most recent estimate she has made of the number of children in (a) England, (b) the North West and (c) Manchester Gorton constituency living in poverty; and what proportion of those children are BAME.

National Statistics on the number and percentage of children in low income households are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication.

Latest statistics for the number of children who are in low income households for England and the North West region can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-199495-to-201819, “children-hbai-timeseries-1994-95-2018-19-tables” in table 4.17ts (relative low income, before and after housing costs) and 4.23ts (absolute low income, before and after housing costs).

The latest figures for children in low income households in Manchester Gorton, up to 2018/19, can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

The survey used by the Department to estimate numbers in low income households does not collect data on the ethnicity of children in households responding to the survey so it is not possible to provide estimates of children living in low income households by ethnicity.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to tackle the number of BAME children living in poverty; and what success criteria her Department sets to measure outcomes on that matter.

This Government provides a strong welfare safety net, spending over £95 billion in the last financial year on working age welfare benefits. Total welfare spending in 2019/20 was £225bn.

Our current focus is on supporting people financially during these unprecedented times. Our long-term ambition remains to build an economy that supports employment, ensuring opportunities for all to enter and progress in work where possible.

We are committed to levelling up skills and opportunity across the country. Using data from the Race Disparity Audit, updated annually since October 2017, and DWP’s own analysis we are continuing to help those underrepresented in the labour market, for example we are investing £90m towards activities that address disparities in youth unemployment.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer on 5 June 2020 to Question 52328 on Gay Conversion Therapy, when the research into the scope of practices and experiences of people subjected to conversion therapy was begun; when that research is expected to conclude; and if she will publish the findings.

In January 2019, the Government commissioned research to improve our understanding of evidence on the practice, experience, and effect of conversion therapy. We received a draft of the report on Friday 12th June 2020. Once we have reviewed the findings, we intend to publish the report.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she has taken to tackle housing advertisements which specify No DSS tenants.

Everyone should have the same opportunity when looking for a home, regardless of whether they are in receipt of benefits. Blanket bans that do not take account of the individual and their circumstances are unhelpful and should be discouraged.

Last year, I met industry representatives including property advertising platforms, to determine what action can be taken to end this practice. We have since seen positive changes with platforms committing to removing adverts with ‘No DSS’ wording.

Officials also met the Competition and Marketing Authority to discuss their guidance for lettings professionals which, in October 2019 was updated to state that landlords should not exclude people on the grounds that they are receiving benefits.

We will monitor this situation and continue to engage with stakeholders where necessary.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made on the equalisation of payments under the 2008 Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme to people suffering from asbestos-related diseases and their dependents.

The 1979 Act and 2008 Act schemes were designed to pay those who suffer from eligible diseases at a higher rate than is paid to their dependents. It is right that available funding is prioritised where it is needed most, that is to people living with these diseases.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the equalisation of payments made to people with asbestos-related diseases and their dependants under the Pneumoconiosis etc (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979.

The 1979 Act and 2008 Act schemes were designed to pay those who suffer from eligible diseases at a higher rate than is paid to their dependents. It is right that available funding is prioritised where it is needed most, that is to people living with these diseases.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of children in Manchester, Gorton constituency that are living in (a) poverty and (b) absolute poverty have (i) one household member in full-time employment, (ii) two household members in full-time employment, (iii) one household member in part-time employment, (iv) two household members in part-time employment and (v) no household members in employment in the most recent period for which figures are available.

National Statistics on the percentage of children in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. Statistics for the percentage of children in low income households is not available at constituency level in this publication because the survey sample sizes are too small to support the production of robust estimates at this geography. Statistics for the North West region can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-199495-to-201718, “children-hbai-timeseries-1994-95-2017-18-tables” in tables 4.16ts and 4.17ts (for relative low income, before and after housing costs) and 4.22ts and 4.23ts (for absolute low income, before and after housing costs). The statistics are only available for all children and cannot be broken down into the categories requested because the survey sample sizes are too small to support the production of robust estimates.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many children lived in (a) poverty and (b) extreme poverty in Greater Manchester in each of the last 10 years.

National Statistics on the number of children in low income households are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. Statistics for the number of children in low income households are not available at combined Local Authority level in this publication because the survey sample sizes are too small to support the production of robust estimates at this geography. Statistics for the North West region can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-199495-to-201718, “children-hbai-timeseries-1994-95-2017-18-tables” in tables 4.17ts (for relative low income, before and after housing costs) and 4.23ts (for absolute low income, before and after housing costs).

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether it is her Department's policy to ensure that universal credit payments for December are received by claimants before Christmas Day.

The information requested surrounding the volume of Faster Payments made on 24 December 2019 is not readily available and to provide it would incur a disproportionate cost to the Department.

Universal Credit payments are issued on the same date every month throughout the year. This helps to ensure claimants manage a household budget effectively by knowing when to expect their payment.

The Department’s banking system identifies when a payment date falls on a bank holiday or weekend, and will automatically issue the payment on the last working day before the bank holiday or weekend to ensure that claimants are not disadvantaged.

We have substantial experience of making alternative payment arrangements where necessary, and publicise any changes through channels including Jobcentres and online at GOV.UK.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many payments of universal credit were made as a same-day payment on 24 December 2019.

The information requested surrounding the volume of Faster Payments made on 24 December 2019 is not readily available and to provide it would incur a disproportionate cost to the Department.

Universal Credit payments are issued on the same date every month throughout the year. This helps to ensure claimants manage a household budget effectively by knowing when to expect their payment.

The Department’s banking system identifies when a payment date falls on a bank holiday or weekend, and will automatically issue the payment on the last working day before the bank holiday or weekend to ensure that claimants are not disadvantaged.

We have substantial experience of making alternative payment arrangements where necessary, and publicise any changes through channels including Jobcentres and online at GOV.UK.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department took to ensure that universal credit claimants received their December payment before Christmas day 2019.

The information requested surrounding the volume of Faster Payments made on 24 December 2019 is not readily available and to provide it would incur a disproportionate cost to the Department.

Universal Credit payments are issued on the same date every month throughout the year. This helps to ensure claimants manage a household budget effectively by knowing when to expect their payment.

The Department’s banking system identifies when a payment date falls on a bank holiday or weekend, and will automatically issue the payment on the last working day before the bank holiday or weekend to ensure that claimants are not disadvantaged.

We have substantial experience of making alternative payment arrangements where necessary, and publicise any changes through channels including Jobcentres and online at GOV.UK.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants did not receive their December payment before Christmas day 2019.

The information requested surrounding the volume of Faster Payments made on 24 December 2019 is not readily available and to provide it would incur a disproportionate cost to the Department.

Universal Credit payments are issued on the same date every month throughout the year. This helps to ensure claimants manage a household budget effectively by knowing when to expect their payment.

The Department’s banking system identifies when a payment date falls on a bank holiday or weekend, and will automatically issue the payment on the last working day before the bank holiday or weekend to ensure that claimants are not disadvantaged.

We have substantial experience of making alternative payment arrangements where necessary, and publicise any changes through channels including Jobcentres and online at GOV.UK.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce waiting lists for NHS dentists in Manchester, Gorton consistency.

Waiting list data is not held centrally.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have established a ‘child friendly dental practice’ in Manchester to provide enhanced services for children, with reduced waiting times. Since starting in December 2020, the practice has treated over 360 children. The Greater Manchester Urgent Dental Service provides additional appointments across 10 localities in Greater Manchester for those who require urgent dental treatment. This is in addition to the 15 urgent dental care hubs set up in response to the pandemic which remain open to support urgent dental care provision across Manchester. A task and finish group are currently reviewing local capacity and demand for National Health Service dental services across Greater Manchester.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) children and (b) adults on the waiting list for an NHS dentist in Manchester, Gorton consistency.

Waiting list data is not held centrally.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have established a ‘child friendly dental practice’ in Manchester to provide enhanced services for children, with reduced waiting times. Since starting in December 2020, the practice has treated over 360 children. The Greater Manchester Urgent Dental Service provides additional appointments across 10 localities in Greater Manchester for those who require urgent dental treatment. This is in addition to the 15 urgent dental care hubs set up in response to the pandemic which remain open to support urgent dental care provision across Manchester. A task and finish group are currently reviewing local capacity and demand for National Health Service dental services across Greater Manchester.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure NHS workers have access to adequate mental health support.

Forty dedicated mental health hubs have been established to proactively identify at-risk staff with more complex needs, ensuring they receive rapid access to evidence-based mental health services. National Health Service staff have access to a comprehensive psychological and emotional support package, including a 24 hours a day, seven days a week support line, specialist bereavement support and free access to mental health and wellbeing apps.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the guidance for visiting patients in (a) hospitals and (b) hospices in the context of the covid-19 outbreak.

Visiting guidance for inpatient settings, including hospitals and hospices is regularly reviewed.

Most recently, visitor lateral flow testing has been added to the guidance to facilitate safer visiting across a number of hospital settings following assessment of levels of community prevalence of COVID-19.

Most hospices are independent, charitable organisations, with visiting policies at the discretion of the hospice manager.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of correspondence sent by hon. Members to his Department received a substantive response within the service standard in each month of (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

The Government recognises the great importance of the effective and timely handling of correspondence. The Cabinet Office is currently compiling data on the timeliness of responses to hon. Members from Government departments and agencies. This data will be released and made available to Members in due course.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Answer of 16 March 2021 to Question 166465, on Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, if he will provide a timeframe for the further responses to that review.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have not received their second dose of the (a) Pfizer/BioNTech and (b) Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccination within 12 weeks of receiving their first dose.

The information is not currently held in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment plans to respond to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Manchester Gorton of 12 March 2021 on covid-19 vaccine uptake among Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

We replied to the hon. Member’s letter on 20 April 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason Pakistan has been placed on the red list of travel ban countries.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish the gender breakdown of the number of (a) white or white British, (b) other white background, (c) Irish, (d) gypsy, Roma or traveller, (e) Indian, (f) Chinese, (g) Other Asian, (h) Bangladeshi, (i) Pakistani, (j) Caribbean, (k) African, (l) Arab people who have been offered and (i) taken or (ii) refused the covid-19 vaccine.

Since 14 January NHS England and NHS Improvement have published data on vaccinations by ethnicity, which is available at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Data on those who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine is not collected.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish a breakdown of the covid-19 vaccination data by gender.

Public Health England publishes the weekly national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report which includes vaccine uptake by gender in England. The weekly reports are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-flu-and-covid-19-surveillance-reports

NHS England publishes weekly data on vaccinations given to people in England who are eligible for vaccination as of the latest reporting period. This includes data on vaccinations by gender and is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of issuing guidance to allow people admitted to hospital who are (a) vulnerable, (b) suffering mental health deterioration and (c) unable to speak English to be accompanied by a member of their family.

The current guidance, published on 13 October 2020, recommends that patients may be accompanied where appropriate and necessary to assist their health and/or communication needs, providing essential support to patients in a COVID-19 secure way.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what number of people admitted to hospital since March 2020 have contracted covid-19 as an inpatient.

Given the incubation period of the virus and local differences in application of testing protocols, it is not possible to definitively determine the number of people who contracted the virus while in hospital.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's guidance is on allowing hospital patients to be treated on the same ward as patients who have received a positive covid-19 test.

‘COVID-19: infection prevention and control (IPC)’ is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control

This guidance sets out that in general, patients with COVID-19 who are admitted to hospital will have more severe disease than those who can remain in the community. Whilst in hospital patients should remain in isolation or a cohort with transmission-based precautions applied for at least 14 days after onset of symptoms.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of prioritising people working with the homeless community for covid-19 vaccinations.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation of a COVID-19 vaccine at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors which includes people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and/or have underlying health conditions.

The JCVI set out, that priority be given to frontline staff at high risk of acquiring infection, and at risk of transmitting infection to multiple vulnerable persons or other staff in a healthcare environment. Homelessness workers may fall under frontline healthcare workers or frontline social care workers.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of prioritising homeless people for covid-19 vaccinations.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors. If homeless people are captured in phase one due to their age, or clinical risk factors they will be prioritised.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with voluntary community and social enterprise partners, inclusion health providers and others to develop an accessible model for delivery of the vaccine to people from inclusion health populations. We are considering a number of options and will co-design these with partners.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many doses of the (a) Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine and (b) Oxford-AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine have been made available in (i) the North West, (ii) Greater Manchester and (iii) Manchester Gorton constituency as at 15 January 2021.

We publish daily data on the number of people who have received a vaccination - first and second dose - in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the Government's coronavirus data dashboard which is available at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/vaccinations

This data shows both vaccinations given in a 24-hour period and the cumulative vaccinations given since reporting began on 11 January.

In England, NHS England also release a weekly publication of vaccination data by a number of metrics, including region, local authority and parliamentary constituency, which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

This data does not include the specific type of vaccine administered.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) people over the age of 80 and (b) frontline health and social care staff in Greater Manchester have received the second dose of a covid-19 vaccine as at 15 January 2021.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have published weekly United Kingdom-wide vaccination data. In January 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement began to publish daily statistics broken down by age and region, with a more detail provided weekly. This includes the overall number of people who have been vaccinated by dose, those aged 80 years old and above and location. As more reliable data become available, it is expected to be published.

Further data is available at the following links:

www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/vaccinations

www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccine-monitoring-reports

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) people over the age of 80 and (b) frontline health and social care staff in Greater Manchester have received the first dose of a covid-19 vaccine as at 15 January 2021.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have published weekly United Kingdom-wide vaccination data. In January 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement began to publish daily statistics broken down by age and region, with a more detail provided weekly. This includes the overall number of people who have been vaccinated by dose, those aged 80 years old and above and location. As more reliable data become available, it is expected to be published.

Further data is available at the following links:

www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/vaccinations

www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccine-monitoring-reports

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) people over the age of 80 and (b) frontline health and social care staff in Manchester Gorton constituency have received the second dose of a covid-19 vaccine as at 15 January 2021.

Since 24 December 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement have published weekly United Kingdom-wide vaccination data. In January 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement began to publish daily statistics by age and region.

Vaccination data is currently available at a national and regional level including by sustainability and transformation partnership, integrated care system, clinical commissioning group, Parliamentary constituency and lower tier local authority.

Further data is available via the following links:

www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/vaccinations

ww.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccine-monitoring-reports

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) people over the age of 80 and (b) frontline health and social care staff in Manchester Gorton constituency have received the first dose of a covid-19 vaccine as at 15 January 2021.

Since 24 December 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement have published weekly United Kingdom-wide vaccination data. In January 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement began to publish daily statistics by age and region.

Vaccination data is currently available at a national and regional level including by sustainability and transformation partnership, integrated care system, clinical commissioning group, Parliamentary constituency and lower tier local authority.

Further data is available via the following links:

www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/vaccinations

ww.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccine-monitoring-reports

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people over the age of 80 have received the (a) first dose and (b) second dose of the (i) Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine and (ii) Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine as at 15 January 2021.

Since 24 December 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement has published weekly United Kingdom-wide data. In January 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement began to publish daily statistics by age and region, with more detailed information provided weekly. This includes the overall number of people who have been vaccinated by dose, including those aged 80 years old and above and National Health Service trust healthcare workers.

Further data is available at the following links:

www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) people over the age of 80 and (b) frontline health and social care staff have received the second dose of a covid-19 vaccine as at 15 January 2021.

Since 24 December 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement has published weekly United Kingdom-wide data. In January 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement began to publish daily statistics by age and region, with more detailed information provided weekly. This includes the overall number of people who have been vaccinated by dose, including those aged 80 years old and above and National Health Service trust healthcare workers.

Further data is available at the following links:

www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) people over the age of 80 and (b) frontline health and social care staff have received the first dose of a covid-19 vaccine as at 15 January 2021.

Since 24 December 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement has published weekly United Kingdom-wide data. In January 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement began to publish daily statistics by age and region, with more detailed information provided weekly. This includes the overall number of people who have been vaccinated by dose, including those aged 80 years old and above and National Health Service trust healthcare workers.

Further data is available at the following links:

www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many frontline health and social care staff have received the (a) first dose and (b) second dose of the (i) Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 Vaccine and (ii) Oxford-AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine as at 15 January 2021.

Data for frontline health and social care staff categorised by vaccine type is not held centrally.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine if the second dose is administered 12 weeks after the first dose.

A recent study demonstrated a two-dose vaccine efficacy of 95% for the Pfizer/Biotech COVID-19 vaccine, with a second dose delivered between 19 and 42 days. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has reviewed evidence on the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and advised an interval of up to 12 weeks between doses. The considerations of the JCVI on extended intervals has been published, and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prioritising-the-first-covid-19-vaccine-dose-jcvi-statement

Using data available from clinical trials, Public Health England estimated that vaccine efficacy from the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is approximately 89%. This is the efficacy calculated 15 to 21 days after the first dose. The estimate for 15 to 28 days is 91% which includes seven days after the second dose, but is prior to the time protection that may be expected from the second dose. There is no estimate of efficacy for a single dose beyond 21 days, but the JCVI’s view is that protective immunity from the first dose likely lasts for a duration of 12 weeks.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine if the second dose is administered three weeks after the first dose.

A recent study demonstrated a two-dose vaccine efficacy of 95% for the Pfizer/Biotech COVID-19 vaccine, with a second dose delivered between 19 and 42 days. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has reviewed evidence on the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and advised an interval of up to 12 weeks between doses. The considerations of the JCVI on extended intervals has been published, and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prioritising-the-first-covid-19-vaccine-dose-jcvi-statement

Using data available from clinical trials, Public Health England estimated that vaccine efficacy from the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is approximately 89%. This is the efficacy calculated 15 to 21 days after the first dose. The estimate for 15 to 28 days is 91% which includes seven days after the second dose, but is prior to the time protection that may be expected from the second dose. There is no estimate of efficacy for a single dose beyond 21 days, but the JCVI’s view is that protective immunity from the first dose likely lasts for a duration of 12 weeks.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the evidence for the decision to administer the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine 12 weeks after the first dose.

A recent study demonstrated a two-dose vaccine efficacy of 95% for the Pfizer/Biotech COVID-19 vaccine, with a second dose delivered between 19 and 42 days. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has reviewed evidence on the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and advised an interval of up to 12 weeks between doses. The considerations of the JCVI on extended intervals has been published, and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prioritising-the-first-covid-19-vaccine-dose-jcvi-statement

Using data available from clinical trials, Public Health England estimated that vaccine efficacy from the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is approximately 89%. This is the efficacy calculated 15 to 21 days after the first dose. The estimate for 15 to 28 days is 91% which includes seven days after the second dose, but is prior to the time protection that may be expected from the second dose. There is no estimate of efficacy for a single dose beyond 21 days, but the JCVI’s view is that protective immunity from the first dose likely lasts for a duration of 12 weeks.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure take-up of the covid-19 vaccine in Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

The Department is working with Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement and key stakeholders to encourage uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. The Department is also working with community press, TV and radio stations to deliver information on vaccination in over a dozen languages.

Activity is also focusing on working with trusted voices such as healthcare personnel, faith leaders, community influencers and community organisations for priority multicultural audiences, with a particular focus on Muslim, Polish, black African and Caribbean and Jewish communities. The Department is building on pre-existing relationships and established channels as well as reaching out to more influencers through virtual sessions.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle vaccine disinformation among Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to ensure take-up of the covid-19 vaccine.

The Department understands the danger of vaccine disinformation and is working closely with Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement and other departments to ensure that everyone has access to the accurate information they need when getting vaccinated.

As part of this campaign to tackle misinformation the Department has reached out to black, Asian and minority ethic (BAME) communities to ensure transparency and has brought community leaders and trusted voices on board to support departmental efforts.

Externally, the Department of Health and Social Care is also working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to help social media platforms identify and take action on incorrect claims on the virus, including anti-vaccination narratives that could endanger people’s health. Further to this there are also BAME-targeted TV, radio and newsprint partnerships aimed at providing clear and accurate messaging about the COVID-19 vaccine programme which is being translated into 13 languages.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to make covid-19 vaccine information available in other languages.

The Department, together with the National Health Service and Public Health England, are providing advice and information to support the national vaccination programme. The Department, alongside the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, is holding regular meetings with local authorities, faith leaders, and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) organisations to provide advice and information about COVID-19 vaccines and how they will be made available.

The communications plan includes targeted information and advice via TV, radio, and social media. This is being translated into 13 languages, including Bengali, Chinese, Filipino, Gujarati, Hindi, Mirpur, Polish, Punjabi and Urdu. Print and online material, including interviews and practical advice will also appear in 600 national, regional, local and specialist titles. Public Health England is also currently developing translated versions of patient advice leaflets in to 19 languages, which will include the following languages: Arabic, Albanian, Chinese, Bengali, French, Farsi, Kurdish, Gujarati, Hindi, Polish, Panjabi, Nepalese, Romanian, Turkish, Tagalog, Spanish, Somali, Ukrainian and Urdu.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to make covid-19 vaccine information available in Romanian; and where that information can be accessed.

The Department, together with the National Health Service and Public Health England, are providing advice and information to support the national vaccination programme. The Department, alongside the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, is holding regular meetings with local authorities, faith leaders, and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) organisations to provide advice and information about COVID-19 vaccines and how they will be made available.

The communications plan includes targeted information and advice via TV, radio, and social media. This is being translated into 13 languages, including Bengali, Chinese, Filipino, Gujarati, Hindi, Mirpur, Polish, Punjabi and Urdu. Print and online material, including interviews and practical advice will also appear in 600 national, regional, local and specialist titles. Public Health England is also currently developing translated versions of patient advice leaflets in to 19 languages, which will include the following languages: Arabic, Albanian, Chinese, Bengali, French, Farsi, Kurdish, Gujarati, Hindi, Polish, Panjabi, Nepalese, Romanian, Turkish, Tagalog, Spanish, Somali, Ukrainian and Urdu.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to make covid-19 vaccine information available in Polish; and where that information can be accessed.

The Department, together with the National Health Service and Public Health England, are providing advice and information to support the national vaccination programme. The Department, alongside the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, is holding regular meetings with local authorities, faith leaders, and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) organisations to provide advice and information about COVID-19 vaccines and how they will be made available.

The communications plan includes targeted information and advice via TV, radio, and social media. This is being translated into 13 languages, including Bengali, Chinese, Filipino, Gujarati, Hindi, Mirpur, Polish, Punjabi and Urdu. Print and online material, including interviews and practical advice will also appear in 600 national, regional, local and specialist titles. Public Health England is also currently developing translated versions of patient advice leaflets in to 19 languages, which will include the following languages: Arabic, Albanian, Chinese, Bengali, French, Farsi, Kurdish, Gujarati, Hindi, Polish, Panjabi, Nepalese, Romanian, Turkish, Tagalog, Spanish, Somali, Ukrainian and Urdu.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to make covid-19 vaccine information available in Bengali; and where that information can be accessed.

The Department, together with the National Health Service and Public Health England, are providing advice and information to support the national vaccination programme. The Department, alongside the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, is holding regular meetings with local authorities, faith leaders, and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) organisations to provide advice and information about COVID-19 vaccines and how they will be made available.

The communications plan includes targeted information and advice via TV, radio, and social media. This is being translated into 13 languages, including Bengali, Chinese, Filipino, Gujarati, Hindi, Mirpur, Polish, Punjabi and Urdu. Print and online material, including interviews and practical advice will also appear in 600 national, regional, local and specialist titles. Public Health England is also currently developing translated versions of patient advice leaflets in to 19 languages, which will include the following languages: Arabic, Albanian, Chinese, Bengali, French, Farsi, Kurdish, Gujarati, Hindi, Polish, Panjabi, Nepalese, Romanian, Turkish, Tagalog, Spanish, Somali, Ukrainian and Urdu.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to make covid-19 vaccine information available in Urdu; and where that information can be accessed.

The Department, together with the National Health Service and Public Health England, are providing advice and information to support the national vaccination programme. The Department, alongside the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, is holding regular meetings with local authorities, faith leaders, and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) organisations to provide advice and information about COVID-19 vaccines and how they will be made available.

The communications plan includes targeted information and advice via TV, radio, and social media. This is being translated into 13 languages, including Bengali, Chinese, Filipino, Gujarati, Hindi, Mirpur, Polish, Punjabi and Urdu. Print and online material, including interviews and practical advice will also appear in 600 national, regional, local and specialist titles. Public Health England is also currently developing translated versions of patient advice leaflets in to 19 languages, which will include the following languages: Arabic, Albanian, Chinese, Bengali, French, Farsi, Kurdish, Gujarati, Hindi, Polish, Panjabi, Nepalese, Romanian, Turkish, Tagalog, Spanish, Somali, Ukrainian and Urdu.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the polling from the Royal Society for Public Health, published 17 December 2020, which found 57 per cent of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people would likely accept the covid-19 vaccine, what additional steps his Department is taking to increase take up among the BAME community of the covid-19 vaccine; and if he will make a statement.

The COVID-19 vaccine uptake plan is helping improve uptake including across black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities by removing barriers to access, providing comprehensive data and information and engaging people locally. The Plan takes a community-led approach, with support provided from the Government, NHS England and NHS Improvement and local authorities to coordinate and enable action.

A new Vaccination Equalities Committee, led by NHS England and NHS Improvement, will bring together Government departments with national representatives from the Association of Directors of Public Health, local authorities, Fire and Police services and third sector organisations to advise and guide the vaccine deployment programme on addressing inequalities and helping improve uptake rates including in BAME communities.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional financial support his Department will be providing to (a) Manchester Royal Infirmary and (b) Withington hospital as a result of the 2020 Spending Review.

We are delivering on our historic long-term settlement for the National Health Service, which will see funding increase by £33.9 billion by 2023-24. We are now confirming an additional £3 billion for the NHS next year, on top of the long-term settlement, to support the recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

Further funding to help ensure the NHS can continue to meet the ongoing costs of tackling COVID-19 will also be set out in the New Year. This will then allow planning guidance for 2021-22 to be communicated to the system and for individual organisations such as Manchester Royal Infirmary and Withington Hospital to agree financial plans. The Government is working with NHS England and NHS Improvement to ensure the NHS has all it needs to plan effectively ahead of the new financial year in April.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has been made of the accuracy of covid-19 test results; and what steps he is taking to audit the covid-19 testing procedures.

Laboratories performing testing for COVID-19 within the National Health Service and Public Health England operate according to the International Standard ISO15189 for Medical Laboratories which ensures the end to end laboratory processes provide a safe and efficient service. As part of this criteria, the laboratories must perform a validation exercise with documentary evidence that any assay is suitable for its intended purpose.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the medical and scientific advice that he received which informed the decision to shut the schools in Leicester during the local covid-19 lockdown.

At all times during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government’s response has been guided by the latest scientific advice. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) provides scientific advice to support United Kingdom decision-makers during emergencies. In recognition of the importance of transparency in these unprecedented times, SAGE has been publishing the statements and the accompanying evidence it has reviewed online on GOV.UK to demonstrate how the scientific understanding of COVID-19 has continued to evolve as new data emerges, and how SAGE’s advice has quickly adapted to new findings that reflect a changing situation.

The scientific advice on reintroduction of measures and their impact on rate of infection was published on GOV.UK on 10 July.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what provisions will be included in the new obesity strategy to increase opportunities for exercise.

We published ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ on 27 July. The strategy demonstrates an overarching campaign to reduce obesity, takes forward actions from previous chapters of the childhood obesity plan and sets our measures to get the nation fit and healthy, protect against COVID-19 and protect the National Health Service.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Answer on 9 June 2020 to Question 43753 on Death, what assessment his Department has made of the implications of the high number of excess deaths during the covid-19 outbreak on his policy response to that outbreak.

The Office for National Statistics published a report on 5 June 2020 providing an analysis of death registrations not involving COVID-19. Their report found that the largest increases in non-COVID-19 deaths compared to the five-year average are seen in deaths due to "dementia and Alzheimer disease" and "symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions" (the latter mostly indicating old age and frailty). Overall, they reported 5,404 excess deaths due to dementia and Alzheimer disease and 1,567 excess deaths due to "symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions" in the period from week ending 13 March to week ending 1 May. This comprises two thirds of total non-COVID-19 excess deaths in this period. The report is available at the following link:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/analysisofdeathregistrationsnotinvolvingcoronaviruscovid19englandandwales28december2019to1may2020/technicalannex

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of sick pay support for NHS dental nurses when self-isolating during the covid-19 outbreak.

Staff on National Health Service terms and conditions of service (Agenda for Change), including NHS dental nurses, will receive full pay if they are told to self-isolate, meaning they will be paid the same as if they had come to work. This ensures NHS staff can follow infection control procedures without worrying about their finances.

For dental nurses, who are directly employed by dental practices with an NHS contract and are therefore providing an element of NHS care, terms and conditions will be dictated by the agreement they have in place with their employer, the NHS dental contract holder.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 25 June 2020 to Question 53610 on Coronavirus: Screening, if he will publish the evidence that his Department reviewed on the effectiveness of self-swabbing covid-19 testing.

International peer reviewed evidence, and real-world assessments from the Department’s testing programme has shown that swab tests taken by non-clinically trained individuals are just as effective as those taken by clinicians. A notable example would be ‘Self-sampling for community respiratory illness: a new tool for national virological surveillance’ by Elliot et al (2015).

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer on 25 June 2020 to Question 53611 on Coronavirus: Screening, if he will publish the increasingly broad range of international peer-reviewed evidence that demonstrate the effectiveness of self-swabbing for covid-19.

International peer reviewed evidence, and real-world assessments from the Department’s testing programme has shown that swab tests taken by non-clinically trained individuals are just as effective as those taken by clinicians. A notable example would be ‘Self-sampling for community respiratory illness: a new tool for national virological surveillance’ by Elliot et al (2015).

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional support is available to people infected with covid-19 who experience symptoms more than 2 weeks after diagnosis.

The National Health Service and the wider scientific community are currently working to better understand the disease course of the COVID-19 virus, including the severity and duration of symptoms. The UK Research and Innovation – National Institute for Health Research ‘Rapid Response Rolling Call’ has funded a large post-hospitalisation study. The study, announced in July, will establish a national consortium and a research platform embedded within clinical care to understand and improve long-term outcomes for survivors following hospitalisation with COVID-19.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust to develop a digital, interactive, personalised recovery programme for people recovering from COVID-19. The new ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service, which was announced on 5 July, forms part of NHS plans to expand access to COVID-19 rehabilitation treatments for those who have survived the virus but have not fully recovered.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how long should a person infected with covid-19 feel unwell.

The time to recovery for somebody with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 depends on the severity of illness and varies from instantaneous through to extremely prolonged. Typically, time to recovery is within 10-14 days for mild and moderate cases. If a person feels unwell for longer than this, they should contact their general practitioner.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of long-term physical symptoms experienced by some people with covid-19.

Research into the long-term health symptoms and impacts of COVID-19 is ongoing and on 4 July, the Government announced a research study into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19, which is being led by UK Research and Innovation and the National Institute for Health Research. However, it is clear that for some of those who have survived, the virus and the treatment they have received to combat it will have a lasting impact on their health.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of covid-19 patients who experienced symptoms for over (a) 1 month, (b) 2 months and (c) 3 months.

This information is not available in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what medical advice he has received on the longevity of covid-19 symptoms.

The Medical Officers at the Department have advised that the time to recovery for somebody with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 depends on the severity of illness and varies from relatively quickly through to extremely prolonged. Typically, time to recovery is within 10-14 days for mild and moderate cases. If a person feels unwell for longer than this, they should contact their general practitioner.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what work his Department has undertaken to better understand the long-term symptoms of covid-19.

Research into the long-term health symptoms and impacts of COVID-19 is ongoing. On 4 July the Government announced a research study into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19, which is being led by UK Research and Innovation and the National Institute for Health Research.

Patients on the study from across the United Kingdom will be assessed using techniques such as advanced imaging, data collection and analysis of blood and lung samples, creating a comprehensive picture of the impact COVID-19 has on longer-term health outcomes.

The findings will support the development of new strategies for clinical and rehabilitation care, including personalised treatments based on the particular disease characteristics that a patient shows, to improve their long-term health.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timeframe is for his Department's receipt of the findings of the Government-funded research by the National Institute of Health Research's Policy Research Unit in Maternal and Neonatal Health and Care at the University of Oxford into the factors associated with the excess risk of maternal death for Black and South Asian women.

The National Institute for Health Research's Policy Research Unit in Maternal and Neonatal Health and Care is undertaking the project – ‘Why are Black and ethnic minority mothers more likely to die either during pregnancy, or within the first year of giving birth, compared to white mothers born in the UK?’

The Department is due to receive initial findings from this study in autumn 2020.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will provide details of the performance of contracts for the operation of the covid-19 testing and tracing services with (a) Serco and (c) other private contractors.

The engagement process for this contract began in April 2020 utilising the Crown Commercial Service Contact Centre Services framework.

The Contract Award Notice contract and certain other contractual information will be published on contracts finder. Publication of this information is being carried out as quickly as resources allow in light of the large increase in COVID-19 related contracts being awarded.

Details of Key Performance Indicators will be published as part of the information placed on Contracts Finder.

The Department will publish all information that it is required to do as soon as reasonably practical.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish the key performance indicators for the private contracts that have been awarded for the operation of the covid-19 testing and tracing services.

The engagement process for this contract began in April 2020 utilising the Crown Commercial Service Contact Centre Services framework.

The Contract Award Notice contract and certain other contractual information will be published on contracts finder. Publication of this information is being carried out as quickly as resources allow in light of the large increase in COVID-19 related contracts being awarded.

Details of Key Performance Indicators will be published as part of the information placed on Contracts Finder.

The Department will publish all information that it is required to do as soon as reasonably practical.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the procurement process for the contract to operate covid-19 contact tracing services began; and if he will make a statement.

The engagement process for this contract began in April 2020 utilising the Crown Commercial Service Contact Centre Services framework.

The Contract Award Notice contract and certain other contractual information will be published on contracts finder. Publication of this information is being carried out as quickly as resources allow in light of the large increase in COVID-19 related contracts being awarded.

Details of Key Performance Indicators will be published as part of the information placed on Contracts Finder.

The Department will publish all information that it is required to do as soon as reasonably practical.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish a contract award notice for the contract given to Serco to operate covid-19 contact tracing services.

The engagement process for this contract began in April 2020 utilising the Crown Commercial Service Contact Centre Services framework.

The Contract Award Notice contract and certain other contractual information will be published on contracts finder. Publication of this information is being carried out as quickly as resources allow in light of the large increase in COVID-19 related contracts being awarded.

Details of Key Performance Indicators will be published as part of the information placed on Contracts Finder.

The Department will publish all information that it is required to do as soon as reasonably practical.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the SAGE advice that informed the decision to reopen shops in all regions on the 15 June 2020 during the covid-19 outbreak.

As of 29 June the Government has released minutes and papers, discussed at the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its sub-committees, up to SAGE 40 on 4 June. The release of documents will continue as soon as is reasonably practicable after each SAGE meeting throughout the COVID-19 emergency. The only scientific papers with any redactions will be ones where a national security or personal information issue exists, and these necessary redactions take time. These publications can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish weekly regional R rate figures for covid-19.

The Government Office for Science currently publishes the latest estimates of R in NHS England regions on a weekly basis and these are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-r-number-in-the-uk

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department undertook a delivery model assessment to determine whether the private sector was best placed to operate test, track and trace services for covid-19.

A proportionate delivery model assessment was undertaken in the decision to outsource the services to the private sector. This assessment was influenced by the speed to recruit, volume of staff required and timescales in moving back to delivery business as usual public services. Discussions were held with various officials before the decision to outsource was made. It quickly became evident that the public sector could not stand 18,000 contact tracers within the required timescales. There was also a risk that as the country exited lockdown, public servants would need to return to business as usual which would not have been possible with 18,000 people released as contact tracers.

The contract to Serco was a direct award under Lot 2 of Crown Commercial Service’s Contact Centre Services framework. All suppliers on Lot 2 were engaged with, in order to ascertain capabilities to meet the contract output specifications.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions officials in his Department have had with (a) NHS officials and (b) local authorities leaders prior to deciding to outsource the operation of covid-19 contact tracing to Serco.

A proportionate delivery model assessment was undertaken in the decision to outsource the services to the private sector. This assessment was influenced by the speed to recruit, volume of staff required and timescales in moving back to delivery business as usual public services. Discussions were held with various officials before the decision to outsource was made. It quickly became evident that the public sector could not stand 18,000 contact tracers within the required timescales. There was also a risk that as the country exited lockdown, public servants would need to return to business as usual which would not have been possible with 18,000 people released as contact tracers.

The contract to Serco was a direct award under Lot 2 of Crown Commercial Service’s Contact Centre Services framework. All suppliers on Lot 2 were engaged with, in order to ascertain capabilities to meet the contract output specifications.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what procurement process his Department undertook prior to awarding the contract for operating covid-19 contact tracing services to Serco.

A proportionate delivery model assessment was undertaken in the decision to outsource the services to the private sector. This assessment was influenced by the speed to recruit, volume of staff required and timescales in moving back to delivery business as usual public services. Discussions were held with various officials before the decision to outsource was made. It quickly became evident that the public sector could not stand 18,000 contact tracers within the required timescales. There was also a risk that as the country exited lockdown, public servants would need to return to business as usual which would not have been possible with 18,000 people released as contact tracers.

The contract to Serco was a direct award under Lot 2 of Crown Commercial Service’s Contact Centre Services framework. All suppliers on Lot 2 were engaged with, in order to ascertain capabilities to meet the contract output specifications.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons the contract for operating covid-19 contact tracing services was awarded to Serco.

A proportionate delivery model assessment was undertaken in the decision to outsource the services to the private sector. This assessment was influenced by the speed to recruit, volume of staff required and timescales in moving back to delivery business as usual public services. Discussions were held with various officials before the decision to outsource was made. It quickly became evident that the public sector could not stand 18,000 contact tracers within the required timescales. There was also a risk that as the country exited lockdown, public servants would need to return to business as usual which would not have been possible with 18,000 people released as contact tracers.

The contract to Serco was a direct award under Lot 2 of Crown Commercial Service’s Contact Centre Services framework. All suppliers on Lot 2 were engaged with, in order to ascertain capabilities to meet the contract output specifications.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much money his Department has spent on emergency contracts in respect of the covid-19 outbreak since the covid-19 lockdown began.

Guidance on how contracting authorities should respond to COVID-19 was published on 18 March. Authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. We have made it clear that authorities must continue to achieve value for money for taxpayers and use good commercial judgement in the awarding of contracts.

As of the beginning of June, 636 contracts have been awarded by the Department to private sector companies worth approximately £6.2 billion by the Department. The value is based on Purchase Orders raised which still have to be validated. Final agreed contract values will be published in the individual Contract Award Notices in the Official Journal of the European; and we publish certain information on Contracts Finder about contracts awarded.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment his Department has made of mortality rates between black and white women in childbirth.

The Department is funding the Maternal and Neonatal Policy Research Unit at the University of Oxford to investigate the factors associated with the excess perinatal mortality experienced by black, Asian and minority ethnic babies; and identify the factors associated with the excess risk of maternal death for black and South Asian women.

The NHS Long Term Plan outlines plans to reduce health inequalities and address unwarranted variation in maternity care. This work is led by NHS England through the Maternity Transformation Programme.

Targeted and enhanced continuity of care from the same midwife, or group of midwives can significantly improve outcomes for women. The NHS Long Term Plan sets out that 75% of black women will receive continuity of care from midwives by 2024.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce mortality rates of black women in childbirth.

The Department is funding the Maternal and Neonatal Policy Research Unit at the University of Oxford to investigate the factors associated with the excess perinatal mortality experienced by black, Asian and minority ethnic babies; and identify the factors associated with the excess risk of maternal death for black and South Asian women.

The NHS Long Term Plan outlines plans to reduce health inequalities and address unwarranted variation in maternity care. This work is led by NHS England through the Maternity Transformation Programme.

Targeted and enhanced continuity of care from the same midwife, or group of midwives can significantly improve outcomes for women. The NHS Long Term Plan sets out that 75% of black women will receive continuity of care from midwives by 2024.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what scientific evidence informed the decision to re-open primary care dental services on 8 June 2020.

Decisions on the timing of restarting routine services across the National Health Service were made by the NHS on an individual service basis based on overall NHS capacity as well as wider public health considerations. NHS England and NHS Improvement as the commissioner of primary care dental services made the decisions on when to restart practice based dental care outside urgent dental care centres.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that dentists could start to provide NHS care from their practices from 8 June. The information sent to dentists was clear that the pace of the restart should be only as fast as possible compatible with maximizing safety for patients and dental staff. It drew together the current guidance from Public Health England on appropriate infection control procedures and personal protective equipment as it applies to dentistry.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much has been spent from ring-fenced public health budgets in each year since 2012.

The following table shows the ring-fenced grant in each year since inception in 2013/14, together with the movement in public health reserves each year (the amount unspent). Data for 2012 are not available as the grant has only been in existence since 2013/14.

Spend from the ring-fenced public health budgets, 2013/14 – 2018/19

Year

Ring-Fenced Grant (£ billion)

Movement on Reserves carried / forward (£ billion)

Net Spend from Grant in the year (£ billion)

2013-14

2.66

0.21

2.46

2014-15

2.79

0.11

2.68

2015-16

3.03

-0.06

3.09

2016-17

3.39

-0.01

3.40

2017-18

3.30

-0.01

3.31

2018-19

3.22

0.00

3.22

Total

18.40

0.24

18.16

Notes:

  1. 2019/20 data has not yet been published.
  2. The grant was increased on 1 September 2015 to include public health spend on Children’s 0-5.
  3. The above figures include Manchester local authorities who have received their grant through a Business Rates Retention pilot since 2017/18.
  4. These data are published at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to offer weekly covid-19 testing for frontline healthcare workers.

The adult social care sector has been, and continues to be, one of our highest priorities for the rollout of testing, and care homes have been one of the first groups to be given access to repeat asymptomatic testing. This includes weekly testing for care home staff weekly and residents every 28 days.

In addition to regular care home testing, we have started an initial round of testing in extra care and supported living settings that meet certain risk-based criteria. We have also piloted weekly testing for professionals who visit care homes regularly and come within one metre of residents when carrying out their role. This mirrors testing for care homes staff.

The National Health Service has set out its guidance when staff without symptoms should be tested, including where there is an incident, outbreak or high prevalence.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the correlation between reductions in local authority ring-fenced public health budgets in each year since 2012 and high levels of covid-19 infection and mortality in those areas.

We have not made a specific assessment of the correlation between local authority public health budgets and levels of COVID-19 infections and mortality. The local authority public heath grant was introduced in 2013. Changes in grant allocations from 2015-19 were implemented pro rata. The public health grant has been increased in real terms in 2020/21.

As part of the response to Covid-19, the government has announced that it is making a further £3.2 billion available to councils to help support their efforts to keep communities as safe as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure all covid-19 testing centres have access to adequate supplies of test swab sticks.

Swab supply has not been a limiting factor in the national testing programme. A swab sourcing team in NHS Test and Trace has been working for months with many international manufacturers of swabs and, in tandem, have identified and are working closely with a number of United Kingdom-based manufacturers who have increased capacity significantly since the start of the crisis.

This approach is ensuring we have sustainable supplies going forward. Saliva testing is also being explored as an alternative sample collection method that will likely give additional supply options and capacity.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who is eligible for antibody testing for covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

On 21 May the Government announced plans for a national roll-out of antibody testing in the National Health Service and care sector. Since the end of May, lab-based ELISA antibody tests have been available to all NHS staff that want one. For care staff, antibody testing will be rolled out in a phased way across regions in England. All NHS and care staff in England are being offered an antibody test, with patients and care residents eligible at their clinician’s request. Any expansion of this programme will be announced at the appropriate time.

The Government is also using antibody tests as part of several surveillance studies. We are conducting some of the biggest surveys in the world, using home-based swab testing kits and lab-based tests to find out what proportion of the population have already had the virus. These surveillance studies are designed to understand the current and future prevalence of infection in England.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase covid-19 testing capacity in hospitals.

Efforts are being made to increase the total capacity of National Health Service testing through the availability of testing kits and reagents needed to process them, as well as the investigation of new technologies such as rapid, point of care testing capabilities.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will take steps to ensure that covid-19 tests provided for children returning to school have a 24-hour turnaround time.

As part of the Government's commitment to reopening schools, all schools in England have been provided with a small number of home testing kits to be offered in the exceptional circumstance that a school believes a symptomatic pupil or staff member will not get a test by another route.

Anyone experiencing symptoms can access a free test at a testing site or at home via the online booking portal or by calling 119. This includes all pupils, teachers and staff. The majority (about 70%) of those taking an in person test at mobile testing units, walk-throughs and drive-through testing sites received results the next day after the test was taken.

Staff and students should only request a test if they develop one or more of the main COVID-19 symptoms.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the roll-out of antibody testing for covid-19 will be integrated into the NHS test and trace service.

Whilst antibody testing is a critical part of our national testing programme there are no plans currently to integrate it into the wider NHS Test and Trace system.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the NHS test and trace service will make use of existing frameworks for contact tracing (a) tuberculosis, (b) meningitis and (c) other communicable diseases.

Our COVID-19 response has been built taking into consideration our experience of contact tracing for other infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and meningitis, but tailored to the specific needs of the epidemic.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to integrate covid-19 testing with existing NHS community facing services; and if he will make a statement.

With the support of NHS England, we have been piloting COVID-19 swab testing in a small number general practices around the United Kingdom. The aim was to improve access to testing by enabling general practitioners to test symptomatic patients who present to general practice settings, when they deemed it clinically appropriate, for example for some patients who are vulnerable and may otherwise struggle to access a test through the main testing routes.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the accuracy of home testing kits for covid-19.

All Home Testing Kits go through rigorous external scientific and clinical review process before being put into use.

An increasingly broad range of international peer reviewed evidence demonstrates that self-swabbing for COVID-19 is just as effective as clinician-administered swabbing.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people who do not have a car and therefore cannot access drive-through covid-19 testing centres may be tested for covid-19.

Drive-through testing sites are only one of a number of routes to access testing. Those without a car can order a test directly to their home quickly and easily.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase covid-19 testing capacity for (a) staff and (b) residents in care homes.

Protecting care home residents and staff is a top priority for the Government and this includes increasing access to testing.

We are continuing to prioritise care home testing, where we are issuing more than 100,000 tests a day to care homes across the country. Since the launch of whole care home testing, we have provided over nine million test kits to over 17,000 care homes in the United Kingdom.

8,500 specialist care homes have received orders for test kits since the start of the testing programme across the UK (5,913 in England) . Since they were eligible to apply for regular repeat testing on the 31 August, 4,576 specialist homes in England have applied for tests.

The Government has announced the addition of new Lighthouse laboratories in Newport and Charnwood to the national lab network, and work is ongoing on plans to expand the UK’s laboratory capacity even further over the coming months.

The recent £500 million investment will increase testing capacity and rollout new cutting-edge testing technology to deliver rapid tests. It will help to scale up testing capacity to 500,000 tests per day by the end October.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase covid-19 testing capacity in the community in addition to the local covid-19 testing centres.

Since NHS Test and Trace launched, 3,529,188 people have been tested across the United Kingdom, of which 65.5% were tested under Pillar 2 (national swab testing) and 34.5% under Pillar 1 (testing in hospitals and outbreak locations). We are working to ensure that we continue to scale capacity to increase this number, allowing more people to be tested should they need it.

We have exceeded the 200,000 testing capacity target, with current capacity standing at 326,086 as at 17 August 2020. We have established a network of testing sites across the UK with 73 Regional Test Sites, 17 Local Test Services (walk through), 22 Satellite Testing Centres and 236 Mobile Testing Units and we will look to increase this in the coming months to meet our needs.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) medical evidence his Department has considered on and (b) recent assessment his Department has made of the reliability of (i) nasal and (ii) throat swabs taken for at-home testing kits for covid-19.

All home testing kits go through rigorous external scientific and clinical review process before being put into use.

An increasingly broad range of international peer reviewed evidence demonstrates that self-swabbing for COVID-19 is just as effective as clinician-administered swabbing.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the accuracy of home testing kits for covid-19 and tests conducted by healthcare professionals.

All home testing kits go through rigorous external scientific and clinical review process before being put into use.

An increasingly broad range of international peer reviewed evidence demonstrates that self-swabbing for COVID-19 is just as effective as clinician-administered swabbing.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to make an assessment of the effectiveness of the ban on snus products.

Snus is banned in the United Kingdom under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, which implemented the European Union Tobacco Products Directive. The impact assessment for the 2014 Directive can be found at the following link:

https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/tobacco/docs/com_2012_788_ia_en.pdf

The Government will consider in due course reviewing the position on snus, and whether the introduction of this product onto the UK market would promote a proportionate approach to managing risks, one which protects the young and non-smokers, whilst giving smokers access to products which may reduce harm.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) support and (b) protect BAME (i) NHS staff and (ii) other key workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has commissioned Public Health England to complete a rapid review to understand disparities in COVID-19 infection across the population. This will include looking at the impact on different ethnic groups and occupations - as well as by deprivation, age, and sex. The report will suggest recommendations for further steps that should be taken to reduce disparities in risk and outcomes from COVID-19 on the population.

In advance of Public Health England’s review, and on a precautionary basis, NHS England and NHS Improvement have recommended that all National Health Service organisations undertake appropriate risk assessments for their Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff and make appropriate arrangements to support and protect them. The Department is also working to support the care sector to ensure the safety of all staff in social care.

All NHS and social care staff can access emotional, psychological and practical support.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many retired medical professionals have had their licence to practice temporarily restored by the General Medical Council during the covid-19 outbreak; and how many of those professionals are currently working.

As of 6 May, the General Medical Council has added 28,820 medical practitioners to the register to support the Government’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic. This includes, but is not limited to, retired medical practitioners.

As of 7 May, more than 40,600 individuals across a number of healthcare professions have contacted NHS England to return to practice, including over 16,700 medical practitioners. Over 10,700 of these professionals have been allocated to National Health Service trusts or 111 services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many retired medical professionals have had their licence to practise temporarily restored by the General Medical Council during the covid-19 outbreak; and how many of those medical professionals have returned to work in the NHS.

As of 6 May, the General Medical Council has added 28,820 medical practitioners to the register to support the Government’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic. This includes, but is not limited to, retired medical practitioners.

As of 7 May, more than 40,600 individuals across a number of healthcare professions have contacted NHS England to return to practice, including over 16,700 medical practitioners. Over 10,700 of these professionals have been allocated to National Health Service trusts or 111 services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the reason for the number excess deaths reported by the Office of National Statistics.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for publishing weekly numbers of deaths registered in England and Wales. The most recent annual figures published are for deaths registered in 2018. However, the ONS publishes provisional weekly deaths registrations, which are currently published for deaths registered up to 1 May 2020. National Records Scotland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency are responsible for publishing the number of deaths registered in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the roll-out of the NHS contact-tracing app on people who not have access to a smartphone.

The app will give the public a simple way to make a difference and to help keep themselves and their families safe. It will be one of a number of tools we use in the fight against COVID-19 but it will be voluntary. People will have the choice of whether or not to download the app and they will be able to delete it whenever they like. We intend to withdraw the app once the epidemic is over.

We will always comply with the law around the use of data and we will be publishing a Data Protection Impact Assessment in due course.

Everyone will benefit from the app because – if enough people with smartphones do download it – it will help to stop the spread. We are working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ensure that as many people as possible can access and benefit from the app.

We are reviewing when the app will be available nationally. It will be part of a wider approach that will involve traditional contact tracing and testing.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has for the roll-out of the NHS contact-tracing app; and whether that app will be used as part of the exit plan from the lockdown.

The app will give the public a simple way to make a difference and to help keep themselves and their families safe. It will be one of a number of tools we use in the fight against COVID-19 but it will be voluntary. People will have the choice of whether or not to download the app and they will be able to delete it whenever they like. We intend to withdraw the app once the epidemic is over.

We will always comply with the law around the use of data and we will be publishing a Data Protection Impact Assessment in due course.

Everyone will benefit from the app because – if enough people with smartphones do download it – it will help to stop the spread. We are working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ensure that as many people as possible can access and benefit from the app.

We are reviewing when the app will be available nationally. It will be part of a wider approach that will involve traditional contact tracing and testing.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the number of excess deaths reported by the Office for National Statistics; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care is regularly updated with COVID-19-related deaths and has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues about policy decisions which are informed by the scientific advice, including analysis of a wide range of data sources.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether use of the NHS contact-tracing app will be voluntary; what progress has been made in the development of that app; and if he will make a statement.

The app will give the public a simple way to make a difference and to help keep themselves and their families safe. It will be one of a number of tools we use in the fight against COVID-19 but it will be voluntary. People will have the choice of whether or not to download the app and they will be able to delete it whenever they like. We intend to withdraw the app once the epidemic is over.

We will always comply with the law around the use of data and we will be publishing a Data Protection Impact Assessment in due course.

Everyone will benefit from the app because – if enough people with smartphones do download it – it will help to stop the spread. We are working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ensure that as many people as possible can access and benefit from the app.

We are reviewing when the app will be available nationally. It will be part of a wider approach that will involve traditional contact tracing and testing.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will report on all deaths with covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate that occur (a) in hospitals, (b) in care homes, (c) at home and (d) elsewhere.

The Office for National Statistics publishes detailed data each week, drawing on data from death registration systems. Those statistics include a breakdown by region, age and gender for England and Wales and also provide direct links to equivalent sources for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Department publishes a daily count, covering the whole of the United Kingdom, showing how many people have died following a positive test. That source does not provide a breakdown by region or other factors, but it is sourced directly from data published by public health organisations in each of the four nations of the UK; and each of those provides a detailed count by region, local authority or health board. Data from Public Health England, for example, provides both a trend series and a breakdown by local authority.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of whether the NHS contact-tracing app meets the requirements set out in the Human Rights Act 1998.

The app will give the public a simple way to make a difference and to help keep themselves and their families safe. It will be one of a number of tools we use in the fight against COVID-19 but it will be voluntary. People will have the choice of whether or not to download the app and they will be able to delete it whenever they like. We intend to withdraw the app once the epidemic is over.

We will always comply with the law around the use of data and we will be publishing a Data Protection Impact Assessment in due course.

Everyone will benefit from the app because – if enough people with smartphones do download it – it will help to stop the spread. We are working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ensure that as many people as possible can access and benefit from the app.

We are reviewing when the app will be available nationally. It will be part of a wider approach that will involve traditional contact tracing and testing.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the change in the level of funding for public health in the last 10 years on the effectiveness of the Government's response to the covid-19 outbreak.

We have not made a specific assessment of the effect of the change in the level of funding for public health on the COVID-19 outbreak. At the time of the Spending Round 2019, the Government announced that the public health grant would rise in real terms, enabling local government to continue to invest in the services it funds. As part of the response to COVID-19, the Government has announced that it is making a further £1.6 billion available to councils, in addition to the £1.6 billion already announced in March, to help support their efforts to keep communities as safe as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding was allocated from the public purse to pandemic preparedness in each year since 2010.

The United Kingdom’s influenza pandemic preparedness is based on a ‘defence in depth’ strategy to minimise spread of infection and treat individual cases. In addition to plans to surge National Health Service provision, including critical care, the strategy involves measures to reduce the demand on those NHS services by reducing the risk of transmission and minimising serious illness, including through the stockpiling of personal protective equipment and antivirals.

As this strategy is multi-faceted and it involves many organisations and departments, including the National Health Service, it is not possible to identify a single source of expenditure that accurately represents our pandemic preparedness. Since 2016-17, NHS England’s funding has increased every year in real terms. NHS England’s mandate is £129.7 billion this year, reaching £137.5 billion in 2023-24.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department took prior to the covid-19 outbreak to (a) prepare for and (b) mitigate the effect of a pandemic; and whether his Department is following a pandemic preparedness strategy for the covid-19 outbreak.

Pandemic plans have been developed over a number of years, informed by lessons learned from the H1N1 (2009) pandemic and from the Ebola outbreak of 2013-2016. The Government has been proactive in implementing lessons learned from these incidents as well as from exercises conducted since then. This includes being ready with legislative proposals that could rapidly be tailored to what became the Coronavirus Act 2020, plans to strengthen excess death planning, planning for recruitment and deployment of retired staff and volunteers, and guidance for stakeholders and sectors across Government.

In addition, the Government’s work to prepare for the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union improved the overall resilience of public services, giving the Government a better understanding of supply chains and ensuring the internal mechanisms of Government were better prepared to deal with the impacts of COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department have taken to prepare for a pandemic in each of the last 10 years.

The UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011 provides a United Kingdom-wide strategic approach to planning for and responding to the demands of an influenza pandemic. The approach set out in this strategy is multi-faceted and evidence-based. It is referred to as ‘defence in depth’.

Over the last 10 years we have worked to develop, or maintain, all elements of this defence strategy:

- surveillance and modelling systems;

- arrangements to secure access to an influenza vaccine (when available);

- supplies of clinical countermeasures such as antiviral medicines to treat influenza and personal protective equipment for front-line healthcare workers; and

- tried and tested surge plans and mechanisms to reduce pressures on primary care services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer 3 February 2020 to Question 8468 on Social Services, whether he plans, in response to the covid-19 outbreak, to expedite the Government’s timetable for bringing forward a plan for the future of social care; and what plans he has to publish the Social Care Green Paper.

On 15 April, the COVID-19 adult social care action plan was published. The Government’s number one priority for adult social care is for everyone who relies on care to get the care they need throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are committed to bringing forward a plan for social care to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect and to find long term solutions for one of the biggest challenges we face as a society. There are complex questions to address, which is why we have invited cross-party talks. These will take place at the earliest opportunity in light of the current circumstances.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to promote emotional wellbeing in the development of public health advice during the covid-19 outbreak.

Public Health England has published guidance for the public on how to look after mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak. The guidance can be viewed online at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether dentists will be provided with personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is working to support and protect all our frontline health and care staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, including dentists. The Government is working closely with industry, the National Health Service, social care providers and the army to ensure that personal protective equipment (PPE) is delivered to those who need it.

Guidance has been issued to NHS dentists on the provision of services and PPE by the Chief Dental Officer for England. Guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/primary-care/dental-practice/

Additionally, Public Health England issued updated PPE guidance to a range of health professionals, including dentists, on 2 April.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department's guidance on covid-19 will be made available in other languages; what information is being translated; and into which languages that guidance will be translated.

As part of the Government's work to ensure people are informed about COVID-19 and how best to respond, work in ongoing to translate the stay at home guidance for households with possible COVID-19; the guidance on social distancing and protecting older people and vulnerable adults into a range of languages. These are the critical pieces of guidance that are relevant to a general public audience.

The translations include Polish, Welsh, Arabic (Modern), French, Simplified Chinese (Mandarin), Traditional Chinese (Cantonese), Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, and Portuguese.

The stay at home guidance for households with possible COVID-19 can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure that supplies of baby formula are not rapidly depleted by panic buying as a result of covid-19.

The Department is aware of infant formula supply issues related to stockpiling. The Department is in contact with the formula industry in order to guarantee a continuous supply of infant formula. The British Specialist Nutrition Association Ltd, who represent manufacturers of formula, have reassured parents via their website and social media. They have asked the public to be mindful of others when they shop so that formula remains available for all. These discussions with industry are regular and we will continue to reassess the situation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many additional call handlers are being recruited to help manage the NHS 111 service.