Afzal Khan Portrait

Afzal Khan

Labour - Manchester, Gorton

First elected: 8th June 2017


Shadow Minister (Exports)
7th Sep 2023 - 15th Nov 2023
Shadow Minister (Justice)
4th Dec 2021 - 7th Sep 2023
Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons
10th Apr 2020 - 4th Dec 2021
Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Immigration)
3rd Jul 2017 - 10th Apr 2020


Oral Question
Wednesday 6th March 2024
12:00
Cabinet Office
Oral Question No. 10
If he will list his official engagements for Wednesday 6 March.
Division Votes
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 150 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 179 Noes - 294
Speeches
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Family Visa Minimum Income Thresholds
I rise to present a petition urging the Government to reverse their decision to increase the minimum income threshold for …
Written Answers
Friday 1st March 2024
Israel: Travel Restrictions
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether he plans to take further steps to sanction …
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
Monday 30th October 2023
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: Islamic Relief UK
Address of donor: UK Head Office, 16 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7RJ
Estimate of …
EDM signed
Monday 26th February 2024
International Court of Justice Ruling on Gaza and the UK’s duties under the Genocide Convention
That this House notes the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 26 January 2024, which found that …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Afzal Khan has voted in 716 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
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(18 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Independent)
(18 debate interactions)
Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker)
(17 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(37 debate contributions)
Home Office
(24 debate contributions)
Department for Transport
(19 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).

Petition Debates Contributed

We want the UK to be neutral in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and withdraw offers of support for Israel.

We want the Government to seek a ceasefire and also seek to address the root cause of the current conflict by promoting dialogue and advocating for the end of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The UK Government should urge the Israeli Government to stop the blockade of Food, Fuel and Electricity to the already impoverished city of Gaza

Mark Allen, aged 18, drowned after jumping into a freezing reservoir on a hot day in June 2018.

In May 2019 we watched whilst 3 throwlines were installed where he died.

Mark could have possibly been saved if they were in place beforehand.

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

7th February 2024
Afzal Khan signed this EDM on Monday 26th February 2024

International Court of Justice Ruling on Gaza and the UK’s duties under the Genocide Convention

Tabled by: Zarah Sultana (Labour - Coventry South)
That this House notes the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 26 January 2024, which found that it is plausible that Israel’s ongoing attacks on the Palestinian people in Gaza are in breach of the Genocide Convention; further notes that the ICJ issued provisional measures, including ordering …
59 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 29
Scottish National Party: 19
Independent: 5
Plaid Cymru: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
Alliance: 1
16th January 2024
Afzal Khan signed this EDM on Thursday 25th January 2024

Journalists in Gaza

Tabled by: Grahame Morris (Labour - Easington)
That this House is profoundly shocked and saddened by the deaths of over 85 journalists and other media workers in Gaza since the Hamas attacks of October 7, with many more critically injured, missing or in detention without trial; believes that journalists in Gaza are the only ones standing between …
53 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 26
Scottish National Party: 17
Independent: 5
Plaid Cymru: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Alliance: 1
Alba 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

3 Adjournment Debates led by Afzal Khan

Monday 13th March 2023
Thursday 20th October 2022

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.

Commons - 60%

Last Event - Committee Stage: House Of Commons
Wednesday 16th October 2019

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


1155 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
13 Other Department Questions
19th Oct 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to help tackle racial inequality.

We published our ground-breaking race equality strategy last year.

Inclusive Britain set out 74 actions to tackle entrenched ethnic disparities across health, education, employment, policing and criminal justice.

18 months on and we have completed over half of the actions, including:

o publishing new ethnicity pay guidance for employers;

o issuing improved guidance on behaviour in schools and on suspensions and permanent exclusions; and

o improving the stop and search process through new de-escalation skills training for police officers.

A further update will be provided to parliament in Spring 2024

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether she has held meetings in 2023 on (a) Islamophobia and (b) hate crime against Muslims.

This Government is committed to doing everything we can to tackle anti-Muslim hatred and all forms of prejudice in our society. Ministers across Government regularly hold meetings covering these important issues. In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not normally disclosed.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department is taking steps to provide financial support to grassroots music (a) venues and (b) artists and crew.

The Government is committed to supporting our grassroots music venues, which are the backbone of our world-leading music sector.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is in regular discussions with all parts of the music industry, including live venues across the country of all sizes. We work with the industry and across Government to improve the sector's resilience, as demonstrated through the £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the £18 billion Energy Bills Relief Scheme.

We will continue to engage with the sector on the impact of current pressures. As part of this engagement, I met the Music Venues Trust last week to discuss issues facing the live music sector, and further ways to support the growth of the music sector and wider creative industries. The Secretary of State will also meet with music industry leaders this week, including representatives from the grassroots music sector, to further discuss matters affecting the music sector.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Sep 2022
To ask the President of COP26, what his policy is on loss and damage finance for countries particularly vulnerable to climate change at COP27.

At COP26, Parties recognised loss and damage is already impacting lives and livelihoods and agreed to scale-up support. The Glasgow Dialogue was established to discuss the arrangements for the funding of activities to avert, minimise and address loss and damage.

In June 2022, at the Bonn Intersessional meeting, the Glasgow Dialogue on loss and damage was launched to discuss the funding arrangements for addressing loss and damage. There will be further dialogues taking place every year to 2024, though these are not formal negotiations.This will continue to be a critical forum to discuss practical ways finance can be scaled up and effectively delivered. I regularly discuss Loss and Damage with international counterparts, including non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

The UK is committed to deliver on the Glasgow Climate Pact working with Parties and Civil Society organisations to advance progress through the Glasgow Dialogue and operationalising the Santiago Network.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of a commencement order under s1 of the Equality Act 2010 on the public sector duty on socio-economic inequalities.

The Government has no plans to commence Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 in England. We have made clear on numerous occasions that this duty 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. Our agenda set out in the White Paper ‘Levelling Up the United Kingdom’ is key to this and we are promoting social mobility and tackling inequality through a range of initiatives – for example in education, through reforms to the welfare system, by giving greater developmental devolution in England and rebalancing the economy through schemes such as the Towns Fund.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when she plans to respond to the correspondence of 22 April 2022 from the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on conversion therapy.

I apologise for the delay in responding to hon. Member’s correspondence. We replied to the hon. Member on 15 June.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what data her Department holds on the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals who have undergone conversion therapy in (a) the UK, (b) Manchester and (c) Manchester Gorton constituency since 2018.

The most recent data currently available about the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals who have undergone conversion therapy in the UK is from the National LGBT Survey, published in 2018. Evidence from that shows that 5% of the over 108,000 respondents said they had been offered conversion therapy, and a further 2% said they had received it. This data is not available at a local or constituency level.

In October 2021, we published an evidence assessment and qualitative study on conversion therapy undertaken by Coventry University.

The Government’s recent public consultation on how to ban conversion therapy included a question about people’s experiences of conversion therapy in the UK and abroad and we are currently analysing responses.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
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
President of the Board of Trade
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
President of the Board of Trade
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
President of the Board of Trade
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 22 June 2020 to Question 59593 on Gay Conversion Therapy, what her timetable is for reviewing the findings of the draft report; and when she plans to publish the final report.

The Government received a draft of the research report on Friday 12th June 2020, and is currently reviewing the findings. We will publish the report in due course, once the draft has been considered and the report is completed.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
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
President of the Board of Trade
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Attorney General, if she will make an estimate of the annual cost to the public purse of the increase in fees for prosecution barristers acting on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service; and whether her Department has made an impact of assessment of this decision.

The estimated annual cost to keep parity between the prosecution and defence schemes will be around £30 million. The Crown Prosecution Service have modelled where the changes to the scheme need to be made and have been in liaison with the Bar Council.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
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
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jul 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the cost of the application for judicial review of the UK covid-19 inquiry.

We do not yet have a figure for the costs incurred. We brought this judicial review to seek clarification on a point of law and we are pleased that the Court agreed that there was an important legal question to consider.

It acknowledged our concerns over respecting the privacy of individuals and ensuring that completely irrelevant information is returned and not retained.

29th Mar 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to monitor departments' performance against the Cabinet Office consultation principles, updated in March 2018.

The consultation principles are high level guidance to help departments manage their consultations. The Cabinet Office provides advice to departments on these principles on request. Individual departments are legally responsible for the consultations they run, and will determine how to practically apply the principles to each of their consultations.

18th May 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of whether goods produced by the slave labour of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang are present in Government procurement contracts.

HM Government is committed to preventing modern slavery occurring in public sector supply chains. The Cabinet Office has published commercial policy and guidance setting out the steps that all Government departments must take to identify and mitigate modern slavery and labour abuse risks throughout the commercial life cycle - focusing on the areas of highest risk. This policy is mandatory for all Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies.

The Government has taken a number of measures to help ensure that no British organisations are profiting from or contributing to human rights violations against the Uyghurs or other minorities. We have introduced new guidance for UK businesses on the risks of conducting business in Xinjiang, implemented enhanced export controls, and committed to introducing new procurement guidance for Government bodies as well as financial penalties for non-compliance with section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act.

The Procurement Bill, which was recently introduced to Parliament, will strengthen the approach to exclude suppliers from bidding for public contracts where there is clear evidence of their involvement in forced labour or other Modern Slavery practices.

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.

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

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 Science, Innovation and Technology)
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 Science, Innovation and Technology)
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 Science, Innovation and Technology)
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 the Prime Minister's office 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 Science, Innovation and Technology)
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.

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
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
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.

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.

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.

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.

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
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether an equality impact assessment has been undertaken for the Horizon compensation scheme.

The Post Office does not have specific requirements to carry out an Equality Impact Assessment in delivering compensation. However, the Department has carried out assessments of the Horizon Shortfall Scheme (HSS), Overturned Convictions and Group Litigation Order (GLO) compensation against the Public Sector Equality Duty to ensure that due regard is given to the responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010, including measures to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, how many sub-postmasters from (a) Manchester Gorton constituency, (b) Greater Manchester and (c) the North West were wrongfully convicted due to the Horizon system; and if she will provide this breakdown by ethnicity.

We do not have the regional breakdown of the number of postmasters with overturned convictions according by ethnicity. So far 101 convictions have been overturned by the Courts across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is the Government’s opinion that there were many more wrongful convictions. We have announced that we will bring forward legislation so that Parliament can overturn them. The number of people whose convictions will be overturned by the legislation will depend on its precise terms.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what representations her Department has received from BAME sub-postmasters about the Horizon system.

Individuals making representations do not generally report their ethnicity, therefore, we do not hold this information.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will list the number of sub-postmasters affected by Horizon, broken down by ethnicity.

The Department for Business and Trade does not collate information regarding the number of sub-postmasters affected by Horizon according to ethnicity.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, how many sub-postmasters from (a) Manchester Gorton constituency, (b) Greater Manchester and (c) the North West voluntarily left the Post Office due to issues with Horizon, broken down by ethnicity.

We do not have the regional breakdown of the number of postmasters who voluntarily left Post office due to Horizon. However, we know that at least 2,700 overall postmasters have been affected by Horizon issues as there have been 2417 Horizon Shortfall Scheme applicants (and a further 336 eligible late claims to date); 101 overturned convictions; and 492 who are currently eligible for the Group Litigation Order Scheme.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she plans to take steps to reduce the average length of time for decisions to be made on export licences.

HM Government is committed to maintaining a robust and transparent export control regime. The Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) is extremely mindful of the commercial pressures that businesses face – and of the need to process licence applications with minimum delay.

HM Government publishes data on export licensing decisions on a quarterly basis in the Official Statistics on GOV.UK. This covers licensing decisions back from 2008 onwards and includes data on the average length of time for decisions to be made. This data is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-statistics-quarterly-reports.

We keep the licensing process under continuous review, including the targets we set for processing times for applications.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of the average length of time for decisions to be made on export licencing on the competitiveness of British exporters.

HM Government is committed to maintaining a robust and transparent export control regime. The Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) is extremely mindful of the commercial pressures that businesses face – and of the need to process licence applications with minimum delay.

HM Government publishes data on export licensing decisions on a quarterly basis in the Official Statistics on GOV.UK. This covers licensing decisions back from 2008 onwards and includes data on the average length of time for decisions to be made. This data is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-statistics-quarterly-reports.

We keep the licensing process under continuous review, including the targets we set for processing times for applications.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what the average length of time for decisions on export licencing has been in each of the last five years.

HM Government is committed to maintaining a robust and transparent export control regime. The Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) is extremely mindful of the commercial pressures that businesses face – and of the need to process licence applications with minimum delay.

HM Government publishes data on export licensing decisions on a quarterly basis in the Official Statistics on GOV.UK. This covers licensing decisions back from 2008 onwards and includes data on the average length of time for decisions to be made. This data is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-statistics-quarterly-reports.

We keep the licensing process under continuous review, including the targets we set for processing times for applications.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, how many and what proportion of export licencing decisions were processed within (a) 20 days and (b) 60 days in the latest period for which figures are available.

HM Government publishes data on export licensing decisions on a quarterly basis in the strategic export controls licensing Official Statistics on GOV.UK, including data on median processing times and the number/percentage of applications processed against our 20 and 60 working day targets.

This data is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-statistics-quarterly-reports. Table B of each publication provides a break down of median processing times and performance against our 20 and 60 working day targets.

The most recent publication was on 30th August 2023, and covered the period 1st January – 31st March 2023.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits a statutory duty on insolvency practitioners to pay outstanding (a) wages and (b) notice pay as the first duty when a company ceases to trade as a result of insolvency.

Raising the priority of payment for employee claims would inevitably reduce the sums that may be paid to other unsecured creditors, including small businesses.

Former employees of insolvent employers can claim redundancy payments and other contractual debts from the National Insurance Fund, subject to statutory limits. Those claims will be paid whether or not there are sufficient funds in the insolvent company and will be paid much quicker than if they were elevated higher than other creditors in law.

As part of their statutory duties, Insolvency Practitioners must provide the necessary information to the government administered Redundancy Payments Service to facilitate the processing of employee claims as quickly as possible.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, how many international trade advisors are employed by her Department; and in which regions of the UK they are located.

In England, DBT has 154 International Trade Advisers (ITAs) and at the time of writing a further 10 are currently undergoing the on-boarding process. ITAs are located across our three Super Region teams; Southern England, Midlands and the North. There are currently no DBT ITAs in the Nations, but we are engaging on how to introduce new resource that complements existing services offered by the Devolved Administrations and their agencies.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of (a) introducing measures to hold company directors to account for businesses going into administration, (b) giving employees more security by way of secured creditor status in respect of redundancy payments and arrears of pay, (c) putting in place a statutory duty on insolvency practitioners to pay out outstanding wages and notice pay as the first duty when a company ceases to trade as a result of an insolvency.

Measures to hold directors to account already exist. When a company enters administration, the administrator has a legal duty to report to the Insolvency Service on the directors’ conduct. The Insolvency Service may seek the directors’ disqualification where there is evidence of their misconduct, and it is in the public interest. Potential criminal offences are referred to the appropriate authority.

To ensure fairness, the law requires that available funds in an insolvency are distributed in a certain order and Government has no current plans to change this.

As part of their statutory duties, Insolvency Practitioners must provide necessary information to the Redundancy Payments Service to facilitate the processing of employee claims when their employer enters insolvency.

The Government recently announced a strengthening of the Insolvency Practitioner regulatory framework aimed at increasing transparency and bolstering confidence in regulation.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of developing a net-zero local government framework for local authorities.

The Government’s approach to working with local authorities on net zero is set out in the Net Zero Strategy and Net Zero Growth Plan. The Government’s engagement forum with local government, the Local Net Zero Forum, has considered a framework for Local Authority net zero roles and responsibilities but this was not determined to be the best way forward.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what data her Department holds on carbon emission outputs by local authorities.

The UK local and regional greenhouse gas emissions national statistics, 2005 to 2021, set out emissions data at the local authority level.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps her Department is taking to ensure there is an equitable distribution of funding amongst local authorities to support their net-zero initiatives.

There is a diverse range of grant funding schemes provided by HM Government to support local net zero delivery. This includes the core local government settlement from which all local authorities receive funding as well as grant programmes with competitions for funding into which local authorities can bid.

Alongside funding opportunities, the Department provides further support to local authorities to deliver net zero, which is outlined in the Net Zero Strategy and Net Zero Growth Plan.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps her Department is taking to monitor the effectiveness of funding provided to local authorities to help them achieve net-zero.

It is not possible to provide a figure for the total amount of net zero grant funding available to local authorities because this depends on the decisions local authorities make themselves about how they use the funding available to them. Through their core settlement, grant funding schemes, and UK growth funding, Government provides a wide range of funding to support local authorities to tackle net zero goals.

The Government has established the UK Infrastructure Bank with an initial £12 billion of capital. One of the bank’s core objectives is to support regional and local economic growth. This includes a lending facility of £4 billion for local authorities at preferential rates.

Individual Government grant funding schemes each have their own monitoring and evaluation processes.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if she will list all (a) funding schemes and (b) initiatives available for local authorities to help support their transition to net zero.

It is not possible to provide a figure for the total amount of net zero grant funding available to local authorities because this depends on the decisions local authorities make themselves about how they use the funding available to them. Through their core settlement, grant funding schemes, and UK growth funding, Government provides a wide range of funding to support local authorities to tackle net zero goals.

The Government has established the UK Infrastructure Bank with an initial £12 billion of capital. One of the bank’s core objectives is to support regional and local economic growth. This includes a lending facility of £4 billion for local authorities at preferential rates.

Individual Government grant funding schemes each have their own monitoring and evaluation processes.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps her Department is taking to monitor the effectiveness of grant schemes on net zero outcomes.

It is not possible to provide a figure for the total amount of net zero grant funding available to local authorities because this depends on the decisions local authorities make themselves about how they use the funding available to them. Through their core settlement, grant funding schemes, and UK growth funding, Government provides a wide range of funding to support local authorities to tackle net zero goals.

The Government has established the UK Infrastructure Bank with an initial £12 billion of capital. One of the bank’s core objectives is to support regional and local economic growth. This includes a lending facility of £4 billion for local authorities at preferential rates.

Individual Government grant funding schemes each have their own monitoring and evaluation processes.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many grants are available across Government to help local authorities finance net zero projects.

It is not possible to provide a figure for the total amount of net zero grant funding available to local authorities because this depends on the decisions local authorities make themselves about how they use the funding available to them. Through their core settlement, grant funding schemes, and UK growth funding, Government provides a wide range of funding to support local authorities to tackle net zero goals.

The Government has established the UK Infrastructure Bank with an initial £12 billion of capital. One of the bank’s core objectives is to support regional and local economic growth. This includes a lending facility of £4 billion for local authorities at preferential rates.

Individual Government grant funding schemes each have their own monitoring and evaluation processes.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps his Department is taking to increase the (a) resources, (b) capacity and (c) skills development for local authorities to (i) enforce and (ii) report on Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard levels.

Between 2018 and 2023, the Government ran a series of compliance and enforcement pilots and competitions to support local authorities in enforcing the domestic private rented sector Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) regulations. 104 local authorities took part with £8.4m provided to help them carry out effective compliance assurance and enforcement of the MEES regulations in their area.

The Government consulted in 2020 on proposals to improve the energy performance of privately rented homes. The consultation included proposals to encourage compliance with MEES Regulations and strengthen the enforcement regime. A summary of responses to this consultation will be published by the end of this year.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that the application process for net-zero grants are accessible to local authorities with limited (a) resources and (b) capacity.

The net zero funding available to local authorities does not only come from net zero grants, but depends on the decisions local authorities make themselves about how they use the funding available to them, which includes their core settlement, grant funding schemes, UK growth funding, and loans at preferential rates from the UK Infrastructure Bank.

Through the Local Net Zero Hubs, the Government is supporting local authorities to attract commercial investment.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether she has made an assessment of the adequacy of existing net-zero grants that are available for local authorities to apply for; and whether she has received representations from local authorities that have been unsuccessful in the bidding process.

The net zero funding available to local authorities does not only come from net zero grants, but depends on the decisions local authorities make themselves about how they use the funding available to them, which includes their core settlement, grant funding schemes, UK growth funding, and loans at preferential rates from the UK Infrastructure Bank.

Through the Local Net Zero Hubs, the Government is supporting local authorities to attract commercial investment.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 12 July 2023 to Question 192432 on Solar Power: China, what the value of support given under the Contracts for Difference scheme to UK manufacturers of (a) solar grade polysilicon, (b) solar ingots, wafers and cells and (c) solar modules is since 2018.

The Contracts for Difference scheme is not open to manufacturers.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 12 July 2023 to Question 192432 on Solar Power: China, how much funding was provided to UK manufacturers of (a) solar grade polysilicon, (b) solar ingots, wafers and cells and (c) solar modules through (i) the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund and (ii) initiatives funded by UK Research and Innovation since 2018.

The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund gives grants to companies to develop low-carbon technologies. Since April 2018, it has not awarded any grants in (a) solar grade polysilicon or (b) solar ingots, wafers and cells. It has awarded £2.3M in grant funding for innovation in (c) solar modules to UK companies, including grants for improving performance or developing new products.

UKRI data is not held by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the report by the International Energy Agency entitled Special Report on Solar PV Global Supply Chains, published in August 2022 on China’s increasing share of the solar panel supply chain.

The Department has noted the findings of the IEA report.

The Solar Taskforce will focus on identifying and taking forward the actions needed to develop resilient, sustainable and innovative supply chains, to support the significant increases in deployment of solar panels needed to meet the UK’s net zero and energy security goals.

The Government already encourages large-scale developers accessing its flagship Contracts for Difference scheme to grow the supply chain through the Supply Chain Plan process and supports supply chain innovation through a range of schemes, such as the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund, and initiatives funded by UK Research and Innovation.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, when his Department plans to launch the Great British Insulation Scheme.

Energy suppliers have been able to deliver insulation measures under the Great British Insulation Scheme from 30 March 2023, when the Government response to an earlier consultation on scheme design was published. The Scheme is expected to be fully established in law in summer 2023, following the laying in Parliament of the draft Statutory Instrument on 24 May 2023.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what progress his Department has made on implementing the Sustainable warmth: protecting vulnerable households in England strategy, published 11 February 2021.

The Government is committed to reviewing the strategy regularly and delivering on its statutory fuel poverty target. Fuel poverty statistics are published annually to track progress against the target. The latest statistics were published on 28th February 2023: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/annual-fuel-poverty-statistics-report-2023.

Energy efficiency improvements are the best way to tackle fuel poverty long term. The Government is delivering improvements in low income, vulnerable and fuel poor homes through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), Home Upgrade Grant, Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and Local Authority Delivery schemes. The Government also announced an additional £1bn for further energy efficiency improvements through the Great British Insulation Scheme.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of the free allocation of permits to companies through the UK Emissions Trading Scheme.

As the UK transitions to net zero, the Government is committed to protecting UK industry from carbon leakage (the movement of production and associated emissions from one country to another due to different levels of decarbonisation effort through carbon pricing and climate regulation), which is why the Government gives a proportion of free allowances to businesses under the UK ETS.

The Government is in the process of reviewing its free allocation policy. It consulted last year on technical short term improvements. The Government is also looking at ways to target free allocation to those sectors most at risk of carbon leakage. The Government will publish its response in due course.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he has had discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on subsidies for residential heat pump installation.

The Government has several schemes which provide support for residential heat pump installations.

The £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) offers grants of £5,000 towards the purchase and installation of Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) and £6,000 towards Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP).

The £3.8 billion Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) supports the deployment of low carbon heating installations such as heat pumps alongside other energy efficiency measures in social housing.

The Home Upgrade Grant (HUG) provides support for installation of low-carbon heating measures such as heat pumps in off gas grid properties in England.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Feb 2023
To ask Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, when her Department plans to reply to correspondence dated 8 July 2022 and 13 January 2023 from the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, case reference AK52139.

The Department has been unable to acknowledge receipt of your original enquiry of 8 July 2022. It has confirmed receipt of your enquiry of 13 January 2023, and I have now responded.

16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps his Department has taken to ensure that householders on sub-meters receive the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme payment as soon as possible.

As an extension to the Energy Bills Support Scheme, alternative funding is being provided to around 900,000 households without a direct relationship with a domestic electricity supplier. Some residents with sub-meters may be eligible for the Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding, which will provide equivalent support of £400 for energy bills to households without a domestic electricity supply. This includes those who do not have a domestic electricity meter or a direct relationship with an electricity supplier. Further details will be published later this month.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to reply to correspondence from the hon. member for Manchester Gorton dated 8 July 2022, reference AK52139.

The Department has been unable to confirm receipt of the Hon. Member's correspondence of 8 July 2022. Please resubmit the correspondence to the Department and a response will be expedited for the Hon. Member.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing additional financial support to (a) bakeries and (b) other businesses which use a large amount of energy.

The Government understands the huge pressure businesses are facing with their energy bills, which is why immediate action has been taken to support them over the winter, protecting jobs and livelihoods. Details of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme for non-domestic customers were announced on 21 September and details can be found at the link below: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/energy-bill-relief-scheme-help-for-businesses-and-other-non-domestic-customers. The Government will provide a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for all non-domestic customers (including all UK businesses, the voluntary sector and the public sector) whose current gas and electricity prices have been significantly inflated in light of global energy prices.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of lifting the ban on fracking in England on the Government's target of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Net Zero is a consideration in all relevant government decisions. The Government remains committed to net zero by 2050, but to get there we are going to need oil and gas.

Exploring domestic shale gas as a way of maximising domestic production could not only strengthen UK energy security but also reduce the amount of emissions-intensive gas imported from abroad.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
8th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of researchers in the UK researching (a) dementia, (b) cancer, (c) stroke and (d) coronary heart disease in each of the last 10 years.

The Government does not collect this data.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help insulate houses in (a) Manchester, Gorton constituency, (b) Manchester and (c) the UK.

The Government is supporting a number of schemes to insulate homes and introducing a zero-rate of VAT for five years on measures including insulation and low-carbon heating.

The (£786m) Local Authority Delivery, Home Upgrade Grant (£1.1bn) and Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (£1bn), bring the Government’s investment for decarbonising buildings across this parliament to £6.6 billion.

1,586 homes in Manchester, including 77 in Gorton, have signed up under Phases 1 and 2 of the Local Authority Delivery schemes up to February 2022.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority is delivering a project under Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (Wave 1) to treat 1,286 homes.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of a new licensing round in the North Sea on the UK's (a) obligations towards international climate targets and (b) net-zero target.

The North Sea Transition Authority plans to launch another licensing round in the autumn, noting to the forthcoming climate compatibility checkpoint. The climate compatibility checkpoint will be used to assess how any future licensing rounds remain in keeping with the UK’s climate goals.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the Jackdaw fossil fuel development proposed by Shell with the decarbonisation targets for industry in the North Sea Transition Deal.

Development proposals for oil fields under existing licences are a matter for the regulators - the North Sea Transition Authority and the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED). As part of that regulatory process, OPRED complete an Environmental Impact Assessment and a public consultation on any proposal. OPRED’s decision on the Environmental Impact Assessment for Jackdaw will be made in due course.

The emissions reduction targets in the North Sea Transition Deal are monitored by the North Sea Transition Authority. Emissions from any new fields as production comes on stream would be taken into account in continuing to ensure the targets in the Deal are met.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of households that have a pre-payment (a) gas and (b) electricity meter in (i) Manchester Gorton, (ii) City of Manchester, (iii) Greater Manchester, (iv) the North West and (v) England.

As Ofgem notes in its latest Consumer Protection report (https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/consumer-protection-report-autumn-2021), there were around 4.1 million electricity and 3.3 million gas customers on a pre-payment meters in Great Britain in 2020.

The Department has not undertaken an assessment of figures for these specific areas.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the full-life costs of the Rolls Royce Small Nuclear Reactor programme, including the disposal of nuclear waste during and after decommissioning.

The Government has made a grant of £210 million to Rolls Royce SMR ltd to undertake phase two of the Low Cost Nuclear programme. This has been match funded by industry and investors, and will support the further development and assessment of the Rolls Royce SMR design up to 2025.

Whilst initial costing estimates have been made by Rolls Royce SMR Ltd, a key output of the programme is data that will enable more detailed whole life cost analysis, which could be used to inform any potential deployment decisions in the next parliament.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding is being provided to train and re-train the workforce in the North West needed for the Rolls Royce Small Nuclear Reactor programme.

The Government has made a grant of £210 million to Rolls Royce SMR ltd to undertake phase two of the Low Cost Nuclear programme. This has been match funded by industry and investors, and will support the further development and assessment of the Rolls Royce SMR design up to 2025.

Whilst initial costing estimates have been made by Rolls Royce SMR Ltd, a key output of the programme is data that will enable more detailed whole life cost analysis, which could be used to inform any potential deployment decisions in the next parliament.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of whether the level of discount offered by the Warm Home Discount scheme is adequate for people in need experiencing additional energy price rises from April 2022.

The Warm Home Discount is funded by energy suppliers, who generally recoup the costs from customers’ energy bills. However, the Government sets the spending target each year. The target is set to balance providing significant rebates to as many households as possible, while minimising the impact on consumers’ bills. For this year, 2021/22, the overall spending target is £354 million.

Given the fixed funding available for the scheme, increasing the rebate amount for households would reduce the number of households receiving support. Following a consultation last year, the Government decided to keep the rebate amount at £140 this winter to maximise the number of households that the scheme is able to reach. This year, we expect around 2.2 million households across the country will receive rebates.

The Government recently consulted on the future of the scheme beyond 2022. This consultation included a proposal to increase the rebate amount to £150 from the 2022/23 scheme year onwards, balancing increasing the value of the rebate against ensuring that as many fuel poor households as possible are able to access this much-needed support.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will reopen proposals to reform the Warm Homes Discount Scheme for people in need of support as a result of the increase in energy prices.

The Government has consulted on reforms to the Warm Home Discount that will provide significant improvements to the scheme’s operation and more support to fuel poor households. They will improve the fuel poverty targeting of the scheme and enable more fuel poor households to receive a rebate.

By increasing the funding to £475 million (in 2020 prices) per year, around 3 million households will receive rebates on their energy bills every winter – this is 780,000 more households than under the current scheme. Through data matching, the vast majority of eligible households would be entitled to receive the rebate automatically, rather than having to apply. Rebates would also be increased to £150 per household, compared to £140 currently, balancing increasing the value of the rebate against ensuring that as many fuel poor households as possible are able to access this much-needed support.

The Government’s response to the consultation will be published in the coming months, with any reforms coming into force from the 2022/23 scheme year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
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
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

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.

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.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what grant funding is available to the social housing sector for (a) the installation of solar panels and (b) energy efficiency improvements.

The 2019 Conservative manifesto committed to a £3.8billion Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund over 10 years.

The Summer Economic Update announced a £50 million fund to demonstrate innovative approaches to retrofitting social housing at scale and upgrading the energy performance of poorer-performing homes. A further £60 million has been allocated at the Spending Review (SR) to continue the development of the scheme into next year, in line with manifesto commitments, and further funding will be confirmed at the multi-year SR.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.
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.

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%.

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.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has taken recent steps to work with (a) the Duke of Edinburgh Award, (b) other youth award schemes and (c) volunteer programmes to help promote (i) social cohesion and (ii) community safety.

The government recognises the vital role that youth services and activities like the Duke of Edinburgh Award play in enhancing young people’s wellbeing, as well as significant benefits to social cohesion and community safety.

Recognising this, the government has committed to a National Youth Guarantee: that by 2025, every young person will have access to regular clubs and activities, adventures away from home and opportunities to volunteer. This is supported by a three-year investment of over £500 million in youth services, reflecting young people's priorities and addressing imbalances in national youth spending with a firm focus on levelling up.

Young people will also benefit from other elements of the National Youth Guarantee, and a broader package of award schemes and volunteer programmes, including offering the Duke of Edinburgh Award to every state secondary school, expanding uniformed youth groups and the #iwill youth volunteering fund, as well as providing further funding for the National Citizen Service (NCS), to bring young people from different backgrounds together. Additionally, through the Million Hours Fund, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will provide over a million hours of youth opportunities in areas with high levels of anti-social behaviour.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what Government (a) funding and (b) guidance is available to voluntary and community sector organisations working to reduce youth offending.

The government recognises the vital role that youth services and the voluntary and community sector has in reducing youth offending and the Beating Crime Plan 2021 highlighted the importance of early intervention for all young people; targeted support for those at risk of involvement in criminality; and targeted interventions for those who have started to offend.

The Youth Justice Sport Fund (YJSF) is a recently completed early intervention grant programme led by the Ministry of Justice, delivered across England and Wales between November 2022 and March 2023. This forms part of the £300m package of early intervention funding that was announced in May 2022. The £5m programme supported 220 voluntary and community sector organisations to work with 10–17-year-olds considered vulnerable to involvement in crime and anti-social behaviour, using sport as a vehicle to address problem behaviour.

The government has committed to a National Youth Guarantee: that by 2025, every young person will have access to regular clubs and activities, adventures away from home and opportunities to volunteer. This is supported by a three-year investment of over £500 million in youth services. The Youth Investment Fund, an integral part of the National Youth Guarantee, will invest over £300 million in creating and refurbishing up to 300 youth facilities in levelling up priority areas - the majority of which contain at least one anti-social behaviour hotspot. Additionally, through the Million Hours Fund, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will provide over a million hours of youth opportunities in areas with high levels of anti-social behaviour. Phase 1 of the fund has already delivered over £3m of funding to over 400 organisations to provide positive activities over the summer holidays.



Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of prohibiting the sale of tickets for events at a sum greater than their face value.

The Government is committed to cracking down on unacceptable behaviour in the ticketing market and improving people’s chances of buying tickets at a reasonable price. That is why we have strengthened the law on ticketing information requirements and introduced a criminal offence of using automated software to buy more tickets online than allowed. Ticketing sites can help fans buy and resell tickets, but they must comply with the law and should never be used as a platform for breaking it.

Enforcement agencies such as the Competition and Markets Authority, National Trading Standards and the advertising industry's own regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority, have a track record of investigating breaches of consumer law and improving transparency in the ticketing market, and are prepared to go after those who flout the law or abuse the ticketing market. The recent conviction of ticket touts for the unlawful mass reselling of Ed Sheeran tickets at inflated prices and obtained by fraudulent means, is just one example.

We do not believe that price capping is an appropriate solution at this time, as experience in other markets has shown that it would not be an effective tool to address the problem at hand, and would present significant practical challenges in implementation and enforcement. Individuals are able to seek advice or report problems with goods or services bought from a trader based in the UK, and the appropriate advice agency is the Citizens Advice Consumer Service.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress has been made on the sale of Chelsea Football Club; and whether the Government will consult on that sale with (a) Ukrainian and (b) other international civil society groups.

On 24 May the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) issued a licence to Chelsea Football Club to allow the sale of Chelsea FC PLC. We have worked in coordination with international partners to ensure that relevant licences from other jurisdictions have also been issued.

The Club has now transferred ownership to the Boehly-Clearlake consortium. This means that the Club is no longer subject to sanctions.The proceeds are being held in a frozen account and any onward transfer requires a further Government licence to enable that to happen. Abramovich cannot access those funds without a Government licence.

Abramovich has made a number of public statements regarding his intention to transfer the proceeds to the victims of the war in Ukraine. We have agreed a Deed of Undertaking in which he commits the proceeds to a charity in a jurisdiction agreed by the Government for the purposes of helping victims of the war in Ukraine. Any future movement of the sale revenue will be assessed in line with sanctions obligations and the position outlined in the Deed.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that young listeners and viewers benefit from the Public Service Broadcasting Advisory Panel in the context of a children's media representative not being appointed to that panel.

The Government is supportive of a modern system of public service broadcasting (PSB) that remains relevant and can continue to meet the needs of UK audiences of all ages in the future. That is why we are conducting a strategic review of PSB – to work out how best to achieve this in light of the challenges the sector is currently facing.

Advice from the Government’s expert PSB Advisory Panel is one element of that review, which draws on multiple sources including Ofcom’s latest review of PSB (‘Small Screen: Big Debate’), and reports from the Select Committees in both Houses of Parliament. Panel members have a wide range of experience and expertise in broadcasting and related industries, including children’s media.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
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 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.

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.

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.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 11 May 2020 to Question 43023 on Angling: Coronavirus, whether the Government's guidance on angling has changed as a result of the Prime Minister’s covid-19 announcement on 10 May 2020.

On 11 May, Government published updated guidance on lockdown measures, including updates on how people can remain active. From Wednesday 13 May, people are allowed to go outside more than once a day for exercise as long as they are following social distancing guidelines, alone, with members of their household, or with one person from outside of their household. People must still only exercise in groups of no more than two people, unless they are exercising with their household.

All outdoor sports and physical activities are now permitted, without time limit, including angling. Swimming in an open-air swimming pool is an exception, however, this does not apply to individuals’ private swimming pools within their own homes.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 20 July 2022 to Question 37614 on Schools: Buildings, which schools in Manchester, Gorton constituency had at least one construction element in (a) condition grade C and (b) condition grade D when that data was collated; and which of those schools (a) have already received funding from the School Rebuilding Programme and (b) are expected to receive funding from the School Rebuilding Programme in the next two years.

The Condition Data Collection (CDC) is one of the largest and most comprehensive data collection programmes in the UK’s public sector. It collected data on the building condition of government funded schools in England. It provides a robust evidence base to enable the Department to target capital funding for maintaining and rebuilding school buildings.

The key, high level findings of the CDC programme were published in May 2021 in the ‘Condition of School Buildings Survey: Key Findings’ report. This is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/989912/Condition_of_School_Buildings_Survey_CDC1_-_key_findings_report.pdf.

Individual CDC reports have been shared with every school and their responsible body to use alongside their existing condition surveys to plan maintenance schedules and investment plans. The Department plans to publish detailed school level CDC data. The Department is still preparing the data and will publish it as soon as possible.

Well maintained, safe school buildings are a priority for the Department. Our funding is directed both to maintaining the condition of the school estate and rebuilding schools. The Department has allocated over £13 billion for improving the condition of schools since 2015, including £1.8 billion committed this financial year.

The ten year School Rebuilding Programme (SRP) is condition led. 400 of the 500 available places on the programme have been provisionally allocated. A list of these schools and the methodology used to select them is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-rebuilding-programme-schools-in-the-programme.

The following table shows the constituencies specified that have schools or colleges selected for the SRP:

Parliamentary constituency

Schools selected for SRP

Wakefield

Ossett Academy and Sixth Form College, announced December 2022

Stockton North

St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, announced July 2021 St Paul's Catholic Primary School, announced July 2021

The 239 schools announced in December 2022 will enter delivery at a rate of approximately 50 per year, over a five year period from 2023. The Department is currently undertaking due diligence on these schools prior to scheduling them, with schools prioritised according to the condition of their buildings, readiness to proceed, and efficiency of delivery. The scope and funding for each project will be confirmed following detailed feasibility studies and condition surveys of buildings.

Where a school identifies significant safety issues with a building, that cannot be managed within local resources, the Department considers additional support on a case-by-case basis. This includes applications for Urgent Capital Support (UCS) from eligible institutions. Schools eligible for Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) can apply for UCS where there are urgent health and safety issues that threaten school closure and cannot wait until the next CIF bidding round.

25th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when her Department will publish the Government's response to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Green Paper consultation.

The Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) green paper consultation closed on 22 July 2022. The department is currently reviewing the feedback received. We will use this feedback, along with continued engagement with the system to inform the next stage of delivering improvements for children, young people and their families.

The department is committed to publishing a full response to the green paper in an Improvement Plan early this year.

The department will continue to support the system in the immediate term to deliver change and continue to improve the experience and outcomes for children and young people with SEND and those who need AP.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
9th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when her Department plans to reply to correspondence from the hon. member for Manchester, Gorton of 22 September 2022, reference AK56008.

I can confirm that a response to correspondence dated 22 November 2022, reference AK56008 from the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton has been sent.

15th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to Answer of 20 October 2021 to Question 57279, what further consideration her Department has given to establishing a Takaful-based funding structure for financial support for students in higher and further education.

The department remains committed to delivering an Alternative Student Finance (ASF) product compatible with Islamic finance principles. We want all learners with the potential to benefit from a higher education to be able to do so.

We are introducing a Lifelong Loan Entitlement (LLE), which will significantly change the ways students can access learning and financial support. We are currently considering if and how ASF can be delivered as part of the LLE.

We believe it is sensible to align future delivery of an ASF product with these major reforms to ensure fair treatment for all students.

6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether additional guidance will be issued to supplement the existing guidance on Keeping Children Safe in Education to help schools ensure pupils are kept safe online.

This government is committed to keeping children safe both online and offline. All schools and colleges must have regard to the department's statutory guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE), when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

This guidance provides schools and colleges with information on what they should be doing to protect pupils and students online.

The guidance is very clear on the actions a school or college should take if there are any concerns about a child’s wellbeing and/or safety. KCSIE, amongst other things, sets out that:

  • Appropriate filters and monitoring systems should be in place to protect children when they are online using school or college IT systems. Schools and colleges should have a clear policy on the use of mobile technology which reflects that many children have unrestricted access to the internet via smart devices.
  • KCSIE also provides school and college staff with information about different types of abuse and harm, including online abuse.

In addition, the department has published guidance on teaching online safety in schools and, through relationships, sex, and health education (RSHE), children will be taught about rules and principles for keeping safe online.

The statutory RSHE curriculum was introduced in September 2020. In these subjects, pupils are taught about online relationships, implications of sharing private or personal data online (including images), harmful content and contact, cyberbullying, an over-reliance on social media, how to be a discerning consumer of information and where to get help and support for issues that occur online.

Where it is required, schools are also expected to offer remote education to pupils who test positive for COVID-19 or present with COVID-19 symptoms where they are well enough to learn from home. There is a wide range of resources available to support schools and colleges to meet these expectations. The ‘Get Help with Remote Education’ page on gov.uk provides a one-stop-shop for teachers and leaders, signposting to support available. This includes a self-assessment framework to help schools and colleges understand where they are with their remote education provision, help to access technology that supports remote education, peer-to-peer training and guidance on how to use technology effectively and resources, and school-led webinars to support effective delivery of the curriculum.

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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department plans to provide to outdoor learning providers as part of the covid-19 catch-up provision.

We recognise that extended school and college restrictions have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s education and are committed to helping pupils make up lost education as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. In January 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, committed to working with parents, teachers, and education providers to develop a long-term plan to help schools support pupils make up their education over the course of this Parliament.

In February 2021, the Department also appointed Sir Kevan Collins, as Education Recovery Commissioner, to advise on the approach for education recovery and the development of a long-term plan to help pupils make up their education over the course of this Parliament. The Education Recovery Commissioner has been clear that sport and broader enrichment activities are a key part of recovery, and will engage with parents, pupils, and teachers in the development of this broader approach which will examine a range of options to help schools to use evidence-based interventions to support their pupils to make up lost education.

£200 million will be made available to secondary schools to run summer schools with an initial focus on incoming Year 7 pupils. The summer schools will offer a mix of academic and enrichment activity. Guidance will be provided to schools, including a reminder that they can work with their usual wraparound or holiday provider to ensure they can collaboratively create a broad and interesting programme for the pupils involved.

The Department recognises the significant benefits that education outside the classroom can have on children’s development as well as their mental health and wellbeing and is taking steps to unlock outdoor education and educational visits in line with the COVID-19 road map.

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.

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.

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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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
Secretary of State for Education
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
Secretary of State for Education
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, 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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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.

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.

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, 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/.

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, 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

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, 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.

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.

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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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, 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.

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 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/.

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, 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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, 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.

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.

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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
9th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to make a decision on the non-charging proposal for the Greater Manchester clean air zone.

We requested further evidence from the Greater Manchester authorities to enable us to consider their plans and they have recently provided further information. We will respond to Greater Manchester in due course.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the correspondence of 16 August 2023 and 25 October 2023 from the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, reference number MC2023/16104.

A reply was sent to the hon. Member on 14 December 2023. I apologise for the delay in responding to the hon. Member.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 21 November 2023 to Question 452 on Joint Air Quality Unit, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs/Department for Transport Joint Air Quality Unit (a) fulfills its remit and (b) delivers value for money.

Ministerial oversight of the Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) is in line with that for other parts of the Department. The 2022 National Audit Office review of the NO2 Programme, which Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) delivers, noted the progress that Government has made in tackling illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide air pollution.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when she expects the World Health Organization’s Air Quality Guideline levels for (a) PM2.5 and (b) NO2 pollution to be met.

The WHO air quality guidelines are intended to inform the setting of air quality standards and are not ready-made targets for adoption as they do not take into account achievability or individual countries’ circumstances. For example, our evidence strongly suggests that the 2021 WHO guideline level for PM2.5 is not possible to achieve in many locations in England due to the level of natural PM2.5 and pollution blown in from outside the country. We do consider the WHO guidelines as part of an evidence led process when setting new air quality targets including the recently set PM2.5 targets which support continuous improvement in PM2.5 levels up to 2040. Our priority for NO2 remains working with local authorities to take action to achieve compliance with current NO2 limits in the shortest possible time.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Joint Air Quality Unit; and whether the Government has plans to (a) review and (b) expand that Unit.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs/Department for Transport Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) exists to deliver compliance with legal limits for nitrogen dioxide in the shortest possible time. The Secretary of State has not made an assessment of JAQU’s effectiveness and there are no current plans to review or expand the unit.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Mar 2023
What discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on new deposit return schemes in England.

The Government recently published its response to the 2021 consultation on introducing a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The Deposit Return Scheme will launch in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland from 1 October 2025. Cabinet discusses a range of issues and those discussions are confidential.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure the UK plays a significant role in the implementation of Target 7 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

UK diplomatic leadership was critical to agreeing the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, and we will continue to champion the framework’s implementation. Target 7 is a global target for Parties to achieve by 2030, and includes the aim to reduce the overall risk of from pesticides by at least half globally and encourages the uptake of integrated pest management (IPM).

IPM lies at the heart of the UK's approach to minimise the environmental impact of pesticides, both domestically and internationally. At home, we recently announced new paid IPM actions to be introduced to the SFI scheme this year. Farmers will be paid to complete an IPM assessment and produce an IPM plan; establish and maintain flower-rich grass margins, blocks, or in-field strips; establish a companion crop and to move towards insecticide-free farming. Globally, we are working with international partners to phase out use of the most harmful pesticides. For example, we are working with partners in Vietnam on the safe and sustainable use of agricultural pesticides to minimise environmental contamination and health impacts.

The pesticide specific indicator for Target 7 will be developed further over the coming year, informed by a group of independent global specialists. This is a global target, and we expect the steps needed to achieve it will vary by country, according to their current usage levels, and the agricultural and regulatory context.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Consultation on amending domestic food legislation in England, closed in March 2021, what progress his Department has made on examining labelling regulations, including mandatory labelling on food.

Following consultation, the Food (Amendment and Transitional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2021 came into force on 17th June 2021. These regulations, which do not directly relate to labelling regulations but to food compositional matters, removed mutual recognition clauses for imports of certain products containing meat, bread and flour, fruit curds and mincemeat, and spreadable fats. A period of adjustment was also provided which ended on 1st October 2022. (In the case of the Products Containing Meat etc. Regulations, this period was provided initially until 12th December 2021 but was later extended until the same date.)

HM Government is committed to optimising the information that is available to consumers, and the Government Food Strategy sets out work that we will be taking forward on consumer information and transparency. As part of this strategy, HM Government has committed to developing labelling policy in the areas of eco-standards, animal welfare, and country of origin.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the World Health Organisation air quality guideline limits for PM2.5, what assessment his Department made of the merits of the guidelines when calculating the UK’s air pollution targets.

We have recently launched a consultation on new ambitious PM 2.5 targets that are stretching, achievable and specific to our national circumstances. The WHO air quality guidelines are intended to inform the setting of air quality standards and are not ready-made targets for adoption. They were considered as part of the evidence process. The evidence supporting the proposed targets can be found at: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/natural-environment-policy/consultation-on-environmental-targets/

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the nitrogen dioxide concentration beyond what is required in the Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – emissions of nitrogen oxides have fallen by 32% and are at their lowest level since records began.

Since the publication of this Government’s 2017 nitrogen dioxide (NO 2) plan, we have been working closely with 61 English local authorities to develop and implement air quality measures to tackle their NO 2 exceedances. This has been underpinned by £880m of funding for implementing measures and support for individuals and businesses to upgrade to cleaner vehicles.

Additionally, as part of the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan, we will end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, ten years earlier than planned. From 2035, all new cars and vans must be fully zero emissions at the tailpipe.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent progress has been made on discussions with the EU on changing the status of the UK to a Part 1 country for the purposes of the EU pet travel scheme so that animal health certificates would no longer be required.

The UK has been formally ‘listed’ as a ‘Part 2’ third country for the purposes of the EU pet travel scheme, which means that new rules apply to pet movements from Great Britain to the EU and to Northern Ireland. The pet health and documentary requirements for such pet travel are set out under the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

Defra recognises the impact that these changes are having on pet owners and assistance dog users. We are continuing to seek agreement from the European Commission on awarding GB ‘Part 1’ listed status and recognition of the UK’s tapeworm-free status, and we see no valid animal health reason for these not to be granted.

We have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity and we are currently planning for further engagement with the EU to progress both of these issues. Achieving these would alleviate a number of pet travel rules for all travellers, including the need for an Animal Health Certificate.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
28th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle food insecurity in the context of increases in the cost of living.

The UK has a high degree of food security. Last year, we published the Food Security Report which includes a section on food security at a household level. The latest statistics point to an increase in household food security between 2019 and 2020. There are undoubtedly going to be pressures on food prices as a result of increased input costs – including gas, fuel and fertiliser. That will have to be passed through the system, but the Government is providing an additional £500 million to help provide targeted cost of living support for households most in need.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support the Government is providing to farmers to ensure they are able to harvest their 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 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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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.

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.

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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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
Home Secretary
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.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
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 of Health and Social Care)
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.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
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 and Trade)
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.

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.

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.

20th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the report by the Local Government Association entitled The path to inclusive footways, published on 10 February 2024.

The Department is aware that pavement parking is a challenging and complex issue.

Local authorities are responsible for parking restrictions and already have powers to tackle pavement parking by implementing Traffic Regulation Orders. The Department has consulted on further options to help local authorities outside London tackle this issue and will publish a formal response when final decisions have been taken.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that highways funding supports pavement accessibility.

Local highway authorities have a duty under Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 to maintain the public highway network in their area, including footways and pavements. In doing so the Department recommends that they follow the advice set out in various guidance documents, which covers topics such as the maintenance and design of pavements, and the use of tactile paving .

The additional £8.3 billion of highway maintenance funding that the Government is providing to all English local highway authorities over the years 2023/24 to 2033/34 will allow them to invest in improvements to their local highway networks, including pavements and footways. Authorities will be expected to detail how this additional funding is being spent, to allow members of the public to hold them to account for this.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 1 February 2024 to Question 11862, for what reason successful nominations for funding under the Access for All programme have not yet been announced.

Further to the answer of 1st February 2024, I reaffirm the Government’s commitment of £350m of additional funding to improve the accessibility of stations across Great Britain. We are assessing over 300 nominations for Access for All funding which is a detailed and rigorous process.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
29th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister of State, Department for Transport during the oral question on Access for All of 8 June 2023, Official Report, column 856, what his planned timetable is for making a decision on the projects receiving funding from the Access for All programme.

As part of our recent Network North announcement, the Government confirmed £350m will be made available to improve the accessibility of train stations across Britain. We are assessing over 300 nominations for funding under the Access for All programme. At stations awarded funding this will create an obstacle free, accessible route from the station entrance to all platforms. Successful nominations will be announced in due course.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 14 November 2023 to Question 451 on Cars: Exhaust Emissions, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of the decision to move the ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol cars from 2030 to 2035 on (a) public health and (b) other matters; and whether his Department has plans to conduct further impact assessments.

The Department has not completed any assessment on the air quality impact of the decision to delay the end of sale date for new diesel and petrol cars from 2030 to 2035. However, the Government has laid the Vehicle Emissions Trading Schemes Order 2023 before the Houses of Parliament, the Scottish Parliament and the Senedd Cymru on 16th October,which implements the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate across Great Britain.

The ZEV mandate is Government biggest carbon reduction measure and will significantly reduce tail pipe emissions as set out in the cost benefit analysis published by the Department. All impacts, including public health, are detailed in the impact assessment: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2023/9780348252453/pdfs/ukdsiod_9780348252453_en_001.pdf

Anthony Browne
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the closed consultation entitled Pavement parking: options for change, updated on 29 June 2023, whether he has had recent discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the outcomes of that consultation.

Ministers have had informal discussions with colleagues from time to time. The process for identifying and securing collective agreement to the approach the Government wishes to take on pavement parking in light of the consultation is ongoing.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implementing a long-term funding system for bus (a) operators and (b) manufacturers.

The Department for Transport recently announced a long-term approach to protect and improve bus services backed by an additional £300 million until April 2025. £140 million of this funding will go to bus operators to support services, and the remaining £160 million will go to Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) to protect and enhance bus services, and support local fares initiatives.

We also make available up to £259 million every year for bus operators and LTAs to keep fares down and run services that might otherwise be unprofitable and could lead to cancellation through the Bus Service Operators Grant.

The Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme did not provide funding for bus manufacturers; however, we have provided £269.57 million to Local Transport Authorities to support the introduction of 1,300 zero emission buses and supporting infrastructure. This is part of the government’s wider investment in zero-emission buses (ZEBs), which totals over £450m and funded an estimated 4,200 ZEBs across the UK so far.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
6th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to expand Bikeability training for primary school pupils.

The Department for Transport has increased the funding available for Bikeability each year since 2020 and is providing at least £21 million in the financial year of 2023-24.

6th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to paragraph 23c of the National Audit Office report entitled Active Travel in England, HC 1376, what steps he is taking to implement that report's recommendation on funding for active travel.

The Department is carefully considering the report’s findings and recommendations. Officials from the Department and Active Travel England will be attending a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing on 19 July to discuss them. The PAC will publish a report following the hearing, and the Department will publish a formal response after this.

6th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of whether he will meet his target to increase the proportion of short journeys that are walked or cycled in towns and cities to 46% by 2025.

The Government’s most recent assessment of this was set out in the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy report to Parliament in July 2022, a copy of which is available in the House Libraries. The Department will provide an updated assessment in its next report to Parliament in due course.

2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had recent discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on funding for the CP7 access for all programme.

The Department is currently assessing over 300 stations nominated for Access for All funding beyond 2024. I hope to be in a position to announce successful projects and the funding available later this year.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what funding he is providing for (a) walking, (b) wheeling and (c) cycling in Greater Manchester in financial year 2023-24.

In February 2023, Active Travel England announced £200 million of funding to local authorities for active travel infrastructure. Allocations to individual local authorities will be announced later in 2023.

In addition, Greater Manchester Combined Authority is receiving £1.07 billion between 2022 and 2027 through the Department’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS), of which £215.5m will be paid in the financial year of 2023-24. The funding will deliver improvements to local transport networks, including investment in active travel infrastructure.

As set out in the written ministerial statement made by the Secretary of State on 9 March 2023, the Government will invest at least a further £100 million of capital funding for active travel during this spending review period. This will include funding for local authorities such as the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

24th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has taken recent steps to help prevent approved driving instructors selling practical driving exams for a profit.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working hard to provide as many practical driving test appointments as possible at all test centres. As a result of the measures already taken by the DVSA, overall, since April 2021, an estimated 813,000 additional test slots have now been created. On average, the DVSA is creating approximately 35,300 extra test slots each month.

The average time between booking and taking a practical car test in Greater Manchester and West Didsbury test centres over the last 12 months is 15.2 weeks and 15.6 weeks respectively. As of 27 March 2023, there are 1,847 driving tests available in Greater Manchester and 465 available at West Didsbury.

To prevent the booking and re-selling of driving test appointments, the DVSA has:

  • stopped accepting new automatic online registrations to use its tests booking service – any new applications must be made by email, where they’ll be thoroughly checked by the DVSA;
  • stopped accepting any new registrations from companies who do not directly employ a driving instructor;
  • removed registrations not linked to driving instructors;
  • reduced the number of times a driving test appointment can be changed from 10 to the pre-pandemic limit of 6 - if changes are required after reaching this limit, approved driving instructors or candidates will have to cancel the test and rebook it; and
  • updated the test booking service terms and conditions to make it clear that users must not book tests and sell them for profit. Users found breaching the terms and conditions may have their accounts closed.
Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
24th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the average waiting time was for a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency practical driving test in (a) Greater Manchester and (b) West Didsbury test centres in the last 12 months.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working hard to provide as many practical driving test appointments as possible at all test centres. As a result of the measures already taken by the DVSA, overall, since April 2021, an estimated 813,000 additional test slots have now been created. On average, the DVSA is creating approximately 35,300 extra test slots each month.

The average time between booking and taking a practical car test in Greater Manchester and West Didsbury test centres over the last 12 months is 15.2 weeks and 15.6 weeks respectively. As of 27 March 2023, there are 1,847 driving tests available in Greater Manchester and 465 available at West Didsbury.

To prevent the booking and re-selling of driving test appointments, the DVSA has:

  • stopped accepting new automatic online registrations to use its tests booking service – any new applications must be made by email, where they’ll be thoroughly checked by the DVSA;
  • stopped accepting any new registrations from companies who do not directly employ a driving instructor;
  • removed registrations not linked to driving instructors;
  • reduced the number of times a driving test appointment can be changed from 10 to the pre-pandemic limit of 6 - if changes are required after reaching this limit, approved driving instructors or candidates will have to cancel the test and rebook it; and
  • updated the test booking service terms and conditions to make it clear that users must not book tests and sell them for profit. Users found breaching the terms and conditions may have their accounts closed.
Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
24th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many public consultations his Department has (a) undertaken and (b) responded to within 12 weeks of their closing since 12 December 2019.

The Department, its executive agencies and arm’s-length bodies publish a large number of consultations and calls for evidence, so collating the information requested would come at a disproportionate cost for the Department. Consultations and calls for evidence are accompanied by other forms of engagement with the public and stakeholders. The Department always aims to publish government responses to consultations in a timely fashion, in line with the Government Consultation Principles, and to keep stakeholders updated on progress.

24th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many consultations that closed before the 31 December 2020 are awaiting a response from his Department.

The Department, its executive agencies and arm’s-length bodies publish a large number of consultations and calls for evidence, so collating the information requested would come at a disproportionate cost for the Department. Consultations and calls for evidence are accompanied by other forms of engagement with the public and stakeholders. The Department always aims to publish government responses to consultations in a timely fashion, in line with the Government Consultation Principles, and to keep stakeholders updated on progress.

24th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many full time equivalent staff in his Department are working on the response to the Managing pavement parking consultation.

The number of staff working on this issue has varied over time, and will continue to do so, depending on the stage of the project.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of mobile network coverage on long distance rail routes.

The Department for Transport is continuing to work closely with Network Rail to reduce the commercial and technical barriers to improving mobile connectivity along the entire rail corridor. We are also currently working with Ofcom and Network Rail to baseline existing Mobile Network Operator signal coverage on the railway through the installation and maintenance of signal measurement equipment on Network Rail’s yellow maintenance trains.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to make a decision on the future of the rail contract with TransPennine Express.

TransPennine Express’ (TPE’s) current contract expires on 28 May 2023. The Department in partnership with Transport for the North will make an announcement in due course.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will visit Levenshulme railway station to meet with users who struggle to access that station.

I am committed to improving accessibility at stations and we will be seeking further funding for the Access for All programme. A nomination has been received for Levenshulme and I hope to announce successful projects later this year.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the new train timetable on the reliability of rail services.

The December 2022 timetable was designed to improve performance through some of the busiest parts of the network, including Manchester, Birmingham and the south east. Since it was introduced, the network has faced considerable challenges, with poor weather (snow, ice, wind, heavy rain), sustained industrial action and a wide-ranging programme of engineering works. The full impact of the timetable on service performance will only become clearer when network disruption stabilises, towards the end of January.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department plans to announce the successful applications for Access for All bids made for Levenshulme station by Transport for Greater Manchester.

The Department is assessing over 300 nominations for Access for All funding beyond 2024, including the nomination for Levenshulme station. We hope to announce successful projects later this year.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the (a) prevalence of Japanese knotweed on (i) railway embankments and (ii) other railway land and (b) potential impact of such Japanese knotweed on nearby (A) homes and (B) businesses.

Routine vegetation inspections are carried out by Network Rail on the full rail lineside estate on a three to four year cycle. Any Japanese knotweed identified on the estate is recorded, including details of how far the knotweed is from the railway tracks and from the boundary fence onto neighbouring land. For recording purposes, the lineside estate is broken down into eighth of mile sections. Records are currently held on file for 87,000 sections of lineside estate, knotweed was present in 1.12% of those sections when last inspected.

Network Rail has an established regime to deal with Japanese knotweed on the lineside estate, whether identified by a Network Rail inspection or reported by a neighbour or member of the public. Network Rail colleagues use the recorded information in line with its specific knotweed management guidance to prioritise locations for treatment and set up chemical treatment programmes that will run for three to five years or until the problem is controlled. Where knotweed is found on both sides of a boundary fence, processes are in place to enable Network Rail to work in collaboration with the neighbouring landowner to set up the most effective treatment for that location.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department has taken to prioritise active travel since September 2022.

The Department has continued to prioritise its work on active travel, and the last two months have seen significant amounts of recruitment into key Active Travel England (ATE) roles, as well as a process to select ATE’s non-executive directors. ATE also announced in October that it had established a new advisory panel consisting of Chief Medical Officer Sir Christopher Whitty; Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street; Chair of the Office for Rail and Road Declan Collier; and Arup's Global Transport Lead Isabel Dedring. ATE has also continued to work behind the scenes with local authorities to review their active travel plans and help maximise their chances of securing funding for active travel schemes.

11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department plans to announce a timetable for submissions to the Access for All Programme in Control Period Seven.

I recently commissioned the next round of nominations for the Access for All programme, with a deadline of 16 September. Any station in Great Britain without an accessible route into the station, to and between all platforms will be a potential candidate.

6th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the potential merits of reducing the cost of driving tests for people in receipt of benefits.

Driving test fees are set in legislation and cannot be reduced within existing provisions.

20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he is undertaking on the potential impact of e-scooters on people who are visually impaired.

The Department is working with groups representing disabled people, including the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee and the Inclusive Transport Stakeholder Group, to review options for e-scooter regulations.

The Department is gathering data on e-scooters through trials in 30 areas, where measures have been put in place to improve safety for disabled people and people with sight loss, such as requiring ​e-scooters to have a bell or a horn so that they are audible. Additionally, the Department has instructed all local authorities participating in trials to engage with disability groups in their area throughout the trial period to ensure their concerns are being heard.

The Department will consult publicly before any secondary regulations for e-scooters and the rental schemes are made.

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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with train operating companies on offering full refunds to passengers who have purchased advanced rail tickets and are no longer able to use those tickets due to covid-19 restrictions.

In October government agreed with the rail industry that, where a passenger with an Advance ticket is prevented from travelling due to changes to local or national restrictions, change of journey administration fees will be waived and, if they purchased their ticket directly from a train operator, they will be able to apply for a Rail Travel Voucher valid for 12 months. Independent rail retailers can use their discretion to offer a credit note if they have the ability to do so, or a fee-free change of journey.

On 24 November, government announced that Advance ticket change of journey fees will also be waived for students who need to rearrange travel to comply with the student travel window.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
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.

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 of Health and Social Care)
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 of Health and Social Care)
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
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
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.

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.

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 of Health and Social Care)
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 of Health and Social Care)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the Household Support Fund on levels of child poverty in Manchester, Gorton constituency since October 2021.

There have been four Household Support Fund (HSF) schemes to date, with the current iteration running until the end of March 2024. Management Information (MI) was published for HSF1-3 following the completion of each scheme and can be found here.

Household Support Fund 3 management information:1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab)

Household Support Fund 2 management information: 1 April to 30 September 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab)

Household Support Fund management information: 6 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The latest MI covering HSF3 was published in August 2023. We will similarly look to publish MI for the entirety of HSF4 following scheme completion and subject to quality assurance processes. An evaluation of the current HSF4 scheme is underway. This will seek to understand the delivery and impacts of scheme funding.

The number of awards is reported by Authorities, and so data at a constituency level is not available. A total of 1.8m HSF awards were provided to residents in the Local Authorities that make up Greater Manchester (Manchester, Stockport, Tameside, Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Bolton, Wigan, Salford and Trafford) during HSF1-3,including 420,000 in Manchester City Council. The number of awards, as reported by Authorities, may not represent the number of people helped as some may have received multiple awards.

No assessment has been made of the impact of the Household Support Fund on child poverty. The HSF is an intentionally flexible scheme designed to enable Local Authorities to respond to local need. Local Authorities are encouraged through our scheme guidance to consider the needs of households including families with children of all ages.

A total of £80.7m has been spent in the Local Authorities that make up Greater Manchester during HSF1-3 of which an average 69% has been spent on families with children. This includes 19.4m spent in the Manchester Local Authority of which 52% has been spent on families with children. Overall, Greater Manchester has been allocated £134.6m over all 4 rounds of the Household Support Fund including £32.3m for the Manchester Local Authority. Information regarding HSF4 funding allocations can be found here.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of how many families have received funding from the Household Support Fund in (a) Manchester, Gorton constituency and (b) Greater Manchester since October 2021.

There have been four Household Support Fund (HSF) schemes to date, with the current iteration running until the end of March 2024. Management Information (MI) was published for HSF1-3 following the completion of each scheme and can be found here.

Household Support Fund 3 management information:1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab)

Household Support Fund 2 management information: 1 April to 30 September 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab)

Household Support Fund management information: 6 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The latest MI covering HSF3 was published in August 2023. We will similarly look to publish MI for the entirety of HSF4 following scheme completion and subject to quality assurance processes. An evaluation of the current HSF4 scheme is underway. This will seek to understand the delivery and impacts of scheme funding.

The number of awards is reported by Authorities, and so data at a constituency level is not available. A total of 1.8m HSF awards were provided to residents in the Local Authorities that make up Greater Manchester (Manchester, Stockport, Tameside, Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Bolton, Wigan, Salford and Trafford) during HSF1-3,including 420,000 in Manchester City Council. The number of awards, as reported by Authorities, may not represent the number of people helped as some may have received multiple awards.

No assessment has been made of the impact of the Household Support Fund on child poverty. The HSF is an intentionally flexible scheme designed to enable Local Authorities to respond to local need. Local Authorities are encouraged through our scheme guidance to consider the needs of households including families with children of all ages.

A total of £80.7m has been spent in the Local Authorities that make up Greater Manchester during HSF1-3 of which an average 69% has been spent on families with children. This includes 19.4m spent in the Manchester Local Authority of which 52% has been spent on families with children. Overall, Greater Manchester has been allocated £134.6m over all 4 rounds of the Household Support Fund including £32.3m for the Manchester Local Authority. Information regarding HSF4 funding allocations can be found here.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many awards have been made through the Household Support Fund in (a) Manchester, Gorton constituency and (b) Greater Manchester since October 2021.

There have been four Household Support Fund (HSF) schemes to date, with the current iteration running until the end of March 2024. Management Information (MI) was published for HSF1-3 following the completion of each scheme and can be found here.

Household Support Fund 3 management information:1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab)

Household Support Fund 2 management information: 1 April to 30 September 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab)

Household Support Fund management information: 6 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The latest MI covering HSF3 was published in August 2023. We will similarly look to publish MI for the entirety of HSF4 following scheme completion and subject to quality assurance processes. An evaluation of the current HSF4 scheme is underway. This will seek to understand the delivery and impacts of scheme funding.

The number of awards is reported by Authorities, and so data at a constituency level is not available. A total of 1.8m HSF awards were provided to residents in the Local Authorities that make up Greater Manchester (Manchester, Stockport, Tameside, Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Bolton, Wigan, Salford and Trafford) during HSF1-3,including 420,000 in Manchester City Council. The number of awards, as reported by Authorities, may not represent the number of people helped as some may have received multiple awards.

No assessment has been made of the impact of the Household Support Fund on child poverty. The HSF is an intentionally flexible scheme designed to enable Local Authorities to respond to local need. Local Authorities are encouraged through our scheme guidance to consider the needs of households including families with children of all ages.

A total of £80.7m has been spent in the Local Authorities that make up Greater Manchester during HSF1-3 of which an average 69% has been spent on families with children. This includes 19.4m spent in the Manchester Local Authority of which 52% has been spent on families with children. Overall, Greater Manchester has been allocated £134.6m over all 4 rounds of the Household Support Fund including £32.3m for the Manchester Local Authority. Information regarding HSF4 funding allocations can be found here.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to reduce child poverty in Manchester, Gorton constituency.

The Government is committed to reducing poverty, including child poverty, and supporting low-income families. We will spend around £276bn through the welfare system in Great Britain in 2023/24 including around £124bn on people of working age and children.

From April 2023, we uprated benefit rates and State Pensions by 10.1% and, subject to Parliamentary approval, working-age benefits will rise by 6.7% from April 2024, in line with inflation.

In 2021/22 there were 1.7 million fewer people in absolute poverty after housing costs than in 2009/10, including 400,000 fewer children.

With almost one million job vacancies across the UK, our focus remains firmly on supporting people, including parents, to move into and progress in work. This approach which is based on clear evidence about the importance of employment - particularly where it is full-time - in substantially reducing the risks of poverty. The latest statistics show that in 2021/22 children living in workless households were 5 times more likely to be in absolute poverty, after housing costs, than those where all adults work.

To help people into work, our core Jobcentre offer provides a range of options, including face-to-face time with work coaches and interview assistance. In addition, there is specific support targeted towards young people, people aged 50 plus and job seekers with disabilities or health issues.

In addition, the voluntary in-work progression offer started to roll-out in April 2022. It is now available in all Jobcentres across Great Britain. We estimate that around 1.2m low-paid benefit claimants will be eligible for support to progress into higher-paid work.

To further support parents into work, on 28th June 2023, the maximum monthly amounts that a parent can be reimbursed for their childcare increased by 47%, from £646.35 for one child and £1,108.04 for two or more children to £950.92 and £1,630.15 respectively. Importantly, we can now also provide even more help with upfront childcare costs when parents move into work or increase their hours.

To support those who are in work, on 1 April 2024, the Government will increase the National Living Wage for workers aged 21 years and over by 9.8% to £11.44 representing an increase of over £1,800 to the gross annual earnings of a full-time worker on the NLW.

This government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living which is why we are providing total support of £104bn over 2022-25 to help households and individuals.

Included within this, to support low-income households with increasing rent costs, the government will raise Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of local market rents in April 2024. This will benefit 1.6 million low-income households, who will be around £800 a year better off on average in 2024-25.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that paying parents report their income (a) promptly and (b) accurately to the Child Maintenance Service.

As a principal part of the service design the Department uses data from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and its own benefits data to assess 91% of Paying Parents earned income and benefit status, which are key parts of the maintenance calculation.

Additionally, the Child Maintenance service allows both paying and receiving parents to request a change to the assessment if they believe that the paying parent’s income has changed by more than 25% compared to the most recent figures provided by HMRC. This can be done online, over the telephone or in writing. Customer communications highlight the obligations of parents to provide information and the consequences of failure to comply or misrepresentation.

Where a paying parent receives unearned income which can be legally considered in assessing child maintenance either parent can request a variation to the normal maintenance calculation. Cases involving suspected misrepresentation or fraudulent behaviour can be looked into by the Financial Investigation Unit (FIU). This is a specialist team which can request information from financial institutions to check the accuracy of information the CMS is given.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the amount in child maintenance payments (a) not paid by paying parents and (b) not received by receiving parents when the paying parent's income has been misreported in each financial year since 2009-10.

The Child Maintenance Service does not hold the information to fully respond to the request.

The Department publishes quarterly Child Maintenance Service (CMS) statistics, with the latest statistics available to the end of December 2022 here. Table 6 of the National Tables provides the total amount of uncollected child maintenance from March 2015 – December 2022.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing people in receipt of Universal Credit who work but have limited capacity to work to be eligible for the Cold Weather Payment.

Cold Weather Payments make an important contribution towards the additional heating costs incurred during periods of exceptionally cold weather, between 1st of November and the 31st of March each year. There are no plans to change eligibility.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
9th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of maximum waiting times to receive the Cold Weather Payment on people with pay-as-you-go energy meters.

The Cold Weather Payment scheme ensures that vulnerable claimants on qualifying benefits automatically receive a payment of £25 for every 7-day period of exceptionally cold weather. It is paid within 14 working days of a trigger. Issuing payments automatically without the need to claim provides certainty to claimants and minimises delays.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
9th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the Cold Weather Payment in line with inflation.

The current Cold Weather Payment scheme represents a contribution towards additional heating costs, paid at the time of need.

The government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living and has taken further decisive action to support people with their energy bills. The government’s Energy Price Guarantee will save a typical British household around £900 this winter, based on what energy price would have been under the current price cap – reducing bills by roughly a third. This is in addition to the over £37bn of cost of living support announced earlier this year which includes the £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households provided through the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
30th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department takes to calculate the amount of child maintenance payments owed in the UK by a person who is already paying child support for a different child overseas.

The calculation of child maintenance liability by the Child Maintenance Service can include an allowance for maintenance payments made in respect of a child in another country. In order to be taken into account these payments must be made under either a court order or under the powers of that country’s child maintenance service. A Paying Parent will be asked about this at the point their case is set up or can report such an arrangement at a later date, they will be expected to provide documentary evidence such as a copy of the court or payment notice.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment the Government has made on the potential effect of raising the benefit cap on the prevention of homelessness.

No assessment has been made.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps her Department has taken to help support families with children who are in poverty, in the context of the level of child poverty in Manchester Gorton constituency.

The latest statistics on the number and proportion of children who are in low income families by local area, covering the seven years, 2014/15 to 2020/21, can be found in the annual publication: Children in low income families: local area statistics 2014 to 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

This Government is committed to reducing child poverty and supporting low-income families, and believes work is the best route out of poverty.  With a record 1.3 million vacancies across the UK, our focus is firmly on supporting people to move into and progress in work. This approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of parental employment - particularly where it is full-time – in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty and in improving long-term outcomes for families and children.

The latest available data on in-work poverty shows that in 2019/20, children in households where all adults were in work were around six times less likely to be in absolute poverty (before housing costs) than children in a household where nobody works. Compared with 2010, there are nearly 1 million fewer workless households and almost 540,000 fewer children living in workless households in the UK. In 2020/21, there were 200,000 fewer children in absolute poverty before housing costs than in 2009/10.

To help parents into work, our Plan for Jobs is providing broad ranging support for all jobseekers with our Sector Based Work Academy Programmes (SWAP), Job Entry Targeted Support and Restart scheme. Our plan for jobs is providing results. As of 6 July, we estimate that at least 520,400 unemployed Universal Credit claimants and Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claimants have moved into work during the Way to Work Campaign between 31 January and the end of 30 June 2022.

We are also extending the support Jobcentres provide to people in work and on low incomes. Through a staged roll-out, which started in April 2022, around 2.1m low-paid benefit claimants will be eligible for support to progress into higher-paid work. This is on top of the support we have already provided by increasing the National Living Wage to £9.50 per hour and giving nearly 1.7 million families an extra £1,000 (on average) a year through our changes to the Universal Credit taper and work allowances.

To further support parents to move into and progress in work, eligible UC claimants can claim back up to 85% of their registered childcare costs each month up to a maximum of £646.35 per month for one child and £1,108.04 per month for two or more children. This is on top of the free childcare offer in England which provides 15 hours a week of free childcare for all 3- and 4-year-olds and disadvantaged 2-year-olds, doubling for working parents of 3- and 4-year-olds to 30 hours a week.

Around 1.9 million of the most disadvantaged pupils are eligible for and claiming a free school meal, saving families around £450 per year. In addition, around 1.25 million more infants enjoy a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime as well as over 90,000 disadvantaged further education students. We are also investing £200 million a year to continue the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, which benefitted over 600,000 children last summer, and we have increased the value of the Healthy Start Vouchers by a third to £4.25 a week.

On top of this, the government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living. These are global challenges, that is why the government is providing over £15bn in further support, targeted particularly on those with the greatest need. This package is in addition to the over £22bn announced previously, with government support for the cost of living now totalling over £37bn this year.

This includes an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials, on top of what we have already provided since October 2021, bringing the total funding for this support to £1.5 billion. In England, the current Household Support Fund is already providing £421m of support for the period 1 April – 30 September 2022, at least a third (£140m) will be spent on families with children. Manchester City Council has been allocated £6,453,163.20.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an estimate of the number of children living in poverty in Manchester Gorton.

The latest statistics on the number and proportion of children who are in low income families by local area, covering the seven years, 2014/15 to 2020/21, can be found in the annual publication: Children in low income families: local area statistics 2014 to 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

This Government is committed to reducing child poverty and supporting low-income families, and believes work is the best route out of poverty.  With a record 1.3 million vacancies across the UK, our focus is firmly on supporting people to move into and progress in work. This approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of parental employment - particularly where it is full-time – in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty and in improving long-term outcomes for families and children.

The latest available data on in-work poverty shows that in 2019/20, children in households where all adults were in work were around six times less likely to be in absolute poverty (before housing costs) than children in a household where nobody works. Compared with 2010, there are nearly 1 million fewer workless households and almost 540,000 fewer children living in workless households in the UK. In 2020/21, there were 200,000 fewer children in absolute poverty before housing costs than in 2009/10.

To help parents into work, our Plan for Jobs is providing broad ranging support for all jobseekers with our Sector Based Work Academy Programmes (SWAP), Job Entry Targeted Support and Restart scheme. Our plan for jobs is providing results. As of 6 July, we estimate that at least 520,400 unemployed Universal Credit claimants and Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claimants have moved into work during the Way to Work Campaign between 31 January and the end of 30 June 2022.

We are also extending the support Jobcentres provide to people in work and on low incomes. Through a staged roll-out, which started in April 2022, around 2.1m low-paid benefit claimants will be eligible for support to progress into higher-paid work. This is on top of the support we have already provided by increasing the National Living Wage to £9.50 per hour and giving nearly 1.7 million families an extra £1,000 (on average) a year through our changes to the Universal Credit taper and work allowances.

To further support parents to move into and progress in work, eligible UC claimants can claim back up to 85% of their registered childcare costs each month up to a maximum of £646.35 per month for one child and £1,108.04 per month for two or more children. This is on top of the free childcare offer in England which provides 15 hours a week of free childcare for all 3- and 4-year-olds and disadvantaged 2-year-olds, doubling for working parents of 3- and 4-year-olds to 30 hours a week.

Around 1.9 million of the most disadvantaged pupils are eligible for and claiming a free school meal, saving families around £450 per year. In addition, around 1.25 million more infants enjoy a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime as well as over 90,000 disadvantaged further education students. We are also investing £200 million a year to continue the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, which benefitted over 600,000 children last summer, and we have increased the value of the Healthy Start Vouchers by a third to £4.25 a week.

On top of this, the government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living. These are global challenges, that is why the government is providing over £15bn in further support, targeted particularly on those with the greatest need. This package is in addition to the over £22bn announced previously, with government support for the cost of living now totalling over £37bn this year.

This includes an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials, on top of what we have already provided since October 2021, bringing the total funding for this support to £1.5 billion. In England, the current Household Support Fund is already providing £421m of support for the period 1 April – 30 September 2022, at least a third (£140m) will be spent on families with children. Manchester City Council has been allocated £6,453,163.20.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to help reduce the numbers of children living in poverty in Manchester Gorton constituency.

The latest statistics on the number and proportion of children who are in low income families by local area, covering the seven years, 2014/15 to 2020/21, can be found in the annual publication: Children in low income families: local area statistics 2014 to 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

This Government is committed to reducing child poverty and supporting low-income families, and believes work is the best route out of poverty.  With a record 1.3 million vacancies across the UK, our focus is firmly on supporting people to move into and progress in work. This approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of parental employment - particularly where it is full-time – in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty and in improving long-term outcomes for families and children.

The latest available data on in-work poverty shows that in 2019/20, children in households where all adults were in work were around six times less likely to be in absolute poverty (before housing costs) than children in a household where nobody works. Compared with 2010, there are nearly 1 million fewer workless households and almost 540,000 fewer children living in workless households in the UK. In 2020/21, there were 200,000 fewer children in absolute poverty before housing costs than in 2009/10.

To help parents into work, our Plan for Jobs is providing broad ranging support for all jobseekers with our Sector Based Work Academy Programmes (SWAP), Job Entry Targeted Support and Restart scheme. Our plan for jobs is providing results. As of 6 July, we estimate that at least 520,400 unemployed Universal Credit claimants and Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claimants have moved into work during the Way to Work Campaign between 31 January and the end of 30 June 2022.

We are also extending the support Jobcentres provide to people in work and on low incomes. Through a staged roll-out, which started in April 2022, around 2.1m low-paid benefit claimants will be eligible for support to progress into higher-paid work. This is on top of the support we have already provided by increasing the National Living Wage to £9.50 per hour and giving nearly 1.7 million families an extra £1,000 (on average) a year through our changes to the Universal Credit taper and work allowances.

To further support parents to move into and progress in work, eligible UC claimants can claim back up to 85% of their registered childcare costs each month up to a maximum of £646.35 per month for one child and £1,108.04 per month for two or more children. This is on top of the free childcare offer in England which provides 15 hours a week of free childcare for all 3- and 4-year-olds and disadvantaged 2-year-olds, doubling for working parents of 3- and 4-year-olds to 30 hours a week.

Around 1.9 million of the most disadvantaged pupils are eligible for and claiming a free school meal, saving families around £450 per year. In addition, around 1.25 million more infants enjoy a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime as well as over 90,000 disadvantaged further education students. We are also investing £200 million a year to continue the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, which benefitted over 600,000 children last summer, and we have increased the value of the Healthy Start Vouchers by a third to £4.25 a week.

On top of this, the government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living. These are global challenges, that is why the government is providing over £15bn in further support, targeted particularly on those with the greatest need. This package is in addition to the over £22bn announced previously, with government support for the cost of living now totalling over £37bn this year.

This includes an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials, on top of what we have already provided since October 2021, bringing the total funding for this support to £1.5 billion. In England, the current Household Support Fund is already providing £421m of support for the period 1 April – 30 September 2022, at least a third (£140m) will be spent on families with children. Manchester City Council has been allocated £6,453,163.20.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will make an assessment of the potential impact of deductions from Universal Credit payments on people affected by the cap on benefits in Manchester Gorton constituency.

The benefit cap provides a strong work incentive and fairness for hard-working taxpaying households and encourages people to move into work, where possible.

Universal Credit households with earnings of at least £658 in an assessment period are exempt from the cap. Exemptions also apply for the most vulnerable claimants that are receiving disability benefits and/or entitled to carer benefits.

In recent years, the standard deductions cap has been reduced twice – from 40% to 30% of the Standard Allowance in October 2019, and down to 25% in April 2021. Reducing the threshold further would risk key social obligations such as Child Maintenance not being met.

For DWP Debt deductions, if a claimant is struggling financially, they can contact DWP Debt Management to discuss a reduction in their repayment, or temporary suspension, depending on financial circumstances.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to increase Personal Independence Payments and other associated benefits in line with inflation.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is required to undertake an annual statutory review of benefits and pensions. She uses the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) in the year to September to measure inflation.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP), alongside the other extra costs benefits available to people who have needs arising from a long-term health condition or disability – Attendance Allowance (AA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – has been continuously updated in line with inflation since its introduction.

The Secretary of State’s review for 2023/24 will commence in the autumn and her decisions will be announced to Parliament in November in the normal way.

Those who were entitled to AA, DLA or PIP and being paid on 25 May will also be entitled to a disability Cost of Living Payment of £150, due to be paid in September, in addition to any other Cost of Living Payments they may be entitled to.

12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to reply to correspondence from the hon. Member for Manchester Gorton on the 25 March 2022 regarding Kay Owen.

A full written response was sent to the hon. Member on 17 May 2022.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of extending the Universal Credit Kickstart Scheme to include individuals with disabilities.

Young people with a disability or health condition on Universal Credit who wished to take up the opportunity of a Kickstart job were able to discuss the roles they were interested in and if required, reasonable adjustments could be put into place to enable them to take up a Kickstart job. In October 2021, the decision was taken to extend the delivery of the Kickstart Scheme for an additional three months, to 31 March 2022, so that many more young people at risk of long-term unemployment (including those with disabilities) could benefit from the opportunities of the scheme. The final Kickstart job starts took place on 31 March 2022 and the last jobs will come to an end on 30 September 2022.

The Kickstart Scheme was introduced as part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs, a range of other support is available to provide support to job seekers of all ages, regardless of disadvantage or disability.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of local welfare assistance schemes in Manchester Gorton constituency.

No assessment has been made.

Local Authorities have the power to establish local welfare provision in their area, using the funding they receive from the Local Government Finance Settlement. Local Authorities are responsible for determining how best to assess provision of any local welfare support.

We recognise, however, that some people require extra support with meeting essential household costs due to cost of living pressures, which is why the government is providing an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials, on top of what we have already provided since October 2021, bringing the total funding for this support to £1 billion.

Local Authorities are responsible for designing and delivering the Household Support Fund in their area to best meet the needs of local people, in accordance with the overall scheme parameters.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the impact of not uprating benefits in line with inflation on levels of child poverty in Manchester, Gorton constituency.

No such assessment has been made. The Government is up-rating benefits in line with inflation. The Secretary of State undertakes an annual review of benefits and pensions with reference to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). All benefit up-rating since April 1987 has been based on the increase in the relevant price inflation index in the 12 months to the previous September. The relevant benefits are increasing by 3.1% from April.

The latest statistics on the number and proportion of children who are in low income families by local area, covering the six years, 2014/15 to 2019/20, can be found in the annual publication: Children in low income families: local area statistics 2014 to 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab).

This Government is committed to reducing poverty and supporting low-income families, and believes work is the best route out of poverty. Our approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of parental employment – particularly where it is full-time – in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty and in improving long-term outcomes for families and children.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she will respond to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Manchester Gorton of 25 November 2021 regarding Chantelle Zerafa.

The DWP National Complaints Team have progressed both cases and a full response will be issued week commencing 10 January 2022.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she will respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Manchester Gorton of 11 November 2021 regarding Dr Peter Harrison.

The DWP National Complaints Team have progressed both cases and a full response will be issued week commencing 10 January 2022.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure vulnerable older residents in (a) Manchester Gorton constituency and (b) the North West are able to keep up with rising energy bills and heat their homes this winter.

We spend over £129bn on benefits for pensioners in GB - 5.7% of GDP. This figure has never been higher. This includes spending on the State Pension which is forecast to be over £105bn in this financial year.

Pension Credit provides invaluable financial support for vulnerable pensioners. Around 1.4 million eligible pensioners across Great Britain receive some £5bn in Pension Credit, which tops up their retirement income and is a passport to other financial help such as support with housing costs, council tax, heating bills and a free TV licence for those over 75.

We will continue to support pensioners by making payments of £200 to those households with someone of state pension age and under 80 and £300 to those households with someone aged 80 or over. This winter we will make over 11m winter fuel payments at a cost of £2bn which represents a significant contribution to winter fuel bills.

Cold Weather Payments are also available and help vulnerable people in receipt of certain income-related benefits to meet additional heating costs, during periods of unseasonably cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. This includes older people in receipt of Pension Credit. Those eligible will continue to automatically receive £25 when the average temperature has been recorded as, or is forecast to be, 0°C or below over seven consecutive days.

In addition, The Warm Home Discount Scheme operated by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy ensures that those in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit receive a rebate of £140 on their energy bill. There is also the energy price cap which will continue to protect millions of customers this winter. Despite the rising costs of wholesale energy, the cap still saves 15 million households up to £100 a year.

This winter we recognise that some people continue to require extra support, which is why we have introduced a £421 million Household Support Fund to help vulnerable people in England with essential household costs over the winter as the economy recovers. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving £79 million (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the NI Executive), for a total of £500 million.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of providing a £50 one-off payment to those eligible for Cold Weather Payments this winter.

There are currently no plans to change the Cold Weather Payment scheme.

The Cold Weather Payment scheme helps vulnerable people in receipt of certain income-related benefits to meet the additional costs of heating for every week of severe cold weather, between 1 November and 31 March each year. A payment of £25 is made when the average temperature is recorded as, or forecast to be, 0 degrees C or below over seven consecutive days at the weather station linked to an eligible person’s postcode. It is paid automatically within 14 working days of a trigger to ensure claimants receive payments at the time of need. £98.8 million was paid out in Cold Weather Payments between 1 November 2020 and 31 March 2021.